Tuesday, 24 March 2015

House Steiner Battle Armour

Though I've posted these pictures before I thought it worth putting them together into one post to show my House Steiner forces all under one tag. Above are MechWarrior Clix Gray Death Legion heavy battle armour.

MechWarrior Clix Grey Death Legion Scout battle armour.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Walking Together


I first met Terry Pratchett at a games convention.  I think it was one of the UniCons, probably CamCon in 1986.  I'm not entirely certain, because I didn't write anything down, and this was in the days before the internet, blogging, FaceBook and Twitter.  We had bulletin boards, but dial up modems – if you've never had to dial up to connect to a service using a modem be grateful.  I know I am.

If I remember correctly, usual caveats apply (see above), I cycled to Cambridge from Southend-on-Sea in Essex, which caused a bit of a stir, because who'd be crazy enough to cycle 60 miles to go to a convention, stay overnight and then cycle back 60 miles?  That would've been me.  I was young then, and fitter than a fit thing.

Terry was a fan, you can read my friend Jaine's blog that nicely captures this here.  When I met Terry The Colour of Magic had been out in paperback for a year, and Light Fantastic had just arrived on the scene as a hardback, with the paperback due out later that year.  He'd also had Strata published in 1981 under his belt, and unknown to me at the time The Carpet People.  So not really a big name author, but someone breaking out.

I had been invited to be on a panel by Marcus Rowland and was introduced to Terry.  We talked about role playing games and stuff like the luggage having come from an RPG campaign Terry had been involved in.  I can't recall if he was the GM or a player.  Sorry for my  lack of clarity, but the one thing I want to point out here is that Terry played Dungeons & Dragons, and how cool is that?  Cooler than a cool thing.

Also Terry would talk to fellow RPG players, as recounted here by my friend Kari.  So my piece here is to just tell the world that Sir Terry Pratchett was a game-player, something that seems likely to be overlooked in all the mainstream obituaries. 

My Godson, his sister, mother and Sir Terry Pratchett; MAY HE REST IN PEACE.


Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Weekend Games


For a change we weren't playing board-games with our plush toy kittens, who were left behind to sulk in the bedroom, as we went to visit our friends John and Rita on Saturday, and hang out with their friends.  This meant drinking Ginger Beer and snacking on finger foods, and chocolate cake for dessert.  All rather fabby.

The first game we played was Cthulhu Wars from Petersen Games written by Sandy Petersen, which is a board-game where the Great Old Ones vie for dominance over the Earth.

To say the game looks lush is a bit of an understatement as the miniatures are quite breathtaking, asking to be painted level of detail.  In fact John had bought a second set of figures to do this very thing himself.  The game plays well enough, but the map reminded me of Risk, but with different rules.  Most of those rules are very good, but I have a particular dislike for games where players are  forced to make decisions on a countdown timer.  Call me an old fusspot if you like, but I'd prefer to roll dice against an attack than squabble with players over what is a fair allocation of points to be lost.

Apart from that minor quibble, which I would house rule, we had a fun game.  I lost, coming last, and Susan won, which was nice for her.

After finishing we played a quick card game, and then went onto to set-up A Study in Emerald from Treefrog Games, based off a short story by Neil Gaiman of the same name.  Joanna knew the rules for the game and explained them to us, and by the end of her explanations all of us were feeling like our heads were about to explode.  However, once play started and we got past the first round the play was very straightforward, with some nice nuances of play.  In the game one doesn't necessarily know who is on one's side, and this means decisions become more complex as a result.  I lost, but was on the winning side – the Restorationist's i.e: the humans who want to restore the world to the way it was before the Old Ones took over.

Friday, 6 March 2015

The Fleet from Above

On their first showing I received a request to show the ships from above.  I'm happy to now be able to do so.  Hopefully this will enable people to see the shapes of the ships more clearly, despite being cunningly photographed on a green cutting map where their camouflage colours break up their shape.

As a reminder the four long slim ships are part of my cruiser squadron, the two big ships with drive pods are my main battleships, the fleet tender and the two smaller corvettes  are representatives from the supply squadron and destroyer squadron.  I've still got to get around to refurbishing the other six models of this fleet, which is delayed because I'm busy re-writing my novel the progress of which you can follow here.

Today also saw the arrival of my desert mat from Monty's Wargaming World.  It's lovely, and now I'll be not only able to do desert conflicts, but have a cunning plan that will allow me to use the mat for towns too.  No photo of the mat, because I need to find the time to clear the table off and get some models out and take some pictures.  I will also add that the friendly service of the Desert Rat is second to none.  All round good chap, what, what!

Tuesday, 3 March 2015


I'm making up more combat armour from the 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Highlanders.  This is a WIP shot of my current conversions from Heavy Gear Jagers into CASE-2X Dogs.  The picture shows some of the alternative weapon load-outs that the Dogs can carry.  These Dogs are going to numbered as being from Alpha Squad 4th Platoon.

From the glossary in my novel:

CASE-2X    Combat Armour System Environment Dash (Mark) 2 Extreme that is driven by its operator.  It can operate between one and three days before needing to be refueled depending on mission profile; see FM51-CASES and TO-2051-16-02-1U for further details.  Command variant CASE-2XC has enhanced C4 suite.

The combat armour on the left carries:

M21A8    A 20 mm recoilless gauss rifle with a three round cassette magazine.

While the combat armour on the right  carries the standard load-out I've shown before, but the addition of a shoulder mounted missile pack:

M41-AC2    Is a long-recoil auto-cannon that fires a 20 x 170 mm round that has an inbuilt Mk 30 40x53 mm under-barrel grenade launcher.  The M41 standard load-out is four-magazines each holding ten armour piercing tungsten-steel penetrators, and two-magazines each with ten High Explosive Air Burst (HEAB) warheads, and five rounds of High Velocity Canister Cartridge (HVCC) for the grenade launcher.

There's still a bit of what I call fuss work to get these ready for painting.  My workbench has three more models waiting for me to finish.

NB: Edited 25.03.15 to reflect changes in the background material.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Republic of the Sphere

I noticed I had a bunch of pictures of my BattleTech miniatures that I've not posted for one reason or another.  So this post is one of several I'll be putting upto address this shortfall, because after all this is supposed to be a BattleTech blog.  Here are my two Republic of the Sphere mechs.  The first is a Anubis.

Hopefully you can see that the paint scheme was inspired by the MechWarrior Colossus class tripod. 


I was making my own sculpt of this, but Iron Wind Metals are now selling this, so perhaps I will buy theirs at some point and be done with mine.  So here's my unfinished Colossus class tripod for comparison.


Below is a Light Ray, and I have a Legacy and Wight both waiting for me to get around to giving them some love, but I've been busy with other stuff, and just forgotten about them with working on all the other stuff I've been doing.


Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Birthday X-Wing


It was my birthday yesterday and I was given some Star Wars: X-Wing expansions sets by my partner.  As you can see the plush toy kittens were very excited.  A big box had arrived and I had sat patiently all day to wait for my partner to come home so that she could enjoy the surprise on my face when I opened the box.  She'd kind of given away what was inside by asking me if I'd be disappointed if I didn't get a Millennium Falcon, which was on my Amazon wishlist, when she asked me if the Rebel transport would be a nice thing to have?

The answer to that is an emphatic yes.

Then we had to have a drink to celebrate my birthday, which we drank while I unpacked all the bits & pieces that come with each Fantasy Flight Games Star Wars set.  And girl don't you get a load of stuff to go with each model.  It took a while.  Then we ate a meal I'd made, and it was suggested we should play a game to celebrate my birthday.

Not by me, but by my partner.  How wonderful is that?

The kittens wanted to play with it all, but I suggested restraint, and a compromise was made where they'd get to fly the shuttle with an X-wing escort and have the freighter on the table to admire.  My partner set up the kittens deployment, which was less than optimal it has to be said. They were flying Red Squadron's finest: Garven Dreis (Red Leader), Wedge Antilles, and Luke Skywalker escorting a vanilla captured Lambda shuttle.  No extras in this set-up, which came 104 points, and is not tournament legal, because there is no Rebel Lambda shuttle cards at this point in time.

We took it in turns to operate the dials for the kittens, but both of us managed to not manoeuvre the formation very well for the first couple of moves as we kept flying into the shuttle.  It moves very slowly, and has a big base that mucks up one's well laid cunning plans to fly around it.  As an added wrinkle to how we played last time, when Susan ran the kittens fleet I controlled her force and vice-versa when I moved them.  This idea worked really well, because it meant that neither of us could know what the other was doing and react accordingly.

Meanwhile the Empire swept in from both flanks.  The scenario was to get the shuttle across and off the board for the Rebel scum to win.  Above is Susan's tight formation, which she adroitly  manoeuvred to good effect, mostly consisting of: a generic TIE Advanced Storm Squadron pilot in the lead, with Night Beast and Mauler Mithel for a total of 56 points.

Below are my TIE fighters all in a line, and I was slightly too clever for my own good in the first formation turn, ending up with them all touching each other at the end of the move.  Still it was a cunning plan that mostly worked.  My three pilots were; Howl Runner, Dark Curse, and a generic Black Squadron pilot that added up to 48 points.  Together our force also came to a grand total of 104 points.  Perhaps on hindsight we should have gone for Darth Vader in the TIE Advanced, because the kittens seem to play better than us!?

There was a lot of toing and froing around the board as we both tried to shoot the shuttle while not being blasted to smithereens by the X-wings.  I lost a TIE fighter to the kittens and one could see how the game was going to play out from there on.  Still a highlight was a lucky save by one of the Imperial pilots who had been targeted by Luke Skywalker, who got the nickname Dodgy Luke Skywalker on account of his ability to avoid being hit when shot at.

The Force was strong with my Black Squadron TIE pilot: I thought she was a gonner when Dodgy Luke threw three hits, but as luck would have it I threw three evades, which was very lucky indeed.

Basically if you haven't played the game the pilots all get to choose to play an option from there list on their pilot cards, and it generally pays for the TIEs to choose evade, because they're a bit brittle having no shields.  I had done a reverse turn and my ship was stressed and therefore unable to choose an evade token, so this was a lucky roll of the dice.

And here is the moment where the kittens gloated in their moment of triumph.  TIE pilot Mauler Mithel's last chance to destroy the shuttle whose shields were down, hull damaged and generally looking like a target, and he missed.  He did survive being shot at by Wedge Antilles who was on his tail, but the kittens won again.

We played one more turn to see if the Empire could stop the X-wings from escaping.  We managed to take down Red Leader Garven Dreis, but Mauler Mithel died, and the game ended with four of our six TIE fighters destroyed – Howl Runner and the TIE advanced Storm Squadron pilot having to go back and report their failure to Lord Vader. 

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Industrial Mechs

Industrial mechs, people either seem to love them or hate them. More useless than a useless thing unless you need a mech.  Above is a modified Forestry mech with additional rocket pods added to supplement the cutting arm.

A much modified industrial mech with a beefy (it's all relative when one is dealing with converted industrial mechs) combination of gun and missiles.

Another custom modified industrial where I've slapped on some machine gun pods and a missile pod.  All of these were made up for my Mummerset Operation Sandbox campaign, which you can access by clicking the link or looking under the Labels in the left hand column.


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