Circa Games

dispatches from terra incognita

Catching Up: Junque Store Finds

These were some lovely “junque store” finds — some little wooden buildings, clearly hand made, possibly for wargaming, “dust collector” display shelves, or folk art? The first set was meant to be mine. I saw them at the serendipitously-named CIRCA in Charlottesville, VA, while visiting my son in law school. I initially talked myself out of them, but decided later that day I had to have them. They were still there the next day, which basically never happens with stuff I want, so they were purchased.

Daybreak; a rustic village on the river.

The villagers congregate.

 

A quick nip, al fresco.

Cometing debate societies.

Barkeep.

Simple, desultory philippics.

Another day at the mill.

The next set were on clearance at a different junque shop, this time in North Carolina. The wood on these was more cleanly cut, and the windows and doors were “stamped” on with ink. They were perhaps a child’s toy? At any rate, the same sort of debating societies are prevalent.

Posing for a Daguerreotype.

These buildings may inspire me to begin collecting 15mm American Civil War miniatures.

Catching Up: Splintered Light

The minis up next have been nagging at my conscience for years. Many, many birthdays ago, my two boys pitched in together to get me several sets of Splintered Light miniatures anthropomorphic animals. I painted a few, and then they sat. And sat. And sat… What a bad dad they had, Dr. Seuss might put it.

At any rate, in my current push to “finish stuff,” I did just that. I had experienced a lot of silly hinderances through the years. I got out of painting smaller-scale figures (SLM now calls these 28mm, I think, but they are sized like 15mms). I couldn’t identify all the animals, and I was worried there would just be a lot of shades of brown. And, we are huge Wind in the Willows fans, so I wanted those guys to be right. Anyhoo, I’m a braver and more skilled painter now (turns out that when you do something every day for a long time, you get better at it…) so I pressed on to completion. Now I’m keen to get some more of them.

The “Good Guys.”

Wind in the Willows & Uncle Wiggly.

 

The “bad guys;” a preponderance of foxes.

Catching Up: 54mm Fantasy

These are recent acquisitions. Years back, someone online praised a set of 54mm fantasy miniatures available in a bucket from Toy R Us. By the time I got after them, they “unavailable” and then not too long after that Toys R Us itself went under. For some reason, it took years for my addled brain to consider looking on eBay for the bucket. Once I did, they were an easy catch. I likely paid too much, but there you go. These are all the figures, I believe — so I have several more of each of these. If I practice, I imagine I could kitbash them a bit to come up with some originals.

Originally from Toys R Us.

The leader in the next shot is from that original bucket. The skeletons came from a “Pirates vs. Skeletons” bucket (which I also think was from Toys R Us) but which I was able to purchase years ago. They were present when I built my Hobby Shack. They have Egyptian-looking headdresses, to I guess I could use them to make a 54mm Tomb Kings army.

The Hag Bride and here skeletal minions.

And finally, these fellows were originally a Halloween special from Dollar General (in the US). I bought them from eBay, quite certainly paying more than a dollar. I really like them, though, and wish I had gotten more. They remind me of the quaint silliness of older GW skeletons. I got the mummies too, but they are really silly. I don’t know why the one guy would have wings, and, alas, it was apparently too much for the sculptor to do wings and a rib cage, so he hasn’t one [!]

Catching Up: Empires

While immersed in my 15mm craze years ago, the Demonworld line of fantasy miniatures were customarily extolled. In researching them, I also discovered the Hobby Products campaign game Empires (a knockoff of GWs Mighty Empires). Anyway, I have yet to acquire any Demonworld miniatures, but I did get the Empires box set, from eBay, I think.

The box set comes with two “starter” miniatures, a human and orc capital city.


The included game board is heavy cardstock and there are card “counters” one could use for minis. At some point in my research on the game, and acquiring resources for campaign games, I downloaded pdfs of this and a few other Empires boards. They are somewhat modular, and thus can be combined.

As with Armada, and as will become a running theme, I haven’t played these rules either. The book is a dry read; perhaps the game would be fun. I am planning soon to begin collecting Demonworld minis before they get discontinued.

Catching Up: Armada

I’m endeavoring to share the fruits of the last few years’ labor. First up: Armada.

As I regret that I wasn’t sufficiently solvent nor interested when GW’s Man O’ War was au courant, I vowed not to miss the next one. I don’t know that Mantic’s Armada will ever be a replacement for MoW, but I did get the starter box for Christmas awhile back, and painted it soon thereafter. I opted for midnight blue sails for the orcs.

The whole starter set, with paper play mat and cardboard islands.

The Basilean fleet.

And, the Orcs.

There are more fleets available now, but I haven’t looked at them seriously. I haven’t even tried the rules yet.

At Long Last …

Whoops! There went a year.

I was busy painting but not posting for the entire duration of 2022. I do hope to motivate myself to share some of my progress in 2023.

I shall begin with a major accomplishment — Warhammer 7th edition Battle for Skull Pass. I got this one when it came out in 2006 or so. It sat in my closet for years, until I underwent a conversion in mid-2019 and began painting.

At long last, I have finished it all! Here is the back of the box, which has served as my painting guide for all these years:

And, here are my armies. Forgive the photos; the tabletop seems to have washed out all of the colors.

I somehow acquired one extra Night Goblin spearman and an unfortunate fellow who couldn’t dodge the cannonball. I don’t recall if they came with the set, or I got them from another source.

As the goblins are my favorite, I’ve augmented their forces through the years. Here’s an additional regiment of Stabbas:

some Fanatics:

Squigs and their herders

Forest Goblins of varying provenance

And orcs from the 6th Edition starter set I bought on eBay, in early 2020

I’ve been endeavoring to complete some of my innumerable projects — it does feel good to have the Skull Pass set finished.

Welcome, 2022

More time has passed than I would have wished. It seems I was more affected by my return to in-person teaching than I had anticipated. And, alas, my wife and I rang in this new year harboring an unwelcome omicronian infestation. We are both solidly on the mend and looking forward to better times in the New Year.

It seems my miniature collection has few two-faced denizens — please accept this Reaper ettin as a proxy Janus.

Despite my radio silence, I have been keeping up a steady pace of painting, 3D printing, and mdf construction (though I have been slower to finish painting my buildings). There remains little rhyme or reason to my regimen — one possible theme would be “try to paint a bunch of stuff that has been hanging around forever.”

To that end, I present a second dual-headed miniature, a blast from my past I have dubbed “Onward with Arne and Gax.”

I’ve had these chaps, unprimed and unloved, sitting in a box for 20 years. They were gifted to me during my brief stint as a voting member of GAMA (The Game Manufacturers Association), hoping to inveigle my vote for the Origins award, I believe. I’m still endeavoring to determine who made them. (Thus far, Googling and image searches have been for naught.) I’ve completed a couple of other minis from the same haul, along with three of my first-ever adulthood miniature purchases, all to be shared anon.

Anyhoo, my best wishes to one and all that 2022 will be a year of wonders.

Bones Day

Two Saturdays back (July 3) was “Bones Day” — I received my box of Bones miniatures from Reaper’s 5th Kickstarter. It took me almost a decade to learn, but I finally figured out how to work the Reaper Pledge manager. I opted not to get the Core Set (as I’ve done the previous four times), which has saddled me with a sizable collection of miniatures I don’t really want. This time I used my pledge to purchase various expansion sets and specific collections from the core set. Thus:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The loose bags contain constructs, Halloween, kid heroes, and townsfolk. The dangerous (to my bank account) news from Reaper is that they have reopened the Pledge Manager for 90 days, so, I could in fact go back and order the Core Set after all…

 

 

Spring Update: “Bits & Pieces of Everything”

While things do progress apace on the painting front, I have been a thoroughly lax chronicler of my activity… In addition, I’ve been recalled to the classroom for in-person kindergarten. I have to be grateful — my family remained healthy, employed, and educated. But, alas, my glorious anno hobbyoso has come an abrupt end.

For the past year, I managed to squeeze in an hour — and often twice that — of hobby time daily. I completed a number of “sets” of miniatures, along with odd bits of terrain. I began a Hirst Arts “ruined church” inspired by this one and resumed 3D printing — until the heat bed on my Monoprice Mini finally succumbed to a well-documented design flaw. I even built a battleship, based upon Bob Cordery’s directions.

I picked up the History of Wargaming Project reprint of Joseph Morschauser’s How to Play War Games in Miniature. I love his clear and engaging writing style, but was stung a bit by the lines:

It is up to you to decide which type and scale you prefer. Consider carefully all the advantages and disadvantages of each. Then, when you make your decision and start building up your collection, stick to your choice until you have two complete war game armies. If you start making changes mid-point in your program, you will end up with bits and pieces of everything, and nothing complete.

It is quite possible and perhaps desirable to own a number of different sets of armies, each of a different type, scale, and historical period. Many war gamers do. But collect them one at a time. Mid-point change is costly and wasteful.

Joseph Morschauser’s How to Play War Games in Miniature, p. 21.

The above heterogeneous mess represents a significant portion of my hobby labor over the past year. Some intention and persistence is evident; but also, alas, too much caprice.

The excellent Graham’s Wargames blog is entirely responsible for this flight of fancy. His “canal city” setup was just too, too tempting. The buildings are from TT Combat (I have some modern buildings of theirs) which is acquired through eBay. I’m planning a moire extensive “MDF Roundup” to review my purchases from various companies.

Here’s my Bob Cordery battleship, before painting. He built his by laminating many, many pieces of basswood. I took the measurements and attempted to cobble it together from scraps in the workshop. I’m going to make one or two adjustments on this one, and have another go to see if I can do it better.

The painted miniatures range from some 54s, a lot of 28s (mainly Reaper Bones, Super Dungeon Explore, and Zombicide), to the 1:700-ish ships from the Armada Starter Set. I did my Orc sails in dark blue rather than red (to make them look more raggedy) but I believe it was a poor decision.

I’ll put together a more thorough tour of this stuff in the near future.

Hobby Giving II

The long-awaited parcel from Hasslefree (last mentioned here) arrived, all ordered figures present. On a whim, I checked again on the site an, lo and behold, Daphne and Velma were back in stock. So, I expeditiously ordered them, along with another go ’round of the whole Mystery, Inc. team (standard and post-apoc) so that I could paint them up for myself. They arrived in reasonable time, so it had been the holiday mail holding up things in December. The figures are a joy to paint — I’m hewing as close to the iconic livery as possible.

And so, my younger son’s gift was complete — just a few months after Christmas.

I also finished my elder son’s girlfriend’s gift — the duo from Supernatural:

I wanted them to have a monstrous foe; a little research turned up a “scarecrow” as a serviceable villain. They don’t look like that in the show, but this chap was one of my countless Reaper Bones, now gone on to a better home. (The next edition of Bones — is it 5 now? — was promised for this month, but likely won’t make it until May. Which, of course, is just as well, as I have to many yet to paint from the first four … )

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