Monday, 21 July 2014

Basing river craft and flying infantry bases & movement tray

First, cut your CD. Got to thank Tony for this simple solution. Cut it in water. That's it.  Why a CD?  Cheap and don't warp.

Here's my first trial with a fun boat from 99p Stores. Now you must let each stage dry thoroughly.

 I started as usual with a thin layer of no-more-nails streaked with a coffee stirrer. Then painted with a cheap acrylic ultramarine in one thick coat. Once dry this self-shades. Drybrushed heavily with titanium white. I've put this on a spare piece of EVA/model/funky foam, but it's worth having something similar to what you're going to use as a surface for reference. I used the leftover on the foam, which worked, so that's an easy way to colour foam. As I wanted to base river craft, I tried adding 2 drops of my favourite ink, Daler's Antelope Brown. I put 2 drops in a tablespoonful of PVA. I think I'll use just 1 in production.

The opposite quarter used neat PVA in one thick coat. Although you cannot see the difference, it does make a very good seal to the vehicle.

Having researched the web, I had considered using 2 part epoxy glue but I'm happy with this cheap method.

This Disney junk is a sea going craft so the water's nice and blue. Alright I know water isn't blue, but it's supposed to be.

These are my small collection from The Scene with “mucky” river bases.

Flight Bases
We had trouble with OGAM, as I hadn't foreseen the need for flying stands. Plus, there are SF infantry who can fly such as Daleks, heavy UNSC, and Vespids.

This was my first trial with these pots available from most UK cheap shops.

Fill the base with sand/PVA mix, a bit of foam on top for non-slip and a UK 2p coin on the base.

This is my first SF production run. Now if we're at a level where troops go flying around, we are talking happy to drop nuke land, so any real estate is going to look a bit fried. Made as above but I trimmed the lid down (careful!), added a UK 1p inside, black paint to the inside and outside of the lid, then drybrushed white. I had considered adding one of those nice sparkly stick-on gems to the inside, but trying to get them level proved impossible.

Movement stand. CD, foam cover with positions carved out but not removed. Then decorated and once nearly dry the holes removed and the no-more-nails spread around. As I use a standard – cd's and 2p size holes, its easy to turn this into a rubble base.

Spare cd rubble is re-used,  scraped back it gives a nice industrial/glassy look.

2 squads of  Imperials pass over their section and platoon HW Daleks.


FL Stargating across the universe

A 15mm Stargate from a CD, then Flying Lead!

First, cut your CD. To cut it, immerse in water. That's it. I used a mug, then cut V's, breaking them off with a pair of pincers. The operation was carried out in a mop bucket. Be careful, there will be a few flecks.

The rear was made from 2 circles of EV/funky/hobby foam with a scrunched up filling of paper and silver foil. I used the white side.

Simply presenting one to the other for open. The dial-home was a pillar base

Jaffar. Now Jaffa'rs take the cake as SF's perfect Mooks. We used the scenario given in the Flying lead rules, I'm not going to tempt copywrite here. The 4 person human team is a bunch of heroes vs 10 including an officer and sergeant. We played as per the scenario published in the rules except that we use reactions for mixed actions.  This scenario was very "hollywood", but using reactions made it even moreso. Brownie points to Emlyn who got the flavour of the programme, doing "in character" stunts I'd (nor anyone not backed by a scriptwriter) wouldn't attempt.

The Jaffar (Emlyn) are trying to get a package to their ring transport with the away team (me) coming through the ring and trying to destroy or capture the package. I won the toss and went zooming down the table ( which in hindsight was too small). Mixed reaction sent the Captain into action with his silly little pea shooter, knocking back one and downing another. Unfortunately that put him in range (but in cover) of the Jaffar officer who did an aimed shot. One dead officer and the team in flight. They did a brave attempt to get his body back but only one made it through the gate.

Second game, swap sides. Once again the team came charging down the board, outflanking the main group. I rolled so bad that in my second group only the sergeant (bearing the bundle) got on the table. The Dr did a good flank run with his zapper, stunning 2 including the sergeant. A second flank run got the box and killed the sergeant. A good shot took out the officer, so leaderless – game over.

Next week we tried running down corridors. No expense was spared here and I must thank Iceland and Liddle's for their various egg-based contribution. The larger room was Liddle's Southern Fried chicken, which was nice. I've been collecting doors and other bits so I based and undercoated a few. Door level, shut, door angle, open, door flat, busted open. I had a selection of pallets and clutter that was scooped and dropped

I bought this Dungeon Dice years ago. Rather than take all night, each activation equalled a dice roll or opening/closing a door

First game was (non-mook) Jaffar vs various bugs. I divided these into 6 groups. Rolling the first 5 moves for the bugs I rolled for random spread. It took a fair bit of rolling but finally got there and 3 waves of bugs hit. Discipline won, with no leader the bugs were overwhelmed, the spear application of the weapon used en masse proved the most effective. If your going to try this, small security team and some organisation with the bugs. Not as good as I'd hoped.

Next Jaffar vs my new human cultists (me). No lack of leaders here, roughly equal numbers. New weapon, flamethrower. Same as before, 1 crossing with a major turning down, so kept half here whilst rest scouted ahead. Immediately the Jaffar found the crossing and attacked. I advanced my flamethrower into cover, hoping to get in range. A volley shot took him down, scratch force one. The others meanwhile returned at speed whilst Emlyn set up an ambush. Leaving their route and the passage down open, he retired behind the other 2. I entered “not knowing”, man on each door, leader in cover, flamethrower in middle and one man probing the down path.

Waiting till he had good dice, he came storming out, might have been different if the flamethrower had got a shot in, but never mind! Lesson learnt, for a flamethrower to be effective you need to pin them then burn 'em, going for a gory death. Give them a bodyguard.

Not the best games, oh my brethren. You learn and you do better next time.




FS 6 linked games with new experience rules

15 men and a dead man's chest.

I stole these from my local club.  Much as I want to try the rules, Summer is upon us and work intervenes.  Please use, adapt and overcome.

1 Forward Push.    The pirate crew and the hunters seek to recover a chest from Gallows Road Farm and get off-table with it within 15 turns. Action takes place from dusk, action 1-5 -1 shooting, 6-10 -2, 11-15 -3. After 15 turns it's pitch black and each side will melt away.

Objectives: 1 prominent hill 2 crossroads 3 farm buildings in a fielded area. Each gains one victory point for every turn it holds an objective without being attacked.

The roads are hedged, both the hill and farm buildings overlook the crossroads.

2 Head Hunt. The winner of the last game has run the opposition down either in a wooded or village area. Choice of edge and turn.

Objectives are the Captain, Bosun and one other chosen target from the last game. First kill gains a point plus 1 for every enemy group routed and loses one for each own group (not individual) leaving table in good order.

3 Alone in the dark. The winner of the last game again has choice of edge and turn. Village or woods not chosen above.

Each side rolls a D6 per model. 1-2 deployed normally, 3-4 deployed normally but not within 1M of any other figure, not in a group, 5-6 deployed on the right near flank not within 1M of any other.

Objectives are the Captain, Bosun and one other chosen target from the last game. First kill gains a point plus 1 for every enemy routed and killed compared to own.

Action takes place from dusk, action 1-5 -1 shooting, 6-10 -2, 11-15 -3. After 15 turns it's pitch black and each side will melt away.

4 Infiltrate the camp. The winner from above has discovered the opponents camp in a lightly wooded area by a stream. The defender sets the terrain and deploys. The attacker chooses one edge. Attacker gets 1 point for every 3 men or leader killed. Defender gets 1 point for every 3 men or leader killed or group off table in good order.

5 Secure the high ground. The loser from above has gained a pirate blockhouse. With night and a high tide approaching the attacker has 15 turns to take the blockhouse. The attacker may deploy from any side but not within 2L.

Both sides get 1 point for each opponent killed or fled off the table. Every attacker leaving in good order by a specific point gains 1 point.

Action takes place from dusk, action 1-5 -1 shooting, 6-10 -2, 11-15 -3. After 15 turns it's pitch black and each side will melt away.

6 Supply drop. Both sides are suffering supply problems so seek the warehouse district for essentials. 6 markers are spread amongst the buildings. Holding any gains 1 point, but on a 6 there is (1 only!) shot, powder and muskets making any shot out of that building an aimed shot. Stores cannot be moved.

The winner of the last game is the attacker and may choose table edge.

Rough forces I would use
8 pressed seamen with basic skills and a musket plus basic weapon
4 experienced pirates with cutlass and pistol

Spanish Pirate Hunters
8 pressed “mook” seamen with basic skills and a musket plus basic weapon
4 regular soldiers with musket and sword
Religious fanatic with sword and pistol

---------------------------Experience system-----------------------------------------
Whether you win or you lose a scenario, you get back all the points of your lost models to buy replacements. If you lost the scenario, replacements cannot be Personalities. If you lose Unique models, they may no be brought into play until the end of the campaign.
If you win a scenario, your band receives a number of experience points equal to 25% of the point cost of defeated opponents, plus any points earned for fulfilling scenario objectives. Divide these among all your surviving models, including those who ran off the tabletop and those who went out of action but survived. Round fractions down.
A model can spend experience points to adjust his Quality or Combat score or use experience to buy new traits and add spells to a spellcaster.
Spellcasters have no limit to the number of spells they can learn.
Other traits that may be added must be chosen from the traits possessed by at least one other profile in your faction rosters. For example, if in a faction no profile has Group Fighter, you may not buy Group Fighter with experience points.
Only characters who survived the scenario may spend experience points.
To calculate the cost of an advancement for a character, use the online builder to calculate the new cost. Subtract the new cost from the old and spend that many experience points to buy the increase.
Regardless of how many points you have, you may not assign more than one new trait per scenario to a character. Additionally, you may not assign traits with negative cost, and you may not give more than a +1 increase in C or Q to any one character in his entire lifetime.

My only quibble is about no-negative-traits, I'd like to start replacements as mooks, perhaps some will take to drink or even lose a leg-?

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Designing, or backstorying, intelligent aliens.

Lets have a go at pulling some thoughts together.

Reproduction method

Asexual, either natural or artificial, where there is no (sexual) contact between sexes. Motivation personal survival and species preservation. There could be allegiance to a group, or competition if the survivors get to pass on their genes.

Display. Females are usually much larger (as they have the extra reproductive bits) and longer lived, males are disposable and selected by display of objects or dance. In an intelligent species that could be achieving a level of income and/or academic achievement.

Competition. The majority of higher life forms on Earth compete. The female is much smaller than the male, anything up to 33% smaller. The males aggressively compete for female(s), who select, or are selected, on physical bulk and ability.

Curiously, of all primates human females are large, 80% the size of males as they compete with each other. You hardly need to be told that as we get bigger as a species, this gap seems to dwindling as a result of better nutrition for women. (My Gran still had a 20” waist when she died in the 60's, hardly topped 4ft. She left the contents of her handbag and a few items of clothing. For most of her life she did not legally own even that.)

Doesn't matter. A very advanced species may combine any of the above in a simple process that does not interfere with the adult(s). I'm thinking of Honor Harrington where the majority of pregnancies are bottled (incubated) until ready to birth.

After sex comes food. How important once a species grows from “natural” food to processed?

All my mothers family were “chattels” and grubbed in the dirt for other peoples enrichment. Gardening for me is a swear word. I will take, even kill or be killed, but I will not dig.

Vegetarian. The bottom of the food-chain, just above plants. Unless a pollinator, all other species are a threat and/or competition to be removed. On earth the most dangerous animals are herbivores. An intelligent veggie will think nothing of dropping a few dinosaur killers then coming back later to seed a once-inhabited planet.

With the exception of the mosquito, the most dangerous animals on the planet are herbivores.

We also know that without predation herbivores usually over breed and suffer from other effects due to the lazy selection processes of every other hunting species but us.

If we all went veggie, how many species would survive? The first immediate mass extinction would be all pet and livestock species. However, the bee would be secure.

Omnivore. Us again. If you cannot eat one thing, you find another. So no single species is of overriding value, unless there is a cultural imperative as with African herdsmen and their cattle.

Carnivore. A true carnivore hunts its prey, as such is at the top of the foodchain. This is natures nature conservator. It is in its best interest to maintain a healthy and robust ecology. Less fussy would have large ranches of well maintained livestock, something like the Australian ranches where competing species are controlled.

There are some interesting documentaries on Orca's. Each pod seems to specialise in one prey species. An interesting model if taken into industrial times, a pod, clan or family specialising in one technology. If you meet an alien called Smith or cooper-.

Doesn't matter. Once the bulk of individuals become separated from the process, the concerns become abstract, political and socio-economic rather than a matter of personal experience.


This is the interesting one. You have to balance the environment the species was designed for compared to that which any one group or culture now finds itself living. Here's a few examples:

Jerry Pournell's Moties are worth looking at. The original 3-armed was a radical mutation. Spaceborn wiped out the planetborn. Population has to be controlled as individuals die if not made pregnant. Subspecies abound.

Larry Niven's Kzin. They were Samurai-clones in the original stories but changed to a genetically modified carnivore who's females are barely sentient with two sub species, one telepathic and the other who's pure black dominant genes make them telepathic resistant. Their homeworld seems to have avoided mass extinctions and has some very nasty mega-fauna that they evolved to hunt.

Predators work, they have internal logic. We have rich hunters who will go anywhere and kill anything.

Aliens don't work. No internal logic. Once the alien goes through all these processes the wrong way. Caterpillars are the eating machines, massing much larger than the adult, who can manage on a very frugal diet. How does the alien maintain its high metabolism and growth without constant feeding?

So, on with the show.

Space Raptors (need a better name) are pure pack hunting carnivores What if they have dominant females (much larger) who select mates who are able to demonstrate desirable skills, competing against other males. Female offspring may be raised to command, either taking over their mothers clan or another by alliance or conflict. Spare girls may be cast out to form their own destiny.

Likewise the males are trained in useful skills until they are ritually traded or cast out.

For such a race getting over the stone age would be the problem. Naturally equipped with weapons, early metalworking would be slow to develop when stone is easier and quicker. The answer may lie in jewellery and art, being able to produce such items would be highly desirable trait. Iron working may be skipped altogether with printing and electricity, ceramics and glass coming through such a route.

I hope this gets you thinking and constructive criticism very welcome!

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Pimping my Llurg's ride, basing and converting Matchbox vehicles

Pimping the Llurg's ride.

My article on my method of basing vehicles is my all-time hit. This is the first of two follow-on articles.  See CD movement trays and scrap plastic vehicle bases 20.2.14

Do you remember, oh my rapscallions, the A Team?

Every week they would get captured, locked in a barn, then burst forth to win the day in a modified vehicle thoughtfully provided by their opponents.


Llurgs are low-class mercenaries whose modus operandi is to be dropped behind enemies lines to disrupt the rear area.

See Flying Lead Cops, Coats and Aliens 27.2.14

Just imagine them being dropped on some farm in the boonies. They have some old weapons, but mostly it is what they can make. 

Now I haven't finished these, they need crew added and a bit more work. I fact, taking pictures is a very good way of seeing what needs doing.

All weapons are by The Scene, the large rolls of storage, rug covering the gunners base and carpet on top of the trailer are tea bags.
The first step is to damage the vehicle with pinchers and a bradawl. Then I wash in washing-up liquid. Superglue the wheels. UHU or similar glue does a better job of holding down items, then a drop of superglue after. Credit cards provide the plastic sheeting. Girders are from toys and tools tied to packaging with a twist.

Bits cut off were reused. One as a platform in the hopper, which was filled with PVA, then sand added, stirred in with a few drops of ink.

I paint areas with a similar colour to dull down the plastics. Then it's using up any spare paint and lots of dirty washes.

Bases are made from thin scrap plastic from food containers covered with a fairly thick level of no-more-nails, making sure it goes over the wheels.

 That's it for now, more to come once I've put the crew in place.