Monday, 18 June 2018

The Heliograph, for when your Steam Powered Marconi Wireless is 'On the Blink'!

Somewhere in Belgium, June 18 1880...

Troubled and flustered Lieutenant Cartwright hollered over the din of gunfire to Captain Darling, "Darling the Marconi Wireless set is on the blink again! How can we summon reinforcements?"

Darling replied calmly while engaging in sword play with two rather brutish looking Imperial French Grenadiers, "Well that's rather unfortunate Cartwright, especially with all these damnable Frenchies trying to cook our bacon. Don't worry though ol' chap there's always the Heliograph! Kindly ask Sergeant Over and Corporal Under to fetch it forthwith!", meanwhile with a couple of deft lunges Darling put paid to the Gauloises smoking Frenchman threatening the Communications Post...

Captain Darling wielding his sword and Lieutenant Cartwright commanding a Heliograph team in the heat of battle, June 18 1880. This picture was taken after the action for the members of the Forth Estate for use in their publications...

Ironclad Miniatures Heliograph Team

Well here's another set of figures that have been left undercoated on my painting bench for far too long. I finally finished painting them up on the weekend and for even someone like me with basic painting skills they come up a treat!

The figures themselves are well cast with nice details. No prep was needed but it would be nice for one of the manufacturers of these Heliograph sets to include boxes for the equipment.

The big thing was basing so I decided to sabot them on a mini diorama base. I did this for too reasons casualty removal and also the kneeling and 'scribing' guys can be very useful as individuals in other situations!

The good thing about this set is they'll be useful in both my VSF games and the Russians Are Coming Campaign (where the Heliograph has already been mentioned in a scenario!)!

The 'Team' all based up...

The 'Team' unsbased...

The diorama for the in period photograph...

Close up!

Next Time: well there's a few things on the go now I'm back on deck but most likely it will be either; the  Grand Tour debrief or an AAR of a battle somewhere in Belgium, June 181880...

Friday, 30 March 2018

British VSF Guns Crews & Generic VSF 'Scouts/Jagers'

On Salisbury Plain British Gunners with Infantry support train in the use of their new their Automatic Fire Twin Barreled 6 Pound Field Gun...

Well a final post before Kathryn and I start our 'Grand Tour'!

I've had some Ironclad British Artillery Figures on the painting table for quite a while so thought I'd get them painted up. These are the usual chunky Ironclad figures I expect and feature some nice details. Also I like any figure in a spiked helmet! Unlike my other Ironclad mini's though these had a bit of flash and and a few seam lines that needed tidying up.

Two gun crews totaling eight figures, nice faces and helmets on these...

Here's the overall picture of the Salisbury Plain set up...

I also painted up the last six Ironclad Postal Service figures I had on hand. These figures are a fanciful VSF unit of mine and they have represented Scouts in games hence their 'brown/tan jackets. When a Scout is attached to a section of troops it gives them movement and cover bonus's due to their dexterous abilities. They will still be used in this way but now I have ten figures including a commander they can be fielded as a complete Scout/Jager/Border Guard etc section...they'll be strong in action with their high ratings and being well armed with a Rapid Fire Rifle  (read LMG here a Lewis Gun in fact) and three Quick Fire Carbines (so SMGs, they are Thompsons with Drum magazines!).

My ten VSF 'Scouts'...

Note these guys could figure in TGAA as 'Brown Shirts' or some other obscure unit maybe a Forestry Ranger force! ☺

Next time, a summary of the Grand Tour I expect!

Friday, 2 March 2018

Captain Darling’s Grand Tour & Some WIP Stuff

Greetings! It's been a bit of ‘All Quiet On the VSF Front’ here on the bally Blog for while ain't it...well a couple of reasons for that; firstly I’ve been concentrating most of my spare time on The Great Antipodean Adventure project recently and second; my partner and I have been planning Captain Darling’s Grand Tour a five week whirlwind tour of certain bits of Europe! My other half hitherto known as Kathryn is rather excited about the latter and decidedly unexcited about the former 😊!

I don’t usually like putting up WIP stuff on the Blog but just to show I’m still plodding along with my various VSF interests here’s some stuff I’ve been tinkering away on...

Buildings: Thanks to a small windfall from my mum at Christmas I picked up several Sarissa buildings which will work well not only with my VSF gaming but for my WW II and TGAA stuff. I got several dwellings, the double fronted shop, the end of row cafe, a third floor for an existing town house I had and the Victorian Pub. All go together well and with a bit of paint look the part. You could really go to town on these and really make them hum but they’re for gaming so I’ve kept it simple, I can always go back and detail them later...

The Derailer Tank: I was given this baby by a devotee and plan on turning it into Doktor Von Hades Super Steam Powered Armoured Fighting Vehicle...

Scratch builds: I’m getting back to my British answer to the French Santos Dumont  airship, here's the current status of the Daley Brothers Steam Powered Armoured Balloon MK III...added a 28mm figure for size...

Now onto the Grand Tour: We've locked everything a few trips and ANZAC Day stuff but most of this trip will be off the cuff roaming once we arrive at each destination. Thanks to overnight trains most of the travel will be relegated to nights to maximise our 'touristing' during daylight hours.

An image of Captain Darling arriving in Rome during his Grand Tour dazzling the ladies...
Sourced online didn't see any copywrite...

Kathryn and I arrive in Rome on Easter Monday and then its on! Most places I've been to before, Vienna being the major exception but this is only Kathryn's second European trip so lots of new sites for her! Here’s a brief summary...

  • 2nd April, Rome four days
  • 6th April, Florence three days
  • 10th April, Vienna four days
  • 14th April, Berlin four days
  • 18th April, Brussels two days
  • 20th April, Ypres four days
  • 24th April, Amiens four days
  • 28th April, London/South East England seven days
  • 5th May, Back in sunny Adelaide!

So lots of train travel and general tourist things but I have include some Captain Darling bits of interest, mind you this has cost me some trade offs in other locations but is worth it...

  • ANZAC Dawn Service at Villiers-Bretonneux & visit to new Sir John Monash Centre
  • Waterloo battlefield walk (second visit for me but first since the new visitor centre) and brewery at Mont-Saint-Jean Farm hic!
  • Some WW I battlefield sight seeing
  • Take in some The Third Man movie locations and Dinner on the Vienna Ferris Wheel as its one of my all time favourite movies
  • The Vienna Military Museum
  • Some Cold War sight seeing in Berlin

Luckily I've done a lot of the other military museums on previous trips so I can skip them, though Kathryn has shown an interest in seeing one of my favourite spots, the Russian Room at the Royal Museum of Armed Forces in Brussels.

Now if any of you know a must see ‘sights’ that fall within the itinerary please let me know I’ll add it to Kathryn’s list! Also any must visit eateries or drinking establishments!

Things will remain a bit quiet here for a couple more months but then normal transmissions will resume!

Sunday, 31 December 2017

VSF Christmas AAR 2017 - "The Spirit of Christmas" FUBAR VSF PULP

Well time for the 2017 Christmas FUBAR VSF game! This year we're going down the PULP them after the success of the Big Trouble in Little Tinkle trial game! Without further ado here we go with..."The Spirit of Christmas"

"The Spirit of Christmas" - the Blurb...

December 1877, a battered Campaign chest was delivered to the Coding Division of Queen Victoria’s S.O.E. The Boffins were eager to examine the tattered contents which consisted of two papyri; these scrolls were covered in faint Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs that were rumoured to contain Biblical secrets. Fueled with gallons of tea a s hundreds of biscuits S.O.E.’s intelligentsia had soon revealed the texts deep secret...(insert dramatic music here)...that the “Spirit of Christmas” was an actual artifact and not only that but it featured clues to its location!

Armed with this information several Cambridge Professors accompanied by S.O.E. Field Agents traveled on the 3:20 from Victoria Station to the sleepy coastal town of Dunghill on Sea where further clues were discovered regarding the current resting place of the “Spirit of Christmas”! After S.O.E.’s jaunt the small Latvian hamlet of Dropalog became the focus of events and the British Government approved an expedition into the environs of the Evil Tsar of Russia!

Move forward a fortnight and as the sun rose majestically a steam air ship decamped the British Expeditionary Force only a chain from Dropalog, the Red Coats, led by Captain Small-Parts then advanced to recover their prize accompanied by an S.O.E. professor.

Unbeknownst to Small-Parts and his party Doktor Von Hades had discovered the details of the British endeavour and had dispatched a gang comprised of some of his evilest minions to snatch the “Spirit of Christmas” from the Britishers grasp...they arrived at Dropalog the same morning...

The Forces...

The Queen’s Men!
Captain Small-Parts - Hero Type - Revolver Sword 
Professor Tangent - Trusty Chap - Revolver
Sergeant Major - Trusty Chap - Galvanic Rifle
Rifleman Smith - Average Bloke - Repeating Rifle
Rifleman Heath - Average Bloke - Repeating Rifle
Gunner Pitt - Average Bloke - Flamethrower
Gunner Baldwin - Average Bloke - Tesla Cannon - New one man version!

Von Hades Minions
Emir Mustafa - Hero Type - Sword
Doctor Weevil - Trusty Chap - Revolver
‘Top Hat’ Malone - Trusty Chap - Sniper Rifle
Roger the Artful Dodger - Average Bloke - Repeating Rifle
Slasher Smith - Average Bloke - Shotgun
Harold Todd - Average Bloke - Light Rapid Fire Rifle (i.e. LMG 3FP)
Dougie.. - Average Bloke - Grenade launcher

The Bibs and Bobs... 
Lord Richard Wibbly-Wobbly - Hero Type Revolver Sword 
Bob and Richard - Rifle
The Donkey!

Cultist Swordsmen - Average Blokes

Mad Monks - Average Blokes

Character Ratings:
Hero Types:
Activation 3+
Expertise 4+
Wounds 3
Hero Points 5
Save 5+ 
Trusty Chaps:  
Activation 4+
Expertise 4+
Wounds 2
Hero Points 2
Save 5+
Average Blokes: 
Activation 5+
Expertise 5+
Wounds 1
Hero Points 0
Save 6+

Special Rules:
Characters can carry only one artifact and can do so at no penalty.
Game length is 10 Turns.
Turns 1 to 4 a TRUCE is in effect and Team Great Britain and Team Evil may not target each other, game generated Characters are not covered by the truce so go for it with them as they will with you!
Doors cost 0"
Window entry cost 1"
Fences crossing cost 1"
Moving upstairs/downstairs costs 2"
Artifacts: when discovered...
Move the discovering Character adjacent to Artifact and roll for a Booby Trap 
a 6 results in a 2 dice attack hitting on 3+
a 5 results in a 1 dice attack hitting on 3+
Note -  Hero Types  and Trust Chaps may play a maximum of 2 Hero Point that give a -1 modifier for the To Hit Number per Hero Point for these attacks

Game Characters 

Mad Monks and Cultist Swordsmen:
Controlled by the Umpire BUT must attack the closest Player Characters with fire or by charging.
A total of 4 pairs are available, a pair will appear on a roll of 5 or 6 when any building is entered for the first time. Once the forth set is placed no more will appear BUT there is umpire discretion at call here!
Mad Monks and Cultist Swordsmen
Activation Automatic with 1 Action only
Expertise 4+
-Monks may only combat with sword bonus
-Cultists combat with sword bonus or may cast bombs up to 8 inches that attack only the  Character targeted
Wounds 1
Hero Points 0
Save 6+
Statue Activation (Umpire discretion):
Anytime the Spirit of Christmas moves within 4' of a Statue the Umpire may activate said Statue and it becomes a Character:
Activation Automatic with 1 Action only
Expertise 5+
Wounds 4
Hero Points 0
Save 4+

Victory Conditions:
Locate and extricate to their side of the table as many of the five hidden stashes in the town and kill as many of the opposition as possible. A figure must leave the play area and can not return to achieve this.
"The Spirit of Christmas" 5VPs
Crate of Frankincense, The Original Candy Cane, The Present Stash & Barrel of Muir 1 VP each
Killing an opposition Character 1VP (game Characters not counted!)
Highest total after 10 Turns wins (the Umpire at their discretion may extend by 2 turns)

The AAR...

The winner was Von Hades Evil Minions! That's a bit of a smack in the face for the Empire!

Von Hades Minions; 6 VPs
The Spirit of Christmas 5VPs
The Present Stash 1 VP

The Queen’s Men! 5 VPs
Crate of Frankincense, The Original Candy Cane, and the Barrel of Muir 1 VP each
taking out two of Von hades party 1VP each

It was very much a Pyrrhic Victory for Von Hades boys they were hammered! In hindsight I should have stuck with the main artefact being worth 3 VPs like in the Big Trouble in Little Tinkle test game instead of 5 but hey you live and learn!

The rules played out a good game again! Stu had a great idea for an update to the rules which I'll incorporate for our next play, Activation Roll occurs after all figures complete their first i.e. default action. This is great as you need to complete your first action for every figure without being certain of a second it!

Next Time: Good question!