VIVAT 2017

VIVAT is a local Austrian historical wargames show. I didn’t make it last year due to real life intervening, but I attended this year. Generally, I’m not too happy with the location, as I don’t own a car and it’s difficult to get there by public transport. Thankfully, my mate Sigur picked me up at the train station and drove me back in the afternoon.

The show took place in a restaurant (which, as I discovered, serves quite nice food). There were several tables with games, the stand of a trader and Sigur’s painting stall. The atmosphere was pleasantly busy. Quite a lot of people were browsing, talking and playing, and I saw a couple of families with kids, always a good sign in my opinion.

I was drafted to introduce a new player to Sharp Practice on a spectacular table set up by Annatar. The scenario, which was set during the French and Indian War, came from an old TooFatLardies Special. Even though I was a bit tired and therefore not up to my game when explaining the rules, I think that Daniel had the opportunity to see what a great set of rules Sharp Practice are.

I didn’t have time to participate in any other games, but they looked very nice. Here are some images; more can be found on the VIVAT homepage. I’m pretty sure Sigur will also publish a detailed report on his blog.

Steinhagel

Steinhagel, a German ancients rule set.

Kugelhagel

ACW with Kugelhagel, a rule set from the same designer as Steinhagel.

NavalThunder

WW1 naval with Naval Thunder.

FoW

Flames of War.

Napo

A napoleonic game with General de Brigade.

FieldsofGlory

The Punic Wars with Field of Glory. I really liked the look of those 15mm figures.

 

And finally the Sharp Practice table.

I enjoyed myself a lot and was happy to meet old and new faces. Thanks to the organisers for making such an event possible!

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Building a Cotton Press in 15mm

After building the Southern Mansion, I wanted to add more structures which would have belonged to Civil War plantation complexes. One of the most characteristic landmarks was the cotton press. This large wooden structure consisted of a screw mechanism and a wooden compartment into which the cotton and a piece of cloth bagging was put. By turning the screw, the cotton was pressed into a bale. The bag was then stitched together and bound with rope.

 

My model of a cotton press is mainly made out of match sticks and thin strips of wood. I often use old plastic cards for bases – they are thin, don’t bend or warp and have a good size for many 15mm structures. The cotton compartment was built up with matchsticks. The press part was made out of balsa wood and two dice frames. For the screw, I just took an ordinary screw. I also decided to use a clear acrylic rod as a buttress because I didn’t trust the stability of my construction.

Around those two parts, I built up the framework with thin strips of wood. After priming, I painted and drybrushed it to give the impression of weathered wood.

In my lead pile, I found a spare mule (well, I found several – for some reasons I’ve amassed a lot of mules!) to which I added a harness with bits of a paper clip and paper. I also made some cotton bales out of Green Stuff. They are based on a period painting and, while not perfect, were easy enough to make.

And this is the finished cotton press:

Belonging to the production infrastructure of the South, cotton presses were often destroyed by Union troops. My model will make a fine objective for games of Sharp Practice.

TooFatLardies Games Day in Vienna

It’s no secret that TooFatLardies are my favourite rules publisher. Fortunately, there are a couple of like-minded individuals around. Last Friday, a bunch of us got together to play and present TFL games. The idea was to showcase the rules and induce people who have never before played a Lardy game to give it a try.

We had four games prepared: Dux Britanniarum, Sharp Practice 2, Kiss me Hardy! and Chain of Command.

As we’ve written a short report for Lard Island News (which will be published shortly), I’m not going to repeat myself but refer the reader to this blog. Sigur has also written a very fine report on the Battle Brush Studios blog – head over there for more information!

I just want to thank everyone involved: Those who prepared and presented games, those who played and those who watched and contributed to the friendly and welcoming atmosphere. I’m especially happy that I had the opportunity to meet up with old friends and make new ones.

Certainly an event to be repeated!

Here are some impressions from the games:

Sharp Practice (hosted by me)

Dux Britanniarum (hosted by Sigur and Virago)

Kiss me Hardy! (hosted by Annatar)

Chain of Command (hosted by Sigur and Shlominus, with a scenario by Slowik)

Building a Southern Mansion

One of the most characteristic buildings of the Civil War South is the plantation house or mansion. Often built in a sumptuous neoclassicist style, it served as the home for the planter and his family. Many examples survive and a quick internet search reveals a number of inspirational images.

My project started with a quick sketch and an outline of the necessary parts which would make up the building. Those were then cut out of plastic sheet. I then glued on windows and doors from Auhagen. Those are made for H0 model railways and are in 1/87, but they work perfect with 15mm figures.

I by all means wanted to have the characteristic weatherboarding effect and decided to cover the walls with thin strips of cardboard. This is labour-intensive work but the result looks rather nice. By the way, it turns out that the best cardboard for this purpose comes from spaghetti boxes – a welcome excuse to eat even more pasta!

The walls were assembled and the structure was strengthened with some pieces of wood. My models are gaming pieces and I always build them to survive the rough handling of eager wargamers.

WallsAssembled

For the columns of the balcony, I used wooden dowels. They have a nice structure but of course no capital; however, I decided I could live with that.

The rails of the balcony were made from fancy toothpicks I nicked at a buffet – when I saw them, I immediately knew they would be perfect for such a project!

WallsAssembled2

I decided to make a removable roof and built a quick mock-up out of cardboard. This is something I sometimes do with more complex structures – I’m prone to making errors in my calculations, so it’s better to check it before cutting the wrong shapes out of plastic.

RoofMockup

The roof shingles were made out of cardboard – again a mind-numbing work but the result looks nice.

When everything was finished, I assembled the whole structure, primed and painted it. And that’s how it looks: