25mm Battletech – Bring on the Mechs 01JUN2016

Bring on the Mechs!

MADCAT II Mech

From the way-back machine, nearly 9 years ago on a planet far, far away…..

That long gone afternoon’s skirmish was a nice StarGrunt furball in a desert village on Watchmacallit IV. The firefight engaged a Steiner Laser Rifle Platoon and Kurita Infantry Platoon.

Watchchamacallit IV - Saab Al Boor VI

The Steiners had moved Air Defense assets into the village and dug-in a bit during the day. Emplaced in the tallest dwelling in the ville were the LT, a Heavy Weapons squad, and the AD sensors. The AD van was backed up on the East side of ville and protected by an infantry squad. The Steiners had sent patrols out to the West, South, and North.

Steiner Heavy Weapons Squad

Approaching from the West was a Kurita leg infantry platoon. The Kuritas had two approaches from the desert into the ville through a pair of rocky passes.

Kurita Infantry Squad edges into Ville

The game opened as the Kuritas penetrated the perimeter and were engaged by the Steiner Heavy Weapons squad. The Kurita sought shelter in the nearest building while the rest of the platoon was whistled up on the net. The Steiners successfully recalled their western patrol who came down from the rocks into a strategic over-watch position. The Kurita HQ squad arrived in the ville and took shelter in a 2nd building. So far, so good.

Sensors trip and klaxons wail...

That is until the Kurita LT’s communications jammed and he failed to activate the remainder of his platoon. The Steiners had better luck and moved their remaining patrols in from the South and North ends of town. A long afternoon ensued for the Kuritas as the pinned down squads were enfiladed from 3 directions. By the third turn the Kuritas had brought a third squad on board, but their advance had stalled under the suppressing fire of Steiner heavy weapons.

The balance had clearly shifted to the Steiners when disaster struck. The Kurita LT was hit by random fire and instantly the Chain of Command disintegrated. The Senior NCO managed to get on the net, take the Conn, and bring the last Squad into action before buying the farm.

The Steiners on the North flank rolled the Kuritas with a close assault and the Kuritas hunkered down determined to complete their mission. Despite repeated attempts, suppressing fire foiled the Kurita attempts to engage the AD sensors with Recoilless rifle fire. Eventually, the brutal hammer of lasers wore down the Kuritas to the point of surrender. One squad made it off board and the balance surrendered with about 50% casualties.

Hats off to the Kurita commander, for his tenacious defense when the tactical options disintegrated. Both Kurita and Steiners succeeded at their primary objectives, but the Steiners will be talking about this one for a long time over a stein of beer.

=============================================================

Sensor Drone audio recording out-take, Whatchamacallit IV, Red Viper Battalion, RPV Squadron 2:

“Hey Bill – you still awake? I heard some scuttlebutt tonight that we will have a real treat for those slithering snakies if they show their heads again. Corporal says they’ll be back. I say bring it on! ’bout the last thing they will see is the muzzle of my weapon before they wake up in hell.

JUPITER Mech

I hear that we have hired some PA mercs to stiffen the line in case any of their heavies show up. Not that we’ll ’em need around here. After that last scuffle, I don’t think the Kuritas have any stomach for a real fight. ‘course the Corporal don’t agree, but what does he know? That sawed-off runt! I bet he ain’t even old enough to drink. He thinks he knows such much. Heck he ain’t been in the Fist much longer than you or me. Just cause he made that jump on Callistra, he thinks he knows everything. And all that Teutonic crap has got to go. I earn my pay just like the rest of them. You and me may not have the right color hair or eyes, but I can sure shoot straight. Maybe he’d better just watch his back.

LEGIONNAIRE Mech

And another thing, I think the ole man worries too much about them sneaking through the lines. Heck, last time they barely made it into town before we starting sending them to hell. Hell, I don’t see what bothers folks so much about fighting. Those snakies couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn.

FORESTRY Mech

So do you want a toke? Just you and me out here – the Corporal will never know….”

Flickr gallery – https://flic.kr/s/aHsjqJHgey

=========================================================================

FLASH! FLASH! FLASH!

Heavies sighted. ETA…..

This was a follow-on to the previous scenario. The Steiners had a few more hours to dig in (more sand-bags), had moved their positions a bit, and had called in a 5-man Power Armor contingent of Clan Elementals.

Engage! Engage! Engage!

Remember that the Kurita were pasted last go-round, so the Snakies brought a MADCAT II mech with their platoon. So the game ended up being pretty much a draw. The MADCAT pranced into town and eventually tore the stuffings out of the Air Defense Van and its Missiles. The Steiners however only suffered 5 casualties (including two in the AD Van). This was much to the Kuritas misfortune who managed to bog down in the same buildings as the earlier assault. The Kuritas lost the command squad and Heavy Weapon Squad in one furious turn of Close Assault by the Clan Elementals and lost most of another squad to small arms fire.

KO PA suit - Merc crawling clear

As the MADCAT danced off the board (it takes infantry to hold a town even in the 31st century) the Steiners still held all their positions, the Kurita dragged off their wounded, and the Air Defense boys are rushing some more assets to Saab Al Boor.

==============================================================

Miniatures:

  • Ral Partha Battletroops
    • Kurita Machine Gun Platoon
    • Steiner Laser Platoon
    • Clan Elementals (supporting Kurita)
  • Joyride – Madcat II Mech

Terrain:

  • Crescent Root and JR Miniatures
  • Walls and Sandbags – JR Miniatures, Pegasus, and Fern Valley
  • GameCloth – Painted Canvas drop cloth with Sand terrain from Real Scenics

 

 

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In search of Traveller – 25mm DENIZEN Miniatures 31MAY2016 – photo link updates

Denizen Miniatures (http://www.denizenminiatures.co.uk/) are IMHO the best 25mm minis – for that matter the best Sci-Fi minis on the market! Take a gander!

So my back story:

Way back when, I arrived at my GM’s house (the late Wes Ives of Chivalry & Sorcery fame) right after Origins in ’77 and the explosion of Star Wars. Wes had a new game, a set of little black books (LBB) from GDW – aka TRAVELLER. We spent the evening rolling characters and then my Han Solo-esque clone promptly died in a gun battle. Yippee ki yah! I was hooked. I bought in hook, line and sinker with each magical (not so magical) edition.

Having wet my teeth with the 1st edition of D&D and Wes’s home grown miniature variant, I needed miniatures. GDW licensed 15mm lads with Martian Metals and I scooped them up and then promptly dropped them due to their lack of detail (you can start throwing stones now – probably the source of my anti-15mm bias). I will admit, that they did have the advantage of directly work with the scads of Traveller deck plans, but they were not eye candy.

The search continued and then I reached Nirvana with my entry into 25mm Sci-Fi minis. I found the beautiful GRENADIER TRAVELLER Imperial Marines:

But a certain dissatisfaction existed as I was pretty much limited to the pure humans of the Vilani and Solomani type. Until one day I discovered DENIZEN. They were channeling TRAVELLER – especially the VENTAURAN STAR LEGION – these lads look like the ESP laden slavers of Zhodane. And so here they are in all their mind twisting glory:

VENTAURAN STAR LEGION (DENIZEN):

“The Ventauran Imperium is an aggressive humanoid race with ambitions of galactic domination. Their society is organized along a military caste system. This makes them very impressive opponents.”

Ventauran Flickr gallery – https://www.flickr.com/photos/9975128@N05/sets/72157627218106026

Gray Primer with GW Delvan Mud Wash; GW Codex Gray & GW Fortress Gray Dry-brush
Face-shields – GW Regal Blue
Weapons, Backpack, Cords, Pouches, Sensors on Helmets – Black
Lens – GW Snot Green
Skin – GW Elf Flesh with Flesh Wash
Dry-brush – GW Bleached Bone
Magic Dip

Now you may also notice some warbots. These are from the TNE minis from RAFM PR-317 Combat Robots. A great match. Get’em boys!

FEDERATION STELLAR MARINES (DENIZEN):

“The Federation is composed of the star systems colonized by mankind. It is the direct descendant of the old North American Federation.”

Flickr Gallery – https://www.flickr.com/photos/9975128@N05/sets/72157627218122458

Gray Primer
GW Camo Green Armor; spotted with irregular patches of GW Scorched Brown, Bubonic Brown, and red brown
Weapons, Backpack, Cords, Pouches – Black
Skin – GW Elf Flesh with Flesh Wash
Dry-brush – GW Bleached Bone
Magic Dip

Fanatical K’hiff (DENIZEN):

“The non-humanoid K’hiff are religious fanatics engaged in a holy war or Jihad to conquer or convert the galaxy. Not much is known about the K’hiff. No one is sure where they come from, only that they follow a Mahdi. Each clan of warriors (Ansars) is led by a priest/commander called the Emir, who demands complete, unquestioning devotion and loyalty. The K’hiff expect no quarter and give none.”

K’hiff Flickr gallery – https://www.flickr.com/photos/9975128@N05/sets/72157627218150054

Gray Primer
Robes – GW Khaki, Desert Yellow, Bestial Brown, etc. robes
Weapons, Backpack, Cords, Pouches – Black
Skin – GW Codes Gray dry-brush
Dry-brush – GW Bleached Bone
Magic Dip

FEDERATION MID-TECH ASSAULT TEAMS (DENIZEN) aka Colonial Marines from Aliens:

Mid-Tech Flickr Gallery – http://www.flickr.com/photos/9975128@N05/sets/72157601217308895/show/

Krylon White Spray Primer overall

Skin: Vallejo Flat Flesh – Flesh (light skinned) or GW Scorched Brown – Flesh (dark skinned)
Hair: Vallejo Khaki, Vallejo Dark Sand, Vallejo Beige Brown, Vallejo Black, GW Scorched Brown
Uniform – camouflage pattern with Tan and Red-Brown spots on Green background (similar to Woodland BDU pattern):

-Vallejo Russian Uniform (Green) – Uniform, Armor, Helmet, Helmet Straps, Boots
-Vallejo Beige Brown (Red-Brown) – Spots and stripes on Uniform, Armor, Helmet, Boots
-Vallejo Dark Sand (Tan) – Spots and stripes on Uniform, Armor, Helmet Boots

Gear – Vallejo Black – most web gear, cords, straps, cameras, lights, etc. with gun metal accents on light/ camera lens (some items were left green)
Weapons -Vallejo Gun Metal – Weapons followed with GW Black Ink

Magic Dip – 1:2:2 GW Brown Ink / Water / Future

Vallejo Iraqi Sand – Dry brush over all after dip – particularly gear, weapon, and helmet

OBTW the APC and Drop Ships are Galoob Action Fleet toys. Can you spell ALIENS?

So these are perfectly scaled 25mm minis. They are absolute matches with most GZG, Grenadier Traveller & Star Wars, Ral Partha Battle Troops & Shadowrun minis, and everything else that is true 25mm. I think these are the best Sci-Fi minis available – bar none!

Rock on Denizen

P.S. The minis are really dull, but the flash makes them shiney.
P.P.S. The descriptions are from the Stone Mountain Denizen site.

Posted in Hammers Slammers, sci-fi, Star Grunt | Tagged | 1 Comment

Building Card Models – Too Easy! 24MAY2016

Card Models offer an unexpected level of coolness. These were both easy and quick to build. A mix of commercial and free. The big ship is “First Light” with its cute little utility boat from WorldWorks. Way cool!

FirstLight freighter from WorldWorksGames

The “Resilence” Shuttle looks like it is channeling the Firefly ‘verse. It is from Fat Dragon Games.

Next is the free “Chickenhawk” Shuttle from Toposolitaro (and a little later the “Walrus” hovercraft in the cargo hold).

The Jayne wannabe is from Reaper and the Gray Bellies are from Mongoose for the Browncoats amongst us

Photo Log:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/9975128@N05/sets/72157623906912558/with/4542391576/

CardStock Vehicles and Terrain:

TopoSolitario: Sci-Fi Vehicles

http://www.toposolitario.com/workshop/index.html

Finger & Toe:

http://www.fingerandtoe.com/

Fat Dragon Games:

http://www.fatdragongames.com/fdg_3Dscifi.html

World Works Games:

http://www.worldworksgames.com/store/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=5

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DF Scottish Castle 06APR2016

I have been building castles with Dwarven Forge’s City Builder System (CBS) since I received them in early January. This time I thought I would see what I could do with a historical castle in the Norman style to help me finalize my DFKS4 pledge for Castle Builder parts (Gatehouses, 4″ tall walls, round towers, etc.).

Doune Castle  in Scotland is a castle that has played a pivotal role in much of Scottish history and more recently starred in Monty Python’s Holy Grail as Castle Anthrax, Swamp Castle, and even Camelot. The Outlander series has featured it as Castle Leoch with lots of scenes shot from the exterior, the courtyard, the battlements, and the interior.

Doune Castle – Lords Tower to the Left and Great Hall to the Right

 

Doune Castle has 3 large buildings including:

Lord’s Tower – 59’x43’ (or 3x by 2x 4×4 CBS floors) that rises to 95’ tall comprising a Cellar, a Lord’s Hall, and 3 more stories above for a total of 5 stories each ~20’ tall. The Castle entrance is a ground level tunnel that bisects the Lord’s Tower cellars that cuts diagonally under the tower with a Yett (hinged Iron Gate) at the exterior entrance and arrowslit murder holes along the tunnel walls.  To the left of the tunnel entrance is a Drum Tower that rises to the battlements house hemispherical walls around 20’ diameter (KSDF1 quarter rounds should work).

Entrance tunnel under Lord’s Tower

Great Hall – 66’ x 26’ rising to 39’ tall (or 3x by 1x 4×4 CBS floors) with a cellar and a single large high ceiling room above.

Kitchen Tower – 56’ x 26’ to 40’ tall (or 3x by 1x 4×4 CBS floors) with a cellar, Kitchen, and two stories of guest apartments above.

The bailey is enclosed by 6′ thick, 40’ tall double crenellated walls with small round turrets at the corners and midway along the walls that comprise a ~260’ perimeter. In CBS terms, this would require about 104 wall foundations, 24 Wall Battlements, and 2 corner battlements.

No longer extant are other buildings conjectured to have existed under the vacant walls which presumably incorporated the large openings in the southern wall.

I set out to see if I could build a facsimile with my CBS collection (which includes an Empire, two sets of Arrowslit walls, a Door set, 2x Wall Battlements, 2x Wall Foundations, Stone Walls & Posts,  2x Double Posts) plus the Quarter Round walls from DFKS1.

As I started building, I quickly discovered that I had enough CBS parts to basically build a version of the Lord’s Tower that ended up about 7 CBS stories high (14 inches) or about 75’ in scale and enough parts to make a smaller curtain wall. Sigh!

I reversed course and made a smaller variant that included a four story Lord’s Tower with a (cellar and 3 stories above) which connected to an L-shaped two story tower (cellar and two stories above). Both towers were topped with battlements and the small tower had a prison tower on the upper story.  Much less impressive than Castle Doune, but adequate for now.

So what did I learn about using CBS to build a historically based castle?

Curtain Walls – Those double high DFKS4 walls will be perfect for building a Castle Doune. Instead of 104 Wall Foundations (which would be precarious, costly, and time intensive to stack), a set of 8 12’ wall sections would provide a nice, high, stable, curtain wall.

Rectangular Stone Towers – CBS is great at building smaller buildings and dwellings, but is a bit undersized for castle style rooms. Basically, to build impressive buildings one needs impressive CBS walls that support 4” heights.  To make the real Doune Castle, 5 stories of 4” walls would match the scale heights very well.  Even the impressive number of stone walls, floors, and posts I have could only make a 75’ tall tower.  So I hope that Dwarven Forge rolls out a Tower Builder’s set that includes CBS style walls and posts for 4” tall buildings.  This also opens up the possibilities for large windows, large doors, etc. that would find a home in cathedrals, palaces,  and mighty fortifications. I also learned that you need lots of Double Posts for large stone buildings.  I used up all I had with about 80% of the build complete.  Also a triple, L-shaped post and a square quadruple post for central pillars would be awesome.

Drum Towers – the DFKS1 Quarter Round parts made for an adequate drum tower. I boosted the ground level with a 0.100” shim and another for the battlements to bring the levels into alignment.  A little bit of blue tack held the Quarter Rounds together.  As you can see, a free-standing 4 story drum tower is fairly stable.

Stability and alignment – I have found that using the Street Tiles is a great way to both align the CBS parts and add stability to the tall DFKS1 structures. The side supports did a great job of making those structures less wobbly.

Entrance – KS4 will bring us a Gate Tower, that integrates well with the KS4 Wall System, but to build towers, it would be great if there was not only a 4” CBS wall variant, but also a 4’ CBS Fortified door offering (wooden and iron grilled variants).  That allows more freedom in builds since the gate is not embedded into a 2’ x 4’ structure.

Castle Defenders and Attackers – the minis are English Civil War highlanders from Old Glory:

  • 6 MacLeod (yellow/black/red)
  • 6 Wallace (green/black/yellow)
  • 6 MacDonald of Glengarry (blue/green/black/red)
  • 7 MacFarlane (black/white)
  • 6 MacGregor (red/black)

More photos:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/9975128@N05/albums/72157666696822772/with/26261440595/

 

 

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Dwarven Forge Castles II 17MAR2016

Following up from the previous blog entry, Dwarven Forge has kicked off their fourth Kickstarter (KS4) whose focus is castles (DF Castle Kickstarter – ends March 30th!).  So far they have pledge levels available that include a small gatehouse, a round six inch diameter Watchtower, and several walled variations that incorporate the Gatehouse, walls, and towers.  To go with this are stone cliffs that can be used for cliffs, ditches, mountains, or the Motte and a stone bridge.

Dwarven Forge Kickstarter 4 Castle

To better understand what I may buy during this kickstarter, I used the parts from their last City Builder System (CBS) kickstarter (which are now available in the Dwarven Forge store) to build a castle similar to the Citadel pledge in size.

100 foot by 100 foot City Builder Castle

Having built a number of CBS castles over the last couple of months, I am very interested in how do I build on my investment.  So assuming I can already build a castle, how would the Castellan like to improve our defenses?

A Man’s Home is His Castle

The first thing he pointed out was that it is much harder to scale a castle with high walls.  My current castle has 20 foot tall walls made from stacking 2″ wide by 2″ long by 2″ tall “Wall Foundations” (also called “Narrow Passages”).  This is pretty easy to do between stout stone towers made from CBS.  They are easy to remove to show damage and do include a passage for traversing between sections.  They do not have provisions for windows, but can include doors from the KS1 Dungeon offerings.  They are a bit of bother to set up since it takes 12 pieces to make a wall 20 feet tall and 60 feet long.  To make these higher, I can buy some more “Wall Foundations” or the new Castle Walls from KS4.  The KS4 walls are very versatile, use fewer parts to fill the same area, but are a bit pricey.  Hmmm, still pondering at present, but will likely buy some of each (KS3 & KS4).  The KS3 walls are open-topped, but the KS4 walls have a nice “platform support” that clips to a standard CBS wall or KS4 Castle wall with Corbels to enclose the wall top.

City Builder Walls

For the KS3 walls, I have crenellated battlements that are 2 inches wide by 2 inches long which are available as a straight wall section, and two different design including one with a trapdoor.   For straight runs, these also fit well along the top of a wall f they are held in place by a sturdy tower or building at each end.  If placed on top of a building, they tend to slide around a bit when moving minis or trying to remove them.  My solution so far is to use a bit of “blue tack” to secure them to 0.100″ styrene sheets.  KS4 has some new designs that feature crenellations on both edges that are similar in most other respects.  At the time of this writing, they have revealed, but not yet released some larger battlements that feature machicolations and corbels.   So for higher walls, I don’t need more battlements, but for new wall sections such as a curtain wall or larger castle, I will need more battlements from one of the three types.  Probably will go again with a mix of KS3 for any additional KS3 “Wall Foundations” and use KS4 style of KS4 walls.

The Castellan sagely agreed with my decision to invest in this area, but then pointed out that a castle with high walls on a rocky promontory is very hard to siege.  So, we are planning to build in castles in 2017 on a Motte edged with the new Mountain Cliff pieces.

I looked agog at the Castellan, but he was probably right.  He then asked me I thought I lived in Disneyland.  This took me aback until he pointed out that my mighty fortress does not have a drawbridge, portcullis, or even a heavy door.  I suggested that maybe it was time to invest in a Gatehouse and he concurred.

Just an arch – need a door

Currently, I can build rectangular or square stone towers ranging from a 4×4 to something much larger.  They can be capped with battlements or slate roofs depending

Wizard’s City Builder Tower

The new Castle system brings to us 6″ and 4″ round towers.  I think a great Donjon is definitely in our future.

I am sure he has many more improvements in mind, but that is where we stand so far.

Mismatched stones, not a problem!

A last night, to me the castle is beautiful, but to some it looks a little run-down with some stones a different color (undoubtedly walls and towers built at different times), some walls seem a little low (settling foundations), and even a crack in the masonry here and there.  But it is rock solid, made from Dwarvenite, and ready to protect my hearth and home.  As long as it is sturdy enough for a boisterous night of revelry that is what matters.

Click for more Flickr DF KS3 Castle woodcuts

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Dwarven Forge Castles 24FEB2016

I thought it would be interesting to see what kind of castles and fortifications I could build with the new Dwarf Forge (DF) City Builder System (CBS) that was released as part of their third Kickstarter.  This is mostly a prelude to whet my appetite for their fourth Kickstarter whose focus will be castles.

Highgate Abbey

CBS uses a different form factor than the previous DF products for building structures.  The basic building “unit” is built with a 4x4x2 structure comprised of a 4×4 floor, four corner posts that are pinned into the corners of the floor, and four walls that insert between the posts.  The floors, posts, and walls are available in a Tudor and Stone styles.  Tudor uses wooden floors and posts coupled with timber frame (stucco and wooden structural features) walls; stone uses stone floors, posts, and walls.  Some of the floors incorporate stairwells and trapdoors and the walls feature doors, windows, arrow slit embrasures or abbey windows.  Two posts are available – one that is used to make corners and a double post for joining adjacent floors.  With these features you can make nice stone fortifications including walls and towers.

Abbey Gateway

There is not a tall gate available yet, but there is an arched bridge that spans 4 inches and makes for a nice arched entryway between  walls or between towers.

Wizard’s Keep

The Arrow Slit Embrasure walls and the Wide Double Wooden Door help transform the stack of stone blocks into a formidable fortification (the one to the right is unintentionally reversed, but shows what the interior looks like).  Hopefully, a portcullis, drawbridge, and castle gate will be available next year to help beef up the place and keep the trolls out.

Arrow Slit Embrasure and Wide Double Wooden Door

CBS includes 2×2 battlement tiles in 3 formats – a straight edge piece with crenellations along one edge and two corner pieces with crenellations along two edges.  One of these corner pieces has an opening wooden trapdoor.

Battlements on Narrow Passages

These 2×2 pieces can be rested on top of the previously released 2×2 Narrow Passages set for a 2 inch wide wall or when coupled together or with a 2×2 floor tile make a wide 4 inch wide battlement. For 4 inch wide arrangements, the Tower Battlements sets come with a stone Dwarven pillar that can support the middle of four 2×2 corners to make a 4×4 tower (or some variant of corners and edge pieces).

Battlements on Styrene sheet

I found that in a game, loose 2×2 battlements are bit too fiddly if the players need to remove the battlements for interior access.  The solution is to temporarily affix the battlements to a thin support board and they are then very easy to handle.

Styrene sheet underneath

In my case, a fellow DF aficionado in Canada provided me with 2×4, 4×4, and 4×8 styrene sheets. I used “blue tack” to temporarily stick the battlements to the sheet.

Dwarvenhold

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Burning Love 29JAN2016

The new Dwarven Forge  ruins are too hot to handle…

Flickr: https://m.flickr.com/#/photos/9975128@N05/sets/72157663284894490/

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