Friday, July 30, 2010

Terrain! And more... Terrain!

   I have been working on many things terrain-related recently, both for VSF and just in general. I thought it would be interesting to show what I've been up to. There is more in the pipeline right now, including a "how-to" on making a set of 6mm barbed wire. Look for that in the near future, I hope.

"Sun Kissed" 2-3cm Trees, by Woodland Scenics

   I found a package of these on sale at the local Hobby Lobby this week. They looked nice, and they were on sale, so I bought them. My wife would be so proud of me if she knew how I was saving money. This is the same justification she uses when buying a new purse on sale. The difference is mine started at $8.99 and hers started at $300. Anyway, they are a good size for 6mm (1/285) gaming. Here they are shown with a Battlemech just in the background.

6mm Rough Stone Wall, by TimeCast (37/060)

   I bought a small set of 6mm walls at Historicon, but I can't recall for the life of me which vendor had them. They had a lot of terrain. I think it was Battlefield Terrain Concepts. I got these to help with my new 6mm VSF project and BattleTech. I think they painted up nicely. The mat, by the way, is homemade, my "open fields" terrain (as opposed to the "urban", "jungle/forest" and "Martian" mats).

Resin Palisade, by Acheson Creations

   The palisade is something that the folks at Acheson make with their extra resin. When they make a batch and start pouring castings, tehre is always some left over. Anyone who casts their own stuff knows how that goes, right? Anyway, rather than waste perfectly good resin, they pour the excess into any of several small molds they keep. They make tons of the stuff, and then haul it to conventions. I got this piece for $.50. I bought about 16 more at the same time, and have purchased some previously. Finally got around to painting this first one up, and several more are in the pipeline. Two hints when working with this: 1) wash it thoroughly with warm water, detergent and an old toothbrush and dry it completely, and 2) prime it using Krylon Fusion for Plastic spray paint. I then hit it with a dark brown spray paint, dry brush two coats, and basing. GW's Purity Seal spray dullcote on top.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

BattleTech AAR: Defense of Fintroll Dam

Fig. 1: The Battlefield. The small tower is the powerplant, the large building a factory.

   On Bogenhafen IV, the small city of Fintroll is burning, nearly entirely destroyed by fires started by a fierce orbital bombardment. However, two key points have been left unscathed: the hydroelectric power station and a factory complex just south of the city. With assets stretched thin, two medium Mechs of the 2nd Talabheim Guard are sent to secure the structures. Opposing them, two stray Mechs, remnants of the 1st Imperial Engineers, deployed from the ruins of the town.


  • 2nd Talabheim Guard (red and white): 1x PNT-9R "Panther" [35t], 1x PXH-1 "Phoenix Hawk" [45t]

  • 1st Imperial Engineers (blue and red): 1x WSP-1A "Wasp" [20t], 1x RFL-3N "Rifleman" [60t]
Victory Conditions

  • Destruction of all Talabheim Mechs: Total Imperial Victory

  • Holding the Hydroelectric Plant: Partial Imperial Victory

  • Destruction of all Imperial Mechs: Total Talabheim Victory
The Battle

Turn One:
   Talabheim PXH-1 advanced directly up the road, into relatively ineffective fire from the Rifleman at extreme range. The Wasp and Panther maneuvered out of line of sight.

Turn Two:
   Already in heat trouble, the Engineer Rifleman moves carefully into the Fintroll River shallows. Again, his fire is ineffective. To take pressure off of the Rifleman, the Wasp pilot bravely dashes across open ground to draw opposing fire. It works - the Phoenix Hawk moves into close range and pounds the smaller Wasp. Large laser and a barrage of SRMs slam into the Wasp's arm and torso, reaching the Wasp's own ammunition supply, detonating the entire supply and vaporizing the hapless Mech. [Note: Used a Stinger model for the Wasp, as I don't have a Wasp.]

Fig 2: Phoenix Hawk burns down a Wasp
Turn Three:
   Now protected and cooled by the shallow water, the Rifleman's long range guns go back into full fire. The Panther approaches, bringing its PPC into play, and striking the Rifleman in the torso. Finished with the Wasp, the Phoenix Hawk returns to the roadway and advances toward the dam.

Turn Four:
   Both attacking Mechs advance down the road, directly into the Rifleman's fire, determined to eliminate this pesky remaining defender and seal their victory. However, the Panther masks the Phoenix hawk's fire, and takes the full fury of the RFL-3N's Magna Mk. II and III lasers and the pair of Imperator-A medium autocannons. Critical hits in the central torso destroy the Panther's gyro, causing it to crumple to the ground.

Turn Five:
   Daunted by the intense fire coming from the Rifleman, the Phoenix Hawk pilot moves onto a nearby hill. He plans a devastating "death from above" attack. In response, the Rifleman shifts his fire onto the Phoenix Hawk, blowing the left arm off, damaging the gyro, and causing the 45-ton Mech to topple off the hill, out of LOS.

Turn Six:
   The Phoenix Hawk tries (and fails) to right itself. With no other target, the Rifleman continues to fire on the downed (but not out!) Panther, causing serious damge to the useless legs of the unstable Mech. The Panther manages to prop itself up and fire its PPC at its tormentor, narrowly missing.

Turn Seven:
   The Phoenix Hawk continues to try to stand, again without success. The stricken Panther finally succumbs to the heavy and continuous stream of fire coming from the Rifleman. With its central torso totally shot away, the Panther simply falls apart. With the sun setting, the Phoenix Hawk pilot decides to sneak away, abandoning his damaged Mech. For now, the ruins of Fintroll remain in Imperial hands...

Fig. 3: Death of a Panther. Note the Rifleman is standing in shallow water.


   Honestly, once the Wasp blew, I thought I was in serious trouble. Dane had aggressively eliminated my manuever unit that I foolishly left vulnerable to a Mech twice its size. However, by advancing straight into the Rifleman's strength (long range gunnery), especially bulwarked by the cooling assistance of the river - which offset the massive heat buildup that is the RFL-3N's main weakness.

   I used some of our old Heroscape hexes to create the battlefield. It worked okay, but I think that a hex-pattern stencil may be getting ordered from Litko sometime in the near future if we start playing a lot of BattleTech. Either that, or I make a turning template and we go 'hexless' for it. Which, all things considered, might be easiest.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Historicon, Day Three (Final battle report)

SKYRUNNERS: Historicon Race Day
Saturday, July 10, 8PM

   The only game I played in on the third (and last full day) of the convention was in the evening. Most of the day was spent in shopping, shopping, shopping! And being peeved with the hotel for putting two holds on my bank account for the room, thus reducing the amount of $$ I had available to spend in the Dealers' Room and Wally's Basement.

  Anyway, all bitterness aside (ooo was I pissed off!), the last game of the con was a great one. The first round consisted of seven racers in two seperate heats, with the top two contenders in each heat going on to compete in  the final. Naturally, I forgot my camera in the room (I was really pissed off), but another participant took several photos and emailed them to me last week.

A Skyrunners "Scudder" Flyer, with complete Racing Crew

  The rules were Skyrunners, written by Bob Charette of Parroom Station Enterprises. Bob also ran the game, and sculpted the boats and figures. All around master of the ceremonies. The rules, ships and minis are all available through Brigade Games. The booth was already sold out of ships when I got there on Thursday, so I ordered a ship and all the crew. It should arrive in August (waiting for new ships to be cast by Acheson Creations, who do very nice work, btw...)

Yours Truly, indicating where my scudder (Blue and White) will be going.

   As far as the first heat of the game went, I came in second, and so moved on. One player was knocked totally off our course and into the other racing course, causing no small amount of confusion and lots of fun mayhem!

Another picture of Round 1

   In the Final Race, I earned the nickname "Vomit Comet" for my scudder and 'Swooperman' for its pilot, as I was forced to swoop over and under and over and under again to avoid collisions. My gunner also earned a nickname: 'Deadeye,' because after coming through a screeching 180 degree turn, he still managed to bullseye the target atop the scoring pylon. Another scudder got known as "Pinball Wizard" for the number of collisions it spawned! The final result was slightly disappointing: second again! Still, the game itself was  a blast and we all had a lot of fun.

   This one is going on the Christmas List for the boys, because I think they will enjoy it a lot as well. I figure four to six scudders is enough. Plus, they can do double duty as 25mm light Martian flying craft. I love when I can 'economize' that way. I'm not cheap, I just have a lot of projects!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Madness! Madness, I say!

   Really, I am getting too scattered. Far, far too scattered. Let's take a look, shall we, at just the minis by genre, scale and number of forces:
  • VSF/Colonial, 25mm: British, German, Texicans, Turks, Japanese, Lizardmen, Automatons, Vardu, Martians, plus Skyrunners Racing Game
  • VSF/Colonial 15mm: British, German, Texicans, Lizardmen (carryover!), Automatons (carryover, mainly), Martians, Vardu (some carryover), Zulu
  • VSF/Colonial, 6mm: Martians, Germans, British, Lizardmen
  • VSF, 2mm: Confederation of Italian States, British, German, Martian (Aeronef, SGoM, etc.)
  • Fantasy, 25mm: Lizardmen, Empire (WFB)
  • Post-Apocalypse, 20mm: Car Wars, Matchbox scale
  • Sci-Fi, 6mm: Battletech, OGRE
  • plus terrain for all of theabove, of course...
   And then there's the RPG projects with the boys, which we bounce around between. I am hoping to get a more coherent RPG schedule when my good friend Jim gets home in a few months after two years of active service in the Reserves.

   Oh, and I am considering adding 15mm Sci-fi to the mix. Just too many cool toys out there in 15mm. Any suggestions on rules for them? I am considering Future War Commander (I think that is the name of the rules). I want a sort of feel where most troops are like the Colonial Marines from Aliens, but there are armored troopers as well, like the real MI from the novel Starship Troopers. Plus tanks, flyers, etc.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Post-Apocalypse GURPS

Alright, new update on the GURPS gaming with my sons. The two Wolf brothers are still exploring the Camden County Mall, and have made their way about a third of the way through it. They have searched through Radio Shack, and Camper's Outlet, and a variety of other stores. They were attacked by multiple swarms of rats at the Dogs and Such, which required them to spend the better part of three weeks recuperating, thanks to the infection one contracted and the crippling damage to the leg of the younger brother. though still limping, he is slowly improving...

Today they explored another couple of stores, including Appliance Alley. In the backroom of the Appliance Alley they found a skeleton in a store smock, its leg smashed and trapped under a dishwasher. The smock had a nametag: Earl. Once they distrubed the skeletal remains, the temperature of the room dropped from a chilly 50 degrees down to just above freezing. A glowing image, an apparition of a man with a huge 'stache grew up out of the remains and spoke to them. Dakota was startled, but recovered easily. Victor, on the other hand, was quite frightened by the ghostly apparition. Earl said this:

"My name is Earl. I had a list of tasks that I had to complete in my lifetime. A list of all the bad things I did to people. Karma punished me for those bad things, and I had to make it right for all of them. But I died. Now I am stuck here, until I can present my list to Karma, or I can never rest. And if I can't rest, neither will you. When I died, I had several friends with me, and my brother. Maybe one of them took the list. Bring me the list, or I'll haunt you forever."

So now they have a quest to complete beyond just looting the mall, which is only going so-so anyway.

Guess what show we have been watching a lot of lately? Man, that Catalina can change my towels any day.

Toys from Historicon, Part 1

Hoo boy, this is a long list. I thought I would present it so that folks who have never been to a Historicon could see what all is available for sale there. Naturally, there is more stuff, too, like hot wire foam cutters, tons of terrain options, books, videos, t-shirts... you name it. But this is what I bought for myself:

Tokens/Markers (all from Litko):
  • Charge token (red) x10
  • Routed token (red) x10
  • Mini wound marker x10
  • Micro fire marker x10
  • Chicken tokens x5 (freebie)
  • WTF token (freebie)
  • Epic Fail token (freebie)
Bases (trying some things out, plus stocking up a bit):
  • 1 pint box of misc. 3mm thick MDF bases from GF9 ($10 for about 120)
  • 1 pkg 20mm square metal bases from Wargames Accessories
  • 25 Small FOW plywood bases (3mm) by Litko
  • 1 pkg FOW compatible bases with beveled lip for labeling (BA109) Battlefield Accessories
6mm Sci-fi (for Battletech and just, well, because...)
  • 5x Utility APCs (Scotia)
  • 5x Large Grav APCs (Scotia)
  • 48x Battle armor troopers (Scotia)
  • 5x Tracked Ammunition Carriers (Future Wars by CMD)
  • 5x Police Van (CMD)
  • 2x AV72 Attack VTOL (CMD)
  • 3x GEV, Pan-Euro Lights, I think (Ogre)
6mm Colonial/VSF (for bigger scale battles, all by Heroics and Ros)
  • FPW Prussian Artillery, 1 battery's worth
  • FPW Prussian Gun Teams (limbers), 2 battery worth
  • FPW Jaegers advancing, 2 battalions worth
  • FPW Prussian Uhlans, 1-2 regiments
  • FPW Prussian Line Marching, 2 battalions
  • Colonial Mahdist Spearmen (to be Martians), 2 Battalions
  • Colonial Mahdist Ansar Infantry (Martians), 2 Battalions
  • Colonial Mahdist Artillery (Martians), at least 1 battery, maybe 2
  • 4x WWI Fokker E.III "Eindecker" airplane
  • 2 each: MkIV tank, Renault FT-17, St. Charmond WWI tanks
25mm VSF:
  • Eureka Minis' Stukasaurus x3
  • Eureka Minis' Feldgendarme w/ raptors
  • Empress Minis Zulu War British, infantry x8
  • Empress Minis Zulu Brits, ensigns x4
  • Empress minis Zulu British 7 pdr gun (aiming crew) x1
  • Parroom Station: Skyrunners Scudder with racing team (on order) x1
  • Parroom Station: Masked Minions with Diabolical Weapon x5
  • Parroom Station: City Dweller Martian Artillery Crew
  • Games Workshop: 8 Saurus with spears (old, metal, one is Temple Guard)
  • Reaper Dark Heaven line Mushroom Men (2 in the pack, need 4 more packs)
15mm VSF:
  • Blue Moon Manufacturing's Twanax Horde x6 (1 pkg, need at least one more - painting them as plant men/swamp monsters for Venus's mad genius Doctor Vardu)
  • Blue Moon's Fereen on Goranax x2 (1 pkg)
  • Chariot Miniatures lizardman on pterosaur (LIZ4) x1 - may want more of these...
  • 3x Battletech 'clickies' for war walkers: Uller, Firestarter and Mining Mech Mk II MOD
2mm VSF (Sky Galleons of Mars/Aeronef):
  • 1x Zeppelin (LZ41)
  • 2x "Skylord" kites
  • 2x "Whisperdeath" kites
  • 2x "Hullcutter" screw galley
  • 2x "Skyrunner" screw galley
  • 3x "Endtime" screw galley
  • 2x an unknown model screw galley, very small.
  • 1x "Smallbird"
  • 1x IJN Mikasa armed transport
  • 1x Large Merchant kite
  • 1x USS Ranger
  • 10x Litko 1" hex flying bases with pegs of varying heights. (need more, and bigger ones)
  • 16 pieces resin stockade by Acheson Creations
  • 3x GW forcewall pylons (from Assault on Black Rock - I want more if you have any...)
  • 2x Cthulhu statuettes (maybe 25mm?)
  • 1 steam engine (25mm, or HUGE 15mm)
  • 6mm Hedges
  • 6mm walls (TimeCast)
  • 6mm railroad track (Les batiments, bought at I-94 Enterprises)
  • 15mm ACW tents (x6) by JR Miniatures
  • 3x 1/144(?) WW2 puzzle planes (2 Pfeils and a Japanese pusher prop)
  • 25mm "Not" TARDIS by MBA
  • A few random bits for the bit box.
  • The free swag I mentioned before

I also have a list of stuff I bought for other people who couldn't go. I'll mention that in another post. Some of this stuff is going to be 'surplus to the needs of the service' as they say, and will be Game it Forward-ed in the near-ish future.

I hope my wife doesn't read this...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Historicon Swag Report

   I am dividing the posts on Historicon between this blog and Victoria's Boys in Red so that I don't bog down either one too badly and so that I get a a little more cross-pollination. Bear with me.

   This post is about the free "swag bag" goodies given out this year. I bought a ton of stuff (well, about 20 lbs, actually), so the purchases will be dealt with in seperate, more organized posts.

  The contents of the bag:
  • A CD-Rom game disk for a MMO game: "World of Tanks"
  • A bonus card to get an extra tank (M3 Sherman) in the MMO
  • A plastic tank (1/144, I think), a Tiger I think, but the package was labeled in Japanese so I don't know for sure.
  • A sprue of Perry's plastic 1812-1815 dismounted dragoons (2 figures)
  • A sprue of 13 Warlord Games "Pike and Shotte" infantry.
  • A copy of the Civil War Times magazine, (Oct '09)
  Not a bad haul, really. though I don't need the figures. They will be offered up soon on Gmae it Forward. You know the drill: First come, First Served. Just be sure to use them!

   More to come!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Heading to Historicon...

I'll be attending North America's big historical minis convention this weekend. There was a lot of doubt about if I was going to be able to attend this year, but... by putting off my kid's braces and ignoring the dog's vet needs (just kidding!) I can manage to attend! Not with a huge load of spending money, sadly, but hey, at least I'll get to play!

I will be taking my mini along as well, and the digital camera, so look for updates while I am there (assuming I can get a wi-fi connection). If anyone has photo requests, please send them to me and I will see what I can do. I know sometimes I hesitate to buy a mini because I have never seen it - I'll try to hook you up with a photo or two if I can!

Very excited about this trip, as I will be going alone for the first time. That means no one to keep an eye on for a change. I love my boys, but it can restrict your gaming schedule and shopping when they are along.

It may also be the last time I attend for some years. We are trying to save up for a big vacation in 2012 (as in, London, baby!) so justifying the $1K it costs me to go will be tough. My wife thinks I am nuts to spend that kind of money on a hobby, but then I refer her to the neighbors who deer hunt, fish, etc. Do you have any idea how much that costs these days? $1K for a rifle on a lease, easy. Plus corn, stands, feeders, etc. And fishing? Sheesh, a boat!?! Just storing one of those for a year would pay for this trip, much less the payments on it... And if she still gets up about the cost, I point out how much her trips to the nail salon run per month and multiply it by 12... You get the picture!

Well, gotta get packing! I only have 46 hours until my plane leaves!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

GURPS! Excuse me!

I always thougt the name of Steve Jackson Games's Generic Universal Roleplaying System (aka GURPS)sounded like a rude noise one might make after eating a rather large meal. But the system itself has always sort of appealed to me, for some reason. Maybe it was early conditioning: I bought Man-to-Man, the GURPS combat system on the day it was released, ahead of the remainder of the game. I was 13.

A friend of mine and I toyed with GURPS off and on for years. I collected books, then shelved them, then got back to it, then sold some on eBay, then bought some back on eBay... you know the way that works, I am sure. Recently, I brought it back out. The reason: my sons. They wanted to play a post-apocalyptic game. I didn't want to do anything as gritty as most of those games are with my 14 and 11 year olds. So I decided a generic system might work well. GURPS, here we come!

So far, they have made characters. They are brothers, and the storyline we built (all three of us) for them is pretty great. I'll share it with you in another post, if you are interested. We have played out one short combat and escape scene, and they have found themselves in some sort of shopping center, buried in a landslide and thus, fairly well preserved in the hundred plus years since the Great Dying Time.

Its been fun, but yet another example of the Scattergun approach...