Thursday 27 December 2018

Newten Town Phase 3 WIP

To say it has been a while since I last touched these is an understatement. Checking back I see I started on these boards two years ago, put them to one side and forgot all about finishing them. Over the last few days I got them out and did a bit more work on four of the six boards I made up.

If you clicked on the link above you can see what a difference adding the filler has made. I bought brown wood filler as an experiment to see as and when the terrain takes a knock whether it helps with reducing white chips. 

I put two of the boards into storage because they were duplicates, and while in the greater scheme of things this probably doesn't matter, I don't feel any urgency to duplicate boards. This is very much me trying to get back into doing some hobby stuff, and anything that gets in the way is moved aside.

What I really want is enough town boards to fill my table and run a game of Heavy Gear. This may be a vain hope, but again I want to remove any excuses that might prevent me from playing a game or two. As they say, one lives in hope.

As a note. these are 10mm scale building from the now defunct Fieldworks range of resin buildings. However, in my considered opinion or perhaps experience, I find that they work with 15mm figures too.

So the next step is to add Woodland Scenic ground foam.

Monday 24 December 2018

Merry Xmas 2018


Having done the food shopping and wrapped presents my plans, if they can be called such are to read and perhaps do some therapeutic model making. I might even get around to applying some paint to those that are assembled.

So now it is time for me to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas.

Friday 9 November 2018

Ghost Dog Available in Paperback


Forgive me splurging duplicate posts on both blogs, but see physical copies of my book is still a thing.

Thursday 1 November 2018

A Hiatus

I'm currently not very well. When my rheumatoid arthritis nurse told me I was being too hard on myself I realised I was going around in circles beating myself up for not doing enough, when the truth be told if I were in a full-time job I'd be signed off sick.

So there will be a short hiatus while I let all the medication I'm taking do its job. In the meantime here's a shot of me shooting an arrow.

An observation from shooting longbow is that I learnt that "yards" back in the day when bows were a weapon of war, rather than a hobby a person can enjoy at ones leisure, was shorter than an imperial yard, which we all know is 36 inches. Cloth yards were shorter, 30 inches, and therefore when the range of a bow is listed as 240 yards the modern equivalent is 180 yards.

With my 32 pound bow I can shoot out to around 120 imperial yards, which is 140 cloth yards.

So now I'm wondering if all those ancient wargame rules took this change of measurement into account? And who says wargaming isn't a useful hobby, as clearly I've learnt something new.

Thursday 18 October 2018

Models for Three Covers


These are the model reference pictures I sent to the artist who drew my covers. Above is the model that he used for Bad Dog.

Above is the picture I sent for the cover of Strike Dog. And below is the picture I shot in response to seeing the cover for Ghost Dog.


Wednesday 10 October 2018

Ghost Dog – Out Now!


Story Summary

Newly promoted to the rank of Captain, Tachikoma will now lead another off-world mission. This time to retrieve advanced alien technology. 
The problem is that her team will have to travel to a planet where the pillars only open once every six months. The timing for their return is crucial to the success of the operation. 
Waiting for them is an unforeseen destiny. Can Tachikoma return all her people alive along with alien technology that will change the world? 
Cutting-edge scientific theories underpin the mystery that drive this thrilling military SF roller-coaster ride.


Testimonials for Bad Dog

“This story is great, with a very firm grasp of the Marine Corps lifestyle.”

– Sgt D. Barrow, USMC
"High concept, high calibre character-driven Mil-SF. Compulsively readable."

– Alex Stewart aka Sandy Mitchell author of the Ciaphas Cain series

Buy This Book

Monday 1 October 2018

The Badlands Assemble

The Badlands Assemble doesn't quite have the same ring to it as The Avengers Assemble, but I've had these sitting in a box ever since the original Heavy Gear KickStarter arrived, which was two years ago.

Doesn't time fly. 

I've been feeling a bit out of sorts, because the side-effects of my medication is a bit rough, which is why I missed last weeks post. 

I felt I needed to do something to cheer me up that wouldn't get bogged down if fiddly details. So I got these models out of the box and cleaned them to get the grease off. I find windscreen wash, which has isopropyl alcohol and a wetting agent, is good for this. 

Anyway, this was about the limit of what I could manage.

Monday 17 September 2018

CASE-2X-M: Mod 2 Backpack Corpsman Variant WIP

The claw arms are magnetized and not only move, but are also swappable.

And as you can see from the above picture I've finished assembling a new Dog. This one is meant for Corpsmen to ride in.

I side stepped the whole Corpsman issue in Bad Dog by the simple expedient of having the company deploy from a CSN Hornet, part of a MEU. In Strike Dog and Ghost Dog my Corpsman character Keith deploys in a MARPACE power armour suit.

However, the next Tachikoma novel, Red Dogs, the story really requires the Corpsman to be part of a combat armour squad.

After talking to a real life Corpsman, you know who you are, I was informed that Corpsmen go off and do special forces stuff that makes them suited for special operations. How could I resist? So after some fiddling around with magnets I made this new Dog.


My thoughts behind the CASE-2X-M: Mod 2 are that it's a engineering variant optimized for medical interventions. Hence the claw arms for opening up damaged Dogs to remove their occupants.

Arms swapped over into the stowed position. And I need to unbend that gun part.
This also of course means I have the option on now building a CASE-2X-E: Mod 2 engineering variant. Oh the burden of having ideas.

But before I build that I actually have to build a CAS-1-Mod 3E Ape combat armour engineers suit, which will feature in my next Gate Walker series story: Two Moons. All fun to do. Just have to get some more parts together. I see an order with Dream Pod 9 in my future.

Monday 10 September 2018

Human Operator Surrogates


I'm been doing some priming. It's easy to do, and doesn't hurt my wrists too much.

Back here I painted up some Dream Pod 9 GRELs to use as HOS (Human Operator Surrogates). They never quite rocked my boat for a number of reasons: they were all left-handed, with only two poses I could use. So, I decided to see if these NuCoal infantry would work as androids?

There are more poses, which floats my boat. Right handed, which is good. Just not sure if they are bulky enough?

Still noodling about whether or not they work for me. I stood them next to my super heavy tank conversion to see how they look. Seems promising.

Monday 3 September 2018

ABC Warriors


I found that I had these figures in my stash of shame. They're all lead castings, so they were looking a little sorry for themselves as they had darkened with age. I decided that something had to be done to prevent them from deteriorating further.


A thorough going over with a glass fiber scratching brush cleaned them up, and in one of my rare spurts of enthusiasm I ended up priming them with mat white Humbrol enamel. My go to primer for metal miniatures.

I no longer remember who made these, and there was no identifying mark on their bases, which is not that surprising given that I doubt they were licensed replicas.

That's not really Ro-Jaws, it's a generic droid from some other range that I had hanging around.

My plan is to paint them in green and red to match the comic. But first I will need to do the black for the shadows.

Wednesday 29 August 2018

CAS-1-Mod 3 Third Model

As those of you who follow my writing blog will know I've had a bit of a setback with my rheumatoid arthritis, which has meant going back on medication. This has discombobulated me considerably. I've not felt like doing anything much.


Even when I did feel like making something, my hands would tell me otherwise. Good news is that things are slowly improving.


As you can see, I managed to get the third of my Special Forces team Ape combat armour suit completed. Not only that I had a spurt of enthusiasm and got the primer out too.

Wednesday 1 August 2018

CAS-3-Mod 1C

This is the command variant of Army Ape combat armour suit. Yes, I am that obsessive about building all the different variants of the combat armour suits that appear in my novels. What can I say?


Above shows the rear, while the picture below shows a side view of the main armament, which in this case is meant to be a Browning fifty cal.

I'm still working on the third version of this suit.

Tuesday 24 July 2018

Espera's Ape Suit WIP

Finally got around to finishing off the conversion for the recoilless rifle for Espera's CAS-3-Mod 1 Ape combat armour suit. The delay being down to Real Life stuff, some of it health related that just got in the way of doing stuff.

Side view above, and rear view showing the inverted Heavy Gear engine packs.

Still the most pleasing part of this conversion is the M134 minigun on the arm. Labour of love to make that. Now all I have to do now is repaint the model. Easier said than done.

Friday 13 July 2018

Back From Hols

Interesting map seen at a brocante (boot sale), which caught my eye.

We were lucky again to be invited to visit our friends in the south of France. And I can only say how grateful we were for their generosity in putting us up and taking us out for meals. We had a lovely time.

Temperature ran up to 36 degree centigrade, which for my American friends translates to 96.8 in Fahrenheit. So for many of my friends in America, a tad cool. But for a British Rose, hot enough. We swam in the swimming pool, which was the maximum extent of any exercise.

And at the same brocante I saw this old tinplate Hornby train set. Who would've thought.

Tuesday 26 June 2018

Summer Sun

Too hot to paint or build models in my spare time, so I've been out shooting instead.

In my imagination, I see myself riding through the glen, wind blowing through my hair, shooting arrows. If only. Mostly melting into a puddle or when indoors, huddling next to the aircon.

Anyway, enjoy the heatwave while it's here. This being Britain, it probably won't last.

Tuesday 12 June 2018

CAS-3-Mod 1 Ape Suits WIP

Work in Progress: left to right: third attempt at making Espera's recoilless rifle, next is McAdams's command variant, and though I went with a different weapon, this is a Nguyen's Ape combat armour suit (see below for more info).

CASDA 5136, Combat Armor Suit Detachment Alpha, is my Green Beret Special Forces unit that appears in my second novel Strike Dog. As I was writing this piece up, I realized when I described CASDA 5136 in the book, that I had created a force that was doctrinally different to my Marine Corps 1st Combat Armor Suit Reconnaissance Company.

I was just writing a cool action sequence for a character in a combat armour suit. But on reflection, it's clear to see that by describing the weapon loadouts I created a force that was functionally different to the one I described in Bad Dog.

That is what I would call, creatively serendipitous.

Anyway, I've been looking at my Ape suits (acronym for: Autonomous Pilot Expert-system) and in particular Sgt. Espera's weapon loadout. In Strike Dog I describe him having a recoilless rifle, but my first attempt at instantiating one was less than satisfactory, and I rebuilt it using the parts I had for the Marine gauss rifle. Comparisons of both can be seen here.

Hence this new build. I still have to do some further work involving Milliput, but I'm liking the shape and feel.

I have parts for three more Army Apes tucked away, so my plan is to make half of CASDA 5136. The other six mechs would be identical, as in carrying the same sort of loadouts. My thoughts being that each half of the detachment was a mirror of the other. Like this.

Combat Armor Suit Detachment Alpha 5136
Captain Anthony Downey, detachment commander
Master Sergeant Campbell, operations and team sergeant
Staff Sergeant Morales, combat engineer
Sergeant Mary Lewis, communications
Sergeant Schmidt, medical
Sergeant First Class Frank Radoslovich, weapons

Chief Warrant Officer 1 Andrew McAdams, assistant detachment commander
Sergeant First Class Thomas Nguyen, assistant operations and intelligence
Staff Sergeant Julia King, combat engineer
Sergeant Miguel Sanchez, communications
Sergeant Daniel Robinson, medical
Staff Sergeant Juan Espera, weapons
So, Espera is the heavy weapons specialist, hence he carries the big recoilless rifle. Though a fat lot of good it does him, but to say more would be spoilers.

Monday 4 June 2018

Break Out – Now Available


I'm happy to announce that Break Out, the third story in The World Of Drei series is now available to buy on Amazon.

Defeated, Lieutenant Morozova and Sergeant Rozhkov get the chance to rest and recuperate. Refitted with state-of-the-art equipment they must be the eyes of a newly formed battle group. The point of the spear.

The third story of a future Russian civil war set in the World of Drei universe, "Break Out" delivers combat-grade military action revealing how human camaraderie grows in the face of terrifying adversity.

Buy This Book

If you've not yet read any of the stories in this series then all of The World of Drei stories can be found here.

Tuesday 29 May 2018

General Data Protection Regulation Notice

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Wednesday 23 May 2018

Reviews of Bad Dog

Please excuse the fact that I'm posting the latest review of Bad Dog from a 20 year Navy veteran. I felt honoured to have had this man take the time and effort to write something about my work. Thank you sir.

Good sci-fi read with one foot planted solidly in the real world

Ok, I'm not a professional book reviewer. If you are looking for a critique on the art of writing, move along. I'm just a reader, and a retired military member and all of my thoughts start from there.

Truthfully, it is a pretty good story. I think it reads a bit like a short story, which I can appreciate. Don't get me wrong, I like a good Lord of the Rings style epic as much as the next guy, but now and again I like something shorter and to the point. This book scratched that itch. I found it pretty compelling from start to finish, and I can't wait for the next book to come out in print (I think it is already out in electronic format, but I like paper). I love a good near-future story where things are just different enough to make your imagination kick into gear, but not so foreign that I'm sitting around thinking "What's a flingledorp and why on Earth is this one attached to the hangwopper of a flogtrud?" Look, I want to follow the story without too much confusion. Pollard succeeded for me. I'm a 20 year veteran of the Navy and I'll say that about 99% of all the jargon, personalities, and events feel dead on which really added to my enjoyment and the believability of the story. For those of you with less military experience, Pollard does include a nice glossary in the back of the book so you don't get lost in all the TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms... military loves them).

I don't know if I have any downsides to relay, but I'm pretty easy to please. I'm hoping there is more to come soon.

And here are some more reviews...

No gung-ho and serious SF Military reading

This the author first novel and I got totally absorbed from the first page to the end.

This is SF Military but don't expect finding super-uber soldiers or extraterrestrial advanced enemies fighting each other in remote galaxies, no "Starship Troopers" rehearsal at all. On the contrary, set in in the last quarter of the XXI century, the book provides a glimpse of what could be a very realistic progressive evolution of modern tactical warfare and weapons... in a geopolitical context that will also be familiar to the reader, where a reconfigured US (called "Confederated States" but not yet explained in the book what happened) is challenged by an increasingly assertive China in a remote region in Afghanistan.

The book focuses in a Marine recon unit and the pace of the action is truly good.

The atmosphere is very realistic thanks to the extensive and thorough(full) military research undertaken by the author that you can follow in her personal blog.

After I finished reading the novel, I really eager for more. Luckily a second part is very close to publication.

I can strongly recommend the book and if the sequels are as good as the initial work, I can see Ashley Pollard becoming a reference in this writing genre

Excellent book. A fresh view on near future power armor warfare. I felt that I was reading a good story and not the writer's opinions on how they live their own life, which is hard to find these days in any genre.

This book caught me pleasantly by surprise. I had settled into the near-future military action and begun to suspect that powered suits were the extent of the Science Fiction, but then it took off in a totally unexpected direction which I won't spoil for you. I ended up thoroughly gripped and unable to put it down until I knew how it played out. I love SF and it's great to find a new writer with ideas as well as genuinely good writing. I look forward to more.

Monday 21 May 2018

Heavy Gear Japan


Heavy Gear is big in Japan, which is like selling coal to Newcastle, given that Dream Pod 9s game was inspired by the VOTOMS show. Though modern Japanese mecha were  arguably inspired by Heinlein's Starship Troopers. And you know what, it's all good.

People who get uptight over cultural appropriation forget that cultural appropriation has led to such wonderful things like mecha, and of course the great British Indian curry tradition of Chicken Tikka Masala.

Anyway, I found this poster in Japanese for the game and just had to share. It's good to see that there's a growing community of modellers and players over there too.

Monday 14 May 2018

All Three of Tachikoma's CASE-2X Dogs

Here, at long last, is a shot of all three of the CASE-2X Dogs I've made to represent the variants that my heroine, Lara Atsuka Tachikoma, uses in my Gate Walker trilogy.

From left-to-right: The first when she was a sergeant in Bad Dog, riding inside a CASE-2X; the second in her Strike Dog officer combat armour CASE-2XC; and finally, "loaded for bear," in Ghost Dog in her CASE-2XC: Mod 2.

And, if you've read Bad Dog, and feel like doing so, I would like to point out that my novel is eligible for this years Dragon Awards.


Friday 11 May 2018

Arrowhead Miniatures


I ordered this Renault FT17 and accessory pack yesterday. It arrived today. Colour me impressed. Beautiful castings too.

Purpose of said purchase I hear you ask?

If truth be told, this is to be made up for size comparison shots with my mecha, because I like to keep things in perspective. The one thing that bugs me is the distortions made to vehicles for wargaming. It's my bugbear, I carry it with pride.

And just look at how cute the model is. Also, the accessory pack shows that in my heart I'm as much a wargame modeller as wargamer.

Thursday 10 May 2018

Panzer Jäger Mark One – PJM1-M1

Work in Progress: four innocent Sheridan and one AMX Takara tank models went into the making of this pile of parts.

I have a plan, given I made models for the combat armour suits in my novels, it stands to reason I will want to make a cybertank.

I want to get the idea across that my cybertanks are different from the one in Ogre/GEV universe. I presented a sketch here. The inspiration behind the design comes from the Soviet Obyekt 279, which I talked about here. All I've got to do now is put in the hours to turn a pile of parts into a representation of a Panzer Jäger Mark One.

How hard can it be?

Judging by all the pieces I've I've turned my donor models into, harder than I'd like. I've just moved onto the Miliput is my special friend when building up a tank hull's phase. I may be a while.

Thursday 3 May 2018

Chinese ZTZ-169C WIP

Work in Progress: Brass and stainless steel tubing barrel originally for a recoilless rifle I made up.

I was working on making up another CASE-2XC and made the barrel far too large. Having removed it I sat wondering what to do with it? I'd spent a bit of time cutting tubes and it seemed a shame to let it go to waste, so I put it on my Ral-Partha Demolisher tank, which I presented as an ongoing project back here.

Gribbly parts from my spares box, gunner from a Sheridan.

I then dressed the model up with bits and pieces from my parts box, and hey presto, one ZTC-169C ready to go to the paint shop.

So, even though progress has been slower than a snail race, I am managing to move models through the production line. Painting though remains a thing that I have to be in the right mood to do.

For size comparison next to a Takara 1/144th scale T95 Black Eagle.

Tuesday 24 April 2018

CASE-2XC: Mod 2 Backpack WIP

Work in Progress: not glued together, which is why the gun barrel is on the ground.

I'm in the process of making up a third variant of Tachikoma's Dog. This is based on the description of her combat armour in the Gate Walkers book three, Ghost Dog. I started the project knowing I wanted to add an over the shoulder mount.

This third Dog is "loaded for bear," mounting a large rifle, as well as sporting a rocket pack.

Work in Progress: showing barrel fabrication.

As you can see I took a backpack from a Stone Mason twin-set which I had bought a while ago from Dream Pod 9, when you could only get the Stone Mason in pairs. So, this leaves me short for making up the other model.

Look at this lovely, pity it was the wrong type of recoilless rifle.

I started to make up a recoilless rifle using a Dream Pod 9 part, called a very light field gun. I even added exhaust ports. I was feeling very pleased with the work, but thought the barrel was a tad long and needed shortening. Which I did.

However, I'd forgotten what I wrote in my novel, wrongly remembering I'd said she used a recoilless rifle, whereas in fact I wrote recoilless gauss rifle.

The gauss being the important part of the description.

There was some cursing. A gauss rifle is an entirely different beastie, and more to the point a design that I have already made on two previous occasions.

Moving on.

After discussions with Fritz, one of my specialist Beta readers, I realized I needed to think more about Corpsman Keith's role. As a result, I'm putting him in a Corpsman's combat armour suit , which will appear in book five; Dead Dogs (provisional title). So I've started to make up Marine Engineer combat armour suit, which I've teased elsewhere.

Before then though, I need to finish writing Two Moons, which has an Army engineering combat armour suit, which I'm also currently designing.

More will be revealed in due course.

NB: You can see how the models are used to inspire the cover art for my novels here.