Monday 25 April 2011

And the Winner is...


This is the new viral thing called the Stylish Blogger Award, for blogs. The rules of the award are:

1: Thank and link back to the person giving you the award.
I was sent this virtual award by David Manley, so thank you for including me into this viral awards fest thing. 
2: Share seven things about yourself.
  1. Started wargaming age 12 at the original Southend Wargames Club, which became the South East Essex Military Society that use to host Present Arms, back in the days when dinosaurs ruled the Earth.
  2. I use to cycle to get there, and I remain a keen cyclist, enjoying cross country mountain biking.
  3. My first degree was in photography and film studies, as a result I've seen far more classic foreign films than most people have had hot dinners. As such it is always hard for me to name a favourite movie, as I have seen so many of them, but what I will say is that my favourites tend to be genre films of some sort.
  4. I enjoy listening to film sound tracks, favourite composers being Hans Zimmer, Basil Poledouris, Dave Arnold, Bear McCreary, Danny Elfman, Howard Shore, and James Horner.
  5. I've been writing reviews for magazines from a very tender age, early teens, and one of my big triumphs was getting a review of the 1st Edition Warhammer game into the original Miniature Wargames magasine.
  6. Wrote OHMU War Machine rules for TBA Games, which went bust.
  7. I am married, no children, but I do have a lovely Godson and his sister to spoil.
3: Select 10-15 blogs who you think deserve this award.

When I went through my list of blogs I came up with 25 blogs that I thought deserve some recognition, but only 15 of them will be mentioned here today. In no particular order:
Trebian's Wargaming for Grownups

Eponymous The Welsham Writes blog

Steven Satak's The Battletech Reader

Robin Filton 's Gruntz

The eponymous Mistress of Minis blog

Steve Blease's Bleaseworld 

Mark Kinsey's Daddy's Little Men

Brian O'Leary's Irishserb's Miniatures Adventure

Donogh McCarthy's Land War in Asia

Dan Eastwood's Giant Battling Robots;

Ben Rome's One World at a Time

Reinwood's CBT Workbench

Sydney Roundwood's Roundwood's World

Jon Yuengling's Lebanon 1982

Dan Dunbar's Gunner's Wargaming
4: Contact these bloggers and let them know about the award.

Wednesday 20 April 2011

From Abstract to Generic Trees

Back in my very first blog I posted I was painting some trees up for wargaming with. Here I am still painting trees, but after making what I called the "hero" trees for my Newten Town boards I'm no longer enthused by my earlier efforts.

The trees on the above photograph now look very unsatisfactory to my eyes. I call them the abstract trees, because they are simple geometric tree like shapes, which are in no way representative of what a real tree looks like.

As a modeller, who wargames, the modelling aspect of the hobby is as important, if not more important to me than the gaming aspect. Mostly because I don't get to play as regularly as I did when I was young (teenager and early twenties being my definition of young).

However, as I recounted previously the tree kits from Woodland Scenics come with a tacky-yucky glue that never quite sets. So I set my myself the task of finding an alternative glue that would grab the foam and secure it firmly. My hunch was that either matte gel medium, or Copydex latex glue would do the job, but which would be best?

First off I prepared forty Woodland Scenic tree armatures, just following the instructions in the packet i.e: remove tree base from tree armature, twist branches until you have a pleasing tree shape. Simple really. Above you can see the first twenty armatures ready to go.

Then I a tried the Copydex. Didn't like the brush that the container supplies, and it all felt a bit sloppy. Rather than just brush the glue on and dip into a bag of foam, instead I chose foam chunks and pushed them onto the armature one-by-one.

I repeated the task with the next twenty trees using matte gel. Again I chose to push on suitable chunks of foam onto the armature at random. To me it felt easier to apply the matte gel, probably because I got to use a brush of my choice. However, the matte gel wasn't as "grabby" as the Copydex, but overall it all felt marginally easier to apply.

However, after allowing both sets of trees to dry overnight, I did my my twizzle test (take tree and hold upside down as you rotate the tree rapidly between fingers), which showed loose foam coming off the trees. Not catastrophic amounts, but enough that I thought a coat of matte medium would help pull all the foam together on the armatures and make the trees stiffer, and therefore easier to paint.

As the above picture shows while brushing on the matte medium yet more foam fell off.

I kept the results for each tree set, and on the left is the foam that fell off the matte gel trees, while on the right is the foam that fell off the trees that I used Copydex to glue the foam on with. Clearly the Copydex is the overall winner for the task of attaching the foam to the tree armatures, because it grabs better, less falls off when twizzling, and one can brush on extra matte medium gel with minimum foam loss from being tugged at by the brush while doing so.

Palm trees next...

Monday 18 April 2011

Salute 2011: ExCel Centre

Another year, another Salute. I'm sufficiently old enough to remember Salute as being a lot smaller big show rather than the ginormous big show that it has grown into today. I had my advanced ticket and was going to go around the show with Trevor and his son Oliver, but sadly Oliver was too ill to come. Arrived nice and early and stood in the queue, and passed the time chatting to Trevor, looking through the goody bag and shooting the breeze. As always the queue was long and winding, but once the doors opened everything moved along at a fair pace.

One of the things I noticed this year was that there was a dearth of MechWarrior stuff for sale, probably because I bought it all last year! For me a wargame show is a chance to look at the wares, buy stuff I want and catch up with friends on the fly. This year was no exception to the rule. Met up with Martin Buxton, a friend who I play airsoft with who gave me box of 10mm building he no longer wanted (Fieldwork's out of production building to boot too). We then bumped into Graham with his new girlfriend Allessa (I'm guessing on the spelling). Missed out on bumping into another couple of friends I know were going, but hey it's a big show with lots of people milling around.

I didn't buy a lot of things on impulse, largely because I had made a large pre-paid order with Fieldwork's for what turned out to be three carrier bags full of building. I was lucky in that I scored their last examples of some buildings that are no longer in production, which was well pleasing. I also added four more new buildings that were released at the show to my swag bag. Had a chat with them about the current plans on expanding the range and upcoming stuff. There was a very nice re-issue of the Stalingrad GUM building in 15mm, which has now been re-sculpted to be moulded in three sections. That should make production easier for them (BTW no pictures of the new stuff as of yet on their site, so ask them what's new?).

I also spoke to Dave at Caliver Books while he grabbed a quick bite to eat. Again, I've known Dave for more years than I care to remember as we were all part of the Southend wargaming fraternity back in the day. I queried Dave about the Minifigs 10mm Vietnam models and he very helpfully confirmed that they are available to order via the website under the 12mm Modern banner. Doh! Well it's almost needless to say that I ordered Huey Hogs and Cobras when I got home. No excuse now, I've committed myself to Vietnam whole hog... gotta play Charlie Don't Surf don't cha know?

Said hello to Jon and Mel and the rest of the gang at the GZG stand, and then bumped into Alex Stewart (aka Sandy Mitchell), one of my oldest Southend friends who was relieved not to be signing books, and therefore able to get out for a bite to eat and a drink. He had brought Hesta, his daughter along, who also plays, though I must admit I hardly recognised her as she has grown so much in the last two years. It's good to see youngsters being exposed to the hobby though. I've promised to teach her how to paint next time we visit.

Bought some decals, from the QRF stand, for French tank markings (not actually going to be used on French tanks per se, rather on my SF French Foreign legion force instead), and three cans of the new spray weathering dies from another stand we passed. Also bought the latest issues of Battlegames and the relaunched Wargames Soldiers & Strategy. Then it was off to see the TooFat Lardies and play in a game of Terrible Sharp Sword, which is the ACW supplement for Sharp's Practice.

Rich Clark umpired the game, which introduced me to the underlying game mechanisms and and how they are used to play the game. I'll admit that I'm not an American Civil War fan. To sum up some very complex arguments into a pithy one liner: No tanks, No thanks.

Anyhow, I got to handle Lt. Justice T. Lovetrain's force who had been tasked to escort the lovely Confederate spy Miss Angel Delight off the field and to safety. Actually, I imagined myself as playing Miss Angel Delight whose job at hand was to give a tug in the right direction to Lt. Justice T. Lovetrain, and so achieve the victory conditions by escaping the clutches of the Damn Yankees who wanted to subvert the rights of citizens to be ruled by laws of their State, by imposing Federal control, thereby increasing taxes and lowering property values by undermining free trade and democracy... all said in my best Alabama accent of course.

The game was well, nay over subscribed with players, and rattled along at a reasonable pace. It was clear to me that the Yankee players were really into the whole deploy the troops and shoot at things, to the extent that that they actually fired at Miss Angel Delight's escort party. Falling back into my Alabama accent, they were clearly not gentlemen, and fools to boot, as their victory conditions were to capture Miss Angel Delight alive. Seriously though, the card turn sequence was interesting and I learnt some new ideas about how to play games, which I will now steal for my Mummerset campaign.

One observation I will make though. If this game is indicative of TooFat Lardies rulesets in general then I'm not surprised that Rich is finding it hard to get the right sort of reviews in the wargame magasine, as to my way of seeing things what I played was very much a role-playing skirmish game. It reminded me of the original D&D Chainmail, except the TFL books are better written, better produced and the game flows better too, but the look and feel is more RPG skirmish than traditional wargame. I also see that Rich has released Platoon Forward as a mini RPG campaign supplement. Perhaps he might consider doing a core mechanisms rule book and then period add on rules and market them as RPG skirmish rulesets?

After all this fun and excitement I was fair tuckered out by all the walking around and went home before the rush. Another year, another Salute, and I salute all those who made  this show such a good time for one and all.

Thursday 14 April 2011

Trees 'Undreds of 'Em...


To misquote Sir Michael Caine I have hundreds of the things to make and paint, as can be seen in the picture above (just shy of 700 in fact, with 340 palm trees recently added to the pile). Above is a picture of some Woodland Scenics trees from their starter tree pack that I bought to try out. In the background of the picture are some Hornby tree armatures I got in a sale, which I have painted with texture paste so as to hide the the shape of the twisted wire armatures.

Initially I was quite impressed by the Woodland Scenics tree system, as the glue dries clear just as described, and is jolly good at picking up the clumped material provided in the pack. However, the next day I was less than impressed, because the tacky glue never quite dries and remains tacky, and yucky to handle.

For trees on a diorama, or for a train layout these would not be too bad. For a wargaming board where things have to be reasonably robust to stand up to handling, not so good as the trees will tend to stick to one's fingers and hands. 

Huhm I thought, I know let's coat them in some matte medium. Bad move, do not repeat my mistake. Tacky-yucky glue will absorb water from the matte medium and lose its tackyness, resulting in virtually all the clumps of foliage falling off. Oh dear, it was going to be one of those days, you know the ones that are rich in learning opportunities.

So, I re-glued them and thought I will spray varnish on the trees to seal the glue and then I can paint them. Unfortunately, the foliage is not what I would call robust. As I dry brushed the trees the foliage wobbled and feels very unstable; as in the foliage is going to drop off again. Plan C is to dip, or bush good old matte medium all over the foliage, which will cause it all to go rather rigid. This is a good thing for a tree that will be used for wargaming.

More as I progress into the forest's dark heart...

Friday 8 April 2011

Mummerset 03.27.11 Part 3: Battle of Elizabethville AAR

The battle of Elizabethville was the second BattleTech game of the Mummerset campaign.

OPFOR Force Composition

Trevor was again the commanding the OPFOR with me as GM for this second game of the day. 

Trevor's force this time had four battlemechs, two jump infantry platoons, two standard infantry platoons, two mechanised infantry platoons (represented with mono-wheeled gyro bikes), and one power armour platoon, four towed artillery pieces and an armoured car,  to deploy as he saw fit.

Urban Mech UM-R70P  custom modified 3062 Inner Sphere tech tech worth 741 bv (move 2-3-2, armour 99 points, and 11 single heat sinks). Loadout 1 x Rotary AC5, 1 x ER medium laser, and 1 x ER small laser.

Rifleman RFL-PAC custom modified 3025 Inner Sphere tech worth 708 bv (move 4-6-0, armour 72  points, and 10 single heat sinks). Loadout 4 x Ultra AC2s.

ConstructionMech MOD-P custom modified 3132 industrial tech worth 332 bv (3-5-0, armour 48 points, and 1 single heat sink). Loadout 1 x SRM6, and 2 x lift hoists.

ConstructionMech MOD-P2 custom modified 3132 industrial tech worth 368 bv (3-5-0, armour 64 points, and 1 single heat sink). Loadout 1 x Light AC2, and 2 x lift hoists.

However, both the industrial mechs were played as notional mechs, as I hadn't remembered to print them out, but could remember roughly what their stats were (very roughly as I remembered the weapons wrong, and they were played as if one had an LRM5 and the other as an AC5, oops).

Force Anvil Composition

Clive was in nominally in command command of force Anvil, being the pilot of the Commando, while Susan piloted the Scorpion, and this time Dan controlled the four battle armour squads.

Commando 2C XP custom modified 3132 Clan tech worth 1067 bv (move 6-9-0, armour 86 points, and 10 double heat sinks). Loadout 2 x ER medium lasers, 1 x Streak SRM4, 1 x (Streak) LRM5, 1 x ER small laser, and (1 targeting computer). See notes in italic.

Scorpion 2C XP custom modified 3132 Clan tech worth 1763 bv (move 6-9-0, armour 192 points, and 10 double heat sinks). Loadout 1 x ER large lasers, 1 x ER medium laser, 1 x LRM5, 2 x  SRM2, and 1 targeting computer.

The battle armour was two squad each of five Grey Death Scouts, and five Grey Death heavy suits. Dan also had the use of the Northern Lights infantry security platoon, which was deployed before the dropship left to go back and pick up force Anvil from Cromwell.

Initial Deployment

Trevor's orders were again to not lose his mechs, and as this was his second game he had quickly cottoned on to the fact that while he had a lot of stuff that looked very impressive as it swept onto the the battlefield,  it was stuff that would in all likelihood die once engaged in combat.

Force Anvil moved to engage hostile forces that were heading towards the barracks of the the 3rd Royal Mummerset Guards where the dropship Northern Lights had landed them so that they could relieve Force Forge, which was under attack from rebel forces outside the palace at Elizabethville.  As they moved out from the camp they came under immediate fire from hostile forces.

The picture shows the game at the end of turn five.

The players had deployed the Scorpion in the center, which meant that it dominated the main thoroughfare and slowed down the enemy advance.

The Urban mech was the first mech destroyed, after the Scorpion's second round of fire had hit with devastating effect with the right arm being blown off after the right torso was completely vaporized, which resulted in the Urban mech pilot ejecting.

Meanwhile one industrial mech on the players left flank had been rendered hors de combat by the Commando, after some dilly-dallying around that had caused the Commando 15 points of damage total, with a five point hit to the head. 
After beating the industrial mech to a pulp the Commando then swept up the left hand side to flank the remaining industrial mech.

Then the Scorpion went on to punch holes in the Rifleman, which then failed its piloting roll and promptly fell over causing more damage to itself. 
Unfortunately, for Susan, her Scorpion suffered a golden bb hit when Trevor rolled a double six on the critical hits tale after rolling a double one for the hit location. Fortunately, Susan's Scorpion only took two engine hits and one gyro hit from this event, otherwise her mech would have also been rendered hors de combat.

As can be seen from the above picture, placing the Scorpion on the central thoroughfare meant that Trevor's rebel force had to divide into two and come down both flanks. Well it didn't have to divide, but after the first round of fire hit the Urban mech to devastating effect, the rest of his forces strangely enough moved out of the Scorpion's line-of-sight.

During the mech part of the battle, Dan's battle armour and one infantry platoon had managed to roll up the rebel infantry platoons that they encountered, including ripping the armoured car to pieces with a close assault by a battle armour squad.
Unfortunately, Dan's battle armour got a bit of a licking too, losing a total of four heavy and two light battle armour suits.

With the Scorpion severely damaged the players didn't fancy pursuing the enemy who had started to withdraw at this point. The game was called, with me as GM again declaring a Steiner victory as the purpose of the battle was to send the enemy dropship packing and identify the existence of hostile mechs. 
Seriously, this was a bloodbath with droves of rebel infantry being killed and downed mechs and the loss of the armoured car meaning that they would not to be able to effectively take control of the the 3rd Royal Guards barracks and armoury.

Notes in Italics

Clive was to say the least really unlucky with his die rolls throughout this game, which caused him a certain amount of frustration to say the least. So I decided to retcon his mech stats slightly, hence the italics. 
I've changed out his Streak LRM launcher for a targeting computer as on the whole this will make hitting things generally easier. The in game rationale will be that when servicing his mech after the battle the technicians discovered that the computer programme controlling the mech had the wrong software for the actual hardware the mech was fitted with (though how no-one noticed this until now is another matter, I guess wrongly labeled parts?).

Just realised this is my 100th post. Permission to cheer loudly!


Mummerset 03.27.11 Part 2: Battle of Cromwell AAR

The battle of Cromwell was the first BattleTech game of the Mummerset campaign.

OPFOR Force Composition

Trevor commanded the OPFOR with me as GM for this his first game of BattleTech. Trevor's force consisted of two battlemechs, one jump and one standard infantry platoon's, and four towed AC5 artillery pieces to deploy as he saw fit. He also had four smoke barrages from eight pre-registered artillery pieces that he could call upon.

Urban Mech 2C P custom modified 3132 Clan tech worth 1105 bv (move 3-5-3, armour 96 points, and 10 double heat sinks). Loadout 1 x Ultra AC10, 2 x ER medium lasers, and 2 x ER small lasers.

Jagermech JM6-P custom modified 3132 Inner Sphere tech worth 1230 bv (move 4-6-0, armour 128   points, and 10 double heat sinks). Loadout 2 x Ultra AC2s, 1 x LRM15,  2 x ER medium lasers, and 2 x ER small lasers.

Force Anvil Composition

Dan was nominally in command command of force Anvil, being the pilot of the Zeus, Susan notionally controlled the off board artillery battery (she wanted to watch and learn), while Clive controlled the two battle armour squads.

Zeus 2C XP custom modified 3132 Clan tech worth 2973 bv (move 4-6-4, armour 240  points, and 16 double heat sinks). Loadout 1 x ER PPC, 1 x LRM20 (with Artemis), 3 x ER medium lasers, 4 x ER small lasers, and 1 targeting computer.

The battle armour was one squad each  of five Grey Death Scouts, and five Grey Death heavy suits.

Both the four GEVs and four self-propelled artillery pieces had notional stats, as the models were effectively off board throughout the game. Therefore the GEV missile carriers were treated as LRM20 launchers, while the self-propelled guns were Thumper artillery pieces (the smallest artillery caliber in BattleTech).

Inital Deployment

Trevor's orders were to not lose his mechs, and the players wanted to nail the Urban mech. 

Force Anvil entered the outskirts of the abandoned city of Cromwell and came under immediate fire from hostile forces that were hidden in various buildings. Dan strode the Zeus down the centre road giving fire support to his battle armour squads and destroying the enemy AC5 towed field artillery units.

The above picture shows the game at the end of turn three, and we can see the Urban mech retreating after one round of fire had hit it to devastating effect.

Both sides offboard artillery barrages have been resolved and the Jagermech has decided it will leave the area under cover of the smoke barrage having done nothing more than threatening the VTOLS, which the players could not afford to lose therefore effectively denying them of the chance to do a coupe de main.

During the mech part of the battle, Clive's battle armour rolled over the rebel infantry platoons that they encountered, but lost a total of one heavy and one light battle armour suits while doing so. As he noted this may appear to be light casualties, but they are inherently not replaceable.

Trevor effectively lost three quarters of his infantry platoons and towed AC5 artillery pieces, there not being much left to extract after the barrages hit home.

Things have been difficult recently after my mother-in-law became ill and died last Friday, hence the delay in posting these AARs to the blog. Things may be a little slow for a while until after the funeral. 

Friday 1 April 2011

Mummerset 03.27.11 Part 1

We met for our third Operation Sandbox planning session, which is set on the planet of Mummerset. 

The kick off for the actual miniatures on the table part of the day was delayed by three hours due to the need to prevent an Ikea shelving system from collapsing, and the need to feed ourselves at the end of this time. Fortunately, we had a new player turn up to join the game, Trevor, and this meant that I was able to fill him in on some of the background, with help from Clive, Dan, and Susan.

To recap the end of the last session we were left with the team about to go on high alert for one week, with part of the forces aboard their orbiting dropship the Northern Lights. 

 I used the power of GM fiat to rewind some time and revisit the preparations, and therefore add Trevor's character into the fabric of the campaign. Trevor got to play one of the NPCs that they had met at the May Ball during the last session; playing Colonel William Whales of the 3rd Royal Mummerset Regiment of Guards. 

This put Clive on edge who thought I was being trés evil by setting the team up with an informant to spill their plans etc., which turned out not be the case. 

My evil plans for the players are far more involved than simple stoogery.

However, Trevor did get to play the OPFOR, being the commander for what turned out to be two separate actions that would occur that day on Mummerset, playing two people who's call signs were "Billy Bob", and "Little Bill."

So the game kicked off at beginning of week 30 of the campaign, with a total of 12 weeks spent so far on the planet of Mummerset. 

Before the dropship went into the planned geostationary orbit the players were all briefed as to the current situation in Mummerset society from Queen Elizabeth "Bess" Burlington being admitted to Elizabethville Royal Infirmary after suffering what appeared to be a stroke in her frontal temporal lobe. 

The Royal Household official report is that she is in a stable, but critical condition, requiring surgical intervention. As a result of this illness H.R.H. Prince Albert Burlington heir to the throne was to be invested as King, having the full support of General Sir Thomas Briton who had been the Queen's biggest supporter during her rule.

After the faff of working through those details, we then went onto Captain Heidenheim's briefing on the possible landing paths the unknown dropship might take when landing on Mummerset; these boiled down to either a pro-grade, retrograde, or Polar orbit re-entry. 

The lack of aerospace assets available for the battalion rather limited the tactical options for the players. 

Fortunately, for the players, Trevor's 3rd Royal Mummerset Regiment of Guards allowed their plan to be refined and give them a backstop positions for worst case scenarios, and this force was given the operational name of Forge (to go with the theme of Hammer, Anvil and Tongs).

The game then kicked off with the detection of the arrival of a jump ship at the pirate drop point, which was detected at approximately 18:00 local time, just as the sun was setting and Mummerset was going into night. 

With the Northern Lights dropship running dark in geostationary orbit, allowing the players to know the position of the enemy drop ship (from its engine flare), and Captain Heidenheim's crew were able to calculate that it would take 6 hours for the unknown dropship to enter Mummerset's atmosphere.

The tension was palpable as the final re-entry path of the unknown ship was revealed and the landing site it was heading for, which I think came as a surprise to the players. 

And yes, the location did create a conundrum for them as though they had planned for a ship to land and mechs not necessarily to come from it, the time and place created operational difficulties from having to transport part of their force by air to the landing site, which caused hours of delay. 

Hours that the crew of the dropship then had to unload whatever they had brought with them to the planet, and load whatever they were going to ship out with them in exchange.

The Scenario

At 03:00 Mummerset time the unknown dropship was detected entering the atmosphere of the planet using a Polar projectory, coming in over the North Polar region and setting down at the abandoned city of Cromwell, which use to be the major metropolis of Mummerset before the fall of the Star League. 

The dropship used the old airport facilities at Cromwell to land on, which of course hides the obvious disruption to the ground that would be cause had it landed in the open countryside.

The re-entry route meant that the Northern Lights could not do a simple drop descent onto the unknown's landing sight as it would be easily detected as it effectively spiraled down from geostationary orbit. The players had hoped that they could initiate a burn that would coincide with the other ships communication blackout during re-entry, but it was not to be. 

This of course meant that in all probability the other dropship would blast-off before the Northern Lights could land.

The players then discussed how to get the air transported elements of their force to Cromwell and how long this would take? They had five distinct elements to plan for. The first four were the scout helicopter squads that they had used to set up observation posts at likely routes the enemy could take to make a raid. 

This element of their forces were called Red Rovers

The first Red Rover chopper team would reach the outskirts of Cromwell by 06:15, with the second arriving an hour later. These would be the only units of the Red Rover elements that would play an effective part in the upcoming action.

Force Anvil (the airmobile element with the Zeus and four missile GEVs and two battle armour squads being transported by VTOLs and a heavy lift chopper), would arrive on the outskirts of Cromwell at 08:45. Following this rendezvous the Red Rovers were tasked with proceeding to the dropship landing site, in advance of force Anvil arrival to recon the site.

It took the the Red Rover team 45 minutes to traverse to the landing zone and spot the dropship where they came under fire from an unknown mech that had been hiding in the city at 09:15. One team landed their infantry on top of a building to act as observers and then the choppers withdrew to await the arrival of force Anvil

At 10:00 the Northern Lights lit up and descended from geostationary orbit arriving near force Anvil so as to combine the force Hammer assets (the Crusader and Scorpion mechs, four self propelled artillery pieces, four battle armour squads, and one infantry platoon) for the upcoming battle of Cromwell.

After coming out of re-entry blackout, the Northern Lights picked up a newsflash over the Mummerset broadcasting systems announcing that at 10:15 the motorcade transporting H.R.H Albert Burlington, along with General Sir Thomas Briton had been blown up by terrorist insurgents with both of them reported killed in the explosion. 

This put the cat amongst the pidgeons. 

Northern Lights lands at Cromwell at 10:27, and as predicted the unknown dropship (identified as a Manatee Class ballistic dropship as it left Mummerset) by the crew of the Northern Lights had lifted off taking advantage of the Northern Lights being in communication blackout during re-entry.

At this point the players decided that they would go ahead with unloading the self-propelled guns, but that they would take the Northern Lights up to Elizabethville, where a battle had started between the terrorist insurgents who were attacking the royal palace defended by Colonel Whales's 3rd Royal Mummerset Guards. 

It was felt that the arrival of the Northern Lights and two mechs would be a force multiplier in what was seen as the decisive engagement of the day (as the GM I was surprised by this decision, which would come back to haunt the players later).

So the Northern Lights carrying a reduced in size force Hammer took off at 10:30 and flew to Elizabethville to help Forge force under the command of Colonel Whales, while the reinforced force Anvil maneuvered towards the now vacated dropship landing site with the intent to engage with the enemy mech that had fired at the Red Rover scout choppers.

A Mission up the River


Well here are some pictures of my progress towards making some more terrain boards to add to my collection, and it this case building upon my experience I gained from building the first two lots. My first attempt at building terrain boards and the resulting tutorial/diary that I posted about building the boards can be found here.

 As you can see, even back then in 2008 I was keen on making a riverine delta terrain board. While what I did was good, it has some limitations due to my assumptions about what I thought would work size wise for a river suitable figures between 6 and 15mm.

Also, as my skill increased from the the experience  so my techniques evolved from the process of working of building 39 boards, and my most recent tutorial can be seen here. However, since then I have acquired some new tools, which have had a considerable impact on how I constructing the new set of boards.

These have to be the best foam cutting tools I've bought. Previous wire cutters being rather Heath Ronbinsonish affairs where the wire would break, and the power source required obscure battery sizes to run the tool. These one's from the Foam Factory actually work, doing exactly what they say on the packet. Not cheap though.

So above is the first stage of cutting the contour shapes for some hills that I wanted to add to the existing set I have, and give my terrain more flexibility in how I could lay it out. And below is how they looked after I had sculpted the contours using my new tools

As you can hopefully see from this I no longer have stepped contours that need to be filled with filler to get a smooth transition and slope for the models to stand on. Less filler means lighter boards that are still strong enough to stand on, if necessary.

Finally, I started work on my riverine delta expansion set. As can be seen the rivers are much wider, nearly the full width of the boards in fact, but I've been able to sculpt some transition pieces that will allow these to be used with my original river boards too.

Obviously, still quite a way to go with these as I need to add texture with filler over the top of the foam contours I've sculpted. I also plan to spray them first before adding the filler to prevent the warping that occurred to my series one boards when I first started building terrain three years ago. This trick I discovered by a process of trial and error after spraying  some town boards and noticing that they didn't warp. Spray car primer prevents kappa board from warping when wet.

So Vietnam riverine warfare here I come...