Sunday, April 21, 2024

Weekend Update

 It's been a fair bit busy around The Duchy, now that I've returned back to my civvy job. 

Add in the failure of some plumbing and appliances, and there's the spice that makes life interesting. 

But it's not all doom and gloom. 

For instance, in June the Society of Daisy (of which I am a member) shall be holding OttoCon 2024 in Carlisle, PA. 

If anyone feels so inclined to attend, please contact Tracy Johnson for more information. It's a fun little game weekend. 

In addition, I've made some progress on the Yank infantry for my "El Guettar" game for Historicon.

These are MPC US Infantry painted using Vallejo colours and Army Painter washes. Probably more effort than they are truly worth, but I couldn't resist. 

In addition to the El Guettar game, I'm also painting for the "Road To Ambleve" from the Battle of the Bulge movie. 

I've quite a bit of work still to go, but I like the way these 3D printed Chaffees are turning out. 

Last Thursday I attended a talk on the Battle of Crooked Billet, which happened on the 1st of May, 1778, in Hatboro, PA. The talk was given by Denis Cooke, who is a local independent researcher. It was very good and Mr. Cooke is a very knowledgeable about the battle and the life and career of John Lacey, the American militia commander. 

Finally, Saturday saw me miss the weekly episode of the Virtual Wargames Club and, instead, trek up to New York City to the State University of New York Maritime Academy at Fort Schuyler. 

I'll be starting my Master's degree online this fall through this fine school. As a part of registration, they gave out some swag for us Graduate Students, which was.....a fanny pack. 

Whilst I have been assured by both my darling wife and child that these are coming back into fashion, just to be sure, I purchased a coffee mug at the Ship's Store. 

Now, back to painting tanks and figures.... 

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

I Give Tanks For Being At Home

 In the week since I have returned from my adventures in Virginia I have managed to accomplish very little. Which was rather my goal, actually. A little housework, some yardwork, and a bit of cleaning. 

Time to get back into the hobby!

My original plan for Historicon in July was a whopper of a game in GLORIOUS 54mm goodness based on the Nan Red beach landing by The North Shore Regiment (New Brunswick) on Juno Beach for the 80th commemoration of the Normandy landings... 

Whelp, that dream hit the reality of the tyranny of time and that bit about Immovable Object and Irresistible Force meant that I've got bits all about the place, but I can't promise I'll put it all together for the show. 

But I've got a Plan B. Two, in fact. 

The theme this year is "Hollywood Goes To Historicon". 

Right. Just the grist for my mill. 

So the first game I've got is "The Road to Ambleve", based on the 1965 movie "The Battle of the Bulge". It's a dog of a movie, so I'm doing a game, based on a movie, based on the real battle. 

I'll be using What A Tanker from Too Fat Lardies, with local mods for Infantry. 

My second game is based on the 1970 movie "Patton" and will feature my take on their take on the Battle of El Guettar from 1943 in Tunisia. The movie's version and the historical version are.....divergent. 

And that means I'm going to take the piss out of it. The movie, that is. 

Since the movie used M48A2 Patton tanks in lieu of Panzer IVs, then that's what I'm going to use. 

Do you remember the old plastic tanks you got with Army Men Bags? The Tim-Mee tanks? 

Yep. Those are 1/48th scale. Just right for wargaming with. 

Those of you who are collectors should probably stop reading now... 

The first picture, is a Tim-Mee M48A2 in its natural habitat....

Then, we give it a nice coat of white rattle can primer. I use Rustoleum brand sprays from Home Depot. 

And then, after watching scenes from the movie "Patton" several times, we apply the absolutely historical colours and, presto, a perfectly historical movie for a game, based on a movie, based on an actual battle....

This is going to be a very enjoyable game....and maybe a bit of a wind up, too. 😏

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Graduation Day

 Yesterday my classmates and I walked across the stage at Wylie Hall, thus completing our Warrant Officer Advanced Course. 13 weeks of training for my particular trade. 

On the one hand, I was absolutely ready to be done and go home. On the other, I was lucky enough to have 13 other classmates who were wonderful to work with and with whom I hope I shall serve alongside at some point in the future. 

Four of us are Guardsmen, three came from the Reserves, and the other seven are Regulars. We blended a broad mix of experience together with our instructor, who created an outstanding learning environment. 

Now, it's a couple of days off, then back to the reality of civvy street. 

From left to right, Greg Bell, Nate Bornemeier, myself, and Tim Cathers. The Four Guardsmen of the Apoc-eclipse. "Always Ready, Always There". 

Friday, April 5, 2024

RIP Tom Farley

For three years I had the great honour to serve with the HQ Troop, 1st Squadron, 104th Cavalry in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. We were known as Second Troop, Philadelphia City Cavalry (The Light Dragoons), based on our lineage. 

Amongst the folks I came to know was Tom Farley, from our A Troop, aka First Troop, PCC (The Light Horse). The oldest mounted unit in the US Army. 

Tom was a former officer and Vietnam Veteran who joined the Guard...because. 

I am very sad to relate, one of the truly Good Guys has passed on to Fiddler's Green. 

Thomas Farley was the model of selfless service, and his example was what I tried to meet and when it became my time to step away from being an officer, I hoped would respect my decision to become a Warrant Officer and continue to serve, much as he did. 

Whilst in the 104th Cavalry we both did the "Bosnia Vacation". That was in 2002-2003. 

When I was helping the 2IBCT from the 28ID prepare to go to Ramadi in Iraq, I asked Tom why he was going downrange one more time, when he could have obviously not gone, give his age. He said his job was to be there for the Troop Commander and provide his years of knowledge and wisdom to help his commander make good decisions. Which he did. Because that was the right thing to do. 

Tom wore the "Psychedelic Cookie" patch of the 9ID on his right shoulder. Which caused more than a few second looks. 

I cribbed his obit, posted below, from the First Troop FB page. I don't happen to have a picture of us together. Which is really terrible. 

I will miss him. 

Make sure you've got the coffee boiling for us, Tom, when it's my time. I hope to meet you there. 

 The Troop mourns the loss of Honorary Quartermaster Sergeant Thomas L. Farley, Jr., No. 2333. Hon. QM Sgt. Farley was elected to the Active Roll on September 8, 1997, promoted to Corporal on October 5, 1998, Sergeant on June 7, 1999, and Quartermaster Sergeant on May 7, 2001. He was elected to the Non-Active Roll on October 1, 2007 and the Honorary Roll on October 2, 2017. He died on March 14, 2024.

To his memory!
“PHILADELPHIA, Pa. –Thomas L. Farley, Jr., 76, of Roxborough, Pa., died on March 14, 2024, at home, following a brief illness.
Born in Philadelphia and reared in Levittown, Pa., Mr. Farley attended Bishop Egan High School and Bucks County Community College before enlisting in the United States Army in 1967. Assigned to the 9th Infantry Division as a combat correspondent and photographer, Mr. Farley deployed to Vietnam in July 1967. While in Vietnam, Mr. Farley was awarded two Purple Hearts for wounds received in combat, and the Bronze Star with Valor following his actions in the Battle for Cholon, near Saigon, part of the 1968 Tet Campaign.
After returning from the war in 1969, he attended Temple University, where he studied English and Journalism. He subsequently married Margaret McErlane of Levittown, Pa. The marriage ended in divorce in 1982.
Farley began his civilian journalism career as a newspaper reporter for the Burlington County Times in New Jersey before joining the Chilton Book Company as a magazine editor. In 1973, while at Chilton, Mr. Farley won the American Business Press Association’s Jesse H. Neal Award, a national prize for excellence in business journalism. After winning the Neal Award, Mr. Farley worked as a writer and account manager for several major Philadelphia advertising agencies, including Aitken-Kynett, Inc., where he was Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Public Relations Division. In 1983, Mr. Farley founded his own advertising and public relations agency ultimately forming Farley & Roderick, Inc., a firm which shared in the success of the high technology marketing boom of the 1980s representing hundreds of clients including Commodore Business Machines, AT&T, and Okidata.
In addition to his advertising career, Mr. Farley continued his military service. Graduating Officer Candidate School in 1974, Mr. Farley was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the New Jersey National Guard in 1975. In 1978, he transferred to the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, where he subsequently was promoted to Captain and assumed command of Troop C, 1st Squadron, 104th Cavalry. In 1991, Mr. Farley was called once again to active military duty during the Gulf War. In 1997, he resigned his commission and joined the historic First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry, Troop A, 1st Squadron, 104th Cavalry, as a sergeant and served with that unit as a peacekeeper in Bosnia in both 2002 and 2003.
In 2005, Mr. Farley volunteered for duty in Iraq with Troop B, 1st Squadron, 104th Cavalry, deploying in July 2005 with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division, to Ar Ramadi, which was then considered the most dangerous place on Earth. He was discharged upon his return at the age 60, ending an active and reserve military career that spanned 40 years.
Mr. Farley was predeceased by his father, Thomas Lee Farley Sr., his mother, Roseanna Theresa Farley (nee Gallagher) and brothers Walter Matthew Farley and Gerald Gerome Farley. He is survived by his wife, Cathleen Ann Herbert, of Roxborough, his sister, Susan Farley, his brother, Joseph Anthony Farley, and his four children: Jennifer Bolli, Thomas Farley III, Diana Farley, and Denise Farley and eight grandchildren: Maurina Hernandez, Thomas L. Farley IV, Madyson Bolli, Mya Farley, Arianna Floyd, Michael Bolli, Mackenzie Bolli and Liam Farley, all of whom reside in Bucks County, Pa. He is also survived by his great-grandchildren, Elliott Hernandez of Bucks County, Pa. and Amara Farley of Florida. Thomas L. Farley V, his third great-grandchild, will be born in Florida in June.
A viewing will take place on March 30, 2024, from 9:00am until 11am at Claire McIlvanie Mundy Funeral Home, 7384 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia, Pa., 19128. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Tunnels To Towers Foundation which provides mortgage-free homes to Gold Star and fallen first responder families with young children.”

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Army Bling

 We have a "thing" in the modern US Army about "challenge coins", which have pretty much run amok since they were first conceived. 

I could bloviate on ad nauseum about this subject, but suffice to say, I find the artistry more interesting than anything else. 

One of the things we did, as a class, was decide to create our own special course coin. Our Class Leader, Wig, came up with the design and yesterday, we took delivery of them. 

I present for your review and inspection, the Class Coin of Mobility Warrant Officer Advance Course 001-24

The coins are approximately 2 1/4 inches long and about an inch wide. All of my classmates names are on the left-hand view. Our motto "Mission Success" is on the left and Mobility Magic is on the right. 

I am very pleased with them. A wonderful souvenir of 13 weeks of a very interesting time with 13 other ladies and gentlemen whom I would have no problem with going to war alongside. 

Wig did an incredible job getting so many things into such a small package. The manufacturer, however, did not do what Wig instructed, but these are little gems and I am very happy. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2024


 Well, the brushes have been a little too quiet these past two weeks. A combination of classwork and nice days to stroll about the various battlefields has reduced time spent working on figures. 

With less than a week to go until ENDEX, I decided to rally myself and hit the painting table this morning. 

I have several figures I'm painting as Regiment Berwick to join their Irish Brigade comrades for my 1745 Project. I found I was one figure short of requirements. Dipping into the box, I pulled out this Crann Tara French Officer and set to work on him, along with some fusiliers. 

He's now been designated Captain Cummings, after Graham. I'll get a mounted French colonel to represent LCol Walter Stapleton, who commanded the Irish at Culloden. 

Time to get back to those fusiliers and finish off my Berwick contingent. I still need to get another pack of French infantry marching without turnbacks from Jim P. to finish off the unit. 

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Being a Modern Unitarian...with a giggle.

 At the risk of offending some, I thought I would post what I consider a very funny musical skit regarding my personal faith walk as it stands today. With tomorrow being Good Friday and Sunday being Easter, I hope this will allow some to enjoy the diversity or opinion of others. Have a giggle. Don't take things too hard. And please remember that your Higher Power loves you no matter what. 

Being a Unitarian, albeit of the more traditional New England version, I wish the best to all of my fellow carbon based bi-pedal life forms. 

And now... enjoy..

If you can't get a giggle from this... you may need to watch it again.

I promise proper toy solider stuff will follow soon. After I'm done laughing at this video for the tenth or eleventh time.. 



Weekend Update

 It's been a fair bit busy around The Duchy, now that I've returned back to my civvy job.  Add in the failure of some plumbing and a...