Wargaming Musings?

I'm a bit of a butterfly in terms of my attention and sticking to gaming projects long term isn't my strongest point. On the bright side, atleast I flit between the same things. Expect an ecclectic medley of Moderns, Dark Ages, Quar and Early Wild West, almost all in 28mm... (with some 1/48 moderns thrown in... )

Monday, 31 December 2012

Painting update (28mm) - Malaya: Planters, Police and CTs..... Hmmm that alliteration was going so well...

These are the Malayan war bits that I've had chance to do so far - Santa bought CTs & some British squaddies, so they should be turning up in the not too distant future... 

'European' (used as a term to distinguish whites) planters and miners - all the figures are conversions/paint conversions. From the left: repaint of a converted Foundry Darkest Africa figure, converted Foundry Chindit, BTD Partizan, Artizan Agent. Very mixed bag of weapons - certainly a few people had  Brens for personal defence, although I'm not sure if any had Thompsons. Mostly it seems to be a mix of 'Sporting' weapons (shotguns, rifles - including a mention of an elephant gun of some sort, and various hand guns) with the government issuing Stens and later M1 (possibly M2?) carbines. The Pacific Tin Mine (? I cant find the reference to it in "The war of the running dogs") also issued shot-barrelled shotguns as part of an 'emergency' arms supply in the early days of the war.

A slightly mix bag: on the left, an (Artizan) Sikh officer of the Malayan Police Jungle squad, a (Tiger/HLBS)  dog for use with a British army dog team and  a Malayan Special  Policeman, of the fort who would have helped guard planters . The uniform colours are both slightly theoretical, as is the colour of the webbing on Special Policeman. I thought it'd be a good way to differentiate him form a CT.

My 'improvised'  (Pulp figures) CTs... I went for a mix of two colours on the uniform to add to the irregular look of the figures.

Happy New Year and a mini-update

Just a quick note to say Happy New Year to everyone! There will be more of the same coming up next year - although I'm going to resist trying to make any predictions as given my butterfly tendencies I'm unlikely to follow them!  

Just a couple of BritApoc figures - I cant remember if I've shown these before or not: A BCB Viral mutant thingy and a Babylon's Burning roller ganger who will be joining one of my Yobbo Raider gangs

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Merry Christmas (and a blessed Yule/Jul)!

Chances are this will be my last post this side of the new year, as I've got a busy week ahead of me visiting family and what not.... Unless there is a miraculous convergence of spare time, dry glue and my camera battery still having some juice in it/going on charge in which case, there might be some pictures from the painting table (Malayan's, lots of 20mm and some of the conversions I was working on  post-paint).

I'd just like to wish everyone a very merry Christmas, a blessed Jul (the old Norse word for 'yule'), and all the very best for the new year.

Certainly the new year will have a more frugal gaming budget (actively saving for a wedding and all that) and there may be more 'painting for profit' which will certainly slow down progress at various times. In terms of gaming "themes", Santa should be bringing lots of 20mm stuff, as well as some more bits for Malaya -so there will definitely be modern's, my current fascination and conversion drive for 'cold apocalypse' will probably continue unabated, and I've just pulled out a few Early Old West figures which only need a touch of war-paint to finish, so there might even be some more of those (which are also by far the biggest of my unpainted lead piles!)

Monday, 17 December 2012

Long cold winter - some well wrapped up BritApoc survivor conversions

Well, between the recent cold weather, and the greens for the forthcoming 'Scavenge, Skirmish, Survive' game (Modern, UK Set Post Apocalypse game, following a 'Super Volcano' eruption. The main source of information I've come across is on the LAF HERE, althought there are a few other related threads on there, whilst there is also some background on the companies webstore HERE ) I've been thinking about 'winter' after the End (yes, I'm a total butterfly!) and that maybe quite a few of my figures are a bit lightly dressed... So I've started converting a few winter ones.

Inspired by the outfits I've seen out-and-about (and the possibilities of compatibility with the SSS range) I've kept them deliberately generic (possibly even "modern"). This has also been influenced by the fact I've been wondering about maybe doing some more up to date stuff (not replacing the retro bits, but adding to it, to give some wider variety. Certainly lots of the figures are generic enough to work for both, partly due to a poor effort in respect to me converting them)

The first figure is a converted MoFo Falklands British marine officer - I converted the beret, took off the trouser pouch, epaulettes and the pocket on the left arm. The back-pack is from the never-released Em-4 miniatures 'Rioters' conversion pack. I think this figure is pretty much complete in terms of conversion...

Originally a TAG Russian Mafioso with an AKSU, I switched the assault rifle for a Sterling ages ago. Then, when I realised quite how many automatic weapons I had, I decided to change it further. The crossbow is only blu-tacked in, and is a mix of brass-rod and a 'historical' crossbow I picked up in a bits lot ages ago. coupled with the wire storck, it should give a nice 'skeleton-frame sports model' look, and will probably get a natty black paint scheme. Conversions on this guy have been pretty straight forward - converting his tee-shirt into a jacket by adding sleeves, a collar and buttons; I've also incorporated the belt into it. This guy needs a bit more work yet - the crossbow needs finishing, he'll need a back-pack or satchel, a quiver of some sort and maybe a melee weapon (knife in sheath?). I'm also deciding what to do with his head - maybe a wooly hat and/or a beard....  

This chap was part of the Killer B games 'Geezers' range - I "de-70's" him by cutting the flares back into a more standard shaped trouser, and added a beard to loose the side burns. He originally had a little snub-nosed revolver in his right hand, which I very nearly kept... but I decided that I had enough fire-arms, so I switched it out for the two-handed club (Originally a GW plastic Empire Militia club, with the spikes filed down ot look like bolts). The back pack is from a 1/35th figure. I think the only other modification was removing the epaulettes of his jacket, but as that's obscured by the shoulder straps it wouldn't have made much of a difference anyway. I think this guy is about done too. 
 I'm tempted to get another of these figures to convert, but this time keep the revolver, and maybe change the left arm to be carrying something...

Another TAG figure - this time a Vietnam era US special forces trooper. I cut the pump-action down, reworked the lock and added a fore-stock out to the figures grip to make it look more like an 'over-and-under' double barrel. It's not perfect, but it should look about right when painted. The short sleeves were cut off, long sleeves added, along with re-sculpting the collar of his jacket and adding a scarf, which has been tucked in (I was inspired by the Geezers figure above...). The Claymore bag has been change to being a normal satchel, and the figure lots the side-pockets on his trousers. In terms of what else to do, I'm going to extend the trousers so that they aren't tucked in in an effort to make him look less military, and I'll do some more work on the head. I think I'll go for a hat of some sort, but hold off on any facial hair.

Originally a Dixons Miniatures female partisan, I fear this lady looks a little more like a 1950's hiker rather than a post-apocalypse survivor, but I'm not sure what else I can do to rectify that (possibly add more hair, and change the beret into something a little more modern. I had hoped it would add and improvised look, but I'm not sure it does.) Very little conversion done to this figure - I added a scarf, and the back-pack from an Em-4 plastic ganger ( I thought rope might be useful to a scavenger!). In terms of what is left to do, I will add back-pack straps, and as I say, do something to her head gear. I might also extend the trousers down, but I think the walking boots add to the PA look, so maybe not.

I had a go at sculpting an abandoned pack pack to use as an objective marker, and I was pretty pleased with the result - there may well be a few more bits like this if it looks good painted up.

And finally, just a few size-comparison pictures to finish....

Found this guy on my table - a Acheson Creations caveman, with an SLR, inspired by an illustration in the back of an old 'arms-and-armour' book which was dealing the after-effects of nuclear weapons, and thought he might also fit in, as some-one actively trying to adapt to the new world by going for fur clothes, etc.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Painting update (28mm) - Future Soldier (and some WiPs)

As part of a painting competition, I got sent a free figure to  paint by Purbrook Models - one of the Mantic Sci-fi troopers.

I tried my '20mm' technique of lots of 'block' washing and then highlighting, and was pretty pleased with the result. The colour scheme was one I've been fancying using for a while - I've part-tried it a few times, but this is the first time I feel it's really come together.  There are lots of other reviews out there, but overall I was fairly impressed with the figure: they go together well, and  have good detail...

I also thought I'd share a picture of my 'waiting to be based' shelf - I think some of them have already been posted up, but some I've been saving until I've got the bases done (in an attempt to make me pull the finger out and actually get them sorted). Front Left are 1/48th Russians; back left are assorted Old west figure; front centre are a couple of Malayan Emergency armoured cars, planters and some 20mm bits; back centre-left are some bits I'm toying with using for Mortal Engines gaming; back centre-right are a few bits for BritApoc or 70's pulp gaming, and all the way along on the right are European gothic horror types

And here's a view of the (dis)organised clutter that is my painting desk - it's a bit out of date now (The CTS, Saracen, future soldiers and partisans have all been  done)

Musings on BritApoc...

(Liebster awards are still on my 'to-do' list - but I think most of the 'obvious', and even some of the un-obvious, choices have received them. However, until I get that sorted out - some musings!)

I've been doing some thinking about my BritApoc setting recently, mainly in the wake of watching all sorts of old movies whilst ill last week, and effectively what they boil down to is the twin points of rules and weapons.

No Blade of Grass (1970) - Showing a fair bit of fire-power...
Obviously, with the firearm laws being what they are in the UK, even allowing for the slightly laxer laws 'back in the day', strategic reserve stocks incase of invasion and weaponry distributed to emergency services during the course of the apocalypse and immediately after; there still wouldn't be *that* many weapons floating around, especially regarding those with an automatic capability (More of this later, when it comes to thinking about figures).

I've looked long and hard for rules which will reflect the 'feel' of BritApoc, which to me is somewhat gritty, yet without getting too bogged down in detail, and are still fun to play. Perhaps more importantly, fire-arms combat should be dangerous (no characters getting hit multiple times and shrugging them off), melee combat should also be effective (somewhat making up for the fact that guns might be rare)  and if there are rules or supplies rolls, generic profiles and an obvious way to 'build' profiles for mutants, triffids and viral  so much the better!

In terms of a campaign structure, I've often hoped for a fairly loose knit 'win some, get some bonuses, lose some, take some side effects' sort of affair rather than a Necromunda style experience points system where you track characters in minute detail. At one point last week, I was wondering on the merits of a 7TV style 'TV serial' feel, and wondering how that would work in terms of a campaign structure. Just thinking, depending on the serial, characters don't generally change abilities too much over time, but there is some consideration that those wounded in a previous episode might be somewhat diminished for a couple of subsequent episodes.

The Last Train - a reasonably good ITV PA TV series, which is almost impossible to  find outside of youtube... 
Up to now, I've looked over a whole range of rules - including some modern sets - and none have really hit the feel. Many would be playable, and probably very enjoyable, but perhaps not quite what I have had in mind. After some musing, the main contenders were Skank, At Close Quaters, Atomic Cafe and Babylon's Burning. I've played all bar BB a few times, and have both enjoyed the resulting games and been impressed with the rules. I have also tried writing my own, and infairness have drawn inspiration from all of the above, but they never seem to get finished and, darn it, I want to play some games!

Babylon's burning is the set (and setting) that first drew me into PA gaming, but which ironically I never played, and that has mainly been due to comments from friends who have played it. The rules look to be an excellent and very accurate simulation of post-apocalypse warfare; down to the inclusion of runners, written orders, and so on. Games look to take a very long time, and be pretty intense, almost to the point of being unplayable. Given that due to the lingering effects of my ME, I'm likely to end up getting tired and thus a bit brain foggy whilst playing, I think this isn't nessecarily the best way to go...

Skank is at the other end of the spectrum - it is such a simple easy to play system that it has long been a firm favourite, and infact is probably the game I have played most over the years. It is adaptable enough that I've written stacks of modifications for it. However, due to its simplicity it does lack 'realism' to a certain extent, with games feeling like an episode of the A team. Which is great fun, but not what I'm looking for.

Atomic Cafe (at least the taster rules I had) were a fun, easy set to get along with, including a couple of inventive features in terms of initiative and supply rolls. All the stats where tied into certain profiles though, and there was not nessecarily an easy way to extract some of them to give a general feel. Weapons were also based on modifying profiles (and there are only pistols, shotguns, hunting rifles, SMGs & an LMG given. Enough to get by, but a bit of a bland flavouring), as opposed to being a stand-alone element, and there were no vehicle rules. Certainly it has potential, but again, it's not quite there.

Which leaves At Close Quarters - a fairly fast flowing "moderns" system, which feels quite gritty and realistic,  and which I know pretty well. This set has it's problems too - one of the reasons it is such a good modern's set, is because it is very well adapted to playing in the genre. I have a feeling that any BritApoc games would end up feeling like WWIII: the Aftermath (which I guess is twilight 2000, and what I'm planning on doing with Force on Force, as a side note), rather than as a truly post-apocalyptic setting. Also, weaponry really starts at the assault rifle, and moves 'up and out' from there. There are stats for pistols and shotguns... but damn. you wouldn't want to use them unless you were having a gunfight in a telephone box. Figures are broken down by ability - rabble, militia, regular, professional, fanatic and elite - and are designed to be structured into squads. although it is possible to have 'heroes' the rules aren't particularly designed for it.

At this point you're thinking "Ok, great - he's just crossed out all of this nominees!" which is true, but also not entirely the whole truth. By broadening my 'gaze' somewhat, I came across another possible system.  A Good Day to Die is ACQ's pulp and old west flavoured sibling. The internal mechanics are pretty similar, but a lot of the 'over-focus' on the modern period has been drawn out, whilst still leaving rules for vehicles and automatic weapons. More importantly perhaps, the focus of the weapons has been shifted. Here the 'main' weapons are the shotgun and bolt-action rifle, with the rifle having a range of 48". It will be easy enough to add stats for an assault rifle (AK47) and semi-automatic (SLR). The classifications have also been changed so that they are now: Rabble, Civilian,  Soldier, Warrior (More melee proficient soldier, although less skilled with fire-arms) and Killer (hero class by any other name). Certainly this better reflects my perceptions of martial structure after the End.
I'm still going to need to add a lot (Triffids, mutants, virals, ammo checks) but otherwise I think it's getting there. Especially when the 'old west' addon I've got has special rules about morale checks for loss of possessions and what-not.   

Reign of Fire - interesting mix of weapons for the Brits, from high powered big game rifles through to WW2 vintage SMGS....
This focus on weapons also leads me onto my figures - and the fact that they are too heavily armed. I knew they were going to be, but following on from the discussions on the 'Scavenge Skirmish Survive' thread on the LAF (http://www.lead-adventure.de/index.php?topic=48201.0) I have been coming to realise quite how over equipped most of them are. Almost a quarter (excluding the police and obviously military types ) are armed with SMGs, assault rifles or support weapons (includingg RPGs!). This is just way out of proportion -  so I'm going to need to add lots of low grade fire arms (double shotguns, pistols), crossbows/etc and melee weapons to even out the numbers some what.

  I'm going to check to see how many more figures from the 'to-do' pile can be converted across to more basic weapons, as there are even more there with heavy 'military grade' kit, but lots I think will either be moved on or used to make a 'Holnist' type wannabe-military faction for specific games. Atleast the SLRs shouldnt out-balance things too much.

Which then begs the question of what other figures to use to restore the 'right' sort of balance? I've held off getting the offensive miniatures rioters for a while, but certainly they'd be a good source of melee figures, as would some of the new Agro miniatures rioters (plus weapons) and of course the LAM melee figures. In terms of low grade firearms, the forthcoming SSS figures look promising, and it wont take much to make a couple of the back-packs look less modern. Other than that... Maybe converting some more of the TAG african militia with rifles to look  (a lot) less tropical, and possibly some of the Tiger (ex-HLBS) mounties/trappers/etc might work given their mix of rifles and shotguns. They'd almost certainly fit in well enough with the SSS figures, but perhaps might make some of my other figures look under dressed?

Anyway... enough wittering for now!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Liebster Award!

Just a quicky to say thanks to Danny over at Mattblackgod's world (http://mattblackgodsworld.blogspot.co.uk/) for nominating me for a Liebster award!  I'll be sorting out my nominations in the next couple of days as I'm a bit pressed for time right now (at the moment I'm typing this whilst the silver paint holding my sample in place dries and the Evo chamber vents...)

But until then, do go and check Danny's blog out - he's got some great conversions and scenery pieces for Post Apocalypse stuff (but then, what else would you expect from the guy that started the Post Apocalypse Wargames forum?) as well as a growing selection of 15mm & 28mm sci-fi and VSF stuff.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Malayan Aborigines, Improvised armour and other conversion thoughts

I've been doing some more musings on conversions for Malaya (More they cry? Why don't you stop thinking and start painting?) - specifically regarding the aborigine irregulars that the Brits used, but then they sort of drifted on a bit. For the 'go paint something' readers, I'm getting there - the figures being stripped are getting there, I've just finished painting my sole remaining Malayan Policeman up as the guy in the beret from the 'Minuteman in Malaya' ad (below), painted up a sikh officer as a police jungle squad officer, and a WW2 resistance fighter as a planter (although I'll be doing a few as miners, as I've got a couple of quite American looking pulp figures which I want to use, and a CT attack on a mine will let me use white armed civilians in a reasonable number rather than just a couple at a time) I've started painting a Saladin & a Saracen....

I'll start off my list of conversion ideas and musings with Malayan Aborigines:

Some look quite oriental, whilst others look a lot more Polynesian/Mellanesian. For the purposes of gaming clarity, the non-oriental look will make the figures easier to identify on the table, and give the force a more characterful feel.

 Scheltrum do have a range of Borneo locals (who are the closest to Malaya in terms of ranges available) in the Dyaks in Kyaks range, but the figures look a bit crude and I'm not sure on the comparative size of the figures...

The next  possibilities are the Pulp Figures 'Mellanesian tribesmen'

They are quite 'cartoon savages' in appearance, but compared to some of the pictures from places such as Papua New Guinea, then they don't look so bad. I can see that I'd have to work on the weaponry and shields, plumbing for Blow-pipes and spears, but they are a possibility; especially given the pack of 'Westernised' versions I'll show later.

Brigade do a set of 'Pacific Islanders' which could also be suitable

They all wear loin clothes, and have a similar look to the pulp figures islanders. Again, the weapons might need some work, but are a slightly less hollywood possibility. They also have some 'Westernised' fighters, although I forgot to upload any pictures....

The only other possibility I can think of would be to go for a more 'Dyak'/Indian look

Whilst the Brittania range has a couple of westernised Dyak/Iban scouts, for a more tribal look the closest I've come up with are the Brigade Caribbean head hunter cannibals (Javaro? tribesmen from south america). They've got blow-pipes (although, too short) and a couple of other weapons... but I'm not sure if they are the look I'm really after. 

More thinking required, and I'll carry on looking at the Osprey illustrations and try to draw inspiration. I have a sneaking suspicion it might be a case of converting the Pulp figures; although I'm sure somewhere I've seen some other tribesmen (not pygmies) in loincloths and with blow-pipes. Maybe they were conversions? 

Which brings me to the next subject... Police Aboriginal Guards, a semi-uniform irregular force with a limited uniform, primarily armed with single barrel shotguns (there are pics in the Osprey)

Based of these and the Osprey illustration, I'm currently leaning towards conversions of Foundry Darkest Africa Uniform askari, converting their fezzes into floppy 'boonies' (or removing them altogether), along with doing a bit of work on the muskets to make them look more like shotguns. The negroid faces would also work better with the likes of the Pulp aborigines... speaking of which, the pulp 'provisional fighters' would probably make an appearance as less uniformed members of this force, although I'd be inclined not to bother changing their weapons across. It'll be a case of waiting with an eye on eBay for the Askari I think, as I've sold mine, and don't really want to pay full Foundry prices for something which I may only get a game or two out of...

Along a similar line, although with a more 'civilised' look are Malayan home guard & the Armed workers some rubber planters put together as a crude defence force...

I'm not too sure about figures for these chaps (and chapesses) - I've got the pulp figures students militia in floppy hats to use as rubber tappers, and a stray Kuala Lumpur detective (Based on the 'minute man in Malaya' picture, although I am beginning to think he might actually be a special policeman), but I'm not sure what else to use. Possibly some more assorted Chinese with rifles, and looking at the ladies in the bottom picture maybe some more 'military' types...  

I've still been thinking of adding more variety to my CTs, in addition to the Pulp Chinese I've already got on the model desk. Currently the challenge is getting the uniforms 'about' right (as in the top 2 photos) rather than having some 'suspects' in civvy gear like in the bottom one (who is being treated by a member of a Malayan Police Jungle squad)

I was looking at the Foundry Japanese, and came ot the conclusion that with trouser extensions and a little work on the cap, these guys might also work (the MRLA/CTs used lots of captured Japanese kit, so it isn't too great a step)

My other idea was along similar lines, and involved converting the Warlord SHS Japs with a modified GB/Woodbine Kepi head, but I do wonder if these will be a bit too skinny in comparison.

The Malayan Police are still posing a problem too - I may think about using Askari for them too, but I feel they look a bit too 'neat' for that, and the only other figures in semi suitable attire would be the Foundry Chindits, with heads swops and less webbing...

Western Officers might be easier - I'm hoping that one of the North Africa ranges out there has a chap in officers cap and shorts, to get this sort of feel

And the only other police contingent that I'd really be after would be the 'Jungle squads', who wore a fairly military set of fatigues

As they are quite equipment light, and being predominantly malay will be of slight statrue, I was thinking that some of the commando miniatures Borneo troops, and use the oppertunity presented by seperate weapons to use TAG kit to a) emphasise the diminutive stature of the troops and b) back date them slightly through the use of Stens & SMLEs

The more I look at civillians, the more aware I become of the range of outfits worn by the 3 main 'native' races (Malays, Chinese & Indian Tamils) - so I think a mix of vietnam civillians, Pulp figures chinese and maybe a few Afghan/indians should work well.

The final note is on some of the improvised armoured vehicles which were used - most of this will probably have to be plastic-card conversions of Dinky or Corgi vehicles of about the right scale I think, but no real plans on any of them yet...

Up armoured planters car

Malayan Police armoured car
Armoured train
British army 'armoured' dodge
Bedford Pig

During the early stages of the war, the brits used Brengun carriers, so I was thinking of using the Warlord Brengun carrier, with some of the boonie heads from MoFo/GB. The only problem is that they have cammo netting on, which will be a bit of a faff to cut off, but still, it's probably easier than me trying to sculpt some...!