Sunday, November 28, 2010

What's Next?

Well, I just finished Factotum, and I find myself energised once again to procede with my gaming plans. Unfortunately, the workbench has been almost completely packed up for the move! So, I am going to vent a bit onto this medium.

The plan is morphing a bit - a problem of which I am particularly susceptible. Despite a desire to pick up the collection of 15mm minis again, I am going to try and stick with 28mm. The budget might make it a slower path but in the end it will look much more the part. It should be easier to come up with figures for the various bogles, although any that are particularly large, like The Misbegotten Shrewd, will require some work. Maybe action figures? Smaller monsters, like the grinnlings, could need special attention also, as they are reputed to fancy human clothing.

I am hoping to start up a series of blog posts on the figures that I think will make good, or even reasonable, proxies for the monsters of the Half Continent. But, for now I am off to continue packing...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ships, part 2

The first ram begins to take shape:

Step One: two pieces of 0.080" plastic sheet, cut into the rough dimensions of the two decks of VN Coryphaeus. The deck plans are just cleaned-up copies of the original artwork, as shown here.

Step Two: the hull takes shape, after a fair amount of cutting and sanding. I was doubting my choice of plastic sheet for the main components, just a little, as it is more difficult to work with than I previously thought. Once I get the technique down it should not be a problem though. I also trimmed off the rostrum from the bow; I will add this to the model later on.

I am not certain when I will be able to return to working on this ship as we are preparing to move and the workbench will be packed up soon.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


It has finally arrived!

The third book of the trilogy, fresh out of the box!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

25mm minis, part 2

I ordered a pair of test packs of 25mm Old Glory 'Age of Reason' minis from Grandiosity recently, and here are some examples:

MW-2 Marching, collarless coat

MW-3 Advancing, collarless coat

The Marlburian Wars packs are packaged a bit differently - 10 minis per pack for $14.50, not 30 per pack for $32. Grandiosity has them for a bit less, and purchase of the Old Glory Army card brings a big savings. Each pic shows the variations that were included in my packs.

However, I am the type of hobbyist that needs to be inspired by both the subject and the minis. Although these are good figures, and would look magnificent en masse, I will be starting out with skirmish size encounters and working up from there. These minis are just not inspiring me to paint them. Also, there is not much variety in the packs, and I think that I would like a bit more. This implies no fault to OG; it is just my view. Plus, I will note that the pics are not the best. I might take a look at their artillery when the time comes.

There won't be any more purchases for the rest of the year - I have spent far more this year on all of my gaming projects that the past two combined - so my planned purchase of the next set of samples, probably Front Rank, will need to wait until January or February 2011. So, until then I plan on working on the ship minis and searching through (and hopefully posting links and pics) other manufacturer's minis that will work with the Half Continent setting.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ships, part 1

Finally made it down to the hobby shop today and grabbed some materials for making some ships:

The thicker material - 0.060" and 0.080" - will be used as the base for the decks. The v-groove material will be the planking of the decks, and the assorted pieces are there Just-In-Case. I have plastic rod for the masts from other projects.

For the first build, I am going to try 1/1200 scale - an iron dought such as Coryphaeus would be approximately 8 cm in length, which is large enough for details and small enough to get several ships on the table for a game...

Friday, October 29, 2010


There have been some exciting developments in the world of Half Continent gaming...

1. DM Cornish posted an excellent drawing of a H-C ship, and color plates on uniforms at this page on his blog. I was fortunate enough to get a sneak peak at these some time ago, and I am glad that they can be shared with everybody!

2. Tradgardmastare has started his own H-C gaming blog here. I look forward to sincerely imitating his progress!

3. The third book of the series, Factotum, has been released in Australia/New Zealand. It is set for US release on Nov 11 - I have already ordered it.

4. My second test order of 25mm minis - Old Glory - has shipped and will be here next week.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

25mm minis, part 1

The first order of 25mm minis, from Imperialist Enterprises, arrived a while ago but I am only now getting to take a close look at them. I ordered a wide variety of minis as a sampler in this small order, as I have never seen them up close before.

Left: MO-1 English officer, button hole lace Right: MO-3 English musketeer, on guard

The spontoon on the officer is a separate piece. I like the drawn sword, although it is a bit thin for a sword, more like a rapier.

Left: MO-5a English musketeer advancing, plain coat Right: M-12b English grenadier, marching

Left: M-18 Austrian musketeer, advancing Right: PO-1 Palatinate Musketeer, marching

Left: FO-1 French musketeer, advancing Right: FO-4 French flag officer

The French musketeer was a freebie thrown in by Mr Hagerty - thanks!

F-15a French dismounted dragoon

H2 - Heavy horse, running

Imperialist offers five different horses: 3 heavy and 2 medium. When one orders mounted figures, the choice of mount is yours.

M23b Austrian cuirassier, drawn pistol, tricorn

The saddle is cast with the rider as one piece.

So far I like the selections from Imperialist. All of the minis in this order measure 25mm from sole of foot to the forehead. There are some differences in sculpting, with some being smoother and some being more detailed. My favorite is the Palatinate musketeer, although all of them will be used in one fashion or another.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A ship sketch

Here is a pic of a page of my gaming notebook, with the first doodles of a plan for a Half Continent naval vessel:

It is a 24 guns-broad frigate, and the sketch is the approximate size of the model in 1/600, although it is probably distorted a bit by the pic. The measurements at the top of the page do indicate the actual length and beam of the model.

The drawing is rough. It lacks a lot of deck detail, and the ship's boats are definitely way off in scale, but this is close to what I think the frigate might look like in model form. This page on DM Cornish's art site has some much better (by the originator of course!) of the ships I hope to imitate.

I will need to make a trip to the local hobby shop for some balsa and sheet plastic so I can start to put one together!

Monday, September 27, 2010

The plan, altered

I am finding lately that no gaming plan goes unaltered after I start it... and this one is no exception.

I have found that I really do not like to paint 15mm minis. I had not painted any for many (10+) years but I thought to give it a go but it is a struggle. My wife pointed out to me that I was 'avoiding' the 15mm's, and mentioned that I had tried to paint 6mm and 10mm minis in the past - at least I tried, but 25mm seems to be the winner. And it has the approval of the missus which actually is a big benefit! There are some pros and cons in the switch however:


1. No duplication of effort in the minis for the skirmish and mass battle ranges - I intend to use these minis for both.

2. No duplication of effort for terrain of different scales.

3. Hopefully 1 and 2 will mean a bit less in monetary outlay!


1. Mini selection will be more important - the 15mm minis were more forgiving in their appearance for specific HC details.

2. Bigger surface needed for mass battles.

So, more info later as I continue to peruse mini selections...

On a brighter note, I have doodled up some preliminary drawings of a HC naval vessel...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Slow progress

Small steps toward getting the first battalion done!

1. The minis are about half-way done with painting. I am finding that, for the mainly darkly-colored units, white primer is not such a good choice. The second battalion will be using black gesso for primer.

2. Bases - I forgot about the bases when I placed the order for the minis. So, I sent off an order with Litko - hopefully they will arrive later this month.

3. Rules - The delay in ordering bases corresponds with my indecision on a rules choice. In the end, I am going to try a modified Impetus set. Miniatures Wargames #322 has an interesting article on a conversion of Impetus to the AWI, which I am using as a starting point.

I'll post pics when I get something done!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

First unit, part 2

Here is a pic of the basic color scheme I intend to use for the Boschenberg units:

The belts, sash, vest, baldric, and musket are not done yet, but this is the general theme. I have discovered one useful piece of info - sometimes it is better to prime in black (these were primed with a light grey primer - Reaper Master Series Brush-on Primer) !

I also need to order bases...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

First unit started

I have decided that the first battalion to be painted up will be from Boschenberg, capital city of the realm Hergoatenbosch. Not surprisingly, this is the home of the main character in the Monster Blood Tattoo series, Rossamünd. Rossamünd is not in the employ of Boschenberg, so he will not be appearing in this unit. Will he be on the battlefield someday - hmmm, probably, when I can find an appropriate mini in 15mm!

The mottle of Boschenberg is brown and black - (mostly) brown platoon coat with black sash, cuffs, and vest.

I will have pics once I have at least three colors on the minis!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

15mm minis, part 2

After quite a delay, I have taken another small step towards getting my first unit done.

One of the important parts of a soldier's harness (uniform) in the Half Continent is the baldric, as this is an important means of identification for the soldier. The baldric is tinted in the colors of his realm's mottle - a specific combination of colors and patterns unique to each realm. The baldric on most Half Continent troops runs from the right shoulder down to the left side of the waist. In my limited searches, I did not find any 15mm (or even 28mm) minis with such a baldric. So, I need to make my own.

Here the troops, the first battalion on the left and parts of the second battalion on the right, with their new baldrics. I made them with blue/green two-part epoxy - the same material that is used to sculpt most minis. I had never used the material before but it is not hard to use at all. It is a bit sticky but I found that if I left it cure somewhat it is much easier to use. Using just a pea-sized bit of epoxy, I rolled it out between a small piece of waxed paper to flatten it, then waited a few minutes for it to start to cure. Then, I sliced strips off the 'pancake' of green stuff and stuck it to the mini. Easy!

If you look closely, you will see that over time the baldric is more defined. The minis on the left of the pic were first, and are not as good as the later troops.

The drummer did not need a new baldric, as the strap for his drum is just perfect. Now, I need to let the epoxy cure for a day or so, then the real fun begins - painting! But, I will need to decide what realm will have the honor of the first unit...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Thoughts on rules, part 4

The following is what I had previously posted about rules...

I think that I have finally made a decision on the rules to use for mass battles. After some thought and a few practice games - using just some old metal bases as units - I have decided to use Fantasy Rules! by Chipco. I think the benefits of the quick play and unique army control system, the Morale Clock, outweigh the non-linear basing. I will do some tinkering to FR!, as I think the missile ranges are too long and some of the bases, for ambuscadiers (skirmishers) especially, will be rectangles instead of squares just for appearance's sake.

I will post my rules mods here as I go.

I still have not really made a decision as I am now plowing through a series of AWI (American War of Independence) sets to see if they are compatible. The lack of cavalry in both the AWI (and even War of 1812) and the Half-Continent is a surprising commonality, as is the variety of units possible. So, I continue searching - it will end soon as I am almost ready to base up troops!

Many thanks for The Baron for his suggestions!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

15mm minis!

The first package of 15mm miniatures has arrived for the H-C project!

This first order, from Minifigs, was really just a sampler to figure out which minis would work for the plan. I ordered one pack of 24 minis each of French, Dutch, and Russian troops.

Here are the pics:

The Dutch unit is in groups on the right, with the Russians en masse on the left. I was very surprised to find that the miniatures for the Dutch and Russian units are exactly the same - I do hope that it is intentional and the uniforms of the time for each nation were similar. But, since they are the same I now have two usable units for the collection. The French are a bit different which I will explain a bit later.

And, the first unit glued up to some nails and ready for painting - almost:

18 musketeers, 2 drummers, 2 standard bearers, and two officers.

A close-up. I did not realize until I was nearly finished with cleaning and gluing that the troops will need a slight modification. If you look closely, there is a strap for the ammunition pouch running across the mini from the left shoulder. But, there is no baldric running across from the right shoulder. So, I am going to try and add a baldric to each mini using Green Stuff epoxy... should be exciting!

Here is a close-up of the two officers. Originally, each mini was the same as the one on the right. But, I took a little time to change that. I clipped off the tip of the spontoon and flattened the shaft. With some carving and filing I think I have a reasonable sword for the commander.

This is a pic of some of the French troops. There minis are different from the other two, with the troops carrying their musket on the right, instead of the left. Not a huge difference but I really want to have the units appear similar, at least for now. Meanwhile, the French unit will be pressed into service as the test models for my attempts with green stuff, to make the baldrics.

Now, this is some actual progress! I still need several different pieces of the puzzle - Green stuff and some more paints (on order); bases; and of course many more minis!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Thoughts on rules, part 3

Settling in on a set of rules for this project seems to be a real problem for me. Just when I thought I had it sorted out with Fantasy Rules!, little pieces of the puzzle appear to not fit as well as I had hoped. As I continue to search, I am realizing that there is an important underlying factor. Units in the Half-Continent seem to be based primarily on our own 18th century history, which was a time of linear formations in combat. Thus, the main appearance of units in my version of H-C battles should be linear. Now, scale limitations preclude an accurate depiction of units - they are much much more wide than deep - one should have a semblance of a linear formation.

Fantasy Rules! is primarily a 'fantasy' game, partially based on early medieval formations in my estimation, where units were deeper than the lines of the 18th century. Bases for the units in Fantasy Rules! are squares, 1 base for each unit. Here are some close approximations:

These are some Ottoman Turk Janissaries - my first completed 15mm unit (more pics here) - waiting patiently on my desk. The width shown, 60mm, is what I had been planning to use for my FR! units, although I would have only used 3 ranks instead of the 4 shown. The unit is not very linear in appearance.

Now, compare the above to this:

Twice as wide and half as deep - much more linear in appearance. I think that this would be more appealing on the tabletop than the squares of FR!. Please do not get me wrong - FR! is a fine set of rules, very flexible in their composition and easy to use, but a bit too deep for this project. I do intend to imitate many ideas from them to supply the next rules set with special rules, especially for the characters that might appear in a Half-Continent battle

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Finally some activity...

Today, I have ordered the first of the minis I hope to use for the mass-battle games for the Half-Continent.

Not knowing exactly which ones to use, I ordered three different 15mm sets from Minifigs - Dutch, French, and Russian musketeers with tricorne, in the classic March/Attack pose. A pic of the Russian minis is here. I am hoping to be able to use all of these, perhaps as differing factions in my battles.

Also, I have back-tracked in my choice of rules. Previously, I had wrote of a desire to use a historical set for the mass battles, but I have switched back to using a fantasy set, namely Fantasy Rules! by ChipCo. It is a simple yet flexible system that does need much for rosters or markers. If this fails I could always use a variant of Command & Colors, provided that I get a suitable hex grid...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Some naval calculations

As I worked on a naval gaming project at one of my other blogs, I found myself a bit distracted with thinking about the ships of the Half-Continent. As none of these ships are available commercially, I will need to scratch-build the entirely. First, I needed some rough dimensions.

At one of DM Cornish's web sites - daviddraws - there are a series of drawings, some of which involve the Half-Continent. Specifically, this page has line drawings of some of the various naval units. This is the start of the scratch-build project (although I am using the version of this same drawing found in my US copy of Foundling - it is just slightly different.)

There is a scale on the bottom of the pic, and I am using this as a base for all other miniature dimensions. By my rough calculations, a main sovereign ram could be 850' in length. That is a rather long ship. For comparison, HMS Victory, Nelson's flagship at Trafalgar, is only 227' long and USS Iowa (battleship 61) is 887' in length!

This, of course, needs to be scaled down for the table-top. A typical miniature scale for the table-top, commonly used for sailing ships and ancient galleys, is 1/1200. 1" (on the table-top) = 1200" (actual) or 100'. Our main sovereign, in 1/1200 scale, would be 8.5" long. Now, if one has a large table this would be fine - the mini would be beautiful with lots of detail. Unfortunately, I do not have that sort of luxury so a different scale is needed. Another common naval scale, used for many types of steam-powered ships, is 1/2400. Using this scale, our main sovereign would be 4.25" in length. This is a size that I can accept comfortably - still large enough for detail but not cumbersome in gaming.

Here is a rough listing of the different ships types, and their approximate lengths in 1/2400:

Main Sovereign - 4.25"
Main Ram - 3.25"
Iron Dought - 2.75"
Drag Mauler - 2.5"
Frigate - 1.75"
Gun Drudge - 1.25"

(For those who are wondering how long Hogshead, Poundinch's ship from Foundling, would be in 1/2400 - a paltry ½" long!)

These numbers give a rough start on the ships - beam measurements are next!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Troop choices

For the mass battles of the Half Continent, I am going to use 15mm miniatures. A decision on specific minis to use is still in the future, but I have thought a bit on the general classes that I would like to see on the table, and the general minis that should be suitable.

Line units - These are your regulars, trained for their part in the line of battle. In MBT, there are several names for these troops: fusileers, musketeers, haubardiers. But the differences between these are not visible at 15mm sizes, so the minis are virtually interchangeable. My choice for these units will be early 18th century musketeers, from the Great Northern War (GNW) or the War of Spanish Succession (WSS) (or both!). These minis typically wear a long platoon coat, with no turnbacks, largish cuffs, and a tricorn.

Assault units - There are units of heavily armored foot troops known as troubardiers. They do not carry muskets; instead they are equipped with metal armor, bascinets, and heavy two-handed weapons like halberds. I am not certain, but some type of War of the Roses halberdiers would work.

Light units - Skirmishers, in loose formations. In MBT, these are called ambuscadiers. If they are available, I would like to use riflemen from either a French & Indian War (FIW) or a American War of Independence (AWI) range.

Artillery - WSS or GNW artillery and crews should be usable. Limbers would be drawn by oxen, or maybe even mules for very light pieces. Horses are not a common sight beyond the confines of a major city as the monsters find them to be very tasty. From what little description there is of a major battle in the MBT series, I think that there are no battalion guns; artillery are organized into batteries more akin to Napoleonics.

Cavalry - Despite the fact that horses are a favorite snack of the nickers, there are a few mounted units in the Half Continent, called equiteers. Once again, WSS units should fit the bill.

Mercenaries - Mercenary units are fairly common in the Half Continent due to the Imperial limitations on the sizes of armies. The best of these sellswords are called lesquins. Known for their flamboyant hats and clothing, the best minis to represent them would be Landsknechts, preferably late 16th-century. There are also lesser quality merc units called foedermen. As they are not so well dressed, I think that late 15th or early 16th century Italian or even Swiss minis would fit. Although there is no direct mention of them, I would expect that there are a few, very few, mounted lesquin units. For these, I would use English Civil War or Thirty Years War cuirassiers.

Well, that is quite a selection, but where to begin? I would think that some line troops and artillery would be the best. Now, to find suitable mini manufacturers...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

First pics - Revermen?

The first tangible piece of the skirmish collection has arrived. Some time ago, the fine folks at Mantic Games - a new miniatures producer - gave word of a free give-away of some of their then brand-new plastic Ghouls. Now, I am not the type of hobbyist to turn down 'free minis' so I jumped through the hoops required to get in the queue, and waited patiently...

And here they are:

Still on the sprue! These are some very nice plastic figures. They are of the 28mm size, but it is hard to determine exactly how tall the minis will be in their unassembled state; hopefully when they are assembled I will remember to take a pic of them with a measuring device in the background.

These will make fine revermen for skirmish gaming! (Revermen, or gudgeons, are creatures that are an assemblage of 'parts' taken from other creatures and re-animated by the black arts.) They do have more clothing than the typical reverman might have but that is not a problem. The extra parts on the sprue - the cleaver, knife, and other accessories are not suitable, but will be saved for other minis.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Thoughts on rules, part 2 - Imagi-nations?

After quite a bit of deliberating, I have come to the conclusion that the mass battle system will not be based on a fantasy ruleset. In fact, the concept of having mass fantasy battles is being eclipsed by a desire for 'Imagi-nations' style table-top conflicts. It will not be hard to organize these alt-history battles, as the nations of the Half-Continent are organized and equipped very much like their historical, 18th century counterparts. I would just need a simple way to throw in the oddities like scourges, lahzars, and even the odd nicker or gudgeon.

A set of historical rules is needed. I intend to start by looking at the Free Wargames web site...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Some additions...

I have added a few blog links over on the sidebar... Most of these are for blogs that deal with 18th century gaming activities. I am using them to gain ideas for how my MBT troops and armies should look, as they are very similar to the armies of the Wars of Spanish Succession, Seven Years War and other conflicts of that century.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Thoughts on rules, part 1

Part of the run-up to getting anything done with this project is finding appropriate rules for each gaming subset. There are a multitude of wargaming rules out there to pick from. Pick from, meaning that I am going to find a ruleset and most likely modify it to suit the specific needs of gaming in the Half Continent; I do not intend to write my own.

I think that the mass battles ruleset will be the easiest to start, as the system will be used for Imagi-nation battles at first. Caution must be used, however, as the system must be malleable enough to accept the alchemical and the fantastical additions that will be needed. I do find myself asking if I should use a fantasy system, such as Fantasy Rules! and modify it towards a more historical feel, or find a historical system and plug in some mods for scourges, lahzars, monsters, etc. The fantasy system will have the fantastical feel built right in, but the historical rules will have the proper framework for what I see to be the underlying structure of the battles I want to create... decisions, decisions. In either case, I am looking at having the battalion, roughly 300 to 500 troops strong, become the smallest independent unit on the mass-battle tabletop.

As for skirmish rules, I think that something in the Song of Blades & Heroes family will work - simple, fast, and detailed enough for bring the flavor of the myriad of different types of people and monsters out. The finding of suitable minis will be the key point for skirmish battles however.

Naval battles might be based on a suitably simple system for galley battles, or even (more likely) American Civil War ironclads, although the ships involved would dwarf anything found in history prior to 1875! More on that aspect later...

Sunday, April 4, 2010

So it begins...

I am starting off this blog because I am becoming just a bit interested in the setting of the Monster Blood Tattoo series as authored by DM Cornish. The setting is a wonderful blend of the fantastic, with monsters and alchemy and heroes and villains, with a good-sized helping of late 17th century/early 18th century 'historical' avenues.

Recently, I read the first book of the series, Foundling, and I am about to start the second, Lamplighter. Not only are these books fun to read, the author has provided a gold-mine of extra info on the setting in the Explicarium at the end of each book. The background info in the Explicarium is going to be very useful as I attempt to bring the Half-Continent to the tabletop.

Of course, no manufacturer of miniatures out there makes specific minis for this setting (yet???) but I believe that it will not be too hard to find proxies that, with some small bit of modification and tinkering, will look the part.

This project will have three parts:

1. A skirmish game, using 28mm or so minis.

2. A mass-battle game, using 15mm or maybe 10mm minis.

3. A naval combat game.

Of the three, #2 might be the easiest as the details that make troops of the Half-Continent different from their historical counterparts will be minimal and could perhaps be represented by a cunning stroke of the paintbrush. The skirmish game might be the most fun, but will require some work to alter existing minis to look the part. And the naval game will require building the ships from scratch as they are very different from the sailing ships of the 18th century.

All of this will be detailed here on this humble blog!