Friday, August 2, 2013

Historicon Intermission #2 : Loot but no Pillage!

    Last year at Historicon, I spent almost nothing - less than $20. I think that was a record low for me. I was so busy running games, assisting with games, and playing games that I had little time to spend in the Flea market, and having just finished our big Borodino project, there wasn't much that I really needed anyway. This year was a different story....

   Tim arrived in Fredericksburg (from London) less than 30 minutes after I did from Connecticut (about 6.5 hrs drive, although it seemed much longer without Joe in the car to talk to - had to make due with classical, military, and Sci-Fi themes on the CD player instead!). Talk about precision timing!  After checking in to our hotel (Radisson in Federicksburg, one exit North of the Convention center) and relaxing for a while, we headed across the Rappahannock Falls bridge to the Convention site.  As we had about 30 minutes to kill, we decided to check out the local Hobby Lobby store. Tim found some items of interest, chiefly for his grandchildren, as did I, but for myself:

These "garden "sheets are about 4 x 6"; the ground is actually a light "dry dirt" brown color, rather than the grey that it appears above. Anyway, at $5 per sheet, I can't do it better or cheaper, so I bought two of them, intending to use them for the Gross Garten at Dresden in a few days. Of course, I put them in a place where it would be easy to find them for the game... and then couldn't!  They turned up as I was taking the game down, of course. No matter, they were used in my Novara game the following night!

I line the bottoms of my Very Useful Boxes transport boxes with color coded shelf liner to reduce the slippage, etc, when the troops are in transit in the car. (I have over 10,00 figures, so magnetic bases for all of them would be a daunting and expensive project indeed.!) This works pretty well, but even better with something on top of the figures to further reduce the tendency of stands to flip or shift. Another sheet of shelf liner works great for that... in cool weather. As I had been warned, in hot weather (and it was 100 degrees in Fredericksburg, and much hotter in the car in the parking lot), the material of the shelf liner will start to bind to the figures if in direct contact with them - most undesirable! It occurred to me that sheets of felt might be used on top of the figures for a similar purpose, and they could also be used, bunched up, to prevent shifting when a box isn't completely full (most of mine usually are - took 29 of them this year, the last 4 in Barry's car!). I knew from past experience that Fabric stores sell sheets of felt the size of standard letter paper (which is the exact size of the bottoms of my VUB's), and had already decided I would try that. So, as we strode through the aisles of the Hobby lobby, they had a great and well stocked selection of these, again at a very reasonable price - 25 cents a sheet. I bought almost 100 sheets, LOL. "White is for Austrians, Grey is for Prussians, Dark Blue is for French, Light Blue is for Bavarians, Yellow is for Saxons and Wurttemburgers, Dark Green is for Russians, Light Green is for Italians, Red is for British (and Danes), etc. Obsessive compulsive tendencies you say... who, me?  :-)

    We then proceeded to the Convention Center - as we both went to the GM section for registration, we were checked in and got our booklet, badge, etc in about 2 minutes. We then toured the site and scoped out where our tables would be. W ran into and chatted with many old friends, including Vik from Connecticut, noting the addition of the partitions/baffling to the exterior walls and some interior sections, presumably to reduce the noise that was so problematic last year (it did help some). We then left and had a nice, quiet dinner at Smokey Bones, and then headed back to our hotel. Tim gave me a couple of issues of the new Wargames Illustrated that he had used for on the plane reading (much improved form the past, it seemed to me), but we were both exhausted from the traveling, jet lag, etc, and wound up going to bed early, figuring we'd probably both wake up fairly early the next morning, which was in fact the case.

The free miniature for this year was quite nice. Not my period, though - if any of you guys from HAHGS that are working on Civil War armies want it, let me know and I'll give it to you the next time we see one another! For that matter, I also have a very nice ACW Camp set that I took as the OG Army card freebie that I have no real use for, and would be happy to donate to a good home!

    We both awakened early as expected, and had a mega calorie free breakfast at the hotel. I did some office work by computer and phone for about an hour, and then we headed over to the Convention center. As the table I was scheduled to run my Mockern game on was free all  day, and the Dealer Hall wasn't open yet, we brought all the troops and terrain in, and set that game up way in advance. It was nice not having to worry about doing it later! We then proceeded to the Dealer's Hall a few minutes after it opened (we let the lemmings go first, LOL).

I proceeded directly to the Eureka booth, and made one of my planned purchases - the baroque concert. Wonderful models, and my wife's original college major was Performance Violin!

Next, it was off to the Perry Miniatures booth. While I was planning my recent Foundry order, I realized I could still get Perry Miniatures cavalry for less than the discounted Foundry price. So I decided that if they had them, I would get a regiment each (8 figures for me - the spare officers will be used as aides on command stands) of Perry Prussian Hussar and Uhlans if they had the figures on hand. They actually brought a fair amount of stock with them, although they didn't have a lot of duplicate stock of the same catalogue numbers. However, anything they didn't have at the show would be shipped postage free if ordered there. Pretty good deal, really!

Anyway, it turns out that they did indeed have what I wanted - which is why I went early! Here are the Prussian Hussars with command, wearing their pelisses ( I know they don't show to well like this, but they are very nice indeed)...

and here are the Perry Prussian Uhlans, lances upright. Perfect!

Oh, and while I was there, I also picked up enough Perry figures for a new Austrian cavalry battery!

Finally, a pack of 10 Renedra barrels for less than $5 on impulse. Plenty of uses for these!

Then it was off to Old Glory, where I had placed an advance order (using my Army Card) for pick up at the show. Nice and easy!

Enough figures for three batteries each of British Foot and Horse Artillery, and 10 Infantry units of 18! Now I am going to have to start doing some serious work planning the Waterloo project for 2015 with the other HAHGS guys, so that I know what more I'll need in the future. Two years goes by WAY too fast!

Friday I was very busy between setting up, assisting, and taking down Tim's game, and then setting up my Dresden game, but while I was waiting for my tables to free up. I did find some time to visit the flea market. I didn't find much, but Tim made some great finds for me - the beautiful tome for $10...

and, the Waterloo project in mind, Tim also found me the above for $5!

I considered buying this from my friend and BoB2 co-author, Ken Baggaley, but when the depleted supply of cash in my wallet spoke, he just gave it to me. Thanks, Ken!

On Saturday, my Novara game wasn't due to start until 7PM, so we had quite a bit of time to browse the flea markets and the Dealer Hall for thins we had overlooked. In the flea market, one fellow was selling these very nicely done tree bases for $1.25/tree. So, I bought the above for $5...

and the two above for another $5! Hard to beat that.  Nicer and cheaper than I could do myself.  The trees are about 3" tall. 

Obviously in the dendrological mode, Tim and I walked through the great Battlefield Terrain Concepts booth several times. The sale on trees finally convinced me to purchase for about $15 altogether... the poplars would be used for the Novara game once again!  Bu this time my supply of cash was severely depleted, so further purchases will have to wait for next year... I have my eyes on the BTC vinyard set!

    After setting up the Novara game with plenty of help (blessedly simple after Dresden and Mockern), Tim, Gabriel and Michelle (infant daughter in tow, with her first Historicon badge proudly displayed on her carrier!), and had a nice dinner together at Ruby Tuesdays, finally including some Green Things! The Novara game was a total blast (report to follow), and we all met again for a hearty breakfast at the Cracker Barrel, before heading home our respective ways, Gabriel and Michelle having a much shorter trip than in the past, recently minted PhD Gabriel having taken a position teaching Latin and Classics at a private school in Virginia. Excelsior!



  1. You did much "better" this year than last in hte area of purchases. Loks like hte Austrians get some new artillery as well!

    1. Yep, on tap to add some new Prussian Cavalry, new Austrian Artillery (plus the Foundry Hussars) and a lot of British!

  2. brilliant buys, the Perry Prussian cavalry looks lovely in the flesh.

    1. It was a successful trip that way, and to make it better my wife was pleased that I bought stuff... a good portion of it goes away for future gifts :-)

      Takes the worry out of her shopping for me, on both ends, LOL!

  3. Sounds like the non-game portion of the Con was fun. That's always good

  4. Yes, Mike, the whole experience was a lot of fun. As always, the best party was meeting friends old and new.