Thursday, August 26, 2010

Gettysburg: Something For The Family

I just discovered a folder of Gettysburg photos that I thought I had posted but did not. So over the next few posts, I will get them online. I took them when we visited during Christmas week 2008. The park was dead, and the weather was clear. And cold and windy. No, bitter cold and almost tropical storm windy is a better description. (We've been living in Florida too long!)

Keeping with the blog's bear theme the past week or so, below are some photos of the enormous Boyds Bear Country barn, which is part tourist attraction, part teddy bear museum, and mostly Boyds store. The attraction is only several minutes south of the battlefield. Jeremy and I had a blast. He loves teddy bears, and his mommy likes collecting Boyds bears. She couldn't come with us because she had to go back to work in Florida. So Jeremy got her a small bear and promised lots of photos--he had to call her as soon as we got there. After the battlefield and Boyds, we headed north to visit Hershey Park's Chocolate World at night. It was a long day! Anyway...

A Trip To Make Them Happy
If you visit the battlefield with kids or a wife who really could care less about clomping about another bunch of hills, fences, and statues, I suggest cutting a deal. They "suffer" through the history of the battlefield with the promise that tomorrow they get to go to Boyds. Or drop them there while you clomp around the battlefield. They will love you for it.

Is It Really A Barn?
Why is the building a barn? Good question! The idea for the attraction didn't start out as a barn but quickly became one. You see, Boyds took advantage of a loophole in PA tax and zoning laws. Because they built the museum as a barn, Boyds got off paying a lot of taxes on the property. Locals told me that Boyds built the biggest "barn" ever, pushing it to the legal limit. After the PA taxmen realized their mistake, PA changed the law so it would never happen again. Of course, Boyds was not affected and is still laughing to the bank I'm told.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Old Glory Bear Skin Rug: Finished

Painting Old Glory's 25mm MW-121 Bear Skin Rug is an easy project that anyone can do with great results. Even kids can do this. After priming, it takes maybe half an hour to paint.

I've included the several steps I took. You can substitute any colors you like for the type of bear you want. I went with the classic grizzly and used the photo to the left as a guide.

(A word of caution about doing a Google Image search for "bear skin rug" while kids are looking at the computer. Make sure you turn on "strict" moderation! Even then, your eyes will be pained with those ancient photos from the 1970's of Burt Reynolds lying naked on a bear skin rug with his select parts covered up. The horror!)

Painting Steps
1. Prime with your favorite primer on both sides. I used Walmart's gray spray paint since that is what I had on hand at the time.

2. Base coat the entire figure in a very dark brown.

3. Heavy drybrush Folk Art #942 Honeycomb. The eyes and inner ears need to remain dark, so try not to dry brush into them. If you do, a dab of dark brown will correct the mistake. (My poor filbert brush I use for drybrushing has seen better days!)

4. Lightly drybrush highlights using Folk Art #953 Camel. I made sure to hit the edges and the top of the ears. Look at the photo to see how fur is different shades of tan. The snout is also lighter, so I hit that. I also hit the cheeks for some highlight. Camel makes the entire model "pop" and look good. My photo below doesn't do the highlighting justice.

5. Paint nose black but drybrush some black onto the snout.

6. Let dry thoroughly and spray with Testor's Dulcote on top and underneath so paint doesn't peel. Place rug in your favorite Western building and enjoy.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game

Fantasy Flight Games just announced their new upcoming Lord of the Rings living card game due later this year. We already play their Warhammer LCG and have fallen woefully behind in buying the monthly expansions. I'm still sorting through the over 16,000 vintage Legend of the Five Rings and Legends of the Burning Sands CCG cards a fellow gave me earlier this year, and I keep buying more. I own a few thousand of the Decipher LotR CCG cards but never really played it much for various reasons. The rumors stating that I don't play that LotR CCG because I always lose are patently false! And then there is my Star Trek 2nd Edition CCG collection and binders full of original Star Wars CCG cards and and and.... Well, you get the picture. Do I really need another card game? Are you mad? Of course I do!

Anyway, the brief blurb from the FFG website: "The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is a cooperative card game that puts 1-2 players (or up to four with two Core Sets!) in control of the most powerful characters and artifacts of Middle-earth. Players will select heroes, gather allies, acquire artifacts, and coordinate their efforts to face Middle-earth’s most dangerous fiends. By cooperating to overcome the obstacles drawn from the encounter deck, you will complete the quest before you and claim victory!
The Core Set includes 216 cards that can be used to assemble a wide variety of decks right out of the box. Included are four perilous scenarios that, along with countless combinations of settings and enemies, offer near-limitless replayability. Additionally, players can build a party from a set of 16 hero cards, and focus their decks on any combination of four distinct spheres of influence: Leadership, Lore, Spirit, and Tactics. Each sphere offer unique benefits to the party, so choose wisely!"
The game is set between The Hobbit and The Fellowship, which is an interesting choice. Nice not to have the iconic LotR characters in the game but still have some favorite faces. Racing to Mount Doom can get old. You can also read more at the ICv2 website here.

And then there is DungeonQuest, the Blood Bowl card game, and so many other great games coming in the next few months! A great time for card and board gaming.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

15mm Blue Moon Pirates & Treasure

I'm getting a bit burned out painting 19th century coats on my 28mm figures, so I decided to break out my 15mm Blue Moon pirates I bought at Cold Wars. Last night and this afternoon, I cleaned the mold lines and flash off two packs of 15BUC-101 Pirates and Treasure.

Each pack contains 28 unique figures armed with a variety of weapons: cutlasses, pistols, knives, rifles, blunderbusses, and a grappling gun. BUC-101 also has two figures carrying a treasure chest, a single fellow carrying a small box, and a small pile of treasure. You can see the cleaned and prepped figures in the photo to the left. It's almost 800k and 1700 pixels wide so you can see the detail of the figures in the rough.

Overall, I am very pleased with these figures, which come in at about 18mm. After the Old Glory Army discount, they come out to 32 cents a figure, a great price. As I and others have mentioned, these figures will not fit in with Peter Pig pirates, which are true 15mm. While this is a shame because I love Peter Pig figures, Old Glory / Blue Moon gives you enough pirates and civilians that I won't be missing the PP figures. Plus, the Blue Moon faces are sculpted more realistically than Peter Pig's more comical "screaming" faces.

The downside about this range is that what we see is what we are getting. At Cold Wars, I asked the wife of Old Glory's owner if the Western and Pirate 15mm ranges would be expanded in the future. I mentioned Barbary and Asian pirates as examples. She replied no more figures in those lines. Oh well.

(Slight) Criticisms
While I adore these figures for their great detail, mostly dramatic poses, weapon variety, and pose variety, I do have some slight criticisms. You will have to clean the usual mold lines and vents, which is expected for all figures. You also will have to clean some unavoidable flash in areas always prone to flash. However, after cleaning 56 figures, I noticed that many of them had crudely sculpted or cast legs where the top of the leg meets the pant cuff. I filed and scraped off the excess metal in those areas, so it won't be a problem. It just took a bit of extra work I wasn't expecting. Besides, I hate prepping figures.

The Ships
I really want to start painting the two ships I bought. Unfortunately, Old Glory does not supply instructions. Being a newbie to pirate gaming, I will be asking quite a few questions about how to assemble the rigging and make some sails. More on the ships when I get to them.

Out & About
Ok, that's about it for now. By the time you read this, I'll be getting ready to spend the day with my wife. We need to get out and have some fun. With my dad still in the hospital after six weeks, this has been a rough summer for us, especially me. My moods have been swinging minute by minute at times! Ive been holing myself up, not wanting to see or talk to anyone at times. Then getting online and being a grump. Sigh. It will get better.