Friday, December 31, 2021

2021 Review and 2022 Preview

With the start of 2022, I'll take an obligatory look back at 2021 and look forward to 2022. 


From the hobby standpoint, 2021 was a much better year than 2020. I finished more projects and had more chance to game. 


Starting out with the gaming side, in February, we wrapped up a Play by Email Spanish-American War naval campaign I ran using David Manley's Splendid Little War game and the Fire When Ready naval rules. I didn't do a write-up for this, but you can see Kevin's blog for the whole story.


In early June, we had our first lawn game. It was an Ironclads game and was a good kick-off to lawn-gaming season.

Collisions and calamity - Ironclad style

This  year's lawn games included: What a Tanker - Western Desert, Narrow Seas (World War II coastal forces), and pre-dreadnought action.

What a Tanker game
Narrow Seas
Fire When Ready


I also played in a few games over at Kevin's garage, but I don't have many photos of those. I also played my summer solo campaign and a few other miscellaneous games here and there. Overall, it was a good year for gaming.


On the painting side, I started the year by finishing up my 1/6000 scale Italian fleet.

Littorio class battleships
The whole Italian fleet

I joined in a semi-group project to do some Vietnam War figures. Others in the group got their figures from Gringo 40's, while I thought I would go with the figures from Crucible Crush's Black Sun line. Unfortunately for me, the Gringo 40 figures are just a little too big for my troops to fit in with. See the image below, the M-60 gunner in the center is from Gringo 40's, while the (substantially) smaller figures on either side are my Crucible Crush figures.

You can see the Gringo 40's figure is much bigger

The project left me with some good skirmish figures I can use, but not anything for the group gaming. 


I did a lot of work on 1/300 scale coastal forces. Almost all are from Warlord Games Cruel Seas line. Overall, I like the miniatures and the addition of crew figures really helps bring the little ships to life. I'm not always happy with choice of ships the company decides to make, but I'm hopeful they will add some more useful ships in the future. 

I also joined in on the full group project on the Mexican-American War. I picked up an Old Glory Army membership and ordered my troops. Once again, I was the oddball of the group since everyone else purchased figures from 1st Corps miniatures. Luckily, Old Glory and 1st Corps infantry (but not the mounted troops) are pretty close in size. So, everything should look fine on the table. I expect we'll get the first games in early in 2022.

That pretty much wraps up 2021. So, how did what I accomplished compare to my plans? Here is the list of things I wrote I wanted to do at the start of the year:


- Finish the 1/6000 scale Italian World War 2 fleet pack from Figurehead. DONE


- Work on Warlord Games Black Seas sailing ships. NOT DONE


- Work on Work on Warlord Games 1/300 coastal forces. MOSTLY DONE


- Put together some 15mm tanks for North Africa and play some What a Tanker games. DONE


- Work on the many unpainted aircraft I have. NOT DONE


Overall, a good year for plans vs. completed projects. 


Looking to 2022

So, what's on the list for 2022? In January I'll be running a couple of postponed DANG games. It has been a while since I've had more than a couple people over for an inside game, so this will be a step back to normalcy.


As far as projects go, right now I've got one new project that I committed to do. Painting up half the Italian ships from the Battle of Lissa for an Enfilade 2022 project. I was pulled into this project and ended up (semi) volunteering to do half the Italian ironclads. The ships are 1/600 scale from the old Bay Area Yards line. 


After and I will work on the following other projects, in no particular order.


- Mexican - American War stuff. I want to finish up all my Americans and still have some Dragoons left. I recently ordered a bunch of Mexicans to work on down the road.


- Airplanes! I really enjoy air games and I have a lot of unpainted planes. I also have a lot of painted stuff and should work on some scenario ideas to get som eplanes on the table.


- Black Seas sailing ships. I have several frigates and brigs that are mostly painted, but still need the final mast assembly and rigging. I also have some unassembled 74s.


- Finish up 1/300 coastal forces. I still have some Russians and Germans to finish up. These should be smallish projects, something to pick up between other projects or when I want to do a ship or two.


As always, I will remain flexible with my plans and expect there will be some new, bright/shiny game or object that will catch my attention. I always have lots of ideas floating around in my head.


I'm hoping to have a few more small indoor games over the next few months. Once the weather turns nice I expect we'll start some lawn gaming. So discussions about what games to play will probably help determine what projects I work on.


It looks like Enfilade 2022 will be back on Memorial Day weekend (at the end of May) and I'm hoping to be able to attend this year.


Personal Note

Thanks to all of you for reading my blog. I appreciate all the support I get from the gaming community. 

2021 was a tough year for me. In January I was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer (my cancer had spread from my prostate to my lungs and bones). I went through intravenous chemo treatment during the summer. The support from my gaming friends, the gaming community and being able to focus on painting projects really helped get me through the treatment. I'm not cancer-free yet (I'm still undergoing chemo treatment, this time in pill form), but I'm doing much better. Now that my immune system has recovered and I'm vaccinated/boosted, I'm looking forward to getting back out for some public gaming in 2022.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

December Wrapup

I had been planning to save my final 2021 post for the planned DANG games, but the winter weather intervened and I had to postpone the games. 

My front yard after the snow

We had a snow storm on Sunday, with more scattered snow showers over the past few days. But what really killed my planned games was the temperatures. Since Sunday our high temperature was 28 degrees F (that's around -3 C for those outside the US). The low temperature prevented the snow from melting and made the roads a mess, so I decided to postpone the games. I'm looking to reschedule for sometime in January, when the temperatures get back to Seattle normal. So, more on the games in January.

With no game photos to share, I thought I'd show off a couple books I recently received. First up is British Submarines in the Cold War Era by Norman Friedman.

This book came out earlier this year and and covers Royal Navy submarine programs from just after World War II up to today. The book also talks about sensors, weapons, and budgetary concerns. I was never able to see much of the interior of Royal Navy subs while I was in the U.S. Navy (I had a tour set up once, but shifting schedules caused it to be cancelled). So far, I've found the book pretty interesting. It even came in handy during the week as my wife and I watched the BBC series Vigil (we both enjoy a good mystery/thriller and the submarine background is a bonus). My wife thought the submarine looked strange and I was able to pull out the book and show some photos of the Vanguard class. The series was good, but had some weak moments. But it is good to know the BBC has the same issues with the interior of submarines as Hollywood (although maybe the BCC thought the sub was like the Tardis).

Next I picked up a copy of The U.S. Cavalry 1865-1890 by José Antonio Mayoralas.

The book is similar to an Osprey Publishing book and was recommended for its descriptions of uniforms and equipment. The books certainly meets those goals. The publisher, Andrea Press is from Spain and there are a few translation issues, but nothing major. The local group has been discussing a Plains War project and this book will come in handy for that.

That's all for now. In my next post I will do my look back at 2021 and look ahead to 2022.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Early December Update

As we roll into early December, I wanted to post a quick update and talk about the return of DANG.

First up, my recent project. After one of our late summer games David Sullivan (of the I Live with Cats blog) brought up the idea of a group project for the Texas Revolution of 1835-36 or the Mexican - American War of 1846-47. He was really wanting to do the Texas Revolution, but the group headed off in the direction of the Mexican - American War and I jumped in too. I expected this to be a slow progress, Winter project. But in a flurry of action, everyone else started making orders to 1st Corps for figures. I had decided to go in a slightly different direction by getting figures from Old Glory (although I did order some American Volunteers from 1st Corps, because Old Glory doesn’t really make them). I decided to get figures for both the Americans and Mexicans, so that I could play games in the future without having to worry about an opponent showing up with an army. We are going to use the Rebels & Patriots rules for the games, so the number of figures needed to field an army isn’t too huge.

A U.S. Sgt leads some troops

Compared to the others in the group, I am a slow painter (you can see many painted figures for the project on David’s blog and Kevin’s American and Mexican blog posts). Being more used to painting ships and planes, I often find people figures more challenging to paint. After man discussions about uniform colors, the purchase of a book with lots of pretty pictures, and such I finally got to work on my Americans (the Mexicans will come later). Here are a few photos of my first couple of infantry units. I’ll be posting more photos as I finish more troops.

A group photo

And from a more overhead angle

Overall, the Old Glory figures work well for the period. The 1st Corps figures are nicer and have more variety of poses. The Old Glory figures are either marching or advancing but have there are different heads, so they don’t all look the same. I do like the sergeants that are included in the Command pack. I think they have good poses and add some character to the units.

Marching poses

Sergeant figures
Flag/Command figures

The figures are turning out okay. I expect the later ones will turn out better as I get the painting down a little more.

The Return of DANG!

For those of you that aren’t familiar with DANG (Dave’s Annual Naval Game), the paragraph at the end of this post has links to older games.

With all the restrictions and uncertainty of COVID I had cancelled last year’s DANG. But with things looked somewhat better this year, I decided to bring it back. However, instead of the large, full-day mini-campaign, this year I will have two smaller (single scenario) games. That allows me to keep the gathering smaller (per recommendations from local Health Departments) and the games a little more manageable.

I did give the players a choice of scenarios (as I normally do with the mini-campaign) and the winning ones are a World War 2 coastal force action in the Black Sea and a hypothetical pre-dreadnought Franco – American battle off Haiti. The games are planned for the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. I’ll post some updates and the game recaps later.

DANG started in 2002. Since I’m doing two games this year, I’m going to say I am getting to DANG XIX (nineteen) and DANG XX (twenty). Here are links to recaps of DANG from before 2010, the 2010 Lepanto game, the 2011 American Civil War river game, the 2012 War of 1812 Lake Ontario game, the 2013 Operation Landcrab game, the 2014 Cogs of War game, 2015 The Shores of Tripoli game, 2016 The Big Stick game, 2017 Seastrike game, 2018 Siege of Charleston game, and 2019 WWI The King's Ships were at Sea game. It is a little surprising that I’ve been able to keep things going for 20 years.