Friday, December 28, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Santa has come and gone and I am left with lead to paint...about 88 minis to be exact. I received several packs from the Sash & Saber line including Union and Confederate regiment packs. Each includes 3 blisters of ten troops each in right shoulder shift. In addition there is a blister of ten command figures (3 NCOs, 2 officers, 2 color bearers, 2 drummers, and 1 bugler). These packs go for $45 each and each pose is different. In addition to the advancing packs, skirmish, Iron Brigade, Zouaves, mounted and dismounted cav, and arty pieces and crew are some additional products offered. For me, S&S is right up there with Foundry in quality and appearance. S&S wins with more variety of poses of their rank and file troops and the price is just over half that of Foundry, however Foundry offers a better variety of packs. I don't know how reliable the source was, but I've been told Chris at S&S is working on some new stuff. Well, I'm not going to get much painted by blogging, so farewell for now.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Some WW2

Here are a few pics of some WW2 stuff I promised.  I think I may have mentioned in an earlier entry that most of my WW2 figs are Bolt Action.  these were painted using a single-color base coat (with the exception of some of the bags and ammo pouches), a drybrush, and a wash.  The Wehrmacht Pak 40 crews are Crusader pre-painted by a painting service; not happy with the quality. As with most of my  ACW, any WW2 I do in the future will be done using a 2-color method.  On to Berlin!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Confederate Cav

I know, I promised some WW2 stuff when I last left you...sorry.  Last night I put the finishing touches on a unit (mounted and dismounted) of Rebel cavalry that has taken a lot longer than I had hoped to complete.  First, I have found horses to be an endless, boring task, but they look great when completed.  Second, I recently purchased Foundry's Master Class book on painting and have been experimenting with different painting methods.  When I first started painting, I employed a single color base coat for the most part and used washes and Army Painter Quickshade for shading.  I find this method to offer a descent result, but not nearly as attractive as Foundry's 2 and 3 color methods.  At this point I am across the board when it comes to painting methods.  These figures are primarily done in 2-color, but if you look carefully you may see some drybrushing and some washes.

As for the lines of figs I used, most of the mounted are Perry plastics with a few Foundry tossed in.  The dismounted are a mix of Foundry and Dixon.  I find the Foundry line to be outstanding, but a bit overpriced.  I got a pretty good deal on several packs on eBay last year that I couldn't pass up.  I found an outfit in Tennessee unloading Dixons at 50 cents a pop.  Needless to say, at that price I have bought over hundred over the past year or so. As for Perry plastics, my mom taught me if I have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all.

 I think this fig would make for a pretty good Nathan Bedford Forrest

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Curio Clash #1

When I chose 25/28mm, I soon discovered that I would have a lot of work to do if I ever wanted to run a Civil War scenario in this scale. I haven't found ACW to be a popular period in my area, let alone 25mm ACW.  So, needless to say, if I wanted to embarke on this journey, I would have to shoulder the load of painting hundreds of models on my own (purchasing/constructing a lot of terrain as well). I am very close to being able to run some of the smaller fights and hope to host a Fox's Gap scenario later this winter, but I still have a lot of work ahead of me in order to table the stands necessary for the larger scenarios. As I mentioned in one of my first entries, instead of packing my work away in storage bins I like to put it on display in my basement curio cabinet. What I have on display at the moment is not based on a historical battle. Up next some WW2.

The Federal gun crews begin to load cannister

The 2nd WI volunteers arrive to bolster the line

Sam Hood stands proud

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Weekend In Branson

When my wife told me about an attraction in Branson, Missouri modeled after the Polar Express, I knew we'd be traveling there to take our daughters on it.  As we were planning our trip, I though to myself, 'Opportunity.'  With one of the friends making the trip with us having an appreciation for Civil War history, we'd have to hit Wilson's Creek Battlefield, just a few miles southwest of Springfield, Missouri. I'm ashamed to say that prior to this trip I had been to several fields including Gettysburg, Antietam, and Manassas, but never Wilson's Creek. With the clash sometimes referred to as the Bull Run of the west, it was the first major battle of western theater. The park features a very nice visitor's center, and is currently playing an Emmy nominated short documentary on the battle. Also featured is a nice self-driving tour with audio guide you can access with your cell phone.  All in all a trip I would recommend if your time and schedule allows.

Located in Branson is a very nice veterans museum we had time to visit as well. I was surprised by the amount of items on display used in most of the conflicts the United States has been involved in from WWI to current day. Strongly recommended as well.

Bloody Hill

 Totten's Battery

 Ray Cornfield

Friday, November 30, 2012

Battle Through Normandy

Last fall I met a group of gamers from the Kansas City area named The Basement Generals, founded by  BaronVonJ.  These guys do anything from many historical periods to sci-fi. So far I have found ACW and WW2 (with the exception of Flames of War)  to be some of the less popular periods in our area, but with the BGs willing to play about anything, I can get my fix.

Recently we have delved into a ruleset called Victory Decision. A thread for asking questions and new ideas can be found within the WW2 forums at Feedback is outstanding (the writer, Agis, regularly participates in discussions). With little experience with WW2 gaming, I have found VD to be enjoyable. The rules are fairly simple to pick up with some play and according to some of the other fellas, the play seems to mimic what probably took place on the battlefield better than other sets. We have found with VD that recklessly leaving units in a firefight can lead to disastrous results. Players must draw units back from the fight in order to regroup if they expect to stay in the battle for very long.

Last night we played out a scenario involving a platoon-sized force of mixed Wehrmacht/Waffen SS infantry supported by a lone Panzer and a U.S. force consisting of 101st Airborne And 2nd Ranger infantry supported by a pair of Shermans.

The Americans look confident

The two forces began their attacks by  making an all out run at a small cottage located at the center of the field. 

Hedgerows make for careful maneuvering by the Americans

While Scott started the game by rolling two saves to emerge unscathed after a Sherman fired on his PaK 40, he kept the German left flank secure. Elsewhere, heavy fighting broke out on the right.


Fighting began to concentrate in the center of the field as one of Jay's units advances on the cottage but is repulsed by mortar and MG fire from multiple locations, but it proves to be stubborn and eventually re-takes the position to knock out the only piece of German armor in the battle. Subsequently, the German left flank begins to feel pressure and with two Shermans bearing down, things could only get worse for the Germans.

Monday, November 26, 2012

After the arrival of my first order of miniatures, I made the first bad decision of the endeavor.  Choosing the box of Perry Zouaves as a step-off point probably wasn't the wisest choice, as the uniforms worn by many by the zouave and chaussure units of the American Civil War were flamboyant to say the least. Little did I know a more experienced hand in painting would have served me well in tackling these little dudes. Anyway, a few weeks later I was left with a fairly pleasing piece of work for a beginner.

After completing my first project, I started to wonder what I would do with it now that it was completed.  I decided that they looked nice enough to stick in our basement curio cabinet, so I  let them sit there while I figured out what to paint next.  In the meantime, I started troweling the web in search of more stuff to order and stumbled across miniature wargaming.  I guess I'll save that for a later post.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Welcome to Curio Clashes.  This is my first attempt at blogging, but here goes.  As you can see by the title of this blog I have an affinity for military miniatures.  My interest in military history and toy soldiers goes back to my days as a child. I owned a rather large collection of everything from Hasbro's line of G.I. Joe figures to the little injection-molded toy soldiers you got in your Christmas stocking. Now, many moons have passed and within the last year and a half I have taken up the hobby of painting and displaying 25/28mm American Civil War and World War 2 miniatures, but let me jump back one step. A few years ago I received a King & Country model of George Armstrong Custer as a birthday gift from my dad.

After receiving this gift, I decided I wanted more, but soon discovered that my budget would not allow for many K&C models. As I continued to search for other options for acquiring a collection of miniatures to display in my basement, I stumbled upon the seemingly endless world of American Civil War miniature lines including Dixon, Perry, and Sash & Saber.  I had discovered a way of building a collection of miniatures to my liking at a fairly reasonable price...only I'd need to learn how to paint them.  My first decision would be what scale to go with. It appeared that the three options that would best suit my needs for displaying while offering many choices would be either 15mm, 25mm, or 28mm.  With 25 and 28 being fairly close in size and allowing for better detail, 25/28mm it would be.  My fingers got to tapping and I found an online vendor where I placed my first order for a box of plastic zouaves and some metal artillery kits and mounted officers, all by Perry. I found a local hobby shop in the Kansas City area where I could pick up some paints to get started.  I'm not sure if I had ever stepped foot in a Hobby Lobby or Michaels store, but have found them to be a treasure trove of items that cater to the hobby. So, a few days later I received my very first order of little men and I was on my way. The adventure had begun.

I hope you enjoy stopping in from time to time to see what's new.  I'm sure this blog will move in fits and starts as I learn more about how to customize it and come up with new material to share.