Or should I say, Dampfpanzergrenadiertruppautomaten menace?
Presenting my newly painted steam automatons from Ironclad Miniatures. You can see that they are being escorted by engineers whose task is to direct, maintain and help defend the automatons.
Long time since the last posting, eh? It's not as though I haven't been doing anything with my miniatures or gaming or anything like that. I just haven't been able to finish anything worth posting for a while now. Keep starting on something only to move on to something else before finishing. I knocked these together in three painting sessions. Of course, it's a pretty simple paint scheme.
I'll see if I can bash together some game stats for these guys using Vor. Maybe I'll even use the robot rules from Rogue Trader era 40k.
Next up, who knows? Maybe I'll have some dismounted hussars painted up. How about the Bavarians I almost have finished?
I thought that I might spend a post discussing some of my recent reads that might be useful and entertaining for people interested in Space 1889.
First up, I have How to Make Friends and Oppress People by Vic Darkwood. A satirical look at nineteenth-century travel guidebooks. It covers topics such as; Fireplaces in boats. The practical theory of tea-making. Insects, vermin and other troublesome creatures. Modes of salutation. How to treat banditti. Engaging in gun battles. Ballooning as a sport. Pig sticking. Revolting food that may save the lives of starving men. Learning to ride a camel. Employing a burly henchman.
If that doesn't sell you on it, I give up. A hilarious read and the advise is almost all authentic.
For more everyday advice, there's, Barkham Burrough's Encycolopedia of Astounding Facts and Useful Information, 1889. This immensely useful tome contains 20,000 things worth knowing. What's more, it's an interesting look into the life of the American middle class during the late nineteenth-century. Lots of recipes too. I have a print copy but you can always read it here, http://www.gutenberg.org/files/14091/14091-h/14091-h.htm .
Mostly of interest for you wargaming types is, L'Armée Française; An Illustrated History of the French Army, 1790-1885 by Edouard Detaille. Published in 1885, this is the best book of its type I've read. The detail is exhaustive and the illustrations are great. If you're playing a member of the French military, this ought to give you everything you need to fake the part.
Not to neglect the science fiction/alternate history aspect there's, The Tale of the Next Great War, 1871-1914 edited by I.F. Clarke. This is a collection of fiction written as a response to the Franco Prussian War. There's a lot of anxiety shown over the rise of German power not only by the British or French but by Germans themselves. Inside you find short works and excerpts such as The Battle of Dorking and La Guerre au Vingtième Siècle (War in the Twentieth-century) by Albert Robida. Other authors include George Griffith, Jack London and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
I ran this great little game a couple of weeks ago; http://www.1km1kt.net/rpg/barbarians-of-lemuria
I'm running at least two sessions of this game for my group as a stop gap until Space 1889: Red Sands is released. I might possibly run a third.
I used the print version (Legendary Edition) and I think it went rather well. The rules were easy for me (the GM) to remember. Always a plus. Six players generated their characters in under an hour. Also good. Fun characters too.
I ignored most of the setting stuff. The setting didn't really catch me and I've never read any Thongor stuff (I did find the first novel yesterday and am now reading it). So, I just made stuff up. Didn't really matter. None of the players were familiar either.
The adventure I ran was a bit railroady (I think), what with a sea monster causing our characters to wreck on a remote island. The players told me that they really liked it anyhow. The scenario was a bit simple too. All that is kind of necessary since this was intended as a semi one shot. I had to tone a few things down because Lee's son, Will, was playing (I'm not good with ages, somewhere around 9 or 10 years old?). Which was fun. The last time I ran something for kids, I was in high school. I thought he really added to the group.
It ran very smoothly with six players though I don't think I gave the system a thorough run through. Next session I hope to red line it a bit. I look forward to it. I had a lot of fun running it.
I've also been considering boxes for transporting my miniatures. It's been a improvised affair for me since the beginning. A box that a keyboard came in, a wine bottle box, tackle box, all kinds of boxes that just happened to come in handy at the time. I kind of want to change that.
Look at what I found at a garage sale;
Just guess what I'm going to use these great little boxes for! I plan on placing magnetized trays inside each one. At least a stack of two. It should be more than enough to store my French VSF force in.
Then there's this;
Also got this mortar shell box at a garage sale. I'm going to put my Germans in it. It's a bit on the heavy side. Kind of large too, but man, it'll keep my minis safe. At first, I intended on sanding off the stencils and Germanifying it. Slap a big "Nicht Werfen" warning on the top. Then I got lazy and sentimental. So, I decided to give it a quick sanding to get rid of the rough spots and gave it a stain coat. I also glued magnetic sheets inside to hold my minis. The glue is setting as I type.
Now I need to find something for my British, Martians and Zanzibaris.
No, I did not have West Nile Virus. I was just a little under the weather. I mean, what else would you expect after walking through clouds of very large mosquitoes? I'm not dead. I am fine. My monitor is dying, however. That'll make it difficult to process my photos of recently finished minis. I've got three units lined up to be done this week. I wish I'd be able to get more done but there's a lot of stuff keeping me busy. This is a shame because I've got quite a few Prussian lined up for painting.
Did I happen to mention that I'm working on my VSF Prussian forces at the moment?
Yep, I've been slowly building up various units that I can use in the greatest variety of scenarios that I can. I want to use units that would be seen in a European theater and units for colonial conflicts. I also want to see how much I can overlap them to get the most bang for my buck. I'll be aiming to have them represent the German Empire in a science fictional war between the years 1890 and 1900. The infantry is grouped into units of ten. This number will work with the three games I'm thinking of using; Gaslight, Vor or Space 1889. Here's what I've got so far;
1 unit of dismounted female Hussars (almost done). 2 units of Prussian line infantry. 1 unit of Prussian Jaegers (almost done). 1 maxim gun manned by Jaegers 2 units of Bavarian line infantry. 1 unit of mixed dismounted cavalry (dragoons and hussars). 1 unit of German South West Africa infantry (to use either in Africa or say, Venus). 2 units of African Askaris (to be used either with German or British forces). 1 steam tank of medium size. 1 steam powered walker armed with maxim gun. 1 unit of Martian sepoys (to be shared with British forces depending on scenario).
Here's what I'm still planning to add; 2 units of Venusian Lizardman Schutztruppen (I need to assemble them still. It'll take a bit of work). Maybe 1 or 2 more units of Prussian line infantry. 1 or 2 units of Seebatallion. A couple artillery pieces. At least one unit of cavalry. 1 flying machine of some sort. Probably a zeppelin.
That quite a bit there considering I still have British, Martian and French forces on the line too. Yikes.
I tried to varnish some recently finished miniatures today. However, I could not get the child proof lid on the thinner to open. I ended up not varnishing those minis. I did affix some newly acquired minis to their bases and do some repair work on a German East Africa trooper's rifle. I also cooked some paella on the grill. I think I might have a case of West Nile Virus. Which is probably not good considering the only symptom I'm familiar with is death. A friend of mine had a horse that died from it.
Not too much to add here. Just a few random thoughts from recent experiences.
I've started to use Windex to thin my paints. This works surprisingly well. I use the clear, "natural", eco friendly kind. I'm not sure what the regular, blue kind would do the colors so I'm not even going to try and find out. Anyway, I find that it makes paints flow from the brush better than water. The paint literally goes where you want it to go. Nice. Only problem is that it appears as though the mixture encourages the paint to flow right up into the brush's fuller. Not so good. Gotta clean the brush extra regularly.
I finally managed to get my hands on a couple of the new GW washes. I'm liking them better than the old inks. Not as shiny and they flow better. They do seem to be a little too subtle on just one coat. It looks like washing will need to be done in layers.
I like the idea of painting outside. After being stuck inside all day at work, I really don't want to sit at the old workbench and paint while the remainder of day is busy being beautiful. There are a lot of problems with that though. I have to pack everything up for the expedition. I will forget something important. You would think the sun would be great for painting. No. It is either too bright or not bright enough, usually in turns. The combo of wind and sunlight also dries your paints crazy fast. Ah well, enjoy it anyway.
Alright, I opened up my big mouth on the Lead Adventure forum about how I'd like to put together a mechanized machine gun contraption. This means that I'm obligated, nay, oath bound to construct this beast.
Here's what I'm talking about;
What you see there are a Davidson four wheeled gun carriage and a three wheeled version. I like the three wheeler best.
The trouble is finding the parts for the thing. The machine gun is no problem. I've got a plastic gun shield lying around from who knows where, so that's covered. I was hoping to find a plastic model kit of something roughly close to 28mm scale to use for parts. I find out that there is nobody at all making automobile kits from the late 19th century and early 20th. Not even horse drawn buggies! The earliest you get is the 1920s. So, I'm going to have to scratch build this puppy. Maybe even the wheels!
The next problem is finding and converting a crew. Which army is this going with anyway? I guess it'll go to the French. The Germans are getting enough goodies as it is. Nobody really makes seated soldiers of the Victorian era. There are some gun limber crews that are seated. Mostly Prussians though.
Next. What kind of engine? Should it be steam? Eh, it doesn't have to be. I'm not really doing "Steampunk" here. This is Victorian Sci-Fi. I could see this as an internal combustion engine that's about a decade ahead of its time. I mean, the Davidsons pictured above are from around 1900.
So read the title of an article found in the Sunday, August 13 1922 edition of the New York Times.
"Currant-Laden Felucca Sunk When Sailor Belts Reptile With Pomegranate.", the title continues. The creature, "Has Eyes Like Sidelights" and "Zooms Aloft Like Airplane - Wrecks Caciques With Figs and Pistachio Nuts."
The sea serpent began its rampage off the port of Euboea in the Aegean. It then flew off to the port of Izmir at an altitude of about 5,000ft. It was also sighted off the mouth of the Nile, and around the islands of Crete and Lesbos. Greek authorities sent gunboats after it but had no luck in destroying it. One witness, a Turkish rug merchant, was taking a ferry when the creature rose up from the water near the boat. It appeared to be 15ft wide and 50ft long with a head 10ft across. It had huge, glowing eyes which seemed to bake the people on board the ferry with some kind of heat ray. It then slapped the ferry with its tail, nearly tipping it over and disappeared.
More on this article can be found in Fortean Times issue 248.
This would make for a great miniatures scenario!
I imagine four players. One player is the Sea Serpent, another a Greek Gunboat, there should be a dirigible piloted by an eccentric adventure and his companions and finally, the vengeful Mümtaz Effendi, Turkish Pomegranate Magnate in his cannon armed Dhow. The three human players will attempt to destroy or capture the Sea Serpent. The Serpent will be at a considerable advantage with its size, ability to fly and dive, and its heat ray vision.
I'd set it a bit earlier, the 1890s but it would be great for pulp era games too. I don't have a rules set picked out for it but just picture the game!
So, last time I was talking about Aero-Kayaks for my, as of yet, forthcoming French, Victorian Sci-Fi army and how I was selling miniatures in order to fund this project. What has come to be expected is that I spent some of the money on something completely different;
These excellent miniatures depict Princess Viktoria-Luise of Prussia dressed as a Death's Head Hussar accompanied by her unit. Based on this photo of her;
They can be had here; http://hinterlandminiatures.weebly.com/
Of course, this means I'll probably be doing Germans as well. Not to mention home service British. But first! The French.
I very much want to build a French force. The uniforms are interestingly colorful. They wear Kepis which are my all time favorite sort of hat. Not to mention Zouaves. Or the Foreign Legion! Yes, I'm going to have to do it.
So, I've been busy. Got a new job. Been doing a lot of gardening. Also selling a few of my unused miniatures on various forums so I can build a few of these;
Aero-kayaks from the Miyazaki movie, "Howl's Moving Castle." For my, as of yet, imaginary French, Victorian, Sci-Fi army. Still working out what materials to use.
I also dug up a "how to" I put together a while back about how to make gabions for your minis. In case anybody is wondering, a gabion is a basket made filled with dirt and rubble used to quickly erect a fortified position. Kind of like sand bags.
I made a ring of green stuff and stuck in lengths of styrene rod like so;
I then dabbed some super glue at the base of each rod. I let the green stuff cure and those rods aren't going to come off easy.
Took some modeling clay (the kind that doesn't dry or cure) like so;
Then stuck it in like this;
I wove rubber bands between the rods. The clay is there to help keep the shape of the basket.
Keep weaving more bands in until done. You could also use raffia or dental floss, maybe wire. I started out trying green stuff but it was too tedious and I couldn't get a consistent shape to the "wicker".
The clay will push up as you go so you'll need to scoop some off the top near the end. Don't scoop too much as you go or the basket will get all conical. The last thing is to cover in a coat or two of white or wood glue and sprinkle a little sand and rubble on the top of the basket.
Of course, as is usual, it still needs to be painted.
The kind that goes on a ship that is. I've been working on my Aeronef French. Boy, do they need a lot of work let me tell you. They've been tricky to mount on the flying stands. Plus, I've had to replace some tail fins due to minor miscasts. The biggest problem is that the bridge of one of the ships ended up missing. Only thing to do was to build a new one!
Here's what this particular class of Aeronef should look like:
This is what I had:
Now, I started this willy nilly. About at this stage, I had me a thought. I thought, "Hey! I could put this on my blog." I started taking pictures. What these poor quality pictures should show you is the beginning of the bridge. I built it up using strips of styrene sheets glued together in layers. Does that make sense? The decking was made with a textured styrene sheet. The layers of styrene created a striated effect which needed to be smoothed out and hidden. I used some pro-create putty to do that and filed it smooth after curing:
Next, I cut little "windows" from a thin strip of styrene (not thin enough if you ask me but it was all I had). I then glued them to the appropriate spots:
This is the bridge with windows and smoke stacks, glued on to the superstructure:
Then, I cut up some round bits of sprue to use as gun sponsons and attached them:
The finished product. The guns were made from spare masts from other ships. I first thought to use brass wire but the lead was easier to work with: