28 December 2015

2015 Reflections

Another year comes to a close and its time to reflect on what hobby stuff I have achieved over the last 12 months.  Living and studying in the US without all my 'stuff' has made hobby time a relatively barren affair, with a few bright hotspots to reminisce upon.

I had a rather banal set of New Years resolutions so for the first time I achieved 100% of them!
Thats because I set myself a relatively low set of bars of:
1. Attend a major US Wargaming convention - tick
2. Try and meet some other bloggers - tick
3. Buy stuff - big tick!
4. Paint nothing (not laugh too loud, do you know how hard it is not to do ANY painting and modelling for a year an a half when you have bought yourself lots of new shiny?!)
My wife's lack of buyer's remorse is clearly contagious!
So 3 and 4 were achieved in spades, but in reviewing what I bought I made an interesting observation.  When all you have to do hobby wise is surf the web for eye candy and buy stuff, one gets even more distractible than ever.  I have ended up with such an eclectic mix of gaming genres and scales that at this end it seems rather ludicrous.  As bad a gamer compulsion toward 'shiny' appears, its far less when you have a project on the go to focus on.
A boy and his first OGRE
So my biggest gaming achievement of the year was the double header of getting the Lad off his computer (voluntarily) and attending Fall-In together.  That really was a blast playing all those different games together (Fall-In: The Games and Fall-In and X-Wing: The Next Generation) and it has reinvigorated him in gaming (not just X-Wing either).  That was very timely as his new school has a Historical Wargaming Club which he is very interested in participating in.
Red-5 standing by!
Fall-In was great on many levels, as I posted at the time (Fall-In: Random Eye Candy).  In particular it was fantastic to put faces to several names (Fall-In: Convention Overview) and the highlight of gaming with Mr Miles over a few adult beverages.  Awesome stuff and yet another reminder of the awesome blog community we have going.
Good times with new friends - smiles all around!
...and beers with old ones too - catching up with David in London just before Christmas
We followed that up with a very fun day with the New England Epic gamers "Adeptus Ineptus" which was great experience too (An EPIC day out).  That was the day that the Lad played his first game of epic and uttered the 2015 quote of the year: "I have lost so badly that I have shamed our family"
The "shamed one" takes a good ribbing for the gaming group with a smile - well one indeed lad!
Blog wise its been fun to keep my hand in the hobby despite not much actual productivity and I've managed to keep up with an average of 3 or so blog posts per week.  The Tanktober competition was quite a bit of fun too: http://tasmancave.blogspot.com.au/search/label/Tanktober
This year's Tanktober challenge was a bit of fun along the way
On a separate note, I did another Goodreads reading challenge this year for the third year running (my daughter and I challenge eachother).    Between the War College and my Master's Degree I really pushed the envelope but there was a few novels in there to keep me sane too.  I'll do it again next year but at a much more sedate rate and with more hobby and relaxing reading.

Next year, I will be back in Sydney and moving upward and onward with work which will keep me busy.  After I have found somewhere for the clan to dwell I can set up the new Man Cave and get back into everything.  Of course, domestic priorities will mean that the Cave will be the last thing established but its nice to stay married...  Best of all, I will again be in the same city at Alan aka Dux Homunculorum and his Odin's War-game club which I am looking forward to and we have lots of projects planned.

I trust your 2015 was great Hobby wise and I'm looking forward to sharing my 2016 gaming experiences back in Australia with you.

24 December 2015

Merry Christmas!

I hope Santa is good to you all and that 
your day is filled with good cheer!

21 December 2015

20 December 2015

A visit to the Houses of Parliament

...to find this chap looking down disapprovingly at me! I think he can sense my Royalist tendencies...

18 December 2015

Farewell America - it was a blast!

Today after 18 months, my family and I are departing the US.  In fact we are in the taxi enroute to Boston airport as I write this.  We are breaking up 16,000 km journey with stops en route to enjoy London, have Christmas with friends in Norway and then be home in Sydney for New Year's Eve.

Its been a fantastic time both professionally and personally.  I've made some amazing new friends and have visited 18 different states which has been a blast.  I also have a new Masters Degree and my son is going home a newly minted and proud Eagle Scout!

So thanks indeed America and the many here who made our visit here so special. To (badly) paraphrase General Patton:

It is foolish and wrong to mourn that the time here is ended. Rather, we should thank God that such times were had.

PS The 400 odd craft beers I sampled here were excellent too!

08 December 2015

Aussie Bloggers Meet-Up: CanCon 2016

OK Aussie bloggers, time to get together to put some faces to names and blogs - those Poms do it all the time so CanCon seems a good opportunity for us to do likewise!

1pm at the Board Games section in the Northern Hall (not the main traders one, that will give us a bit more space)

Come for an hour or come for 5mins, its all good.  Tentatively planning for there to be a second session later that evening with some adult beverages - stay tuned for more details!

Spread the word!

Cheers to Millsy for making up the graphic

26 November 2015

Fall-In: The Confession

Its been a few weeks so I can finally try and face up to my lack of restraint at Fall-In.
Plus SWMBO has gone out for a few hours so the coast is clear to take some pics...
"Mistakes were made"
To move through the stages of grief, I could offer rationalisations such as bargains, needs projects planned, past and future, the bad influence of an enthusiastic offspring and the fact that some of this horde arrived by mail and wasn't technically purchased at Fall-In.  Instead, lets just admit that mistakes were made and move onto the shiny.

You can never have enough trees and terrain can you?  I didn't think so either.  The Lad did amusedly note though, that I have perhaps bought more trees than figures in the last few years.  Each day at Fall-In he also teased me about going to go off to buy some more trees because we didn't have enough yet.  Cheeky bugger!

Lovely 15mm terrain for Battlegroup Kursk - by Mark IV Miniatures: http://markivminiatures.com

More Mark IV Miniatures, this time for Fall of the Reich.  These are for the Dux actually! The damaged Cathedral (lower left) is rather spectacular.

6mm terrain for our ECW Project by Monday Knight Productions http://www.mondayknight.com
The big fields are very nice too - they are by Battlefield Terrain Concepts  http://battlefieldterrain.com

Goodies for Flint and Feather, and Muskets and Tomahawks -  British Wilderness Force, 3 packs of the beautiful F&F minis, an Indian long house and a frontier log cabin.  Plus the M&T rulebook and activation cards.

Pulp Figures.  The Lad said he needed Hooded Minions.  Who was I to argue with such logic? Plus if you bought 5 packs, you got a 6th one for free.

More obscure: LAF Post Apoc Russians.  Yep.  But has you seen what Curt did with these minis?
C'mon, I'm only human!

These goodies, I am delighted to say, were raffle prizes from attending the WWPD podcast - thanks lads!  The MK IVs will be built as early models for service in North Africa.  No plan for the Comets at this stage though

And while I'm confessing, my Strange Aeons KS goodies arrived a month or two ago as well :-)

And that all makes me feel better.  Except that I just remembered we also bought all this stuff (plus more not in the picture)

So in summary - Look at the postage I saved if I had waited to order it all back home in Australia!

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends!

24 November 2015

An EPIC day out

Yesterday Reilly and I made the trek to the Time Machine game shop in Connecticut to meet up with the New England EPIC gaming group (aka "Adeptus Inepicus" - awesome name :-).  They have kindly been inviting me to their monthly game day for the last year but travel and schedules just haven't allowed.  So this being our last chance we made sure we could go and I'm really glad we did.

From the first it was a fantastically warm and inclusive group who welcomed us in and were very chatty.  Matt lent us both an Army (SMs for Reilly, IG for me) and we were off!

The lad sets up his SM army for his first demo game with "Dave the Destroyer" 
Dave and Reilly face off

The quotable quote of the day was Reilly finishing up his game and admitting to me "I have lost so badly that I have shamed our family" No pressure lad!  Apparently getting beaten by Dave is a ludicrously common event and howls of derision fell upon Dave, questioning his manliness in beating up on a teen playing his first game.  The banter continues via email as I type this...
The "shamed one" taking the shop wide banter very well!
Some of the lovely SM models Matt loaned to us
He even converted his Terminators - madness!
 In the meantime, it was particularly great to meet Tim who I have known online over at the TacComms forums (here) since those were setup in 2003.  We faced off for a 3k point fight which was my first EPIC game for over a decade!  He was very patient and we shared a lot of laughs.
Tim aka "Dwarf Supreme"

The lads of "Adeptus Inepicus" enjoy a healthy wargamers' lunch mid battle!
So to the specifics of our game, it was a 3k Imperial Guard vs Imperial Guard battle.
I took a Russ Armoured Company, 2 Steel legion Mech Inf Companies (one with Regimental HQ upgrade), a Hydra AA Battery, 2 Basilisk Batteries, 2 pairs of Lighting Fighters and a Warhound squadron (I just can't play EPIC without a War Engine of some kind, well IG anyway).  Some highlights of our game:

My Mech Infantry company with RHQ takes up a strong defensive position in the middle, securing an objective
while my other Mech Inf company secures the opposite flank and its objective (F14 standing in for a Lightning)

Enemy Mech forces advance on my right

and receive Death from Above!

After loosing my own Warhounds, my Russ Company dispatch the enemy Scout Titan
The field of battle at game's end
We went to 4 turns, after which I had achieved 1 Victory Condition and just squeaked Tim out from holding any.  We went to a point differential which I won marginally. So overall, a minor Victory for me but Fun was the winner of the day!

So thanks indeed lads and lady of "Adeptus Inepicus" - we had a brilliant day and you've rekindled a flame for an old favourite game.

23 November 2015


Dux Homunculorum actual here!

It has been a long time since I've done anything on our ECW project, but with Paul heading back to the same hemisphere soon it's time to get cracking. To get some runs on the board I've been painting Covenanter infantry, and nice and simple they are after the army of Republican Romans in 28mm I've been painting over the past few months.

I've altered my painting style on these little chaps compared to my last lot of English troops. I've generally gone for lighter shades and haven't used any washes. What do you think?

Oh and Paul - don't call them rebels. They're the forces of the Scottish government, right?!

21 November 2015

6th Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge

Because I wouldn't want to get bored in between moving across the world, visiting London and Norway, finding a house, settling the kids into new schools, and getting a new job position.  Curse you and your challenges Dux!

Curt's Scoring and Bonus round directions are as follows:

The Scoring
6mm foot figure = 0.5 point
6mm mounted figure, artillery piece or crew served weapon = 1 pts
6mm vehicle = 2 points
15mm foot figure = 2 pts
15mm mounted figure, artillery piece or crew served weapon = 4 pts
15mm vehicle = 6 pts

28mm foot figure = 5 pts

28mm mounted figure, artillery piece or crew served weapon = 10 pts
28mm vehicle = 15 pts

The Fortnight Theme Bonus Rounds
Same as previous years, we will have a series of thematic Bonus Rounds. Each Bonus Round asks Challengers to enter a submission that illustrates a particular theme. The Bonus Rounds are not mandatory, they are just a little bit of fun to pace out the the Challenge and allow people to gain some points and fame through presenting vignettes and specific single figures. 
Those Challengers who manage to submit an entry for a 'Fortnight Theme Bonus Round' will receive an extra 50 points on top of the regular entry tally. No scales less than 15mm will be eligible for the Theme Bonus Rounds but they can be of a historical or fictional subject. 
The seven Bonus Themes along with their submission deadlines are:
  • January 3rd: Nostalgia 
  • January 17th: Epic Fail 
  • January 31st : Defensive Terrain 
  • February 14th: L'amour 
  • February 28th: Nautical 
  • March 13th: Gambler/Risk-Taker

20 November 2015

Fall-In: Random Eye Candy

To be honest the Lad and I were so busy rushing about playing games, shopping and socialising that we only had limited wanderings around the various rooms to check out the great games, and there were indeed many.  Still, I eneded up with some pretty pictures so I though I would share them (while I wait for SWMBO to go out so I can arrange my disturbingly big pile of loot for pics).
British defences in North Africa

The Royal Tank Regiment to the rescue!
The DAK barrels in...

"Fleeing the Cylon tyranny..."

Amazingly detailed (and massive) Pulp table 

It wouldn't be a Con without Blood Bowl - but this was the only game going!
Mouth Watering Shiny...  I love the advice posted in the centre 
Multiplayer Space Hulk
Battle of the Five Armies using Warmaster
Very nice Camo on this Grav Tank

Bob Murch's Pulp Figures trade display - beautiful!

ACW Naval action using "Sail & Steam navies"

Very nice Solomon Kane table setup

The autumn foliage scatter on this table was really very striking

I liked the field arrangements

Gnome Wars - what a hoot!
A VERY impressive WW1 trench board 
Nicely painted late war Germans for FOW
And as a long time Hammer's Smaller fanboy, it was really cool to see this at the "Toys for Tots Auction"