Wednesday, 16 August 2017

The VSF British Grenadier Guard is Deployed!

The British Grenadier Guard Regiment was the premier unit of Queen Victoria's Military Forces, it consisted of handpicked men from the army's the best formations and they were led by officers from the oldest families in the Empire! Dressed in the finest uniforms of the era and equipped with the most modern weapons available this Regiment was capable of defeating the best that any other country could put into the field!

Beneath their enormous Bearskin headgear the bright scarlet tunics of the Grenadier Guardsmen concealed coal fibre vests. These protective undergarments safeguarded them from all but direct hits at close range while they could deal out considerable punishment to their opposition with their Mk III Brunel Steam Carbines and Type II Grenade Projectors manufactured by the British EndoSteel Company. The Officers were well equipped with Wobley Revolvers and heavy straight edged Tesla Swords, the 'ZAP' of the electrical charge that could be released by a simple press of the button on the hilt of these fine instruments of death could stun any opposition easing their speedy dispatch!

This elite unit of the British army along with the other formations of the Guard were never shielded from combat and held in reserve they were often the first troops to muck in and give the opposition some curry in fact sometimes they were a bit to exuberant and would charge into close combat with their foes heedless of orders albeit in good order!

This photograph taken in the 1870's on Salisbury Plain during the Imperial Army's summer manoeuvres shows a section of Grenadier Guardsmen advancing in perfect formation led by their Officer! Of interest in the background Captain Darling can be seen discussing the war games with Lord Wotsit  wearing a blue uniform with his trusty Triambulator nicknamed 'Maisey' in the background!

When I saw these Ironclad Miniatures VSF Grenadier Guards I just had to get some! These are good casts of very well scuplted figures. In true VSF theme they are advancing in a good variety of poses and the officer and sergeant are well posed. I like my figures chunky and these fellows are just that and they are very well detailed! The faces are good and there is a plethora of facial hair for the painting! 

In all their glory and sporting my inadequate paint work my section of VSF British Grenadier Guards!

For my FUBAR VSF games their Carbines are the equal of Galvanic Rifles and they're armoured so have a higher saving throw. Their activation levels will be good but not great however unlike other sections/squads they have the advantage of activating as two five man half sections and if they have their officer or sergeant attached will get a positive modifier! Lastly if they ever find themselves starting their turn within charging distance of an enemy unit no matter if its entrenched or a even Steam Powered Armoured Contraption on the roll of a natural six when activating they'll muck in for Her Majesty and charge said target! These troops are definitely going to hard nuts to crack when in action...but what else would you expect from Britain's finest!

Unfortunately two figures arrived with broken rifles! Ironclad promptly replaced them and the two damaged figures with a couple of Trenchworx spares became true Grenadiers armed with Type II Grenade Projectors manufactered by the British EndoSteel Company !

A close up of the Grenadier Guard section on Salisbury Plain!

I am so tempted to get some of Ironclad's VSF British Line Infantry clad in Home Service Dress complete with spiked yeah! 

And just so you know I am not on Ironclad Miniatures payroll I just love their stuff!


Sunday, 23 July 2017

A VSF French Landship! - L'Eclair

I’ve now completed a French “Landship” superstructure which fits nicely on my generic hulls, here's a bit of 'historical' blurb to go with it, enjoy!

April 1877 saw another Great Power join the Landship club, namely France. The announcement didn't come as a surprise to the British Government as S.O.E. had kept the Cabinet abreast of these developments on the continent as their best agent Edward Bigger was on the job!

In early 1877 Emperor Napoleon III pressed his General Staff to equip his armies with a Super Armoured Wagon capable of exceeding the capabilities of every other countries Landships. Under pressure to deliver on the Emperor's request they turned to France's mastermind  of the time, Gustave Eiffel. They contracted him to design and present a prototype to them by the end of March 1877. 

Eiffel gladly accepted the charter and he went to work with enthusiasm. The design called for a vehicle with four heavy main guns, four light secondary guns and a higher speed than any of the other countries existing designs while matching their armour. The plan he came back to the General Staff surprised them. The enterprising Eiffel ensured he could meet their demanding timelines and specifications by organising a British manufacturer to supply the hull and drive train while to complete the Landship he designed an ingenious superstructure to be built by the industrious French industrialists.

He tinkered with the planners design to fulfill their requirements. He managed to deliver high speed without reducing armour by including only two large guns in the design thereby reducing the overall weight substantially. Then even though only using two large guns he proceeded to over deliver on the requested firepower! He achieved this by installing a high speed loading system allowing the 2 large guns to fire twice as fast as other countries Landships plus he included six instead of four planned lighter secondary guns. The turrets and command control tower were all cast as single parts to speed production. The control tower set high for a good field of view rested on a frame similar to his famous Paris landmark. The vehicle Eiffel delivered to the General Staff put the French at the forefront of Landship design! That said the machine was far from perfect! The control tower was cramped and had limited views also access to it was not completely protected the pilot having to enter from a floor hatch through the tower frame that supported it. Also importantly the large gun high speed loading device did jam occasionally,

The completed prototype, L'Eclair was launched in a public ceremony with the Emperor present on the 2nd of April 1877. A military exercise to display L'Eclairs full potential was held later in April and representatives from almost every other European nation attended. The Delegates were suitably impressed by the French machine and it wasn't long before many of the features from this promising French Landship were incorporated into other nations latest Landships designs.

Full production of French Landships commenced in May 1877. They were initially built on complete hulls purchased from Britain This was thought to be a bottleneck by the General Staff build as many units as soon as possible so quickly a deal was struck with the British supplier where the French began making their own hulls and drive trains under licence in France.

The delegates from almost every European country accepted the French invitation to see Le Eclair on display. In the photograph below taken by an official French Cameraman on the right in front of the wooden store house can be seen British, Russian, German and even an Ottoman official...

This photograph taken from the new St Dumair Airship captures the same scene from above...

Another view of the scene reveals Captain Darling was present, unusually he is sporting a scarlet tunic and spiked helmet and is caught in conversation with a French Captain of the Tirailleurs near front of Le Eclair...

In game terms L'Eclair will have a couple of special Landship Rules:
Its heavy guns take only one turn to reload (roll and on a one reloading takes 2 turns)
Plus two inches to full speed moves

Building L'Eclair was pretty simple as only a superstructure was required. I used some of my supply of sheet and tube styrene plus a pile of bits from my parts box. This build did include an op shop buy, recently I picked up two model Eiffel Towers for the princely sum of $1.00! Initially I planned to have machine guns mounted on top of the main turrets but when it came to construction it just didn't look right so was not done!

Below is a picture of the superstructure parts with one of the generic hulls...

 The parts all painted up and ready for assembly...

The finished product...the French Landship Le Eclair...with Captain Smith...

Blog Picture update only nine more posts to update then the Blog is back to normal!

Next time, even more Gallic stuff...

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Scratch Another Martian Tripod - Captain Darling Adds to his Tally! - Wrecked Martian Tripod Marker

At the height of the Second Great Martian War mankind's newly developed war machines were turning the tide against the technologically superior Martians. Attacked from the air as well as from the land the Martians were surprised by the Humans successes so they designed a new class of walkers themselves, these remote controlled units were called Drone Tripods. The new smaller Drone Tripods were armed with only a single weapon system but they gave the Aliens more machines on the ground enabling them to occupy larger tracks of land. But these Drone Tripods were also less well armoured than the full size machines and therefore much more vulnerable to the new  Armoured Wagons employed by the Human armies!

June 1874: On a fine summer afternoon Captain Darling and Lieutenant Carden-Loyd were chatting with other officers of the 12th Light Triambulator Squadron after a splendid luncheon in the Officers Mess. After their meals while they imbibed on a fine port and drew on their pipes an Orderly burst in announcing a Martian Drone Tripod had been spotted in the vicinity! While many of the officers appeared worried a broad grin formed on Captain Darlings face enhancing his ruggedly handsome features and he turned to his second in command Carden-Loyd, "Well Squiffy that was a fine repast care for some Martian Tripod for desert?" Carden-Loyd known as a bit of an eccentric as he was often seen drinking from his boot when not in the Mess was eager for action and leaping from his lush Chesterfield announced "I certainly am Ol' Man and if I don't bring this alien fellow down before you do you can butter my behind and call me a biscuit..."

Together the two men had the engineers stoke up their Armoured Triambulators and headed off for an afternoon of Martian hunting...

Two hours later both Darling and Carden-Loyd were photographed by the wreckage of the rampaging Drone Tripod, Darling scoring a direct hit on the its evil eye bringing it down in a ball of flame... 

Creating a Martian Tripod Wreck Marker

I will be using Alien Dungeons Tripods (now defunct there's a new owner of this product range) in conjunction with my own Giant Martian Machines for some future games. I bought these kits as soon as they came out as they are fantastic looking and injection molded so great to build and adapt! I knew they would come in handy one day, here's one of my completed kits...

Now I really would like a Tripod wreck marker so with one of my best friends Pinkysil I made up a mold of the top of one of the AD Martian Assault Tripods and cast up a few 'Tripod Heads'...

 Then used the left over Tripod kit parts and some styrene bits and pieces to finish up the wreck markers...

Blog Picture Update...
I have now restored the pictures to 70 of the Blogs 90 posts so we're almost back up to speed...hopefully by my next new post every old post will be sorted out!

Next time, some Gallic stuff

Friday, 7 July 2017

The Great Picture Debacle - Restoring the Blog Begins!

Hello Dear Readers!

The recent policy changes of a certain online photo hosting site resulted in all the pictures from Captain Darling's Miniatures Emporium vanishing from Her Most Gracious Majesty's Interweb!

Well in light of these events I have decided to invest in my own steam driven bit of the internet and build complete with lovely brass cog wheels my own website! For all of you devoted readers of Captain Darling's exploits in his weird alternate Victorian Universe Thingee do not fear as I will continue to maintain the good Captain's Blog. It will remain my...err...Captain Darling's VSF outlet.

I have all my pictures as I kept them on my own hard drive backups so nothing has been lost and it will all be refreshed. However it will be a bit of a pain in the proverbial locating the required pictures and then re-posting them all!

As a first step I've just updated the picture of the parts I have collected for the French VSF Landship in the post titled 'Another Nation Enters the 'Landship Club'...' Damn it I shouldn't have typed that I just gave away the new Landships secret nationality!

Oh well I hope you'll all bear with me as I fix the old and get to work posting the new and there's the good news, I have two AAR's, a completed Landship, a completed Airship and some more figures all ready to post so I do hope you perservere with this Blog using your crystal and steam driven interweb devices!

Next time...something steam driven!

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Another Nation Enters the 'Landship Club'...

I've been on a bIt of a WW II and Napoleonics binge over the last few weeks but now I'm returning to my core genre VSF...

I'll kick things off with some exciting news, another nation is about to enter the Landship arms race here's a picture of the parts I've collected for it's construction...any ideas dear reader as to which country it might be?

I'll be back soon with more 'stuff' soon...

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Wings of War/Glory VSF Style! Test Game...

When using my VSF Flyers in conjunction with my ground forces my updated FUBAR VSF rules work fine...BUT...when it comes to VSF aerial combat by itself I figure I can do better by simply the using Wings of War/Glory rules with my miniatures! My VSF Flyer machines would travel slower than WW I planes so the movement allowance should be fine with the different scale. I am not using altitude rules initially and of course taking out the loops I don't think my Steam Blimps etc. could manage those!

First up the mock up'll see here my only change some of my Flyers will hit with A damage at close range and B damage at long range...

Then allocate them to my models...

For a test game I have used the Wings of War Solo Rules developed by Richard at Herkybirds Nest to give me an oppenent:

Okay I played the superior Fokker Dragon Fly...

My opposition was a couple of Sopwith Steam Blimps...

After some deft manoeurvring and some insignificant damage to both side I 'blew it'... 

The result!

The result aside the game worked fine with my VSF Flyers, I'll try a couple more solo games then roll it out for Face to Face play!

Next Time: Hmmm good question!

Friday, 24 February 2017

Doktor Von Hades Personal Guard - Clockwork Apes!

The Battle of Rooty Hill, 7 October 1876 was a glorious victory for Queen Victoria's mighty legions and a great setback for the evil designs of Doktor Von Hades!

An extract from Doktor Von Hades very own journal dated October 13 1876 refers to this day;

What to do, what to do! My world is now plagued by this damnable fellow Captain Darling, he has become the bane of my life. Just recently at Rooty Hill he led a British force that not only soundly defeated my private army but also secured my new LASER facility before I could employ it. Months of evil handiwork dashed in a blink of an eye! I will have words with my top henchmen at morning tea...something must be done about this impudent dandy!

As a part of the rebuilding of his army Von Hades turned his evil genius to creating a body of fighters to work in conjunction with his brave African Body Guard to ensure the likes of Captain Darling could never take him captive! The Simian Assault Section known as the SAS came into being...these sword armed clockwork Simians were designed to be tough, fast and fight like the dreaded Ninja of the East! The armies of the world now faced a new and relentless evil...dadadadaaaaa...

At a secluded Scottish dale the Clockwork Simians training with Nobby Johnson under the keen eye of Doktor Von Hades...

FUBAR VSF wise these critters are going to be pretty nasty:
Normal Movement: 12 inches
Activation: 3+
Expertise: 4+
Armour: 4+
They are not susceptible to Breakdowns
They are melee only figures
They +1 to expertise die in melee against regular figures
They -1 to expertise die in melee against character or special operative figures
They take two successful hits to kill, the first doesn't reduce abilities
They can not convert hits into suppression
These guys special abilities will be in the scenario special rules of any game they are in. They may also be subject to a wound down status but still thinking how to do this with recording number actions taken, moves made etc, maybe a third breakdown roll could trigger it not sure yet...
I picked up these 5 Westfalia sword armed clockwork monkeys unpainted on the LAF for half the list price, a real bargain! These Chimps are great sculpts and the castings are nice and clean to boot. They are about 20mm high so perfect for use in my 28mm VSF world. I undercoated them black then painted the bodies with one of my favourite colours Humbrol Polished Steel. Next I gave them a red fez (naturally) and eyes. Brass was used for the fez tassel, sword hilts and feature highlights. Lastly the sword got a coat of Polished Aluminium. After a good rubbing to bring the polished steel up I was really happy how these turned out. I like paining when there's no face involved!

The Clockwork Monkeys are wonderful sculpts from Westfailia:

The monkeys with some 28mm figures they'd be about 20mm in height:

I would love to get the set of five Westfalia clockwork monkeys armed with pistols but at 15GBP plus shipping I can't really justify it not with so much else I could buy with that...

The Scottish dale setup...

Next time...back to the Zeppelin/Airship project...

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Battle of Rooty Hill - FUBAR VSF AAR

It's always good to get my VSF figures and models onto the tabletop so "Tally Ho Chaps!"

The Battle for Rooty Hill reaches its climax as Captain Darling (foreground bravely fighting with sword drawn) fights to reach his nemesis Doktor Von Hades (cowardly lurking in the background waving his cap in an very evil manner)!

We have our two major protagonists on the field of battle this time Captain Darling and Doktor Von Hades. Now even though characters like the Captain and Doktor are in the long term indestructible they as vulnerable as every other figure in the action and can be killed by failing a save on any hit just like any other figure...BUT this means they are 'just' incapacitated, they are carried from the field by the closest friendly figure and then taken to the nearest exclusive Health Resort on the sunny Mediterranean coastline so they can recover and carry on the fight for good/bad in future games.

This game also features what FUBAR call 'Hero Points' which are allocated to the characters and they can be used to re-roll dice, get bonus movement etc so could be crucial in the outcome. Anyway enough babbling from me...

The Situation

Rooty Hill, Channel Coast 7 October 1876

Spurred into action by a report from top S.O.E. Agent Edward Bigger the British launch a surprise attack on Doktor Von Hades Life And Structure Eliminating (LASER) Facility near the sleepy village of Rooty Hill.

The attackers are led by none other than Captain Darling who called to his men as they went forward "Tally Ho Boys let's make this a quick affair I have an appointment with the Mayor's daughter for morning tea and biscuits..."

The Forces

British (Purveyors of Enlightenment)
Captain Darling
Lieutenant Longbottom & 1 x Armoured Steam Automaton with HMG 
1 x Section Armoured Royal Naval Special Brigade commanded by Captain Choke
1 x Section 95th Galvanic Rifle Regiment commanded by Lieutenant Smythe
1 x Section Royal Engineers with Transport commanded by 2nd Lieutenant Bowell
1 x Sopwith Steam Blimp from 266 Steam Blimp Squadron

Von Hades Minions (Evil Nasty Guys)
Doctor Von Hades
Steel Balls
Nobby Johnson
1 x Unit African Imgoingtoolootoo Body Guard
1 x Unit Evil Henchmen
1 x Rapid Fire Light Steam cannon
1 x Unit Mercenaries Swiss Infantry

Victory Conditions

A British Victory is recorded if they capture the LASER Facility
A Von Hades Evil Minions Victory is recorded if they break/destroy all the British Units

Special Rules

This game has no fixed number of turns
Doktor Von Hades in a non combat figure, he is captured as soon as any British figure contacts his base
Captain Darling, Steel Balls and Nobby Johnson are all characters with 3,1 and 1 Hero Points respectively
The Light Steam Cannon fires every turn even with only 1 crewman with 3D6
The African section has a -1 modifier for firing and a +1 modifier for melee to their Expertise Value
Optional units are available for scenario balance on the players mutual agreement (no play test)

The Story

Doktor Von Hades and his two top Henchman were surprised as they enjoyed their morning tea and crumpets by the appearance of a force deployed by the British Army at their doorstep. They immediately summoned all their available troops to their action stations!

Captain Darlings troops attacked the LASER Facility from three directions stretching the defenders thin but Steel Balls assured Von Hades their men were up to the job...were truer words ever NOT spoken!

The British advanced at a steady pace firing as they approached and firing with great accuracy, it wasn't long before Von Hades African Body Guard and Henchmen twere aking casualties and wavering! Steel Balls and Nobby Johnson were quick to move up rally them and urge them on to hold their positions.

Meanwhile the Doktor's fearsome Light Steam Cannon jammed again and again firing only a few shots between making horrible wheezing sounds accompanied by the hiss of escaping steam!

The stout British troopers were quickly up to the Evil Minions defensive position only to find them occupied by piles of dead Africans. Captain Arty Choke commented to Darling, "Not much chop these evil fellows eh what!".

Captain Darling could see his quarry, Von Hades standing in the open before him and urged his men forward! Enthused they moved forward.

Von Hades had one last card to play though and he called up his nearby Swiss mercenaries..."Switzers to the front!" bellowed Steel Balls and in a matter of moments the clear ground between Darling and Von Hades was occupied by a section of well trained and superbly equipped Swiss mercenaries!

Unfortunately for the Swiss they had no time to fire their special weapons before the armoured Britishers were among them! The swirling melee was deadly and men fell to the left and right, Captain Darling amid the thick of action was singled out by a couple of the mercenaries but they paid the price for their impudence!

With the melee going badly and more British advancing Doktor Von Hades thought discretion the better part of valour, he ordered a withdrawal, "Runaway! Runas" shouted Nobby and with the handful of remaining Swiss mercenaries covering them Hades, balls and Nobby fled.

The successful British cheered to their victory and taunted Doktor Von Hades and his Henchmen as they skulked away from the battlefield.

With the smoke of battle clearing Captain Darling, twirled his moustache, straightened his tunic, shared a pinch of snuff with his fellow officers and as he headed off to the town of Rooty Hill saying "Shouldn't keep the Mayor's daughter waiting eh chaps..."


The battlefield on turn one, Von Hades Evil Minions are dug in around his LASER facility, the British are advancing in three groups with the HMG armed 'robot' moving to the high ground to cover the advance.

The view from the opposite side of the table, the first turns fire from the Evil Minions is ineffective while the Light Steam Cannon fails to activate!

Turn two and the British continue to advance the dice see 1 Britisher in the open fall to 3 Africans in good cover!!!

Nobby Johnson in the red tunic joins the Africans who failed their morale test, he uses his Hero Point to re-roll the result and they pass so can hold their ground.

Also on turn two the Engineers disembark from their amoured transport and the mortar fires at the Evil Minions gun, it was a near miss one crewman is felled.

Turn three the British Riflemen fail their activation leaving them exposed to the Evil Minions gun which also fails to activate its had one shot in three turns now DOH! Darling and the Naval section start closing in on the Africans position.

Turn four the Naval section reach the African's position finding it full of bodies. Also in turn 4 the Evil Minions deploy their optional reserve and by sprinting they get between the British and Von Hades!

Same turn and the Henchmen are taking casualties from the advancing Engineers, they failed their morale too and Steel Balls used his Hero Point for a re-roll which they passed. All the Evil Minions characters Hero Points are gone art this point.

The Swiss mercenaries and Nobby Johnson deployed for action...

Th view of the Swiss defence line from the British side...

Also on turn four the Light Steam Cannon had a chance for a great shot at the advancing Riflemen and yet again it failed its activation...3 fails from 4 tries...grrrr...curse this new modern fandangled equipment give me a muzzle loading cannon any time!

Turns 5 and 6 the game is decided in a grand melee between the armoured infantry and the Swiss. Captain Darling failed a hit save but thanks to his Hero Points was able to re-roll and bounded back into action!
Turn five melee...

Turn six melee...hmm fewer men...

Von Hades and his Henchmen skulk from the battlefield in the distance Captain Darling can be seen taunting them!

End of game positions...

Next time, some more on the VSF Zeppelin/Airship project...or maybe something else not sure...

Friday, 20 January 2017

Doktor Von Hades Life And Structure Eliminating Ray [LASER] Machine!

October 1876, the British Empire’s SOE (Stealthy Overseas Executive) Agent Edward Bigger became aware of an extraordinarily large Electric Bill that had been issued to a small nondescript installation on the Channel Coast near the sleepy town of Rooty Hill. Spurred on by this information and discretely disguised as a vagrant travelling organ grinder with monkey Bigger travelled to the outskirts of Rooty Hill. What confronted him confirmed his worst fears this facility was indeed he work of Doktor Von Hades!

Nonchalantly Bigger sidled closer to the facility with a sketch book upon his organ and a camera secreted in the hat of his monkey! The daunting looking guards who appeared to be from the Dark Continent paid the vagrant travelling organ grinder no heed allowing Bigger to fulfil his task safely.

This is believed to be an actual picture of Edward Bigger in his discrete vagrant travelling organ grinder with monkey disguise...

picture source Wikipedia

With details of this mysterious facility recorded Bigger engaged in  a brief conversation with a couple of the Doktors henchmen who could not dectect any note of English in the organ grinders thick eastern European mutterings. A master of guile and cajolery Bigger had in no time discovered this evil looking machine was Doktor Von hades latest invention and was known as the Life And Structure Eliminating Ray, the LASER for short! He also gleaned from them that a test of the weapon involving the destruction of a whole town was anon so prompt action was required by the forces of good!

Bigger decamped for SOE Headquarters with alacrity and also sixpence in his alms tin!

SOE Agent Edward Biggers photographs...

Doktor Von Hades taking air beside his Life And Structure Eliminating Ray facility accompanied by his closest henchmen, Steel Balls and Nobby Johnson.

Doktor Von Hades fierce and loyal African Native Body Guard was on hand.

Von Hades uruly mob of Henchmen guards, a collection of dregs of society but each one dangerous and not to be trifled with!

Later that same day in the office of the second in command of SOE known as Number Two Edward Bigger shared his sketch and photographs with Number Twos(!). The perils this instrument of terror threatened the world with triggered an immediate response. It was promptly decided that Captain Darling was to personally lead a military attack on Doktor Von Hades facility forthwith! Darling's inclusion in the operation was deemed neccessary as with Von Hades known to be on site there was no better man Captain Darling to apprehend him!

Number Twos dismissed Bigger and had his private Secretary summon Captain Darling...

Next Time, an AAR of the game based on the raid on Doktor Von Hades LASER facility, The Battle of Rooty Hill!