Saturday, November 30, 2013

Billy’s Place

Billy’s Place is a HO gauge Main Street Heritage model cast in resin. I have also built Main Street Heritage’s The Weekly Record. These kits are easy to build and are highly detailed. They are not priced so badly either. The prototype for this model is in Norton's Landing and has seen many diverse businesses come and go. I have re-purposed mine to represent a neighborhood Bistro. The model measures 2.1"W x 3.5"D. If you are wondering about the two holes above the door, there is a sign that will applied above the main entrance.

Friday, November 29, 2013

War at Sea Quick Start Scenario

Set Up:

Use both maps and setup along the long sides. Place one Objective counters in the middle sectors on the center row. Axis ships start at one end while the allies start at the other end. Unless there are aircraft carriers, aircraft start on the off-map air base.

Initiation and Turn Sequence:

Each player rolls two die. The allies get a +1 added to their die roll because the USS Montpelier is flag ship. Add up the die outcomes. The player with the highest outcome gets the initiative and goes second. Going second is desirable in that you can see where your opponent is heading.


Aircraft attacking from off-map airfields and then returning to their airfield can only attack on every other turn. However, some aircraft have special abilities that might affect this rule.

Winning the Quick Start Battle:

The first player to accumulate 3 victory points wins. Points can be earned by achieving the following:

  • Earn 1 victory point for each enemy unit you destroy
  • Earn 1 victory point if you claim the Objective marker
  • Check victory points totals at the end of each turn. If a tie, the player who claims the Objective marker wins, otherwise the game is a tie.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Axis Allies War at Sea, a Review

Axis and Allies War at Sea is a two person game that contains 8 miniatures (four allies and four axis miniatures), 4 die, 2 double sided playing mats, stat cards, a damage counter sheet, and rule book. The game includes several scenarios, full or short game scenarios, which pit two fleets against one another.

Each miniature comes with a set of statistics that holds the miniatures gunnery, amour, and basic movement stats for each of the miniatures. Although each miniature has its pros and cons the axis and allies piece statistics are balanced to provide fair and realistic battles.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Are Elvish, Klingon, Dothraki and Na'vi Real Languages?

Are Elvish, Klingon, Dothraki and Na'vi Real Languages; is a short video that explains that proceeding “languages” not real languages, but are what we call conlangs. It is interesting to note that J. R. R. Tolkien’s, elvish has about two thousand word vocabulary, and Na'vi has a fifteen hundred word vocabulary. The Na'vi are a race of extraterrestrial humanoids who inhabit the jungle moon of Pandora. The Na'vi are characters found in James Cameron's Avatar.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pirates of the Caribbean: Mischief and Danger that Threatens Kingdoms

For those you might want to immerse themselves in pirate myths and lore before playing the likes of Pirates of the Spanish Main or some other Whizkids pirate variant, The Pirates of the Caribbean: Mischief and Danger that Threatens Kingdoms site offers pages on the history of piracy, pirate specifics (Piece of Eight, Doubloons and the Jolly Rodger), tools of the trade (A Pirate Arsenal-Weapons-Ships), and a reference section.

There is a wealth of information here on all sorts of pirate myths and lore. The site is definitely worth a visit or two and will get you in the mood for some pirate related mischief. Arrr!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Build your own Stubby Paper Rocket!

I have so many links to material that I thought I would like to make posts; so many links that they have a tendency to get lost in the shuffle. This is my first Rockets and Rocket Men post, a topic I hope to expound on in the upcoming months. The TOR HMS Stubbin has somewhat of a history and there are even a few desktop wallpapers for your computer.

The paper-craft model doesn’t look all that difficult to assemble. There are two files to download, that is the model itself and the illustrated instructions (both files are PDF’s).

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Crew of the Flying Dutchman

Last month I made a post on the Pirates of the Caribbean Wiki-Davy Jones, where I mentioned that Davy Jones was the captain of the Flying Dutchman, a mystical ship that first appeared in Pirates of the Caribbean’s Dead Man's Chest.

Recently I came upon this gallery of the Crew of the Flying Dutchman where it describes some of the crew of this infamous ship. If the persona of Davy Jones wasn’t enough to give you the creeps the rest the crew is sure to push you over the edge.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Frank Reade Jr. Indian Hunter

It has been reported that before Frank Jr. participated in his jaunts in the Caribbean, Frank Jr. took part in the Indian wars of Abobe Walls, and Geronimo.

  • Second Battle of Adobe Walls (1874): A battle over a spot of land in the Texas panhandle that once held an adobe build that served as a trading post.
  • Geronimo (1885-86): A venerated war chief of the Apaches. His warring parties took part in raids on Mexico and US territories.

As was the case of his Caribbean affairs, Frank Jr. and his crew provided cover for US troops from his air and land ships.

The American Indian never really had a chance and were outnumbered and out gunned from the start. They might have been called savages because of some of their barbarous ways, but who were the real savages in these conflicts?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Four HO Gauge Structures for my Layout

I have been unpacking my structures to make sure they are all in one piece before I place them out on my HOn30 model train layout. Only a few, so far, needed some minor repairs and other adjustments. These structures are for the little town of Gotham.

Dirty and Grimy Industrial Storage Shed or Shop

A plastic kit from Con-Cor, I believe.

Wimpy's Tackle Shop

A Campbell’s repurposed bunk house kit is a simple wood sheet kit. You will find these small and weathered buildings next to boat docks and wharfs. You can purchase tackle, bait, ice, snacks, and drinks from these little businesses. This building is in pretty good shape compared to some I have seen.

Hobby Shop

This kit was built from preformed wood sheet walls and metal door and window castings. I don't remember the manufacturer of this kit.

Stone Bank Building

I am not sure, but this kit could be from Design Preservation This is a Main Street Heritage model. (Perhaps not, I couldn’t find one of these kits in their current catalogs. Anyone know where this kit originates?) It is a resin kit. These resin kits are easy to assemble and have a lot of detail built into the casting.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Lost Inca Gold—Ransom, Riches, and Riddles

This is my second Lost Treasure post. Whether this article is fact or fiction it does seem to provide some evidence that suggests that there might have been a huge treasure trove of thousands of articles that had been squirreled away by the ancient Incas after being double crossed by the Spaniards.

The mystery is; does it still exist? This story might be a great scenario for a role playing or miniatures game. What do you think?

There are Inca miniatures, and treasure piece miniatures, and I am sure we can find miniatures suited for the other players in this adventure game.

Monday, November 11, 2013

My Current Reading List

I am in the middle of reading several books, two of which are technical in nature, for a certification I am studying for and the following texts are for fun.

The Other Log of Phileas Fogg

The Other Log of Phileas Fogg (Wold Newton) (Wold Newton Novels), by Philip Jose Farmer is a story about the legendary character of Phileas Fogg. This novel, my first go of the author Philip Jose Farmer, is the third instance of this character I have come upon. Interesting! (more about Phileas Fogg in an upcoming post).

Captain Nemo by Kevin J. Anderson

I have just finished reading this novel in concurrence to a series of posts I would like to make on Captain Nemo. Captain Nemo by Kevin J. Anderson is a story about Nemo in his formative years. (I am writing a review about this book and will be making a post as soon as possible. The story, a deconstruction of the original Captain Nemo, looks at a different aspect of this infamous character.)

Axis and Allies War at Sea, Rulebook

I am in process of reading through this rulebook for this two player game. The rules seems to be relatively easy to understand, not to burdensome, and the game should keep our attention. A full review of this game will follow.

The Lost World, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Lost World novel was on my winters reading list and was read on an Android tablet. The Lost World, a novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was first released in 1912, is a story about an expedition to an Amazonian plateau where prehistoric animals and other creatures somehow still survive. The novel provided a very spirited story, where four men battled ape like creatures and prehistoric animals to survive. The four were left to explore the plateau on their own after being double crossed by their native guides.

The four characters that were left to explore consisted of two professors, a big-game hunter, and a reporter.  The four captured by war like apes and are ultimately rescued by the help of a tribe of humans. Along the way the big-gamer hunter finds a location where diamonds are abundant and collects a small bag full of these stones.

Eventually the four find their way off the plateau through a series of tunnels and make it back to England where the two professors are reluctantly given credit for their discoveries.  It is not until the professor releases a Pterodactyl , creating quite a stir, where the scientific committee finely gives the professors the full acclaim they richly deserve.

I would greatly appreciate any help finding appropriate miniatures and game rules for this genre. I had found some miniatures that were created with this story in mind, but have since lost the link.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

My Pirates of Mysterious Island Crew Members

The following crew attributes are from Whizkids crew cards. Typically each pack contains at least two and sometimes three crewmembers. Out of the seven packs of the pirates game that I have purchased I have collected sixteen crewmembers. The crewmembers listed are from three different versions, and from six different nations.

Crew Type
Linked To

Once per turn, one of this ships cannon’s may shoot again if it misses.
Firepot Specialist

Once per turn this ship, given a shoot action may shoot a firepot at a target within a Short of her. You must declare which cannon is being used for this purpose before rolling a die. If it hits the controller of the stricken ship replaces one of her masts with a fire mast. Thereafter, at the beginning of every turn they must roll a die. If they roll a 6, they remove the fire mast, but upon rolling a 1-3, another fire mast is added. This continues until all her masts are fire masts, at which time the ship must be scuttled.

Upon reaching her home island or a fort she may remove all the fire masts as a free action.
Firepot Specialist

Once per turn this ship, given a shoot action may shoot a firepot at a target within a Short of her. You must declare which cannon is being used for this purpose before rolling a die.

The target need not be another ship. Simply place the center of a fog bank within a SHORT of her. The fog bank cannot touch an island or any ship that is docked at a island. Remove the fog bank at the beginning or your next turn.

This ship may dock and explore a wild island using the same move action.

Carbon Charlie
Known to most as Charles Southwyn. Carbon Charlie makes some of the finest firearms in the world.

Powder Pete
When Powder Pete and Carbon Charlie are serving on the same ship the ship gets a +1 cargo space
When this ship is docked at your home island, you may eliminate one treasure. The treasure becomes a #3-Long cannon that can be eliminated only when the ship sinks.
Commander Spencer Portland

Once per turn, before giving this ship a action roll one die. On a 5 or a 6 this ship may be given the same action twice.

This ship’s crew cannot be eliminated, except if the ship sinks.
Jean Desailly
Le Rich

Give this ship a move action, but do not move her, instead roll a die. If the result is a 5 or 6 move an enemy ship on LONG in any direction.
Black Mark. (The black mark indicates that the crew member belongs to the cursed nation, instead of the nation of their origin.)


If derelict, this ship gains a base move of a Short. This crew-member does not take-up a cargo space.

Nikos Chelios
Ex-patriot. Once per turn this ship may take two treasure pieces from any ship she touches.

This ship may repair at sea or at any island.

Firepot Specialist

Once per turn this ship, given a shoot action may shoot a firepot at a target within a Short of her. You must declare which cannon is being used for this purpose before rolling a die. If it hits the controller of the stricken ship replaces one of her masts with a fire mast. Thereafter, at the beginning of every turn they must roll a die. If they roll a 6, they remove the fire mast, but upon rolling a 1-3, another fire mast is added. This continues until all her masts are fire masts, at which time the ship must be scuttled.

Upon reaching her home island or a fort she may remove all the fire masts as a free action.
Biancos Haulers
Master  Bianco

When  Biancos Haulers and the Master  Bianco are on the same ship, the ship gets +1 cargo space
This ship may unload cargo at your home island is she is within a Short of it.

This ships gains one #3 Long cannon. The cannon cannot have its cannon range increased. It can shoot from any mast, even an eliminated mast.
Fernando Sanchez
Nemesion Diaz

When Fernando Sanchez and Nemesion Diaz are on the same ship the ship gets +1 cargo spaces.

This ship may dock at an enemy’s home island and load one treasure, if she is able. The ship must leave on your next turn.


If derelict, this ship gains a base move of a Short. This crew-member does not take-up a cargo space.


If derelict, this ship gains a base move of a Short. This crew-member does not take-up a cargo space.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Pirates of the …Ships-Getting them Built

I have found a method of prepping the slot that receives the sail tabs. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner. Before attempting to insert the tabs into their slots, I take a small file and carefully clean and ever so slightly enlarge these slots. Since I have started to perform this operation I have not broken another sail tab.

Some of the tabs seem a bit too short and there isn’t enough of the tab inserted in the slot to hold the mast securely. In this case I put a drop of cyanoacrylate glue on the bottom of the piece that received the tabs. Cyanoacrylate can also be used to tabs that might have gotten a bit too much pressure inserting them into their slots. This can be avoided by using my fist method filing.

Ships and a Sea Monster from Pirates of Davy Jones Curse

I have added three new ships and one sea monster to my ever growing collection of sailing ships. Here are the specs for the four new pieces:

Name:  Jormungandr
Points:  17
Flag/Nation:  Cursed
Masts:  4
Hold Capacity:  4
Basic Movement:  Long
Cannon:  3 Short (2, 3, and a 3); 1 Long (4)

Jörmungandr taken from Norse mythology is a giant serpent like beast that is sometimes called the Midgard serpent or snake. The Jormungandr is my first sea monster.

Although Sea monsters act just like a ship, with the exception of being able to carry crew, their coils are treated like masts and can fire cannon from each of its coils. In addition they can carry treasure. The treasures are obtained from pinning and boarding a ship and not from explore action on a wild island. If the sea monster succeeds at a boarding party, it also eliminates one mast.

Instead of using this unit in its traditional mode I am thinking about using Jormungandr in response to some situation card that is picked by a player. There will be cards for two of the three basic actions. I am thinking about adding situation cards to the Move and Explore actions. More to follow…

Name:  La Richelieu
Points:  10
Flag/Nation:   French
Masts:  3
Hold Capacity:  4
Basic Movement:  Long
Cannon:  2 Short (3, and a 3); 1 Long (3)

This is my second French flagged vessel. This ships gets +1 to here cannon rolls against the Cursed. This ship is linked to the Jean Desailly crewmember. Desailly brings some unique characteristics and abilities to the ship in which he is on…

Name:  HMS Caradoc
Points:  13
Flag/Nation:  England
Masts:  4
Hold Capacity:  4
Basic Movement:  Short + Long
Cannon:  3 Short (4, 3, and a 3); 1 Long (4)

The HMS Caradoc is a schooner. Once per turn this ship may reroll any die you roll for the ship. As a free action this ship type can rotate her stern in any direction after she completes a move action.

Name:  HMS Seaham
Points:  9
Flag/Nation:  England
Masts:  2
Hold Capacity:  2
Basic Movement:  Short + Short
Cannon:  2 Short (3 and a 3)

This ship gets +1 her boarding rolls and gets +2 added if her opponent is a sea monster.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Frank Reade - An Adventure in the Age of Invention - The Last of the Conquerors

There are lot of links in this post. This is a post that I had written some time ago and somehow had forgotten to make the post.

Frank Reade: An Adventure in the Age of Invention is a superb book with many wonderful illustrations, many of them in color. Frank Reade is a fictional character, but the authors of this volume have you wondering is Frank Reade a fictional or a nonfictional character.

Josiah Harlan is reported as being Frank Reade’s favorite historical character and Frank is said to have been inspired by this character. All of the following are real characters from the past and are mentioned briefly in the text.

James Brooke (1803-1868)

James Brooke was a British East India Company mercenary that eventually started his own business. He was made the Rajah of Sarawak, by the Sultan of Brunei, for his part in putting down a rebellion against the Sultan.

Francis Burton (1821-1890)

"Sir Richard Francis Burton was an English geographer, explorer, translator, writer, soldier, orientalist, cartographer, ethnologist, spy, linguist, poet, fencer and diplomat." Burton was another former British East India Company mercenary. Sir Francis Burton spoke twenty-nine languages, was a noted fencer and hypnotist.

Josiah Harlan (1799-1871)

Josiah Harlan was another British East India Company mercenary. Harlan was an American adventurer and mercenary who traveled to Afghanistan with the intent on making himself king”. Harlan eventually became the Prince of Ghor and was the inspiration to Rudyard Kipling when writing his “The Man Who Would Be King”.

Percy Fawcett (1867-1925)

Percy Fawcett was one of many who disappeared looking for the famed city of gold El Dorado. Myths still exist about this famed city, but to this day no city of gold has been discovered.

Cecil Rhodes (1853-1902)

Cecil Rhodes was a South Africa mining magnate that amassed more than a half a million square miles of land by obtaining mineral concessions from African Chieftains. After two Matabele wars this area was renamed Rhodesia and now makes up the country of Zambia.

William Walker (1824-1860)

The life of William Walker is an interesting one. I remember doing research and writing a paper on this very flamboyant character while in university. William Walker was an American adventurer, and a filibuster. Filibusters formulate revolutions in order to topple governments. Walker, who briefly installed himself the president of Nicaragua, took part in several attempted revolutions in Central American countries. William Walker was shot by a firing squad for his part of one such attempt in Honduras.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Axis and Allies-War at Sea-HMS Saumarez

The HMS Saumarez was an S-class destroyer that was commissioned in 1943. The Saumarez saw action in the Atlantic and earned the following battle honors for the following campaigns: Arctic 1943-44, North Cape 1943, and Normandy 1944. During operations in the Pacific the Saumarez earned the following battle honors: Malaya 1945 and Burma 1945.

As part of the East Indian Fleet the Saumarez together with four other destroyers intercepted the Imperial Japanese cruiser Haguro and sank her with torpedoes, this fight being the last surface action of the war.
Some of the Axis and Allies-War at Sea statistics for this vessel are:
  • Speed (Movement): 2
  • Armor: 2
  • Vital Armor: 7
  • Hull Points: 2
  • Rarity: common

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Another Source for 1/1800 Scale Ships

I have been searching for other sources of 1/1800 scale ships without avail until I hit upon the offerings at Shapeways. Shapeways offers a large collection 1/1800 scale, modern, WWII, and one my current interests 1890 Pre-dreadnought battleships. These models are on the expensive side though, usually in the $5.00 to $10.00 range. The 1890 Pre-dreadnought and other battleships can be had for considerably less in smaller scales.