31 March 2011

Beautiful Ship Model!

   Oh, you have to check this out!


   This is a test model of the new Leviathan for Catlayst Games's airship game. they plan to sell the ships "lightly pre-painted," which apparently means easy to change if you want to do so. I like to think of it as "pre-primered." The ship is nominally in 1:1200 scale, and to quote from their own website:
"this miniature is approximately 13cm in length, 4cm in width (bulging Telsa Trim Tank to bulging Tesla Trim Tank; fins on the back are hair wider than that) and 3.5 cm from keel to the top of the funnels (slightly higher to the top of the antennae"
   RUN to their site for more. This looks really sweet, and truely 'leviathan.' I bet that if I flattened the bottom, it would make a truly sweet landship for my 6mm WtNW project, too...

An Interesting Find for Steampunk Clergy


   Thanks to a news item on TMP, I discovered some new minis that might be of interest to VSF and pulp gamers. They are from Germany, and a bit pricey, but look nice. The company is Masquerade Miniatures. Look in the Pillbug City line. Scale is 30mm, nominally. I can't tell how they compare to other lines.
Electro-priest, anyone?
Good one for a Preacher, but not very Catholic

Catholic. But a bit less VSF-y.

This fellow is a candidate for a monstrosity, a la Doctor Moreau.

   I hope this small selection is helpful in getting the old creative juices flowing. I still need a good warrior priest for my Papal States. Of course, they are mostly in 15mm at this point, but I could do a 25/28mm set. But these guys are 30mm. Oh, decisions, decisions...

28 March 2011

*SNIFF* I love that new toy smell...

   I arrived home from work this afternoon, after a long and exhausting day, to find not one, but two (joy!) packages awaiting me at home.

  The first came from Ironclad Miniatures in the UK. A new steam tank, some Prussians I think will be used as aethermarines, and a couple of officers. One British officer and one Prussian. Well, actually, i got two of the same British officer.

Steam Tank, disassembled.

Prussian aethermarines

Officers: Prussian, left, and British, right

   The other package came via a purchase on TMP. The entire boxed set of Sky Galleons of Mars by GDW, complete with ships and a surprise extra! I only paid $50 for this and am extremely happy.

Sky Galleons of Mars!

The Extra

   A complete set of RAFM's Space 1889 Victorian Adventurers! I took this photo from RAFM's site; the minis I got were not as nicely painted and show a  lot of wear. But they are in good condition, just need new paint! These go for $10/set on RAFM's site, so I got the SGoM for an equivalent $40. And I have always wanted to get some of these figs, so real bonus result!

27 March 2011

Nations of Earth: A Listing, circa 1880

Republic of Texas (The old 1836 republic, plus the fomrer Mexican states of Sonora and Chihuahua, and Baja California)
British Empire (Pretty much as history, with Canada messed up)
United States of America (much smaller than our history, devastated by the Civil War)
Vancouver Free State (Oregon, Washington and parts of British Columbia)
Quebec (French speaking Canada, politically seperate from the remainign portions of Canada)
Imperial Mexico (Maximillian proved to be popular, as was his adopted Mexican son and heir)
Brazilian Empire (Brazil, an expansionist power in South America)
Empire of California (California, Nevada, Arizona, part of New Mexico)
Papal States (Confed. of Italian States; Rome is capital of Papal States and the Confederation)
Kingdom of Two Sicilies (Confed. of Italian States)
Austro-Hungarian Empire
Republic of Venice (Confed. of Italian States)
Knights of Malta (Confed. of Iitalian States)
Kingdom of Spain
Second Empire of France
German Empire
Kingdom of Piedmont-Savoy (part of Confederation of Italian States)
Kingdom of Hawaii (a close friend of the British, some would say a protectorate)
Russian Empire (Mostly historical, retaining Alaska)
Empire of Japan
Confederacy of Bolivar (a loose confederation of several South American states to resist Brazil)
Ottoman Empire
Union of Kalmar (Sweden, Norway and Denmark; ruler alternates between the three kings)
Theocratic Republic of Deseret (Most of Utha, parts of Idaho and Montana)
New Eire (the Fenian Republic, was once Nova Scotia)

19 March 2011

Jayne's Small Arms Review: Pirate Netgun

Airpirate Netgun



   Although non-lethal, this weapon is in widespread use amongst airpirates these days. This is due to the lucrative market in captured Earth females on Mars. Most are sold off to other airpirates for their iniquitous dens. Notihng more than hives of scum and villainy, those places. However, women of quality are most commonly ransomed back to their families, spared the 'fate worse than death' of their maids.

   As you can see in the full motion photostat, the range of the insidious device is not great. However, it has proven quite effective at ensnaring young ladies as they flee in their properly modest clothing, which is sadly detrimental to a hasty escape.

18 March 2011

Jayne's Small Arms Review: Underslung Gatling

The PUGG
(Petite Underslung Gatling Gun)
In Full Motion Photostat!



   The inventor is believed to be an American. It appears to be in a caliber compatible with common revolver cartridges. The feed system is unknown, and can not be discerned in this full motion photostat. One would imagine that recoil and control would be a serious problem, and that accuracy would be greatly hampered. However, for a close-range deterrent to assault, I believe the PUGG would serve admirably, especially if faced with a small crowd of hostile natives.

17 March 2011

What is Victorian Science Fiction?

   My friend Dan asked this question on TMP. I think it an excellent one, bringing a lot of thought, at least on my part. Once upon a time, I used to fuss about with a science fiction roleplaying game called Traveller. One of the things I liked about it was the way everyone who played it had a slightly different version of their universe. They even had - I suppose it still exists, though I haven't had an interest in years - an acronym for the concept: IMTU, or "In My Traveller Universe." I think the same concept can be carried easily across into Victorian Science Fiction as "IMVSF". And so, these are the things that I think define the genre, and my own personal takes on them.

   First, the time period. Obviously, the mere name of the genre's inclusion of the term 'Victorian' gives you a range. It's quite a large one: more than sixty years. Personally, I prefer the last half of the era, from the 1860s onward to the turn of the 20th century.

  Technologically speaking, I believe that you absolutley must have three things: steam, brass and airships. Add all the rest of it as you like, but these must be included. Of course, I throw in a good many extras. I like steamtanks, for one thing. And large walkers. And automatons. Science runs amok, with mechanickal devices and even a new threat on Venus which I am slowly developing. This may even be an original idea that I have fabricated. However, I have spoken of it elsewhere and am considering using it as a professionally produced setting, so I don't want to elaborate any further upon it at this time.

  Geographically, the skies are certainly not the limit. Many of the VSF gamers I know are heavily influenced by the groundbreaking roleplaying game Space 1889. This brings in the idea of the luminiferous aether (a not totally discredited though quite unpopular theory, it turns out), and interplanetary travel with steam powered ships. Colonial imperialism spreads to Mars and Venus. Another strong influence has been Edgar Rice Burroughs's novels, especially regarding Barsoom.

   Politically, it seems a very straightforward European-dominated genre. Few players are without British troops, and Germans seem to follow immediately behind. One thing I do find interesting is the profusion of alternate nations. My own Republic of Texas, for example, or Fenian Republics, the Empire of California, and so on. Another common variance to our actual history is in the American Civil War. It is frequently either ongoing or a reversal of outcome. Other real nations are sometimes brought in as well. France, the Ottoman Turks, Russia and even Japan are not uncommonly encountered in many VSF settings. And then there are the Martian native states as well, usually modeled somewhat on the Princely States of the Raj.

   Well, those are my thoughts on the matter. As you can see, I have a very broad scope for my ideas IMVSF. Consider that I am also working on four different scales, and the enormity of my VSF projects is dimly glimpsed. Even I am not sure what will eventually be included, but I do know that I have not yet begun to paint all the figures, vehicles and terrain that I need to see it to completion.

   Let me know what you think.

12 March 2011

New Otto Maton?

Herr Doktor Maton's Newest Invention


   Herr Otto Maton has developed a new suit of power-assisting armor, shown here. We shudder to think what might be the result of this new, devilish equipment's introduction into Maton's mechanickal hordes. He'll certainly be more powerful on the battlefield and faster at repairing any sort of trouble with his large horde of mechanickal minions.

[Editor's Note: This is a March release from Wyrd Miniatures, called Hoffman (as you can see in the photo I swiped from TMP, which was swiped from Wyrd's website). Too cool - he's gonna replace my current Doktor Maton as soon as I can get my hands on him and get him painted up. The current Maton - which is Parroom Station's Automaton Master - will be demoted to chief lieutenant.]

11 March 2011

Chronoscope Line Potentials


   I am partial to a lot of the minis that Reaper Miniatures makes. I am especially fond of the Chronoscope line. While checking them out recently, I found the following figures that I just knew would be of interest to my fellow VSF gamers.

   The first one is a steam-power armored hero, carrying a big pipe wrench. An excellent servitor for any automaton force in 25mm.

50165: Decker Lugstampf, Steampunk Hero

   A classic nightstick-armed Peeler. Useful for RPGs, or scenarios. Probably not much use on a battlefield, but used to conduct the women and children to safety while the troops defend the settlement? I could see that.
50106: British Bobby

   While this is ostensibly the ever-loyal companion of Mister Sherlock Holmes, this figure of Doctor Watson would serve well for any armed Victorian (later Victorian) era gentleman.
50060: Doctor John Watson

   This is not my favorite clockwork or automaton servitor around. But, it has its own charm, and felt it should be included with the rest of this listing.
50063: Jeeves, Clockwork Robot

   I like this little guy. He's quite short, but he looks like something straight out of the old sci-fi pulps. Bubbling beakers? Check! Engorged cranium? Check! Maniacal laugh? Check! And they had a shot of one painted up, so I shared it with you. Painted by Michael Proctor.

50061: Professor L.T. Froschmeister, Scientist

   Hope this has been helpful or inspiring to you.

10 March 2011

6mm WtNW Project



  Followers of this blog will know that I am involved with the development of the Victorian Science Fiction rules set titled When the Navy Walked. The rules are geared primarily towards 15mm figures, and can be used easily with 25mm figures as well.

   One of the many projects on which i am working is adjusting things for 6mm figures. To that end, I have bought some Franco-Prussian War Prussians for Imperial Germans, Mahdists to make Martians, and colonial British for, well, the British. I've also been buying up some 6mm sci-fi and other pieces to make steamtech machinery. I've even posted photos of some of the 6mm Germans and Martians. The British are newly acquired and not yet out of the package even.

   One thing I have discovered is that the first bases I put the figures on just does not work for me. I had some FOG bases (40 x 15mm and 40 x 20mm). The bases are too wide. So, I have to rebase them. I think I am going to go with a base half as wide. The good news about that is that I will only use half as many figures per base, so I will double my bases (it's a base-based rather than a figure-based game). I guess I need to get hold of Litko and order some 20x15 and 20x20 bases next.

  I will give more progress updates as the project moves forward.

08 March 2011

Recently Seen Around the Planets


Engineers Proudly Unveil New Walker

  The peerless science of the Empire has produced a new wonder with which to make the enemies of Her Majesty (God Bless Her!) tremble in their boots. The Cavor-Smythe Three-Legged Steam Walker stalks across the landscape with ease, at a speed no horse can match. Its crew of five are protected from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune by a thick protective layer of armor. Its armament of a steam-powered Gatling gun spray the foe with a hail of lead, wiping them from the field should they be so foolish as to venture forth when this mighty behemoth stalks the battlefield.

Cavor-Smythe Walker
[Black Hat Miniatures, 15mm]

3rd Rhineland Infantry Reg't. No. 29

   The 3rd Rhineland Infantry has recently arrived on Venus. They are shown here on field maneuvers just outside the palisade of their camp near Venusstaadt. Herr Kapitan von Gruber wields his sword, encouraging his men forward. I hope that their presence on Venus is merely to suppress the indigenous wildlife and native populations as their foreign ministry has assured the representatives of Her Majesty's Government.

Prussian Infantry
[Black Hat Miniatures, 15mm]

[Editor's Note: There is more stuff on the table right now. If you want to see them, hop on over to The Scattergun Gamer, my other blog. Feels good to be getting a bit of painting accomplished.]

07 March 2011

Painting Update, and an Error!


  I made a mistake oh those many years ago when I originally painted the French Legion Extraterrestriale. And it is a dumb one. The trousers should probably be madder red, not white. Which makes even more sense on Mars than it does on Earth. So I probably need to go back and fix that.

  Also, look here in the next day or so for photos of the new British tripod walker I finally finished. Finally is an exaggeration - I only got it earlier this month. For me, that's blazingly quick to get to something. I also have a unit of 15mm German line done, with an additional musician. I'm nearly done with the second unit (units of 10). They are easy paint jobs, but I haven't been concentrating my efforts very well.

06 March 2011

Alamo Anniversary


175 years ago, a small group of men defied overwhelming odds in a makeshift fortress outside of San Antonio for thirteen days. In the end, all were killed. Their sacrifice enabled the rest of their army to build, and six weeks later, to win independence for their nation.

Some may call them foolish for not abandoning the Alamo. But no one can doubt their courage.