Saturday, 27 February 2016

The New Armoured Steam Tractor & VSF Engineers!

Captain Darling reviewing a section of Engineers with their newly delivered Armoured Steam Tractor on Salisbury Plain!

Well I needed a unit of Engineers for my 1870's FUBAR VSF games (don't we all!) so I bought some of  the Ironclad VBCW Firemen as my proxies. I picked them as I thought they were cool figures and I really liked them! Even though for a later period these will fit in well with my VSF figures and as engineers they'll have the ability to expertly use of explosives etc and are armed with the latest Light Rapid Fire Carbine (read SMG) and magazine fed Galvanic Rifles. As per all the figures I've bought from Ironclad Miniatures they are crisply cast. I do notice in their ranges the stances are a bit similar for their long armed figures i.e.  kneeling, rifle at the ready and rifle in advance pose anyway I like the uniforms and quality you get. If I didn't make my own VSF vehicles I'd definitely get some of the ones Ironclad stock! Enough jabbering here they are painted as best I can!

Well of course Engineers need transport so I have put together an Armoured Steam Tractor which as soon as I get the small Lego wheels I ordered will have a trailer (including coal supply) to tow!

I modelled this after a picture of a period steam tractor I found on the net. It is a regular production one with an armoured, floor, front plate and cabin added so I get to use some brighter colours mixed with military grey armopur plates. The wheels are the newly developed armoured style fully cast. By armouring the cabin it saved a lot of detailing! When not in action the rear cab door is locked open to allow for ventilation and coal to be accessed from the (soon to be added) trailer. Once action is joined the fire box is filled to brimming and the cabin is buttoned up! Don't fear the intrepid Commander/Driver and Sergeant/Stoker have asbestos impregnated uniforms so they are safe from the fetid conditions of the enclosed cab unfortunately for them OH&S is a 21st Century thing!

Here's the basic bits in one place! I straight away gave the roof a coat of 'Heritage Green' from a cheapie spray can just to see what the colour was like and I'm pretty happy with it. I intend for this to be painted brightly in the style of the time but with added on dull coloured armour plates and armoured wheels. This is to be built with the usual stuff I use styrene sheet, plastic tubing and odds and ends.

Here are all the parts painted and awaiting assembly! The wheels are from a friend who had them spare when he abandoned building a WW II German big artillery gun, the smoke stack is part of a electric toothbrush head, the piston thingee for above the main chamber is a medicine tube cap and the axles are coat hanger wire. I used some sticky strips from the scrap booking area of Spotlight for the 'Victorian Embossing'.

And these are the final pictures! Just needs the trailer to be complete!


I hope you enjoy this latest piece of VSF equipment and feel happy to use the design to expand your own fleet of vehicles!

Oh yeah and as promised last time next time back to 'The Russians Are Coming!' Scenario Four details and AAR...yeah like you believe that!

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Generic Landship Hulls!

I have completed three landships for my VSF gaming so far and because I am enjoying making them so much  already have plans for four more which is not really a problem as you can never have enough Landships! BUT how many of these will I ever get on a tabletop at once I thought so I began to ponder and thought if I make a generic hull which I can slot a superstructure into then I can make as many of those as I want and just chop and change them on the generic hull as I require them for games! Brilliant I hear you say well not quite but it's a cool idea to try out.
Now never doing anything by halves I created two generic hulls. These are made like the previous ones with 0.5mm, 1mm and 2mm sheet styrene and Lego 28mm wagon wheels. I have used round 'bows' and a sloped 'sterns' with a coal chute and towing points. There is a hatch on the starboard side and a tow chain on the port...Ahoy! (just put that in to go with the nautical lingo).

So once a superstructure is made it's a simple matter of attaching it to the top of the hull by sliding it into place. See in the example below with a bit of styrene substituting for a superstructure it fits in the top of the hull and the two arrows show the way it will get slid into place...

After sliding the superstructure forward it is 'locked' into place, you'll see in the picture below in our example the left arrowhead is now hidden, gravity is more than is required to hold it in place.

Okay I'll be off to build some superstructures now!

Next Time back to 'The Russians Are Coming!' Scenario Four details and AAR...

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

1/56 Martian Tripod In Action!

I played five test games fine tuning the Martian Tripod rules and I am pretty happy with how they worked out.
The test games were based on the Cruise of the Borodino with a single martian tripod attempting to cross the table top of 72" and exit (in any condition) the opposite edge to where it entered...between it and its objective a large number of pesky Jerries!
The Martians won 4 out of five games so if I fire this up for little Wars Humanity is gonna need some reinforcements! I didn't take many pictures but here's the few that were any good.

Martian, "Oh goody the Humans have an Avionic Craft time to engage my Illudium Q-36 explosive space modulator"

Martian, "Where's the kaboom? There was supposed to be an earth-shattering kaboom!"
And there was 3 out of four of the Human Armoured Wagons bit the dust!

Oberleutnant Fritz Roll (slightly funny here in South Australia) to his gun crew, "Der himmel uber! Wir sind in die Schei├če!"

Martian, "There seems to be something wrong with my bloody Tripod today!"
There was with every weapon shot out but its heat ray this Tripod was overwhelmed by the Jerries...

View from a Human blimp of the action!

Catch ya next time!

FUBAR VSF Rules & Martian Tripod Updates

Righto this is the first of two posts for today, yep this is what you could call the “double event”…anyway as I don’t want to combine a boring “ramble on rules” with some fun pictures that came about from testing said boring update of rules this post includes my current batch of updates for the FUBAR VSF rule set…tatatataaa rules covering Martian Tripods!

I’ve got everything nicely settled for my Human Super Heavy Ironclads i.e. Landships and the Martian Tripod rules are based on them to keep everything simple! Of course everyone can change the rules however they want to cover Martian Tripods but this is my take and I hope to make these Critters just a little bit better than anything Humanity can field against them. I have built one Tripod so far and will eventually put a second together but that’ll be it.

FUBAR VSF Martian Tripod Rules

The Breakdown table is replaced with the below ‘Event’ Table I still want Martians to experience surprises on an Activation Roll of ‘1’ but of course these are highly evolved Fighting Machines so are not prone to just breaking down…

  1. SPLAT! Some local wildlife, i.e. a cow has just been squashed by your machines foot carry on as normal this turn
  2. SQUISH! Your front right foot is stuck in mud or a badger house or something like that -1 on next activation roll
  3. AAAAAH! Martian Error!!! A slipped tentacle results in forward motion locked on move straight forward 2D6
  4. OOOH! Marconi wireless waves cause interference to the tripod controls steering locked no turns next activation
  5. CRUNCH Uneven ground causes instability -2 off next activation roll
  6. Uh Oh! Roll on the Damage Table'
The standard Damage and Catastrophe Tables are used for hits on Tripods with the following updates:

All Crew and Suppression Hits are ignored

A ‘5’ result on the Damage table is rerolled:
1,2 or 3 equals a ‘2’ result
4,5 or 6 equals a ‘4’ result

After the FORTH Steering Broken result the Tripod’s steering is broken no more turns allowed

After the FORTH Immobilised result the Tripod is immobilised

After the FIRST vehicle wrecked destroyed etc result randomly select a weapon that is ‘out of action’

After the SECOND vehicle wrecked destroyed etc result the Tripod’s maximum speed is reduced to half

After the THIRD vehicle wrecked destroyed etc result the Tripod is destroyed

Note a roll of ‘6’ on the Damage Table followed by a roll of ‘6’ on the Catastrophe Table destroys any Tripod it’s considered a critical hit!

I have included the following clarifications into the FUBAR VSF rules concerning how Tripods activities are covered:

Tripods Full Speed:     12”
Tripod Half Speed:      8
Tripod Turning Circle: N/A

Tripods have three weapon systems on board:
Heat Ray                     Range 50”       8D6 no -1 over half range      Fire every second turn *
2 x Rocket Pods         Range 60”       2 x 3D6                                   Fire every turn 
3 x Black Smoke        Range 18”       3 x 2D6 no -1 over half range Fire every turn * +

* Can’t fire at Human Avionic Contraptions
+ Ignores cover modifiers only affects exposed i.e. foot targets saving throw is always 5+ against this

A stationary Tripod may fire all three of its weapon systems with a +1 aiming bonus

A Tripod may move up to half speed and fire two of its weapon systems

A tripod may move full speed and fire one of its weapon systems

Next Time some Martian Tripod FUBAR VSF eye candy!

Thursday, 4 February 2016

The Evil Martian Tripod Attacks! – A 1/56 Tripod Build

It was a battle for all mankind to remember as on the first day of the Martians second invasion of Earth the brave men of the Upper Knob Hill Artillery Company fought valiantly to the last against the mighty Martian fighting machines. In defeat these men symbolised the human ‘spunk’ these evil Green Creatures from the even more evil Red Planet could expect! These new 60 foot tall tripods whose eerie red glowing eye like vision port seemed indestructible as they glided about effortlessly on their three sleek metal legs their fighting compartments bristling with armaments! It was the infamous heat ray that put paid to the heroic fighting men of the Royal Artillery who maned their weapons until overrun. They even damaged one of the Martian machines in the process. They Scored a hit with a 7 pound projectile on one of the legs of the lead Machine causing it to buckle bringing the whole tripod to the ground with a tremendous crash. Those who witnessed the horrific action between man and alien said that the damaged Tripod was later recovered by others and carried away!

A photograph taken of the action between the Upper Knob Hill Artillery Company and the Martians:

Okay in my version of the Martian Invasions of the Earth their first foray in 1872 to England followed H G Welles storyline and was over in no time thanks to germs! But these pesky aliens weren’t done with us yet now fortified with the knowledge Earth would have to be acclimatised too slowly a second attack was launched in 1874 with new bigger tripods and resulted in a two year war that stretched across the globe as the Martian fighting machines attempted to quell mankind while they landed scientific pods to work in the conquered lands on adapting their kind to the earth’s environment…anyway I’ll write more on this later!

Okay so first up I need a grand 1/56 scale Martian Tripod for use at Little Wars, now I have several of the Alien Dungeons ones (excellent kits they are too!) for general gaming against my 28mm figures and vehicles but something special (read BIG) is required me thinks for Little Wars! So “begineth” another project!

Building A Big Martian Tripod

Parts required:
Two hard plastic cups, one goblet style and one martini glass style
Styrene tubing
Sheet styrene
A big button
A few miscellaneous lids
Lego bits
Some Goggles eyes!

Initial construction was pretty simple. After cutting the stems of the glasses off I had a body. The leg joints are large styrene tube with the ends sealed with sheet styrene and goggle eyes added to be sort of bolts. The feet are lids off pill containers and the joint where the leg meet the body are lids off pet flea treatment tubes:

The rocket launchers are styrene tube capped at one end with and a goggle eye added and some Lego space line bits added. The black smoke projectors are Lego ‘loud speaker bits (they each had three horns the others have been rimmed off they’ll probably make good gun barrel ends!) and the heat ray is a screw on lid, piece of wire and a plastic spike from a solar light setup that wasn’t needed. At this point I was going to add tentacle arms which I made with thick copper wire but I haven’t added them as I’m not sure the model needs them they sort of made the front look too busy…anyway I can add them later if I change my mind!:

The mount for the vision port (read big button) was made with Milliput. The whole thing was undercoated in cheap spray can black for a uniform base colour and then sprayed with Humbrol Polished Steel, this is a picture of the finished Humbrol paint job before a buff up:
Here it all is buffed up with big button added!

I can now test a short game for Little Wars using it. It’ll be based on the Cruise of the Borodino one Martian Tripod crossing the board and humanity trying to stop it nice and easy and quick!

Thanks for looking! Next time even more hopefully better stuff!

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Captain Darling and the Great Easter Island Excursion!

Well thanks to a great pickup from Arcane Scenery & Models namely a DeeZee Miniatures Easter Island Head Statue in 1/56 scale I have been given a reason to spout some drivel…ah I mean to retell one of Captain Darlings many anecdotes…I hope you enjoy…

Early February 1877 Captain Darling found himself restless and at a loose end after viewing the grand launch of the USLS Lexington. This situation didn’t suit him he was a man of action a ‘do it now’ sort of Victorian Gentleman Officer! What with there being no wars in which to garner glory in raging or local insurrections around Her Glorious Majesty’s Empire in need of quelling he turned his mind to adventure and roaming!

After completeing the mind-numbing trip north from Virginia he enjoyed his leisure spending a relaxing Saturday afternoon in lower Manhattan at a small Beverage Emporium named after its Native American owner, Chief Little StarBuck. As he sipped his tasty beverage he pondered on whether it would be possible to brew the same tasting coffee in many different outlets around the vast globe selling it to the masses thereby creating a virtual coffee empire… He discussed it with the owner for a while and then while settling back into his comforatable chair his continued thoughts on a “coffee empire” were interrupted as he noticed an article in the New York Exhibitionist a tawdry paper he regularly read the steam engine articles in eulogizing on the mysteries of Easter Island a small speck of barren land located in the remote vastness of the Pacific Ocean….so with his caffeine driven gander up he decided on the spot that he must travel to Easter Island and post haste!

Unfortunately for the good Captain there were no regular services by any reputable shipping company that visited Easter Island. No problem he thought he’d charter a boat and include ‘rounding the horn’ in this his latest escapade! To further add to the adventure the vessel he chartered for the voyage captained by Edgar Tuthill was the Mary Celeste, he commented off handedly to an attractive woman friend, “This’ll tickle the interest of those bounders from my London Club!”

So travelling light with just 12 trunks and two native porters Captain Darling’s voyage of discovery began late February 1877!

To cut a long story short dear reader what seemed an exciting idea in a Manhattan Beverage Emporium turned out to be a long sea voyage filled with average victuals (mind you washed down with very good reds from trunk #2), endless views of the ocean, no stop nausea and the tedious company of the ship’s Captain and crew punctuated with a brief but enthralling stay on Easter Island itself and then a long passage back to Manhattan with the exact same experiences of the outward journey.

Little detail is known of this trip of Captain Darlings as his personal papers are still held in confidence and the Mary Celeste’s log was lost when she foundered in suspicious circumstances several years later.

All that has come to light from this period is a single picture Darling took of himself using his camera on a steady tripod and triggered off by a water driven timing device (his knowledge of Classical Greece and the works of Ctesibius being very helpful here!)…

Captain Darling's 1877 'selfie' posing by one of the Moai stone idols found on Easter Island

Next time – most probably an AAR but I still have some other scratch building stuff to write up too…