Tuesday, August 30, 2022

ACW Ironclads Minis

It must be confessed that both ships were queer-looking craft, as grotesque to the eyes of the men of ’62 as they would appear to those of the present generation

H. Ashton Ramsay, engineer, CSS Virginia

A few years ago I discovered Bob Cordery’s excellent Gridded Naval Wargames* and began using it to explore different naval battles. The rules for American Civil War ironclad engagements worked quite well on my initial try, though I modified the critical damage system slightly for a little more depth. At first I used basic hand-crafted 1:1200 models for the USS Monitor and CSS Virginia (what us Northerners commonly learn in school as the Merrimack), but as I dove deeper into ACW ironclad warfare, I sought to collect professionally cast models. What started in the “Before Times” prior to the covid pandemic has since expanded into a significant sector of my wargaming hobby. Thankfully I’ve found some good suppliers of models to fuel my habit.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Summer Reading

 There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.”

Ray Bradbury

My son started school last week. For one of his first English assignments he had to endure the obligatory “write about what you did last summer” exercise. Most of his summer consisted of sitting around playing Roblox, but he mentioned most of our various excursions (about which I recently blogged). Summer reading was, alas, conspicuously absent. His electronic-media-dominated generation rarely pays attention to books, preferring to stick their faces in screens all day long. That said, my son surprised me on a last-day-of-summer trip to the regional used bookstore, where he was particularly keen on getting a book he’d noticed on a previous visit: Operation Mincemeat by Ben Macintyre. It gave me a small glimmer of hope that his generation won’t completely forget about books.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Summertime Distractions

In our leisure we reveal what kind of people we are.”


We even
did the local
Academic summer is wrapping up for our family. My son starts school on Aug. 10 so they can run Standards of Learning tests for half-year courses before the yuletide holidays, when apparently kids these days void all the recently acquired scholastic knowledge from their brains. As a dad summer is a double-edged sword: on one hand, I get to spend time with my family on day trips and vacations; on the other, I’m distracted by everyone’s constant demands along with yardwork (a seemingly Sisyphean task). So I’m looking forward to easing back into the school-year routine and returning to projects, tapping some of the energy we found on numerous day trips and pleasant diversions that inspired our interests in history, media, and games.