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Hello all! My name is Dennis Jensen and I’m one of Hobby University’s instructors. I've taught a number of painting and terrain making classes and have become slightly obsessed with weathering all things. During this blog I plan on talking about my experiences within the war gaming hobby, I hope you’ll enjoy following along.


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The Wachtmeister goes to Adeptican't!

Posted By Dennis J. Jensen, Friday, April 3, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Following on the heels of a successful Cold Wars I was supposed to be going to Adepticon for my second year.  While Cold Wars was able to soldier on in the face of COVID-19 Adepticon needed to cancel.  This was clearly a difficult decision made by the Adepticon staff but ultimately it was the right one.  In fact had the staff of Adepticon not made the decision the state of Illinois ended up prohibiting large gatherings of people and the event would have been cancelled anyway. 

The thing about this blog post is it isn't about a show that didn't happen, it's about a show, rather a community event, that did happen.  This past weekend, a group of gamers came together on line and created a community for people affected by Adepticon's cancellation.  The event was called Adeptican't and it attempted to fill the void left by Adepticons cancellation.  Adeptican't was held on Facebook and you can check it out here:

During Adeptican't people posted images of the armies they would have brought to the convention, an online vendor hall was created, online painting seminars were held, online bits trading was curated, the Armies on Parade event was posted via pictures, official Adeptican't merchandise was sold, and, my favorite, pictures of Chicago food specialties were posted.  There was even a speed paint competition streamed, hosted by Hobby University guest instructors alumnus, Miniature Monthly.

While this event certainly didn't replace Adepticon it gave all of us forced shut-ins and opportunity to communicate with some old friends, make some new friends and revel in a close knit community.  I'd like to thank Lyn Stahl (another Hobby University guest instructor alumni) of Metalhead Minis for taking a few comments made in jest and making Adeptican't come true!  

While I hope we don't need to have an Adeptican't event again I'm glad for the opportunity afforded to see a little light in an otherwise dark scenario.

I have included a link to the Adepticon vendor list at the bottom of this post.  These vendors rely on purchases at Adepticon.   If you fear running out of unpainted figures, or terrain, or are running low on supplies please check these vendors out.  I'd check them out quickly as quite a few of them are having sales to generate revenue.  If there is something you've been looking at now is the time to show your support.  I've spent my Adepticon budget with these vendors, and considering how much I saved on a hotel and eating I plan on tossing a few more dollars at these vendors!

Metalhead Minis -

Miniature Monthly -

Adepticon Vendors -

Adepticon  Hobby Seminar Teachers -


Tags:  2020  Adeptican't  Adepticon  Wachtmeister 

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Hobby Heroes - Brian Whitaker

Posted By Dennis J. Jensen, Friday, April 3, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, April 1, 2020

It has been a popular refrain over the years for people to talk about the graying of the hobby.  Recently a number of popular blogs posted articles bemoaning the lack of diversity in the Historical Miniature Gaming Societies conventions.  I am going to take the opposite tack in this post and rather than talk about a negative I am going to sing the praises of one of my hobby heroes, Brian Whitaker.

I'm sure most of you know Brian, and if you don't this picture of him doing what he does best should certainly look familiar.

Why is Brian one of my hobby heroes?  Brian has been working to address the issues I touched upon in my intro paragraph for years.  I first met Brian at Historicon 2017, in Fredericksburg.  My wife, my boys, both 5 at the time, had come down to visit me at the convention as we only lived 45 minutes from the convention center.  Brian saw me with the boys and suggested I have them play in a game he was running.  As a faculty member of Hobby University I wasn't going to have time to take the boys but I had mentioned it to my wife.  As she was walking around with the boys Brian saw her and immediately convinced her to have the boys come play in his tank game.  Well, after one game they were hooked.  She ended up coming down two more days with the boys so they could play in his games.  The boys insisted we play his game at home so I dutifully bought them their own D30's and appropriately colored D6's so we could play his toy scale game with my 15mm Flames of War tanks.  This short introduction soon spiraled into a family of gamers.  My wife started to come to all three of the HMGS conventions with the boys and they'd play in every game Brian offered.  They took in many hours at Hobby Universities Paint and Take.  Every time Brian ran a different game we'd buy some models.  They now can play Buccaneer Wars and Cog Wars with only slight help from the adults a Brian's games.

The boys first game.  

The boys first time at Hobby University.  

Our first home game, just like Mr. Whitaker!

Brian then introduced me to the Old Dominion Military Society and Williamsburg Muster.  Brian told me that it would be a great convention for them to go to, and if that wasn't enough he'd be running a few of his games.  That was enough for me so with my wife's blessing I took the boys away for a boys weekend. I know, she was willing to get a whole weekend of quiet from twin 7 year old's?  What a saint. . . .  We have gone to two other ODMS conventions for boys weekend since and they've become regular events.  

You'll notice I said gaming has become a family affair, so you might be wondering about my wife.  No, she hasn't jumped into playing games but she is now also a volunteer at Hobby University.  She helps with Paint and Take and registration and brings the boys to their games.  She even took a few painting classes.  I think she'll be helping me with weathering a bunch of shipping containers in the near future! 

They boys are now 8 and welcome to sit at any of Brian's games without a chaperone (he has my number in case things go bad!)  Now as we walk around the conventions the boys are saying hi to people they've played from their age to their grandparents age.  

All of this is just an example of how my family was brought further into the hobby by Brian.  I know more than a few families with similar stories similar to this.  Brian, thanks for all you do to engage the youth and help us build from the ground up.  While Brian has won numerous awards for his contributions to HMGS, to include the prestigious Legion of Honor I think, if asked, he'd be most proud of his effect on building the hobby.




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The Wachtmeister has an Epic good time!

Posted By Dennis J. Jensen, Friday, March 27, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Way back in 1997 I purchased Warhammer Epic 40,000 from my local game store.  I limited myself to the starter set with Space Marines and Orks, a small box of Eldar and a few Eldar vehicles.  I also managed to pick up a few random packs in various larger lots.  I managed to get a few Eldar flyers painted up but that was all I managed to get done.  Flash forward 23 years later and a friend of mine was mentioning he wanted to play Warhammer Apocalypse with Epic figures.  Seeing as we all have great ideas but often need some pushing I decided to paint up the Space Marines from the starter set.  I figured they'd paint up quick and easy and give us a good starting point.  Plus it helped that he said he had a ton of Space Marines and Imperial Guard I could take off his hands for a song if we decided to play.  

I got an entire Space Marine company (in Epic scale of course!) done in just a few days.  I also managed to get all the ruined buildings and linear terrain painted and based.  I have not enjoyed painting this much in ages!  After finishing my company I met my friends and we played s small game of Apocalypse with 300 points a side.  Funnily enough the guy I played had Dark Angels as well.  Naturally I declared he was the Fallen!  We played long enough to figure out the basics of the game and we really enjoyed ourselves.  We played through turn three of five and at that point I had the majority of the objectives.  It also appeared that unless some things went really bad for me I would have held the majority through turn 5.  

Even though I only played one game I can't wait to continue on and play again.  I really can't wait to get my hands on some more figures and get to painting!  Hopefully that happens soon and I can update this page with my progress!

The Company and a a few attached units get ready to roll out!

Some shots of the game in progress: 


Tags:  2020  Epic  painting  Wachtmeister 

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The Wachtmeister goes to Cold Wars 2020

Posted By Dennis J. Jensen, Sunday, March 22, 2020
Updated: Thursday, March 19, 2020

Last weekend, March 12th-15th I attended Cold Wars 2020 at the Lancaster Wyndham (formerly the Lancaster Host.)  As always, I had plans to teach at Hobby University.  This show I was scheduled to teach one beginners painting class using Games Workshop Squigs, host four speed paint competitions and take part in an interview panel about entering painting competitions.  My wife was scheduled to help with Paint and Take and my boys were going to play games, and paint figures. 

There was some concern that the show would be cancelled due to the threat of COVID-19 as other, larger events, were being cancelled, however, the show went on.  As the weekend progressed more and more events around the country were cancelled leading a few of us to refer to Cold Wars as “The Last Convention in America.”  Over the weekend various states suggested limiting public gatherings to less than 1,000 people, then less than 500 people all the way down to where we are now at limiting gatherings, restaurants and so on to only 10 people.  As of this writing some states have ordered all residents to shelter in place, so things have escalated quickly.  With the looming threat and the warnings for people with health-related issues and older people to avoid large gatherings, volunteers and even a few vendors decided to skip the show.  Ultimately, we had less than 1,000 attendees so things were eerily quiet. 

My family and I got in Thursday night, having driven up from Northern Virginia.  We unpacked and I put the boys to bed before going out for a beverage or two and catching up with friends. 

Friday morning the boys played in Jim Reynolds Gnome Pirates game before they went to visit their grandparents for the day (and night!)

 While they were playing, I was able to take Rhonda Benders Object Source Lighting (OSL) class with a fellow Hobby University instructor.  Rhonda was one of Hobby University’s special guests at Cold Wars 2019 and she decided to come hang out with us again this year.  It was an excellent class, made even better by the small class size (just two of us!)  Rhonda provides excellent hand out for her classes which provide great reference material for the future.  I look forward to giving OSL a shot!   I then had my Squig painting class which had four students.  Next up I was the MC for a Speed Painting contest which had six contestants in a wide range of ages.  They all said they had fun and I’d love to bring it back in the future!

Our guest instructors were roped into judging this very prestigious competition. (left to right: Aaron Lovejoy, Liz Hunt, Rhonda Bender.)

 I then went out to dinner with my wife and came back and took a Non-Metallic Metal (NMM) class given by one of our special guests, Elizabeth Beckley, of Miniature Monthly.  I’ve never really given NMM a try, after this class I’m willing and ready to give it a shot!

Saturday morning, I was supposed to run two Speed Paint sessions, but no one showed up.  I wasn’t to disappointed as I got to take Weathering 101 with our other special guest instructors, Aaron Lovejoy and Liz Hunt also of Miniature Monthly.  I’ve really been trying to up my weathering game so I’m very I got to take this class.

I'd like to give a special thanks to Liz for making sure this total babe joined the class!


Our completed dumpsters.  

 During the day the boys got to play in multiple games run by Jim and his sons Will and Sean.  Will (13) and Sean (11) also did an excellent job running games.  It’s awesome to see the hobby continue to grow!

Congratulations Jimmy on winning Best Kids Game of the con!  Jimmy was the iron man of kids games at this convention, running six kids games!

 The vendor’s hosted a free happy hour on Saturday which was awesome.  I missed the cheese platter and cookies but I got in for the free beer which my wife and I took advantage of.  I picked up a few sets of roads for 15mm gaming from Battlefield Terrain Concepts that I’ve been eying for a while.  They did point me to the free beer so maybe that helped. . . .  I also picked up some Crooked Dice post-apocalypse terrain from The Phalanx Consortium and a bunch of hobby supplies from Michigan Toy Solider Company.  In the flea market I managed to pick up with Flames of War 101st Airborne Division dice tin which I’ve been looking for a while now. 

It wouldn’t be an HMGS convention without a review of the facility.  The Wyndham is far and away better than the Host was, but it is still far from complete.  In a number of places the carpet was held down by duct tape, the paving stones going down to the vendor halls were coming loose and other minor issues with the finishes.  I appreciate the dramatic improvement in the facilities, but it’s not quite done.  I’m looking forward to Cold Wars new location in Ocean City, Maryland.  It may be a bit further away for me, but it sounds like it has more room for growth.  I look forward to hearing more about the facility as we get closer to the event.  Now the Wyndham did have an excellent ice cream sundae bar Saturday night, I’m really hoping we can get something similar in Ocean City!

I’d like to offer a special thanks to the vendors, GM’s and volunteers who showed up despite the uncertainty.  Numbers were short but this ended up being one of the best conventions I’ve attended in a while.  I was very happy for the opportunity to take so many painting classes and get to spend time with so many friends.  I look forward to seeing everyone at Historicon in July!

John Emmett ran an amazing 28mm Two Fat Lardies Chain of Command game.  Long live the Lard!  


Shaw Reis ran a huge 28mm Hammers Slammers game.

Shawn also ran this insane 15mm zombie game with modified Flames of War rules!

Rhonda Bender’s Blog:

Miniature Monthly Facebook:

Miniature Monthly Patreon:

Battlefield Terrain Concepts:

Phalanx Consortium:

Michigan Toy Soldier:


Tags:  2020  Cold Wars  Convention  gaming  Hobby U  Hobby University  kids  Wachtmeister 

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The Wachtmeister gets things done!

Posted By Dennis J. Jensen, Friday, March 13, 2020
Updated: Monday, March 2, 2020

I had a few days off February 24th-28th and decided to get some projects painted up.  There was no rhyme or reason, and I had no immediate plans for anything I painted but I went on a painting rampage.  This was definitely the most productive week I've ever had painting!  I painted two signs from Crooked Dice, six Quonset huts from Fantasy Flights Dust, four brownstones from GameCraft Miniatures and the Industrial Cooling Platform from Impudent Mortal.  The brownstones were painted for a friend to use in his Ghostbusters game at Cold Wars.  Everything else looks like it will be good for some post apocalypse action.  I guess I'm finally going to start playing This is Not a Test!

Crooked Dice signs, front and back: 

Gamecraft Miniatures Brownstones: 

I put graffiti and heavy weathering on the two buildings I've designated as the outer buildings.  I did some weathering on the inside buildings walls but not a lot as they probably won't ever be seen.  

The Impudent Mortal Cooling Platform: 

Everything together: 

Crooked Dice signs in the Phalanx Consortium webstore:

GameCraft Miniatures Brownstones:

The Fantasy Flight Quonset huts and the Impudent Mortal cooling platform are now out of production.



Tags:  Crooked Dice  GameCraft Miniatures  painting  terrain  Wachtmeister  weathering 

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Cold Wars 2020

Posted By Dennis J. Jensen, Friday, March 6, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Next weekend, March 12-15 is the Historical Miniatures Gaming Society's 2020 Cold Wars event in Lancaster Pennsylvania.  The theme this year is Animals of War: Camels, Dogs, Elephants, Horses and more.  With three days of gaming, over 50 vendors, a terrific flea market, tournaments, free painting and terrain making classes with the faculty of Hobby University, seminars, classes on how to design games and teacher programs Cold Wars 2020 has everything you could want in a miniature gaming convention.  This year I'll be teaching a beginners painting class,  hosting the return of the speed painting competition and taking part in a panel on painting for competition.  If you haven't been to Cold Wars this is your year!


Tags:  2020  Cold Wars  HMGS  Hobby U  Hobby University  Wachtmeister 

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The Wachtmeister Reviews: GaleForce nine Galactic Warzones Bunker

Posted By Dennis J. Jensen, Friday, February 28, 2020
Updated: Friday, February 14, 2020

I was at my local hobby shop and they had the GaleForce nine Galactic Warzones Bunker for sale at 40% off.  I'm not sure what I'm going to use it for but at normally $35 it was irresistible at only $21!  The Galactic Warzones line is clearly designed for Star Wars Legion and is 28mm scale. The GaleForce nine buildings are pre-painted and are solidly cast.  As you can see in the below pictures they are nicely painted, and the piece would look really good on the table.  With that said I couldn't help but add a little more detail in the form of weathering and painting up the control modules.  For an extra 15 minutes of time this piece really pops.  Whether you plan on re-painting this piece or leaving it as is I highly recommend you finding room for it in your hobby bunker!






Tags:  2020  Product Review  terrain  Wachtmeister 

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The Wachtmeister attends Williamsburg Muster 2020

Posted By Dennis J. Jensen, Friday, February 21, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Williamsburg Muster 2020 was on February 14-16 at the Clarion Hotel in Williamsburg Virginia.  This is the second year I attended this excellent small convention.  Once again, I gave my wife the gift of silence and I went down with my two boys.  This year we also went down with my friend Todd, a fellow WNPG member, and Hobby University teacher.

We made it down to Williamsburg without traffic, checked in our room, bought our badges and then went to dinner.  There were a number of games on Friday night, some planned, and some ad hoc. I continued my tradition of allowing the boys to stay up late and we all played the Arena Games gladiator game.


On Saturday, we had breakfast and the boys played in Brian Whitakers excellent Buccaneer Wars.  As always, Brian ran a great game.  The people who played in the game were also excellent and did a great job battling two eight-year-old boys.  The boys ran two large ships as pirate hunters versus three small ships of pirates.  Steven took on one ship and Nicholas took on the other two.  Both boys took out their enemies and were declared the winners.  Huzzah!  Meanwhile Todd and I played Blood Bowl on the adjacent table where my Skaven triumphed over the Norse.  We then spent some time wandering the tournament room, where Bolt Action, Horus Heresy and The 9th Age were being played.

One of the highlights of the day was when the boys walked over to a group of guys playing Gaslands, The Carnage City Times.  You could not walk past the group without being asked to join in the fun.  They even enlisted the boys to play!  The boys had a great time and we left the show with templates, starting gates and a promise to make some cars when we got home.  This type of involvement is exactly what the hobby needs.  This is exactly how the boys got into gaming in the first place when Brian Whittaker saw my wife and boys walking around Historicon a few years back and press-ganged them into a game.  Last year these people were off in the tournament room, good call by the Muster team to put them somewhere more visible; guys like this are the future of our hobby.

After this, we went to lunch and a local distillery before heading back to the convention.  (It is ok; we played Trivial Pursuit while we were there.  It is a board game at least!)  We wandered around for a while, checked out some games, talked to some friends and headed out to dinner.  There were a ton of great games going on and Todd opted to play Saga.  When the boys and I got back from dinner, we played our traditional game of Arena Games in the hotel room before going to bed. 

Sunday morning we went out to breakfast and then came back for the flea market and the boys picked up a few random things.  I was talking with a few friends getting ready to leave when I saw the boys watching a game of 40k with a pair of 11 year olds who then invited them to play.  Turns out it, was a homebrew game but the 11-year-old running the game was consistent with the rules application and did an excellent job with the boys.  This was another great “future of the game” to watch. 

Unfortunately, this was an hour after I foolishly passed up on a great deal on a large lot of Primaris Space Marines.  I went back 20 minutes after passing it up but they were gone.  Darn you painting challenge!  Oh well, every trip needs to have something go less than perfect, right?

Once again, ODMS put on a great show and should be proud of their hard work.  If you are in a reasonable driving distance, I strongly encourage you to attend next year.  Unfortunately, the ODMS A Call to Arms is being cancelled this year so I need to wait until the 2021 Williamsburg Muster for another awesome boy’s weekend.

Williamsburg Muster:

Williamsburg Muster Facebook:

The Carnage City Times Facebook:

Tags:  2020  ODMS  Wachtmeister  Williamsburg Muster 

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Re-painting Painted Terrain

Posted By Dennis J. Jensen, Friday, February 14, 2020
Updated: Monday, February 3, 2020

I purchased these stone walls in 15mm scale from Battlefield Terrain Concepts at a HMGS show a few years ago for Flames of War.  While they were technically pre-painted I felt they needed some help.  I had them on my desk to work on for the last few months, ever since A Bridge Too Lard in September, and decided to knock them out.  I decided to just use a few different washes to add some depth.  I used a black wash, sepia wash and in some locations a green wash to represent moss and mold growth.  One piece had been sprayed dark gray as I was initially planning on dry brushing them all up.  That piece really stuck out so I sprayed it a light tan so it was more similar to the starting point of the rest of the walls.  Now it blends in enough with the rest.  Including drying the whole process took me less than an hour.  

I have discovered that while they stand up on a hard surface on a gaming mat they tend to fall over so I may need to base them as well.  Maybe in another five plus years they'll be finished finished. . . .

You can see how they looked "out of the box" on the right and how they ended up on the left.  Obviously I need help on staging before and after photos. . . .

Being defended (and quite honestly supported by) some German Grenadiers.  


Tags:  15mm  2020  Terrain 

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Upcoming Convention: Williamsburg Muster

Posted By Administration, Monday, February 10, 2020

If you are looking for something to do this upcoming weekend, February 14-16,you might want to take a trip to Williamsburg Virginia for the Old Dominion Military Society's Williamsburg Muster.  The theme this year is War at Sea and there are a number of games in the PEL that take advantage of the theme.  My boys will be signed up as cabin boys fighting on the high seas in Buccaneer Wars Saturday morning, and there are plenty of other games as well.  There will be tournaments for The Ninth Age, The Horus Heresy and Bolt Action.  Additionally there is a painting competition as well.  If that's not enough there are multiple vendors and a flea market on Sunday.  If you are interested in the flea market there is no cost to get your own table!  Williamsburg is a great city with lots to see and do (and eat!) if you want a break from all the gaming.  I look forward to this event and hope to see some of you there!

If you are interested in seeing what A Call to Arms looked like last year check out my blog post here:

If you want more information on the event you can find it either here: or on Facebook:


Tags:  2020  ODMS  Wachtmeister  Williamsburg Muster 

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