Sunday, July 21, 2013

(Finally) Back to the Dungeon

Over a year ago, I showed you lot a map of my version of the Lost Temple of Laun Phien (link), and we finally got around to playing through it.  Last night a small but plucky crew headed out into the grasslands to explore/loot the haunted barrow mound of a long lost norseman berzerker king.  Remember them?  These are the guys chased out of the empire by the evil wizard Bargle.  They are on their way to raising an army to march back and overthrow him - overthrow him onto the sharp end of a pointy stick.

A warrior, cleric, and two elves set out from Cornerstone Keep, and after a couple days stumbled onto a band of orcs tormenting a poor wounded wolf.  They saved the wolf, now named Toby, and descended into the dark a few days later.  They scared off some skeletons, fought through traps, discovered lost libraries and laboratories, and were thoroughly confused by the ever changing nature of the caves.

[I had an egg timer set for 10 minutes - every time the bell rang, the dungeon configuration changed as discussed in the link above.  Searching for secret doors, which takes 10 minutes, the same thing happened and the timer reset.]

The kids figured out what was happening pretty quick, but they haven't made a concerted effort to figure out the pattern just yet.  For their first foray, they were just glad to find the way out.  Here's the map they came up with.

Two hours after entering the dungeon, they confronted the spirit of the norse king - a skeletal figure in horned helm who put down the warrior and cleric and wolf, before a rain of silver arrows dropped him into a burbling vat of black poisonous tar.  The plucky heroes loaded a couple of grand in gold onto their mule, Jerry, only to find that the quick walk back to the loot had once again changed.

Tired, hurt, and running low on food, they made their way back to the Keep where they fended off the queries of other would-be grave robbers, rested up, divvied up the gold, and generally prepared for the next big adventure.

Friday, July 19, 2013

First Ever Milliput Conversions

Well now, here's a thing.  Two part epoxy putty for conversions.  Let's start with something small and easy - adding helmets to armored orcs from's Space Viking line.  How hard can it be?  I've worked with small details.  I've spent hours working with clay.  I've even read two whole tutorials on this.  It'll be a breeze.  It'll be a snap.  It'll be...
Cue the foghorn "wah wah" sound effect.  Oh what price hubris.  These helmets are okay and suitably orcy, but man are they lumpy.  This can be fixed with a few coats of paint to smooth them out, right?
Halfway there
Oh, also, the only milliput the local friendly gaming shop had was some sort of terracotta, so I'm using "red dirt stuff" instead of green stuff.

Let's just close out with a comparison shot to make this post worth something.  These armored boys tower over the dwarves, and are hefty compared to humans, so this should work out okay in the long run.
Size comparison

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Boring Update - Hedges

Meh.  As far as terrain goes, this is nothing special.  Just some green scrubbers clipped, mounted, and painted up with yellow highlights.  They're a bit small, even for 15mm, so we're looking at soft cover, minor effects on movement.  

If you really need a joke, feel free to write your own Monty Python shrubbery joke.  I'm just glad to have this under my belt so I can start something I've never done before - conversions with two-part modelling clay.  Woot!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Space Dwarf Platoon

Thirty infantry and two light mechs.  That's a good sized force for a game.  In addition to the mechs, this force has six heavy weapon troops, four squad leaders, and a platoon leader.

Thinking about it, one of those three rifleman attached to the command squad would make a good communications officer.  That's going to require some green-stuff for a comm back-pack.  This looks like a great time to step up my conversion game.  This force could use some crew served weapons, too, so there's another opportunity for green stuff and one of a kind figure conversions.  Anybody know how many crew served weapons is reasonable for a platoon like this?

This force contains space dwarves from three different manufacturers.  Here's a comparison shot:

Rebel, Hasslefree,
As you can see, the figures are a bit bigger than Rebel's, but they are the command squad, so they should be.  They are also more beardy than Rebel's dwaves, but that's a good thing, too.  Those rebel figures are the right size for dwaves, but suited up they could be anything.  Having some actual beards sown in the mix helps establish the character of the force.

Now, about those mangalorcs...

Monday, July 8, 2013

Space Dwarf Specialists

Now we're getting to the fun stuff for my son's space dwarves.  They've now got a command squad to go with the four regular squads.  These six figures are part of's line of Space Vikings.  The great thing about is that, unlike most manufacturers in the 15mm scale, they sell just about all of their figures in single packs.  Which means you can get a six man command squad with just the right mix of figures, like these.  There are tons of figures out there that I'd love to have, but will probably never get because I'd wind up with three to nine useless figures.  Shame really.

Another manufacturer that sells single figures, and bless them for it, is Hasslefree.  Of course, they sell the big-25's, so it's not such a big deal.  What is a big deal is their extensive range of big-25 space dwarves which includes dwarves in power armor with mix-and-match arms.  These guys are perfect for 15mm scale mechs.  That big chest cavity is the perfect size for a 15mm dwarf pilot, and the proportions are stubby - just the sort of thing you'd expect from dwarves.

Mech I, on the left, is an assault specialist with heavy chain-fist and pistol.  He can slip through narrow alleys to get close enough to rip open all but the heaviest armored vehicles.  If there aren't any narrow alleys, that chain-fist can make one using the nearest building for raw materials.

The figure on the right, Mech II, is the heavy support.  The twin mounted heavy gatling guns can deal with most vehicles and lay down a heavy covering fire that should keep all but the bravest and dumbest ground-pounders face down in the dirt.  The left hand is available for fine work like flipping light vehicles, knocking down small trees, and chucking enemy soldiers into the next county.  Good times.

Looks like the Mangalorcs have their work cut out for them.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Painted the Town

Just a couple of quick shots of one layout showing the whole town.  This should give you an idea how the paint scheme for the houses is bright and varied, but hangs together as a whole.

Gimme some time, and I'll lay it out with all the trimmings to give an idea what the games themselves will look like.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Last Buildings

Various life adventures stalled work on the one box sci-fi terrain, but we're back in business.  The last three buildings are all painted and clear coated.  Two small buildings and the big old factory-style behemoth wrap up that phase of construction.

The balcony cover on that big building looks pretty plain for now.  Those blank areas above the orange doors are reserved for signage, but that will wait until the billboards are ready.  That way they can all be installed at the same time, and they'll all have the same look about them.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Getting Social

Let's face it, wargaming is a fringe hobby, and my style of wargaming is on the fringes of that hobby.  I play games that are ten years out of print and in scales that are far from popular even in cities with thriving gaming cultures.  Honolulu ain't one of those cities, so it's pretty bleak.  That puts me on the fringe of the fringe, but there's this great technology called 'the internet' that lets me see what cool stuff other outsiders are up to.  It's high time I got a little more connected with those fringe types.  

To that end, I've finally updated by blogroll over there on the left.  If I missed your blog and you want a shout-out, let me know with an email or comment.  I'll also keep plugging in more blogs as they present themselves to my wandering eyes.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

More Buildings Moved to the Complete Column

It's summertime.  No soccer coaching.  No homework.  No marathon training.  This is supposed to be the busy time for catching up on a year's worth of miniature wargame stuff.  And yet, thanks to a big move and work and other boring real world stuff, progress has slowed to a standard holiday season crawl.  BUT!  Progress continues...

Just a couple more to go...

Monday, June 3, 2013

Sisterhood of the 10mm Pants

I've had these two archers languishing in my paint box for months.  They are the best I could do at finding female archers for characters in the long-on-hiatus D&D campaign for my kids and their friends.  Pendraken's Amazons might work, but they'll need a lot of green stuff before I let my daughter use one to represent her.  The characters are sisters and elves, so these should work find for that.

Does this mean that more D&D is on the horizon?  Let's hope so...

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Update on Painting the Town

Work on the home front and my home on the work front finally slacked off enough to let me paint up two more buildings for the Pocketmunda terrain board.  When done, this board should work just find for the scenarios included in the Tomorrow's War main rulebook as well.

Bright, clean, pulpy buildings.  Hopefully I can even use these is a Pulp Ally/Fantastic Worlds/.45 Adventure game someday, too.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Short Shot - Shorty Comparison

Quick update for future reference:  The above shot shows how Rebel Minis' Sons of Thunder stand compared to more standard 15mm fare.  All figures are Rebel Minis.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Other Shorties

If this corn-fed, midwestern wargamer knows his street vernacular, and unless Urban Dictionary has lied to me yet again, "shorty" is a slang term for a hot suburban woman.  That would mean that my daughter's Pocketmunda gang is the first set of shorties that I've painted up.  Which would make the subjects of today's post the other shorties, this time by way of stature rather than gender.

Shorties and gentlemen, behold!  Rebel Minis' Sons of Thunder:

Each pack comes with four squads of six Sons.  That's four leaders, four heavies, and four squaddies (in two different poses) per unit.  That should make the orders of battle easy to figure out.

Squad leaders
The Sons are my own son's battleforce, so he gets to pick the colors.  The base color combo of purple and gold/yellow is a solid choice suggesting a royal force of god miners.  At some point, I may have to build some industrial mining scenery for them to cal

Red Squad

Blue Squad
The limited number of poses precludes these guys from being used in skirmish games without a lot of work.  Since these guys are going to be used on my table as a platoon, I've forgone the numbers on the bases.  Instead, I used slashes of color to clearly delineate which guys are in which squad.  The base colors match small highlights on the figures, tying them all together in a way that should help players when looking down on the table from on high.

Future plans for these guys include the addition of some power-armor suits - at the suggesting of some smart folks over on, I'm looking into some of Hasslefree Miniatures' Grymn Power Armor figures.  These are designed as 28mm figures, which just means they'll make great mini-mechs at the 15mm scale.  Stay tuned...

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Tomorrow's War AAR: Tiger by the Tail

[Updated May 29, 2013:  Additional AAR's added to links at bottom of post.]

The boy and I had another opportunity to play a wargame in a way that required us to don sunscreen before rolling them bones.  Just another day in paradise.  We have enough 10mm tanks to take the Tomorrow's War scenario Tigers by the Tail for a spin, but not the terrain.  To compensate, we drew out the battlefield in chalk on the concrete patio like so:

 Before starting the game we ran into the first problem: What sort of woods are those?  The scenario didn't specify.  If they are light woods they do nothing, and what's the point of having them? If they are heavy woods, then they black movement and fire. In which case it's a shooting gallery for the US Forces.  We decided they are light woods that prevent rapid movement and block fire after three inches.  That slows down the DPRG, but gives them ample room to maneuver while protecting them from the better guns of the USMC.

The USMC gets the initiative, moves into place, and just like that two DPRG tanks are out of action.  The DPRG couldn't grab the reaction fast enough to get into cover, so the USMC essentially started the game with 2 of the 6 VP needed for victory.  One tank out of action and the lead tank's main gun knocked out - this would be a pretty boring game...or would it?

The DPRG rushes its damaged tank off the table, narrowing the victory margin, and moves the other into position to hurt the USMC with a shot up the tail pipe.  In the back half of the table, the USMC wipes out a second tank, but is too far back to catch Bai Lin's command tank.

The DPRG gets greedy - rather than get off the table for 2 VP, the lead tank takes a pot shot at the weak rear armor of the USMC.  To make matters worse, the USMC rolls a one on it's Reaction roll, triggering an off-board artillery strike that leaves it unable to move.  The DPRG gets a solid shot off and scores another VP by blowing the USMC tank to kingdom come.  With the score 4-3 in favor of the USMC, and one tank ready to move off table at the start of the next round, the game boils down to a single die roll on the right half of the table.  If the DPRG wins it's reaction roll, it can get another tank near the board edge and behind cover, leaving no way for the USMC to hit it.

Alas, it wasn't meant to be.  The USMC wins the roll, swats the tiger like a annoying bug, (leading to my son's quip asking if the DPRG tanks are named after the cat or the mosquito), leaving the DPRG unable to score enough points to win the game.

At the start of turn 4, the USMC again gets the initiative and moves up to take out the remaining DPRG tank before it can get off table.  The USMC tank has just enough movement to poke its snout out of the woods and blast the DPRG, avenging the loss of the USMC tank earlier in the game.

Final result - an 8 to 3 USMC victory.  Not a decisive win, but solid.  The game started ugly, but the DPRG fought back to make a game of it and add some drama in the mid-game, but couldn't overcome the weak armor plating and tech level difference of the two types of tanks.

We did some things wrong in this game (we didn't use the Buttoned Up rules at all, but that wouldn't have made a difference to any of the Reaction rolls), and fudged some things (Ambush Alley, you've got to do a better job detailing terrain effects in the scenarios).  Nonetheless, a good time was had by both, and no one got sunburned, so things worked out great.

As mentioned in this blog previously, part of the fun of running these scenarios is comparing the results of your own fight to that of others.  Here are a couple of other guys that ran this for your own comparison:
 If you know of any other AAR's for this scenario, let me know and I'll add them in.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Time to Take Out the Trash

More "Look what I painted," for your dining and dancing pleasure.  Khurasan has a nice line of street level terrain.  This is two packs, two dumpsters for a buck a piece and two packs of drums at fifty cents per drum.  Normally this is the sort of thing I'd just as soon bash up on my own, but they look great and are cheap enough that it doesn't stray too far from my mission of gaming on the cheap.

To break things up and ease scattering this cover on the table, I've mounted them all in various ways.  I can place them in alleys or lump them together in a single yard.  Variety is the spice of wargaming after all.

Here's a shot for scale with a 15mm figure and one of my lightposts.  The pallet was hand built out of thick cardstock cut into short strips and together in the traditional style.  It raises the height of those drums and breaks up the height of the cover for just a smidge more variety.

Back to the cost, the killer on most 15mm purchases is the shipping.  One pack of figs might cost six bucks, but add in the reasonable six dollar shipping charge and you double the cost of the figures.  I've got a lot of figs on my wish-list, but have to wait until I've got enough figures on the list to justify a single larger order.  These drums and dumpsters (and other small hard to handcraft terrain pieces) don't justify a purchase on their own, so I wait for a full order and then toss in one or two packs of these.  One or two more dollars is a lot more seductive than paying eight dollars for four drums.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Bio-Haz Warriors

Today we have just another, "Look what I painted," post.  This time around in Khurasan's Troopers in Hazmat suits.  This brings my yellow suited warriors up to nineteen, although the one on the far left is unarmed. 

Here's a comparison shot of the Khurasan troops (inside) next to Rebel Miniature's zombie hunters (outside).  Rebel's troops have a bit more armor and gas masks, but the two go together quite well.  The different face masks give more variety to otherwise faceless troops.
Tomorrow we'll have some more urban scatter terrain from the same manufacturer.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Welcome to the Jungle, Take Two

A few weeks ago, you saw this jungle terrain for the boy's 40k games.  Those bases wound up going to a good friend for a birthday present, leaving the boy's table a bit sparse.  Five bucks and a bit more variety in plastic gave us some spruced up jungle terrain.  For a splash of color, we dabbed a bit of paint onto small white flowers, turning them into giant alien plants.  All told, these 8 bases took about 2 hours start to finish.  Not a bad father-son project.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Painted Devil Dog

Finally got a chance to sit down and get some paint on this card stock Warhammer 40k vehicle.  The Devil Dog is a modified Chimera that mounts a melta-cannon and big fuel tanks instead of 10 scared and about to die Guardsmen.  This one is table-quality - you can see its a bit skewed in the full-frontal picture - but it serves its purpose and keeps fifty bucks in my wallet at a time when fifty bucks is the difference between having food on the table the day before payday and not.

The boy's next request is for a Vendetta.  Before I can get to that I need to bang out some more jungle terrain for him.  We gave the old stuff away to a friend as a birthday present, so his terrain in looking a bit sparse these days.  That shouldn't take long, and it gives me a bit of time to look at the plans for the Vendetta and see what I need to make it work.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Devil Dog Needs Some Spam

God bless the wargaming community.  They've come through in a pinch once again.

First, let me explain in 40k-ese: A Devil Dog is basically a Chimera with a melta-cannon and power plant in place of a squad compartment.  It fills a Fast Attack slot and serves a dual role as anti-infantry (thanks to a blast template) and light vehicles (due to a decent Strength and AP).

I'll translate for those of you who don't speak 40k:  This is a tank that normally costs way too much money, but can also be constructed from cereal box cardboard for less than five bucks.

Once again, this is a template you can download from the files section of the Yahoo! Group dedicated to just this sort of thing.  This is a much more complicated model than the Leman Russ seen here previously.  The body has way more than six sides, so mine wound up a bit off-kilter.  The hope is that a decent camo paint job will hide a number of sins.

The main cannon was taken from a G.I. Joe knock-off vehicle.  It was a 50-cal pintle mounted gun, but I've trimmed it, flipped it, and added a second, upper barrel to trick it out as a melta-cannon.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Big Thrust In Action

Over the last three weeks:

  • The big work project blew up into 60 work weeks (brutal but we need the money, see below)
  • Our sole vehicle broke down (still waiting)
  • My daughter went in for an 18 hour surgery to fix some heavy duty back problems (she's creaky, but healing well)
  • We found out we're going to be evicted sometime in the non-specific but not too distant future (we'll deal with that later)
  • I caught the raging flu that's been sweeping the town (brought on by stress no doubt)
Despite all that, we still managed to host the boy's birthday party today, a day long battle-fest using Full Thrust with great big ships. Most of the guests never showed up, but the three that did had a great time.
Human fleet, ready for action.
Add caption
The first scenario was a straight-up slugfest in which the human fleet mauled a weaker and more aggressive bio fleet.  The highlight of the fight occurred when one selfless (or hapless, depending on who you ask) frigate dove in front of a bio-missile to save the crew of a nearby cruiser.  That decision was the key to human victory, and the next turn saw that cruiser light up multiple bio-ships like tiny suns.

The HSS Selfless takes a missile for the team.
Then it was time to eat cake.  And by eat, I mean take a few polite bites and throw the rest in the trashcan, because this cake tasted even worse than it looks.
Bleargh.  That's supposed to be a starfield.
The second scenario started out as a routine race around four pylons.  Five frigates paced each other for three turns when suddenly - a mysterious cruiser class bio-ship entered normal space and proceeded to hunt down the hapless and near defenseless frigates.  One frigate put the hammer down and blasted off, trying to put as much distance between his ship and the bio-ship as possible.  (He also never lost sight of the race finish line, determined to win the race, bio-ship be damned.)
The interloper rushing into the race like a wolf among sheep.
Two frigates went down to volleys from the bio-ship, and on the next turn, the human defense force scrambled onto the battlefield to hunt down the interloper.  (Meaning the players who died got new ships to control.)
"Dad, how come you killed me like that?"
"Be-Cause You. Are hu-man Scum."
The human cruiser realized the bio-ship was hunting down the lead frigate and set course accordingly:
Vengeance is mine! Boom!
The defense force pasted the interloper good and hard, clearing the path for the birthday boy to hit the final gate at a speed of 46 feet.
The official scorecard documenting the birthday boy's winning frigate.
Generic action shot.
Another generic action shot of the first battle.
 Lessons learned:

  • Footers need to be bigger or heavier.  The ships are big sails that catch the wind and blow over in slight breezes.
  • Beach sand is too uneven for this - we tested two ships before the game and it just didn't work, so we moved over to the adjacent grassy park.
  • People love walking through the game, but are respectful enough not to touch the ships.  As suggested to me on TheMiniaturesPage forum, a sign or two of explanation would have been a nice courtesy to the public.  Shame there just wasn't enough time for that.