Sunday, October 30, 2016

Best Kept Secrets: Indus Miniatures - 20% off sale ends Oct 31st

Indian Religious Men

Hindu Militia Archers

Indus Miniatures is running a 20% off sale that ends tomorrow! Use code "Indus20" at checkout.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Quest of Thane Tostig

My Collection (90% of it anyway)

I have been interested by "The Quest of Thane Tostig" for a long while, ever since reading an article about it in "Battle" magazine. You can read the article here, on David Wood's blog Dear Tony Blair. The date: 1977 - Wow, that was a while ago!

I managed to actually find a copy of the Quest a year or so ago. About the same time I won these in a series of lots on ebay. I don't know if the packaging is entirely original. The card looks the part, with a heavy plastic bag and green foam insert. The packs were grouped into units: for the Sprites, a standard, horn-blower and 6-8 warriors; and all the Heroes were in a single bag. Repackaged, I suspect by the seller (possibly a hobby shop).

This is not my complete collection. I have Hangbeffor and at least one earwig; King Debobmik on his throne; I think also some of the misc Sprites - the torturers, etc.; also some odd warriors picked up over the years. These are all scattered about in various nooks and crannies. I need to dig them out and consolidate everything and then I'd actually like to run the Quest. Perhaps with updated rules...or maybe run it twice: once "old school" and then with my own rules.

Other Miniatures from Minot

In the same set of auctions as I won the Thane Tostig figures were these, sold as a single lot. Looking at them I can see that they are all (I think) inspired by various Frank Frazetta paintings. I found these examples in a quick search just now:

Saturday, March 19, 2016

In the Year 2525...

TSR's "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" 
game board

I have owned this game for a long time but have only rarely played it. What I really like about the board is the simplified orbital tracking of the Inner Planets. As a boardgame, I remember it being simplistic but OK. 

What I really want to do, however, is use the jpeg above in some sort of retro-sci/fi campaign. I don't need anything else from the game really. Just a map image to track moves on.

Recently an artist posted a map she had done of Mars, done in a Medieval mapping style. The contours were based on actual NASA data apparently. A low rez version can be seen below.

Cartography by Eleanor Lutz

If you get the original (Tabletop Whale), you will be able to zoom in and read the place names and contours. I probably will change the names to suit. The contours are in 1000 meter elevations. One thing I noticed quite quickly is that the 0 meter elevation is in the middle of the spread. My assumption is that this is where Sea Level would be if Mars had water. (Whether this comes from NASA or artistic license, or whether my assumption is flawed, I don't know).

Anyway, this directly "seeds" my campaign backstory. The planet Mars is in the very early stages of terraforming. Naturally this process will take many hundreds of years. The 0 meter contours mark the approximate assumed shoreline if all goes well. 

The process has currently advanced so that there is a breathable atmosphere, there are storms and water is beginning to fall and accumulate, and plants are beginning to grow. The air is still a bit thin though it is better at the lowest elevations. 

Most of the high population areas are on what will eventually be the sea floor. (ie. in the NW of the map, the blue-green areas being the lowest parts and the browns being the high points). These areas also get the most rain and benefit from the rivers that are starting to flow. This has also benefited the imported plant life, and perhaps some long dormant native species as well. 

The higher plateaus are still more like frontier areas. There are towns, of course, but they are further afield and are often in the shelter of craters. The High Plateaus are for mining and ranching operations mostly. Not only is water scarcer but the storms tend to be more dangerous as well. The air is thinner; at the highest elevations dangerously so. That is not likely to change for decades yet. The last danger is from the Mutants (or Muties, as the locals call them).

The early settlements had lots of problems with mutations. Probably due to being "forced" - that is, set up too soon after the terraforming started. Or perhaps due to unknown environmental elements. The debate goes back and forth and the scientists are conducting studies but the bottom line is that nobody knows for sure. 

Those afflicted were generally ostracized, if not killed or taken away for "research". Many fled to the high country and now there are bands of Mutants and even a few established communities. Nowadays attitudes towards the Muties are better than they were, and many reside in the low settlements where they recieve at least some treatment. Others, however, are quite wild and still considered dangerous. Some mutations take away the powers of reason so some are little more than ravenous beasts!

Friday, March 18, 2016

More Krackatoans!

Giant Crab, by Andy Pieper

Sea Hag

Dragon Bait Krackatoans, by David Soderquist

All the above pics are from the Indiegogo campaign pages.

I've been thinking about that Dragon Rampant Warband. I think the Sea Hag is the leader, and, along with the Trumpeter and Champion will form a reduced size unit of Elite Foot (6 pts), perhaps with venomous weapons (+3 pts). I think the Oracle of Doom will be the spell-caster (Heavy Foot @ 8 pts). The Giant Crabs fit the Greater Warbeast category (6 pts). Then there are the warbands. Belicose Foot, I think, at 4 points per warband. I might field a unit of Scouts (2 pts) using two of  the Marauders pack.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Best Kept Secrets: Dragon Bait Krakatoans

The product of a recent Kickstarter, these excellent denizens of the deeps are sculpted by David Soderquist. I only just received my rewards parcel yesterday and I am really pleased with these figures. I sooo need more so I can build a warband for Dragon Rampant!

There are giant crabs as well but somehow I failed to add them to my pledge. Doh!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Garden of Kama - Khmer Galleys update

Khmer galley...

...with rowers seats removed.

...with side wicker protection for rowers.

Another view.

And again.

Reverse the seating to get a Tsolyáni River Galley.
(The stern is now the prow!)

A tiny bit of progress this last week. In the first instance I sent the basic galley prototype to a fellow Petal Head who has access to a 3D scanner. Perhaps this will result in a scanned file that will allow me to side-step my resin supplier who is turning out to be a real bottleneck, unfortunately. I just cannot get a reliable supply of product. Fingers crossed!

The other bit of news is while studying the model again I realized that by reversing the rowers seating and turning the vessel around the resulting look is very much like other small craft designs in the region - Burma, for example, where the stern post tends to be very tall. The prow of the prototype is quite bulky, mainly because it is intended to be cut away and replaced by a Naga-head carving. So a proper Burmese galley would probably need the stern cut down a bit. I haven't really pursued this as it occurred to me that I could make my Tsolyáni River Galley variants by using this reversed seating. I just need to determine what form of decoration the bow and stern posts should have.

The final step forward was with the wicker side panels that the Khmer galleys had to provide some minimal protection for the rowers. I have explored many construction methods and debated resin vs metal castings or perhaps even 3D-printed panels. 

A few years ago, a friend of mine in North Bay found a suitable material in the form of shelving liners. Until now I have always looked at it from the point of view of using it as a master to somehow be molded to make a final product. But always there were difficulties. It needs to be flexible to fit the curve of the hull and then there was the question of how to do the supports. And should there be top and/or bottom rails? Last week, however, I finally decided to just use the shelf liner "as is". Its not like I am likely to sell hundreds of these things anyway, if the last five years are anything to go by!

The top two pictures show the basic Khmer galley prototype. It is 12" long and will have a crew of twenty oarsmen and a steersman. And perhaps a captain and one or two others. The second picture shows the rowers seats removed. The rower figures will be cut of below the knee and face backwards as is normal for a galley. Their oars, however, are much shorter than those of the typical Greek or Roman galley we are used to seeing.

The middle three pictures show the cut strips of shelf liner. In addition to being flexible, many of the liners come in nice bright woven patterns which would be difficult to paint. I don't think anybody actually knows what they would look like. The knowledge comes mostly from stone carvings after all. So they could be plain wicker panels or they could be in various patterns. Mine will be in whatever patterns and colours the local dollar stores can provide! :-)

The last picture shows the Tsolyáni variant with reversed seating so that the stern is now the prow. I just have to decide what other changes - if any - are required.

Comments and suggestions welcome! :-)