Sunday, April 30, 2023

Pass in Review: Italian Vessels of the Regia Marina for Cruel Seas


(Cover Art for the Regia Marina Starter Kit)

Hi folks!  I hope you've all been well since my last post of 29 April 2022.

I'm still in Recovery Mode: Dealing with chronic pain and fatigue, along with doing physical therapy. The need to exercise and rest gives me little time, or energy, to write.  However, I'm a bit healthier, and mobile than I was this time last year.

Plus I have a topic that's motivated me to start writing again. 

Several months ago I came across some nicely painted Bolt Action figures for sale on e-Bay.  These high-quality figures were being sold by Artist Joe Keister of NE Miniatures and Models.

I was so impressed with Joe's work, that I asked him to paint, not just remainder of my Cruel Seas collection, but my entire Mound of Shame.  

But taking things one step at a time, and thanks to Joe, I'm closer to having my "Mosquito Fleet" completed.

The first batch of figures I received, was my Regia Marina (article) vessels, and wrecked structures.

Nearly two years ago, I posted about the lighthouses I painted (8 July 2021), and the difficulty I had painting the structures white.

Joe painted-up the wrecked versions I had in a dull grey, so they can represent recently destroyed, or long abandoned lighthouses.

Here's the result of Joe's handiwork, who by the way, also took photos of his accomplishments:

I have a couple of coastal tankers and a merchant ship, so naturally I had to have a wrecked version.

One of the most neglected figures I had were the aircraft that needed painting.  I had another guy paint the few that came with the Starter Kits I bought.

But they didn't turn out anywhere as great as these planes did: 

(Aircraft of all factions painted and photographed by Joe Keister)

Now for the vessels themselves: 

First up, is the MZ-Motozattera, (motor barge), used to ferry troops and supplies.

Next, are a pair of marine fahrprahm-f-lighters used as escort vessels. 

The mainstay small vessels of the Regia Marina were the MAS Boats.

But Italy had help from Germany in the construction of  M5 CRDS-60t Series-1boats, schnellboots used by the Regia Marina.

Here's my entire Regia Marina vessel collection in a Pass in Review pic.

I'm currently working on packaging my remaining Cruel Seas vessels, this time, of the British Royal Navy.

Once I ship the package out, the only task I have for now is gluing the itty-bitty Italian flags on to the itty-bitty masts.

Before my British vessels "roll down the slipways," I hope to come up with other blog-worthy topics.

Thank you for reading!

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Bolt Action: Recent Figure Purchases

(Cover art for the 2nd Ed rule book)

 I received my copy of the Bolt Action (BA) core rulebook last week.  I've been collecting unpainted figures for a couple years now.  However, I've been unable to paint them, or get them painted.  The reasons are:  
My hands shake to a varying degree, ever since I woke up from my lung transplant surgery, and everyone I know is busy with their own miniature projects.

So a few weeks ago I took to E-Bay and did some Shopping Therapy.

Just in time, too.

I got great deals on American and German infantry and vehicles, along with one Soviet vehicle.  (I got outbid on the Soviet infantry).

Below is a gallery of my recent acquisitions:


For my US Army Infantry platoon, I organized it into 3 x 8-man rifle squads, and a command squad.

(My purchase of pre-painted US Army Infantry)

These finely painted figures are plastic and light weight.  Even though they're not tippy like a lot of my Warhammer 40K figures are, I like the weight of metal.  So I'll be doing two improvements:

1. Supergluing washers underneath the bases.

2. Painting the edges of the bases in various earth-tone colors to help identify each squad.

For American Armor support--I got this M-4A3EZ8:

I'm not too keen on adding anything larger than light-armored vehicles to what's suppose to be a small skirmish, or recon force.  I bought this big boy to "personify" my tank in my recently purchased game, American Tank Ace--Europe, 1944-1945

Switching over to the Eastern Front for a bit, I place bids on a Soviet infantry platoon, and a Lend-Leased M-3 Scout Car.  I lost the bid on the infantry, but won the scout car.

Oh, well. Can't win 'em all, I guess.

I ended up breaking off part of the droopy M2, forward machine gun.  I thought it was bendable metal.  Instead it was plastic.  I actually think it looks better this way.  I'll have to touch-up the muzzle.  I also had to glue down the right side 30 caliber machine gun.

Now for those fighting on both the Eastern and Western Fronts: 

For the German Panzer units, I now have a SdKfz 251 "Hanomag" with crew for a transport/machine gun support vehicle:

Tank support will be provided by a PzKpfw II (Panzer II):

This vehicle will require a bit more touching up.  The paint on the right-side top hull needs to be repainted.  I'm not too concerned about matching the colors perfectly.  "Close enough" for field work will upgrade the panzer to Table Top Quality.  I'll claim the crew repainted it with whatever color they managed to scrounge for.

Ground troops from the German Army ("Heer"), will be this 25-figure infantry platoon.

I organized them into 2 x squads of riflemen, and 1 x command squad; along with a squad of submachine gunners, each armed with a Soviet PPSh-41.  I imagine these guys could be used as scouts, assault troops, or just divvied up between the other squads.

For fire support I now have 3 x MG 42-armed machine gun teams.

There are two versions of each team.  One is in travel mode and the other is in deployed mode.

Oddly enough, the only figure armed with an MP 40 submachine gun is one of the MG-42 loaders.

Today, (Friday, 28 Oct), I placed bids on a few more American vehicles.  The bidding is supposed to close by this Sunday.

Wish me luck!

If I win anything I'll add another Bolt Action gallery post.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Return to Blogging and New Gaming Space


(New Gaming/Play Area/Project Workshop Area)

I'm back!  

Sort of.

It's been nearly a year since my last blog post.

My hiatus from the internet was not by my choice.  About now I'm coming up on my One Year "Lungaversary."  For instance, two days ago marked my first anniversary of the last time I worked or drove a vehicle.

From the summer of 2019 until December of 2021, I was battling Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), until my lungs collapsed.  In the first week of the Holiday Season, I was hospitalized and had a bi-lateral lung transplant.  Everything fell into place within a few days that needed to be, in order for me to have a transplant.

This was a miracle.  I now have a second lease on Life.

The downside is that I spent 4 months in the hospital, from late November 21 to mid March 22, most of it in the Intensive Care Unit.

I've been in Recovery Mode ever since, and will be for at least several more months.

This has left me with little time or energy to blog.  It took me until mid May to be able to climb stairs, and my daily walks are still limited to about 5 minutes/hour, at most.  My hands shake to a varying degree which makes counter-clipping hard and painting miniatures impossible.

However, my health has improved a bit, thanks to my wife being my 27/7/365 caregiver.  

In addition to taking care of my health needs, she's been working on the house, or coordinating contractors to add improvements and upgrades.

One of the most considerate things she did was clearing out a space in the garage, pictured above, to be used for:  Gaming, a play area for the grandkids, and a workshop area.  My step son hung up a Velcro pile tape along the garage entry, in order to set up a custom-made screen.

Two of my grandkids already tested out the area a couple months ago, playing with a large set of spongy blocks we have.

Since I can't be left alone, my friend Joe, has come over to sit with me, while my wife runs errands, or takes a well-deserved day off with family and friends.

We've utilized this time to binge-watch war documentaries, war movies, and play a long-running game of Admirals' War.

(Cover Art to Admirals' War)

It's a 10-turn game, with each turn representing several months of World War II naval operations.  We started playing in the last week of August.  Since we're new at this game, this session has been more of a learning experience.  Joe manages to visit 1-3 times a week and we squeeze in 1-2 turns each time.

We finished the Movement Phase of Turn 10, and are planning on engaging in the last sea battles of the war later this week.

I didn't take any pics of our game, but my next blog post will be some sort of After Action Review.

Thank you all for your support.


Sunday, November 14, 2021

Pass in Review: US Navy PT Boats for Cruel Seas

(Image from:  Warfare History Network)

 My apologies for the long delay between posts.

I'm currently dealing with a major health issue, that I'll comment at length about below.

Despite attending multiple medical appointments and suffering from fatigue (among other things), I managed to finish painting my US Navy PT Boat collection for Cruel Seas collection.

(Image from:

Some of my vessels came from Warlord Games' US Navy Fleet Starter Set...

(Image from:  Warlord Games)

...while the bulk of my boats came from the US Navy PT Boat Flotilla set:

(Image from:  Warlord Games)

Here are 10 out of my 14 PT Boats:

I painted four vessels from the US Navy Start Set and "Lend Leased" two of them to the UK Royal Navy.  (Translation:  I put Royal Navy ensigns on two boats).

I painted each vessel type in distinct color schemes for easy identification during gaming.  The Army Painter colors I primarily used for the decks & hulls were:  Ash Grey, Field Grey, Army Green, Deep Blue. The boats' equipment were painted in Filthy Cape, Wolf Grey, Rough Iron, or colors similar to each deck color.  Since I found Gun Metal too shiny, I mixed it with an equal amount of Matt Black to paint the boats' armaments. The rafts and life boats were painted Phoenix Flame and Matt White, respectively, simply because I wanted to add more color to the boats than varieties of blue & grey.

The two blue vessels are actually two-toned, with grey hulls and blue decks.  I stole the idea was inspired by "FlyXwire's" photo on The Miniatures Page:

(Image by:  FlyXwire on The Miniatures Pg.)

There are 3 distinct types of vessels in my collection.

First are the Elco Boats:

The most famous being PT-109, skippered by JFK.

(Image from the JFK Library)

Next are the Higgins Boats:

And finally, four Elco Boats converted to "Barge Busters."

Since I bought two packages, each containing two boats, I inadvertently created one more boat of this type than was done historically.  

Well, wargamers usually like to play fast & loose with history in order to explore "what ifs?" So I don't think my extra boat would overbalance any tabletop campaign.

Speaking of campaigns, one of the reasons why I'm excited about completing my PT boats is because I also purchased, Devil Boats, by Compass Games.

(Image by Compass Games)

It's one of the many solitaire games that are becoming all the rage among today's tabletop gamers.  I like the idea of using this game to generate Cruel Seas scenarios in a mini campaign.

And I didn't stop here either.  I pre-ordered the company's upcoming Schnell Boats...

...and Dog Boats:

I'm looking at playing solitaire games as soon as I finish painting and assembling my remaining vessels belonging to the UK Royal Navy and Italian Regia Marina.

The reason being, as I mentioned in the beginning, is I'm now in poor health.  

I've been battling what turned out to be Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF).  It's a degenerative, incurable lung disease that know one knows how I developed it (the "idiopathic" part of the definition).

I'm chronically short of breath, prone to coughing fits and have difficulty speaking.  My symptoms have worsened, especially these past couple months.  In fact, I'm currently going through the process of qualifying for a lung transplant.  I'm on oxygen and need a walker or wheelchair to go any distance beyond that of a typical room in my house.

Because of my condition I was medically discharged from my job as a State Emergency Operations Officer for Washington State Emergency Management (EMD) and am now considered disabled.  I'm currently applying for disability benefits through the Veterans Administration and Social Security.  

My wife and I spoke with two pulmonary doctors at the Transplant Clinic.  They told us that patients diagnosed with IPF have an average life expectancy of 3 years from the time of being diagnosed.

I was diagnosed in April 2020, so I'm just past the half-way point.

What's worse, is the doctor said that my symptoms indicate that I have "...a whole lot less time than this."

Waiting for a lung transplant can be a very quick or very long process.  Current average wait time is 7 months.

Hopefully, I can hold out, get the transplant and finish painting my Cruel Seas boats, along with starting up solitaire games to add to this blog.

Thank you for your support.