31 July 2010

Insanely Cool Stuff from Germany

   I have been a  fan of the German company Tobsen77's stuff for a year or so now, but have never bought any. I thought I would show you what they have, because if you have not found it, you need to. This stuff is definitetly on the Christmas list for me.

Blimp (does not come with gunner)

   The blimp is a realtively new addition to the Tobsen line. I think it looks great, but would be really best for maybe use with 15mm, where it will seem that much larger and more impressive. You could probably fit multiple crew on it. Or maybe even in 6mm, you could have a large deck crew in the gondola. That might be awesome.

Monowheel (gunner and MG seperate, from Brigade Games, IIRC)

   I have long been a fan of this monowheel model, but never been quite sure how to deploy it. I am thinking it may need to be a development of Doctor Maton's mad genius. In that case, I can fit it with the Masked Minion gun team pictured below. A little adjustment of the gunner's legs and all should be well... I have also considered using a British crewman as suggested by Tobsen, or even a German one... not sure which to go.

Masked Minion MG Team (Parroom Station, for sale through Brigade Games)

The Bismatron, a colossus of the battlefield...

   Last for this post, but not least, is the new Bismatron (new to me, at least). It's huge and it has big guns and it wears a pickelhaube. The Kaiser needs one. Badly.

Tasser's Magneto-Galvanic Anti-Saurian Field

A single Anti-Saurian Field pylon

   A scientific marvel was unveiled today in London's Hyde Park: the Magneto-Galvanic Anti-Saurian Field. Using principles of aetheric science, and after twenty-seven failed designs, inventor David Tasser finally developed what could only be labeled as an invisible fence of immense strength and resilience. A series of pylons like that pictured above is attached to a galvanic power source. The radiation cones on either side of the pylon will project a weak field of magneto-galvanic (M-G) force. When properly polarized and aligned, these fields will interact in an anode to cathode manner, increasing the flow of M-G force to a useful strength. The more closely placed the pylons are, the stronger the flow and the stronger the field becomes.

   How strong? Well, the Hyde Park location was chosen for its proximity to the Royal Zoological Gardens. A triceratops was brought from the Zoo to the demonstration area, and shown a large pile of gunna fruit (its favorite delicacy from home), on the opposite side of the activated Anti-Saurian Field. Predictably, the triceratops immediately lunged for the gunna, but was stopped dead in its tracks when it encountered the field! Fat sparks of blue light leaped across the poor bewildered trike's beaky snout as it touched the field. Try as it might, the mighty beast could not push across the seemingly insubstantial barrier. The zookeepers led the poor lizard back to its cage, tossing gunna fruit into its gaping beak as they went to sooth the beast.

   Mister Tasser currently has but three pylons manufactured, just enough to demonstrate the Anti-Saurian Field's effectiveness. It is expected that Her Majesty's Government will soon order many to protect important areas on Venus from large saurians. In the coming months, we hope to report a satisfactory progress being made to provide Magneto-Galvanic Anti-Saurian Fields for the safety and security of the Venusian colonists.

Three pylons in Hyde Park

[Editor's Note: These are three of the Games Workshop force field pylons from the Battle for Macragge 40K starter set a few years back. I bought them in the flea market at Historicon, clipped of the Imperial Eagle, painted them up, and put them on washers for stability. I need more! If you have some that you would be willing to part with, please let me know. The settlers of Venus would be most appreciative.]

30 July 2010

Royal Xenological Society, Issue #7

Twanax Thornmen
Hominid venusia twanaxis


   As if the Veiled Planet were not deadly enough, a new threat to human habitation of the Cytherian Sphere has been discovered recently. These imposing creatures are not purely animal, nor purely plant. Instead, they are a dreadful cross of the two: a plantimal!

Anatomy:
   The skin of a Twanax is covered in sharp thorns of a viridian color which blends well into the jungle background. Through their veins flows a clear sap, pumped by a four-chambered heart virtually identical to any Earthly mammal's. The eye and ear structures are also clearly predatory mammalian. The conformation of the endoskeleton is quite similar to a human skeleton. The "bones" are made of a substance similar to wood, as are the huge fang-like teeth and the long, sharp claws which tip each digit on the massive paw. Inside the woody skull a large brain structure is found, similar in many ways to that found in the higher primates.

Intelligence:
   Though not known to be a tool-using species, the Twanax is very clever, and has avoided several traps set to capture them. This indicates an advanced animal intelligence. At this time, no vocal sounds have been determined to have meaning and therefore communication. Further study will be necessary to determine if this species is truly sentient or merely a very clever animal/plant.

Range:
   Thus far, the only sightings have been in the regions around Venusstaadt. Noted biologist resident at Venusstaadt, Professor Vardu, has expressed a great deal of interest in further study of the creatures.

[Editor's Note: The Twanax are produced by Blue Moon Manufacturing as part of a line of 15mm scale sci-fi aliens. I think they are supposed to be furry critters like Wookies, but I thought they would look impressively thorny if painted as plants. Teh minis are scale neutral, and can be used for immense threats in 6mm, large fearsome opponents in 15mm, and average size foes in 25mm. Triple threat!  More minions for Professor Vardu... and more to come. Plus, I finally obtained the official 25mm Vardu figure, one of Foundry's Victorian Specials, Doctor Jekyll. He's holding up a flask... just perfect! You'll see more on him later.]

29 July 2010

Aethergraph, Issue 2

...is in the works. I think it is going to be the "Aerial Issue."

   According to the recent poll, it looks like I'll be keeping the sepia tone. I may also do a black and white with color photos version, which is not that difficult to change over. No promises on that at this time.

   Keep an eye out for more info about the issue, and I still desperately need submissions. Even if they are not aerial in nature, I can use them for future issues. Send them along to me at aethergraph@gmail.com.

24 July 2010

Tiny Prussians on the March

  A few units of the Kaiser's troops are on the march, training in the white ash wastes east of Kich Enn Cabni Trie on Mars. These photostats were taken at extreme distance from the troops, who all seem to have been marching through a rare oasis in the wastes as the image was made. The peaceful Martian merchant kite on which a purely coincidental amateur British photostatic hobbyist was traveling was forced away from the sneaking Huns by flying machines bearing the markings of the Imperial German Luftkorps.

1st Battalion, 14th Infantry (Pr.)


Guns 1 & 2, 3rd Feldartillerie Reg't., Battery A
An unidentified regiment of Uhlan lancers (Prussian)

Herr General Kleinemann, 1st Martian Armeekorps

   Naturally, His Excellency the Viceroy, the Royal Aeronaval Service and Her Majesty's Foreign Office are all concerned with the possible threats posed by this expansion of the Imperial German presence on Mars. be assured that strongly worded diplomatic messages have been forwarded to the proper German authorities and a strong tone of disapproval has been sent.

[Editor's Note: These are the first forces painted for a new rules set I have been helping to edit. More on that later, I promise! I decided on 6mm in order to do larger battles than I can do in 15 or 25mm, but with better detail than the Aeronef/Land Ironclads 2mm-ish (1/1200) scale. They are also the first forces painted from the 2010 Historicon Haul. Woohoo!]

23 July 2010

Massive Rodentia!

   Scott Pyle, the owner of Four-Color Figures another blog I follow, has posted this recently: Rats of Unusual Size.

   In this post, he mentions that the unit has a "mad science" feel to it. This, of course, perked up my ears. I have, as you may recall from ages gone by, plans for not one but two mad scientists in my VSF universe. One, the mechanickal mastermind Herr Professor Doktor Otto Maton, the Mad Belgian, works with automated minions to sieze control of the Solarian Sphere. Him, you should all be most familiar with!

   The other, however, is the secretive Doctor Vardu. He experiments with life itself, warping beasts, plants and men to his design rather than the Creator's! Evil indeed, and yet very secretive. He conducts his experiments right under the noses of the officials in the Imperial German colony of Venusstaadt! It is Vardu that I expect to be interested in these new beasts. At least one or two as massive personal bodyguards...

15 July 2010

Interesting Finds at Historicon

   One of the big draws (for me, at least) to Historicon is the cahnce to see a lot of stuff that I never would have sought out on my own. All of the vendors, and the flea market, are a simply dazzling source of ideas. Plus, you get to see some things up close and personal to make a decision about them. Photos on the internet are nice, but they don't take the place of the Mk. I Optic. I thought I might share a few of the finds I found while wandering the many stalls. These are things that I may not have bought (yet!), but that definitely interested me.

   Top of the list has got to be the 25/28mm airships being scratch-built by Mister Rick Stakes. If you saw my post on the Sky Galleons of Mars game, I believe every ship on the table was built by Rick, and many of the guns for them as well. The decks are magnetic sheeting to hold the crew figures and guns securely in place. They are lightweight, made of layers of insulation foamboard, and well detailed. Every one of the common vessels of Space 1889 was represented. Very impressive. I have his email and website address if you are interested in them, but be warned - they ain't cheap! I think the decked out Aphid-class was about $100, if I recall correctly.

   I also saw some very nice figures at the Iron Wind Metals booth. Everyone knows about their BattleTech figures, but they had a couple of other items I thought worth mentioning. First, the Sanwar range. These guys are perfect for post-apocalypse desert types. I am thinking of making them a Martian Deep Deserts culture. Racially the same as the City Martians, but dwelling in the Deep Drylands, in the sand-buried ruins of their ancient cities beside canals long choked to death with the ever-shifting red sands of Mars. The other interesting bit was a vehicle I saw in a post-apocalypse game being played on Thursday night, something like a sand sailer. Imagine a giant windsurfer on three off-road wheels. Somewhat perfect for Mars! The range is called "Warlands", from Aberrant Games.
"Nice Harpoon Gun Ya Got There..."

   Speaking of post-apocalyptic roadways, Stan Johansen attended H'con, and his booth had some interesting bits. His Road Warriors line includes guns, armor plating, turrets, and even motorcycles scaled in roughly 20mm to match up to Matchbox/Hot Wheels cars. perfect for Car Wars, Mad Max, or whatever. I'll be getting some of these in the future.

  Back to VSF-y things, another booth, sort of a FLGS come to the con kind of place, had some model balloons for sale, from the Wings of War series (a Balloon Buster expansion set). Already painted, impressively large... these are a future definite maybe.

   I suppose the point to all of this is that there is a lot of really neat stuff to shop for there. If you can get to a Historicon, I recommend it at least once.

Historicon 2010, Day Two, Part Two

Sky Galleons of Mars
Friday, 8 PM

  This is a game of Sky Galleons of Mars, usually in 1/1200 (about 1.5mm), blown up to 28mm scale. The ships were scratchbuilt by a fellow attending the convention. Absolutely great, but not real cheap. The main structure is insulation foamboard. If you want contact info for him, I have it. Rules are available easily from Amazon.com.

The British Aerial Squadron of Syrtis Major

My ship, the Red Hullcutter. As commander of this vessel, I was Admiral of the Martian fleet.
My orders were not well obeyed.

  Martian objective: get past the British squadron and attack Syrtis Major. British objective: stop the Martian savages. The Martian plan was to try and lure the British in close to our main battleships, pound them with gunnery to damage their liftwood panels, and then board them, while the smaller, faster vessels made for Syrtis Major.

Boarders Away! The Blue Hullcutter grapples and boards HMS Bumblebee

  Martians are boarding for two reasons: 1) their gunnery SUCKS, and 2) they have Marines and most of the British ships did not. Unfortunately, the British were able to keep at higher altittudes as a result of the general failure of Martian gunnery to harm their liftwood panels.

Wreckage of the HMS Bumblebee, with Martian marines dragged to their deaths.

  The final result of the game was a minor Martian victory. One small Martian craft was aflame, but still flying, and several Martian vessels had broken through the line of the British and were headed for their objective. The only ship lost was the Bumblebee, though several Martian vessels were quite badly battered.

  A great deal of fun was had. So much that I did a crap job of taking photos and writing notes. Taunts were thrown, challenges were made, rum was drunk. I still claim the Martians are better than the British Royal Navy because the "Martians only believe in rum and the lash." And we sang "one-nil, one-nil one-nil one-nil" over and over, as that was how many ships were brought down.

14 July 2010

Historicon, Day Two (Friday 7/9), Part 1

"A Very British Civil War"
Friday, 1PM

  The first game I played in on Friday was "A Very British Civil War", using the Disposable Heroes rules system by Iron Ivan. I was pleased with the rules, really. Very dangerous stuff. The "Very British Civil War" is a setting, not a rules set, and so can be used fairly universally with whichever scale or rules you prefer. It is an interwar period struggle, assuming the Fascists have taken power in Britain and widespread rebellion (led by the Anglican Church, among others) swiftly followed. Incidentally, I played a rebel. Big surprise. Here are photos and some of the AAR...

Anglican League Rebels "Redcaps"

   SitRep: Anglican League rebels are protecting a group of 'undesirables' in a church in Weblington-on-Avon. Loyalist forces, including militia, Silvershirt partisans, and Royalist Regular Army troops are advancing to capture the refugees and relocate them to secure detention facilities (i.e., concentration camps).

   Turn 1: As Royalist militia advance, they are cut down by murderous fire from the rebels. All but the sergeant are slain; he prudently seeks cover. Additional Royalist forces (at top of frame) enter a large house across the lane from the defended Church.

Militia Slaughtered Like Lambs

Turn 2: The Royalists in the house return fire on the Anglican League infantry behind a stone wall. Their fire was very effective, and would reduce the squad to a lone Lewis gunner in a matter of minutes (two turns). Said Lewis gunner fires on a truck full of Royalist reinforcements far down the lane, and has a lucky result: his .308 rounds rip into the vehicle's vulnerable running gear, shredding tire, wheel, and damaging axle, crippling the truck! Meanwhile, an additional squad of Royalist militia advance through the open area, again into a withering hail of lead from the squads on the Anglican right. Their survivors would join the hiding sergeant in the depression.

Turn 3: The Anglican Vickers in the Church has been concentrating its fire on the Royalists in the house, who have a plethora of Lewis guns and BARs. After several minutes of concentrating their fire, the Vickers manages to reduce the enemy squad to scattered remnants. Meanwhile, the Royalists have brought additional reinforcements up on foot (bailing out of the crippled truck) and into the house. From there, they begin to pour fire into the second squad across the lane, with ferocious efficiency. Finally, an enemy armored car appears along the road into town, and pushes the crippled truck out of the way. Its fire is ineffectively directed at the Anglican lieutenant and parson. God is with us!
3: Dead Royalist Machinegunners...

   Turn 4: Anglican reinforcements begin to arrive in the rear area: two squads of infantry and an armored car! Sadly, the remnants of the original Royalist forces in the house have plucked up enough courage to approach the second squad (already seriously damaged by fire from the house) and pop up to fire a blizzard of SMG rounds into the last remaining two. Second squad dies valiantly.

4: Royalist Militia Survivors Pop up from Depression, Killing Valiant Anglican Redcaps

Turn 5: The Anglican armored car (a Rolls Royce, naturally!) fires both heavy machineguns at extreme range into the Lanchester armored car driven by the Royalists. One round of the intense bursts finds a weak spot, plunges into the fuel tank, and ignites the Lanchester in a blast of flame! Anglican reinforcements reach the church building, and prepare to assault across the lane into the house where a few Royalist troops cower.

5: Burning Royalist Vehicles... Is Anything More Lovely?

   At this point, the game ended. It seemed as if things were going well for the League at this point, but the Royalists have more coming forward - including an artillery piece! - and the battle was far from over.

12 July 2010

Blog Fixed, and Historicon Day One Report

   As you can see, I found the old templates, and reset the blog. Much better looking, I think.

   I'll be splitting postings on Historicon between this blog and my other, The Scattergun Gamer, so I don't flood either one too badly. Plus, it makes for good cross-pollinating! Be sure to check for stuff on the other blog.

Historicon, Day One (Thursday, July 8)

Battle of Edgehill
15mm ECW, "Declare Thee, Sir!" rules.

  Pike and Shotte is the theme for this year's Historicon, so I thought I would start off the convention with a stab at a new genre and a new rules set on Thursday night. I was given command of the far left flank of the Parliamentarian forces, as General Sir James Ramsey (a historical leader).

Things Get Hot!

   The first contact I had with the enemy, the King's Lifeguard Regiment of Cavalry charged into my own cavalry. I held my own, and the Lifeguard retreated! In the retreat, I caught up to two (of three) bases of the enemy cavalry. This does not eliminate a base under these rules, but causes them to continue to rout further. I pursued further, but came into contact with another unit of Royalist cavalry, the Prince of Wales' Own.

The Prince of Wales' Own misses charging my musketeers by thaaaat much.

   Things then began to go down hill. On the right, the cavalry overextended and got slaughtered. The infantry refused to move forward (the player's choice - bad call) to support them. The Parliamentarian right flank began to collapse. In addition, the leader of the battle between my left flank and the center was killed by shot from a saker, causing his battles to go to pieces rapidly.

Royalists on the left, Parliament on the right... the Royalists will win this battle.

My cavalry routs off the table, pursued by Prince Rupert's.

   My cavalry was chased from the table, leaving me with only a general and two seperated units of musketeers. Musketeers, I might add, who were entirely ineffectual, even at point blank range. Out of 30+ rolls, I rolled one hit. One. You needed a 7 on 2d6. Not 7+, not 7-, a total of 7. 1 in 6 chance on 2d6 to get that total. Not for me, it isn't. I rolled snake eyes twice and boxcars three times, but only one 7 (3/4, if you're interested). At that point, Sir Ramsey surrendered to the advancing Royalists, throwing himself on the King's Mercy.

  To be honest, I didn't enjoy this game. My direct opponent liked to gloat, the fellow immediately to my right was obnoxious, and I was accused of cheating (by the Gloater) when I made a mistake because I misunderstood a rule. The rules themselves were not easy for me to follow - a bit counter-intuitive. While I think they might have modeled the infantry fighting of the period well, I didn't have enough infantry to tell. The pursuit rules fairly ensure that if you rout your enemy, your own cavalry will follow them off the table. Which may be historically accurate, but it sucks on the game table. I'll not give up on the period, but I don't think these rules are for me.

Another game going Thursday night, looks like fun! Post-apocalyptic Road Warriors...

09 July 2010

Bit pissed... and Historicon Travel!

...and I don't mean thanks to the rum.

Blogger's new template designer. Avoid it at all costs unless you want what you see here to happen to you. I tried to widen my old template, and you see the results... total change! And not for the better. I'll be trying to re-establish my old design template, but can't seem to find it in the new system. If anyone out there has better blog-fu than I (and it wouldn't be hard), let me know.

In other news, I am at Historicon. 0745 on Friday, officially Day Two, but I didn't arrive until 5 minutes to closing yesterday for the Vendor Hall. Played one game, had my command run away, ran into an old acquaintance, met new ones, had a few drinks, wandered a bit. I will be posting more details later, but there's the gist of yesterday evening. The trip out was mediocre. Got hit in the head with a suitcase by a fat smelly guy when he was putting his overhead luggage in the bin. Said fat smelly guy had the decency to not sit in my row, which had an empty seat adjacent to me. Had a gyros in Chicago while on layover. Sat next to a really interesting guy into Philly and had a good chat with him. Met a nice British fellow on the shuttle to, as he put it, "Giglio's little thing." Had my hotel changed for me, but that turned out well enough.

More from Historicon Later...

07 July 2010

Painting Drought and other Thoughts

I am in a serious painting drought, although I have gotten some figures painted for me. I think that when I get back from Historicon, I will be re-energized and get some solid painting done. But it has been almost six weeks since I held a brush with intent to paint. Sad, really.

Also, I am looking into some 6mm figures as well. Gonna check them out at Historicon. Probably buy a few strips, kick the tires, that sort of thing. Why? It has to do with Secret Project X. Which I think I am going to spill the beans on in a bit. When its done. Hopefully by month's end. There is stuff going on. Really. Just not out in the open. Frustrating, innit?

Starting work on Aethergraph issue 2. I have a couple of submissions, but would love more. Look for stuff from Hive Queen and Country, and hopefully a few other rule sets and settings as well. Still, send more submissions to me at aethergraph@gmail.com!

05 July 2010

It Only Looks Quiet...

You see, ladies and gents, things around here only look quiet. In reality, I've been a very busy boy the last few weeks. I am working with an author as editor on a new set of Victorian Science Fiction rules. I won't announce anything here just yet, but the editing is nearly complete on the core rules for the game. I am hoping that something will be finished by the end of this week.

I'm not getting paid for this in anything but rules and credit, but who knows? It may lead to some paying gigs as an editor in the future!

04 July 2010

Happy 4th of July!

Today is the day those rebellious rascals in the Colonies signed their Declaration of Independence, written by that radical, Thomas Jefferson.

Hard to believe it, but they have managed to survive on their own. So, Cousin Jonathan, best of luck, old boy!

To our distinguished American readers, enjoy your holiday celebrations but do so with care: fireworks can be dangerous, and the fine for setting them off in our locality is $2,000!

[Editor's Note: All joking aside, today is the day we citizens of the United States celebrate our independence. 234 years ago today, 56 men literally signed their own death warrants because they believed so strongly in the cause of Liberty. I wish I could say that I would have been as brave and steadfast. We truly stand on the shoulders of giants. Happy Independence Day!]