In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Hyperion Station

I have finished the Aifix Coastal Battery for my 15mm Firefly in the Expanse project. I used some scrap plastic to make doors on the bunkers and fashioned a gauss gun from a spare PSC Soviet AT gun barrel and bits of sprue glued to a flat head screw. I wanted to turn the radio shack into something more modern and had a long think. The safety cap to an insulin injector fit nicely over the air ventilator. I then drilled a hole and glued a length of steel wire in place. To this I glued some plastic panels from my bits box. To keep it from falling off mid game I had to glue the antenna in place over the air ventilator.

Painting was straight forward: black spray paint to prime then shades of grey dry brushed on in a dabbing swirling motion to give a blotchy effect. I continued the shading over the lips of the trenches to soften their outline.

The missile launcher and gun both rotate. Both bunkers are still removable. Even the hatch opens.

The ground cloth is a piece of grey fabric liberally spray painted with black, brown, grey, tan and cream spray paints.

Some dramatic lighting. Realistic, but not practical for a game I suppose.

The Eagle transporter is also done now.
I'm still waiting for my troops from Ground Zero Games but have had a think about rules. May try something solo this weekend.

For terrain I just need to knock up some rocky areas and a landing pad and finish painting the six buildings.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Fighting Around a Siege

I finally got to try an idea I've had to play multiple scenarios simultaneously all involving operations around the siege of a small castle.
Face it; every medieval wargamer worth his or her dice wants a castle and naturally one wants to lay siege to it.
But sieges are really boring. They're an exercise in engineering, supply management and not getting cholera.

However, with the scenarios in Lion Rampant I thought many of them could take place around a besieged castle.
I had 5 friends coming over so I split my table in three. At one end the garrison of a castle was making a sortie to destroy the bombard ("Defend the Indefensible").

In the middle a column of supplies for the besieging force was being intercepted by a relief force ("The Convoy").
At the other end a foraging column was looting a village and being stopped by another relief force ("Sausages and Mustard").

I had all the French retinue activate simultaneously and then all the English to keep it moving and to allow retinues to influence the battles going on beside them. I found it worked pretty good and would make for a different multi-player or convention game from the usual battle.
The Sortie, after some initial reverses, stormed my siege lines (I must have run out of arrows since my longbowmen failed to shoot) and destroyed the bombard. Then assisted by some cavalry from over the river they also overran my camp. The supply convoy got beaten up and lost a wagon. The foragers did best, defeating the French in front of them and looting half the village.
While packing up I took the opportunity to give my old friends a bit of TLC (a crossbowman needed reattaching at the ankles and so many broken lances needed reattaching!) and a reorg. I'd previously had them boxed by nationality, but decided that it was much easier to group them by troop type. Hopefully, this will make setting up a game a bit easier in future.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Starship Troopers

Since I have a bunch of power armoured marines and other space suited troopers coming to me from Ground Zero Games, I thought I should do some research and reread the classic military SF novel Starship Troopers.

Ground Zero Games Japanese power armoured infantry
I read it a couple of times in high school (so 40? years ago now) and thought it was pretty cool.
Now it's "man, can Heinlein get any preachier?" How did this long winded diatribe about 'kids these days' become a 'classic?'
I basically remembered the first chapter and the last two, and then some hazy stuff about how tough the training was in between. But I'd forgotten all the no-action philosophical lectures about why we should beat our children and execute criminals, because otherwise Western civilization is going to collapse.
Mostly however, the novel is a love letter to the infantry and how iron fisted drill sergeants make the world a better place.
So it didn't really give me any ideas for rules.
I think I'll just adapt FUBAR and my Afghanistan rules to skirmishimg on frozen moons.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Aaaa-ROO! Who's a Good Doggy?

Finished the shields for my wolf riders today and got them under some better light for better pictures.

Note that the goblin blowing the horn is on the howling wolf.

I decided on the red hoods because of a vague memory of a goblin in folk lore named Red Cap. Also Sauron seems to like wolves so these guys get a somewhat elite status (and well deserved from their first outing- see previous post).
I also wanted a spiffy flag for them other than yet another Red Eye. Thinking of Late Roman shields I hit on the idea of red wolves leaping around The Eye and then carried those motifs onto the shields.
I got the figures second hand from a chap on Lead Adventure Forum and Pete picked them up when visiting his parents this year. They came with little square wicker shields that I don't like, so I replaced them with some plastic shields from Victrix German and Numidian infantry. The original owner had already based them and did a nice job with putty and sand. Easy enough to quickly paint, drybrush and add a few tufts.
I've also heard on the interweb that the Vendel fantasy range has been sold to some one in the U.S. so hopefully it will be in production and up for sale again soon.
In Dragon Rampant I'm classing these as Light Riders with short range missiles for 3 points.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Thundering Dice in Barrie

This past weekend the Mad Padre and I were finally able to get together for our first Thundering Dice weekend of the year. So I packed up my legions of Angmar (including a shiny new unit of wolf riders who had some shields added the night before the trip) and took a scenic drive up to Barrie.
Tea was made. Burgers were grilled. Wine was drunk. Indian take out was eaten. Dice were rolled. So generally a Good Time was had by all.
First up was our usual Dragon Rampant grudge match for who held onto Smoochie, plush Dragon of Mordor. The Padre is transitioning to new digs, so we used the dinner table and only fielded 60 point forces on some basic terrain.
My wolf riders performed admirably in their first outing. They got annihilated of course (the New Unit rule naturally), but they skirmished aggressively all game and were generally annoying to the Riders of Rohan while passing all of their courage tests. The last wolf rider, instead of evading a charge by Theoden and his elite riders, stood his ground to protect the flank of some goblins.
On the other flank, I did drive off the Padre's head-hunting elf maiden skirmish units but Aragorn and an ent charged in and sent trolls and goblins running. Pippin and some Gondor foot fought me off in the centre. Rohirrim charging everywhere. It was a disaster.  I'm going to have to rethink my Order of Battle a bit.
Some pictures :

Opening set up. Evil on the left, Good on the right

New wolf riders!

Passing their first courage test

Notice there are only 2 wolf riders now, far ahead annoying the flank of the Good army

Trolls get the jump on Elf babes

Riders of Rohan vs. Men of Carn Dum

Aragorn runs about slaughtering Orcs

Pippin and men of Gondor

Who's a Good Doggy? Last wolf dies hard.

Towards game end.

After dinner was trying a new board game, which seemed to involve my space ships getting lost in hazardous regions of space and trying to build colonies.
Sunday, after a satisfying fry up and chin wag at a local diner, we settled upon Sharp Practice . We found his ACW terrain, but no figures or tokens, so we got out his long neglected SYW armies instead and used numbered slips of paper to draw out of a hat.
The Padre commanded the Russians and I took the Turks, making up things as we went along. I had twice the cavalry but the Russians had twice the infantry.

Padre's new Hussars

Miniature Fr. Petrovich blesses the troops


Russian lights and grenadiers

Ottomans having a traffic jam at the deployment point
I had trouble getting elbow room and ended up fighting the Russians piecemeal. My light cavalry initially bundled the Russian dragoons and hussars back with some losses, but then got blasted away by some volleys from the musketeers. The sipahis attacked and again got blasted losing their Big Man. Axe wielding levy troops fought Grenadiers in the wood with the expected outcome. The Janissaries finally managed to finally get their front clear of trees and cavalry to start shooting at the Russian infantry but by this time they were outnumbered in the firefight (the Russian infantry having dealt with every other target) and their heavy gun never got into it. So my Force Morale was down to 1 and it was time for some lunch and the journey home.

A good start to the summer.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Ghost Fleets

Last November Ravenstar Studios had a massive 40% off sale. So that made a few decisions for me and I put in a pretty big order. More than I was initially thinking at any rate, because you know more ships equals more scenario options, right? RIGHT?

Order away.

Now for the waiting. They'll show up in time for Mrs. Rabbitman to give them to me at Christmas and I can paint them up on my holiday.

I got my old copy of Full Thrust out to review and wait some more while pondering vector movement, rail guns and missiles to fit with The Expanse.

And wait.

After 8 weeks I contact him. Having grown up in the 70s with "please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery" and figuring with a 40% off sale he had been slammed with orders and was busy casting up tiny ships I was trying to be patient. But he figures it should've arrived early December and has gone astray in hyperspace.

He re-sends the order.

2 weeks later. Nothing.

A third box with some other ships sent out as a peace offering also goes missing in hyperspace.

So finally after 6 months I ask him for a refund. He sends me the refund and unbeknownst to me, a fourth box, which popped into my mail box within 5 days of shipping. Irony, being the most common element in the Universe, both arrived on the same day.

So I now have a pretty big task force of the very interesting Daisho Confederation ships and a smaller group of the sleek Mauridian ships plus a few transports and a honking big 15mm VTOL and a pair of cute little hover cars for my colony.

Now I've got to figure out how to base them and get painting!

And a big piece of black cloth. I need a big piece of black cloth now...

Monday, May 14, 2018

Gaming Heaven and Hell

I've been amusing myself recently contemplating an ideal gaming event, and naturally it's dystopian opposite. It's a humanist trend to think of heaven and hell in human terms (think of Supernatural or the super hilarious The Good Place ). My Uncle the priest thought that in heaven we'd be able to do whatever made us happiest. And next to being fed pie by Mrs. Rabbitman, gaming with my friends makes me happiest.

Gamer Hell 
You're in a damp cold basement with weak fluorescent lights and a cement floor.

There is only one table covered in that bright green rolled grass paper. Buildings are craft paper and tape. Trees are green sponge on popsicle sticks.  Other terrain are random pieces from Warhammer and 40k box sets. All thrown down without logic or a sense of story. Rivers are blue felt.

The armies are old, sloppily painted Minifigs and Hinchcliff figures. Many are broken and riders are missing from saddles or lean clumsily. They are based upon irregularly shaped unpainted pieces of cereal box card that flex when you pick them up, causing figures to pop off.

The rules are from Empire Press. Lots of enormous charts that make an actuarial accountant swoon. Layers of detail that in fact obscure any realism . It's a multi-corps big battle and you have to track how many rounds are in each skirmishers cartridge box. Which edition you're playing changes every turn.

Your fellow players all have bad hygiene and poor social skills. They argue over everything.

The snacks are hickory sticks, ketchup flavoured chips, unsalted nuts and weak American beer.

Win or lose, it's because of a random dice throw and a rules argument. Losing is a bitter cheat and victory tastes like ashes.

Gamer Heaven  
The room is large, seemingly endless. There are big sunny windows, and a thick carpet and plush curtains absorb the echoes. The wood panelled walls are adorned with artifacts and paintings of famous battles.

There are many tables for each of your favourite periods, and even some periods you always wanted to play but never got the chance. The ruins of Stalingrad on one and rolling Bohemian countryside on another. The forests and mountains of Middle Earth compete for attention with the North West Frontier. All full of detail; farms and fields have livestock, villages have villagers. There are flowers along lanes and in meadows.

The armies all would win awards. Each one has amusing rear echelon vignettes and baggage elements. Every troop stand is a mini diorama. You can play each period in different scales and operational levels. Roman cohorts battle in dark forests. Medieval knights clash among hamlets and hedges. Lines of tricorned musketeers engage in elegant maneuvers across rolling countryside. Dusty gurkhas relieve embattled forts just in the nick of time.

The rules are known from memory by everyone and there are no arguments. Play flows seamlessly and every dice roll gives a plausible result. If you win it's because of superior strategy. If you lose its because your opponent was better and defeat is accepted with good natured grace. The room is naturally filled with your best mates and those good folks that you've met on blogs and Facebook with whom you've always wanted to play, if you only lived closer together. Naturally they have good hygiene, excellent manners and dress like the Mad Padre.

Refreshments come from a fully staffed bar and kitchen with the cooking done by Nigella Lawson. There are side tables so that drinks and food are not on the table. Attractive servers glide among the leather chairs and they are quite happy to move that unit that is just out  of reach.

The tea is always strong and hot and the pastries are fresh. No one ever gets cheezie dust on the figures.