Friday, February 3, 2017

I'm A Scout From Floyd ( A Post Apocalyptic Introduction from the After)

I was born in the After, so never knew the world  Before.  When I was real little, we had a hard time, trying to get enough food, and get drinkable water to keep us alive.  Lot of people moved around, but we stayed in one place. My folks tried to protect our homes, mostly broken down shacks built in what was left from Before. 

When I was about 8, my Pa got shot with an arrow.  The nurse lady kept him from dying though. Well, sort of.  He was never really the same afterwards, and he died about two or three years later.  Things got better though.  People worked together, things started to change. 

My town is call Floyd.  I know, sounds like a dude, but its a town, and now we do okay.  We got water, food, schools, and even a clinic with a doctor.  Its pretty safe now.  Probably mostly because of the Confederation and Territorial Guard.  Before that, things was a lot tougher; gangs would pass through killin' and takin' what they want.  Lot of people died like my Pa.  Happened pretty regular.  But that all changed with the Confederation.

The Confederation has been trying to expand, trying to make people more civilized, maybe make it more like before.  Before the end, I mean.  And me, I'm a soldier in the Territorial Guard.  Actually, I'm a scout.  I like it; because, I get to ride around in a "Chupacabra", a little armored truck.  We call it the "Goat".

Affectionately known to their crews as "The Goat",
the M11 Mk1 Chupacabra armored car.


There are three of us in the Goat; Panky is the commander, Sam drives, and me, Charley, I'm the gunner and pretty much everything else.  Mostly we do surveying and mapping,  check on people or things, and carry messages or things like medicine around.  Sometimes we actually get to scout, but that only happens when someone is trying to attack us, usually a big gang or something.  The best thing though, is when we get to explore.


Scouts in the Territorial Guard, and the crew of the Goat,
Panky, Charlie, and Sam.


We have old maps, and they help a lot, but a lot has changed too.  Places aren't the same, I know there's a lot less people, and sometimes things like rivers aren't where they are supposed to be.  They say that things must have changed a lot up north, for stuff like that to happen. I don't know.  I like exploring the ruins, finding things from the past, finding what and who was there.  It must have been amazing in the Before.

We find new towns and people too.  Usually they get excited when they see us, though usually pretty cautious at first, too.  But after they get talkin' to us, they relax a little, and we mostly make friends and do a little tradin'.  Once in awhile, we get threatened or shot at.  Usually we just avoid those places and note it on the map.

When we cover new territory, we map it with our Drone.  We have this little flying drone that we carry, it takes pictures and can survey the land.  Then we take the survey back, and the TG updates the maps.  We can also use it to scout things out for us, but we got to be careful.  We let it get out of range once, and had to go chasing after it.  Panky was not too happy that day.

I like being in the Guard; it's a good life for me.  Don't know what I'll do when I get too old for it, but for now at least, I'm a scout from Floyd.

Monday, January 30, 2017

AFTER: An Introduction to My Post Apocalyptic World

For quite some time, I've been working on a campaign set in a post apocalyptic world.  Getting to the starting point has been a very slow process, but I am finally here.  The following is an introduction to the post apocalyptic world in which my game campaign takes place:

_________

The world ended with a whimper.  There was no single global event that placed its stamp on the end of the world.  It was more of a drawn out unraveling of social order and structure.  And while no single calamitous event could claim to be the cause, many predictions of the doom-sayers contributed to the collective failing of humanity.

As the world embraced technology, people found that through this technology, they had a voice.  As it turned out, the loudest voices came from those who dissented the most.  Thus, instead of bringing the world together as a global community, technology inadvertently succeeded in cutting the world up into an ever growing number of angry, fearful little islands.

This fragmentation had many negative effects, including that of disrupting productivity and trade, bringing about a global recession.  The recession turned into depression, food and medicine became scarce, global famine and disease started to take a huge toll.  Wars sprouted, governments failed, and nuclear weapons and all sorts of chemical and biological agents fell into the hands of feudal warlords.  Chaos abounded, and many, many people died. 

In the span of a generation, the many billions of earth's population were reduced to millions.  To further compound  humanity's problems, the abandoned and ruined remnants of man's enterprises brought about environmental catastrophes and geological anomalies, literally changing the face of the planet.

In the After, society ceased to exist. 

But, alone and miserable, a few people somehow survived.  And in time, a few, here and there, came together, and they began to rebuild the world.   Rag-tag bands of scavengers grew into villages, incorporating tools and resources from the Before.  In some places, villages grew into towns and even cities, and rarely, cities united and created loosely governed territories.  And that is the state of world in the After.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Progress on my 28mm Sci-Fi Recce Cars

I've made some progress on my Sci-fi scout cars and thought I'd share a few pix.  Painting them has not been altogether successful, as I used a couple of paints that I hadn't used before, and had problems with transparency, multiple coats and streaks in the paint. Anyway, here is how they sit at the moment:

 
 
 

That's an old GW plastic Imperial Guardsman in there for scale.  Hoping to get them weathered and done next weekend.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

First Fighters for Star Fleet Battles

One of my ongoing projects is to bring Star Fleet Battles to my table top in miniature form.  I had been concerned about how to do this, as Amarillo Design Bureau only offers a few models to represent the many different fighters in SFB.

I asked on TMP, who might make a variety of small space fighter miniatures and was directed to GZG or Ground Zero Games, who have an amazing range of model space ships and fighters for the Full Thrust rules system. As it turned out,  I received a nice selection of GZG space fighter models for Christmas, and have painted up a few as a test run for size comparison, basing method etc, and thought that I'd share a couple of pix. These are from pack FT-101B (New Anglian Confederation), and will being used as Klingon fighters in my SFB.

Two Klingon fighters pictured with a US one cent pieces and an ADB
Klingon D-5 War Cruiser (Starline 2400) for size comparison.

And pictured again, this time with Klingon D5 and F6, and a
Kzinti Medium Cruiser.

My wife (who is not a gamer) instructed me to inform everyone that GZG was wonderful to deal with, and that the service was spectacular, getting the items out and across the Atlantic in just over a week at Christmas time.

I'm pretty happy with the fighters and think that they will work well for my purpose.  I cut the 5/8 inch hex bases from styrene for these, but have since ordered 15mm plastic bases from Minairons (as I don't want to hand cut 200 hex bases), and will get a bunch more of these ready to go once the bases arrive.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

28mm Sci-fi Recce Cars Update

When I went searching for my last post about these, I was shocked to find that it was nearly two years old.  I stopped work on these as I needed to either make of find wheels for them, and finally did, but can't believe that they set on my painting table for what turned out to be a 23 month search. 

Anyway, as part of my "finish unfinished projects" crusade, I managed to make some headway on these yesterday. When I started, they looked like this:



After today, they look like this:

 
 
 
 
 

They are two variations of the same basic vehicle.  A light armored car used by a regional military in my post apocalyptic world.  The idea is that they are recycled, pre-apocalypse gas guzzlers, rebuilt as electric exploration/mapping and recce vehicles, with various added gizmos for their new role.  That's an old GW Imperial Guard fig (circa 1989) in there for some sense of scale/size.

There are some other bits and some baggage that will be added during or after painting.  With any luck, I've have some shots of the table-ready vehicles to share in the next couple of weeks.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Reflecting on 2016; Considering 2017

2016 ended up being a year of almosts.  A few projects were almost completely ignored, WWII East Front, France 1940, and 20mm Vietnam.  Others received more attention in the form of planning, miniatures acquisitions/painting, and rules writing that almost brought them to the table;  Star Fleet Battles, Cold War, Post Apocalypse, and Near Future.  And one almost went according to plan;  Modern Africa. 

Particularly in the second half of the year, I made some headway, playing seven games in a six week span, getting a set of modern air combat rules onto the table, and getting a full scale war launched in my modern African campaign.

A near future project that I've envisioned for decades, gained momentum in the form of planning, rules and figure acquisitions.  Its close proximity and interwoven nature with my Post Apocalypse world means that both often get a boost from work on either.  My PA game is so close to happening that I can feel the oppressive heat of the wasteland sun stealing my breath.


In 2017 I am going to try to focus a little more narrowly than in the past year.  I had targeted eight projects over the past year, but only made any real progress on five of them.  I figure that those are the five nearest and dearest to my gaming heart for now, and will focus on them in the new year:

15mm Modern Africa Imagi-nations
I plan to fight more of the battles between Mugabia and Uwanda.  In just the opening battles of the broader conflict, each side has realized an significant oversight that may heavily impact the progress and direction of the conflict.  And, with the manifestations of the oversights, the likelihood of outside intervention grows, on land and in the air.

28mm Post Apocalypse
 I have rules, story-lines,  characters, and figures for 22 factions in my post-apoc world.  I only have to get some terrain and other bits finished (and make a place to store it), before the adventure can begin.  My game will be launched in the coming year.  I hope to share it on my blog, as a series a stories told from the vantage point of various characters in the game.

28mm Near Future
This is a less ambitious project than my PA world, but involves a number of factions for light-hearted adventures in a near future setting.  Set in and around a southwestern Hollywood town, adventures will range from squabbles between locals and out-of-towners to espionage to zombies to alien invasions. The plan is to finish building the game in 2017 for presentation as a convention game early in 2018.

6mm and 15mm Cold War
I am a child of the Cold War, and have been fascinated with the hypotheticals since the early 1970s.  The goal this year will be to field armies of 4-5 nations circa 1982 on completed battlefields by the end of the year.

Star Fleet Battles
A fan of the boxed rules and three expansions from the early 1980s (pre-Captain's Additions), over the last year, I have been working to get this onto the table in miniature in a way that I have envisioned since about 1982.  An old friend and I are chasing this, and will be experimenting with adaptations to the rules to better accommodate the SFB rules with miniatures later in the year.


So these are the main goals, probably as unrealistic and unattainable as always, but it never hurts to dream.  Other projects may creep in as the mood strikes me, as Victorian Piracy and adventure, the jungles of Vietnam, and battles of 1940 and the Eastern Front are never far from my heart. 

Friday, December 30, 2016

Finishing Old Business

Most of my basement is occupied with miniatures, terrain, and endless gaming projects in various states of completion.  Incomplete projects out-number completed ones, and I'm am always in my own way, while trying to work on anything.  Early in the year, I started to make a little headway, discarding things that simply weren't worth the space that took up, selling "abandoned miniatures", and finishing old projects.  But as I got busier with life again, I faded away from the "clean-up".  In recent days though, I have managed to get the jump on some unfinished business.

Back in 1989 or so, I plunged into 15mm WWII gaming via Quality Castings, which sold the old Heritage miniature line.  My first encounter with these figs came nearly a decade earlier, when I was introduced to the Panzertroops rules, but we opted to play with 1/72 scale plastics, as the metal miniatures were more expensive and not readily available to us at the time.

At the time that I got into 15mm WWII, Quality Castings was the only suitable miniature line that I was aware of, and it was readily available.  I was actually pretty happy with them, though some
models were better than others.

QC Somua S-35 and French infantry in 15mm.

Anyway, shortly after receiving these, I thought that I would clean up their Pz III E to make it a little more accurate.  As I began scaling their model, and considering what was involved, I just decided to make a new master for the model, and thus started the life long endeavor of making my own miniatures.

Though it hasn't seen the table in years, this Pz III is a veteran of
hundreds of France 1940 games.  I imagine that it will get a
face-lift before seeing the tabletop again.

Over the next few years, I mastered more than 50 WWII vehicles in 15mm scale, focusing on building a nice collection of 1940 models over that first 18 months or so.  I continued working on mid and late war Germans, late war US, and a few Soviet models as well.

One thing lead to another, with the result being that I never built my own mid and late war armies.  I cast a couple of these and a couple of those, and played the occasional game, but for example, all these years later I have only four Pz IV, two Tiger 1, a couple of Panthers, etc.  There are many models of which I have no castings.  So for all these years, I have carried around boxes of molds with the intent of building my WWII armies.

Nearly half of my late war German armor.  Most was cast and
finished with a minimum paint job in a rush for the odd game.


I've reached a point where storage space is at a premium, and those molds take up valuable shelf space, while offering no on-table options, so I recently decided to cast up my armies, trading  miniatures for molds, and in the end, gaining a couple of empty shelves.

With a few days off over the holidays, I've started casting, and am making progress.  I don't know if I will be done by the start of the new year, but it shouldn't be too much longer than that, to complete my casting project.

 
My growing number of parts for armies that should have
been finished decades ago.

Hopefully, it won't take another 27 years to get them assembled and painted.