14 March 2017


Thank you for all of the comments on my previous post.  They are a great comfort to us.

Hopefully, I can get to some sort of hobby output in the near future!


07 March 2017

Slings and arrows

Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?

Ah, one of the great passages from The Great Bard, and my lovely wife's favorite.  For the longest time, we had lived in a way that dodged all, or at least most, of those missiles of ill will.  But, sometimes one can not always dodge misfortune...

Just over a week ago, my lovely wife breathed her last.

In October of last year, she was stricken by waves of small but terrifyingly debilitating strokes.  These infarcts left her unable to stand or to walk or to talk.  Communication was only possible by blinking answers to questions that could be answered in 'yes' or 'no'.  She was still able to hear and to see.

And in the months that followed, she put up a valiant defense.  Progress, however slight, was seen as therapists worked with her and she started to regain some small control over her jaw, tongue, neck, and lips.  In a memorable moment, she ever so gently laughed at me.  

But, her opponent was relentless.  More strokes followed, along with a severe pressure ulcer in her sacral area.  And, just before New Years, she was sent back to hospital with pneumonia, a two week stay which left her in a weakened state.

Even allies turned their backs.  In December, I received letters that no American wants nor deserves - our insurance had started to deny claims.  Fortunately, Medicaid stepped in at last.

February commenced with her opponent's final assault.  Outpatient treatment of the pressure sore failed, and surgical debridement of the area showed an insidious infection - MRSA.  A second procedure and large doses of antibiotics kept the infection in check, but her previously weakened condition left her with no reserves with which to recover.  Her daughter and I gently but repeatedly asked her if she wanted to come home, and what exactly that would entail, and she answered yes to all variants of the proposal.  But, she never made it to home hospice care.

She was a woman of tremendous talent and secret fears.  She was a wife, mother, sister, USAF veteran, artist, activist, and gamer.

She was my best friend, and I miss her terribly.


01 October 2016

Painting table, October 2016

One quick pic is all there is time for today:

Spanish Civil War infantry on the left, with assorted fantasy figures next to them.  Huaxtec figures throughout the middle and front of the table, and my little FT-17 is still waiting for some proper paint for its tracks...

The Huaxtec have seen some work - the shiny ones have had some flesh washes and just need a bit of dry-brushing and detail work.  And shields!


21 September 2016

SCW Republicans, part 6

With a little bit of work, the crew of the MMG was changed around a bit.

First off, this pic shows the pieces of the 1/72 WW2 Russian gun crews from Plastic Soldier:

There are 8 figures per frame (two figures per frame are split into two pieces each), and a variety of heads and weapons are included.  One or both arms on a select few figures are also separate pieces.  The gun crew pack from Plastic Soldier has 4 of these frames in it, which gives a lot of pieces for potential conversions!

(I want to thank Arjun again for his generosity in sending me these figures  - see this post.)

Here is what I started with for the MMG stand:

The original crew from Minairons is pewter, with the plastic gunner replacement in plastic.  I chose to use a Czech-style helmet for the new gunner.  The base is a 1¼" diameter steel fender washer, with a sticky dot to cover up the hole.

At this point, I decided that the original leader would be better off with my Nationalist forces, so a replacement is needed.  The old gunner would be perfect with a slight change - replace the right hand with a plastic one that is pointing out a target in the distance:

And, a couple of cuts later:

Add a bit of glue (super glue for the plastic-to-metal connection):


The new gunner needed a bit of attention as well:

In the pic above, one can just see the entrenching tool attached to his belt.  I trimmed off the handle, and will paint the rest to look like a normal belt pouch.

I used a small drill bit to make a hole for the new head - plastic is so easy to drill!

And, some test-fitting of the crew:

It will be a tight squeeze to get all of the crew on the base - the loader is positioned at an angle to the weapon, which takes up more room.  I am fairly certain that the new gunner is not firing the MMG in the textbook manner, but it should be OK.  One note - the Plastic Soldier figures seem to be a bit more broad in the shoulders than the figures from Minairons, but it should blend in seamlessly once the crew is painted and based.

The dark spot in the above pic is also part of the base - While trying to get the original gunner to fit more closely to the weapon, I trimmed the base to a point where the figure will not stand upright on its own.  Hence, a nice rock for the new leader to rest his knee upon...


17 September 2016

SCW Republicans, part 5

As the first section of Republican infantry nears completion, I am looking at starting up some of their supports:

There are several support groups in the pic above, so lets break it down somewhat:

#1  -  These two troopers are going to be converted into Medical Orderlies.  The rifle is a separate piece, and it will be replaced with a satchel of some sort.

#2  -  Headquarters types.  One of the pistol-armed chaps will become the platoon leader, and the other will be a Commissar.  The flag bearer will be put aside for now, as specific Flag supports (in Chain of Command España) only show up in Militia platoons.

#3  -  Maxim medium MG.  This support is getting a make-over, as the original gunner does not fit in well with the weapon in my opinion, and the leader of the group looks more like a Nationalist!  The new gunner is a plastic WW2 Russian AT crewmember from Plastic Soldier, and the original gunner will become the leader.  3 crew is the minimum for a MMG for the Republicans, so I will need to recruit some others to fill it out.  More on this in another post.

#4  -  5cm mortar with 2 crew.  Also needs 3 more crew to complete the support.  I intend to keep some of the extra crew members, for the MMG and mortar, for example, mounted separately so I can mix and match them somewhat.

#5  -  Two light MG supports.  These will be mounted separately to keep the figures flexible.

#6 and #7  -  Minairons offers separate head kits, and I have received two of them.  #6 uses the Czech helmet, while #7 has the Adrian helmet.  It will take some careful cutting to use these on the Minairons figures, but if you look carefully at the Plastic Soldier figure - he was molded with the head separate (and the right arm), which will make customization very easy.