About Me

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My name is Gavin McClements. I am a wargamer and family man, living in Los Gatos, which is a suburb of San Jose, CA. Building terrain is one of my favorite aspects of the wargaming hobby - in fact, lately I've become more interested in making my battlefields "pop" than in actually playing.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Nothing lasts forever

We are a unique group of individuals, you and I. We collect little things, play with little things, obsess with little things :)

I love collecting small scale miniatures. The assembling and painting, well...it doesnt always happen, but I'll spend hours pouring over army lists and working on finding proxy models, etc. Once these armies have been ordered, they usually sit :(  BUT I have them, and they'll be ready when I am.

The frustrating part of this hobby is finding or getting into a game years after it's heyday has passed - in my case, Epic Armageddon and Warmaster come to mind. You'll find someone's post about the perfect model to proxy for something, but the company that makes that model disappeared years ago, or something along those lines.

The closing announcement of Exodus Wars this week brought this little truth to light once again:

We, as a community, are served by some pretty amazing people; people with skills, talents, dreams, motivation, and even personal lives, tragedy, concern, loss and failure. We are niche community, hungering for more and more, but all in all, things in this hobby are fleeting. The items wont be around forever, nor will the creative minds who bring us these things.

As far as Exodus Wars goes, I have 2 huge armies in bags waiting to be assembled, so I'm good there - but I've wanted models from Microworld Games and now Onslaught Miniatures for some time. I know I don't have the funds to grab huge amounts of models that I want, and who knows - maybe in these individual cases they'll both be very successful and I'll have my decade to wait - but maybe not.

Then there are the giving souls who make being a part of this gaming community so rewarding. As I've delved into the world of 10mm fantasy, I have decided to stick with 6mm terrain as I don't find the size difference too jarring - and I do have an awful lot of 6mm sci-fi anyway. In particular, dealing with and purchasing from Mick at Leven Miniatures has been fantastic. His customer service and responsiveness has been refreshing, and his models, well...so cool!

The most recent treat was during a recent order, I asked if a particular building type (a forge or blacksmith's shop) would ever be on his radar - to which he responded that he was actually already in the process of making one! He kept me appraised during the creative process, and is shipping out a prototype with my other stuff this week. It's stuff like this that makes me want to continue contributing with my dollars to this community of ours, so that it can keep growing and thriving.

I'll wrap this up with a few of the  "small" people that I'm happy to have interacted with recently - not a complete list, not trying to dis anyone by omission, etc...:

Leven Miniatures for levels of awesomeness as already described
Brent Spivey of Bombshell Games for his group rules and responsiveness on the forums
Pendraken Miniatures
Robert at Shogun Miniatures for his great magnetic bases

Yea...this is a pointless task because soon I'll be thanking the entire world.

Let me wrap this up:
Buy now - the items you want may not be available forever!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

My 10mm Vampire Counts - list building

I initially posted my entry into Warmaster with a dual Wood Elves - Vampire Counts post - but since I am actually using these as references for ideas, etc, I decided to separate the two lists into posts of their own.

Wrath Ruin and the Red Dawn has some amazing conversions for his Vampire Counts army - many of which appear to model the current Warhammer Fantasy 8th Edition army list.

Pendraken Undead models pictured by Turbil

Ultimately I settled on these quantities. For ease of reference, I will link the model's entries on their respective website - I apologize for any broken links in advance.

WARMASTER - 10mm Vampire Counts
6 units of Skeletons
  • 18 bases, 180 model [10 per base]
4 units of Zombies
  • 12 bases, 120 models [10 per]

2 units of Ghouls
  • 6 bases, 60 models [10 per]
2 units of Grave Guard
  • 6 bases, 60 models [10 per]
2 units of Ethereal Host [5 or more per base, TBD]
  • 6 bases, 30-ish models
4 units of Black Knights
  • 12 bases, 48 models [4 per]
2 units of Dire Wolves
  • 6 bases, 12-18 models [2-3 per base because of the model's size]
2 units of Fell Bats
  • 6 bases, 6 models [1 per]
Lots! 2 Generals (1 mounted), 4 Vampires, 2 Wizards...1 Black Coach

And look at this fun thing! It's from DGS Games. It'll be a fun vampire item! I think it could be used as a Winged Nightmare mount, or even a dragon of some sorts for Mayhem?
Wildly Inappropriate NSFW (Language) Fluff that was a blast to read but yea, language, kids!

Black Coach conversion idea

My Order list [NOTE: I love variety, and have mixed and matched excessively, compulsively, and in some cases, maybe foolishly...]:

*Since I originally made this order with my Wood Elves, I've left that part of the entry intact*
Miniature Resellers links:
Eureka Minis in Australia
[163.75 from the US store, and 124.03 from the Aussie store [qtys in US were limited] - $43AU for S/H!]
Eureka mini's USA branch
Copplestone Castings in the UK [$43.18 USD w/shipping]
  • Evil Characters [TM9] x2 - for Heroes, etc
  • Heroes on Horseback [TM16] x1 - for Wood Elf Heroes
  • Rangers [TM17] x1 - to sprinkle into Waywatchers, etc
Kallistra in the UK [$117 UK pounds w/shipping and "Buy 6-pay for 5" sale]
  • Historical Miniatures:
  • EEM The Impaled  [H-3019] x1 - for fun
  • 100YW Men-at-Arms [H-901] x3 [4 bases per] - for my Grave Guard based on this link (I'll paint skin/faces as white with black gaps and hope for the best)
  • 100YW Command [H-908] x1 - because Command :)
  • Fantasy Miniatures:
  • Skeleton Warriors [301] x5 [4 bases per] - for my main Skeleton horde
  • Zombie Horde [307] x3 [4 bases per] - my main Zombie horde
  • Undead Command [309] x1 [30+ figs] - Command/Heroes and fun
  • Tormented Spirits [308] x1 [4 bases, 16 figs] - for Ethereal Host, combined with Pendraken Wraiths
  • Skeleton Cavalry [302] x3 [4 bases per] - Black Knights
Pendraken in the UK
Pendraken's models through the War Store (US) [I placed this via email request to Neal, since some of the SKU's werent on their website] [$76.90 USD w/shipping]:
  • FE4 (Wood Elf Command) x1
    FE10 (Wood Elf Hero) x1
    AC24 (Mixed Ghouls) x6
    FU14 (Wraiths/Spirits) x2
    FU5 (Undead Command) x2
    FU26 (Undead Hero) x1
    FU13 (Undead Vampires) x1
    AC12 (Swarm of Bats) x6
    SYW12 (7 Years War Civilians) x1
    SYW10 (17/18th Century Carriage) x1
    AC2 (Helpless Maidens) x1
    AC4 (Zombies rising from the Grave) x1
    AC23 (Crucified Mummy) x1
Magister Militum in the UK [$37.38 USD w/shipping]
Khurasan Miniatures in the US [$24.65 USD w/ Shipping]
  • 15mm Fantasy items: 
  • Vampires [MYST-200] x1 [2 models] - for Heroes
  •  Zombie Wolves [MYST-202] x3 [6 models per] - for Dire Wolves
  • Jon Laney, Werewolf [MYST-203] x1 - for Hero or to lead DWs
Microworld Games - 6mm in the US [$23 total w/ shipping]
 > Because Kerynne.com offered some great ideas
Splintered Light 15mm minis in the US [$34 total w/ shipping]
For actual lists, I threw this together:

A really good idea from http://theultimatewarmaster.com/2013/07/ :
 " Due to the nature of the undead army and being able to raise new units in battle (which are worth no victory point’s, and contribute nothing towards army break point). I was wondering how I can depict these without confusing myself and my opponent. So after having a quick chat to my local GW manager, I came up with the idea of painting the Skeleton Warriors ethereal.

The idea is to have at least 4 of these units painted. It was quite simple to do. I undercoated black, dry brushed the whole unit white and then gave it a blue wash. I am thinking of giving the whole unit a very faint white dry brush again. Not too sure yet."

http://hetairoiwargames.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/wm-ethereal-host.html  is another site with spirit hosts, so easily painted!

And this Black Coach:

Monday, July 6, 2015

6mm Total Battle miniatures 100 Days buildings

I have always loved 6mm stuff, even if I didnt know it (I started with Battletech back in 1986!). As I've gotten older, my love has remained, but now I like more expensive stuff (go figure).

As I've been exploring 10mm fantasy, I have read numerous times that people use 6mm terrain and it works fine, since the ground scale isnt the same as the model scale. With that in mind, I invested pretty heavily into Total Battle Miniatures and Leven Miniatures 6mm lines. I intend to use these with Warmaster and Mayhem, specifically, but they'll also flesh out my 6mm sci-fi tables as needed. That's why I went the Napoleonic route - you can see this stuff across Europe still, and it wouldnt be so out of place with grav tanks floating by.

Here is my version of the Hill Town Tile 1 found here. Because I dont do historical gaming, I mix and match as I see fit; I looked into colors, but not extensively. Let me apologize for my photography. I HATE blurry photos, but some of these are.

This is the final painted version without any trees added. I will be flocking the appropriate areas as soon as the extras I have on order from Perfect Six arrive (wells, crates and barrels, etc).
 I decided to add some trees here and there. I used a pin vise to drill into the resin, and superglued the trees in. The medium and dark green trees were from eBay vendors. The three light green ones were new from Leven Miniatures - since I love color variety, I was happy to get these in the 50mm variety.

With the GW Warmaster Dark Elf models in the town, I think they'll be fine on the table. Yes, there is a size discrepancy, but it isnt staggering (at least to my eyes), and I plan on moving forward with the 3 dozen other buildings I have :)

PS: 3/19/2016 Check out Michael Stockin's amazing version of this town on TWW!