31 March 2010

End of March Wrapup

Well... I did it. Finally finished the Empress Brits. The last of the clearcoat is drying as we speak and I will put up photos tomorrow.

This means (drumroll please)... I finished another month's project goals! Hooray! At least, I finished all the VSF goals. We will tastefully ignore the lack of discipline which led to only one goal of the other painting projects to be finished.

Look for a new edition of Reginald's soon, complete with photos of the British. Really. Would I lie to you?

Regarding the monthly poll, I was a little surprised at the overwhelming support for a built in canal. I suppose I can give it a shot. I think painting the a dark brown dye on the cloth with a foam brush ought to give me the nice dark line I am looking for.

Next month's VSF goals are not very ambitious, because I will have other projects I am very concerned with getting something accomplished with. They are:
  • 10x Masked Minions [Parroom Station]
  • 4x   Masked Minion guncrew [Parroom]
  • 1x   Smoke Launcher (gun) [Parroom]
  • 10x Halfjack Automatons [Privateer Press - Cygnar]
  • 10x Halfjack 'mines' [Privateer]
The Halfjacks and the mines should be easy and quick. I already have the paint scheme figured for the minions. The smoke launcher should not prove terribly complicated either. Artillery pieces are usually pretty straightforward.

29 March 2010

Coming to the Wire...

...on the monthly goal. And I am doing well. If I can get the last few highlights done on the British infantry and get them based and clear coated by Wednesday night, I should make my VSF goals for the month.

One more thing. I would like to promote my new blog here for a second. If you like my VSF stuff here on Victoria's Boys in Red, a lot of it will be reproduced there, but I am also including all of my other gaming interests. This means Old West, BattleTech, Car Wars, Warhammer, VSF, terrain building, RPGs... pretty much anything and everything I do gaming related. The blog is The Scattergun Gamer, which pretty well sums up my inability to focus and tendency to spread a little bit here, a little bit there, a little pretty well everywhere.

I'll try to get a few photos snapped as soon as I finish the British. They look pretty nice, but I am a little disappointed in my painting on them. I am not sure my brush skills are quite up to the level of these figures. All in all, though, I am pretty happy with them. I think I need to get a few more packs so I can practice up on them...

27 March 2010

Possible New Shipyard

Our intrepid investigators have discovered the existence of two new shipyards.

Parroom Skyrunners - a racing game designed by Bob Charette.
[Image lifted from Brigade Games's website - please let me know if you mind, but I thought it looked too cool and hopefully will send more customers your way...]

Recreational Conflict - by scrolling about two-thirds of the way down, you may see a photostatic image of the prototype under construction.

Exciting stuff, what?

[Editor's Note: At $25 for the "Scudder" ship pictured above, I will certainly be interested in obtaining one of these. The Recreational Conflict one looks nice at this point as well.]

25 March 2010

Defensive Items Available!

Quantum Gothic is a British terrain manufacturer. They make some really nice looking resin 'gothic' 25mm sci-fi terrain. But to be honest, I think most of it could easily be used for VSF gaming. When I finally convince my wallet that I have not been abusing it (this may take a few months), I want to remember these models. I especially have my eye on the forcefield pylons, the comm array, the armored gate and the watchtower.


Professor MacGlarrigy's Galvanic Defense Field Focussing Array Pylon
Note: Photos taken from Quantum Gothic website for illustrative purposes only.
I neither claim nor challenge ownership of these pieces or their design, nor am I affiliated with Quamtum Mechanics.
I just think that they look awesome and hope you will buy some, too! Free advertising!


Aethergraphic Relay Station


Anti-Saurian Rocket Defense Turret


I found these fellows sort of by accident whilst rummaging about on TMP tonight. And my wife thought I was wasting time. Harrumph!

To quote Doctor Henry Cavor, "Imperial! Absolutely imperial!"

19 March 2010

Newly arrived...

More Mechanical Monstrosities!

In what is sure to be a calamity for the Crown Colony, additional metallic monstrosities have been developed by Doctor Maton! These so-called half-jacks actually have human pilots sealed within them! Malevolent midgets manipulate the machinery of these dastardly devices of death and destruction.

Photostatic evidence of these fiendishly clever devices have yet to be developed, but word has reached this journal through highly placed sources in the Government House Office of Threat Assessment that ten half-jacks have been built by the Mad Belgian. It is further rumored that the steam-powered contraptions are capable of burying themselves in the loose rocky red soil of Mars in a matter of moments, making detection of them extremely difficult until they choose to spring their ambuscade.

More information on this dangerously developing story (and photostats, if possible) will be relayed to our Dear Readers as soon as it is available.

[Editor's Notes: I got a shipment of ten of Privateer Press's half-jacks in the mail on Saturday. I think these will complete the mechanical portions of the Automaton army. The only additional purchase I am currently considering is more masked minions to give Maton a larger human element. All I have to do now is paint them, paint the ten masked minions, their leader, their gun crew, and finish the vehicle I have to convert for Maton. That's what, 25 minis or so? Wow. A project actually nearing completion. Color me surprised.]

15 March 2010

March Mid-Month Progress Report

Overall, the report for VSF gaming is Very Good.


10x "Great Rail Wars" Steam turtles: DONE

Hydra Miniatures's Warbot: DONE

Wyrd Miniatures's Brass Arachnid: DONE

Metal GW Stegadon Crew: DONE

And the whole Stegadon, based and ready.

As for the rest of this month's projects, both the Praetorian Heavy Bolter (aka the McFadden patent Single Barrel 3 pdr. Pom Pom) and the Autocannon (aka the Greelie-Heeby Magazine 7 pdr. Artillery) are about 60% done. This includes a modification of one autocannon crewman to change a control box to a telescope. The guns themselves are painted and done. Just finishing up the crew.

The ten Empress British have been started, and most of the block painting is done on them. I really like these minis. Lots of character. I have decided they will be representatives of the Manchester Regiment, formerly the 63rd (West Suffolk) Regiment of Foot before amalgamation with the 93rd last year. Non-royal, English regiments have white facings, as will these. Single battalion regiment. I think First Company, yes? Anyway, the ten I put in my goal this month are about 25-30% done, I would say. Keep an eye out for a Reginald's on the 63rd once I get these painted.

Besides my goal projects, I am working on a variety of other things sort of part-time. This includes the officer for the Queen's Own Aeromobile Infantry, the "Skywalkers." Just barely started on him, though. I need to back off of them a bit, so I can get my Warhammer Fantasy stuff worked on. Tomorrow and the next day might be bad painting days, as I am supposed to get my wisdom teeth removed first thing tomorrow morning. Pharmaceutical rollercoaster. Next stop, la-la land.

Oh, and I have the cloths ready to dye for my small Car Wars arena and the big green fields of Earth mat. Maybe if I tie dye them while whacked out on pain meds they will look totally awesome! Or maybe not. I think I will wait on that...

Royal Xenological Society, Vol. 5

Rosa venusica manticora
"Venusian Manticore Rose"



Shown above is a photostat of one of the more dangerous plants on Venus: Rosa v. manticora, or the Manticore Rose. It is so named for several features. First, it has a red coloration like the common variety of Earthly roses. Second, the odor of the blossom is quite similar to that of the common rose. However, the Manticore Rose is a single stemmed plant, unlike the thorny thicket of stems typical of the common rose. It would seem that, lacking this defense (of thick sharp thorns), the Manticore Rose would be easy prey for herbivorous creatures of the rainforest.

The truth is, most creatures avoid this plant. You see, the large bulbous blossom has the ability to fling a volley of sharpened thorns at any creature that approaches within a dozen feet or so of the plant. These thorns, beyond their sharp points, are also envenomed. While observation of larger Venusian lifeforms indicates that they may be immune or merely irritated by these toxins (as humans are to various stinging nettles), Earth creatures are rapidly overcome. The toxin puts its victim into a deep comatose state.

It is believed by the Texican scientific group's chief botanist, Doctor Nigel Clive of the Agricultural College of Texas that the plant feeds on small creatures that are overcome by the toxin and fall to the ground near the root system. These animals perish of malnourishment while comatose, and their bodies decompose, feeding nutrients in to the soil.

There is no known antidote for Manticore Rose poison. Two Texican marines are still comatose months after being poisoned. Travelers to Venus are warned that if they smell roses, they should proceed very cautiously.

14 March 2010

The Accidental Martian Terrain Mat, Part 2

I mentioned about a week ago about the problems I had with making a terrain mat. With the mat bleached to a terracotta kind of color, we continue with our hijinks...

While trying to figure out what to do with this piece of cloth, I decided to try making a second gaming mat with a cheap(ish) canvas tarp I got at Home Depot. This time, I was going for a European fields look. But no washing after the dye went on - I finally learned that lesson!

So, first I did wash the tarp in the washing machine. Hot water, detergent, you know the bit. Just to get any sizing off the cloth to avoid mistake number one from the first mat. Then I got two cheap spray bottles and filled them with two different colors of liquid dye. I used RIT Dark Green and Apple Green. I added some Dark Brown later.

Armed with trusty spray bottles, I misted the colors sort of randomly all over the tarp. Once I had the color down, I squirted a little clean water on the tarp to mottle the colors. Then I let it dry in the sun. Next day, I added more color and cold water. I ended up using too much of the dark and not enough of the lighter green, and the mat looks more like jungle than European fields and grasslands. So I guess I made a Venusian/jungle mat. But I learned a few things I would use later.

Back to the Martian terrain...

I bought some scarlet liquid dye (again, RIT brand), mixed it about half and half with water in a spray bottle, and went to town. Lightly misted the whole sheet, getting a good red tone to the mat. Then I went back over it with dark brown and then with tan. Again, I watered down the dyes some. The tan I had to mix from powder, but it turned out fine.

The dark brown I allowed to make bigger drops, not just a fine mist. This caused it to look like hunks of rock or broken ground in the red and tan landscape.

The final step was to mist the whole mat with water. This caused the colors to bleed together some, giving a nicely mottled appearance. And the end result is...
I am pretty happy with it. The cloth is good quality, and the colors look pretty good. They even go with my basing pretty well. So all is well that ends well.

Oh, and the Venusian mat (in case you wondered) looks like...


So, for about $50 in cloth and sewing, $3 in spray bottles, and $20 in dye (not including bleach to un-do mistakes), I have two good size canvas mats (5'x9' and 6'x9'). The Venusian was cheaper, but the cloth is not as good, has pills, that sort of thing, and I don't think it will last as long as the other. But it was about 1/3 the price, too.

13 March 2010

Reginald's Regiments of Renown, Issue #8

2nd Gonzales Foot

Army of the Republic of Texas

History

The Republic of Texas declared independence from Mexico in 1836. An army of volunteers had already been formed, and successfully gained independence for the Republic on the field of battle at the San Jacinto River, on April 21st of that same year.

It was soon realized that the persistent threat from Mexico would not allow Texas to remain independent without keeping a small professional standing army to deter Mexican aggression. Thus, the Army of the Republic of Texas was created. Since those beginnings fifty years ago, the Army has grown along with the Republic. Each regiment is named for the region in which it was raised, thus the Second Gonzales Foot is the second regiment of infantry raised from the Gonzales region.
Combat History

The Second Gonzales has seen combat against hostile Indian tribes in the Republic, and along the borders of the Republic with both the United States and Mexico. The Second was instrumental in turning back an attempted invasion of the Republic from Mexico by the disavowed General Ugarte in the summer of 1851. At the battle of Alto Montes Foothills, the Second held the center of the line against Ugarte's infantry while Texas Ranger cavalry attacked the Mexican flanks.

A company of the First Battalion, Second Gonzales Foot, is posted to the Texican Consulate in the Martian Crown Colony. As such, they took part in the defense of the Consulate against attack by rioting Martians in the unpleasant events of last fall. After the riots subsided, the Texican infantry assisted British forces in patrolling around the city of Victoria's Landing, searching for pockets of dissident activity.


Lieutenant Harald Godwinson, 2nd Gonzales Foot

Uniform

The Second Gonzales wears the standard uniform of the Republic of Texas Army. In the field, and on regular duty, butternut tunic and trousers made of heavy cotton fabric are supplemented by brown leather boots and equipment. A brown felt campaign cover is standard issue headgear. The Texican forces are currently armed with their licensed copy of the Martini Henry breech-loading rifle. Officers carry a Colt revolver and sword instead. Rank distinctions are on the sleeve for NCOs and on the collar for officers. Branch of service insignia is worn on the campaign cover, and a colored cord indicates officer, NCO, or enlisted status.

Dress uniform includes a dark blue tunic, with slate grey trousers. Infantry trousers have a wide black stripe down the leg seam on the outside. Dress headgear is the Belgic shako, in black. Officers have a gold cord on the shako; other ranks have black. Belts and boots are in black leather. Epaulettes on the tunic carry unit designations. Specific rank insignia is on the high collar of the tunic. The dress uniform is rarely worn, and many enlisted men only don it twice in their careers: at the ceremony for the end of initial training and when mustering out. On-duty guards at government facilities wear the dress uniform, as do consulate and embassy officers, and officers assigned to the General Staff Office.

11 March 2010

Game it Forward!

My good buddy Eli, who runs the excellent gaming blog I See Lead People, brought up an idea a while back he called "Game it Forward."

The basic idea is like the movie Pay it Forward, where instead of giving something in return to someone who helps you out, you give something in return to someone else in need. Paying forward, rather than back. Now apply the principle to gaming.

I think we have most all of us gotten some kind of little gift from our fellow gamers over the years to help us out. I know I have, and recently, too. So I thought I would try to organize myself a little bit to pay things forward. I am adding a section to the bottom of my blogs where I am going to list items I no longer need, extra bits and pieces, that sort of thing. If I put any price next to them, it's because the shipping will cost me something. Small items I can just drop in the mail, or if you live near enough to come and get the bigger things, no charge at all.

First come, first served. Come and get it.

March Progress Report

Figures Progress So Far...

  • Praetorian autocannon: 50%
  • Praetorian heavy bolter: 50%
  • Warbot Destroyer: 90%. Needs dip, clear coat and basing.
  • 10x Steam turtles: 80%.
  • 10x Empress British Infantry: 15%
  • Brass Arachnid: 85%
  • Stegadon crew: 90%

In addition, I have done a lot of terrain this month, which was not part of the goal. This includes one 6'x9' canvas jungle mat, one jungle rock outcropping, and two Martian unobtainite deposits. I should finish one more jungle rock, a massive jungle ridge (with waterfall!) and a 5'x9' Martian canvas mat before the end of the month. I have even done a couple of figures not on the list, including the prototype for some dangerous flora on Venus. More on those later when I do a Clive's Field Guide on it.

I'm feeling optimistic about this month. I have next week off for Spring Break, and although I'll be visiting the torturer (dentist) to have my wisdom teeth removed (lucky for me, I am a mutant and only have two), I think I will probably get a lot of painting accomplished. I promise I will take some photos and post them next week as well.

09 March 2010

An Idea... Could be Hazardous to my Wallet

I just had a nasty idea. Nasty, as in potentially expensive.

GW used to make a lot of really cool Imperial Guards regiments that had character. You have all seen the Mordians and the Praetorians used for VSF. I have been trying to convince myself that the few Valhallans I have would make good Russian VSF troops, but they still look too Red instead of White Russian to me.

Another group I have always wanted to try to use was the Tallarn Raiders. [For Example...]These are desert-dwellers. I thought "Oh cool, maybe the Turks." But they are more Arab than Turkish, and the Turks would not be giving away their expensive high tech weaponry to a bunch of illiterate Arab irregulars!

Today, I had a new idea for the Tallarns. Martians. Deep back of beyond desert dwelling Martian nomads. With technology from the Ancients. And a lot of religious fanaticism. Oh yeah, I'm liking this. My wife won't. Nor my wallet, I'm afraid. But just look at that picture at the top of the post - what a beautiful Martian cavalry commander! And "only" 16 GBP from Forgeworld...

But, before I hare off on this crusade, I have GOT to finish the Automatons. They are so close...

Anyway, that's my random idea for the day. Maybe it will spark some of yours. I certainly hope so.

08 March 2010

The Accidental Martian Terrain Mat, Pt. 1

I have been busy working on a couple of terrain projects over the last week or so, and thought I would share with you my progress.

The main project began last Monday. I took a day off from work, it being the day after my birthday (38 now) and a mental health day being well overdue. My days "off" usually include a long list of projects to keep me hopping about, and this one was no exception. I did find myself at Hobby Lobby, and wandered into the fabric area. I have been wanting to make a canvas gaming mat or three for quite a while now, being slightly dissatisfied with my current felt mats. I just don't like the fuzzy factor.

So I picked out a bolt of nice cotton canvas. I also picked some liquid RIT dyes, and was looking at various tapes and glues to hold the edges of my fabric together. I asked a lady nearby her opinion, and she offered to serge and hem the edges of the cloth for me (she was a professional seamstress). So, with about $18 in the cloth (3 yards, 60" width), and another $12 for having it professionally hemmed to avoid fraying, I proceeded to color the mat.

My first mistake: I didn't wash the fabric before trying to dye it. The cloth has a sizing agent on it whe new, and this kept the dye from penetrating into the fibers properly.

My second mistake: Washing the fabric after dying it. Instead of mottled greens and browns, I ended up with a nice, uniform olive drab. Great for a WWII-era GI tent, but not so good for gaming.

So I ended up bleaching it back out, and now have a terracotta colored piece of canvas. Instant change of plans: no longer an Earthly vista, this glorious series of errors had produced the basis for a new Martian landscape!

I wonder, should I go ahead and just draw in the canal on the cloth? What do you fellows think? I smell a poll question!

03 March 2010

March Goals

Keeping the two main genres I am working on currently separate, I will only mention that I have 4 mounted and about 24 foot for WarHemorrhage as part of my goals for the month.

In the realm more properly associated with this blog, here are my goals for this month:
  • 1x Praetorian Autocannon and crew (3 pts)
  • 1x Praetorian Heavy Bolter and crew (3 pts)
  • 1x Warbot Destroyer (1 pt)
  • 10x Steam Turtles (10 pts)
  • 10x Empress British (10pts)
  • 1x Brass Arachnid (1 pt)
  • Finish the Stegadon crew (4 pts)
So about 32 points worth, based on my scale, for VSF, plus about 32 points for that other thing. If I could just get hold of three more Praetorians with lasguns, I could finish that unit (the R&D platoon) off for good. I am looking forward to working on those Empress figures - something I have been just not getting around to for a while now. The steam turtles, warbot and brass arachnid will nearly finish off the Automaton forces. Still need to do the masked minions, a unit of 'halfjacks' [Privateer's Cygnar faction for Warmachine] and a vehicle that I am sort of modifying off and on, but that will be it. At least for now. Probably.

Unless I get "Oooh! Shiny!" again.

02 March 2010

Well Wishes for Texas Citizens

ANNIVERSARY OF INDEPENDENCE
Texicans Declare Republic on This Date, 46 Years Ago


In 1836, a group of valiant men met secretly in the small town of Washington-on-the-Brazos in what is now the Houston Province of the Republic of Texas. They signed a document which meant their deaths if captured, but liberty for their entire nation if successful in their rebellion.

Fellow residents of Victoria's Landing, please extend your congratulations to Texicans you meet today. His Excellency the Viceroy will be hosting a dinner in honor of the event, for the Texican Consul, Mister Andrew Jackson Houston, at Government House tonight.

Also, please do not be overly concerned by the sound of numerous gunshots coming from the Texican Quarter tonight. They are most likely the result of a few Texicans imbibing a bit too heavily of the local arrack and celebrating independence by firing their revolvers into the air. Residents of the city are encouraged to remain indoors after dark, to avoid accidental injury from falling bullets. Last year, three people and a Martian were injured by the 'lead rain.'

[Editor's Note: In our reality, this event did occur on March 2, 1836, at Washington-on-the-Brazos, Texas. Today is Texas' 164th birthday. Still the only independent nation to willingly join the Union, and probably the only one that ever will be. Oh, and the bit about people being injured by falling bullets? That happens every year on the Fourth of July and New Year's Eve. Happy Birthday, Texas!]

01 March 2010

February Wrapup

Well... it took a lot of work in the home stretch, but I got a lot of it done. Just waiting on weather to clear coat, so I call them finished. Point by point:
  • 10x German Atherbattalion (28mm): Done.
  • 10x Vardu (var.): Done.
  • 4x Venetian Aeronefs: Done.
  • 1x Power Supply: Done.
  • 1x Lizardman Stegadon (28mm): 75%. Still working on crew, probably 100% by weekend.
  • 10x Feral Martians (28mm): Done. January Leftover
  • 40x Zulus (15mm): Done. January Leftover
I also worked on other projects, which were not included in the monthly goal. These included:
  • 2x Unobtanium deposits (resin): Done.
  • 4x Flagellants (GW Empire - for my sons): Done. Need to do about 8 more...
  • 1x Grandmaster of the Knights of the Blazing Sun (GW Empire): 50%. Horse is good, armor is done, still working on details, basing, etc.
  • 1x Hydra Miniatures Destroyer Warbot: 33%. Primed, and assembled, and mounted on base. Paint job is a simple one.
  • 1x War Wagon (GW Empire): 5%. Still working on paint scheme.
  • 1x Castle (28mm): 25%. All I have to do is paint it, and it is nearly primed (black vinyl housepaint) so I can spray the foam safely.
  • 2x Artizan Texas Rangers (28mm): For Owlcon Gutshot game
All in all, I am gonna call February a successful month. The only thing I didn't finish was the stego crew, but the other items made up for it, I think. So, at this point, we're batting .500 on the year. That'd get you in the Baseball Hall of Fame. I'll put up the March goals in a few days - I want to see how the poll goes for combining the blogs first.