Thursday, 24 May 2012

Forever Starship Troopers War

I guess I was introduced to powered armour by the concept of battledress in Traveller (like a lot of gamers). It fascinated me enough to read more about it. Difficult during the 1980's. It lead me to buying Starship Troopers and later (and more importantly) to The Forever War. When I am talking about Starship Troopers I refer to the book and not to the films, the cartoons or the tabletop game. I repeat, it is about the book.

I have been planning to run another Tomorrow's War game and I thought I would pit a force of the best power armour I could produce under the game.

In the rulebook PA is already quite groovy(did I just use the word groovy? Sorry I must be having an Austin Powers moment). They have double optimum range, grant their users High Confidence and they can intimidate non-power armoured troops.I worked on what else they would be equipped with.

They are well trained so I would put them at a Troop Quality D10 with any special force being a D12 but these would be rare indeed.

In the books the men inside the suits are just men. They may have a lot of training but they retain their human foibles. Their morale could be anywhere between D6 to D10 with D8 and D10 being more typical.

Again the books show some variation in confidence but they would be Confident or Highly Confident as the rulebook suggests.

Supply would probably be High but could be lower if the situation dictated it. Troopers have weapons built into the suit which seem to have a pretty much unlimited ammunition.

In terms of Tech Level it is the ultimate armour so it would be TL3 and it follows that they would be On Grid. I would imagine that they would be trained to fight without being On Grid as required so may be Old School as well.

In The Forever War the suits have Active Trauma Treatment systems built into the suits. It might need a different casualty treatment system as the system described is pretty brutal but at least you will live through the battle. It would probably mean that any casualty would be out of the right for the duration.

Obviously they are heavy power armour giving them a 3D defence dice. I would also argue that the suit would make them Hard to Kill. I could make an argument for the armour having Skeletal Augmentation to make them even tougher.

Suits seem to have low light/thermal vision (NVG) so would be considered to have Augmented Sense. To counter the other peoples senses they have suits with either adaptable camouflage or a chameleon function.

There is even an argument to give each trooper light support weapon status upping their fire power.

Inspiring is something in the book that I would chose not to put in. In the books everyone wears PA so they couldn't really inspire each other.

Now this may look a little like a panzer pixies wet dream but I ask you to bear with me whilst I justify myself. In both books and in particular Starship Troopers, humanity faces massive numbers of aliens. Human soldiers arrive in small numbers ad tend to be spread fairly thinly. I cannot imagine that there are many of them being on the tabletop. The bigger the PA force the bigger the required enemy force. This means that forces heavily invested in PA will generally loose the initiative. A squad of high tech PA could be taking on a platoon or even a company of low tech poorly equipped troopers and still be looking at giving them a bloody nose.

Anyone got any thoughts?

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Games that define us Meme

As a tip of the hat to Lee I saw this over at Big Lee's Miniature Adventures and thought I would give it a whirl myself.
Traveller should probably at one two and three. Maybe four and five as well. When I came across it, it was the only thing that could distract me from Star Wars. Whilst not the first game I played it is the most inspirational. It hooked me on role playing and got me into wargaming. It is the one game I want to keep playing and playing. Frequently updated to capture the gaming ethos of the day it has a broad appeal. It's a game that everyone likes to play around with and develop their own universe. It's even spawned a phrase to describe that very activity. Space ships and lasers what more could you want. This is what started me down the SF ground combat angle and later starship combat. From here I went to Starguard, laserburn and even 40k for a while.
This is another RPG that has become a tabletop experience. Every time I have a bad day with the boss, I console myself with the knowledge that they wouldn't survive the apocalypse. From here I went to the Fallout computer game and then to gaming the post apocalypse on the tabletop. As a game it's a little intense and detail bound but as a source material for post apocalyptic gaming there is no better. Post apocalypse is a big gaming aspect for me and Aftermath is where it all began.
Again another RPG. A classic modern horror game with ghosts, psychic powers and even the odd zombie. This is what dominated my life as a referee for about four years and like Traveller is still something I want to go back to. I wanted some figures for the game and this is what eventually started me down the 15mm route. From a few figures that were needed for the game I eventually expanded the range. Now all games I run and most of those I play in use 15mm and eventually I will have enough 15mm fantasy.

All Flesh Must be Eaten
I had always loved zombie films and this made me want to game it. I started in 28mm and have down shifted into 15mm. It made me think more about the zombies and how they might actually act and what varieties they make take. This spurred me on to doing some terrain which has become part of the big terrain box.

Car Wars
Cars with guns. Who hasn't wanted to blow fifty rounds through the guy that just cut them up. A very simple cheap game that turned tabletop gaming into a real treat for me. It was also the first game where I started making terrain albeit very simple terrain.

The best fantasy game in existence IMHO. This spawned the biggest painting binge I have ever had. Combat feels like combat. Magic is hard but powerful. You actually feel like you are in a medieval world.

Tunnels and Trolls
This is where it all started for me. This is the first game I got. It's a system where fun is more important than realism. Stats and rules are minimal making it fairly quick play. As a more mature gamer it probably doesn't hold it's appeal. As a kid, it offered the solo dungeon before fighting fantasy came out and what a lot more involved than fighting fantasy ever was. I still get the books out ever few years and run through a book or two. Fond memories.

Command Decision
Although I had done a fair bit of wargaming before I found Command Decision, it was CD II that really got my wargaming juices going. I even got into competitions which I haven't really done since. About fifteen years ago I got into playing CDII Spanish Civil War in 15mm after seeing a range of figures from Peter Pig. I look at the figures I did back then and think how far my painting has come since then. If you are looking for an alternative to Flames of War that has much greater realism and on a bigger scale I would still recommend this.

I only ever played this once but it must be one of the most read books I have. The rulebook is in pieces from wear and tear. As a game it wasn't all that but as a source of inspiration it was fantastic. It has such a fine background for a game of this age and worked a lot of classic SF into the game. A nice war game but again superseded by current games. The figures for it which are available again now were fantastic at the time. The Dreenoi were particularly good and have been seen on a few websites over the years.

Flames of War
As a game system this isn't the best but battlefront figures are really nice. This was another system that pushed me into 15mm gaming in a big way. Some of the terrain I use now was designed for the random terrain system for FOW and the books have had a big impact on my terrain building. . Not a game I really play any more and some figures I should get around to selling some day but fond memories and a good motivator to getting things done. I am a little bit disappointed with Battlefront who seem to be making the same decisions that workshop was making twenty years ago.

Some honourable mentions
Force and Force and Tomorrow's War is what is driving me at the moment again in 15mm. Nice simple realistic rules that can be used for a variety of combat environments. This is what is driving me at the moment. If this question was being asked in about two years I would guess that it would be closer to the top of the list. Savage Worlds is another RPG but one that lends itself to tabletop gaming and having forces of figures rather than just characters. Nicely generic and easily enough to pick up. 7TV is a game I have recently picked up along with 7ombie. This is a game which is as much about putting on a good show as the rules and the figures. Laserburn is another game from back in the day. It inspired me in tabletop role playing in a skirmishing kind of way and very much a forerunner of 40k.

Force on Force at Triples

I have played force on force Falklands War games. I got to play the British. My tutor got to play the argies and he had a few bad rolls during set up.

As I was on the attack I still thought I was on the back foot. I tried to follow doctrine and hit stuff with heavy weapons to knock them out before they became a problem. I think by about trun four most of the opposition had either fallen to direct fire from the heavy weapons or close assault.

The guys who were running it were doing it as a charity thing for the Royal British Legion which lets face it is a damn good cause.

The guys involved in this really made my day and I take my hat off to you.


Monday, 21 May 2012

Mecha arrived

I was at Triples in Sheffield over the weekend. It is generally my biggest show of the year and one that most of my mates go to. I think it's going to generate a few posts over the course of the next week so here is the first.

I know I said I wasn't one for battle mechs. I am beginning to think that I lied. My love of GZG has changed my mind and after blogging about it I thought I would go out and buy one. It just looks so very very very shiny. Not a hint of Optimus Prime either. So here is the kit I purchased over the weekend.
Manned Ambulatory Combat Unit (MACU), M98 "Charger" class
This is what I ended up with. By the look of it they gave me an extra weapons pack which I don't remember asking for. It's a lot of lead but then I they charge a fair bit for it. I think it's one of their most expensive models. I like the idea but for the price you can get about forty infantry.

Jon told me that this is the first of a range of mecha that they are planning. No idea about release dates though.

I have started putting it together now and I am waiting for the glue to cure. I'll keep posting pictures as the kit continues.

Saturday, 19 May 2012


My aim has always to produce a really crowded games table and have enough variety of buildings to be able to run different scenarios. I have been writing a sci-fi novel which is based on a war on a desert planet and so most of my buildings follow a vaguely desert looks. I also want to se them for modern games so the look of Afghanistan also figures in how the buildings ar constructed.

I have put together the carcesses for three more buildings.

There is still a lot more work to do on these. Covering them with pva and sand for a start. Then the painting and after that there will be a lot of tarting up.

As I am about to play a game of Force on Force I thought I would get round to printing out some Fog of War cards.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Flu, blurrg and even more papercraft

I have had flue for a few days. I still feel terrible but a bit more mobile. I did a bit more papercraft stuff before finally hitting the bed. This invoved a bit of playing about, cropping, cutting and pasting to make some variations on the existing terrain. There is still more waiting to get done though and I expect that I will be doing even more after that.

I found some more variations on a theme for the cargo containers and have cut and paste some of my own as well. I have seen some pictures of some more out there as well. If anyone knows where I can get them from please let me know.

Cargo containers
I have also been playing around with some buildings and fields to add a bit more variety to the table top. At the moment they are just a load of cut outs. I will be putting these together today.
Variant iKubes
Next is some phone boxes and more vending machines. I also have some furniture to do and I woud like to do some air freight containers. My attempts at air freight have not been too good so far but I have a new idea to try out.

Looking forward to a more productive weekend although I think gaming and Triples might get in the way.

I think I am going to be playing some Force on Force and maybe even some Trafalgar.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Papercraft iKube porta cabins

Some more papercraft I am afraid. It looks like I will be playing some force on force next weekend so I am prepping some terrain that I can use on the day. They were originally scaled for 28mm but  have done a bit of jigging around and rescaled them for 15mm.
iKube porta cabins

I found them on a spanish wargaming terrain site called Toposolitario which also has an English translation. There is a video showing how to put them together in under three minutes. This is a simple paperfold exercise. I prefer to put a foamcore chasis inside to make them a bit more durable and survive transport in one of the terrain boxes. It takes about ten minutes to put them together with a frame inside.

I will be putting them on a card and sculpted base when I have finished doing the other four I have to do.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Papercraft cargo containers

Papercraft is not something I am good at. I lack the patience for it. I always like the idea though. Whilst it has been around for a while they quality seems to have improved dramatically over the last few years and now rivals some of the commercially available actual terrain. As the amount of terrain I have increases so does the need for even more. I have some resin containers and wanted some more. Frugality seems prudent at the moment and I have been enjoying making my own terain in the last year.

I found these at Antenocitis Workshop. There are about a dozen different ones. Although designed for slightly larger miniatures, they don't look to bad. I played about with the sizes a little to make they look right.

The soylent green vending machine is a rescaled fold up by Tommygun. He seems to have done a lot of this stuff and there are pages and pages of this stuff available.

One of the drawbacks of the of paper terrain is it's fragility. I have tried to work around this by using heavy duty paper and then wrapping that paper around a foamcore chasis. It makes sense only to use four sides and put the foam coare at the top and bottom as well as the ends. I assume that figures may end up on the top and are physically umlikely to end up on the side. I used short dressmaking pins to give it extra strenghth. This gives it some structual stability. I used self adhesive foamcore because I had some available which also adds to the stability. This is expensive to  buy and if I was doing it I would use regular black foamcore which shows up the gaps less.

I am planning on doing some more work on these in the next few weeks.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Some updated pictures

A friend of mine has a new camera and wanted to show off his new toy. I think it was about 2 K so it must be good. It knocks my simple pictures for six. These were not even done with an ideal lens and at about two feet. It also has a much better depth of field. Cheers mate.

Space demons attack
These are the biohazard troopers from Rebel Minis facing down the Space Demons from Khurasan. The pictures were taken on a 36mp camera and look really good. The blur is a facet of the lens he was using and is supposed to given the impression of movement.
Space demons
 A close up of the space demons.
SAS/biohazard troopers
And finally a close up of the biohazard troopers/SAS.

Some more work in progress - Khurasan Seal Team

Back to doing some actual painting after going a little off topic yesterday. Nice figures but I am really struggling with a paint job. I have had to go to a number of source material pictures to get them even close. US Marine camo is a pain at this scale.

Seal Team half done
These are nice futuristic looking figures. They will do for RPG modern and SF. I can even see them as being useful for a zombie game.

I decided not to put the back packs on. I didn't think they added much to the figures and thought they would have a better place in the bit box. They are a little shiny at the moment but that is just the washes I used on them. A little bit of highlighting and some matt varnish and that will go away.

I have been working on some paper terrain whilst I have been witing for these to dry which should be on here soon.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Star Wars Fan Fun Day

If you were going to tell me it was possible to have fun in Burnley last week I would have said you were insane. Yet someone chose Burnley for the Star Wars Fan Fun day. This is the kind of thing I would have given my right arm to go to when I was a kid. It was the obsession of all obsessions. My work room is still full of memorabilia even now. If I could really make a game of it, I think i would give it a try.

I have never been to a full on SF con and keep thinking I should. I just want to look at the women dressed as Princess Leia on Jabba's Barge. No seriously though, does anyone remember the opening scenes from Galaxy Quest?

Firstly I'll put up the funny pictures.

Aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?
Bounty Hunters? We don't need this scum.

Tthere were a lot of actors from the films here. Admittedly some were on the Star Wars D list such as the rebel guard in the medal cermony on the left hand side of the hall and someone who had been a stormtrooper. But there were a couple of names. I will start with my own personnal Star Wars hero.
Garrick Hagon
I have always felt for this guy. Garrick who? I hear you cry. Well if you are, you are not a true fan. This guy was Biggs Darklighter. He was written into the original script as Luke's best friend from Tatooine who later becomes a fighter pilot at the Battle of Yavin. The decision was taken to cut him out. The biggest film in history and you loose nearly all of your scenes and lines. Then to compound it, you don't even make it into the extended super duper version. Amonst all of us that have been betrayed by George Lucas, Garrick Hagon has possibly the biggest axe to grind.
Kenny Baker
Everyone remembers Kenny Baker as R2D2 but I also remember him being really good in Time Bandits. His health isn't so good these days.

Dave Prowse - the embodiment of evil
The body behind the Dark Lord him and the Green Cross Code Man as well. I always wanted him to do the voice. The thought of the ultimate evil in the galaxy sounding like a West country bumpkin still amuses me.

Some of the people who dress up should have a medal. It takes a real commitment to fandom and no fear to dress up. The first picture is of a guy who scared the bejesus out of my girlfriend.  He then turned and posed for a picture.
An absolute star.
Bob A Feet
This was one of the best costumes of the day. Again I was left thinking Boba Fett, I thought you'd be a bit taller.
Tusken Raider
This was another great costume. Couldn't quite do the voice though.

I have been having a bit of a bad time of late and this day out really cheered me up.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Mecha unleashed

Although these have kind of been available for a few weeks now, they are now actually available on the GZG shop. They are designed on an impressive scale and make the standard 15mm infantry look tiny in comparison. It would be easy to tread on a soldier if you wern't careful. When I got a good look at them my first thought was that I would need to make some bigger buildings and hills. Smaller Mecha have kind of been in vogue for a while. Mainly I think because of Avatar and District 9. This is however taking it to the next level.
There are three versions of the basic model and I'll start with my favourite. This looks like a true Mecha bristling with weapons. It is what I thouht Battletech was all about. There is enough here to take on a range of foes. It's almost like an Ogre on legs. I have a feeling that I will be buying one of these at Tripples in Sheffield in a couple of weeks.
As a good second choice this versionhas fewer weapons but appears to be geared towards packing a heavier punch. I am guessing this would be an anti-mecha, anti-structure or anti armour version.
The third version is not really my bag but a nice idea none the less. This has more inspiration drawn from the Japanese market or maybe even Avatar. I remember playing a computer games years ago where the mechs picked up hand weapons. I am not sure that I like the SMG but the rifle looks pretty good.
One of the things that I really liked is that there is a range of accessories available to make the process of conversion much easier. There are three different packs with just about all the weapons from the three mecha available.

GZG appear to be maintaining their position as the grand daddy of 15mm SF.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Mall Cops from Rebel Minis

I got these for an RPG I was running and thought they might come in useful in another game.
Although listed as Mall Cops I thought they had a bit more characater than the regular cops so I got these instead.
 The current plan is to use them for the upcomming 15mm zombie game that I have planned.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

In space no one can see you paint

Alien. You have to love Alien. It's what survival horror is all about. In the pantheon of SF greats, it's up there with Star Wars. When I saw these figures from Khurasan I thought my birthday had come early.
The crew of the Nostromo

The figures are really true to the film. They look like the characters, well at least as best they can in 15mm. My only gripe is there are only six of them. What happened to Cane? What kind of madness is this. You make the cast of a film and miss out one and only one of the main characters. I had a Darth Vader at the end of the Revenge of the Sith moment when I realised.

They were an enjoyable paint job. I did a bit of research (I have a book about the production of the movie and I did some picture hunting on the net) and came up with something that is a little closer to the uniforms that the painted pics on the website. I still wish that I could paint that well though.

Listed as Citizens or Commercial Freighter Crew, Male and Female on the Khurasan website.

Friday, 4 May 2012

The Emporer's New Guards

Star Wars is the ultimate space opera. The chords it struck in my brain when it first came out are still ringing. Effigy are to release a figure called the emporer and some multi-part guards.
When I heard about this I was expecting the usually red robed and helmeted guys with some sort of staff weapon. The guards have two types of head. The first is much of what you would expect to see from the films, the standard helmet and eye slit. The second head has a boble on the top much like a medieval peasants hat with a T shaped slit.

They are not equipped in the cinematic style and do not carry their staff weapons. Some carry a rifle or smg. With the peasant cap they look very different to the Emporer's Guard. I could almost see them as a guard at Ming's Palce. Others carry swords which have almost the quality of a katana. The final group are equipped with a kind of halberd which could easily have been taken from Jabba's Palace.

Those with swords and halberds could have uses in fantasy games but not high fantasy. I could see them in a HOTT army, so sort of chaos warrior or even in a Runequest game.

With the Space Pals models from Highlander Studios there are now almost enough figures out there to run a Star Wars game.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

1000 (well 1100) views

It's taken me about three weeks but I have gotten past the 1000 views. Well actually, by the time I got round to writing this it was up to 1100 posts. I am glad someone is interested.

I would just like to say a big thanks to Mathyoo for the moral support. Cheers.

What I would like to see in 15mm

This is a bit of a rant really. This is a list of some of things out there that I would like to see made in 15mm. I am sure that some one out there is listening. So in no particular order 

Call of Cthulhu (monsters and characters)
modern civilian vehicles/contemporary style cars - getting vehicles in the right scale is a pain, I am sure that people will buys these. They don't need to be copies, just something in the style of.

modern British infantry (in packs smaller than 50)
tusken raiders os something like them
bikers and their bikes
planet of the apes
modern cultists
modern skeletons
anything stalker/metro 2033 - this seems really popular at the mo.
cyberpunk style cyborgs
alien beasties
anything alien/aliens - and prometheus is coming
anything serenity/firefly - always a favourite
flash gordon - seems to be available in very large scales
mad max/near future cars/car wars
some fantasy monsters
modern british police

zombies, swat, modern british police, bikers, paramedics, doctors/scientists

and from fallout - centaur, giant cockroach/radroach, bloatfly, geckos, Deathclaw, raiders

Most 15mm gamers have done some conversions. Unlike 25/28mm, 15mm is very badly served in this department. Things I would like to see are:-

furniture/street furniture (bins, fire hydrants, post boxes, benches)
conversion pack - like reaper do
handguns,m16, m4, sa80, mp5, ak47, p90, fn fal/slr, shotguns of various types
hockey stick, fire axe, blade baseball bat/cricket bat 

given things in 15mm are a little tricky, it might make some sense to put some hands of the weapons

Anything that makes it easier to convert figures is going to attract the nmore adventurous modellers.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Games Workshop paints

Ahead of the curve as ever, I thought I'd mention my views on the new GW paints. I know everybody has an opinion about Games Workshop. Love it or hate it but deal with it. I haven't been a regular there for a long time. I am kind of put off by the after school club feel it has most of the time more than what they sell and how they do business.

When I do go there, I go to buy paint. I am not a paint guru nor am I obsessed by any particular type of paint or bottle. I have paint from six different manufacturers on my paint table.

They have changed their paint range recently. This caused me to do a little panic buying so I have been into the shops a few times just to stock up on the stuff I wouldn't want to do without. Whilst there I took the he company that made them because the opportunity to look at the new range.

Firstly, it's a big range. 145 different paints. Nearly all completely new. I like this. There is some talk of this being a branding exercise. So what. Colours are just colours. There may be some specifics but some are just a shade of regular colours and it would be difficult not to match them. It might be their IP but as a community we go crazy over people infringing smaller manufacturers IP. Peter Pig and GZG have had problems with copyright theft I have been told.

With the old colours they were off the shelf stuff that can be purchased from any number of paint companies. When Citadel last completely changed their range, all the paints old paints were still available from the old suppler because they were off the shelf paints.

Another point is that they seem to have listened to their clients. This should be seen as a good thing. The number of greys, greens and browns has increased and these are the core colours for most mini painters. Hell there are even three pinks available. No mess, no mixing, just slosh it on. They have brought back the stay open lid and improved the quality of the paint. It is as good as all the best paints on the market now. The range is a guide in itself promoting better painting. Who can't use some help with their skills?

I am sure there is going to be a new range of books and lots of articles for White Dwarf. So what. I never much liked D+D but my mates play it so pretty much I have to play it. Even so, I drew the line at buying the 4th edition. If you don't like it you aren't going to buy it anyway. Import stuff from France and Spain instead.

GW is a hobby in itself but is also a feed in to the wider hobby. It's put a game shop on every high street in the UK. I even remember seeing one in Malaga once. It promotes the hobby. We aren't seen as nerds (well maybe not as nerdy) or devil worshippers any more. That has to be worth something.

I haven't got any minis from GW in ten years and haven't played their games in twenty but they still have an impact on the industry as a whole but there are plenty of people that do. Give them, and the people who use GW paint a break.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Rebel Minis SAS figures.

More work in progress. This time it is Rebel Minis SAS elite team and SAS assault group/ biohazard zombiehunters to see the world. I am changing over to 15mm so I am trying to get some minis for zombies and modern games. If the happen to be good for near/far future all to the good. Between the two packs there are about 10 poses. I ordered 1 elite team pack and assault group packs and split these up. Half are in the yellow you see here the other half will be a more traditional dark blue.
Rebel Minis SAS in biohazard suits

There is still a bit of tarting up to do. I need to finish the bases off and will be buying the new citadel texture paints to give them a whirl. I'll update eventually.

Fleeing Scientists

Khurasan seem to have managed to sneak some Fleeing Scientists in lab coats onto their website. The pack consists of one female scientist, two male scientist and a corpse. Other than the corpse, the figures are fleeing.

Fleeing scientists

I looked at them and thought that they would make good zombies (I've got zombies on the brain). They have the right sort of poses and look a little like the zombie ragers from Rebel Minis. A few more zombie poses are always welcome.

There is a general lack of supporting character types so this is a welcome change. Nicer still would be to have some regular scientists, doctors, nurses, paramedics and maybe even some firemen.