Monday, August 30, 2010


I picked up a copy of Wessex Game’s Tusk today with the idea of playing it in a galaxy far far away.


My idea is to use the Victorian science fiction variant of the game to recreate Tusken Raider hunts.  I’ve got more than I need of these guys for skirmishing and a couple of these guys below would make fantastic replacements for the mammoths and dinosaurs found in the rules.


Nexu YoungKraytDragon

I’ll have a look online in all the usual places and in the meantime the kids have a few dinosaur and elephant toys the Tusken raiders can hunt until something more appropriate turns up.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sshhh… more Star Wars Miniatures.

I noticed that my last few blog entries didn’t contain many, if any photos.  So I’ve decided to rectify that with a quick show and tell of another box of 99 cent Star Wars deals that arrived from eBay today.


They’re pretty much you trooper/warrior mix and for the first time in a while I’m happy enough with their paintjobs.  Some of the Star Wars stuff honestly look like they’ve been painted by my cat, but these look like someone has actually taken care to colour in between the lines.

But I do have to say that I was little disappointed with the Ewoks, their axes are just too big.  And the Jawa’s are either too tall or too skinny (both?). 


The real surprise of the batch were the Imperial Dignitaries.  The photo here don’t show the subtle shading on the gowns and the faces, but it’s there and it works.


Normally I wouldn’t bid on miniatures like these dignitaries as they wouldn’t have a lot of value in a traditional wargame, but a pulp game is a different thing all together and interesting characters can create interesting scenarios.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Gutshot Action Slips

Gutshot went down rather well with the guys from the club and but two things kept it from flowing as smooth as it could have: firstly I hadn’t read the rules as well as I should have and spent quite a while looking things up, especially hand to hand combat.  Secondly we were using plain playing cards for the action deck and each character was assigned a number and took an action when their card was turned over.  This led to a lot of “so who’s 7” and “didn’t 4 die last turn?

Every time we played I’d say “look I’ll make up some cards with photos of the miniatures and this won’t be a problem next time”… and for whatever reason I wouldn’t make the cards.

Well now I have.

Gutshot Cards Gutshot Cards2

I’ve got another 9 miniatures I need to paint before I can make cards for those, for now though this 12 should suffice.  I need to start basing all the cardstock buildings as some of them are starting to distort.

Miniatures and terrain… check.  Action cards and tokens… check.  Read the rules… check.  Time for a Gutshot campaign methinks.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Works in Progress?

I’ve got so many projects on the go at the moment I feel I need to make a list of where everything is at in an attempt to work out where my time should be best spent.

So in no particular order here I go:

15mm Napoleonic Skirmish

I’ve got the Russians painted but I need to finish them off with a wash and a varnish.  Haven’t done anything with the British.  Need some terrain too.  Song of Drums and Shakos is a little particular about the terrain quantity and size so I’ll need to sort that out first.

28mm WW2

Where I’m spending most of my time at the moment.  A day or two of painting should finish most of the Germans and British I’ve already started.  I’ve got a platoon each of US Airborne and German Fallschirmjagers that haven’t even got an undercoat yet.  A couple infantry guns, anti tank guns and a Flakvierling are in various stages of (dis)assembly and painting.  The terrain is eating up most of my time here but the results are looking promising.  Sick kids and general laziness have stalled any progress this weekend.

10mm WW2

Haven’t touched the Pendraken stuff in a while.  Probably not a huge amount to finish painting here, maybe 20 stands or so (they paint up quickly).  I just need to finish off the bases on the stuff I have painted.  I’m happy with the terrain I’ve done for this so far.  I need to get a decent table mat, I’m looking at the Euro Fields one from Hotz Mats.  Could use it for 28mm too, the flip side of it is plain green which is also useful.  I should just buy one but I might make a trip to the fabric store and see what I can find first.

28mm Western Skirmish

Not much to do here really… sort of.  Most of the minis are painted up.  Enough for five of us to play with a heap of opponents to shoot at.  I have the Hotz Mat which is great.  The cardstock buildings are starting to warp which is not surprising but disappointing.  To fix these I going to add balsa wood guides and mount them onto MDF.  This means I won’t be able to stack them for storage anymore but it will allow for some little details to be added to the bases.

28mm Superheroes

I really need to get this on the table more.  The kids are asking me to play a lot and I keep putting it off because I don’t have the right terrain and the minis aren’t based yet.  I plan to resolve the basing issues this week and just playing with what I have terrain wise right now.  I’ve got plans on making some Gotham City rooftop terrain tiles but I won’t start that for fear of stalling the WW2 terrain even more.  Batman will just have to chase The Joker through a ruined European Village for a few episodes.  Then again I could just get the HeroClix maps laminated and use those for a while.  May even be able to simplify the game for the kids by using the grid rather than measuring… hmmm I’ll have to think about that one for a while.

28mm Star Wars/Sci-fi

This is another blank slate where all I have are the rules and some miniatures.  Although like the superheroes I could use the Star Wars Miniatures maps to start with and the 1” squares may prove useful there too.  There’s also the 28mm mass combat rules I started based on Blitzkrieg Commander.  It’s playable but I need to make some more bases and build more terrain and lots of it.

1/600 Aircraft

It’s been ages since I got my aircraft onto the table.  There’s a heap of aircraft to paint up yet and I haven’t even touched the US and Japanese aircraft.  All I need are some magnets and a good weekend at the painting table.  And as much as I love my hex map, it is getting harder to roll it out flat after being in storage for so long.  Maybe I could get the Euro Fields matt printed double sided with a 1.5” hex pattern on the other side, more expensive but twice as useful.


Considering the amount of money I’ve spend in these minis I really need to get them on the table soon.

And Everything Else

Doctor Who, Song of Blades and Heroes, Fear and Faith, Bloodbowl, Dungeonbowl, Mud and the Blood, Modern Aircraft… oh the list goes on.

So What To Do About It?

The 28mm WW2, Superheroes and Sci-fi skirmish are equally vying for my time at the moment.  So in order of priority* based on:

  • How much time/effort/money is required to get it on the table.
  • How long it has been since I promised my kids we’d actually play or play again.
  • How interested I am in playing.
  • How interested everyone else is in playing.

* subject to change at any given moment.

It goes something like this:

  1. 28mm WW2 Skirmish
  2. Supers
  3. Western Skirmish
  4. 10mm WW2
  5. Star Wars/Sci-fi

The rest of the list gets too hard from here on in.  The top three are pretty much focused on terrain building and once I get the majority of the WW2 stuff knocked over I can see me working on a few pieces of each at any given time.

Flash Gordon over at Dampf's Modelling Page

I like to look at the blog list of the blogs that I read, every now and then you'll find a fantastic blog that you may never have come across any other way.

Dampf's Modelling Page is one of those blogs.  There are a few entries for Flintloque which is a fantasy game by Alternative Armies set in the napoleonic era, Orks and Halflings with muskets... so very tempting.

But the Pièce de résistance are his Flash Gordon pulp entries.  This is just the sort of thing I hope to get on the table with Fantastic Worlds.

His terrain boards are simply amazing and have stage by stage blog entries which are both informative and inspirational.
So many ideas...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Two Hour Supers!

Graham over at the Pairadice Saloon has been working on a set of supers rules using the Two Hour Wargames reaction system as its base.

This is exciting stuff indeed.  The THW reaction system isn’t for everybody and it does take some getting used to but once '”you get it” then you’ll never look back.

A supers game is perfect for this system for a few reasons:

  1. The reaction system works best with fewer miniatures so a supers game of 4-6 miniatures a side is just right for a fast game with a lot of interaction.
  2. The way the reaction system flows back and forth until a character is knocked down, out of the fight or runs away should replicate the short and intense bouts between heroes.
  3. The reputation system (defined in Chain Reaction as “represents a combination of training, experience, morale, and motivation and is an expression of a characters overall fighting quality”) is a simple but effective scale of a heroes power that also allows for improvement, which brings me to…
  4. All THW systems are perfect for campaign play.  Why play one game when you can play 5 or 6.  And let your heroes gain (or lose) skills and abilities on the way.
  5. Solo game play.  This is great for a gamer that doesn’t get to play as much as he’d like, I can set up on the kitchen table and play with myselfby myself… a game on my own.  Or better still…
  6. Same side play.  I can play a game with my kids, not against them.  This is important on so many levels but it makes it so much easier for my five year old to handle losing a game if Dad lost too.  “We’ll get them next time mate just you see!

I’m very keen to see how Graham goes with this and the timing is perfect with my recent search for some good supers rules, maybe I’ve just found them.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Dave Graffam Buildings – Wrecked House Part 1

While waiting for the glue to dry on the split ruin building I started working on the wrecked house.  This build was a lot faster than the previous one, so fast in fact that I found myself waiting for glue to dry on this building.


While the column supports were optional in the previous build they’re really needed in this one.  Not so much for the strength in my case but to actually hold the floor in place while I drill and pin it to the walls.  The cardstock columns looked too fiddly to muck around with so I drug out the ever useful balsa wood.


Two 6.5mm strips back to back, cut to length and then glue to the floor.  I gave the glue on the floor fifteen minutes and then glue on the upper floor.  I was happy enough with the results that I added two to the other building too.  An inkwash and a light drybrush should do the job when it’s all dried.

GraffamWreckedHouse03 GraffamWreckedHouse04

A couple shots to give you and idea of the size of the wrecked house.

GraffamWreckedHouse05 GraffamWreckedHouse06

While waiting for glue to dry elsewhere I added a few bits of rubble here and there.

GraffamWreckedHouse07 GraffamWreckedHouse08

After all the construction so far there’s about a third of the MDF sheet left, which may be enough for the tower and ruined cottage.


But even working on three buildings per $5 sheet we’re only talking about $1.66 per building.  Not too shabby at all.

Dave Graffam Buildings – Split Ruin Part 2

Spent a little more time on the split ruin this morning and it just keeps looking better.  I eventually settled on using cardstock for the roof and it looks better than I thought.  It helped that on this model you fold the roof over so it is actually two sheets of cardstock thick.  I’ll have to do that with all the buildings I think.

Here’s a few shots of the building assembled and based.

GraffamSplitRuin13 GraffamSplitRuin14

GraffamSplitRuin15 GraffamSplitRuin16


I’ve added a little bit of sawdust, pebbles and wood chips to add a little 3D rubble.  The rubble on the artwork is great and won’t get in the way of the miniatures so I’ll leave that alone.


Working on the wrecked house now while waiting for the glue to set on this one to dry.  Tonight I’ll start painting the edges of the MDF and give the rubble a grey/black paint/wash and then tomorrow night I’ll look at flocking the rest of the base.  If I’m feeling adventurous enough and I’m not too tired from work I’m thinking of putting a little stone wall near the side door, we’ll see.

These Dave Graffam buildings really are the business.  They’re simple to build, look good and still allow you to get your hobby groove on what’s not to love?

Dave Graffam Buildings – Split Ruin Part 1

Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together?  Well I’m no John “Hannibal” Smith (Murdoch maybe) but I’m always happy to improvise.  I had intended on using 3mm MDF and a hot glue gun to put my first Dave Graffam building together but a few test runs of the hot glue gun showed that I had maybe 4-5 seconds before the glue dried too much to reposition the MDF.  This was just a little too quick for me to use it on my first build (ie I’m fit to bouts of procrastination).


First up I cut out one side of a wall section and then traced it onto the MDF.  I took care to make sure the straight edges were in fact straight but the ruined edges I took less acre with.  This is a ruined building after all and I intend to paint the edges so I can hide am edge that’s out a 1mm or two.


I went with adhesive spray to stick the artwork to the MDF because it dries fast and doesn’t tend to run or drip everywhere.

GraffamSplitRuin03 GraffamSplitRuin04

One of the reasons I couldn’t use the hot glue gun is that I wanted to “pin” the walls together.  I have a roll of 0.9mm wire and a 1mm drill bit in a hand drill and it cuts into the MDF like butter.  I drilled into the wall section about a centimetre and glue them in with super glue.


Then drill two holes into the opposing wall section, line the edge with MDF glue and press together.  I let that join dry while I cut out the rest of the artwork and MDF for the opposite wall.  It’s starting to look good even with just three walls and the floor artwork sitting in place.  Again I left it to dry while I cut the floor pieces.

GraffamSplitRuin06 GraffamSplitRuin07

Floor pieces all cut, glued and ready to put into place.  MDF glue on all joining edges and two pins on the left and right edges really give the floors strength.  Not that there will be a lot of weight on them but there’s no chance of getting any bowing that happens with some multi story cardstock buildings.  This build does come with some columns to insert which would help with a cardstock building but I won’t bother with those.  I may paint up some balsa wood pieces and stick them in but I’ll wait and see, they may just get in the way of moving the miniatures around.


Only have the roof left to build now, I was going to just make it out of card but I’m thinking I’ll get some balsa wood or try to find some 1.5mm-2mm thick card.

GraffamSplitRuin09 GraffamSplitRuin10 GraffamSplitRuin11 GraffamSplitRuin12

Once the roof goes on I’ll base the building on some 3mm MDF and add some piles to the floors to help break up the “empty box” look that it has going.  Some small off cuts, pebbles and sand should do the job.  One of the other Graffam buildings has some furniture to build so I’ll make some for this too.

About 3 hours of build time to get this far and I’m guessing maybe another hour or two to finish off.  It’s a little slower than I had hoped but things will be a lot quicker on the next ones now that I’ve worked out how to factor in the extra thickness of the MDF to allow the internal walls to match up with the external walls.

Once the construction is finished and the paint dried I’ll give it a coat of matt varnish, especially the floors and outer walls where most of the handling will be.  A great thing is that if a section does get damaged all I have to do is print that page out and glue it over top of the damaged bit, easy fixed!

The actual size of the building is surprising too, I had imagined it much smaller.  A squad could quite easily hunker down inside.  The wrecked house and ruined tower builds are going to be downright impressive!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Looking for some Pulp – We Can Be Heroes

I will be king
And you
You will be queen
Though nothing…

Sorry, just couldn’t help myself.

For a while now I’ve been looking for some good skirmish rules for my Star Wars minis but haven’t really found anything that “felt right”.  I think where I was going wrong is that I was looking for some sci-fi rules and while that might fit the period it doesn’t suit the flavour of the Star Wars universe.  What I really need is some pulp rules, and so the search begins…

I’m no good at writing reviews so I won’t try, instead I’ll just list some pros and cons of each of the systems.


I started by picking up a copy of We Can Be Heroes II by TFP Games.  70 pages inc covers, around $12.95US but currently on sale at Wargame Vault for $8.62US.


  • It uses a card based activation system which is something I really like in a game.
  • The system isn’t genre specific and comes with a huge range of examples of weapons and armour for different genres.
  • Each character in the game are either a Hero, Sidekick, Superior Troops or Inferior Troops (oddly enough there are no “standard troops”).  Each of these types have a fixed set of stats, so all Jedi are the same as all Sith who are the same as all Bounty hunters.  This does make for a lot less record sheet checking and even my kids can pick this up pretty easily.
  • Redshirts/droids/troopers: the game has got this trope covered.  A single Jedi can easily take on a squad of battle droids and win in a few turns.  Yes there’s still a little risk the dice won’t be kind and you’ll get hurt but the odds are stacked in the Jedi’s favour.
  • A random amount of Hero points are available each turn that we also use as Jedi power points for things like deflecting blaster fire, force push, throwing light sabers and so on.  This allows for cool powers but keeps them in check too.  Yep Obi-Wan can use force push to knock over that unit of droids but there’s six of them and that’ll use up all the Hero points for this turn… you sure you want to do that… there’ll be none left for Anakin to use this turn?


  • Each character in the game are either a Hero, Sidekick…  I know I listed this as a Pro but it also takes away from the game.  My kids won’t care that Anakin Skywalker has the same stats as Yoda or Darth Maul but I do.  This will affect long term playability for me but I’m happy to wear that as this is a game I can play with my kids.
  • Skills, these should be a pro but they feel tacked on and really don’t add much to the game.  Reference is made as to how the First Aid skill helps to heal a character but nothing is said in the Combat or skill sections of the Strong, Very Strong or Super Human Strength skills when surely they would have some effect.  A missed opportunity I think.
  • It doesn’t really affect play at all but the layout of the book consists of the rules being presented as speech bubbles, see here: WeCanBeHeroesII-SpeechBubblesJust like that… for the whole book.  It’s not unreadable and it’s doesn’t get in the way but it doesn’t sit right with me for some reason.  The same goes with all the pictures of the miniatures, there’s just too many of them.  At least on for each speech bubble, obviously as it would just look silly having a speech bubble full of rules floating on an empty page.  If they cut the speech bubbles and reduced the number of photos they could easily reduce the size of the book to 35-40 pages.  But like I said earlier this doesn’t affect the fun you’ll have at the table as I haven’t had to refer to the rulebook once during play.


I’ll definitely be playing these rules with my kids.  There’s a cheap magic supplement available too which makes it a little easier to work out force powers and could easily be used for any form of magic, psionics, voodoo or whatever.

Since the the rules are so simple (not always a bad thing) it won’t take much effort to convert the Star Wars characters into the WCBH rules.

These are the sort of rules you look at and think “I could have made this up myself” well that’s true but TFP have saved you the trouble and the time.  A solid set of rules that are fun to play, and like a true pulp game no one ever really dies.  Which is another plus when the Jedi your five year old is playing takes on two Droidekas and rolls badly… very badly.  The force was not with him that day…

So the search is still on for a set of rules for me.

Next time I’ll have a look at Fantastic Worlds by Ratrap Productions, other rules I’ve got lined up are Larger than Life by Two Hour Wargames and Flying Lead by Ganesha Games.

FantasticWorlds LTL FlyingLead

Any suggestions about other pulp rules I should have a look would be greatly welcomed as well.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Dave Graffam Buildings

Just picked up some Dave Graffam buildings from Wargame Vault and I’m aiming to get a couple of these built over the coming fortnight.  Most come with single and multi layer variants so they give you plenty of scope for variations and should suit just about any period from fantasy to napoleonics right through to WW2 and beyond.  And at around $5 AUS per building they’re great value.

My plan is to build these using 3-6mm MDF for the walls and floors, the roofs I may just leave as cardstock.  Haven’t entirely decided yet and I’m sure to change my mind part way through construction.  What really caught my attention is that the buildings look functional at least for 15mm and 28, I think they’ll look awesome at 10mm scale but they’ll be much to small to hold a stand of infantry.

But one thing is certain that the strength and durability combined with the amazing artwork should leave me with some sweet gaming terrain. 

Ruined Cottage:,

gallery-ruined-cottage-exterior gallery-ruined-cottage-interior

Split Ruin:,

gallery-split-ruin-exterior gallery-split-ruin-interior

Tower Ruin:,

gallery-tower-ruin-exterior gallery-tower-ruin-interior

Wrecked House:,

gallery-wrecked-house-exterior-01 gallery-wrecked-house-interior-01