What should I work on next?

24 December 2010

Clash in the Sands

   We have recently been given a report by an anonymous source within Government that a minor skirmish between our valiant forces and the nefarious devices of Doctor Maton has taken place along the Victoria Landing - Shastapur road. Although the total number of forces was rather small on both sides, new technology developed by the Royal Artillery was brought to bear in the conflict.

   The enemy forces included, it is reported, Doctor Maton's main assistant, a Turk known only as Mister Fez. He led a troop of mechanickals, along with one of the Doctor's fearsome Brass Soldaten warriors. In addition, a troop of Maton's filthy minions, two lightning gun snipers and the crew for an unwholesome weapon that uses poisonous black fumes to slay in a cowardly fashion.

   Our valiant troops were led by Captain Norfolk-Ingood, and a platoon of the 23rd Regiment of Foot. The platoon was supported by our newly developed "Automatic Repeating Cannon, Magazine Fed" and two heroes of the Royal Artillery Field Testing Platoon armed with Tesla Rifles. Finally, a flock of High Martian mercenaries acted as scouting forces for the platoon.

  Blood was spilt recklessly, and in the aftermath, smashed machinery and lifeless bodies littered the field. The end result was a draw, with only Tesla-armed snipers still in action alongside their officers. Rather than risk the deadly fire of the snipers, both commanders withdrew from the field.

20 December 2010

Secession Anniversary

 Today, our Confederate States friends celebrate the anniversary of the secession of South Carolina, the first state of their nation to declare itself independent of the United States. After a difficult, three year long struggle, the Confedrate States earned recognition from Her Majesty's Government. This came about for three primary reasons: British public reaction to the Trent Affair, a devastating blight on the cotton crop in India in 1863, and a promise of "gradual, eventual emancipation" of all slaves in the South from the Confederate Congress.

  British mill owners became desperate for a secure cotton supply from the Confederate States and pressured Parliament into recognition of the Confederacy to obtain it. The Trent Affair in November of 1861 and the Emancipation Resolution passed in the Confederate Congress in April of 1863 made the move politically possible, the former for the insult to British neutrality and sovereignty, the latter for lingering public oppostition in Britain regarding the institution of slavery.

  If you see any Confederates weaving slightly int eh streets of our fair city, wish them a Happy Secession Day. If you see any Americans, try to avoid them. In the Northern States, the date is commonly referred to as "Traitor's Day."

14 December 2010

More Awesome 28mm Minis

  I mentioned yesterday some Foundry figures that I really like for VSF. I thought I would show you which I meant. they also apparently have a sale on right now, so the figures are merely expensive, rather than nearly extortionate.

 The Deus Sister. One bad flying femme fatale. I think she would make a great trouble shooter for the Papal States.
Here's Foundry's Sherlock Holmes. I thought they had a Watson as well, but I can't seem to find him...

13 December 2010

Some Spiffing Models

  The following models are sold through the Lead Adventure Forum. I received an email about some new releases in the line a few days ago, but I suppose I had ignored the Forum for a while, because the entire line is new to me. They are in the popular 28mm scale, I believe (possibly even 30mm - not entirely sure, but I think 28mm). Notes for each idea I had seeing the following figures.

 Clyde is cool, but the standout in this paring is Bonnie. She would make a perfect mysterious femme fatale assistant for Doctor Maton. Clyde could be an assasin, I suppose, or a Champion of Good.

   I visualize these fellows as a sort of Constabulary for the Albertport Downstation. Downstations, like any ports, tend to attract hives of scum and villainy. These fellows look prepared to handle any such riff raff.

 Again, this is an unequal pairing. I like the top-hatted gentleman, but the better figure is the fellow with the mechanickal prosthetic arm. Another natural for a Maton minion, perhaps a Fenian?

  The line has other figures as well, but these are the ones that really grabbed my attention. I'll be looking forward with great anticiaption to new releases. I'll also be adding these to my lead pile when the holidays are through. A bit pricey ( I am figuring them to be about $9 per pack, minus shipping), but just excellent niche figures. I'll probably even work up a unit of ten bobbies. Maybe the tophatted gentlemen could be detectives of Scotland Yard, leading the peelers?

08 December 2010

Seeking Lead or Resin

Specifically, I would be interested in 1/300 - 1/600 waterline ships of the dreadnought era. Steam-powered, definitely. Prefer smaller classes of vessel: corvettes, frigates, maybe even light cruisers.

Die cast toys might also work, if in appropriate scale.

Please let me know if you have suggestions.

06 December 2010

Off to see Her Majesty...

 The memsahib, the young sahibs and I shall be off to London this month. We should be arriving on Boxing Day, so if there are massive crowds at the Heathrow Downport, you'll know why now! Just a short trip, only a few days in Old Blighty, but I think we'll all enjoy ourselves.

 In case I don't mention it again beforehand, I wish you all the merriest of Christmases. Please take a moment to recall the real meaning and reason for the season.

05 December 2010

When The Navy Walked, Core Rules II

At long last. After a year of everyone putting their hard work into it the When the Navy Walked Core II final edition is done!!! There is a color and a black and white pdf that I will be putting up for download on Wargamevault soon. In addition, BOTH the color and the b&w versions will be available for print on demand thanks to the efforts of our illustrious graphics layout guru! The final version of WTNW Core II features stunning original artwork by Eli Arndt and Arsenale Shipworks, full color photo spreads of VSF games in progress, a full 10 army lists depicting all of the great powers (except Japan), Quick Reference and Command Point Expenditure sheets, alphabetized Edges and Flaws and the History of the When the Navy Walked alternate Earth setting!


Originally posted by ArmchairGeneral.
[Editor's Note: I copied this from Eli's site, since Rob doesn't have posting rights here. Should probably fix that, but any rate, I thought the mention should be made. Full disclosure: I am the editor for this product.]

25 November 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wow, been a real busy few weeks.
  1. Took the GRE. Did well.
  2. Son had his twelfth birthday yesterday! That was awesome.
  3. Turkey Day today! Yummy!
  4. Aggie football tonight - BTHO t.u.!
  5. Even did a little painting!
To everyone who still checks in here from time to time, Happy Thanksgiving!

11 November 2010

All Gave Some, Some Gave All.

Mere words can not adequately express the debt we owe our veterans.

Wounded Warrior Project

Fisher House Project

Go now, and donate to one of these (or any of the many other) worthy veterans' charities. Really, it's the least we can do for those who have done so much for us.

For our British friends, today is Remembrance Day as well.

03 November 2010

News from the Front!

The news is this... no news to report, sir!

I have done absolutely zero work on anything VSF-related in weeks. I think I am trying to clear out the clogged filters between my ears or something.

However, there is a bit of stuff perhaps on the horizon. Perhaps. I would like to get a few minor projects finished... stuff that is just cluttering my painting table. Now that football season is coming to an end, I think maybe I will have a bit more time in the evenings and afternoons to do something about it.

24 October 2010

Leviathans, from Catalyst Games

  This is a new game that has been in development for a couple of years now. I first heard about it on YWWS, and the artwork is really great. While it is a little bit post-traditional VSF, being more 1910-ish, I think that it fits the genre pretty well still. I mean, what red-blooded VSF fan doesn't love a few good armored flying ships?

  Looking at the available items, it appears that it is not ready for full release, but you can get a downloadable PDF of the basic rules for $2.99, and some PDF fleets as well. One of these days I may have to plunk down a  few bucks and try it out! But for now, I have to get the kids ready for school tomorrow and finish grading some student projects. Ahhh, report card time...

13 October 2010

Steampunk / Gothic browser game...

  The game is called Echo Bazaar, and you play in Fallen London. You do need a Facebook or Twitter account to login, but you don't play through Facebook.

  I find it entertaining. Check it out.

11 October 2010

Interesting Figures

I saw these figures from SuperFigs and thought that they might make interesting 25mm VSF figures.

  These first figures are called Shark Troopers #1. At $10 for a pack of 5, not a bad price. I think they look like Atlanteans or possibly Venusians, depending on your brand of VSF. They also have a Shark troopers #2, which appear to be armed with some sort of projectile thrower. Look for them in the Henchmen section of the site.

  These little lovelies may only work for my botanical mad scientist, but I think they are pretty great. Plus, what with Halloween coming up, they work real well for that, too. I will probably be buying a couple of packs of these as soon as I can find the money. Again, 5 for $10 is a pretty good deal, and two packs will set me up for the unit. They are called Devil's Knight Henchmen.

  And here is the Devil Knight himself, looking like an awesome leader for the unit. You can find him here. He's a bit pricier at $3.95, but hey, it's a hero figure, right?

09 October 2010

Steampunk Advertisement

  Okay, this is just too much fun. I've never tried the breakfast items advertised, but the ads themselves are just brilliant!


27 September 2010

The Aethergraph, Vol 1, #2

   The second issue of The Aethergraph is now available!

  This issue is all about things that fly through the air, be they mechanickal, bestial, or human. It's even a bit longer than the first issue, a trend I would love to continue. Enjoy!

  And, as always, I am looking for new submissions! Especially anything roleplaying related or artwork, but battle reports, minis or rules reviews, anything that is steampunk or VSF-y would be appreciated!

  Look for Issue #3 sometime around Thanksgiving, hopefully.

19 September 2010

New Reptilians sighted...

   Reports from Khurasan indicate three new varieties of small reptilians have been discovered. the first, a race of lithe reptilian primitives:

  There are also some amphibians, which have apparently trained the dangerous terror birds as mounts...

   Finally, the last of the three species, and the most terrifying: a giant crocodilian race mounted on wooly rhinoceri!

[Editor's Note: I am going to have to break down and get these. I have been waffling on them for over a year now, and I think I will just have to get them. 15mm beauties from Khurasan...]

13 September 2010

Aethergraph Update

   The long-awaited and eagerly anticipated second issue of The Aethergraph is almost done. Still only twelve pages in length, this issue does include material from a few readers/contributors. What's in it?
  • Popular Mechanicks
  • Clive's Register
  • Aerofauna
  • Texican's Diary on Venus
  • and more!
   This is our first themed issue as well, being dedicated to all things aerial! Naturally, there will be aerial articles in other issues as well, but this one is jam packed with the stuff! So, if you like to dream about steam in the sky, don't miss out on this one!

   Look for it in the next week or two, coming to a sidebar near you!

05 September 2010

Spiffing Work on an Aphid-style Craft

  My fellow aeronautical enthusiasts, I just discovered a smashing piece of aeronautical engineering being constructed, a replica of the reliable Aphid-class ironclad flyer. It can be found at Colonel Thorne's electro-journal location, here.

  The Colonel has other items of interest as well for those of us with our particular enthusiasm for recreating the military endeavours of our modern Steam era. I don't believe he woudl mind me showing a photostat of his works in progress, just to whet your appetites. Which, if they are remotely similar to my own, are near insatiable...

  In other news, a new Scudder has arrived from Parroom Station just today. Naturally, the entire crew needs a solid work-up, and the craft itself needs to be fitted out in appropriate colours, currently being the standard grey of typical Martian liftwood constructions.

26 August 2010

AAR: Sortie from Shastapsh

   Another journal of the affairs on Mars, The Shastapsh Chronicles, has details of an important battle here. Its been too long since we heard from these fine Correspondents on the war front. I was begining to think that something dreadful had happened to them.

25 August 2010

Steampunk Empire

   For those of you into all things steam-powered, you owe it to yourself to go to the Steampunk Empire. Why, the photos and pictures alone are worth your time, and there are many interesting folks out there. I find it stimulates the creative mind wonderfully.

13 August 2010

Headed for eBay...

   I have a few 25mm colonial British that are headed for eBay in the next day or so. But first I thought I would offer them up to you, dear friends. I could certainly use the money to finance further purchases...

   First is a painted box set of the RAFM "Soldiers of the Queen." They are in khaki, and the paint jobs rate, oh, about a 5/10. Nothing to be ashamed of, but nothing special. Good wargaming pieces. They are clear coated and based on washers. Comes with original box, all 20 minis. Oh, I bought them from Loren Wiseman, if that matters to anyone. Just an interesting tidbit. $25 plus shipping.

   Second is a group of 20 Old Glory (I think) 25mm British. Again, in khaki, and based on metal bases. The bases are not flocked on these, but the paint job is better than the RAFM minis. Again, $25 plus shipping.

   Finally, I have two Empress Miniatures Zulu War British ensigns which are surplus to my needs. Bare lead, with lead poles, no bases. $2 each, plus shipping. No picture - sorry...

   I will combine shipping. Prefer Paypal. Comment here or email me if interested.

11 August 2010

Popular Mechanicks, Issue 1

Nimbus Personal Unobtainite Aerial Conveyance Pod

Nimbus Personal Unobtainite Aerial Conveyance Pod
Piloted by Prince Frederich of Austria, hunting Martian Aerofauna

   Created by the gifted Italian mechanick, Giuseppe Ezzelino, the Nimbus is a personal conveyance that can carry a single individual through the skies at a terrific speed. The simple controls are easy enough for even a novice pilot to master quickly.

   Lift is generated, obviously, by galvanically-charged unobtainite crystals. Battery power for the unobtainite provides two hours of lift for a single individual. Thrust is generated by Nth Ray, copied from ancient Martian vessels of the Barsoomian period. This is the first privately available Nth Ray vessel to be offered on the market. The Nimbus is available through Ezzelino's building firm, Arsenale Shipyards. Pricing is such that if you need ask, you can not afford it. Arsenale Shipyards is also planning to construct a large vessel, tentatively named the Dreadhull.

[Editor's Note: At press time, each of these little beauties ran about $19. Kinda pricey, but they are neat. Personally, I think I would rather get a Skipray or a Dreadhull (when they are available). More bang for the buck, I think. But it might make a really cool device for your Mad Scientist leader to ride around upon.]

06 August 2010

Brigade Models Sale

Brigade Models, the makers of Aeronef ships, plus Iron Stars and Land Ironclads, is having a sale for one week. Until August 13th, you can have 15% off pretty much everything they make.
British Fleet (From Brigade Models website, w/o permission)

6-Aug-2010 Summer Sale - We tried a summer sale for the first time last year and it turned into a very successful event, so we thought we'd repeat it again this year. The format is very simple - 15% off everything we make, in all ranges. The only thing it doesn't cover is items we have to buy in such as books, bases and dice. The discount is deducted when you add an item to the shopping cart, the website still shows the full prices. The sale will run for one week, until next Friday (August 13th), so don't hang about !

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!

   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.

   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.

   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!]

23 June 2010

Colonial Adventures, Anyone?

   Last Saturday, I ran a short game of The Sword and the Flame, in 15mm. A simple scenario, and the British, after a couple of hours and two key mistakes, ended up washing the spears of the Zulus. Except for the ten infantrymen that ran away.

   Anyway, having a bit of extra time, we went ahead and tried out the rules "Colonial Adventures". with some 1/72nd Italeri plastics another fellow had brought. Same scenario - get to the other end of the board. The net result was that forty of Her Majesty's worst (very green) were slaughtered in the first turn, killing only four Zulus in return. Game over in fifteen minutes. Very unsatisfying.

   I think, however, that the primary problem was in lack of knowledge of the rules. I had never played them, the other player had never played them, and the guy running it seemed as if he had never played them, though he claimed to have. He certainly didn't know how unbalanced he had set the forces.

   I'm willing to give the ruleset a second chance. But I was wondering how any of you feel about them?

21 June 2010

Zulus Sighted!

About a hundred of 'em! Actually, a hundred and one. I knew I was never gonna get these fellas painted, so... I farmed the work out. I paid someone to do 40 of them. I liked his skin tones, and the way he did the induna's cloaks as leopard print was very cool.

The remaining 60 I did in trade: four battalions and two guns of painted AB Napoleonics (one French, one Austrian, and two British, with the guns being Austrian) for painting on 60 Zulus.

The Zulus were not hard to paint, but... just not interested in doing it. However, with them painted up, we did play a game of The Sword and The Flame this past Saturday as well.

The scenario was a simple enough one: the British patrol, consisting of a platoon of infantry, a troop of cavalry, and one general supply wagon needed to cross the Somewheresi River at the ford. The Zulu tribesmen did not wish them to do so.

I wish I had kept notes or something, or taken more than a few token photos. I used the terrain boards my friend Dan gave me a few months back. They looked great! The result of the battle: well, I'll try and put together a more coherent report.

Photos of the Zulus once I finish getting them nicely based. Promise! Maybe as early as Wednesday...

17 June 2010

Convention Coming...

Historicon, I am there!

Didn't think I was gonna get to go this year, but my wonderful bride essentially said: "Just buy the damned tickets and stop asking if we can afford it, already! You're making me nuts!" Or something to that effect.

I love my wife.

I'll be in at least one VSF game, as well, on Saturday night, 8PM, with Bob Charette. He's running his Skyrunners game, which just released a couple of months back. I love the photos of the ships, and want to see them in action!

Even though my spending money's less than I would want it to be for the convention, I'm looking forward to the games! Plus, there's the flea market. Love that. And I can still window shop the convention booths to order stuff later - I like to see something before I buy it online. I'm odd that way.

Also, I'll be going by myself, so no kids wanting to drag me away from interesting booths, games, or whatever so they can eat or something... pfah! Wimps.

Anyway, look me up. I'll be the slightly overweight short guy with no hair and a goatee. No, not that one. No, not that one either. Hint: I shower regularly and change clothes everyday. Does that help? :D

09 June 2010

Aethergraph Issue 1 Now Available

XCIV Publishing (yours truly, editor) is proud to announce the release of the premiere issue of The Aethergraph, an electronic fanzine dedicated to Victorian Science Fiction. It includes items both in character (setting fluff) and out (rules, fiction, etc.).

You may find it located in the sidebar at the top on the left of your screen. Enjoy, and please leave me comments and contributions at aethergraph@gmail.com.

[EDIT 6/13: By "contributions", I do not mean cash contributions. I mean submissions to be included in the next issues. Just to be clear.]

08 June 2010

Aethergraph Approaching... Really!

We are pending release of the newest electrographic and telegraphically distributed magazine dedicated to Victorian Science Fiction: The Aethergraph, edited by none other than yours truly.

I know it's running later than I hoped. Sadly, other duties interfered with production. I have only one full page left to fill, and I believe I have the material ready to go for that.

Speaking of material, I want to thank Bob Charrette, who makes the wonderful Parroom Station miniatures, for kindly allowing me to use a photo of one of his Skyrunner Scudders in this issue. Also, the gentlemen at Quantum Gothic, who allowed me to use their Communication Dish picture to tart up this issue. I really do need to buy one of these - does anyone in the US carry them? Lovely stuff. Award winning, even.

Expect to see the first edition out in a few days. And naturally, I will announce it here, there and everywhere.

31 May 2010

Royal Xenological Society, Issue #6

Crotalus venusica giganticus

(Photo lifted from Four-Color Figures - w/o permission)

The Venusian Giant Rattlesnake is a rightly-feared predator of the Venusian highlands. Named by Texian marines for their superficial similarity to common terrestrial vipers (they are serpentine, and venomous), the Venusian Rattlesnake is much more aggressive than its namesake. A bite from this enormous beast will kill a human in a matter of seconds as the hemotoxin bursts blood cells throughout the entire body. The Giant Rattlesnake appears very fond of horseflesh, and responds quickly to the sound of hoofbeats they can feel through the ground.

Notice the lack of an obvious eye structure. The Deathrattler is, in fact, blind. However, it is still able to hunt by means of vibratory location.The spines protruding from the scaled skin can detect very faint vibrations in the air - sound, essentially - at close range, acting similarly to a bat's echolocation but without using a shrill cry. The same organs also detect ground impacts from a great distance, leading the serpent to its prey.

[Editor's Note: This is a Razorspine Rattler from Wyrd Miniatures' Malifaux line. Beauty, ain't it? I have not bought one yet, because other than an interesting and dangerous random encounter, I can't justify it for wargaming. I keep trying to make it work for Vardu's biological monstrosities, but... it just doesn't seem as if it could possibly be controlled well enough. Still, it is a beautiful figure and may make its way into my collection regardless of utility.]

12 May 2010

Upcoming Game [TSATF]

Scale: 15mm.
Rules: The Sword and the Flame/20th Anniversary
Figures: Mix of OG and Stone Mountain

Scenario: Not much story here. Lieutenant Hiram Bigg-Botham is leading a platoon of infantry through the savannah of Zululand. A supply wagon is along. And a troop of lancers, for protection. Suddenly, a hundred Zulus appear from nowhere. Stand and fire or die at the end of an assegai (iklwa)!

Okay, so the question I have is this: do you think this will give a decent game for two to three players plus a referee? Some of the guys down here in Clear Lake and I are looking at getting a colonial game together for our June gathering. I've never set up a TSATF game, though I have played in a few. I have twenty British infantry, twelve lancers, a supply wagon and a field gun (if needed) ready to play, and forty Zulus done, with (hopefully) sixty more to be done by game time. I would like to have one British player and one or two Zulus. All Zulus are spear-armed (no rifles).

27 April 2010

November Travel Plans...

A gathering of individulas indulging in a collective appreciation of steam, and dystopia. A steampunk convention, in other words. In the citadel of dystopia: Seattle, Washington. I think it is the rainfall that does it.

There shall be gaming as well: Steamcon Games.

Perhaps even I shall be able to attend. It all depends on how well my new privateering investment pays off.

20 April 2010

New Resin Awesomeness

So there I was, innocently browsing through my dashboard, checking out posts on the many blogs that I follow. And what do I see? A little bit from Colonel Gravis talking about how he has a guy selling castings of his parts in the US through Bartertwon. "Cool," thinks I. Click on link. Find following awesomeness:

One of the things I have wanted for a bit was a set of rider legs and all to make Praetorian/British VSF riders. Now all I gotta do is buy them, get some gashants, and assemble and paint them. Somewhere around 2030 ought to be the appropriate time table. But how cool is it?!?! Way cool is the answer, my friends. Way cool.

And then I saw this:
Remember Epic? Remember the Imperial Knights, kinda like miniature Titans? This is a resin Knight Paladin done in 28mm scale. Fracking huge, and I have no idea how much it costs. But this would be the kickest-ass major bad mojo for Doctor Maton EVER. Big time OOOO Shiny moments going on here.

And I swore I wouldn't buy anything more until Historicon. Must. Resist.

You can find more info about these here: Bartertown Link