Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sculptured Islands for the Pirates of the Spanish Main Game

I couldn’t leave this topic posts at thirteen, here is post number fourteen.

Recently I found an old post- “Pirates of the Ancient Worlds”. The post dated March 5, 2009 displays several 1/1000 islands that were designed to be used in Whizkids Pirates of the Spanish Main constructible game. There are twelve beautifully crafted islands displayed here with a short description of their use by their populous.

These islands were built on a commission basis and did not make it to full production; it is a shame. The site might give someone ideas or inspiration for creating their own Pirates islands. Dream, and enjoy!

More Toys Have Arrived

I received a package from Amazon the other day with these two items enclosed. I now have more items to review and in which to make posts. The Axis and Allies booster pack contains five randomly chosen pre-painted Axis and Allies miniatures. Each comes with its own statistic card that details the miniature and provides basic moves, attack, and defensive stats.

The other item I ordered was one package of Whizkids Pirates of Davy Jones Curse Pirates game. There are few new additions to be reported on in this edition.

More information will follow…

Pirates of Mysterious Islands-Unique Crew Types

Each pack comes with at least one or two crew tokens. All crew members add special abilities to the ship they are on. Although I received three crew members I will only be reporting on the on the two unique crew members I received.

Firepot Specialist, 2 points, Pirate

Once per turn this ship may shoot a firepot at a target within one Short of her. A Short is a default movement measurement, like the Long used in the Pirates game. (A Short is about 2.5 inches.) Along with the crew member there are two firepots included on this card. If the firepot hits, according to a die roll of six, the ships mast becomes a fire mast. At the beginning of every turn, thereafter, the affected ships owner must roll a die. On the die roll of a six, the fire mast may be removed, however on a roll of a 1-3, another mast becomes a fire mast. When all masts are fire masts, the ship must be scuttled. If the ship with a fire mast(s) docks on her home island or a fort, she may remove all fire masts as a free move.

Nikos Chelios, 5 points, Ex-patriot

This card is linked to “Fathom”. When a crew member is linked to another crew member, and if the crew members are serving on the same ship, the special abilities they bring are increased in some matter. Once per turn this ship may randomly take two treasure pieces from any ship she touches. “Using Nemo’s technology, Nikos is out to prove that the true masters of the sea are not those who sail on top of it, but those who move below it.”

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Treasure Island a 25mm Miniatures Game

Warrior Miniatures is offering the Pirates of the Spanish Main and the Quest for Treasure Game. As you can see from the ad the game comes with a set of miniatures and rules. To put you in the correct mood you might want to read Stevenson’s book by the same name before playing the game. The miniatures can also be purchased separately.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Pirates of Mysterious Islands-What is all the Mystery Anyway?

Although quite rare there is a Nautilus Submarine included with this version of this strategy game by Whizkids, so I thought the use of Mysterious Islands was a very obvious reference to Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island; however the Islands included in this rendition have their own set of mysteries.

Verne’s Mysterious Island was the island where Captain Nemo and his submarine Nautilus ended up stuck in a sub terrain cavern. The Island, an uncharted Island, that was off the usually shipping lanes, became home to several civil war ex-prisoners of war, after they were deposited on the island by their hot air balloon. Mysterious happenings started to occur soon after arriving on the island and thus the title “The Mysterious Island”.

The Pirates of Mysterious Islands have several scenarios printed on the bottom of the islands and are tied to certain dice roll outcomes. There is even a provision on one island where you can write your own scenario.

These scenarios will make the game a bit more interesting, as you really never really know what the outcome might be.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

6 Rustic Rusty Rail Figures

Rusty Rails is a purveyor of fine resin castings that are cast in HO and O gauges. Rusty Rail features three different sets of HO gauge figures. The figures come in a set of six and depict mostly men in various occupations. In addition, there are also two elegant ladies in the mix. There are workers, shop keepers, and what look like either loafers or those who waiting for some form of transportation.

Depicted below are the castings in various stages of completion. Rusty Rails set #RRFS-H-01.

The figures with a coat of grey primer: notice the void on the bottom of the newspaper. The resin castings needed to be filled in with putty in a couple of areas.

The figures in process of being painted.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Barcelona Universal Models (BUM)

Barcelona Universal Models is a Spanish company that produces many different 1/72 scale kits. Although it seems as though they hard to find for sale I am enthralled by many of their model kit offerings.

Since I am in the middle of “Under the Ensign of the Rising Sun A Story of the Russo-Japanese War” by Harry Collingwood I was drawn to BUM’s Japanese Army 1890 – 1930 figures. My interest was also aroused by the mention their line of western structures. In order to complete a scene I am always searching for terrain pieces for my miniatures.

While performing some additional research I also found a submarine and a Italian light tank that looked irresistible. Many of these kits contain figures, vehicles, and terrain pieces.

Although the models may be hard to find for sale they look like they may be worth the search.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pirates of Mysterious Islands-First Impressions

My Pirates of Mysterious Islands games arrived in the mail the other day. Here are a few the things that I have noticed about this Whizkids, eighth rendition of this construable strategy game.

Although the basic and extended rules are basically the same, there are a few changes to the rules for Pirates of Mysterious Islands (more about that in a separate post).

Pirates of the Spanish Main included six different ships; Pirates of Mysterious Island has ten different styles of ships and two types of Sea Monsters. Pirates of Mysterious Island as added the following types of ships:

  • 2-Mast Blockade Runner
  • 4-Mast Schooner
  • 3-Mast Submarine
  • 2-Mast Submarine

The sea monsters cannot carry crew, but they can carry treasure and fire cannon. As far as the submarines are concerned there is a Nautilus submarine model, however is seems to quite rare.

Pirates of the Spanish Main had three protagonists-England, Spain, and Pirates, whereas Pirates of Mysterious Islands has added the following France, America, and Mercenary combatants to the list.

The game pack also contained a check list of game pieces that one might find in Pirates of Mysterious Islands. There are a total of 137 different tokens listed in the check list. Crew, ships, special treasure pieces, and islands, are listed here (More about these tokens in a forthcoming post). All are listed by their availability status, that is, Treasure/Generic, Common, Uncommon, Rare, and Super rare.

One last note, there is also a “message in a bottle”, a special set of four messages, that when collected and sent in with the original packaging and receipts, the people from Whizkids will send you an exclusive ship(these games are no longer being published).

My message reads: “Our course has brought us to these uncharted isles…”

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Few Odds and Ends from Around the Web

This is my first “Odds and Ends” post where I report on miscellaneous sites and topics that I find in my searches for other topics. I usually post these sites on the Links page, but that page gets very few visits.

  • The Mystery of Davy Jones' Locker!
  • For whatever it is worth. The Mystery of Pirates of Davy Jones' Curse is a comic strip that is a re-script of the first panel of an underwater Charlton love story.
  • The Art of Paper Model Instructions
  • The article discusses how instructions for paper models have evolved through the years.
  • Cartoon Scrapbook
  • The cartoon Scrapbook summarizes many long-gone cartoons. The site lists the cartoons characters, lists its episodes, and displays scenes from these bygone episodes.
  • Spanish Ships, their Parts, Wrecks and Treasures
  • Interesting one page site geared toward children on the topic of “Spanish Ships, their Parts, Wrecks and Treasures”.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Abandoned Chicken Coop Project

After several attempts I have decided to abandon my Woodland Scenics Chicken Coop. After painting and weathering the walls and roof of the structure I cannot get the walls to assemble squarely and of course the roof meant to fit snuggly on top of a squared structure will not fit squarely either.

If I want a chicken coop on my layout I have a few different options. I could either scratch build or kit bash one if a suitable structure could be found. I am leaning more toward the scratch built idea, where as the structure need not be all that elaborate.

There two ways I am thinking about building a chicken coop, in fact why don’t I just build two. The first idea would be a rectangular structure with a sloping roof. The structure would sit on four concrete posts; include a full sized door to allow for easy egg removal, a set of paned windows on the front of the structure, and three or four small hinged ramps that would allow the chickens out to roam out in fenced pen.

The structure could be creating using a variety of materials I have on hand. I could use strip wood and do a board on board approach or use clapboard styrene sheet. Since the chicken coop would be an out-building and placed toward the back of the layout the later mentioned method will be fine, I don’t need all that much detail for a structure that is not going to be out front. Still, using styrene clapboard siding and a set of modified window casting from my junk box would provide enough detail to satisfy my needs. Of course the pen would be populated with chickens and a sneaky fox looking for a way to get to the chickens could be placed in nearby bushes.

I will have to draw-up a plan for the structure I have in mind and lay my dimensions down on styrene sheet. Once these plans are complete I will upload them.

The other idea for a chicken coop would take a little more planning. I will try to mimic the detail in the Woodland Scenic casting, by using a combination of brick, stone, metal siding, and clapboard sheets for the walls and create a set of ramshackle windows. I might just start with this model, since it seems that it might more fun to build than the other. There again, I will have to lay out some plans for this structure, not forgetting the structure would have to mimic one that was “slapped” together.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Five Pirate Documentaries

Over the Labor Day holiday I viewed a couple of these Pirate documentaries. The documentaries are brought to us by the History Channel, the Smithsonian, and the BBC. There are three documentaries that give you a generalized overview of Pirates, their life and habits, and the ships they practiced their diabolical trade. The other two documentaries depict notorious pirate captains, as such the likes of Blackbeard, Morgan, and others.

Arrr me maties, the documentaries provide insights into the life of Pirates.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Two Plastic Blogs

If you are interested in or about the world of plastic toys these two blogs report on all things plastic. Both of these sites report on the unique or the obscure

Small Scale World

Small Scale World is the granddaddy of the two with an extensive list of content on all sorts of plastic figures and toys. Small Scale World doesn't just report on the plastic part, but also about the company. Small Scale World doesn't report on the run-of-the-mill plastic pieces, but reports on many old and obscure collector pieces.

Things of Plastic

Things of Plastic although not being around as long as Small Scale World. Things of Plastic reports on “interesting plastic toys and stuff”, and seems to center on plastic game pieces.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Professor Plum

Professor Plum is another miniature found on the Game Crafter. Professor Plum is 43mm in size and is game token from the board game Clue.

From the Characters of the Board Game Clue page “Professor Plum would have been said to be the smartest man on the planet if he wasn't so scatterbrained”.

Several 43mm Miniature Finds

For the collector of plastic miniatures, I recently came across these 43mm miniatures. There are seven of these alien critters cast in different colors and poses. These miniatures are available from the Game Crafter, which as their name implies supply game pieces, tokens, game boards, and other game parts.

The miniature illustrated here is Game Crafters Brown Alien.

Friday, September 13, 2013

1/87 Woodland Scenics Chicken Coop

The Woodland Scenics Chicken Coop kit comes with a wealth of details, both inside and out. The kit consists of nine white metal parts, plus a spruce with twelve chickens. I have decided to leave the details for another time and will build the chicken coop.

The structure has many details that are cast in to the kit pieces. The kit consists of a front and back, two sides and the roof. The structure seems to be thrown together piece meal and with a verity of materials, there are some bricks, board, corrugated material, and a piece of plywood.

Having stood the pieces of the structure up together after I had cleaned up any flash and parting lines, I noticed that depending on where I sat this structure I wouldn’t have to be too concerned about the interior details of the structure

I spray painted the five pieces and front and back with a cheap flat white spray paint. Since there is such a verity of building materials represented in the casting I have decided to paint the walls as they lay flat on my workbench before gluing them together.

I used one of my favorite techniques for representing corrugated material; I painted the interior with Pactra, Dark Gull Grey and gave everything a good black wash. This seems to represent old corrugated metal rather well. The chicken nesting boxes received a coat of tan and I then picked out the few chickens that were represented here with a little dabs of white paint.

Like I mentioned earlier, the structure seemed to be thrown together, or perhaps it was patched together with whatever materials there were at hand. On the outside of the structure there are some bricks, corrugated sheet, a piece of plywood, clapboard siding and some board and batten. All of this will make for a very interesting presentation. There are also a few details that will also have to picked-out with an appropriate color.

The structure is sitting on my workbench, only needing some touch-up paint, dry-brushing and weathering and I will upload an image of the model as soon as it is complete.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

It is Getting Close to the Season for Model Railroading

This is the time of year when I usually start to devote more time to model railroading. I model in HO scale and run HO narrow gauge trains. HOn30 gauge runs on N-gauge track.

I don’t have a permanent layout, one in which I keep up all the time, I have what might be considered a mobile layout, one in which can be easily transported and assembled at train shows and other events.

The layout measures six by eight feet and consists of four three by four sections. The sub-assemblies are stored just with their scenery shell and track. All the structures are labeled on the layout and on an accompanied diagram. Everything is removed, wrapped to protect and keep dust from accumulating and packed away. The trees, all one hundred of them are pinned to the layout and must be removed one by one. These usually need to be spruced up before they are painstakingly replanted on the layout.

I have had the layout for five years and it has been assembled seven times, either at home or at some event. Usually when the layout is taken to an event I usually take two sections and assembly a three by eight layout. The layout is pretty versatile and can be assembled in a few different configurations (with a few minor modifications to the layout). I will be setting the whole layout very soon and plan on keeping it up over the holidays.

A model train layout is never really ever finished and I am always thinking about ways to improve the scenery, adding detail parts, or about adding new structures to fill in some of the gaps. I will be digging through my un-or-partially-built kits, picking a few of these out, and assembling them. I will be posting several articles on different aspects of this endeavor over the next couple of months.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Another go at Abandoned

This time it is set of abandoned “mysterious ghost” ships. Two dozen images of ships in all sorts of points of disrepair. Abandoned!

The Work of William Joseph Cosens Lancaster AKA Harry Collingwood

Harry Collingwood is best known for his adventure stories many of them at sea. I have finished reading Jules Vern’s Master of the World and wanted to get back to Collingwood. Currently I am in the middle of Collingwood’s Under the Ensign of the Rising Sun, A Story of the Russo-Japanese War. Many from the following list of his works seem like titles I would like to read.

  • Across the Spanish Main
  • A Tale of the Sea in the Days of Queen Bess
  • The Adventures of Dick Maitland
  • A Tale of Unknown Africa
  • The Castaways
  • A Chinese Command
  • A Story of Adventure in Eastern Seas
  • The Congo Rovers: A Story of the Slave Squadron
  • The Cruise of the "Esmeralda"
  • The Cruise of the Nonsuch Buccaneer
  • The Cruise of the Thetis
  • A Tale of the Cuban Insurrection
  • Dick Leslie's Luck
  • A Story of Shipwreck and Adventure
  • The First Mate
  • The Story of a Strange Cruise
  • For Treasure Bound
  • Harry Escombe
  • A Tale of Adventure in Peru
  • In Search of El Dorado
  • The Log of a Privateersman
  • The Log of the Flying Fish: A Story of Aerial and Submarine Peril and Adventure
  • A Middy in Command
  • A Tale of the Slave Squadron
  • A Middy of the King: A Romance of the Old British Navy
  • A Middy of the Slave Squadron
  • A West African Story
  • The Missing Merchantman
  • Overdue
  • The Story of a Missing Ship
  • The Pirate Island
  • A Story of the South Pacific
  • A Pirate of the Caribbees
  • The Pirate Slaver
  • A Story of the West African Coast
  • The Rover's Secret
  • A Tale of the Pirate Cays and Lagoons of Cuba
  • The Secret of the Sands
  • The "Water Lily" and her Crew
  • The Strange Adventures of Eric Blackburn
  • Through Veld and Forest
  • An African Story
  • Turned Adrift
  • Two Gallant Sons of Devon
  • A Tale of the Days of Queen Bess
  • Under the Chilian Flag
  • A Tale of War between Chili and Peru
  • Under the Ensign of the Rising Sun A Story of the Russo-Japanese War
  • Under the Meteor Flag
  • Log of a Midshipman during the French Revolutionary War
  • The Voyage of the Aurora
  • With Airship and Submarine
  • A Tale of Adventure

Although I am looking forward to reading more of this author, if I ever hope to get through Verne’s Voyages Extraordinaires, I will be going back and picking another novel by Verne.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

3 Game Rule Booklets I have added to my Reading List

Two of the three resources are rules created to use with your 1/285 scale miniatures, while the other are rules to Wizards of the Coast’s Axis and Allies Guadalcanal, a game I am completing on purchasing.

Battalion Commander offers optional rules for battalion-sized battles using Axis & Allies rules and 1/285 micro armor.

Axis and Allies Guadalcanal is one of the many variants of Axis and Allies produced by Wizards of the Coast. Axis and Allies Guadalcanal is a game for two players and depicts the very decisive land and sea battle for Guadalcanal between the Japanese and the United States.

The Wehrmacht '47-Supplement to Micro Armour adds various experimental projects, such as German E series vehicles. The supplement offers weapons tables, and 10 additional scenarios to be used with your 1/285 miniatures.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Pirates of the Spanish Main Post Script, & ETC

In my last POSM post I mentioned that this post would probably be my last post of this topic. However, while performing a web search the other day I came up with a few additional links relating to POSM. This is the twelve posting on this topic-it is now an even dozen.

Rules and Scenarios

The Complete Game

Rules for a complete game are included with the basic rules, but are printed on a separate sheet. Up until now I have not been able to locate a copy of these rules. At last here they are, the official Pirates of the Spanish Main complete game rules. The rules bring some other factors into the game, extending and making the game a bit more sophisticated.

Pirates Scenarios

Instead of playing POSM strictly by the rules try playing out one of these scenarios, or add the scenario to the basic or complete rules for a more challenging game. Some of the scenarios look like they might be a lot of fun to play:

  • The Isles of El Dorado
  • Thar She Blows!
  • The Midas Touch
  • The Pirates' Race
  • The Golden Goose
  • The Other World
  • The Live Volcano
  • Paradise Island
  • Rain Squalls
  • Convoy Command
  • Ted the T-Rex
  • Treasure Island II 


The Scary Biscuit Studio’s-The Spanish Main

The Scary Biscuit Studio featured a beautifully painted Carrack from Valiant Enterprises in a 2011 post. I believe that the author did a very fine job on his Valiant Carrack. The images are inspirational.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Historic Naval Fiction

The Historic Naval Fiction site features reviews and links to some of the texts mentioned within these pages. All of the stories reviewed here are from the Age of Sail and depict characters like Horatio Hornblower to privateers. If you appreciate the Age of Sails era you are sure to find some fodder for future reading on this site.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Abandoned Psychiatric Hospital in New York in Disrepair

The Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens Center, founded in 1912, once housed 7,000 patients. Now through neglect and disrepair Creedmoor has taken on the aspect of creep’s. It looks like it would be a good location for a horror movie.

The site features fourteen slides of various locations on the Creedmoor Psychiatric Centers campus and displays images of peeling paint, mountains of bird dropping and discarded toys once handled by the centers patients, ETC.

GEV Rules for WWII Micro-Armor

In my last post I mentioned having found a set of rules to use with 1/285 scale miniatures. GEV-WWII can be downloaded as a zip file. Once extracted you will find three files, a Gev_wwii.gif-a set of game tokens, Gev_wwii.htm-a page that includes basic rules for the game, and a Gev_wwii.xls, a three work sheet workbook that contain some more introductory notes, and an infantry and vehicle offence, defense points, movement and abilities stats for each type of unit.  For a quick start, the rules look simple enough, but not too simple as to make the game boring and uninteresting.

1/285 Skirmish Miniatures

I ordered several sets of C in C’s 1/285 miniatures the other day. I had, as I had mentioned in a recent post wanted to create a diorama using these miniatures. I originally wanted to order a set of WWII Sherman’s and a set of WWII infantry for the diorama and had planned on ordering a set of 1/4800 British WWII ships, but after giving the purchases some thought I have decided to add a set of German WWII Panzers to the mix.

Recently, I came across a site the offers dozens of freegame rules. On the site, I found GEV-WWII a game intended for 1/285 and 1/300 miniatures. It might work as a basis for a two person skirmish game where I could put my Sherman and Panzers miniatures to use. I will keep you up to date of the latest developments of the game…

Thursday, September 5, 2013

5000 Year Old Game Tokens

Archaeologists have found what seem to be the oldest game board tokens that are thought to be at least 5000 years old.

The tokens are fashioned out of stone and are painted in red, green, and blue. The game tokens represent pigs, dogs, and pyramids while others are shaped in what might be considered more generic shapes such as cylinders, dice, and flat, round discs.

What the game board may have looked like and how the game proceeded is any ones guess. No rules for this game have been discovered.

Do any of my readers have any ideas on how a game using these tokens could proceed? How would the game board be designed? How many players would be involved?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Add Some Personality to Your HO Model Train Layout

There are number interesting characters you can add to the crowds and scenes on your layout. These notorious characters will definitely add some personality to your scenes.

Santa Clause

I don’t know how you feel about Santa, but I believe in him. This figure is equipped with the correct costume and just needs to be painted in the proper colors.

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson

I don’t know how he and his side kick got on my layout, but I am sure the mystery will be solved very soon. Holmes totes his pipe; well it looks a pipe to me, and Watson his top hat.

Baby Face Nelson

He is the most notorious of the bunch, but doesn’t Santa break into houses and steal cookies? I better be careful now. I do want those brass locomotives delivered to my house without being broken. Nelson sports a machine gun. I wouldn’t want to tick this guy off.

The above figures can be purchased from Scale Figures for $1.50 a piece, unpainted and $3.50 painted. These have remarkable detail and character for the scale.

The Bosco and Galileo Lines

Another place for unique HO figures is Sierra Scale Models which feature Bosco and Galileo figures. These figures are not cheap, come painted, and at least the Bosco line, are quite unique. The Bosco line features some pretty hefty characters, not to mention, notorious in their own right.

You have the three bandito brothers: Gordo Sorfeetz, Mitad Sorfeetz, and Pequeno Sorfeetz. To say that these three guys are stuffed shirts would not be an over statement. They look like they have had too many fried tortilla chips and re-fried beans, not to mention a few too many cervezas. "Una cerveza, por favor".

Archibald Peter Van Slurp and Horace P. Vestibule III are couple of heavy weight contenders. You better make sure that your layouts framework is good and sturdy before placing these guys.

We don’t see enough overweight people on our layouts. Most of our figures are thin, look sickly, and are boring to look at. It really does take all kinds, you know.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Collingwood verses Verne

After reading Harry Collingwood’s “The Pirate Island, a Story of the South Pacific”, I was tempted to continue reading from Collingwood’s collection of novels. The Project Guntenberg offers a large list of Collingwood’s literature. I was especially interested in the mention of Collingwood’s “A Story of the Russo-Japanese War”, one of the few stories written about this era and his “With Airship and Submarine”, which seems to me like a pre-steampunk genre.

Although Collingwood’s novels are begging to be read they will have to wait until I read another of Jules Verne’s. I have wanted to get through as many of his texts from his Voyages Extraordinaires, so I am now reading Verne’s Master of the World. The text can be found here as an epub, or as a LibriVox recording. Enjoy!

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Pirate Island, a Story of the South Pacific

I just completed my reading of Harry Collingwood’s “The Pirate Island, a Story of the South Pacific”. It is a story of high adventure in the South Pacific, a story of ship wrecks, mutiny, a fabulously rich gold mine, earthquakes and erupting volcanoes, notorious and desperate pirates, and brave and resolute seamen.

The novel is twenty chapters long and at the climax of the story, I had a hard time knowing when to quite reading and turn off the light. Harry Collingwood is pseudonym for William Joseph Cosens Lancaster, a son of a sea captain turned engineer and prolific writer of stories of the sea. Project Guntenberg offers a large set of the author’s works and in many different electronic formats.
There are several plates that depict some of the scenes presented within the text:

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Historical Board Game Tokens

The supplement tokens I had ordered from Historical Board Games arrived by post the other day. The tokens are very similar in appearance, color, and quality as those that were supplied with the Axis and Allies 1941 board game. I ordered five infantry pieces for each player and a set of piece markers. The piece markers are larger than those supplied with the game and will need to be colored with a marker to represent one, three, and five unit markers.

The tokens arrived a few days later than I had hoped. We played Axis and Allies the other day without these tokens. We made do and used pennies for the one unit markers. I wonder if it was really worthwhile to have sent for these tokens when we evidently were able to get by with out them.