Monday 28 December 2020

Terror on Skull Island - The Historical Background and Scenario Details - A Pulp Action Game

Well we're all set to play Terror on Skull Island this evening! Here is the Scenario Background and information on the Teams involved!

Members of the The Royal Overseas Shooting and Yachting Club tackling
the flora of Skull Island!

Historical Background:

The 1933 Expedition to Skull Island aboard the SS Titan departed Southampton as the sun rose on a cool autumn morning. The Titan could be seen steaming into the distance until Noon whence it disappeared over the horizon, it was never heard from or seen again!

We go to Berlin March 1936 and to 29 and 30 Bruderstraase the premises of the Deutsche's Ahnenerbe, in the spacious and well-lit upstairs operations room eminent Dutch Prehistorian Herman Wirth and his six staff poured over the very same Skull Island documents that the 1933 Skull Island Expedition had possessed. It was decided in the name of Aryan research that a group of Himmler’s Henchmen would travel to the Island to carry out a survey and search for artefacts of interest. Little did Wirth know during this crucial meeting but British Secret Agent Edward Bigger was in the room disguised as a Grandfather Clock. Bigger a master of disguise recorded all the details of Wirth’s operation and before nightfall that very day he had communicated the Ahnenerbe's intensions to his supervisors via carrier pigeon.

With the information of Skull Islands location and mysterious history revealed the Great Democracies of the West were prompted into action! To counter the Nazi’s Skull Island plans both the British Joint Intelligence and the American Interdepartmental Intelligence Coordinating Committees dedicated their own teams of investigators to travel the high seas and explore Skull Island!

October 1936 and all three of the new Expeditions were ashore on Skull Island preparing to strike inland but they were not alone! A dark enigmatic old tramp steamer had also dropped anchor near the southern coast of the Island. A closer inspection of this vessel revealed it was the long-lost SS Titan! The now rough pirate crew after abandoning the 1933 Expedition to their fate had heard through the dens of iniquity of South east Asia of the renewed interest in Skull Island so had returned in an effort to purloin some of the booty the new Explorers were in search of!

And so it was four intrepid bands ventured into the unknown…

The Teams:

The Head of the British Joint Intelligence Committee needed to find just the right sort of men to comprise their Company for the Skull Island escapade. They required men who could handle the Nazis whilst also coping with the demands of travel aboard into hostile environments. Where else would this breed be found but the Exclusive Men's Clubs of London, they approached The Royal Overseas Shooting and Yachting Club and they eagerly took up the task!

Colonel Chris P. Bacon (retired) - Hero Type - Revolver
Lord Butmann - Hero Type - Revolver
Dr. Whet Faartz -Trusty Chap - Revolver
Fred Quartermaine - Trusty Chap - Shotgun
John Puller - Average Bloke – Elephant Gun
Willie Stroker - Average Bloke – Elephant Gun
Gil Taylor - Average Bloke – Cinematographer with Revolver

Once the brief on Skull Island reached the Oval Office President Franklin D. Roosevelt summoned J. Edgar Hoover and set him on a quest to find the best representatives for the USA's mission to the Island. Hoover's G Men soon found a resolute group that would be ideal for the job, they were hands-on, practical and spirited, they were a close-knit clique from the Women’s Needlework Guild of America!

Tanya Hyde - Hero Type - Revolver 
Professor Leslie Beau-Dyke - Hero Type - Revolver
Francis “Fanny” Fahrts -Trusty Gal - Revolver
Hazel Knutts - Trusty Gal - Revolver
Tara Dacktill - Average Chick - Rifle
Helen Back - Average Chick – Lewis Gun
John Arnold - Average Bloke – Cinematographer with Revolver

After abandoning the Explorers of the 1933 Skull Island Expedition to their own devices the disgraced crew of the SS Titan took to the pirate life! Marauding the Seven Seas they became feared and hated. Yet they were always haunted by the events that had unfolded on Skull Island and were destined to return to the site.

Captain Ed Smith - Hero Type - Revolver
First Mate Erasmus- Hero Type - Revolver
Cookie -Trusty Chap – Thompson SMG
Popeye - Trusty Chap - Bolt Action Rifle
Davey Jones - Average Bloke - Bolt Action Rifle
Jack Tar - Average Bloke – Bolt Action Rifle
Dante Spinotti - Average Bloke – Cinematographer with Revolver

From Nazi Germany
Herman Wirth from the Ahnenerbe scoured the ranks of the Gestapo and the Schutzestaffel for the best of the best to find the recruits to form his Expedition to Skull Island. All were men who were ruthless and dedicated to the core! They would stop at nothing to deliver the 'goods' to him. their leader was a failed artist and the Gestapo representative had been a chicken farmer, the rest were a motley band of wannabes he figured with these stellar backgrounds how could they fail!

And the updated one page FUBAR Rules we'll be using...

Here's the Skull Island table ready to go, all the Event driven terrain has been removed and the silver Event Marker discs are now discretely hidden by jungle looking lichen!

Next Time: the Terror on Skull Island AAR!

Monday 21 December 2020

Terror on Skull Island - The Trailer - A Pulp Action Game

Welcome to Skull Island located in the most remote part of the Pacific Ocean... island of dangerous flora...

...and even more dangerous fauna...

...swamps and quicksand...

...home of Evil Cults...

... and fearsome native warriors...

...and most importantly a land overflowing with great treasures!

Into this land only the bravest and some would say the foolhardiest would dare! In 1935 at the height of the exploration season three Expeditions and the Crew of the SS Titan ventured deep into Skull Island's impenetrable jungle to unlock its secrets and hopefully sneak a view of the most fearsome creature on the face of the Earth, the Mighty Kong!

Okay we're ready to play! Below are the characters who will risk all and go forth into Skull Island's hinterland.

Expedition Great Britain. Dotty Ol' Chaps!

Expedition USA. Cool Jazz Age Chicks!

The SS Titan's Crew. A Rowdy Bunch!

The Evil Nazi Expedition. Yep Everyone Hates These Guys!

Full Scenario and Character details will follow soon!

Oh and you may have noticed the picture of Skull Island is dotted with silver markers, there are 54 to be exact. During play on inspection of each marker by a character a playing card from a full deck, including the Jokers will be drawn which will be checked on a list to see what if anything may occur or be discovered! The events that the cards refer to will get progressively nastier the deeper into the jungle our intrepid adventurers advance ( this will be controlled by staggering deck, Hearts will be available first, then Diamonds, then Clubs and lastly Spades and Jokers)! To ensure total randomness of what will occur only half of the cards are actually linked to 'events'.

Wednesday 4 November 2020

Captain Darling and the Mysterious Skull Island Expedition

Hello again Dear Reader! More information has come to light on what at the time was considered a minor exploit in the life of Captain Darling! Read on...if you dare (not sure why you wouldn't though?)...

After the Great War Captain Darling retired to his Franklin Street accommodation located in the city streets of Adelaide, South Australia. It was not long despite his idyllic surroundings before his need of adventure and excitement sparked the good Captain into action! Inspired by his desire of seeking the unknown and pushing the boundaries of the British Empire into unexplored territories he decided to again set off on a new escapade! Armed only with a mysterious map he acquired during his time on the Dark Continent and a small entourage he led an expedition into uncharted parts of the wide expanses of the Pacific Ocean!

Mid afternoon April 1st 1923 an excited crowd cheered seven brave explorers led by Darling as they departed Port Adelaide in the tramp steamer SS Titan. Three months later on a dreary winter's day five haggard survivors decamped from the Titan at the very same berth! The atmosphere on the pier on this occasion was totally different though! The gangway and quay was empty of crowds and rather quiet, in fact the only sound was that of the rain. Once the group of explorers and their baggage was ashore a motor vehicle was summoned for Captain Darling who bade his companions farewell and with his precious diary in his right hand and a large can of film in his left headed off to his Franklin Street retreat. The other members of the entourage sworn to secrecy dispersed and too retired to their homes...

This period of Captain Darling's life was shrouded in mystery and he made no official statements regarding it.

Dialling forward some 20 years and moving to the other side of the globe we find ourselves in a dark and eerie London Tavern in the company of several unscrupulous characters! Their conversation was made up of muffled whispers as they perused an old map, a few pages torn from a small book and a couple of tattered photographs. The group were deeply engrossed in these few items and their meeting dragged on for quite some time and it was just before the Publican declared last drinks that one member of this coterie stood and for the first time in an audible voice announced to the others, "So Gentlemen it's decided! We're travelling into the unknown and heading for Skull Island!".

Two photographs from Captain Darling's mysterious Pacific Ocean Expedition of 1923...

Captain Darling, Professor Teebagg and Lord Basket-Case being filmed in what is apparently an abandoned pigmy village...

Captain Darling warning the expedition of a fetid swamp blocking their path. This swamp had claimed their fellow adventurer Keith, Keith's fedora a grim reminder of this gruesome incident can be seen on a stump in the photograph!

This modern photograph is reputedly the central portion of the very map that Captain Darling had in his possession during the infamous Pacific Ocean Expedition which in the 1930's ended up in the hands of persons unknown and of less than honest reputations.....

A page that appears to have been removed from Captain Darling's Pacific Ocean Expedition diary, the last line appears to carry an ominous warning, "My prudent advice is to keep clear of Skull Island"!

Next time; FUBAR VSF meets Skull Island!

Tuesday 17 March 2020

1/56 Tsar Tank Kit - Part 3 Completing the Kit!

Here's the last post covering the building of my Miniature Scenery 1/56 Tsar Tank...

Last time I had completed the main body and wheels of the vehicle and pre-painted the rear wheel assembly parts.

So first up I put together the Tank's rear wheel, I found the wheels were a very tight fit in the bracket so much so they don't rotate (they did on the test fit prior to painting).

This is the bottom view of the completed part notice the rectangular part that is below the pin I added this to ensure it would not slip out the bottom was cut from spare card from the kit...

Here's my tip for the day! Before spray painting laser cut MDF I pre-coat the 'cut' edges with a thin coat by brush, I find by priming the cut edges the finish is much more even. Here you can see some examples of areas I have primed...

I glued the plastic dome onto my top turret (another deviation from the instructions, it gives options of layer flats here or you can buy a file and print a dome) and primed the cut areas of the turrets...

...ready for painting!

The finished model!

...and here is the complete Tsar Tank facing off with one of my scratch built Martian Fighting Machines, I suspect the Slimy Blob inside the Alien Tripod is saying"WTF!"...

Next Time; 'Toys Soldiers' or even an AAR!

Oh did I mention Toy Soldiers well here's sneak peak of what I meant, more Robots! Captain Darling posing with the freshly constructed Automatons awaiting paint!!!

Monday 9 March 2020

The Story of the PH Armoured Recon Tractor Mk II - Another 1/56 VSF Landship

The PH Mk II Armoured Tractor prototype in front at the Royal Arsenal Woolwich...

The story of the PF Armoured Tractor Mk II

1878, the Second Great Steam War dragged on and the Great Powers of the World were still  locked in an epic struggle for supremacy! In August Great Britain’s premier intelligence bureau S.O.E. (Stealthy Overseas Executive) proved successful in acquiring plans from the Imperial Russian Intelligence Department, Division Seven containing references to a new Super Landship they were developing. These details were brought to light by the ever-enterprising Special Field Agent Edward Bigger. Cunningly disguised as an elderly Babushka serving borscht in the canteen of the Saint Petersburg office of Division Seven, he uncovered secret blueprints scrawled on the back of a napkin. He then changed guise to that of a beautiful gypsy fortune teller and slept his way across Europe to arrive in Brighton a week later literally shagged out by his adventure! These were the sterling exploits that the Her Most Imperious Majesty Queen Victoria expected of her S.O.E. representatives!

S.O.E. boffins then poured over the plans and determined the proposed Imperial Russian Super Landship would render the current Landships of the the world obsolete overnight! As an aside little did they know the scribblings Bigger found were actually those of the Son of the Head of Division Seven, Alexei and they were pure figments of his imagination!

Sparked into action British technicians (led by Chief Designers Prof. J Parish and F Herriford whose surname initials were included in the vehicles designation) worked without rest and soon had dispatched blueprints of a revolutionary vehicle to the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich which was appointed to build a prototype to be known as ‘Object 69’. To speed construction the Royal Arsenal sub-contracted out construction of the major parts under the guise of building a portable rain water tank and it was not long before the prototype was ready to be tested on Salisbury Plains. Initial tests were positive so full construction was commenced of the vehicle which was designated as the PF Armoured Tractor Mk II. Once again Great Britain would reign supreme over its enemies her red coated soldier supported by the most modern steam powered conveyances available!

Statistics of the PF Mk II Armoured Tractor
Dimensions: 60 Feet x 30 Feet x 40 Feet
Weight: approximately 54 tons
Crew: 10 - 14 depending on armaments
Powerplant: 2 x Super Cooled Mini High Pressure Steam Turbines
Road Speed: 14 MPH
Armament: varied, Tesla Guns, Cannons, Grenade Launchers & Rapid Fire Rifles arranged in 2 turrets and 2 sponsons

Photograph of of Captain Darling posing with the new PH Mk II Armoured Tractor in front of warehouses of the Royal Arsenal Woolwich...

Overall view of the above picture setup...

Next time; the final part of the construction of the Miniature Scenery Tsar Tank...

Thursday 5 March 2020

1/56 Tsar Tank Kit - Part 2 of the Build!

So construction of this monster Tsar Tank kit is now virtually complete ('monster' makes it sound a hard build but its really very easy). I have followed the assembly instructions I downloaded closely and have not run into any issues so far (okay one issue, but that was my brain fade putting the spoke parts together). I have now stopped to allow all the glue to dry completely before I carry out painting before final assembly.

Adding the pre-painted tracks to the bicycle wheels, this complete the wheels! Woo Hoo!

This picture of adding the details to the upper hull shows the clever design ideas used throughout their kits by Miniature Scenery, here you can see how the grey card added on the left side covers a join tab that is still visible on the right. This occurs all through the kit and when done virtually all the joining tabs are hidden! 

The hull complete the upper and lower turrets to look at now!

The tail wheel assembly, both turrets and the final drives completed, I included a couple of 28mm figures into this picture...

Before adding the armour on the sponsons I will need to paint the inner turret the final colour so when they rotate no grey card will show...

The parts still required to complete the tank beside it, note the dome resting on the top turret doesn't come with the kit, you can buy a 3D file for a domed top or use three parts supplied in the kit (they are round pieces of decreasing size) here instead...

The front and rear views (with wheels resting in place) with armour cladding complete and ready for painting...

Lastly I have realised I have some 28mm WW I Germans and RCW Russians (that would make okay substitutes for WW I Russians) so beside VSF use this may get a bit of alternate history  WW I action! Below id a picture of the Tsar Tank meeting a German A7V and a French FT 17 (both Trenchworx kits)...

Next time; Maybe a completed Tsar Tank?

Saturday 29 February 2020

1/56 Tsar Tank Kit - BUT for VSF Gaming! - Review and Build Starts!

Hello! Yes I'm still here just been very busy with real life stuff and some 'other era' gaming!

Back to my favourite gaming genre though, VSF. A couple of unrelated things came together recently; my admiration for the ill fated Imperial Russian 'Tsar Tank' and my liking of Miniature Scenery's products...yes Miniature Scenery have produced a 1/56 scale flat pack Tsar Tank, oh yeah!

The Tsar Tank!
Image from Wikipedia...

I won't bore you with the full story of this behemoth (a quick net search can give you that) but it turned out to be an expensive failure. I do say failure but it may not be the best word for it, in 1915 when it was built Armoured Fighting Vehicles were in there infancy and many prototypes got even less further than this so I look upon it as a step in the development of AFV's.

Her's how the actual prototype Tsar Tank shaped up...
Dimensions: approximately 18m x 9m x 12 m
Weight: approximately 60 tons
Crew: estimated at 10 - 12
Road Speed: 17 KPH
Armament: several Cannons and HMG's in 2 turrets and 2 sponsons

Here's the size of the kit from Miniature Scenery...
Image from Miniature Scenery...

Links for the kit...
Miniature Scenery

Tsar Tank

So to my Tsar Tank, I'll be using it in my VSF games obviously as part of the Imperial Russian army but I'm also hoping it will give my Martian Tripods a run for their money! Not sure what I'll call it or of the 'creation' fluff but I'll get onto that later (the real story is so cool I may go with that but with a different Tsar!).

I plan to build this directly from the kit (there are some optional 3D printed parts but won't use those) except for in two places; I'll add a dome to the top of the upper turret instead of using the kit parts and I'll make some 'pads/tracks' for the front wheels.

The parts, they are well cut in MDF and thick card.There are also three pieces of dowel for axles/gun barrels. The design of the pieces is very clever and minimises any chance of mixing them up by allocating the tabs cleverly (nothing is foolproof though I'm evidence of that!).

Oh and I like the attention to detail in the packaging, the whole pack is designed with a hanger for shops included in the laser cut design (on all of the Twisted range of kits I've had too from them) very cool inclusion...

The assembly instructions are a download and when (if) printed are 36 pages long! There are 96 steps to follow but with optional armaments and upper turrets not all will be followed. They are clear but could have a little more descriptive text (I still managed to make a stuff up while constructing the bicycle wheels but thankfully it's not an issue!).

Here's what I've done so far which are covered by steps 1 to 24 and 65 to 72.

The main hull frame constructed...

Adding the sponsons and starting to 'clad' the frame...
Note the cannons for the sponsons are made from 9 parts (MDF & card) and go together well one can be seen lower right in the picture...

Test fitting cladding...

Test fitting the bicycle wheels, the spoke parts are designed in pairs and you see the criss cross pattern here...

The finished bicycle wheels in 'heritage' green and brass, note I've mixed up the spoke parts they still look fine and we're talking VSF here so I'm not fussed...

I don't usually like covering my builds in multiple posts but in this case because I'm excited to get it out there I will!

Next Time; more on building the Tsar Tank...or maybe something on 'Toy Soldiers'