Monday, 23 March 2020

SADF Completed At last!

Many years ago, QRF released a rather nice collection of modern South African armoured vehicles. I had always been rather fond of the Ratel series of wheeled MICVs and, being an AK47 player these seemed like a natural thing to get. I also got a few Casspir APCs, some and some Buffels. When I git them home from whatever show I went to I had a look and crikey those Casspirs looked like a nightmare to build!I put them in a box to think about later......

Now, many years later they are done. I a extremely pleased a how they have turned out and if the world wasn't closed right now I'd be quite keen to get a game of AK47 up and running so they could have a day out. The QRF models have been joined by a G6 Rhino SPG which I found on Thingiverse. Not in the photos are a trio of 3D printed Staghounds (I didn't realise they still used them into the late 1970s at least) and a trio of Peter Pig Centurions which are filling in as Oliphants.

Monday, 9 March 2020

Steve Ward, Rest in Peace

I heard today from Martin Goddard that Steve Ward passed away at the end of 2019. I got to know Steve through our mutual love of coastal forces modelling and wargaming. He published my first set of naval rules, "Schnellboot", which went on to become "Action Stations", and I ended up designing several of the masters for his 1/600 coastal range, and also a few for his 15mm WW2 range (both ranges now sadly lost to the mists of time) – Oh, and one of the series of starships that he created. 
Liz and I had several very happy visits to Steve's house in Wolverhampton, it was always a pleasure to spend time with Steve and Janice. Alas when he sold the SDD range we drifted and lost touch, it is so sad to hear of his passing 

Saturday, 29 February 2020

Another Day, Another Diversion

A chance comment at a meeting and a post on an internet forum and I'm off on another diversion. This time it is the resurrection of my Ancient and Renaissance fleet action rules. To be precise, its me getting diverted in generating a set of ship bases that I can print out and use with the rules (since I've been working on updated versions of the rules for a while now). The models are roughly 1/2400 scale and fit two or three ships on a base (although the Galleass for the Renaissance set will probably be an individual model).

 These are the first test prints I've completed. I tried texturing the bases but they looked pretty awful so I'm sticking with plain bases so I'm assuming the battle is fought in calm seas :)  I need to have a think about paint schemes as well. These look OK but I'd like to make the ensemble a but more striking. (any ideas?)

The parent model is a galley model made by Captain_Ahab_62 on Thingiverse. I've amended the model here to make a cataphract version, and additional versions with towers. 

The original model can be found here:

I've also used the basic model to make a small set of Renaissance galleys. I'll be aiming to print off a test set tomorrow.

Monday, 10 February 2020


Some time ago I joined the Conn...Sonar FB group and downloaded the rules. For those that don't know, CS is a fun set of submarine vs submarine wargame rules (there are later additions that bring in ships and aircraft, but at its heart it is sub vs sub). I have a load of 1/700 models - and I keep finding odd ones that I never finished; a 688 was unearthed in my spares box yesterday. However, 1/700 models look way too big on the table. They would be ideal for a demo or parti game at a show but unless the "ground" scale was stretched in a regular game the models would look quite cramped.

Fortunately, Thingiverse and the Photon have come to the rescue. After a few searches, some downloading and a series of mostly successful prints I have a small collection of 1/2400 models. Some more hunting got me a few more designs which I printed out yesterday, so now I just need to sort out sets of control cards for the boats and I should be ready to go :)

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Incredible Voyages

So I have this plan for the year, and every now and then it gets derailed a bit as an idea pops into my head and takes over.

This has just happened.

Just after New Year I was tidying away some of my "Stingray" models whilst also trawling Thingiverse for some bits and pieces for my AK47 collection. I stumbled across a rather nice model of the submarine "Hunley"; that combined with the "Stingray" stuff nearby got me thinking about a Victorian sci fi submarine game. That then reminded me that I had some of the old Takara "Ships of the World" series models of the "Resurgam 2" .After some more hunting I had another clutch of 3D models which I started splicing, then printing, then painting, and then the rules amendments to "Stingray" and before you (or I) knew it "Incredible Voyages" was on the table.

The setting assumes a clandestine underwater "cold war going hot" involving scientists and engineers of the Great Powers between whom there is growing conflict for supremacy beneath the waves, but with a shadowy anarchist movement backed by hidden financiers, and evil scientists with their own agendas.

American "Hunley 2" Class boats

Anarchist rams and a gunboat, based on stolen "Hunley" drawings

A trio of Italian "Delfino" class submarines

The French "Requin" class 

The Royal Navy's "Resurgam 2" class

Marines for sea bed operations

The graphics design team hard at work!

Weapons such as torpedoes (wire guided, based on the Ley torpedo of the 1880s) and straight running steam-powered missiles, as well as compressed gas guns and chemical weapons such as corrosive inks and electrical discharge weapons (both developed by the evil scientific committee from generic experiments on undersea fauna - some of which has escaped into the environment) figure prominently but not too seriously. This is VSF after all!

Saturday, 4 January 2020

The Plan, 2020

Like some others my wargaming mojo is a bit off at the moment. This is for a number of "real life" reasons, so "the plan" may seem rather understated this year. And as always it is "more a set of guidelines" so I'll probably end up doing a load of completely different things anyway :)

So, here goes:

1) 10mm Vietnam - I have a load of new Pendraken figures to replace the older types I've had for a couple of decades. So #1 on the plan is to sort out the new figures, fix the various bits of broken terrain that I have and then make sure my rules are fit to use.

2) 15mm Winter Skirmish and 20mm Burma Skirmish. Yes, I WILL get these sorted and ready to play. Rules need to be cdecided upon (fast and fun, not too serious), I may just end up writing my own for quick games at Berkeley Vale. That or heavily modify Bolt Action.

3) Sci Fi Submarines - The rulesI've used for my "Stingray" games are pretty stable now. I'm going to work on them to create a set of generic sci fi submarine rules (into which Stingray will fit), but I'm also going to look at a Victorian "subpunk" version, having found some interesting models to work with. Something different I guess. Both versions will have their own bespoke backgrounds (who knew, for instance that the British Empire, the French and the United States fought a clandestine war beneath the waves whilst also fighting off mysterious anarchists??)

4) WW2 coastal forces - I have a horde of new boats painted up as a result of getting this blasted 3D printer, so a major task will be to get them properly based. Then more games, especially some Pacific theatre ones. This will hopefully get me in a position to finalise my "Narrow Seas" campaign system as well.

In addition I have a few rule-writing projects. I no particular order I will be finalising my Napoleonic fleet action rules, resurrecting my Napoleonic frigate action set, and looking to update my ancient and Renaissance fleet action rules. Oh, and I may be doing something with the original "Fox Two" air rules.

Finally - I heard today that "Project X" is a go, as work to create the masters for the models was authorised today. Watch this space!

Oh, and things that may divert my attention - 1/300 "war on the moon" project, 15mm AK47 and Vietnam, medieval DBA (actually I do have those "camp follower" sets to do, they look fun), X Wing.....

Friday, 3 January 2020

Galactica Shuttle and StealthStar

A quick post to showcase the fist model of 2020 - the shuttle from Battlestar Galactica. Readers may remember that I got hold of a copy of the game from Ares via a friend at the Essen show in 2018 (I guess mien was one of the fist production sets in the UK :) ) Since then I've been expanding my selection of available ships with 3D prints from Thingiverse, as well as the official releases.

My first completed model for 2020 is the shuttle from the original series of BSG. Like a Volvo its boxy but its good. In this case the print was a pig, at least the aft hull was, due I think to some thin sections that screwed up the overall print. But since it took 9 hours to do I didn't fancy rerunning it - instead some filler was applied to seal the holes. This means the middle part of the model looks a little rough - or "hard worked and battle damaged, as I like to think. Either way, I was very pleased with the result.

At the end of 2019 I also finished a print of the StealthStar, a covert ops Viper from the new series. Again, quite pleased with the result. Both of these will give me some additional gaming options before Ares get around to more official releases.

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Brean Down Fort

Pretty much every New Year's Day for the last couple of decades we've gone to Brean Down near Weston-Super-Mare to blow away the cobwebs of the night before. This year it was just me, but no matter as I arrived at half nine to find the headland enveloped in low cloud and mist. It was a very relaxing walk (even if the stairs at the start kill me every time), and also dead quiet as there was a couple walking a few hundred yards ahead and - nobody else. The local wildlife was enjoying the quiet as well, I saw all manner of small birds and a few pheasants at close quarters, and the herd of mountain goats that live on the Down - although they legged it down a cliff face when they saw me, returning to keep an eye on me from a distance. By the time I got to the fort the mist had lifted  a little, but it was still impossible to see Weston, Steepholm (or indeed back to the seafront at Brean).

I managed a half hour chilling out there in the quiet, with only the sound of the waves breaking on the rocks. Bliss :)

 Then a quicker walk back along the lower road and back down the stairs to the National Trust cafe for chips and hot chocolate - but whats this? No hot chocolate???!!! And only a bowl of cooked-some-time-ago chips that looked distinctly old and cold. I made  a quick departure and went to the nearby cafe at the bird gardens - there to find not only a lovely hot (and large) mug of hot choccie but also ham, egg and chips. A good way to end this part of the day.

On completion, hole to sort out a few models and to think about what is going to be in the plan for this year.....