Friday, August 31, 2012

Kraag for a King - part two

This is part two of a multi-part series on the building of a mountain fortress or Kraag for the (soon to be) Great Martian King Antevaxx. Part one is here.

With the main structure laid out, Antevaxx decided to add a few access points for his soon to be burgeoning army.

For the openings near the edges of the columns, a scroll saw was used to cut in through the edges.  However, Antevaxx was not happy. He wanted more doors!

So what is a poor contractor to do? Enter the Forstner bit:

These bits cut a smooth sided hole with a generally flat bottom. In addition they can be used to drill overlapping holes. Using a drill press makes for neater holes but that doesn't count for much on this job.

The centre section was punched out and some clean up was done using a knife. For heavier material a jigsaw would be handy.

With all the access doors cut, it was time to test fit the floors again.  It looked good

As you can see, I added some screws to better attach the support blocks. It would have been too hard to add them once the outside is covered. I pre-drilled the holes to prevent the blocks from splitting. This reinforcement complete and starting from the bottom up, I spread a liberal amount of glue on the blocks then slid the floors into place. Just visible through the upper opening is on of the screws I put through the floor into the blocks to act as a clamp. I haven't decided if these will stay in place or be removed. I also added three blocks at ground level. They were glued as usual and screws run up through the baseplate to hold that on. I decided to set the tower off centre back on the baseplate to give more room at the front for scenery and gaming room.   

But something was missing - a place to land. Using some scrap MDF and the outside of the tube as a template, I made a series of landing platforms. 

These were cut to shape using the scroll saw but some work with a knife was needed to make them fit tightly to the columns. The circle is the outline of a flying  base washer. It ensures there will be enough space to put the model during a game. Lots of glue was applied to the curved inner edges and finishing nails were run through pre-drilled holes to add strength and pin everything together.

Antevaxx's growing army takes a test flight to ensure everything is working well.

Antevaxx buzzes the tower!

Next up we start on the external scenic work.

Part 2.5 is here. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Tourna - Miniatures rules you can play with your kids

Getting new blood into the hobby has been a topic of discussion in  he war gaming hobby for a long time now. On his blog, Bill Sempf posted  Tourna a simple set of rules he uses to play with his son.

Tourna lets you use any figures to hand from that old Warhammer army to Lego minifigs to plastic dinos.  A game is balanced by allotting  each player the same number of dice with more dice making for a larger game. The players then assign these dice to figures with generals getting two and regular figures 1. The rules easily allow for machines and monsters - just assign the figure more dice from your army pool.

Players can move a unit or battle (melee or shoot) in each turn.  Movement is in inches or whatever units are appropriate to the playing area.  As expected from its Warhammer inspired roots, Tourna takes a bucket of dice approach. Roll to hit, roll for damage with each damage point taking a die off the target figure. Melee takes place between units in base contact and shooters can hit anything in line of sight but at reduced hit and damage factors. Simple to understand tweaks allow for mounted units vehicles or other type of units. For example, mounted units move further than foot and can charge (move into contact and melee) an enemy unit in range. Victory goes to the last person standing.

Tourna looks to be a fast and easy way to introduce miniatures gaming to the youngest players.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Kraag for a King - part one

This is the the soon-to-be-Great High Martian King Antevaxx. He lives on Mars in the world of Space 1889. Antevaxx is an unhappy king. He stands alone on the dust swept Martian plain when to be a truly great king, he needs a mountain fortress - a Kraag - of his very own.

Only then will he amass an army worthy of his rank and ambition!
Only then will he lead his glorious hordes of flying warriors down upon the poorly defended cities of the soft and weak Canal Martians to loot and burn and capture slaves for his great war galleys!
Only then will he be able to launch Holy Crusade against the befouled Red Men and drive their filth from the sacred Mother Planet and rend their.....
Well, you get the picture....

 This project has been kicking around my head for a while. I had done some preliminary work months ago, but I could never get a round tuit. I was cleaning up my garage /  games space this week and decided I better get on with it or throw the stuff out.

In the image above are the base components.  The tubes are the paper core from a roll of industrial plastic film given to me by a friend over a year ago. I ran the core through a bandsaw to produce the half pillar sections shown. In front of these are some half-circle pine blocks. These will glue into the pillar sections to support the internal MDF floors. The floors are the lumpy looking things at the bottom of the picture and underneath those is the MDF base plate. The base plate was leftover from cutting out the monorail track sections.

Next up is test fitting the pillars on the base plate. A similar process was used to create the floors by marking the curves on a template then using the template to mark and cut the floor material.

Antevaxx signs off on the basic architectural design while incidentally acting as a height gauge. I put the higher pillars on the outside to create some relief and I hope to give the top of the Kraag a nest like appearance.

The floors were then test fitted into the pillars and the support block positions decided on. There were two considerations at play. In Space 1889 canon, the High Martians generally enter and exit their kraags from above or through openings high up on the structure. Lots of little entrances scattered up the side seemed out of character for an impregnable fortress (the ground level slave entrance will be dealt with later). Secondly was the practical need to get ones hand in to move figures around. As designed there will be one ground floor, a lower storage floor, a throne room / high level entrance and a castle like top floor.

The floor levels decided,  I glued the support blocks in place. I am contemplating running nails or screws through the face of the tube into the support blocks for added strength. The tubes were distorted a bit in the cutting process so there are gaps between block and tube in some places. Antevaxx reviews the progress so far before heading off to look at wallpaper sample books.

More to follow.

Part two is here


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

RAFM announces an Indiegogo campaign for new Space 1889 miniatures!

RAFM producers of the classic Space 1889 miniatures in 25mm have just started to raise funds through Indiegogo to keep the current 25mm line going and to expand it into a new realm - 28mm.

 In addition to the existing 25mm line, at the base level of there will be ten (yes 10!) new character figures including three air ship sailors, three Canal Martian civilians and four assorted heroes and ruffians.

 But it gets better! The stretch goals at increasing levels are the Martian Steppe Tiger, the Knoe Shoshu, the Skrill and finally the Ruumet Brehr! Think about that for a minute - a Ruumet Brehr on the table in 25/28mm.... puny elephants beware!

 But we are still not done yet. At the $56 plus level, you will get a 40% discount on any on line miniatures purchase for a full year. "But I am not a Space 1889 or VSF player" you say? RAFM has many lines including American Civil War, French Indian wars, Riel Rebellion, Colonial British, WWII, Vietnam, Ancients, USX Modern Day Heroes and of course the massive line of fantasy figures.

 Check out the full details here.

Monday, August 20, 2012

20 Questions

The Angry Lurker started a list of 20 questions that has been bouncing around war gaming related part of the internet for the last week or so. With nothing better to post about right now I thought I would take a crack at it.

 1. Favourite Wargaming period and why?
Ancients. I grow my own woad. 'nuff said.

2. Next period, money no object?

3. Favourite 5 films?
Blade Runner Science fiction that looked like a real world with real problems.  
Alien A space freighter that looks like a working ship and not the showroom floor model.  
Zulu Guilty pleasure. The Thin Red Line for the win Huzzah!
Stalingrad No heroes just bleak, cold horror.
Went the Day Well
From Wikipedia:
Tom Huddleston of Time Out London termed it "jawdroppingly subversive. Cavalcanti establishes, with loving care and the occasional wry wink, the ultimate bucolic English scene, then takes an almost sadistic delight in tearing it to bloody shreds in an orgy of shockingly blunt, matter-of-fact violence."
With a nod to Triumph of the Will This is evil: polished, seductive and dangerously appealing.

4. Favourite 5 TV series?
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Date night fodder when the kids were young.
Firefly Space Westerns Rule!  
True Blood A bloody soap opera that often has um "benefits" after the show is over.
Murdoch Mysteries Quiet Canadian detective show with a tinge of steam punk.
Big Bang Theory My people.....
Star Trek (original series) Dinners on TV trays in front of our first BW television. The beginning of geekdom becoming cool.

With a nod to The World at War that I am currently re-watching. A great series from a time when the people who were there were still around to talk about it.

5. Favourite book and author?
Too many. In the "if you had only one book on a desert island" category it would have to be Tolkien and Lord of the Rings for re-readability. Fondest memory would be The Way Things Work A two volume encyclopedia of technology originally in German. It had the basics of pretty much any machine you could name from the zipper to the cathode ray tube.  

6. Greatest General? Can’t count yourself!!
Marius. He change a whole society to win a war.

7. Favourite Wargames rules?
DBx: HotT for fast play fantasy, DBA for fast ancients and DBMM for the way the battle slowly slides out of your control.

8. Favourite Sport and team?
None and None  

9. If you had a only use once time machine, when and where would you go?
I would go forward 2,000 years to see what is actually important in our own time.
Finding out what happened to Crassus' legion would be another choice.
Sit down and chat with JC - Son of God or just plain nuts?
And of course - Kill Hitler (and Stalin if they were ever in the same room)  

10. Last meal on Death Row?
Full on Honzen Ryori with three soups and 11 sides prepared by a top flight chef. Failing that anything I can't cook myself.

11. Fantasy relationship and why?
The missus. Not just a hot chick but my best friend. In terms of a one off - Sarah Bernhardt to see if the reputation had any basis in fact.

12. If your life were a movie, who would play you?
Some no-name actor.

13. Favourite Comic Superhero?
Not a big comics person. Magnus, Robot Fighter  

14. Favourite Military quote?
"Because we're here, lad. Nobody else. Just us."  

15. Historical destination to visit?
The Maginot line.  

16. Biggest Wargaming regret?
Getting rid of my board war gaming collection.  

17. Favourite Fantasy job?
Archivist, Library of Alexandria.

18. Favourite Song Top 5?
Hanging Around - The Stranglers  
No More heroes - The Stranglers
Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
Harry's Game - Clannad
Anything with pipes.

19. Favourite Wargaming Moment?
Double blind with referee Squad Leader night scenario. Pure gaming.

20. The miserable Git question, what upsets you?
Nazi apologists.
Clueless fanboi gamers who wear Hitler Jugend or other T-shirts because they think the SS was just a cool elite unit.
Drivers, cyclists the odd pedestrian.
Fundamentalists of any stripe.
Anti-Science types.
Homophobes (I hate that word).
Political fear mongering.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

RAFM Steampunk miniature contest winner

Alexandre Adam of Steampunk Montreal is the winner of the RAFM miniature contest!  The green is complete:

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A different Cyclops build

James over at Rabbits in my Basement has a great variation on the RAFM Cyclops landwheeler made for him by a friend.  I particularly like the addition of a small turret. Although James says it was painted to match naval practice, the overall white scheme would be ideal for Canadian winter scenarios.