Sunday, March 15, 2009

Something's up over at Conte

Go here.  I'm hoping that they'll be releasing those zouaves, in plastic, sooner rather than later and that they'll end up in my toy soldier box!


Cold Wars 2009

Somebody get that nice French lady a safety pin!

The theme was "Revolutions" at the Historic Miniatures Gaming Society's Convention entitled Cold Wars  in Lancaster PA this weekend.  I was the guest of the event director Frank Preziosa, an avid gamer, enthusiast for the hobby, and very gracious host.

Gamers showed up from all across the northeastern states as well as Canada (and a few brits as well) for this three day extravaganza of simulated mayhem on air land and sea.

It was a case of "byotm" or bring your own tape measure as over 2500 gamers participated in an incredibly wide variety of wargames in many scales representing all eras, past, present, and even future.

Throughout the convention complex in large ballrooms as well as small meeting rooms gamers were involved in some of the most good natured life and death combat.

The crowd was intense, enthusiastic, and very quick to introduce newcomers to the world of miniature war gaming.

The tabletop battlefields were often nearly breath-taking with incredible amounts of painstaking attention to detail.  These miniature landscapes are compelling to everyone, but especially to that next generation of gamers - kids.

It was refreshing to see such cross-generational fun going on at the various tables, as with this threesome involved in a 54mm WWII scenario.  There were only a few of these larger-scale battles scheduled as they tend to really eat up the landscape, and can be pretty expensive for those who play in that scale.  54mm is the size that I find most satisfying, its your traditional toy soldier size.

The flea market area was packed cheek to jowl with hobbyists looking for bargains, and the flea market area seemed to be the only place those elusive bargains were going to be found.

You'd never know there was a recession on to look at the vendors building, or at their prices.

The retail area in the expo center was pretty much business as usual, it was difficult to find "show specials", at least in my scale. I was hoping to score some bargains on 54mm ACW Marxmen or Butternut and Blue figures. They were certainly available but at the same old pre-economic stimulus prices. 

Sadly, this impoverished campaigner could afford no reinforcements. 

My favorite aspect of the retail area is simply the scope and color of the available products, from these whacked-out acid-trip dragons...

to your standard "my dad defeated fascism and all I got was this lousy Tee-shirt"...

to some truly beautiful miniature work, such as this Union Jack crafted by the "Flag dude", to whom you can link here.  In my opinion this product was "best of show".  Each one of these paper flags is a tiny work of art, and really bring a colorful burst of realism to a small-scale regiment.

The "Flag Dude" himself with his colorful ocean of tiny flags of all nations and eras.  A very cool product.

Some of this stuff too, which I totally don't understand.  But "live and let live" is my motto for all affairs of the heart...gaming too.

Speaking of paper, check out this gorgeous star fort, all done in paper!  I love this guy's stuff!

There was no shortage of painting services, for gamers who like to fight but don't like the logistics aspects of campaigning.

And, some of this as well.  These lads apparently like their girls armed and chilly.

Meanwhile back at the hotel...

the games continued all afternoon and into Friday evening.  Meanwhile I was back in my  room...

doing some maintenance on my pewter 3rd Michigan that I'd be displaying on Saturday afternoon.

And I must admit, my fellows looked pretty great in all their bright and shiny splendor!

Here's a fantastic WWII street battle, the level of detail is stunning,

just as it is with these beautifully painted 28mm figures, which appear to have a trip to the beach in the offing.

In addition to the usual historic battles, here were a few modern-day urban scenarios underway.  These are slowly gaining in popularity.

Here's a group of Americans conferring prior to hitting the beaches of Normandy.

The game-master provides instruction as the evil Germans prepare their defense of Fortress Europe.

This young aviator was mesmerized by the action.

Finally!  American Civil War in a manly scale!  54mm Confederates were dug-in and awaiting the onslaught of advancing Federals.

Its an uphill struggle all the way for these Yankees on this very interesting playing surface.

I was short of breath just watching them struggle uphill toward the Rebel guns.

The 54mm action continued in the room I was set up in as a large group of kids simulated the Texians vs. the Mexicans at the Alamo.

This intent gamer was plotting her next move in the eventual defeat of her Texian brother.

There were also painting workshops held throughout the weekend which seemed to be a very popular draw with some very talented instructors.

These large-scale ships seemed to be a real attract for the younger gamers...

as this one who is loading up his ship with sailors and marines.

I couldn't agree more!

Frank Preziosa, the honcho of the event and my host, was a very busy guy but took time out to chat with me about the convention and the hobby.  Frank made it clear that the one message he'd like to get across to the non-gamers out there is a simple one "Come check us out and see what it's all about!".  From my non-gamer point of view I think you'll find the welcoming atmosphere as well as the level of enthusiasm reason enough to take him up on his invitation.

You'll meet the nicest people...some of them quite tiny.

Now here's a short Youtube I put together of the event.  I do hope you enjoy it.

See you on April 1st, Soldier on!


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cold Wars 2009

Hello all,

I'll be going up to Lancaster PA this weekend to participate in the Cold Wars wargaming convention and extravaganza.  I'll be taking lots of pictures and I hope to make a good blog entry out of it.

You can visit the official Cold Wars site by clicking here

And as the photo below will demonstrate, I am a bona fide Cold Warrior

I'll be at a table somewhere working on my long term pewter 3rd Michigan project, as in Third Michigan Volunteer Infantry. Look for my beard or my logo and stop by and say hello. Mention my blog and get a free hello back!

But seriously, I do hope you'll stop by.