Friday, December 18, 2015

Worth sharing - Pushing Tin's Colonial campaign

If you have any interest in colonials (or VSF), go have a look at Pushing Tin - Campaign Anniversary. Stunning game pictures and excellent fluff, it is reminiscent of the Major General's work - but in 6mm. Inspirational.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Painting Challenge - the lead pile.

Getting ready for the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge and this is box one of the lead pile.  The 19 Gashant Martian cavalry mounts on the right are why I felt pretty confident I could hit 500 points.  Yes there are handful of figures with some colour on them. They will be painted up with the rest for consistency but not submitted for points as that would be ungentlemanly.

And the backup box:

As above anything beyond primer will not be submitted for points.  If I get really stuck, there's a whack of 20mm plastics in the man cave for backup.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Adventures in (table) Space - Developing the Space 1889 solo campaign

So a while back, I posted how I was going to wedge Kas'trum into the existing Space 1889 map of Mars. With work quieting down, I have had some more time to develop my thoughts.

Now according to the Soldier's Companion, a unit on foot in good terrain can make one hex or about 10 miles per day. According to canon, from Crocea to the swamps of Gorklimsk is about 200 miles which is far enough to make things interesting for the Imperial side.  However this raised the question of where exactly any given encounter will take place in that hex.

To address this, the first question is how much area does my 4x6ish table represent ? After poking around with some complicated math, I re-read SoC which said that 1 foot on table is one Sky Galleons of Mars hex and Sky Galleons is compatible with Ironclads and Ether Flyers, and I&E says that 1 hex = 1 cable or just over 200 yards. so a 4x6 table is 800x1200 yards or .45 x .68 miles so breaking down the 10 mile campaign hex into 1 mile sub-hexes means I can fit 2 tables per mile with lots of wiggle space.  So now I have an idea of what level of detail I need to provide before setting up each battle.

As a side effect, I got to thinking about scale. I may have missed it but SoC doesn't say much about ground scale. With the information above we can nail it down. 1 foot = 200 yards so the ground scale is 1:600! Our 25 mm figures are comparatively massive. Or are they? The Soldier's companion makes two things clear: the figure scale is 1:10 and infantry should be based on 3/4" washers (or equivalent). How well does this tie in with ground scale? Three quarters of an inch is 37.5 feet on the table. Divide that by 10 to get space per man and we get 3.75 feet, or just about spot on for arms length dressing. In open order that's 7.5 feet per man - again not too bad for open order. These two figures are a reasonable compromise between Napoleonic and modern practice.

However, it breaks down a bit when we start looking at artillery. Your bog standard BL 12 pounder has a range of 6 feet in game which translates into 1200 yards; much less than the actual maximum range of  5,000 yards. That seems to be a large discrepancy but  makes sense in light of direct fire artillery practices of the time and supports the common gamers' desire to get toys on the table.  Besides, who has space for a 25 foot table?  The Lee-Metford range of 32"is fairly close to ground scale (1600 yards vs 1800 yards actual). This means the guns are a little more vulnerable than they should be, but not by much.  Oops made a math error here. 32" on the table translates to 500 yards. This is quite  bit under even the historical 800 yard effective range, but not enough to worry me. As a side effect, it makes the artillery a bit more effective. Interestingly, the rifle musket at 12" is bang on for effective range of a Baker rifle and the 8" range for a smooth bore musket is quite a bit more than the 6" one would expect for a Brown Bess. It looks like the Earthers have been nerfed a little and the Martians buffed.

If a wonky ground scale good is enough for Flames of War it's good enough for Soldier's Companion.

So what does all this mean? Despite initial appearances, the ground scale has been well thought out and is accurate but artillery ranges have necessarily been truncated. Some method must be created to figure out where in a 10 mile campaign hex a given encounter occurs but raises the possibility of flanking movements or actions within a hex and large multi-table battles.

I assure you that I find all this math very interesting and not the least bit boring as I expect some of my readers might.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Painting Challenge

Maybe I am crazy but I have just put in for the Sixth Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.

At a very modest 500 points, that will take care of all my recent 1889 purchases, force me to finish up my Home Guard / FJ and maybe even get me painting my 20mm WWII.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Reinforcements for the forces of Kas'trum

Thanks to the current Federal Election in Canada (If you are Canadian, please go vote) and the resulting overtime, I have been able to make a sizable upgrade to the forces of Kas'trum.

The 2/3 Dragoons will get an upgrade to a full squadron of lance and musket armed gashant heavy cavalry. Num'da's Raiders will also be increased to a full squadron of gasahant light cavalry. The Kas'trum scouts will get a bow armed platoon bringing them to company strength (and allowing them to double as  Boer style mounted infantry / dragoon dismounts in conjunction with the Raiders). The Pier Worm Roaster's Guild has also been on a recruiting drive bringing them up to company strength  -or- perhaps a rival merchant group has also taken up the worm hunting challenge? 

On the artillery side, two pairs of Greek fire projectors will serve as sweepers and a brace of 1841 pattern light howitzers has been acquired along with  the requisite Trucial and Martian crews. These crews will allow artillery on both sides.

Those keeping track will note that the Earthers are seriously outnumbered in all areas, this is by design. To simply get within charge range of magazine rifle armed troops requires an awful lot of open order troops to screen the heavies. The Martian cavalry should encourage the Empire player to pay attention to the flanks (though there is a small unit of Sikh Lancers in the queue).  The artillery will encourage the Earthers to move up and engage rather than be shelled to pieces as well as giving the Empire something to break up any fortified rebel Martian towns. I will also have enough troops for Martian on Martian battles with Earth forces playing only a supporting role - if any role at all. 

With this purchase, my Space 1889 project, at least on the figure side, is as complete as it is likely to be. Any more figures and my table is likely to 1) Look like a FoW armoured battle with wall to wall figures and B) collapse under the weight of lead.

And a picture:


Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Mighty PzKpfw Neubaufahrzeug V and VI for CoC!

Note: This is a re-post from the Lardie's Forum. I haven't posted here in awhile so I thought I would leverage it I mean share with you. ;)

A large portion of British Home Guard training was focussed on improvised anti-armour tactics. So naturally I needed to pick up some armour for the invading Jerries. To be accurate, this should be a Panzer II, III or IV or perhaps a 38-T or Stug III A at best. But ... none of those really fit into the British propaganda of the period which had fire spitting iron behemoths stomping their way through bucolic English villages (only to be cut down by the local green grocer and postman of course). I wanted something more epic, more menacing.

As it happens Die Waffenkammer does a rather nice resin kit of the Neubaufahrzeug and in Canadian terms at least they are "just up the road" from me so I ordered one (you can too at:  All their stuff is lovely.

This vehicle was designed in the 30s and came in two versions the Rheinmetall designed PzKpfw NbFz V and the Krupp built PzKpfw NbFz VI. The only differences between them was that the two Rheinmetall vehicles had a 75mm L24 and 37mm L45 in the turret in an over under configuration and were made of mild steel, while the three Krupp vehicles had the same armament in a side by side configuration and were made from proper armour plate. Like many designs of the period they had two sub-turrets one each fore and aft. These were modified Panzer I turrets with only 1 MG each. Top speed was 30 Km/h and armour was no thicker than 20mm.  A planned, but never built, variant of the Krupp turret was to have a 105mm low velocity gun for throwing smoke.

The Krupp machines saw propaganda service in Norway, masquerading as heavy tanks. In actual action against the British also in Norway, one was lost when it became bogged down. A Rheinmetall machine was sent to replace it.  As the war progressed after the invasion of Norway, they disappeared into the scrapheap though at least once source says they were used in Russia.

But what does this mean in CoC terms?

Using the latest coculator, and I am very open to corrections, gives:

Rheinmetall PzKpfw NbFz V / Krupp PzKpfw NbFz VI. 
Historical 75mm & 37mm and projected with 105mm & 37mm

Armour: 3 Krupp, 1 Rheinmetall

HE: 6 (10 for projected Krupp 105mm)
AP: 5
Turreted hull and Coax MG
Extra turreted hull  MG

Support list: 4 (75mm) or 5 (105mm)
Special rules: Only one of two the turret guns or the co-ax mg can be fired using one command initiative. The sub-turrets count as hull mounted MGs. One can fire per command initiative, with the option to also fire by using a separate command dice of 1.  105mm equipped vehicles can fire smoke direct.

Panzer fans will notice that apart from the extra MG turret (and the 105mm variant), these stats are pretty much the same as those for an early model Panzer IV. I suspect this explains why they never went into serious production.

Now since these served as propaganda machines, below is my take on what Herr Goebbels would have liked the allies to think they were:

Neubaufahrzeug Propaganda Panzer - Heavy Tank
Armour: 6
HE: 10
AP: 5
Regular speed
The rest as above
Support list: 6

While the Neubaufahrzeug doesn't add much to the game in pure stats terms, imagine the look on your opponent's face when you say you have bought an entirely historical Panzer VI support for a 1940 battle. ;)

German Armoured Rarities 1935-1945 - Michael Sowodny.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Boats for Mars!

Over on Thingiverse Devon Jones has been working on Openforege an extensive range of open source dungeon terrain tiles.  I printed up a bunch last year but realized that I would never have time for RPGs so they went to a new home.

However, earlier this year Mr Jones released a set of rowboats and dinghies which will be perfect for the canals of Mars.  There are a few technical tweaks needed but below is the first set of prints.

I like the small boat especially since it is just different enough to say not of Earth. The larger may well get used as a landing craft by Earther forces or maybe even Oh'ktava'ns Marines.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

New Terrain for Space 1889

Just a quick post. Life has been crazy busy since the Spring and is even more so now Canada is in election mode. I was however able to put together a bit of terrain for Space 1889 and Gruntz:

The spiky things are the seed pods of Fuller's Teasel, a roadside weed that used to be used to fluff up wool blankets. Add some card bases a little sand and some flock (dyed tea leaves) an I have a dozen or so spiky Martian bushes for Oh'ktava'an's troops to hide behind.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Space 1889 - This needs to be shared

Over at One Last Wargame- SPACE 1889 Kev from Australia has been working on a little project of his own. Space 1889 in 40mm using figures he has sculpted and cast himself. Very much in the toy soldier mode and not exactly canon, these figures have a charm of their own. I can see Wells himself playing Little wars with these.

Please go take a look!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

War Printer

As mentioned in previous posts, I have a RepRap 3d printer that I have been using to print bits for wargaming. It has its own page where I will be putting more in-depth posts on the printing side of it.

Check it out:
War Printer 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Thoughts on Kas'trum and Old School Game Design.

The scenarios in Space 1889, especially those in the core books, have received a lot of criticism for being on rails. Some modern commentators have rightly remarked that players and game masters both are locked into a single story line. For example, if  On Gossamer Wings is played out as written, no matter what the players do to fix Professor Grant's ether flyer, they will always crash - no exceptions and no player input.

So too is much of the rest of the Space 1889 background. When working up possible organizations of my Martian lead pile, I found that the options I wanted to use did not fit into any of the published city states and especially not Oenotria. Instead, I put them in the previously unknown city state of Kas'trum. I wanted to put Kas'trum off to one side of the main British advance preferably in the swamps between Crocea and Gorklimsk. According to known maps, the only way the British can get to those swamps by water is through Crocea with canal routes further north blocked by mountains. Crocea itself is still powerful enough to block any raiding red men coming down the canal and the British are close enough to its walls to make shoe-horning in a decent sized city state difficult.  So what was I going to do? After much hemming and hawing, all I had to do was remember how we used to do things. I'll let Frank Chadwick speak from the designer's notes for the Soldier's Companion rules:
Let me close with a piece of general advice to players and referees alike. Miniatures gaming is a form of entertainment, and these rules are intended to provide you with the means of putting on an entertaining game. It is foolish, then, to let the printed rules stand in the way of your enjoyment. The bulk of this book should serve as testimony to the effort put into making it as complete as it can be, but a set of rules is sterile without an active set of players. If you disagree with anything in these rules, please feel free to modify it to suit your own tastes. Just don't argue about it while the game is being played. During the game, the referee's word is absolute law, above even the printed words of the rules.
So with a plan refreshed by this wisdom Crocea is going to get moved further south, new canals dropped into place and Kas'trum will be put exactly where it needs to be so nothing stands in the way of my enjoyment.  Besides, the Earther maps were likely wrong to begin with.

To no particular scale - but around 3.14159 miles to the hex.

This is entertainment. If you are not re-fighting particular historical battles or you are not playing in a tournament where consistent rules are a necessity, throw out the canon and rewrite the rules until you get the enjoyment out of the hobby that works for you. It's what we did in the old days so there is historical precedent.