dispatches from terra incognita

Month: January 2023

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.

Competing debate societies.


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.

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