Tuesday, December 29, 2020

2020 is Finally Over

 2020 started off filled with high hopes and optimism and ended in a quiet whimper.  I had so many plans for the year of gaming and things were going good at the beginning of the year, and then COVID hit and everything went crazy.  Here is a link to my goals for the year if you are interested.  Most of the review of the year has been covered in my quarterly review posts I did this year - Q1 Progress Report, Q2 Progress Report, Q3 Progress Report.

Looking back on the year via these quarterly reports is actually very helpful.  I see much more optimism and joy around the hobby in those posts than I feel right now.  It is good to remember that the year has not been a total failure.

Lets look at how things went this year.

Kill Team - W

I really expect this game to be one of the major games of the year but like happens almost every year it did not turn out that way.  I did get in a couple of games.  I finished painting an entire terrain set for the game - Sector Fronteris.  I painted my new AdMech kill team.  This was a win for the year and I kind of miss this game.

Flames of War - W

FoW was planned for greatness in 2020, and while it fell short of that level, it was a good year for the game.  I managed to paint a large collection of MW Soviets and I bought several more units to expand the army even further.  Tim and I did get in about 10 games over the year and towards the end I was starting to figure the army out.  Flames of War was a success for the year but should have been even better.

Fate of a Nation - L

This is a fail for the year.  Nothing painted and no games played.

Great War (FoW) - W

This was a surprising win for the year.  I had no high expectations, just play it. I managed to get in two games.  They were both pre-COVID and that made all the difference.  This is not a game you turn too when game time is limited.

Age of Sigmar - W

Another game I had very little in the way of expectations for this year.  But I managed to paint a lot of stuff for my Nighthaunts.  I collected a few new models for it.  I did not get in a game but I didn't really think I would.  I count this as a win.

Black Powder - L

I had low expectations for this game this year and COVID put the nail in it.  This game generally needs about 6 people for the size game we put on and the lack of space and the lockdowns made sure this did not happen.  I did not paint anything for the collection this year but my friend, Tim, painted a Russian gun and a battalion of infantry for me, which was very cool.  It was not enough to call this a win, however.

Bolt Action - L

I had some big plans for this game in 2020.  I wanted to do a Market Garden campaign, plan a big MG tank battle, build a new army for the Far East (11th Indian Div), but none of that happened.  I only played one game and I don't even remember it.  Total bust.

Necromunda - W

This was actually a great year for this game.  Tim and I played a small two player campaign, which pushed this to the second highest played game of the year.  I bought a ton of stuff but still did not manage to stay current with the releases.  I finally finished my Escher gang and I painted several new models for the Goliaths.  Solid WIN!

Board games - W

I acquired all but one of the Blackstone Fortress expansions and much of it was already painted.  I am really excited about this collection.  COVID probably played a part in not playing this game but there was only a small chance it would have been played.  Warhammer Underworlds was a little surprise.  My Nighthaunt painting progress included the Thorns of the Briar Queen.  With ti painted I had to try them out so Tim and I got in a couple of games.  It is such a fun little game.  I take this as a win.

Team Yankee/WWIII - W

I had no plans for this in 2020 but I thought the new starter set might draw me in and it did.  It is such a great set!  Tim and I slit ours and I too the US and he got the Soviets.  I managed to assemble and at least base coat my army.  I also acquired some second-hand stuff from Mike to help fill the gaps.  I now have the start of a really nice US Army force.  We only played one game this year but it might have been the best game we played.  It certainly was the most fun. WIN!

Distractions - W

Every year something (or a few things) come along that you did not foresee and will distract you from the plan.  The last few years I have tried, and mostly failed, to limit these.  I usually count distractions as a loss because it usually is not something that will stick around.  The first one of this year was Marvel Crisis Protocol.  I've had my eye on this game for a long time and this year I took the plunge.  We've not played it yet but Tim and I have gathered quite a bit for the game.  The next distraction was Warlords of Erewhon. I wanted to try this game as a way to get back into fantasy gaming.  I did not want to go back to LOTR:SBG and no one wants to play AoS, so this looked like a good option.  Turns out it is a great little game.  We played a couple games and I was able to use my Nighthaunts and even some of the old skeletons I collected for Frostgrave.  I think this game has a bright future with our group.  I've been in a bit of a game/hobby funk for most of Q4 and this lead me to rediscover my love of model railroading.  I've tried and failed at the hobby many times over the years and sold/traded all my stuff to Tim about 5 years ago.  I was done and was not looking back. Earlier this most something happened to rekindle my interest (I blame Tim's generous friend for all this).  Tim then jumped in with an invitation to an operating session at a local modeler's layout and I was hooked. In the last few weeks I have collected a lot of stuff, some purchased and some donated by Tim (a lot of my old collection as well as some great new items) and I have started a new blog dedicated to my return to the hobby.


Looking back this year was much more positive than I remember it and than I feel right now.  The stress of life is conspiring to poison my outlook for fun.  I am working very hard to fight against these feelings.  COVID and, more specifically, our reaction too it has me feeling very down about social activities like gaming.  That is one reason why the MRR hobby is more appealing right now, it is much less social in nature.  I've got a few days before I do my 2021 predictions but as it stand right now next year might be VERY different for me.

Final Numbers

Models Assembled this year (includes cleaning and prepping metal figures):
15mm FoW WWII - 19 (13 tanks, 2 aircraft)
15mm Team Yankee - 16 (16 tanks)
28mm Bolt Action - 8
28mm Age of Sigmar - 28 (5 Cav, 1 Mortis Engine)
28mm Necromunda - 7
28mm 40K - 7
28mm Terrain - 22
40mm Marvel Crisis Protocol - 23 (11 terrain. 1 HULK)

Total - 130

Figures painted this year:
15mm FoW WWII - 212 (11 Tanks, 6 guns, 4 Rocket Launchers, 2 aircraft, 4 pillboxes and nests, 4 Objective Markers)
28mm Age of Sigmar - 19 (1 Mortis Engine, 7 Cav, 2 Realmgates)
28mm Napoleonic - 1
28mm Necromunda - 14
28mm 40K - 32 (17 Terrain)

Total - 278

Game Record:
Bolt Action 1-0-0
Gaslands 0-1-0
FoW Great War 0-2-0
FoW Mid-war 4-6-0
Team Yankee 1-0-0
Kill Team 2-0-0
Necromunda 4-3-1
Warhammer Underworlds 0-2-0
Warlords of Erehwon 2-0-0

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

New Model Railroading Blog

I have decided to start a new blog for my model railroad content.  It seems to be mostly off topic for here and I did not want to clog up people's feeds.

Drunken Samurai's No Caboose Blog (dsnocaboose.blogspot.com)

Anyway, if you are interested please check it out and maybe follow me there.  Don't worry, I will continue to post wargaming content here.  Now if I could just figure out an easy way to migrate my posts from here.  

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Model Railroad Thoughts and Ideas

 Not much has been happening with the model railroad yet and in fact not much as been happening with any hobby stuff for a while.  Most everything hobby related has been packed up in preparation for moving into my new house next month.  This has left me stuck just thinking about things and in some cases impulse purchasing things.

When I made the decision to get back into this hobby I started from a place of having absolutely nothing to work with.  I had sold off my entire collection to Tim about 5 or 6 years ago, and I mean my entire collection.  This means that I am starting with a completely clean slate and I will be able to experiment with new products and techniques that I might not have been willing to do had I kept everything.

My first MRR hobby purchase was this Bachmann E-Z Track figure 8 set that I got off of Facebook Marketplace for $25.  It is basically new and in perfect shape.  My plan, starting out, is to experiment with E-Z track and foam board as a base for the railroad.  For purists this is basically a joke product but I would like to see for myself the viability of E-Z track for a permanent (semi) layout.  If nothing comes out this but a way to quickly run some trains in a circle I am totally OK with that.

My entire MRR experience has been limited to DC power with a single power block.  Basically, one train at a time.  Initially, this will likely be how I get things going again.  Tim is giving me back my old MRC power-pack as his layout has a nice DCC system.  Power and train control have advanced a long way since DCC first came out 30+ years ago and in the last few years we have seen the introduction of Bluetooth and WiFi control.  In the end DCC will likely win out but it would be fun to have a Bluetooth engine.

In the past I have never considered any of the more advanced power options for a layout.  Things like powered turnouts and operating crossing gates seemed like too much trouble to be worth it.  My little starter setup will allow me to investigate some of these options and may even include things like DCC turnout control and auto-reversing loops.  This first stage is going to be about investigation and experimentation.  I will work hard to avoid trying to build some grand layout and getting in over my head.

Motive power will, again, initially be with older DC power.  Tim has graciously agreed to return my old engine collection, which he is not using at all, as well as a couple of new DCC compatible units.  This should solve all my motive power needs with virtually no expense.  I do plan of trying my hand at re-wiring an old unit for whatever control method I decide to go with.

Rolling stock is mostly, and again, be supplied by my friend Tim.  Much of my old stock is coming back (all the off road and stuff he is not using) as well as a few new items that he does not need.  I have won a couple auctions and made a few other purchase from friends.  I will definitely have plenty to work with.  In fact, really need to slowdown on that part.  I told myself I would plan the rolling stock based on need and not just buy cool stuff...that went right out the window.

Anyway, this has just been a bit of a ramble but it should give you an idea of what I have been thinking about recently.  I will not have anything running until well into February most likely.  Moving is a pain in the ass.  As an aside, since model railroading is a movement sort of thing I might start doing video posts.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Return to Model Railroading

 I have always had a love of the model railroad hobby, and over the years I have tried to get into it with very little success.  Back in 2007 I started a home switching layout but I quickly got discouraged and quit.  A few years later I traded/sold off all my trains to my friend Tim and I didn't look back.  Tim got back into the hobby around the time he acquired my collection and has started a small layout in his game room.  Even seeing lots of ,y old stuff on the WIP layout has not been enough to rekindle the interest.  Then last weekend Tim hauled me out to a local modeler's railroad for an ops session.  Rick has a large but rather spartan railroad in his basement.  It is built for operation and it runs very smooth.  After about 5 hours running trains it is safe to say I am hooked again.  You see some pictures I took of the railroad and the session below.

My entire experience with the hobby has been based on technologies and products that were common in the 80s and 90s and those were all based on tech from the earliest days of the hobby.  Since then DCC has been invented and has become old. With my renewed interest in the hobby I am also interested in new techniques for layout building and control.  Much of the hobby is still rooted in 50+ year old tech and ideas and I want to take this opportunity to rethink how to do things.

Tim and I are going to start up a little modular group (basically me and him) and we both want to try ideas that we have used in our wargaming terrain projects.  This is going to be an interesting journey and I really hope this return to the hobby has legs.  Stay tuned for more updates.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Black Knights

 Another unit for my Age of Sigmar Undead army is complete.  These are Black Knights.  These are for Legions of Nagash or they can be used as Hexwraiths for my Nighthaunt army.  The reality is I will likely never use these for AoS but I have already used them for Warlords of Erehwon.

This is a really great set by Games Workshop.  I have now built this set as the Black Knights and the Hexwraiths.  I think they look much better as the Black Knights.  I might need another box.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Q3 2020 Recap

Another quarter of the amazing, and slightly painful, year of 2020 is behind us.  Time for a recap of my hobby progress.  The idea with these recaps is to help keep my annual goals on track through the course of the year and, so far, I think it is helping.  Generally speaking, the time from July until the beginning of November is a tough time of year for me and I usually see a slowing in hobby productivity during this time.  This year is no different.


I have really neglected talking much about this game so far this year as most of my activity has been centered on purchases.  But this was actually my main goal for the year with this game - try and catch up on all the releases and keep up with the new stuff.  I have actually done pretty well with this so far this year.  I am still behind on the latest Escher stuff and the new Orlock stuff is coming soon so I will be spending a lot more money on this in 2020.

It has not all been about the purchases, I have made significant progress on painting my collection as well as building models.  Back in April I built the new Goliath figures.

Building is not all that has been happening.  This quarter I finally finished my long neglected Escher gang.  I started these nearly three years ago but just could not find the motivation to get them done. 

A new Necromunda campaign has started (OK it's just Tim and I playing some games) and I needed some additional members for my Goliaths so I painted a few more figures for that gang.

I have been working on painting terrain for Necromunda but so far none of it has been what I would call finished.  I have also played several games for far this year and many were in Q3.  If I do nothing else with this game this year it it will still be a big win.

Q3 was not all about Necromunda, however.  I had my first real distraction of the year in August.  I jumped into collecting Marvel Crisis Protocol.  I've not yet played the game so I have no opinion yet on the rules but the models are very cool.  The models alone are enough to make this a good purchase.

I managed to build all the models I have purchased for the game so far.

I did manage to paint one model - HULK.  The larger size of these figures will be a challenge for my painting style.

MCP is certainly a distraction as it was not on my radar at all at the beginning of the year but I have no regrets.  I love Marvel and I want to play a cool super hero game and this looks like the ticket.

There was another new game added to the collection in Q3 but this one cannot be counted as a distraction - World War III: Team Yankee.  I did say back in January that this game would likely suck me in once the new starter set was released and it did.  Tim and I each buy a set and I traded my Soviets for his Americans.  This gave us each a good starting force.  I also picked up the original Bannon's Boys set from my friend Mike, giving me more M1 and a couple of Cobras.

I managed to assemble nearly all my models.  These new TY plastic sets are really great models.

Once we have about 100 points assembled we got in our first game of the new edition.  It really played well and the game was a blast.  I thought the US forces were not going to have much of a chance against Soviet T-80 and T-64 force but I was able to pull out a win.  The game is so much faster than the WWII or even the FoAN versions.

Even though my painting production has dropped off, it has been a fun quarter for the most part.  The ongoing COVID drama is still making it hard to enjoy things but that seems to be slowly improving.

Models Assembled year to date (includes cleaning and prepping metal figures):

15mm FoW WWII - 11 (5 tanks, 2 aircraft)
15mm Team Yankee - 16 (16 tanks)
28mm Bolt Action - 8
28mm Age of Sigmar - 21 (5 Cav, 1 Mortis Engine)
28mm Necromunda - 7
28mm 40K - 7
28mm Terrain - 22
40mm Marvel Crisis Protocol - 23 (11 terrain. 1 HULK)

Total - 115

Figures painted year to date:

15mm FoW WWII - 212 (11 Tanks, 6 guns, 4 Rocket Launchers, 2 aircraft, 4 pillboxes and nests, 4 Objective Markers)
28mm Age of Sigmar - 14 (1 Mortis Engine, 2 Cav, 2 Realmgates)
28mm Napoleonic - 1
28mm Necromunda - 14
28mm 40K - 32 (17 Terrain)

Total - 273

Game Record to date:

Bolt Action 1-0-0
Gaslands 0-1-0
FoW Great War 0-2-0
FoW Mid-war 2-6-0
Team Yankee 1-0-0
Kill Team 2-0-0
Necromunda 4-3-0
Warhammer Underworlds 0-2-0

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Goliath Reinforcements

Tim and I started another Necromunda campaign.  This time we are tying the Dominion Campaign from the HB rule book.  This is very similar to the original Turf War campaign from Gang War 1.  I am playing my Goliaths again and I needed some additional models for the campaign.

This is my Prospect, Burtha.  She is equipped with the Storm Welder.  This is a pretty cool model but it is much smaller than the other Goliath models.  She managed to play in two games and was killed in the second game.  She never pulled the trigger on that gun.

I find it interesting how much excitement there was for female Goliath models. They had to change the back story to allow for this which is fine with me. I am sure the other gangs will all get female models and it will be lauded as a very progressive thing.  I doubt, however, they will make the withered weaklings that are Escher males.

Next up we have Dugas, a Goliath Juve.  I really wish they would make specific Juve models.

He is equipped with a Forge World maul arm.  It doesn't fit exactly right be it is OK.  It would have been nice for GW to include more than one stub gun arm per sprue in the Goliath set.

This is Orme, another Goliath Juve. 

He has a Forge World ax and a converted Brute Cleaver.  Again, a lack of variation in basic weapons limits the plastic Goliaths.  Easier to get you to pay big $$ for FW kits I guess.

This is my first Stimmer, named Slasher.  We have come to refer to him as 'Pink Hulk.'  I was going for a roid-raging skin tone and I think this works.  He looks like he is hopped up on some dangerous chems.

So far he has been the star of my gang.  In fact, he is almost the only one who has been able to get things done.  Great model to boot.