Thursday, April 25, 2019

My Trip to The Emperor's Headquarters

Shangri La for the historical wargamer! The sun of Austerlitz always shines on the Emperor's Headquarters (EHQ) - until it moved then closed a few years later.

I'm from California, had gone to school in Michigan, and as a graduation outing in May of 1994, my Mom, sister and I decided to take a week long tour around the Great Lakes. I had sort of planned on getting to EHQ if we were near which was at this time a legendary place. They were the hub of Napoleonic research in North America, home of Emperor's Press, and involved in wargaming and Napoleonic societies of all kinds. Plus I knew they carried a ton of Napoleonic miniatures and books. If we were near I was gonna stop in.

Except. Mother and I had competing agendas as I recall and EHQ was out of the question. After much pleading and assurances of my haste, I was granted five minutes - five minutes and then she's taking off. I was convinced she would, so I began a breakneck tour through the place with my sister in tow covering it all with the camera.

Yup, yup - I'm hurrying.

In recent years this kind of thing was common but it is nearly always filled with some other supportive product, be it Games Workshop, comics, RPGs, CCGs, vehicle models, board games, Fantasy, Sci Fi - what made EHQ great was is it was exclusively historicals and huge.

Honestly, the whole thing is a blur, I couldn't quite get my rushed mind around the whole place. I darted up each and every aisle like a loon trying to absorb it all.

Another bummer: I had no money to speak of so picking up anything was out of the question.

Rows and rows of Minifigs!

Scenic Effects (now defunct) buildings up top

I can't make out who made these Napoleonics on display - Front Rank?

The whole thing is just too much as the clock rapidly winds down.

Ah - the painted counter - always fun to peruse. At this time I had not yet been to the Last Grenadier in Burbank, nor Brookhurst - they were comparable in scale, but still had a mix of Fantasy, Scifi and other games by the time I got to them years later.

Not sure what I was trying to explain here ...

What's over here?

Ah - and a huge gaming area - how many games of Empire V were thrashed out on these tables? (None, by the look of them. Saturdays only?)

Times up! Never been back to the EHQ before it shuttered, nor Chicago sans layovers at O'Hare. But I did cast a shadow on the place, got a few pics and can say I was there.
Thanks for looking - questions, comments and followers are welcome and encouraged!

Monday, April 22, 2019

Stuart Phillip Frederick McDonald & the Great Mutiny

I was looking for something else entirely when I came across these photos that I would have sworn I had never possessed, but I am delighted to find them and to thus share them here. [This is partly going to be a third part tribute to my old friend S.P.F. McDonald (see Part 1 here and Part 2 here) who gave up the ghost just over twenty years ago.]

By this time in our friendship we had gone our separate ways so I wasn't around for any of this which means these had to have been taken in 1997 or maybe even 1998. 

I don't know who the players were, what rules he used, nor who took the photos, but they are extraordinary being as old as they are. I feel like teddy bear fur only recently became popular in the last 10 years so he was definitely ahead of his time, true to form. (The internet was only barely taking off around this time, and Google was nascent.) We were always committed to the best spectacle we could put on - a standard I try to maintain to this day.

I didn't alter any of these other then to crop out the yard equipment and loungers seen in the background. It appears he just dragged the table out into the yard for this engagement and the sunlight with the accompanying harsh shadows make these really immersive.

It's clear that this task force of Brits are to retake that mutineer held village.

Sepoys advance in disorder? Something's off here, perhaps they advanced faster then they could maintain cohesion?

Note the Camel Corps at the right fore - he went a little more purple than I would have but who's quibbling?

Mutineer cavalry rolls forward at center.

Only to be met by a hastily formed, but secure square. They must have been run off as they never reappear in this game.

Belooch or Baluch infantry storm the guns. Maybe the Fresno group painted up some of these, but I've never seen them in a game until here.

Camel Corps gives rout to their immediate opposition.

Stuart loved a wide variety of forces in his armies.

Mutineers in trouble as their left folds inward.

Baluchs sandwiched but with support pressing in favorably.

I've had a framed version of this one on the mantle for decades, but thought that was it.

A small rear guard moves forward, but it's all over but the shouting.

Looks like a fine game with a British victory as they dismantle the second and final mutineer barricade. The photos themselves have numbers from the developer printed on the back so I was able to determine the narrative accordingly. There are quite a few shots missing from the sequence though which unfortunately ends with this one.

I don't really have a good picture of Stuart other than this oddball one of him and his dog Dooley. Dooley was fiercely protective and even though he knew you, he would bark at you incessantly. Weird, but I guess typical of his breed. In any event, I think I've shared everything I have now of good ol' Stu. He continues to be missed and remembered.
Thanks for looking - questions, comments and followers are welcome and encouraged!

Queens, NYC - 2002

Thought you might get a kick out of my hobby space from seventeen years ago. At the time I lived in Jackson Heights, Queens - not too far from where Malcolm X had lived.

I notice many of those minis that are "on deck" here have still never been completed. I just pack'em up and move them with me and I think I've lived in over half a dozen places since this one.

That was my wargames table - not the biggest I've ever had, but not too far off sadly. And there were the beginnings of my Dwarven Forge dungeon set up - I've added many more sets since then. And all that sat cozily next to my console systems - yet another strong competitor for my time. Behind me in both of these shots are a row of bookcases I used to line one wall and to then divide the room.
Thanks for looking - questions, comments and followers are welcome and encouraged!

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Hypothesis: white glue can work as a small seam filler? Pt II

The short answer is that it's inconclusive. It filled smaller seams, and cut the severity of larger ones. As many said, it did shrink down significantly, but it was still enough to do the most important part - to disguise the fact that the tree was in several parts and assembled. It may have worked on that score, but I'll let you judge.

Now, and being slightly unfair to myself - I looked for the most glaring inadequacy on each tree. Truthfully, I had to kind of hunt for much of it so in many ways it did work. Perhaps I should just reapply at these trouble spots?

Once painted up, I don't know if this will be noticeable particularly.

That corner? Decidedly unnatural.

Heh - I notice as many opportunities for filing down as I do filling in.

What do you all think? Keep on messing with it or just get on with it? I think an acrylic gel medium may do it, but I'm just this side of past caring about it.

Thanks for looking - Questions, comments and followers are welcome and encouraged.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

28mm Reaper Freddie, Fritz & Three Pumpkin Horrors

The militia I finished a few years age have needed an opponent so here is the opening offering. I'm not particularly into Halloween in April, but these were near completion last October before I took a long painting break over the winter. Low hanging fruit if you will.
Enjoy! Questions, comments are welcome and encouraged.