28 January 2010

The Hun is Reinforced

More Atherbattalion Troops Arrive on Venus.
What is their plan? Designs on Planetary Domination?

Events on Venus have taken a dramatic turn for the worse. As you can plainly see in the photostat included below, more of the Kaiser's white devils have landed on Venus. Our intrepid photostatic artist barely escaped with his life and this single still. It shows the Hun's new troops advancing across one of the few open areas on the Veiled Planet. The officer has seen Mister Flannery, and is giving orders to arrest him for espionage. Not wanting to endhis trip a head shorter, Mr. Flannery departed the scene immediately and made his way back to the British outpost.


[Editor's Notes: These figures are the first ones started and finished in the new year. I have a few other projects in the works that I am truly hopeful will be done by Sunday night. The figures are Old Glory 15mm German Seebattalion from the Boxer range.]

Polish Lancers Rock!

If you are Polish...

or just like Polish lancers...

Watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFi7bWkyRpA

Makes me think I need VSF Poles as well...

25 January 2010

Great Rebasing Project of 2010

Friends, it is time to announce one of my grand projects for the next few months: the rebasing of all my Mars-based figures, in both 25mm and 15mm scales. Which we all know are closer to 28mm and 18mm in most cases.

You see, I have, over the past two or three years, changed the material used for Martian bases at least three times. I now sit in a position where I believe the best bases are the most recent ones, and I am so happy with them that I am going to change all of the bases to match.

To my count, that means just over 200 bases need to be fixed.

Most will be simple: layer of PVA and then put in the basing mix. Allow to dry, then spraycoat with matte lacquer for extra adhesion.

The count so far: 18 down, 190 to go!

Weekend Progress

Actually got a bit of brush time in this past weekend.


The Papal States vessels of the Italian Confederation Combined Aeronavy are almost done, even with the changes I made to the paint scheme. All that is left is one cruiser that needs a bit of detailing and a dig battleship that needs touchup. Then all eight vessels are off to be clearcoated.


Also got a good deal of work done on the 15mm Luftschiffetruppen. All that is left is basing on a few (six or so) and then clearcoating. Mark this unit down as 90% complete. Pictures later this week.


I am also in the process of rebasing many of my Mars-based units to a standard style. I did both Sentinels and several other figures (15 in all).


So, with only one weekend left in the month, I am skeptical about meeting my monthly goal. The Zulus are taken care of, though not finished yet. The Nefs are going pretty well, and the Luftschiffetruppen. But I got to get on those ferals!


Oh well. Must sleep now.

23 January 2010

Monthly Goal Update

Greetings, Ladies and Gents...

Felt like I ought to update my progress for the month. So first, the stuff that is being painted:
  • 40x 15mm Zulus [Stone Mountain]: Mailed to painter. I realized I want the troops, but I don't want to paint them. New painter this time; I'll review the work when I receive the minis.
  • 20x 15mm Luftschiffetruppen [Old Glory]: 80% done. Touchup, basing, and clear coat.
  • 10x 25mm Feral Martians [RAFM]: 40% done.
  • Aeronef Papal Fleet [Brigade Models]: Total of six ships. About 60% done. I made some alterations to the fleet paint scheme that need to be redone on several ships.
Regarding new purchases, I have been a busy boy, on TMP, eBay and company websites. Also, I have discovered the joy of Bartertown (http://www.bartertown.com), and that has been time consuming. The 'take' so far:
  • GW Mordian Lascannon and crew. No gunshield. Repaint and fit with 19th C. field gun wheels.
  • Parroom Station Clockwork Soldier (NIB). New 'recruit' for Maton.
  • Armorcast Gothic Laboratory Power Generator. Power for the Lascannon.
  • 20x Copplestone Castings German Colonial Marines. Destined to be Luftschiffetruppen.
  • Wyrd Miniatures's Malifaux Brass Arachnid. Nice and big, suitably menacing for Dr. Maton.
  • 16x 25mm Japanese cavalry (Russo-Japanese), painted
  • 17x 25mm Japanese infantry (Russo-Japanese), painted
  • 2x 25mm Japanese artillery, w/ 4 crew (RJW), painted
  • GW WFB Lizardmen Stegadon (5 ed.) - only $10! Gex in the howdah... a fearsome weapon on Venus!
And there are still some things I am trying to find at a reasonable price or trade.
  • 3x GW Imperial Guard Praetorians with lasguns. Most poses would be okay.
  • 1x GW Imperial Guard Praetorian Sergeant, with the powersword.
  • 2x GW Imperial Guard Praetorian missile loaders
  • GW Imperial Guard Praetorian heavy weapons (especially heavy bolter and autocannon)
  • Wargames Foundry Victorian Special "Dr. Jekyll". I will probably order today from Foundry, but at $10.50 for one figure, it hurts!
  • A boat to convert to a Martian 'kite'
  • And more... always more... *sigh*

So... plenty to keep me busy for the next nine or ten years, at any rate...

22 January 2010

Disaster in Africa!

January 22, 1879

   This morning, at the foot of the mountain of Isandlwana in the Natal Colony, five companies of the First Battalion, 24th Regiment and one company of the Second Battalion, along with four hundred Native levies were killed virtually to the last man by warriors of the Zulu king Ceteshwayo.

   This same afternoon, another company (B Co., 2nd Batt.), consisting of 139 men, officers and other ranks, was besieged at the mission station at Rorke's Drift, only six miles as the crow flies from the scene of Lord Chelmsford's crushing defeat. Between four and five thousand Zulus who had not fought at Isandlwana (and were therefore still fresh) surrounded and assaulted the hastily prepared defenses of the mission.

   The siege lasted all afternoon, overnight, and into the morning. In the end, the British suffered 31 casualties, seventeen of them dead. Over three hundred Zulus were killed. In recognition of the valour shown by the defenders, 11 were awarded the Victoria Cross, the kingdom's highest military honor.

   Tonight, I'm drinking beer, wearing a pith helmet, and watching ZULU on DVD.

07 January 2010

Reginald's Regiments of Renown, Issue #7


Saint Sebastian's Regiment
Zoauves of the Holy See


History
The Papal States in central Italy have held secular power over the region as well as their religious authority for hundreds of years. In the last century, increasing tensions and a series of invasions of the Italian Peninsula led the Pope to call for aid from the Catholic faithful around the world. Thousands of young men have answered the Holy Father's call to arms, and enlisted in the Earthly Host of Saint Michael. The strenghtening of the States was one cause of the formation of the Confederation of Italian Nations in 1768.

Of all these young men, probably the most famous regiment is the Saint Sebastian Regiment. Drawn out of their home antions to fight in foreign lands, these romantics naturally favored the dashing uniform of the Zouave. The Saint Sebastian Regiment is made entirely of non-Italian troops, excepting some officers and the regimental chaplain corps.

When the Vatican began sending missionaries to Mars, many were martyred by Martian natives. The Earthly Host dispatched two companies of Zouaves to protect the missionaries. With their lives protected, the missionary work bore fruit, and the ruler of a minor city-state in a remote area converted to the Church of Rome, even going so far as to rename his city Nova Roma. Additional priests, monks and nuns arrived quickly to spread the Faith, and additional soldiers came withthem to help defend the small city from its larger neighbors and attacks by native religion supporters against the Church and the faithful. Eventually, an entire regiment of Zouaves would be assembled on Mars.

Combat History

The Saint Sebastian Regiment of Zouaves are trained as elite light infantry. However, due to the restrictions of their current mission, they have been used primarily as garrison forces at a variety of mission stations in the region of Nova Roma. In this capacity, they have been involved in a number of small skirmishes, but no actions involving more than a single company. Rather, most of these skirmishes stayed at a platoon command level.

The Defense of St. Agnes Parish was fought between a platoon of Zouaves and a force of approximately forty natives. Disciplined rifle fire, superior marksmanship and rapid reaction to the developing crisis saved not only most of the platoon's lives, but also prevented the destruction of the church. Unfortunately, the rectory was destroyed by fire as the vandalizing natives withdrew in confusion. Father Ted Nichols survived the assault unscathed.

The Martian Heresy Crusade began in September of last year. Since then, members of the Holy Order of the Inquisition have been instrumental in suppressing the native cults which claim that "God was a Martian."

Uniforms

Zouaves are well known for thier brightly colored, exotic attire. The Saint Sebastian Zouaves are no different in this regards. Their tunics are purple, with yellow and white trim. Trousers are grey, spats (worn over the lower trouser leg) are white, and boots are black. Leather equipment is usually black. Headgear consists of a kepi, in wool matching the shade of a Zouave's tunic or frock coat.

French gunmakers designed a new weapon for the Zouaves: the 11mm long rifle, more comonly referred to as the Hammer of God, the rifle's massive weight, extreme length and punishing recoil made general issue of the weapon impossible. Officially, the Anti-Material Rifle is used only by superior marksmen in the Zouaves.

New Site for Praetorians [OOC]

If you have read my blog for any amount of time, you probably know that I like using GW's Praetorians and Mordians for special weapons units in Victorian Science Fiction.


I found a site that has a real Praetorian addict's work. He goes by Colonel Gravis, and (God help him), he's a 40K tournament player out of the UK. He does some really awesome conversion work though, and even takes commissions apparently. I think it is definetly worth a look:


http://colgravis.blogspot.com

05 January 2010

Steampunk Book Reviews


Leviathan, by Scott Westerfield

The first book I am going to review for you today is called Leviathan. It is essentially a weird science alternate history novel. The setting is Europe, in 1914. Archduke Ferdinand and his wife have been poisoned in Sarajevo after two failed assassination attempts earlier in the day. Their only son, Aleksander, escapes into the night with two of his father's most rusted retainers in a battered old Stormwalker-class combat walker. Yep, diesel powered armored walking vehicles. I don't want to give any more of the plot or characters away.

You have the start of World War I, the clash between two technologies: Clankers, like Germany, Austro-Hungary, and the Ottomans, versus Darwinites, like France, Russia, and Great Britain. The Clankers rely on advanced machinery. Darwinists have created genetically engineered creatures to fulfill their needs. And they rush to war.

I really liked this book. If you like VSF or steampunk, I think you will, too. Although technically I guess it is dieselpunk.

See the trailer for the book here: Leviathan trailer

Boneshaker, by Cherie Priest
If you like air pirates, zeppelins, poisonous gas, mothers, sons, mad scientists, Indian princesses, and zombies, you'll like Boneshaker. If you don't, there is something so fundamentally wrong with you that I can't imagine why you read this blog in the first place.
Another alternate history/weird science kind of tale, the plot is basically pigheaded teen boy gets into dangerous situation and loving mother tries to save him. Add in all the yummy stuff I mentioned before. Especially the rotters. Love them.
Publisher's Weekly says:
"In an alternate 1880s America, mad inventor Leviticus Blue is blamed for
destroying Civil War–era Seattle. When Zeke Wilkes, Blue's son, goes into the
walled wreck of a city to clear his father's name, Zeke's mother, Briar Wilkes,
follows him in an airship, determined to rescue her son from the toxic gas that
turns people into zombies (called rotters and described in gut-churning detail).
When Briar learns that Seattle still has a mad inventor, Dr. Minnericht, who
eerily resembles her dead husband, a simple rescue quickly turns into a
thrilling race to save Zeke from the man who may be his father. Intelligent,
exceptionally well written and showcasing a phenomenal strong female protagonist
who embodies the complexities inherent in motherhood, this yarn is a must-read
for the discerning steampunk fan."
I say:
"It's a Sci-Fi Essentials book, and a Steampunk aficionado (sp?)
Staple. Read it. Now."

02 January 2010

Royal Xenological Society, Vol. 4

Amphibian Life on Venus

Dendrobates venustica ozymandias "Croyden's Blue and Bronze"
D. v. ozymandias "Croyden's Blue and Bronze" on the hunt.
Dendrobates venustica buzzomelas

D. v. buzzomelas


Our journal has recently obtained photostats of some of the most colorful creatures on the Veiled Planet. Mister Godfrey Croyden, a Fellow of our Xenological Society, has forwarded this report via the most recently arrived etherdispatch.

The first creature shown is the Dendrobates venustica ozymandias, which comes in many different color morphs. The particular morph in these photostats was first discovered by Mister Croyden, and is therefore known as "Croyden's blue and bronze." The typical specimen is about seven feet in length, and feeds on a variety of small reptiles, birds and mammals. It has not been known to attack humans, as they are too large for the frog to eat. Mister Croyden has confirmed that the D. v. ozymandias is, like its cousins, poisonous. The bright coloration serves as warning to the large carnivorous dinosaurs - don't eat me!

The second creature is a slightly larger cousin to the D. v. ozymandias: a sterling example of Dendrobates venustica buzzomelas. As even the most obtuse of xenologists can see, the D. v. buzzomelas has a color morph of yellow and black, quite different from the first specimen. Again, the bright coloration is not intended to act as camoflage to hide the huge amphibian, but instead to act as a warning of toxicity. The skin on the back of these dendrobates (and all of their cousins) exudes an extrememly potent toxin. Contact with bare human skin results in virtually instantaneous paralysation and death within minutes.

The D. v. buzzomelas is often called the "Bumblebee" after the Earth insect with similar coloration. Each individual animal has a distinctive pattern, as unique as a tiger's stripes.

[Editor's notes: Both of these frogs are real, though I have changed their species names. The blue one is actually a Dendrobates auratus "Blue and Bronze" named Ozymandias (or Oz). The yellow one is a Dendrobatus leucomelas named Buzz. They are our new family pets. And yes, they are poison dart frogs. In captivity, they are pretty much harmless, but since they don't like handling anyway, we leave them alone. Each is about an inch or so long.]

01 January 2010

2009 Pledge Wrapup

So, as far as the Pledge goes... I blew it.

I was doing really well at first. Then I got hit with a serious double whammy: Historicon and peewee football.

Bought a lot of stuff at Historicon. A lot.

My youngest son (Dane) started his second season of peewee football a few days after we got back from Historicon. Practice three days a week and games on Saturday. Add in church obligations on Wednesday and Sunday, and... no time spent painting, essentially. The football lasted until December 5 - the Superbowl (we won!).

So, should I take the Pledge again this year? I don't think so. Two years in a row I have failed it. This year, I think monthly goals may be better. And so, the monthly goals for the first month of 2010:
  • Finish the aeronef fleet for the Papal States
  • Paint ten 25mm feral Martians (RAFM High Martians)
  • Paint forty 15mm Zulus
  • Finish twenty 15mm German Luftschiffetruppen
I think I can get those done, and maybe more. I hope to have some help on the Zulus from a friend.

Wish me luck!

Reginald's Regiments of Renown, Issue #6

Ätherbattalion Regiments


History

The Ätherbattalion regiments (AR.1 and AR.2) were raised in 1870 to provide colonial troops for the German Empire on other planets. Troops were transferred from Seebattalion and jager units, and the ranks filled with new conscripts. Training included Ätherschiffe boarding, zepellin assault, and the use of advanced weapons designed by the KFG. Both regiments were sent to African colonies to acclimatize them prior to being sent off-planet.

AR.1 was despatched to Neu Berlin in the Venusstadt Kolonie in 1872 after six months in German East Africa. AR.2 spent eight months in the Arabian desert as guests of the Ottoman Turks in preparation for their embarkation to Mars. Both regiments were carried to their respective off-planet destinations aboard the immense KAS Thor, an etherbattleship.

Combat History

AR.1 has been involved in numerous small actions in protection of the Venusstadt Kolonie. Their primary function is the protection of the Governor's Palace and the aetherport just west of Neu Berlin. Most of these actions have been against the native lizardfolk of Venus, who seem very hostile to human colonization. There have been a few incidents involving conflict against the parrotmen natives as well, though generally the German relations with these strange creatures have been amicable. Finally, some rumors of attacks against Neu Berlin by strange, plantlike creatures have been made, but are dismissed by British Intelligence as koo-fruit brandy-fueled hallucinations.


Officially, AR.2 has not seen combat action. In truth, it is believed that the regiment participated in the recent rioting in Galfor. Indeed, the uniform of the regiment is supposed to have been the cause of those riots! It is known that AR.2 is training Galforrian troops in modern military techniques, and Her Majesty's Government is afraid that German influence in the Empire may lead to additional troubles from that quarter.



Corporal Bauer demonstrates the powerful Granatwerfer, designed by the KFG
Herr Colonel Otto von Sickle, directing his troops of AR.1 during maneuvers on Venus
Feldwebel Hans Glick waving his squad of Soldaten forward in the Venusian jungles
Uniform
Soldaten
   The uniform for regular soldaten (privates) and corporals (Gefreiter) of both AR.1 and AR.2 is generally identical. It consists of a white high-collared cotton jacket over a white cotton shirt, with black collar, cuffs, epaulettes and piping. Trousers are feldgrau with a black seam along the outside leg. Boots and leather carrying equipment are brown. Peaked hats, with white crowns, black edges and brown leather brim are worn, and a brass regimental device is attached to the front. Regimental distinction is displayed on the epaulettes: red trim for AR.1, and white for AR.2.

Feldwebels (sergeants)
The uniform distinctions for sergeants in the Ätherbattalions includes silver trim on collar, cuff, trouser seam and epaulettes. Additionally, all buttons, buckles and cap badges are silver in place of the regular soldier's brass.


Officers
   Officers wear uniforms similar to the regular troops, with various distincitons based on rank. All officers have gold trim on epaulettes, collars, cuffs and trouser seams. Buttons, buckles and cap badges are gold rather than silver or brass as for lower ranks. Field grade officers have additional braid on their cuffs and jackets. Officers also wear aguilettes on the left shoulder. The aguilette color code is as follows:
  • Both cords red - Leutnant
  • One red, one red and black - Oberleutnant
  • Both red and black - Hauptmann
  • One red and black, one silver - Major
  • One red and black, one gold - Colonel
Weapons
   The Ätherbattalion regiments are supplied with advanced weapons by the KFG (Imperial Secret Weapons Institute). Privates and NCOs are typically armed with an Elektrogewehr, which spits bolts of intense galvanic energy. Some may be armed instead with a variety of heavier weapons such as Granatwerfer, Flammewerfer, Heibestrahlgewehr or Raketenwerfer. Officers are armed with Voltaischepistollen and Kraftschwert (powered swords). Some (usually senior) officers opt for traditional weapons like pistols and cavalry sabers.

Happy New Year!

Ignore the guns going off in the Texican Quarter of Victoria's Landing. The exuberance of their New Year's celebrations is limited (usually) to discharging their sidearmds into the air. I would recommend that one stay indoors for the evening, however. Those bullets must land somewhere, after all.

From all of us here at the journal, best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!