Saturday, 31 December 2022

Happy New Year - 2023

Decals to do, but otherwise done.

And here we are. The end of another year. And here I am slipping in the last painted miniatures of 2022.

It has been a quiet year on the blog, for reasons. Those being the need to get my arse in gear and back to writing, which has not gone as well as I would like. Add to that ongoing health issues and here we are.

But, making and painting models have been good for my general well-being. So no grumbles.

I don't make resolutions as such, though I have some goals for next year. Namely get a working draft of Big Little Wars written. The current one is a mess, bloated, over written, and not working as it should to be a set of understandable rules.

That comes from having large aspirations to be the best rules I could write. Failure to deliver said rules being its own critique. But, I can learn from that, and remain hopeful I can pull the rules together.

After all, how hard can it be? Hard, but not impossible.

So, Happy New Year to one and all. Let's hope 2023 is better than the last three years.

Sunday, 25 December 2022

Seasonal Salutations

Posted a little later than I intended due to circumstances beyond my control. They say timing is everything, and this post illustrates this succinctly. Something about prior planning prevents poor performance.

This year is another low key Xmas.

Given the state of the world this seems to be a thing. The presents under the tree were all things we agreed on, at least in principle, that we both wanted to read or watch together.

That's all. Catch ya'll on the bounce.

Thursday, 8 December 2022

Acquisitions: All the Shiny WIll Be Mine!

Perhaps not all, but like most wargamers I have that tendency to buy new toys that catch my eye. As an old time grognard I know one thing, all that is new now will be unavailable sooner or later.

So buy it now. Buy More!

Okay, the Evil Dead aside, hey you gotta keep up with the asides, references, and plugs here. I ain't got time to explain it all.

Ongoing work. The Russian Walkers first picture and above, and repairs to broken bits and using the excess Milliput to convert a heavy missile pack for my American force's combat armor suits below.

 

And other acquisitions. After a year of waiting, I finally acquired some Grym power armor from Hasslefree Miniatures. Six bodies with only one repeat pose, which is nice.

And, and assortment of arms and accessories to go with.

The swords and axes will be replaced with proper ranged weapons or grenades, and I also plan to add flight packs, as these miniatures are meant to represent the Chinese FATS-Cs. 

But I may change my mind as they're a lot smaller than I expected. There again they will match nicely with the Dream Pod 9 Gears I have.

I don't know, I just make it up as I go along. That's all for now.

Catch you on the bounce.

Thursday, 24 November 2022

Mostly Done


And these are nearly done. Just need to put decals on, but as luck would have it (me forgetting to check), I've run low on the necessary duplicates of warning labels etc. So I had to put an order in for more decals from Shiny Games.

I've also finished three new jump-off points too (terrain that can also be objectives for the opposition to capture).

And finally, a GW paint pot holder. Printed by my beloved to prevent the pots from being easily tipped over.

And the decals and a couple of 'mistakes' arrived on Wednesday from Shiny Games (by mistakes, purchases I hadn't intended to buy, but the shiny called out to me. So, now it's time to start cutting out the decals to ready the mecha for the table.

That's it for now. Catch you all on the bounce.

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

Russian Walkers

Hard to believe, but it's all true, I started assembling these Heavy Gear walker back in 2016. They are suitable for both 10mm as large crewed mecha, and when used for 15mm games as smaller crewed mecha and robotic drones.

I drybrushed them first with off-white/light grey.

It's hard to see in these pictures but I've blocked in the grey on the undersides with GW Contrast Apothecary white (which is also a light grey). Then I applied brown on the sides, then green for the top surfaces.

I'm going for a simplified version of the scheme I did here.

These are meant to be what the Russian's use as combat armor in the Gate Walker universe. So I'll be using these as Russian Walkers for my Big Little Wars games. Makes sense, huh!

My intention is to paint up some power armor infantry to go along with these to make a playable army.

Tuesday, 15 November 2022

One Step Back

Woe is me. I varnished my current models yesterday, ready to apply the decals, and dropped them. Clumsiness of old age

Patience is a virtue, virtue is a grace. Grace had dirt upon her face.

So, I let the varnish dry before assessing what damage had been done. Examination of the miniature revealed a crack in one torso piece.

Lucky it was just the one model, but damnation, I didn't need this.

That'll learn me... I guess.

So superglue applied, now all I need to do is file the surface smooth and refinish. I may be some time...

Damn.

Wednesday, 9 November 2022

Big Little Wars: Asymmetrical Battles of Tomorrow 2

Here's the second post describing what makes this game different from all the other wargames out there. The near future setting of Big Little Wars is one where technology is unevenly distributed. A reflection of the current situation here on Earth, projected onto the future.

The Gate Walker stories are set in a universe where alien civilizations millions of years ahead of us exist.

In some sense, the setting hearkens back to the warfare between mismatched forces of the colonial period. Except now, the boot is now on the other foot.

The game's rules must allow battles between asymmetrical forces.

This is opposite to what most conventional science fiction wargames try to do. The biggest franchises rules are for competitions between two player. Battles between nominally equally balanced armies, facing each other to see who wins.

Instead, Big Little Wars aims to provide rules to make playing unbalanced battles fun.

The emphasis being on the need to play to a force's strengths to achieve the scenario goal. Games where it is possible for both players to win or lose. The outcome of games creating stories for the reasons the battles were fought.

I stole this idea from role-playing games.

So, one step to achieving this is to focus on command and control. I originally intended to label these as different tech levels.

However, feedback suggests this name conveys engineering and weapons, which it sort of does. And, that's not the whole story of how technological sophistication is a force multiplier. Rather, my thoughts are that technology improves the ability to command and thereby control a force.

So, the four different levels are based on the ability to integrate technology to leverage command and control of a force.

    •    Command Level 1: Early to mid 20th Century (approximately circa 1920 to 1980).
    •    Command Level 2: Late 20th to early/mid 21st Century (approximately1980 to 2040).
    •    Command Level 3: Late 21st Century (starting circa 2040 to 2100).
    •    Command Level 4: Advanced alien technologies (specific to the alien force).

Let me expand that snapshot and my assumptions

Command Level 1 

My assumption is that this is the natural outcome of industrialized warfare (sorry, I'm working from  a data-set of one, so assumptions have to be made).

We see this transition from traditional first-generation warfare, maneuver of line and column, change when faced with machine guns and indirect fire. This led to what is called, second-generation war of fire and maneuver.

Command Level 2

This covers the developments that come from improved technology and training.

Thee transition from forces maneuvering to face each other, to wars of outmaneuvering the enemy, so called third-generational warfare.

Command Level 3

I've taken the liberty of disconnect this assumption from the military theory of generational warfare.

This is the idea of a connected battlefield; warfare as an internet of things. Whether this will realistically be the case is another matter, but the war in Ukraine gives us a glimpse of war where a drone can be sent to deliver a package to an enemy soldier that will ruin his day.

Command Level 4

Is a catchall term for what comes next. A civilization where technology, psychology, and society have advanced so far that  it's like looking into a singularity, where all within is hidden.

Or, if you prefer,:

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”  – Arthur C. Clarke
In Big Little Wars, command level four will be reserved for aliens, or for settings that fall outside of the Gate Walker universe.

So, while I may not be planning on writing any scenario books involving giant super robots, or Kaiju that doesn't mean the the rules can't be used in such settings.

They're just not settings I'm expending my time on.

Monday, 31 October 2022

Painting WIP of Current Projects

I've been painting this weekend. I've managed to take these one step closer to being finished, but no matter what I seem to do, my progress is slower than snail snot. Above is the Marine commander's CASE-2XC Dog combat armor suit (what I call the mecha in my novels).

This is inspired by the VOTOMS Burglary Dog variant that I like.

It's converted from the running pose that came in the RAFM Southern Azure Devils. The backpack is from Long Fang Black Mamba, modified with twin comms (red tipped protrusions).

Above is the other Marine CASE-2X Dog combat armor suit I've been working on. Not seen is the ammo chute for the rotary cannon, or the missile pack that will go on the left shoulder.

Below shows the Army Ape CAS-1-Mod 1EV combat engineering suit. Again, not showing the swing arm because I forgot to put into into the picture.

And finally, three red team jump off points.


So, slowly getting there. I hope to get these finished soon, and then begin using them for some more play-testing of the rules I'm working on.

I have lots of ideas, and things I want to do, but time seems to slip by me faster than a very fast thing.

Monday, 24 October 2022

A Robot That Walks, Flies, Skateboards, Slacklines

Okay, caught this, as one does, and I'm now retconning this as the reason d'être for the Chinese FATC mecha that appeared in my first novel, Bad Dog. I mean, we all know that the Chinese like to copy stuff, and this seems like something nifty...

Anyway, that's my good reason.

If you listen to the video they also suggest this application for space robots!

Wednesday, 19 October 2022

Big Little Wars: Asymmetrical Battles of Tomorrow 1

This post is the start of a number of articles describing what makes Big Little Wars different, or unique from, all the other SF wargames out there for players to choose from. I mean, why bother getting my rules rather than say, Warhammer 40K, BattleTech, or Heavy Gear?

They're all clearly SF wargames that feature mecha in some shape or form. And you all know I love mecha.

One word, plausibility; with an emphasis on command and control.

All right, three words: plausibility, command, and control; in a near future setting. 

Okay that's actually five words: plausibility, command, control, near future setting.

Enough of the Monty Python routine, what about the science!? 

I mean it's science fiction, otherwise it would just be historical wargaming dressed up with science-fictional buzz words. In other words, a game that lacks any awesomely mind-boggling futuristic science; just the same as every other SF game on the market. Yeah, I hear you, dragons, or insert X here, are cool!

But, there are already a plethora of future-science-is-magic wargames, and therefore my rules may not be for you.

Still, any advanced science will be indistinguishable from magic, unless you understand the science. Therefore, the rules will exploit advance science that appears to be magic, but which isn't magic. Okay?

Is it going to be Vietnam in space; just another bug hunt, ma'am?

No it's not.

Come and see me later for some attitude correction. Or read the rest of this post, or both. Give me twenty... 

Seriously, no.

The aim of the rules is to provide plausible, playable, combine arms wargames with Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR). Yep that's sixteen words. You can see why I didn't lead with that.

The 'how of the game' is built on the foundations from Too Fat Lardies Chain-of-Command rules.

Specifically on how to manage the command and control. However, the combat resolution system does not involve buckets of dice (a personal bugbear of mine; though a perfectly valid choice).

But, on top of that the rules will provide players with guidelines to create an army, and encourages players to play with their favourite models, whatever figures size they have can be accommodated.

Other points to bear in mind, there will be mechanisms that treat the meta (no not that meta, the other meta*) of toy soldier wargames.

The current draft of Big Little Wars has turned some preconceptions about seeing where a model is on the table versus where the it actually is i.e: the playing table is just a map showing where the players sensors think everything is. This beds the game into the whole Fog-of-War, and emphasizes the asymmetrical nature of the battles of tomorrow. 

This is also me taking a leaf out of quantum mechanics.

Yep, I've said the Q word (quantum voodoo is cool), and by using a scientific concept of uncertainty. Until an object is measured (attacked) the location of the model is uncertain, which adds a science fictional feature to the game.

So, that's all for now, catch y'all on the bounce.

*Meta Notes

Traditional meaning beyond, after, or “behind e.g: metaphysics (beyond or after physics).

Wargaming acronym i.e: Maximally Effective Tactics Available.

Modern accepted use of meta means information about information e.g: metadata, or in this case what the position of a toy soldiers when placed on the tabletop actually represents (its information).

Wednesday, 5 October 2022

More Tufts for the Tuft God!

And now I've gone back and added tufts to my insurgent force, and in a stroke of madness, re-based some of my exoskeleton power armor and enlarging my American MARPACE platoon.

It is the way.

This is also good because I have had thoughts that will improve the rules I've been working on. So expect an article or two on Big Little Wars in the near future.

Thursday, 22 September 2022

Subatduku Repaints

Yep, I repainted these figures because I wasn't happy with them. I know, I know, but I'm picky about my toys, and they have to feel right, and they just weren't working for me. Anyways, maneuver squad and two support squads are redone.


What can I say? Nothing. If something is worth doing then it's worth doing it right. Not perfect, but good enough, and the scheme just wasn't good enough.

Now I think they pop. I might even add some grass clumps?

Much happier with the colour scheme. They look sharp without being over the top. And now all I have to do is paint the other maneuver squad to complete the force.

And of course I've not forgotten about the combat armor suit to go with this force.

Tuesday, 20 September 2022

ABC Warriors


And will miracles never end? Finally, after more years than I care to recall (got to be 30 plus), I've finally painted up this handful of 15mmABC Warriors 'Atomic', 'Bacterial' and 'Chemical' warfare robots inspired by Starlord and 2000AD.

Above are Mongrol, Hammerstein, and Joe Pineapples. Below Deadlock, Mad Ronn, and Blackblood.

Group shot from above of all of them together.

NB: These were from Citadel.

Friday, 16 September 2022

Robo Rally

Combat androids, ABC Warriors and now my Robo Rally robots. Will miracles never end?

Finally, after more years than I care to recall (got to be 30 plus), I've finally painted them. You can see the bunch I painted for my friend here.

Now we will have to get the game out.

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

Combat Androids

And the first post of September to make up for the dirth of posts during August, here are my finished combat androids (X29 Blockhead Battlesuits from RPE). Sixteen figures in six different poses.

Tempted to get some more of these to be able to field two 12 figure squads, but I'm currently brassic (that's broke for my American readers who don't do British slang).

And just added a picture showing the six different poses.

I also made two jump off point bases. These will come in useful for the next stage of play testing Big Little Wars. And look, tufts. Will the wonder never end?!

Friday, 19 August 2022

Blog Anniversay

Little did I know in 2009 when I published my first blog post that  I would still be creating posts in 2022. But here we are. I had intended to show some progress with making trees for my jungle, but it was not meant to be.

So instead, some work in progress (or lack of progress) shots of of what I'm currently painting.

Still, thirteen years of blogging is a thing. My blog is now a teenager, so that explains the erratic posts as articles hide away sulking until pictures look right.

Catch you all on the bounce.

Tuesday, 26 July 2022

Painting WIP of Current Projects


Here's a series of pictures showing where I've got with  painting this set of models. Above is my running CASE-2XC Mod 2 command Dog.

Below is the rebuild of my CAS-1-Mod-1 Ape that I previously painted, but wasn't happy with. Quelle surprise.

And because I want enough Dogs to form a squad the second basic CASE-2X combat armor suit that will bring my current model count up to three.

My bunch of combat androids is coming along nicely too. Twelve to accompany Ferretti's Buster, or two groups of eight for squads.

And finally, my Toyota Technical conversion of the Peter Pig two door pick up into a four door crew cab variant.


I managed to get a white finish that I can live with, I think. I've already stripped this model back to metal twice, but part of me that now I've mastered how to shade white that perhaps I should strip it again and get a better finish.

Tuesday, 12 July 2022

OMWB: Subatduku Combat Armor

 

My District 9 exosuit inspiration for the Subatduku combat armor still remains a work in progress. It has taken me longer than I anticipated to finish the sculpt largely because I keep making changes and modifications to tweek the design, see here.

I know that is just so me.

The head required a rethink, but it now swivels nicely. The arms are a pair of repurposed legs from my battletech box of spare parts. Still got to to change the ankle joints into hands, and some extra details to add to the legs too.

Also, this model is currently sidelined as I slap some paint on the mecha and combat androids I'm working on. Still, it is good.

Tuesday, 5 July 2022

Progress: Three Mechs Ready for Paint

Finally, got another two combat armor mech suits ready for painting. Above is the running version of the CASE-2XC Mod 2 (backpack with two weapon mounts), and here it is broken down ready for primer.


Below is my second standing CASE-2X Mod 1 pose completed.

And below broken down ready for primer.

 

And for those who remember the CAS-1-Mod-1 Army construction combat armor mech suit has been tidied up and is also transferred to the paint shop.


Friday, 10 June 2022

Big Little Wars: Post 6

I got distracted by a shiny idea. But this post is is an update on play-testing Big Little Wars.

I've found two more volunteers who are interested in seeing the rules, and two of my original volunteers are still working through the, but as people have noticed there is a lot of stuff going on in the world at the moment.

Enough distractions and anxiety to upset even the best of people.

As I've said to everyone who has shown an interest in the rules, the current timeline is for feedback by mid to late July. I'd rather do things thoroughly than force anyone to deliver feedback before they are ready.

I learnt my lesson way back in the day that thorough play-testing is a must. My main concerns at this stage are.

1. Are the rules too wordy?

2. Are the rules clearly written?

3. Do the game mechanics make sense?

4. Does the setting spark joy?

5. Have I missed something obvious/glaring that jumps out, however small?

Currently, the scenario section is the least fleshed out section, as I ran out of steam when I wrote them. However, I'm compiling ideas (stealing from others and making them my own) to expand this section.

Oh yes, the above is a Subatduku mech suit to support the alien infantry I painted a while back. Obviously inspired by District 9, I'm melding two of GZGs Crusty exosuits together to make a more robust military mech.

That's all for now.

Thursday, 2 June 2022

OMWB: M2084 Conversion and Progress shots

I got distracted by a post on on social media, as one does, by Rattapoom Kotchapong about making a HEMMT like truck. Excited by the tease, I offered him some reference pictures (some being 36mb of pics).

So I pulled down one of my two Matchbox HEMMTs and starting working on scaling one to match my mecha by first comparing it to an old 15mm HEMMT casting from QRF. 


After comparing the length, I was satisfied I could convert the Matchbox 8x8 into a 10x10. I'm basing my M2084 HEMMT on the Oshkosh 10x10 HEMMT PLS, which is larger than the earlier 8x8 series (HEMMT portal).

After cutting the castings apart, the major job will be narrowing the cab and engine casing.

 
All I can say is that I have a lot of work ahead of me. The price of me being me.