Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Coat of Arms

Drums of War - escudo de armas 

So I have settled on this as the official Drums of War coat of arms. Pretty nifty I think. I didn't pay for for it or have it commissioned but I have claimed it as botín de guerra. Is that a skunk you ask? Well no, that is just the fiercest animal on the planet Earth, the absolutely stunning and amazing Honey Badger. These little creatures are some badd-ass dudes. One documentary actually shows a  honey badger being bitten by a Cobra. He passes out and several hours later wakes up and walks off. For fun they capture, kill and eat venomous snakes. So yes, this creature will get top billing on flags my armies carry into battle or fly above their forts. Might not be historically accurate, but I think it's ok to put a little bit of ourselves or something special into our games.

Here's a funny video explaining the majestic creature. Enjoy.

Until next time, carry on men.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Parallel parking trains and other madness

I admit that acquiring the accouterments of this hobby can be a challenge at times, a bit like trying to parallel park a train. But isn’t the journey sometimes more fun than the destination? It is for me anyway.

It was a joyous occasion in The Laundry Room Barracks over the last few weeks with a few acquisitions for my men and I.

I was able to convince General ze Wife that much needed reserve troops had to be trained for the French and Indian War campaigns I was planning. The General, at first, questioned why these troops couldn’t be acquired off a shelf from the Dollar Store. I had to state my case clearly and justify to the General that these were much more highly skilled and prized fighting men than that bag of roughians from China.

I had worn the General down. Besides, the Commander of all Things pertaining to me needed to finish preparing report cards and also had exams to grade. The General had little time for my foolishness and authorized my latest mobilization request. Hooah!  After trading a serious supply of Wampum and more than a few King's schillings, 18 finely chiseled Conquest Woodland Indian recruits were called up for duty from their base at Warlord Games in Great Britain.

The boys have arrived in fine shape via Postal truck. Foolhardy and excited I rushed in to show off my new men to the General. Although the recruits had been approved, The Supreme Commander of All My Troops did not share my enthusiasm and questioned this expenditure to the military spending budget once again. I could see the embers starting to ignite so I planned a safe retreat before the ginger-hair started to smolder, but the General quickly dismissed me to The Laundry Room Barracks. Lady luck was indeed on my side once again. I’m sure more pressing matters were on the General’s mind. Important things such as what would be served for dinner to the Teenage Spies that evening in the mess hall. The General had not time for my glee. Something as trivial as the arrival of reservists, Indians at that, was of little concern as the day faded to evening. Morale check avoided.

Once the warriors had been introduced to their new home, they were quickly allowed a warm bath and prepared for a primer coat by removing some of that metal grub that is all to common on little troops the world over. One might assume this was just the European way, oh relax, I’m kidding, a bit of grime comes with troops in the Americas as well. However, I do wonder if this grime removal would be double for troops originating in the Orient? These fine warriors are now cleaned up, waiting for me to issue uniforms and assign them to their units. Some shall become French allied Abenaki, the others British allied Monhegan. I admit I am a bit concerned at making their kit the best it can be. They are amazingly sculpted fighting men and deserve the concern of each brush stroke.

The next acquisitions are a couple of new terrain items, which include a nice piece of felt cloth and a yard of faux Grizzly Bear fur. The felt will be used as a board mat and is just a bit more than 6'x8'. It is of some fine medium-heavy weight felt material in a dark sandy brownish color. With a few cans of spray paint, in a variety of green shades, I was quickly able to turn this into something that looked like a bit of varied and broken terrain. The piece of felt is heavy enough that the paint did not soak through, so I still have the backside to use to represent a bit more arid climate. Total cost for this was only about $5.95 yd. x 72” wide. I bought a bit more than two yards so I’m in for under $15 and a couple more dollars for the paint. Not to bad to get two playing surfaces. I do like the commercial mats from companies such as CigarBox, but I really wanted to utilize the military budget on acquiring additional troops. The faux Grizzly Bear fur was a great score. I had been looking at a variety of fuzzy bath mats, towels and the like to try to represent some taller wild grass. Again, if I had my way and could convince General ze Wife that overruns are a regular occurrence in military spending, I would just buy the pre-made variety and be done with it. But unfortunately I do not have access to U.S. tax dollars like my own leaders in Washington, so I must compromise. The chocolaty brown Grizzly fur came at a price about three times the cost of the felt. This had me taking deep breathes while standing in line to check out. The General had already approved a few hundred dollars worth of spending for my units in the previous weeks. I didn't want to push my luck. But, I threw caution to the wind and approached it like a teenage boy in the backseat...just go for it my brain was saying. It was exhilarating. Break the rules even though I knew better. I could live without beer for a week or two. Ha, besides, there might even be some extra hidden in the supply depot. As you can tell from the photo below which road I traveled. I was now an outlaw who would need to avoid the General's Teenage Spies. With an added can of grass green colored spray paint, I had the tools necessary to kit bash that Grizzly into some proper wild grass. With these two items secured, I quickly raced back to base. The General and the most ruthless of the Teenage Spies, a fair headed lass who is the youngest of the bunch, were on a mission acquiring goods for the mess hall. I had to act quickly and decisively.

Because these items were acquired without the proper requisition and endorsement from the General, I needed to think like a cunning supply Sergeant. The mission was to get them painted and into the supply depot, aka The Barn, before the motorcade carrying General ze Wife and the hoard of spies returned to the cul-de-sac. The supply depot was rarely visited by the General but was a favorite place for the Teenage Spies to stash their Dutch Infantry bicycles. Much like a chameleon, I knew the best idea would be to camouflage these items in plain sight until they miraculously appeared on a future game board. With the board under attack from my men, none would be the wiser unless the Teenage Spies unravel my plan.

Unitl next time, Carry on my good men.

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Laundry Room Barracks

The Laundry Room Barracks 

Welcome to the Drums of War miniature wargame blog. I hope to use this space to share ideas with other wargamers about topics such as terrain, rules, figures, etc. It's a place for me to talk about my hobby and passion for historical miniature wargames and the history behind them. Since I'm the "new kid" on the block so to speak, please bear with me. I know my painting isn't competition standard or my game board might not be the regular 6x8, but I hope you will enjoy my posts anyway. The hobby is a way for me to de-stress my hectic daily life and to get lost in the creative aspect of the hobby and broaden my historical knowledge. As of now I am mostly gaming moderns and the French and Indian War campaigns of the Seven Years War. For my moderns, mostly 20mm, I have concentrated on topics I know about, such as the Yugoslavia Civil War and the various civil wars in Central America.

I rekindled my passion for miniature wargaming after a 20 or so year break. Jobs, kids and family commitments can do that sometimes. In December 2015 I requested a military budget and funding from the Supreme Commander of all My Forces, the feared and formidable ginger-haired General ze Wife. The General hails from The Royal Colony of South Carolina and is of Scots-Irish decent, so as you can imagine, you do not want to hear the General's war cry. Expanding the military budget had to be taken with extreme caution. Late in the month of December, as the winter chill had settled in the New England woods, I opened my first "barracks" in a corner of the mess hall. The General did not take kindly to this nonsense and soon banished my men and me to our current home deep in a basement bunker now known as The Laundry Room Barracks. This is where I will be reporting updates to you about the progress of my troops. We are happy to be here. We have heat, a beer refrigerator, and a toilet close by. We have also been provided with a fairly ok Wi-Fi signal as long as General ze Wife's spies, ie: teenagers, are not streaming endless movies. I do not complain about these orders because I know that my men and I could be banished from the main base to the heatless barn with no toilet or beer within decent range.

My first miniatures back in the day were a pack of 25mm Old Glory AWI Continentals which I had primed. I only painted a total of two soldiers from that pack. They have now been re-enlisted into service for my FIW project. I also have a rather large collection of original 25mm Ral Partha British Colonials. They have been on leave in a storage box since about 1992. I recently recalled them back to The Laundry Room Barracks for inspection and to be issued uniforms. Yes, unfortunately most of the lot had only made it to the priming stage as well. Who knew being a dad consumed so much time and energy? Now that the General's spies have aged a bit, I am finding a little more time to paint, build terrain and learn new game rules.

I am glad to be back and learning so much from the wargaming community. One of the places that has been a great help is the Tabletop Commanders group on Facebook and Google+.  I joined in on a Paint & Chat session (an international live video chat) a few months back and have learned a great deal from that community. I try to login as often as I can. I tell the General it's training. It's a laid back group of like minded individuals who are very welcoming and open to sharing knowledge of the hobby. I tend to get much more painting done because of the chat sessions than I think I would on my own. I encourage you to check it out.

Thanks for reading. Until next time.
- Bob