Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Holiday Find

Our annual Christmas visit to the homeland (Chicago) was very brief. My wife got almost no time off. The kids and I drove up and then I picked up my wife from the airport two days later. My mohter still insists on cooking our various traditional Christmas meals. This is nice, but at 85 year old, its getting harder to do everything. I spent my time, running around to various butcher shops and grocery stores picking up the items for the various meals. We were back on the road the 26th. No trips to Games Plus, or visiting old friends.

While hunting down some cooking pan in my mother's basement, I came across a old copy of Seapower II rules:

Apparently, I had opened them, but I don't remember spending any time reading them. I paid $12.95 for them, which for me at that time (late 70s) was a lot of money.  I never did get Seapower III, even though its says at the very bottom left hand side to ask for them. ALNAVCO still sells them, so if I like them,  I will take the plunge and get them.

This is likely my last post of this year, so happy holidays to you! May 2015 be a safe and happy one!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Making Rivers for 6mm, Part 1

In a previous post, I was babbling on about my need for more terrain, specifically, more forests. After looking at the map for the first battle of the Second Chalupistan War, I decided to start making rivers.

I wanted to avoid the usual strips of rivers. They are probably easier to make, but they look too much like water canals. Plus, I thought each segment might be a little more stable on the table top. I used the plastic powder holders that I talked about in that previous post as a template and cut out a whole bunch of hexes.

Template to make the hexes. As usual, the 15mm Corporate Suit
tries to direct the hex-making operations.

I then decided on how wide my rivers should be and make a template so that the width of the rivers would be consistent.

After marking the widths at the edges, I drew the river boundaries, scored them with an X-acto knife, and then peeled off the paper. I then scraped and gouged out some of the exposed foam as seen below:

Rivers are rarely straight for any great distances (putting my geology degree to good use), so I also made a number of curves. In addition to scraping and gouging, I took the back of a paint brush and pushed in some lines paralleling the banks:

I also decided to make some that are double hexed, figuring that it would avoid the individual pieces to shift around too much while on the gaming table.

Double-hex straightaway. The 15s came out to inspect the work.

I am not sure why, but the hexes became slightly warped. Not enough when I looked at each hex individually, but it was apparent when I laid them down on the table end to end. It seems to be due to the removal of the overlying paper and some of the foam because the strike (another geology term) of the warping runs the length of the river.  To fix this, I gently cracked each hex along the length of the river. It was just enough to do the trick, but the hex still maintains its integrity and isn't floppy. The crack isn't even really visible, but I put a tread of PVA glue along it. The glue didn't seem to re-warp the hexes.

The next phase involves building up and painting them. I don't plan to build them up too much, just a little along the banks. I hope that whatever I do to them doesn't warp them further.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Gift From My Students

I was both surprised and touched by the gift I got from my comparative anatomy students. They were a really wonderful group of kids, and I would proudly say that, gift or no gift.

It is a detailed model of a wolf eel (Anarrhichthys ocellatus). Usually at this time of year, I get, if anything, a box of candy or nuts. This to me is far more special.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Not Connor MacLeod

I was placing an order for more metal bases from War Games Accessories and needed to measure some to get the sizes I wanted.  I popped this guy out of a box to measure his base. I was taking pictures of the hexes that I made (shown in a previous post), so decided to take a few pictures of him:

He is a Demonworld Warlord of Thain. They are a mixed lot of barbarians. Some are the stereotypical, mostly-naked, Conan-the-Barbarian, he-man types; whereas others look either Germanic and/or Scottish Isles or Highlander types. I've seen some gamers use them to supplement their WRG DBA/DBM Scots Isles and Highlander armies lists. He comes out of their heroes and commanders pack. OK, so he isn't an exact fit for Connor MacLeod from the movie Highlander 
(the first movie; i.e., the best one), but he reminds me of him in the flashback scene early in the movie where he is riding off to battle and meets the Kurgan. You have to admit, the Demonworld Thain definitely has better hair than Conner MacLeod! I'm not one to talk, but Connor needs a hair stylist.

Two things regarding the figure. First, I didn't see his grisly trophy head on his horse until after I painted it and didn't bother to go back and paint it. Second, I couldn't think of what to put on his shield, so I left it blank.

I hope that War Games Accessories never goes out of business. I use their bases for pretty much everything except my 28mm figures. I've tried other companies that make steel bases, but War Games are uniformly cut to the proper dimensions. I've even used some of the larger ones as a straight edge to cut thin card stock or styrene sheets.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Rangers of the North Part 1

"An increase in blog posts is directly proportional to the increase in hobby activity."
--Me, 12/05/2014

I've been getting some time in at night to work on hobby stuff over the past two months. One of my goals is to whittle down the huge pile of 15 mm fantasy figures. I pretty much grab things and try to paint them up.  Recently, Splintered Light has been putting out a line of RPG characters. One of which is their Warriors of Nature. It consists of combination of rangers and barbarians, with two druidy-looking dudes for good measure. It inspired me to paint up a big collection of rangers that I have accumulated over time from various companies. Here are some of the first ones finished so far:

Demonworld Miniatures
The dude above is a Demonworld ranger from their Empire group. Now that Ral Partha Europe has taken over the line, you can buy smaller sets of them rather than the complete sets, which were pretty darn expensive. There are several poses, and this is one. He is wearing what I perceive to be scale armor, which is a nice alternative. They seem a little larger than the others, particularly Chariot Miniatures, but it doesn't bother me that much.

Chariot Miniatures
Chariot Miniatures
Next up are two rangers from Chariot Miniatures. These are now made by Magister Militum. They come in two poses as seen above. They are a little on the small side compared to other manufacturers like Demonworld, but again, its not dramatic enough to be that big a deal. All of the manufacturers that make rangers both in shooting and not shooting poses. I will show more of the non-shooting poses in another post.  

I am almost certain this last is a single figure from Grenadier, which I painted a couple of months ago. It was from their barbarian mammoth model. There were two passengers, the archer shown above and a spearman. I showed off the mammoth in a previous post. Mirliton has yet to make the barbarian line of Grenadier 15s, if ever. I remember when Mirliton took over that line, there were a lot of groans in the 15 mm fantasy community especially about the pace of production...basically non-existent. I guess I should be happy that they have put out the ones that they did. The war mammoth they do sell on their site is not the same as this model. I have nothing against Mirliton. Their medieval line of 15s is fantastic. I just feel that if you are going to take over an existing line, you should manufacture the whole line.

Anyway, back to the above figure. He and his comrade did not look barbarian enough for me. I still have not figured out who to man the mammoth. I did like this guy and thought he'd make a good ranger/hero type. All my fantasy characters are mounted singly. I will probably include his spear-wielding buddy as a ranger, but a part of the rank-and-file. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Husband & Wife Dungeon Crawl Team

Hingus and Hinga, dungeon crawl adventurer team:

Hinga on left, Hingus on right
Hinga is a Ral Partha figure.  I painted her several years after Hingus, so there is more highlighting and shading on her. You can't see it, but she's wearing a small backpack. She's no beauty queen, but she makes up for it in personality and joie de vivre.

I got Hingus out of a bin of miscellaneous fantasy figures at a Little Wars convention back in the early 80s, and paid 25¢ for him, if that.  I haven't a clue who made Hingus because I filed down the bottom of his base for stability, but I think I saw him once on a web site that identified him as a Empire of the Petal Throne miniature. He looks pretty cool as a generic semi-barbarian fantasy warrior.

I'm coming to the conclusion that if I could, I'd take all my pictures of my miniatures here in my office. Even though its florescent lighting, its a lot better than at home. There are never any harsh shadows on the figures, and I rarely need to do any color correction on the photos.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Forest Dilemma

The other day, I came to the realization that I am really far behind in my preparations for my first battle in my fictional, modern ImagiNations campaign. I made this realization when I compared the map that I made for the first battle with what I already have in terrain, I lacked roads and rivers, some agricultural pieces (orchards and cultivated fields), and a lot of forests. I needed to get going so that I can get in at least one game before I retire!

For a long time, I have gone back and forth on terrain tiles. There are a lot of pros and cons to them, but I have ruled out using them for the entire battlefield. First, I would worry about them staying in place. Second, even if I used smaller hexagonal ones, I feel that my battlefield would conform to the tiles and not the other way around. What I have now settled on is a sort of limited terrain tile system. They would be limited to rivers and possibly roads, and act as boundaries for larger forests.

Most of my potential forests consist of individual trees that I have lovingly made. Because of the love, they took forever to make. In the time it takes to make one tree, I can crank out an entire village of my little acorn cap roofed huts.

Forest Tiles
Probably about 6+ years ago, I began experimenting with making hex tiles out of CD disks as I have a bazillion of them.  My idea was to make the hexes and then cover them with green felt. I would then set my little, lovingly-made trees on them; the number of trees per hex would indicate the density of the forest. I figured that I could also run some sort of road along the tiles. I could have just used them as is and make forests that had circular boundaries, but no, that would be too easy. I had to make hexes out of them. What a major b*t*h it was to make them! It was difficult to accurately draw the sides to be cut off. Have you ever tried cutting a CD? Not fun! It does not score very nicely. Plus all that silvery stuff comes off of it!  Van der Waals forces were certainly in action as it was impossible to clean up those silver flakes. Then, gluing the felt on was another chore. I managed to make six of them. All that being said, they have three advantages: they are very strong, they don't warp,  and they very thin.

What are my material alternatives? Well, everyone out there seems to use the mysterious 1 mm MDF board. Its mysterious to me, because I can't find it that thin where I live. Also, I lack a power saw to cut them into hexes. Next is highly compressed, PVC foam mounting boards that come in very thin sheets, down to 1 mm thckness. This stuff is not the same as foamcore. They are often used to make signs with. Sintra is a brand name of this stuff. I got some free scraps from a local sign making shop, though all they had were 3 mm thick stuff. It is very strong and I expect that it does not warp easily. Again, I don't have a saw to cut them with, though I might be able to score it. It is somewhat expensive relative to foamcore board. That leaves me with foamcore. The thinnest that I can find is 1/8" which corresponds to slightly greater than 3 mm. The issue I have with it its still a little thicker than what I want it to be, and IMHO, its a pain to cut out. Even with a metal straight edge, I don't always get a straight cut. Maybe I just stink at cutting stuff out. Here is shot of a foamcore hex vs. an evil CD hex:

Foamcore on left, CD w/felt covering on right.
The foamcore hex is larger because I used as a template, one of those disposable styrene containers that holds powder chemicals in order to measure the chemical's weight (sorry, mass). It was hex shaped.

Now that I have put you to sleep about the hexes, I will go on to the whole forest thing. There are several blogs that have tutorials on how to make massive forests. They involve making a canopy out of material such as foamcore that has been heavily flocked. To the bottom of the canopy is mounted sticks, rods, tubes, or whatever to represent the trunks of trees. The bottoms of the trunks can either stand on their own, or be mounted on some sort of base. Some tutorials make them so that there are no trunks in the middle of the canopy so to hide units in them.  I have decided to use foamcore for the canopy. Finally, a decision has been made on something! Next question what to use for the trunks. At first I thought toothpicks:

Toothpicks: in case you don't know what they look like.
However,  I would have to cut them in half, which increases increases the chance that some would be uneven. My solution was sitting on a shelf in my garage:

Big box-o-nails
Nails. Specifically, this huge box of 1" roofing nails that I had to buy in order to use all of eight of them. They are cheap (but so are toothpicks), but have the advantage of being consistent in size, much stronger than toothpicks, and have nice flat bases that can be glued. The plan is to cut out irregular shapes of foamcore for the canopy, press the nails into them, then flock them, then glue the nails to the hexes. I bought some black foamcore to hide and gaps in the flock. I am going to use this for very dense forests. For light forests I will continue to use my lovingly-made individual trees.

Postscript: This morning, I ordered some sheets of Sintra in 1, 2 and 3 mm thickness. The sheets themselves are not overly expensive, but the company ships express mail, which is what really jacks up the price on this stuff. I will see how well it does when I get the order.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Royal Chalupastan Airforce Part 3: Fixed Wing Light Attack Aircraft

Most aircraft in the South's arsenal have multiple roles. As a developing country, their military is always looking for the most back for the cheapest buck. During the 1st Chalupastan War, the South still used aircraft of WWII vintage. During the early stages of the war, F4U Corsairs bravely attacked enemy ground units. Today, still relies on outdated and inexpensive weaponry to perform combat missions against ground targets. For the past 10 years, the South has been engaged in various rebel groups in the Central Highlands Provence, There has been for COIN operations aircraft to support troops as they engage the enemy and to disrupt supply lines coming from Northern Chalupistan (which they deny) and from the Federal Republic of Gambusia. The military is too afraid of using their expensive jet fighters, particularly the AMX ground attack jet. Instead they turn to older or relatively cheaper aircraft.

Cavalier Mustang II
Scoia Collectair CAUM 10
After the war the South needed to replace the WWII aircraft. A number of Cavalier Mustang IIs were purchased. They have been highly successful, but by 2000, there was need for a replacement.

FMA IA 58 Pucará

Heroics & Ros ARMA 21
  The Pucara was a replacment for the Mustang. Argentina has been long time ally of Southern Chalupastan and the South got a favorable deal on them. Although they afforded the crew better protection than the Mustang and were ideal for short runways, the "Pukkies" as they are known proved to be a disappointment. Their 20mm cannon did not make up for the fewer hardpoints relative to the Mustangs. Once again, another search began to replace the Pucara.

 EMB 314 Super Tucano

Heroics & Ros UKMA 102

 In 2010, 20 Super Tucanos were delivered to the Southern Airforce. They proved to a big success having superior avionics and weapons capabilities. They are the now the main frontline light attack aircraft. 

A-37 Dragonfly

Shapeways: Prairie Hawk Gamer
At the height of the 1st Chalupastan War, the US rushed a number of weapons to the South to stem the Northern tide. Much of the equipment was left over from the Vietnam War. This included the Cessna A-37 Dragonfly.  Despite its age, the Dragonfly is still in active service. It can carry heavy weapon loads and pilots really enjoy flying them. Along with the Super Tucanoes, they have been used extensively in current COIN operations in the Central Highlands. 

Textron AirLand Scorpion

Shapeways: Prairie Hawk Gamer
On the eve of the current situation with the North, Southern Chalupastan took possession of 14 of these multi-role, light tactical fighters for evaluation and hopefully act as a replacement for the Dragonfly and to supplement the AMX.

Modelling Notes
For some strange reason, COIN aircraft fascinate me. Also, it makes sense that the nations on the mini-continent of Gambusia should have these type of aircraft; more so than some of the jet fighters that I've allowed them to have!

The payloads are from a variety of sources, GHQ, C-in-C, and seemingly out-of-business Skyraider Miniatures (this also includes the props for the Pucara). The air-to-surface rocket pods and payload racks are scratch built using tooth picks and sheet styrene. Many Prairie Hawk Gamer models come with the payloads already on them. Many years ago, Skyraider was the only company I knew of that made the Dragonfly. I do have them somewhere in a box but never bothered to paint them. Skyraider's aircraft lack any kind of of detail.

I am pretty happy with Prairie Hawk Gamer's models. I like his models and he is willing to produce more obscure aircraft. To me, why make another MIG-21 when just about every company that makes airplanes makes a MIG-21, and the detail is generally better? Also, his prices are a lot more reasonable than other 3D designers.   I don't want to complain too much about the prices of these 3D printed models because I have no idea how Shapeways charges to get products to be made, but to me, the prices that some companies charge are outrageous.

The Super Tucano is really a model of the British Short Tucano, but until someone makes a dedicated Super Tucano, this will do. Modern gun pods don't look like the ones I put on the upper Tucano, but it looks at more bad ass with the longer barrels.

Finally, you might notice that all the planes now have roundels on their wings. These are simply made of thin paper that was punched out. I glued them on and then painted them. I used a super fine Sharpy pen to make the eagle in the middle (no, its not a swastika!). I could have used Adobe Illustrator to design them and then printed them on decal paper. I've tried that with making heraldry designs for my 15mm knights. It was just not worth the decal paper, or the time, or the aggravation. Doing them on a inkjet printer gave so-so results. Plus, it turns out that 10 years later, even though I sprayed them with a clear coating, the designs have faded.  So, these don't look all that great, but I am happy with them. Eventually, I plan to make some smaller ones to put on the sides of the aircraft.

Friday, November 14, 2014

M 113 Upgrades

 On the eve of the Second Chalupistan War, Southern Chalupastan wanted to upgrade the firepower of their M 113 APCs so that they were more like an infantry fighting vehicle. They added 20 mm Rheinmetall MK 20 Rh 202 automatic cannon turret; the same as is found on the Marder 1 IVF. Time ran out long before many could be converted, but enough were to be distributed to at least one platoon per company of the 2nd Royal Guard Dragoons and the 2nd Armored Infantry battalion.

Additionally, some M 113s had a remote weapon station installed with a 7.62mm MG.

The M 113s and the Marder 20mm turrets were from C in C. C-in-C's M 113 model is nice as it has a gunner manning the 50 cal MG. I can always use them for something else. I am not sure what to do with the Marder bodies. They also come with a rear mounted, remote controlled MG. Unlike GHQ, which pretty much gives you five of everything, C in C varies the number of vehicles per pack. There was one more M 113 than there were Marders. I had a spare remote weapons station from a pack of Heroics & Ros Australian Bushmasters, so I stuck that on the remaining M 113.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

More Naval Games, More Foolish Spending

September and October have not been thrifty months for me. I bought a big pile of lead (modern and 15mm sci-fi) and a bunch of books and rules.

First up, is the computer game Command: Modern Air/Naval Operations by Warfare Sims.com.

I've never been much of a computer gamer. First-person shoot 'em ups just don't appeal to me, no matter how fantastic the graphics are. Back in the 90s, I played Doom, Ultima, Diablo, and Mythic, mainly because my friends in grad school did. The only game I really liked was the Civilization series.

So, why this one? One of my problems is finding a reasonable set of rules for modern naval gaming for my Chalupastan War campaign. I read about this game on the War Is Boring website.  The author used this game to simulate a battle between China and the Philippines over some island in the China Sea. The thing I liked about it when I looked into the game is that you can design your own scenarios, and modify ships, seemingly to the point of building your own ships. The price is a little steep ($95), but having recently been promoted to full professor, I felt I could splurge.  The game claims that you don't have to micromanage things, but the one practice game I did play, I felt like I was doing so. In the space of maybe two hours in game time, my Spruance-class destroyer was badly knocked out of commission and I had no idea if I had hit the practice target with my cruise missiles. To be fair, I have not played since then due to a lack of time, but even if I do get the time, I think its going to be a while before I start tinkering with the ships and making my own scenarios to fit my fictional campaign.

Next is the 1987 edition of Harpoon Modern Naval Wargame Rules by Larry Bond.

In an earlier post, I bought and had a cursory review the most recent version of Harpoon (4th edition). While it is very detailed, It seems overwhelming to play, especially if I dare play it solo.  Recently on TMP, someone ran a Falklands game using the 1987 version and the comments were that is much more playable than this most recent one. My used copy of it came in the mail today, so I can't say anything about it. Besides being the older edition, I wanted to compare it to other games that I already own just as Shipwreck. Bulldogs Away!, and Surface Battle Group. There are some things like in these other rules that I like better than in 4th ed. Harpoon, but there are some aspects in each I don't care for.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Royal Chalupastan Airforce Part 2: Helicopters

The title is a misnomer. Helicopters are not under Southern Chalupastan's airforce, but rather the army. But I thought I'd keep a running theme in the title, so shoot me.

The South witnessed what helicopters could accomplish not only during the Vietnam War, but during the First Chalupastan War. The North's successful invasion of the South included the capturing of key roads and towns with airborne troops. During the big, post-war, military rebulding program, the South received help from the USA to put together several airborne battalions that employed helicopters. They also bought several attack helicopters from South Africa to be used against any further aggression by the North.

Although they have not been tested against the North, the airborne units have been used extensively to battle against various rebel groups. This includes several clandestine operations just over the border in Northern Chalupistan. 

Bell UH-1 Huey
CinC Huey
GHQ Huey
Heroics & Ros Huey
The UH-1 is the work horse of the helicopter fleet. Many are former veterans of the Vietnam War transferred from the USA. They are meticulously maintained. Their primary function is to carry troops into combat situations and evacuate the wounded. From a modelling perspective, the rotor assembly on the C in C models were next to impossible to put together, so I made them out of scratch. 

CH-47 Chinook
GHQ Chinook
In addition to the Hueys, the South operates the Chinook heavy lift helicopter. They, too, are used for dropping off troops, but also for airlifting supplies. The GHQ model was a recent purchase. It was pretty easy to assemble. The widows are pretty small, so I put a dot of light blue paint in the middle of them to make them stand out more. I still need to glue on its magnet and have not decided whether or not to give it a black wash.

Denel Rooivalk
Heroics & Ros Rooivalk
Front view
Fearing another armored invasion by the North, the Army ordered a number of Rooivalk attack helicopters from South Africa. They are armed with a 20mm cannon and anti-tank guided missiles, but can be fitted with rocket pods. They have been used only occasionally to fight the rebels. The Army feels that they are too valuable and fears that will be shot down. This is a pretty nice model. The weapons payload went together better than I expected. Sorry about the bent rotors. I didn't realize how bent up they were until after I took the pictures. In reality, there weren't that many Rooivalks built (according to Wikipedia), but I figured that Chalupastan's order spurred production on.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

15mm Griffin

I always thought it was spelled Gryphon. It looks cooler spelled that way, doesn't it?

Here are two shots of 15mm griffin from 15mm.co.uk's fantasy line. I mainly wanted to see how well they would come out using my cell phone. There are some features that I discovered on the camera that I thought might improve the quality of the photos, especially with regards to depth of field. I thought I had posted pictures of this figure a long time ago. If I had, here it is again.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Scratch-built Tiny Machine Gun

The problem with building technicals in micro-armor scale is that there are not a lot of free-standing weapons to use and what there is, you don't necessarily want to use for a technical. For example, I see lot of pictures of technicals armed with the Russian ZPU-4 quad 14.5 mm AA gun. However, there are only two companies that make them, GHQ and Scotia. GHQ's aren't cheap, and to paraphrase another microarmor blog, they are very difficult put together. I have a pack of them, but have yet to put them together for fear of screwing up a $10 model. It was hard enough putting together their beautiful Ontos model with its four recoilless rifles; this challenge looks way too daunting. Scotia's model, on the other hand, is easy to put together, but bit too large. I can see why they made it that way in order to cast it, and it looks passable when on the ground, but I can't see it on the back of a pickup truck:
Scotia ZPU-4 with Northern Chalupistan crew
Included in the GHQ's pack of Toyota pickup trucks were some pedestal-mounted, 7.62mm M-60 looking light machine guns (GHQ Stock # TW6). As an experiment, I decided to make my own light machine gun to attach to one of the little open-topped, Trabant Kuebels that I got from Shapeways.

Step 1: Cut out Gun and Glue to Pedestal
Examining the GHQ guns (sorry, I forgot to take a good picture of them, but you can see them peeking out at the top of the picture below), I could imagine that they were made from very thin sheet styrene.
Using a very thin sheet of styene, I cut out my gun. Unlike the GHQ gun, there is no grip on mine. I couldn't imagine how they were able to either cut that out, or glue one on.  The stock on my gun looks really large, too, but I think my gun looks overall passable:
Gun cut out with car next to it.
Close up of gun with pedestal glued on it.
I then took a 2mm styrene rod at glued it onto the gun with a combo of styrene welding cement and superglue gel. I didn't want to trim it to size until I was ready to put it on the car.

Step 2: Adding a Magazine
I could have left it at that, but I couldn't be outdone by GHQ's fantastic work. With nerves of steel, I then glued a tiny block of styrene onto the gun to make the magazine:
Gun with ammo box attached
Its probably out of scale, but it will do.

Step 3: Glue the Gun to the Car
What could be easier? Unfortunately, it was not the case. Apparently, the material that these 3D printed cars are made out of seems superficially rubbery, but in reality, its brittle. Or, it could be that the primer I used made the material brittle...no matter. I foolishly thought that I could drill a shallow, little hole behind the two front seats to fit the machinegun in by using my X-Acto knife. This is what resulted:
And this:

The two halves didn't fit back together well. In addition to the two halves, there were a bunch of little shards.  So, there is no point in fixing it. I will probably use it as a bombed out car. I have not yet decided what to use the machine gun for. I have some Mamba South African APC's that could use some fire power, or I might give the Trabant Kuebel another try. I probably will give another go at making light machine guns. I doubt they will look uniform, but I think that with practice, I can make enough to equip more vehicles.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Private Plane Finished

Here is a shot of that "civilianized" O-1 Bird Dog that I was working on in a previous post:
I used a fine Sharpie pen to make the thunderbolt on the tail and the lettering on the wing. There was no way I was going to attempt the lettering along the fuselage. I decided not to put a magnet on the bottom of this one for now. It will look nice sitting on the tarmac of the airport I plan to build.

Could These be the One?

After reading a couple of posts, two notably from Spacejacker Zero (formerly just Spacejacker), about FiveCore Skirmishing and Five Parsecs From Home, I took the plunge and bought them.
These rules have been hitting the internet, particularly TMP, but usually I am not drawn to new rule sets. But when Spacejacker endorsed them, I thought I'd get them. I have followed his blog for some time, and I trust his opinions on rules.

So far, I've only had a chance to scan the core skirmishing rules. They look fairly straight forward in terms of how they are written, but that is all I can say right now. Looking over my 15mm sci-fi, most of what I have are small teams of figures of between five and six. This seems to be the perfect number per side for these rules. I sneak in a test run this week.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Rescue the Princess: part 2

This episode of my solo dungeon crawl was conducted while at one of my daughter's many activities that I have to drive her to. This time it was art class. The teacher lives way out in a "hollar" or valley. She has no wifi connection or even good cell phone connection, so it was up to what I had on my laptop and cell phone to game.  I almost exclusively used Labyrinth Lord for this game as well as the No Budget No Frills Pencil and Paper Dungeon Generator.  I have a dic rolling app and a card deck app on my phone to assist me.

Pictures were added last minute to greatly enhance the story.

After finding nothing in the room [see the previous game (3)], the party goes back to the intersection where they fought the crab spider (2). When they arrive, they find that the carcass is no longer there! It appeares that it was dragged down the hall going north. After a consult, the party decides to first explore the hall to the east.

See bracketed numbers in text for explanation. North is up.

As they travel down the corridor, they encounter a small body lying in the floor (4). It turns out to be a hobbit.
The wounded hobbit
His clothes are torn, and has had multiple wounds on his body. The more recent wounds consist of puncture holes on his upper arms and neck. In his hand is a dagger with a bloodied blade. It looked like he dragged himself to this location from down the hall. Sister Yabringa finds him to be alive but barely. She casts a cure light wounds and after a few minutes, he is conscious. Cuthwaith mutters to himself, as he didn't get a chance to clean the Hobbit’s pockets out. The groggy hobbit states that he was kidnapped many days ago; by whom, he doesn’t know, and dragged into the tomb. He managed to escape, but was attacked by various creatures while trying to get out of here. They party asks if he wishes to join them, but he quickly declines. He wants to be out of there as soon as possible! Youngrin and Gladwell escort him back to the entrance. They give him some rations and water and tell show him the direction back to the village. Despite his wounds, the hobbit quickly heads off down the path.

 While Youngrin and Gladwell were escorting the hobbit the rest of the party travelled further down the hall. On the floor is a trail of blood splatters leading to where the hall ends at a door (5). They waited for the two fighters to return and then turned their attention to the door. Cuthwaith checks and finds no traps and the door is slightly ajar.  He also hears nothing. They party surmises that the hobbit must have come out of there. They decide that the fighters will go first, followed by Kassira and the thief, and finally the magic users, Bral, and the cleric. Readying his battle axe, Elgrum takes the lead and opens the door.  Inside, 4 stirges are present hanging from the ceiling like bats!
A-h-h-h! Very scarey!
They party manages to get the jump on them just as they were beginning to take off from their roost. Elgrum and Gladwell both miss, but Youngrin manages to hit and cut one down. The remaining party pours through the door. For whatever reason, the stirges fly towards the rest of the party, perhaps to exit the door. Kassira, the thief and Charnel are attacked! They miss the thief and Charnel but hit Kassira. It pierces Kassira in the chest and it is stuck there sucking her blood! Kassira grabs the stirge and attempts to pull it out of her but doesn’t succeed. Sister Yabringa yells,“hold still!” and attempts to smack the stirge with her club. She misses, but fortunately she also misses Kassira. Meanwhile, Charnel casts magic missiles at her opponent but the stirge dodges the missiles! The thief kills his opponent. Gladwell and Elgrum manage to turn around and attack the remaining stirges. Gladwell hits one but it still lives. The stirge locked on Kassira still sucks her blood (down more hits). The other attacks Charnel again but fails miserably due to being hit by Gladwell. Again, Yabringa misses the beast on Kassira, but Kassira manages to jab her dagger into it to try to pry it out of her, giving it 5 hits but not enough to kill or remove it. Both the thief and Charnel attack Charnel’s stirge and together they finish it off. All is left is the one stuck in Kassira that inflicts another 3 hits of damage to her. Kassira is starting to look faint. Just then, Elgrum grabs the thing and yanks it out of her, crushing it at the same time! Blood splatters everywhere! Yabringa immediately presses on Kassira’s wound to stop the blood flow but Kassira looses another 2 points of damage and passes out. Yabringa immediately casts a cure wound spell, which saves her, but just barely.

 “Burn you and your male stupidity, Elgrum!” Yabringa spat, “she could have died because of that!”

Elgrum snarls something in reply and tosses the stirge carcass off to one side.

Cuthwaith picking the lock on the secret door
They check the room. It is a long room only 30' wide but extends 60' in length. The wall at the far end shows an old, faded, crudely-painted mural of a pastoral scene of mountains and forests. In the foreground are images of humans dancing and playing musical instruments. Along with the humans are snake-like creatures. Yabringa, Elgrum, and Youngrin each mutter a prayer of protection as they look at it. In addition to the stirges that they killed, there are the two more recently-killed carcasses on the floor. Inspecting the mural further, Cuthwaith finds a secret door. It is locked but can’t tell if it is trapped. Three darts shoot out as he picks the lock but he manages to dodge them. Inside reveals closet with a bag containing 250 gp and a well-made, heavy crossbow with a leather and wood case that has a leather strap. Within the case are 10 bolts. With each bolt, are two tips that can be screwed into the bolt. One is of iron and the other silver. Charnel casts a, detect magic spell on the weapon, but finds nothing out of the ordinary. Youngrin states that they are in no condition to go further and should rest up here for the night.  The idea of staying in the funky-smelling tomb does not sound appealing, but Charnel nods to Miria who pulls out from a small bag of marble-sized light blue spheres. She gently crushes one in her hands as she sings a soft incantation and the air immediately smells cleaner and fresher. The party feels a sense of calm because of it. Yabringa heals Kassira once more and she is fully restored. They rest for the night. During the night, nothing occurs.

The game wrapped up in a little over an hour. More modifications need to be done on the No Budget No Frills Pencil and Paper Dungeon Generator. For example, the corridor encounter table is a little monster encounter heavy. I converted two monster encounters into events. One was the crab spider carcass being gone, and the other was the discovery of the wounded hobbit. Also, the dungeon encounters table in Labyrinth Lord is a little on the harsh side for a first level dungeon. There were many re-rolls to avoid certain death for the party.