Above is a pic of Lt. Colonel James Galbraith, Regimental Colour in hand, alongside Bobbie the regimental dog and some of the other "Last Eleven" survivors of the 66th (Berkshire) Regiment, making their last stand in one of the walled gardens just South of Khig village, a few miles West of the Afghan town of Maiwand.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Last Blue Boards EVER!!!

Right now I'm at the tail-end of a 2-week trip with my family through Pennsylvania and New York, for my son to visit colleges he's interested in possibly attending next year.  The last time my family and I visited Pennsylvania was to attend the 2007 Historicon, the theme of which was "The Wars of South Asia 1800-2007," which of course meant an abundance of games set in India and Afghanistan, something I couldn't pass up!

Unfortunately Historicon is already a month past, so there's no Wargaming Convention on the schedule this year for me to report on, but I do have something more low-key to report on -- one of the last things I managed to do before leaving home on this trip, which was to stop by FOAM SALES & MARKETING located at 1005 Isabel Street in Burbank, California -- CLICK HERE FOR HANDY LINK TO THEIR WEBSITE -- and purchase the last two blue styrofoam boards I will ever need for the purpose of building Afghan terrain.  I suppose that last statement is more a hope than a promise, but it's a very fervent hope indeed, and I do believe it will turn out to be the case!

I bought one 2" thick 8'x2' board, and two 1" thick 8'x2' boards, and had them all cut down to 6'x2', with 2'x2' short-ends.

I'll use the 2" thick 6'x2' sheet to create one more clear ground-cover terrain board, and I'll combine the two 1" thick 6'x2' sheets to build my Kabul River board, which will run from one 2' end to the other.  Building the river this way will be MUCH EASIER than having to dig 1" of depth out of a 2" deep sheet, as I had to do for my first two 2' square river boards.

I'll use the pair of 1" thick 2'x2' short-ends to more easily build a second 90-DEGREE CURVE board, again much easier than having to dig 1" out of the board's 2" depth.

I plan to build 2 more 2'x2' STRAIGHT river sections, which will have to be dug out of spare 2" thick 2'x2' short-ends I still have from my original Maiwand Day boards.  If I manage that, I should be able to lay out 12' of continuous river in a straight line, which would be great for creating terrain for the 1880 battle of Baba Wali/Kahdahar, the last major action of the Second Afghan War, which the Afghan army fought with their backs to the Arghandab River.

Since my river sections are all designed to match up at their edges, I should also be able to mix and match them, creating a wide variety of lay-outs featuring rivers.

If I can finish another pair of 2'x2' plain ground cover boards (which I already have the blue foam for sitting in my garage), I'll also be able to lay out up to 10'x6' of simple ground-cover without nullahs, ravines, or rivers built into them, which should be very helpful when it comes to setting up different historical and fictional tabletop scenarios.

Needless to say, this will all take time, which is something I don't have much of, but even the longest march starts with a single step, and I'm already a good way down this road.  The thing is, after buying these last two boards and having them cut down close to their final sizes (I will unfortunately have to trim down the river boards to make room for their wood frames) I now have in my possession ALL the raw materials necessary to complete my Afghan Wars/NWF terrain system, which somehow makes finishing the job -- despite how big it may be -- seem much more achievable.  After all, I've already built all the rocky hills I'll ever need, using the good old "wood-chip" method, and that was probably the most difficult part of the whole job.

So here's the visual evidence of this exciting -- at least for me! -- progress...

Enough blue foam to create terrain-boards for every battle known to humankind:

For better or worse I was not buying enough to require use of the forklift inside the warehouse...

My boards cut down to size and packed for travel...

Note the furniture blanket I brought along to protect the interior of my beloved wife's car from those inevitable bits of pesky blue foam...

Moved into the garage and stored safely -- hopefully for not too long before I manage to turn them into usable terrain...

6'x2' Masonite sheets waiting for the wonderful but as yet unrealized day when they will be covered forever in blue foam...

And finally, a portent of things to come: my beloved wife's car (both she and the vehicle are beloved by me)...

It's the only vehicle available to me (without renting a truck) capable of transporting my terrain boards to conventions near and far.  It did this many times for my Maiwand Day game and hopefully in the not-so-distant future will do the same for the finished Charasiab lay-out.

That's it for now from Ithaca, in the Central region of New York State, home to Cornell University, where it's possible this time next year my son will return as an incoming freshman.  This fact continues to blow my mind, mostly in a good way.  Whether he's off to Ithaca, Manhattan, Philadelphia, or other higher education parts as yet undetermined but likely far from Los Angeles, California, I will miss him.  Many if not most of my best wargaming memories came courtesy of games played with him, figures painted with him, models built with him, giant terrain boards carved, textured and painted with him, and epic convention games played alongside him.  Sending him off to college remains another year away, so I'll do my best to get some more gaming in with him before that year is up.


  1. Great to see you're at the beginning of the final lap. I look forward to what you produce out of the foam. The best of luck to your son for his upcoming academic career.

  2. The Mecca of blue foam! Good to know that there is more stunning scenery to come.

  3. Thanks very much AJ and Michael! Been trying to leave comments here on the blog -- or more accurately, to leave replies to others' comments -- for a couple of weeks now without success. Hopefully I've fixed the technical glitch and this will work...