Friday, April 30, 2010

April Wrapup from the Painting Table

A few shots of the work completed this month...

25mm Masked Minion (1 of 10) [Parroom]

25mm Half-Jacks (9 of the 10) [Privateer]

Masked Minion Gun Crew (1 out of 4)
[Parroom Station]

6mm (1/285) Trucks [GHQ Modern Microarmor]

25mm Masked Minion Officer (needs base work)

I got a good bit of work done this month. I was kind of surprised, considering how many other projects I worked on and how crazy work was. But, to be honest, I am pretty happy. I was disappointed in finishing the Minions because I have lost the wheel for my smoke launcher! I need to order a replacement or find the silly blasted thing... guess which one is more likely to happen?

One other mini-related disappointment is the Star Frontiers Player Character box set I bought from eBay. Still sealed from 1983. Lead rot, big time:

25mm Vrusk, lower body [TSR, 1983]

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Reginald's Regiments of Renown, Issue #9

Manchester (63rd) Regiment


The 63rd Regiment was formed in 1758 from the 2nd Battalion, 8th (The King's) Regiment of Foot during the Seven Years War against France. The regiment has been a single battalion regiment for most of its lifetime, barring a short period during the napoleonic Wars when a second battalion was created. The 63rd has served Her Majesty (God Bless Her!) in many theaters of operations, including Afghanistan, New Zealand, and the Martian Crown Colony.

In 1881, as a result of army reforms, the 63rd (West Suffolk) Regiment was amalgamated with the 96th Regiment of Foot into the Manchester Regiment. As with all the regiments, many officers and other ranks still refer to the regiment as the 63rd (it having numeric precedence over the 96th, you see).

The Manchester Regiment was posted to the Martian Crown Colony in 1880.

Combat History

The 63rd has taken part in the Seven Years War, the American Rebellion, the Napoleonic Wars, and the Crimean War. Some of the battles in which the 63rd fought include Bunker Hill (1775),  Brandywine (1776), Monmouth (1778), Guadaloupe (1809), Martinique (1810), Inkerman (1854) and the Siege of Sevastopol (1854-55).

More recently, the Regiment took part in the Second Afghan War in 1878.


The Manchester Regiment is outfitted in the manner typical of modern British Line Infantry. The basic field uniform consists of white sun helmet, scarlet tunic, grey shirt, white braces, dark blue trousers with scarlet outside seam, brown leather leggings and low black leather boots. Facings (collar, epaulettes and cuffs) are white for this English regiment. NCO insignia is worn on the right sleeve.

Some officers and men of the 63rd wear either a Glengarry cap or local ulurr straw hat in place of the typical sun helmet. Officers sometimes exchange the standard scarlet tunic/jacket for a dark blue patrol jacket. Officers may also wear riding pants and boots, and most forego the leggings issued to the NCOs and Other Ranks.

Equipment for enlisted men consists of white leather 1879 pattern gear. Enlisted men and NCOs are armed with the Martini Henry breechloading rifle. Sergeants carry a sword bayonet, Other Ranks a triangular spike style. Officers wear a Sam Browne belt and shoulder strap, and are typically armed with revolver and saber. Again, individual officers may make adjustments to their equipment as funds, personal tastes, and regimental command sees fit to allow. After all, the officers do pay for their uniforms out of their own pockets.

Intrepid Heroes, Mission 1

Intrepid Heroes is the name of the freelance troubleshooter trading house that my sons created when they started playing Star Frontiers with me a few weeks ago. I've already mentioned the first adventures of Bahud and Yan here in other posts. I thought you might want an update on the IH team.

First, we have added another player: Kellie, my wife's assistant. She's never really played a pen-and-paper RPG before, so we're teaching her how it goes. She got intrigued on Saturday when we had a garage sale here at the house and she brought a lot of stuff over to sell (she and her husband Chris don't have much of a "garage sale" neighborhood). Sitting about waiting for customers, the boys and I got into talking about playing some more. Kellie demanded we help her create a character. After the garage sale (not very successful, sadly), we went up to the game room and started playing!

Intrepid Heroes has hired a few new faces: Chooba, a Dralasite; Gar Pok, a Gorlian; and a female Vrusk whose name is utterly unpronounceable. The Dralasite and the Gorlian are Military PSA, the Vrusk a Biosocial PSA with Psycho-social skill (hypnotism!).

IH was hired out by Pan Galactic Corp to make a delivery run to a rather remote village called R'Haldran , some four or five days' travel by hover transport from Port Loren, the capital and starport on Gran Quivera, the primary planet of the Prenglar System. In exchange, each employee (of four) is to receive a payment of Cr500. Naturally, it isn't as easy as all that. So far, the four being IH team (Chooba stayed behind in Port Loren to mind the shop) has come across:
  • A small town obviously raided by some kind of bandits, with all adults killed and at least one child taken, and a series of burned out farmsteads.
  • Communications are out. The team's short range stuff works, and reception from satellites is still good, but there are no operating uplinks for long range comm transmissions.
  • One farmstead (where they stayed the night) was similarly raided. Two dead human adults, two missing Human children, one dead male Vrusk in the farmyard.
  • A mysterious glijet operating without running lights.
  • A roadblock, manned by a single sentry who shoots first and didn't bother with questions. He was captured by a sweet tangler gun shot from the Vrusk, then interrogated after an attempt at hypnotism failed, but before Bahud got mad at him and burned a hole in his head with a laser rifle. Bahud needs to watch that temper!
That is the point at which we had to stop. The team has figured out that someone is kidnapping children, but have no idea why. The empty town kind of creeped them out, too. Which is great because it was totally what I wanted to happen.

What further adventures await the Intrepid Heroes? Tune in again next time...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A New Convention for Steampunk/VSF

Check it out! Seatlle, WA, in November. Wonder how much airfare is?

SteamCon II

Seems as if there is a good focus on gaming as well. Sounds like fun.

Monday, April 26, 2010

April Projects Update

I actually made some progress on my painting projects this weekend. Which is good, because I am almost out of time this month!

The Masked Minions are just about done. Ten infantry are completed, and most of the gun crew is as well. I just need to add the shell to the loader figure and do the cuff trim on the gun captain. Other than that, they are finished. There is a major snag on the smoke projector, though... I can't find one of the wheels!

The nine remaining 'dug-in' half-jacks for Maton are done. Still need to assemble, prime, paint and base nine of the 'in the open' half-jacks. Luckily, the paint jobs are extremely simple and fast. Also need to decide for sure if I am going to provide them with visible external weapons or not. I am leaning towards saying "Yes", but I don't have a sufficient quantity of similar bits to arm them identically. Any suggestions, ladies and gents?

Finished off bases for five already painted BattleMechs. Three other BattleMechs are just about done (final detailing and clear coating all that's left). Finished two SRM Carriers and two Manticore tanks. Coolant trucks are primed, and should not take long to paint. No infantry done yet.

The Grandmaster of the Blazing Suns is almost finished, too. Final touchup, static grass and clearcoating all that's left. The Kislevites and flagellants haven't been touched.

Photos soon. I promise.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Alternate History Imagi-nations List

I was thinking this morning about all of the various Imagi-nations that my friends and I have dreamt up over the last couple of years for VSF gaming. Some are vaguely historical, some a total fabrication. So here they are, briefly described:
  • Republic of Texas: The historical Republic of Texas, independent of the United States and extended across northern Mexico to the Pacific.
  • Kingdom of Hawaii: Essentially a British client, yet still independent. A firm fixture in the British Hegemony.
  • Elistonia: A minor Central European nation. A bit old-fashioned, too.
  • Papal States: Historically, they were absorbed into Italy in the late 1800s.
  • Republic of Venice: Much like the Papal States, Venice has managed to maintain a measure of independence.
  • Confederated Italian States (CIS): As the name implies, the various states of Italy formed a confederation rather than becoming truly unified. The politics of this nation are... vigorous.
  • Empire of Mexico: Propped up by the French, Mexico's Emperor Maximillian I is trying to develop a regional power out of his impoverished nation.
  • Fenian Republic: The Emerald Isle has managed to break the shackles of English dominance, assisted by a variety of clandestine technology transfers, British distractions in the aether, and a good dash of luck.
  • Laputa: A floating (in the sky!) island, an enigmatic mystery, and a source of deadly peril.
I am sure I am forgetting a few, but you can see that there is a lot of odd stuff going on here.

There are also some non-terrestrial nations, on Mars. The most important of these is the Empire of Galfor, which opposes pretty much everything the British do on Mars.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I Ain't Been Shot Mum!

The setting is spring of 1940. A small town in Belgium, where a railroad, a highway and a canal all meet. The Third Reich wants this important road network. The Belgians and the British are desperate to hold it from the German blitzkrieg, but are woefully undermanned and virtually without effective anti-tank weapons. Thankfully, the British have managed to send a company of Scots and a few tanks (Matilda Is and Mk VIs).

The photos are from a game of "I Ain't Been Shot, Mum!" played on April 17th. We played at UH-Clear Lake, our usual third Saturday of the month.

Belgian Marines hold the Town

I wish I had taken photos of the Stugs shelling the buildings of the town and driving the Belgians out by collapsing the stone houses on top of them. I think if the German player had continued to do that, shelling the village, he could have turned that entire flank. As it was, he split the Stugs off to deal with some British infantry.

A Stuka divebomber prepares to strike British infantry

The German player had some astonishing luck with his divebomber. Three times he hit right on target. Blew the heart out of an entire platoon of Scots, and slowed the only real anti-tank weapon (a 25-pdr) to a crawl.

British Motorized Platoon pulls up to defend the Canal

This flank is now safe from the Stuka, with all those Bren guns pointing skywards. But the damage was done. The platoon pounded by the Stuka was half dead, and all discouraged. Other than the Boys AT Rifle team (which banged away gamely at the Stugs), the platoon was done for the day.

Miraculously, at the end of the alloted game time, the German player had not reached the village. I think this was more due to a few tactical mistakes on his part than any particular genius on the defenders' parts. You do not want to leave your infantry out in the open in front of a weapons platoon's worth of medium machine guns! Very bloody.

Also, the card driven system, with random turn ends did not help. Finally, I got a bit of luck with my aircover as well, with the Rare As Fairies showing up twice to strafe the German ATG crews. I have experienced a great deal of frustration while trying to get an attack under way using this system myself, so I can empathize with the German commander.

IABSM! is not my favorite set of rules, though it is pretty simple once you get used to it. My biggest gripe is that random turn end (the Tea Break card). You have to be super careful to get that deck of cards well shuffled so that the Tea Break doesn't happen too early in the turn every time. It is incredibly frustrating when you move the same unit over and over and the rest of your troops are glued in place.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

If you are into VSF gaming or 40K... might want to check this out: Bartertown Link.

That, my firends, is a 28mm scale Knight Paladin in resin. Muy impressive. All I think it needs is a big honking steam engine on the back. the God-King of all Automatons for VSF. This thing might even be self-aware, it's so honking big. Then Doctor Maton will have some worries of his own...

Also, you can get these bit parts to make some Imperial Guard Praetorians of your very own. One option is to have the rider's legs as well, so you end up with Rough Riders. Just the thing for making German Imperial Uhlans out of Mordians, I think. Need some steam horses, the legs, uh... my wife is not gonna like this line of thinking....

Anyway, they look fabulous. I promised no minis wargaming purchases until Historicon, but...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Labyrinth Lord Purchased. Let OSR Commence!

My good buddy Eli over at ISLP has been talking about playing some really great sounding games with his daughters using the game Labyrinth Lord. Essentially, the book (which I have not read through yet, only flipped pages) is the old Red Box Basic rules and Blue Box Expert rules. So awesomely simple.

Yesterday, a buddy and I went to a couple of game stores in Houston. One of them (Nan's) has a lot of RPG stuff in it as well as minis, comics, and all that. So I grabbed a copy of Labyrinth Lord as recommended by Eli.

Looking forward to sending my sons through the Keep on the Borderlands. Yes, I still have a copy of it. No, I won't let you borrow it.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

BattleTech Storage

The following pictures show the system I finished up about a month ago for holding BattleMechs. It will hold 21 'Mechs, with a two inch tall foam. The bottom of the box is a magnetic sheet. I am putting a piece of magnetic flexsteel (from Litko Aerosystem) to the bottom of each hex base.

View of the entire tray. The tray is 3" deep, and sized to fit my rolling aluminum case that my wife and sons got me for my birthday back in February.
Closeup shot of the 'Mechs in their snug little compartments.

Extreme closeup of a Phoenix Hawk (unseen). The red and white paint scheme is typical of the planet Talabheim IV.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Terror on Torrent

We finished up our Star Frontiers scenario / mini adventure last night.

When last we saw our Intrepid Heroes, Bahud, the Human Military Specialist, had just tossed his fragmentation grenade at the 10m long dinosaur that attacked him. Meanwhile, Yanshack'A of Zigara, a yazirian Technician known to his friends as Yan, was taking careful aim with his grenade rifle on the second dinosaur of the predatory pair...

And missing. Fast moving dinosaurs and no skill with a weapon means that happens a lot. The dinosaurs skid around in a sharp u-turn, then charge back at the hapless pair of (apparently) soon-to-be fast food containers. The pair of adventurers decide discretion is the better part of valor, and that one live dinosaur delivered was worth more than a trip through a Ripclaw's digestive tract. Again, fickle Fate saves our heroes, as they win the initiative and sprint for the safety of their nearby Explorer [1].

Safely behind the armored doors of their vehicle, Yan tries to sedate the creatures outside by dropping pairs of doze grenades out the (barely opened) window. Dane's lucky rolling streak continues, and he manages to put one of the Ripclaws down after it failed its STAmina check. He'll be sleeping for about five minutes (53 turns). One down, one to go.

As the second Ripclaw futilely claws and bites at the solid rubber tires and unyielding durasteel armor of the Explorer, Bahud passes his two doze grenades to Yan, hoping to repeat the performance and reap a bigger reward. Unfortunately, Yan's luck runs out, and Dane rolls a 99 - critical fumble! The doze grenades go off inside the cabin! As the Explorer's cabin fills with gas, Bahud and Yan pass out when they both fail their STA checks. When they awaken, both of the Ripclaws are gone. Running low on filters for their CO2 masks, the pair decide to return to the shuttle and leave Torrent behind.

On arrival a few days later at the Port Loren WarTech Industrial Complex, Bahud and Yan receive their walking papers. The Vrusk executive who hired them has mysteriously disappeared, and the project he headed up has been canceled. The new VP of the Prenglar office honors the original contract, and even offers to pay in kind at a 20% discount rather than in cash.

Newly unemployed (again), Yan and Bahud decide that maybe working directly for the big conglomerates is not as great a job as it seemed before. They decide to start their own business as freelance investigators and troubleshooters. The name of their company is (what else?): The Boys.

And that was pretty much where we ended the evening. We did a little bookkeeping (updating equipment lists, assigning and spending experience points, that sort of thing) and then called it a night. After they went to bed, I got to work on a handout for the next adventure - a classified ad sheet with all sorts of interesting leads and info on it. When it's done, I'll attach it here as a PDF (if I can figure out how to do that!).

[1] Explorers are large off road RVs, amphibious, and sometimes armed. This one is not armed, but is armored, and has a large cage (currently occupied by a sleeping and restrained dinosaur) in the back in place of the usual crew cabin.

Monday, April 12, 2010

On the Frontier...

The Boys (Greyson and Dane, my sons) and I played our first little bit of Star Frontiers last night. I think everyone had a blast, and we ended on a cliff hanger - more on that in a bit.

We started slow, creating characters using the Basic Rules, with one change - we did each attribute seperately instead of in pairs. Dane (11) chose a Yazirian Technologist named (I hope I get this right!) Yanshack'A of the Zingara. His friends call him Yan. He's strong and bright and fast, but gets winded very easily (STA 25!). Greyson (14) plays a Human Military Specialist named Bahud. He's tiny, but mighty. Using the optional rules we found in Issue 4 of Star Frontiersman, we generated a height of 1.5 meters and a weight of only 40 kg. Considering this child is actually 185 cm tall (6'1" for us 'Mericans), I find it funny. Bahud also has a Strength Attribute of 70 - well above average. One tough little person!

Anyway, we played through the first scenario in the Basic Rules, where you are working for Pan Galactic Corp to discover the security breach. Of course, it's an inside job. The boys managed to take down two of the spies (a Vrusk and a Dralasite) with doze grenades and captured a third (the Human) who was running off with a stolen data crystal. A quick call to Star Law resulted in the Yazirian's apprehension at the starport of Port Loren.

Later that evening, the Boys accepted a permanent position as agents of WarTech, Inc., a major weapons manufacturer in the Frontier. Their first assignment was to infiltrate the planet Torrent (as described in Issue 8) and capture specimens for the Biotech Warfare division. Specifically, they want dinosaurs!

After successfully landing their shuttle on the planet, the Boys disembarked in their modified Explorer. It took a few days, but they decided that they were never going to catch anything running around in this loud vehicle (the animals kept running away). So, they got out and set up camp. Waiting a few hours, a small herd of giant herbivores came through nearby, followed by a lone predator. One (lucky!) shot with the gas grenade rifle later, and the ten meter long carnosaur was down and sleeping. Bahud tried to determine the gender of the dinosaur, but he just couldn't get the biosensor to give him that much. He was able to get a species: Torrentus leapyclawclaw, common name the Ripclaw. Bahud restrained the sleeping beast with webbing straps while Yan brought the explorer close and they winched the heavy beast into the cage in back.

After a brief rest, the Boys went hunting, looking for signs of Ripclaws in the area. They found sign, alright - followed by a swift, running attack by a pair of angry, hungry carnosaurs! The carnosaurs flashed past, clawing and biting as they ran (nipping Bahud), then turning to make another pass. As they turned, Bahud pitched his frag grenade at them, only to fumble with it and drop it just outside the blast radius. Yan took aim with his grenade rifle... and we ran out of time.

Tune in later this week for more exciting tales. I promise you, my sons are not going to let me rest until they get these dinos!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Fresh outta 1980 what?

Look at what I found. My original Star Frontiers books. And the maps. No box or counters, but then I can always print the counters off from Star Frontiersman.

Who says compulsively holding onto a game for almost thirty years isn't a good idea? I think the boys and I are gonna be playing this weekend! Oh yeah!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Reikland Halberdiers

My first unit of ten Empire Halberdiers. These are all plastics from the State Troops boxed set that I purchased from eBay. They arrived primed in black. I have more that will be added to this unit in the future, but it is a start.
Second Reikland Halberdiers

I painted the unit in the dominant white of Reikland, with a lot of red accents. To be honest, I really don't like to paint white. You get a bit snow-blind before you get finished. That's why I stopped at 10 for now. I'll need to do at least 3 more so that I can swap the unit in and out for a detachment. I will probably end up doing another ten or even fourteen eventually, so I can field a large block.

Standard Bearer (converted from regular halberdier)

The standard was printed off the computer and glued to the staff. I made streamers out of greenstuff as well as the brass knob at the top of the staff. the standard bearer is currently unarmed, though I may add a pistol from my bitz bin someday.

Closer shot of halberdier and drummer.

Like the standard bearer, my drummer is unarmed. He depends on the skill of the unit champion just to his right to protect him, I suppose. Sorry about the lousy lighting, but I just took the photos about an hour ago, and there is not much light to be had without disturbing others this late.

Friday, April 2, 2010

6mm Terrain: The Clinic

Kalian Memorial Medical Clinic

Okay, so here it is: the first piece of custom 6mm terrain I have ever made. Finally, with photos and everything. The clinic started life as the blister packaging for an OmniPod, which is a type of insulin pump that my son uses. [Note: He loves it. Highly recommended for Type I diabetics.] Started by cutting a piece of thin plywood to attach as a base. Glued the blister to the plywood base, then sprayed it with a gray primer. Drybrush lighter gray over it. Green paint for the grounds around it (still considering flocking that). Paint in windows, road markings, etc.

Details include an emergency room drive, multiple entrances, and lots of skylights. The yellow triangle is a VTOL pad for bringing in serious injuries.

With a Locust of the Recon Lance of Wulf's Hussars for scale.

[EDITED 4/5/2010: I am making changes to the clinic. I will replace the Red Cross symbol with a dove symbol. This is the symbol of the Goddess Shallya in the Old World (Warhammer Fantasy). She is the goddess of mercy and healing. Plus, it is a little different from a contemporary Red Cross symbol. Makes it seem more futuristic to me. Finally, I have gone ahead and flocked it around the edges, which looks much better. I'll repost photos when I get done.]

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wal-Hammer Discount Battles, 94th ed.

Gothic Horror in Discount Retail

In a grim world dripping with skulls, yellow smiley faces and spikey bitz, hordes of grossly distorted people struggle with massively oversized weapons in order to dominate the Express Lane.

-Actual Game Play Dialogue -
"I've got eleven items in my Basket of Sorrow, cutting to the front of the line in the '10 or Less' lane - but my eleventh item is Emperor Pillsbury's Crown of Extra Golden Flaky Awesomeness, so I can get away with it. Cower before me and wait in the queue like all the regular people."

"Ah, but in the new Weekly Codex Circular, they got rid of the Emperor's Crown and replaced it with the Too-Tight Spandex of Garish Blindey-ness. MY army (which was totally re-vamped in the WCC) includes two units of Greenback-bearing Migrant Workers, which cost only 2 points each but have M4 (6 when running from ICE Agents), WS8, BS100%, S8, T7, W4, A3, and Ld2. They should easily destroy your unit of Imperial Mega Super Wonderknights, with their measly 1+ Ward save. They are led by ACLU the Mighty, with the ACORN of Mischief. Your puny pre-painted collectible army is doomed! DOOMED!"
Wal-Hammer Fantasy Discount Battle Superstore

Coming in April 2010 to everywhere you look, next to the Starbuck's that is already there.

Games Bilkshop
11.99 Metal Infantry Mini Street
Gimme-Your-Dough, Willingly, YUK