Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Do not pass go. More Boone's Landing architecture.

I had a couple of free hours tonight so without much in the way of planning I knocked together a jailhouse for Boone's Landing. I took the image below from the Wild West Exodus kickstarter as my starting point.

Git offa mah poorch yoo varmints!

I loved the original but felt that if you take away a few minor, peripheral details like the pipe, sign and scatter terrain you have essentially a wild west building. In SpAaAaAce! So I kept with the corrugated shack look as the core of the building and copied the rest as best I could.

Not an exact copy but paint covers all manner of sins.

I am adding some basing material around the edges before bedtime and leaving it all to dry overnight. Hopefully I will get it painted tomorrow.

Just to give you an idea of the materials involved I will explain a little of what I did. I started with some MDF photo frame backing which matches the thickness of the posh stuff I use and hot glued a block of extruded foam to it. I built a doorway out of lollipop sticks and added the corrugated cardboard to the outside of the foam. I recommend corrugated plasticard if you haven't got as many buildings as I have to do. It is more expensive and harder to work with but it is easier to pose and more hard-wearing.

The next stage was to build the porch using lollipop sticks, kebab sticks and the trusty hot glue gun. Balsa wood is better than kebab sticks but I didn't have any to hand unfortunately and it's a pain to make little axe cuts and so on in it, which I can't resist doing.

The sign was a fiddly bit, which is why it's three times the size it should be but whatever. I imagine people cross the road to avoid walking past it and whole populations of flies from across the planet cease to be as they cast themselves onto the fiery, sparking, neon, hypnotic wonderland. It's a JAIL!!! in case you hadn't noticed. I built it out of mesh and leftover wiring from some appliance I butchered for parts long ago. A handy bit of plastic in my one of my bits boxes looked great as a bit of circuitry on the back.

Last but not least, Came the roof. I covered the foam top with some plasticard then covered that with some mesh. I built lollipop stick fencing around the edges of the roof and added a trapdoor to act as an access point.

The whole thing only took a couple of hours or so, though it was quite resource heavy compared to a lot of the other buildings I've done.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Post Apocalyptic Survivors (dudes) from Wargames Factory (via Wayland Games).

The Survivors I ordered turned up in the post yesterday, at first glance they look just the ticket and I am going to assemble one and get him ready for our next game of Zombicide. I suspect one or two will crop up in my Boone's Landing games too.

Official promo shot of the main poses.

There are 30 minis inside but I don't need all of them, as the box cost £18.15 from Wayland Games I am going to sell some at my club for a break-even 60p each thereby spreading the hobby love. I already have loads of people interested so I will end up with one entire sprue of the 10 variations to play with.

The back of the box, showing some trope-heavy alternative poses.

Bodies A, F and G.

B, C and E.

I and J.

D and H.

You get three of the body sprues leaving you with 10 completely unique poses. You can mix and match weapons very well though as you get a 4th sprue with loads of weapon options.

Guns, lots of guns.

The weapons are a mixture of British (SA80, cricket bat) and American (erm, everything else) which enhances the versatility of the set. You get some nice 'concrete' bases too.

All your base are belong to us.

As regular readers know I don't go in for reviews so I am not going to bang on about the quality of this or that. I like the idea of a personalised mini for Zombicide and any similar game we might play and I thought it might be useful for others if they could see inside the box, that's all. Besides, Richard from Wayland Games contacted me after I put the boot into both Wayland Games and Maelstrom Games on the Marienburg Gazette and after having spoken to him I felt more inclined to view Wayland in a positive light. With this plug a little karma may be restored to the universe.

Richard, if you're reading this, please stock Wild West Exodus minis as soon as they come out!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Feeble excuses and a good deal of navel-gazing.

It's been a busy week or so here at Castle Paul, no painting or hobby updates. :(

I did play some more RT at the club last Thursday though and I have another game tonight so I will have some interesting photos and notes with which to do reshoots in the near future with any luck.

This photo was taken eight days before this post, it was supposed to be part one of a step by step guide for turning it post-apocalyptic. It's still sat there. :(

Don't pay my whinging too much heed, the hobby slowdown was due to the fact that I travelled south to the ancestral homelands (Suffolk) to introduce Warlord Leon to all the folks back home, which was great fun, I also enjoyed a birthday and my very first Father's Day along the way!

Hobby gifts included a copy of Pandemic, Talisman: The Dungeon, several volumes of the Judge Dredd collection and a new camera. I treated myself to some new post-apoc survivors from Wargames Factory, I will post a pic of the sprues when they arrive from Wayland Games.

The Philosopher, coming to a Yorkshire tabletop soon. I get this look sometimes when I get a bee in my bonnet about some aspect of wargaming.

Next week I am introducing Axis & Allies to our board game club within a club, I am tweaking the set up very slightly to erode the allies edge by a smidge, I will let you know how things pan out.

That's about all I have to report, to prevent this from being an entirely frothy filler post I am going to have a crack at the interview questionnaire James has just done on his blog, thanks James hope you don't mind me copying you. The original idea for this came from Rejects, Fran and Ray about a year ago so thanks goes to them also.

By way of introduction, this is a picture of your host in a somewhat typical pose and environment. I am trespassing on military land on the Cypriot north/south border near Nicosia, purely so I can wander around some 'off-the-map', Crusader era, castle ruins. Had to dodge a few soldiers and a rare outbreak of common sense prevented me from taking the camera along (spying charges, military positions, not good...) but it was totally worth it! The WIFE captured my moment of triumph as I returned and the wave I gave her hilariously looks like a NAZI salute. It's not, I swear.

A more recent snap from the WIFE's phone. Goodness knows what I am smirking at.

Q1. Favourite wargaming period and why?

I thoroughly enjoy historical wargaming and from that POV it's mid to high medieval, HYW, WOTR and all that. To be accurate though I love Sci-fi and Fantasy way more. I prefer Fantasy in all ways except wargaming, where it's a lot more 50-50.

Q2. Next period, money no object?

I am scaling my ambitions down to the point where they are almost realistic. I have no plans to go wildly off into a new area, I would prefer to concentrate on exactly what I'm doing on the blog and I already have all the minis for that. I would like the painting fairy to swoop in and finish a few units off though!

Q3. Favourite 5 films?

LOTR trilogy
Original Star Wars trilogy
Raiders of the Lost Ark

Q4. Favourite 5 TV series?

The Wire
Sopranos (RIP James Gandolfini)
House of Cards (UK original)

Q5. Favourite book and author?

Ok, favourite book is hands down LOTR and therefore Tolkien gets the nod as favourite author. I don't think he was the world's best ever writer and I would question his ability to self edit but he had a genius for bardic story-telling and the explored theme of male friendships in LOTR is a powerful one.

Q6. Greatest general? Excluding oneself!

It's Alexander the Great, by a country mile. He faced every adversity known to war and came out on top, he was unorthodox and unpredictable, he was insanely lucky, he was utterly fearless and he was loved, feared and hated in equal measure by everyone in Europe, North Africa and Asia. One day they might make a movie worthy of his legacy!

Q7. Favourite wargames rules?

I don't think any published rules I have ever played (that is a lot BTW) are perfect, if I were to pick the one with the most fun potential and the fewest bizarre abstractions I would go for Blackpowder and it's sister game Hail Caesar. I wrote a game called 'Anarchy' for myself and a few mates which we still play a fair bit, it's perfect for me because it was a personal venture. I find it tense, exciting, challenging and fun, but most of all I don't question any of the reasoning behind the rules!

Q8. Favourite sport and team?

Premiership Football. I don't get to watch much sport these days, I support Man U (Football/Soccerball) from the comfort of my sofa and I make the effort to watch my brother-in-law play for Morley (Rugby Union) but that's about it. I am boycotting international football because I loathe almost everyone involved in the England set up. If they win a world cup in my absence I may buy the DVD but that's it.

Q9. If you had a one use only time machine, when and where would you go?

Sending matter back through time is, lamentably, impossible. Therefore I would go forward a few centuries and get myself a fancy new immortal body and a jetbike. I would use my celebrity status as a 'neanderthal' curiosity to get wealthy and spend the money on robots.

Q10. Last meal on Death Row?

I couldn't enjoy anything with my looming demise so close, I could try and be facetious by saying 'poison' so the buggers wouldn't have the pleasure of topping me but that would be unrealistic. I would pick pizza as my favourite food but honestly I would be far too depressed to care if it was my last meal ever!

Q11. Fantasy relationship and why?

I must say I feel very lucky in that department, especially since the recent birth of our first child, but I like to think that somewhere in an alternate universe there is a version of me who pried Isla Fisher off of that Borat fellow.

G'day fellas, fancy a game of Warhammer!

Q12. If your life were a movie, who would play you?

John Travolta, we both take the hairy, beefy look and turn it into pure sex.

Q13. Favourite comic superhero?

Tough, tough question. I like Batman but I am not automatically drawn to say him over Iron Man, though that is possibly because of RDJ. Superman is too perfect to sympathise with, also, he must be a alien or sutin. Spiderman is a whiney brat, just like to get that one in there. I am going to say Wolverine because his regenerative abilities and adamantium skeleton are just superb concepts from the creators. *UPDATE* Since writing this I have read through four more volumes of Judge Dredd and I have completely become obsessed with all things Mega-City One. He is my new favourite, forever. *UPDATE*

The Law. It's him.

Q14. Favourite military quote?

Well, from a wargaming philosophy point of view it's:

"Mon centre c├Ęde, ma droite recule, situation excellente, j'attaque." Ferdinand Foch.

As an Englishman though it perhaps ought to be:

"Firstly you must always implicitly obey orders, without attempting to form any opinion of your own regarding their propriety. Secondly, you must consider every man your enemy who speaks ill of your king; and thirdly you must hate a Frenchman as you hate the devil." Horatio Nelson.

Apologies to our cross-channel cousins! Just kidding!

Q15. Historical destination to visit?

I have already been across the length and breadth of northern France and Belgium visiting my first choice of the battlefields of WWI, luckily enough. My next choice would be to follow Bernard Cornwell's TV series and visit the battlefields of the Peninsular War. The family regiment has been the Black Watch (in it's various incarnations) for centuries so that would be an added incentive to visit that part of the world.

Q16. Biggest wargaming regret?

I regret nothing! I am, however, starting over with a blank slate and loving it!

Q17. Favourite fantasy job?

Heir to the throne, leading his bataille against the forces of tyranny.

Q18. Favourite 5 songs?

Genuinely impossible question to answer, however, off the top of my head I can give you an eclectic 5 great songs I love right now at this second:

Hallowed be thy Name by Iron Maiden
Whiskey in the Jar by Metallica
Into the West by Annie Lennox
Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd
Imagine by John Lennon

Q.19 Favourite wargaming moment?

The recent epiphany that led to me rediscover the good, old-fashioned way to game when I was on the verge of abandoning the hobby altogether.

Q20. The miserable git question, what upsets you?

"Hell is-other people" (Jean-Paul Sartre), although, "When a man is able to take abuse with a smile, he is worthy to become a leader." (Reb Nachman).

Thanks for the idea James, Fran and Ray!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Rogue Trader Road Warrior.

Just got my first post-apocalyptic style vehicle TTR for Boone's Landing. This is a new skill I am developing and I am testing a few settings out on the camera because of the fading light but I thought you might like a quick look at my progress. My birthday is this month and I am getting an upgraded camera! :)

The Cartwright family truck, 'Long Tall Sally'.

Eat my dust!

Can't wait until Thursday so I can play some more RT!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, 7 June 2013

The Calamityville Massacre.

Finally got me some Sci-Fi skirmishing going on last night, the first time since the birth of Warlord Leon back in March I think.

The Rogue Trader setting of Boone's Landing has been taking shape for a while and though I still have ideas I want to take forward and at least 10 more shacks I want to build it is at last ready to use in a game. People were definitely impressed at the club last night though! I am not sure how it will come across in the photos I was able to take but hopefully you get the idea what I'm trying to do. On the back of this game I got several people hooked and I was overwhelmed with volunteers for games in the future which was my goal so I was incredibly thrilled with the success of this one demo. I must shout out to the now largely defunct 'Tales from the Maelstrom' blog. Whatever else is going on behind the scenes there, the production values of their battle reports was exceptionally high and it remains a target of mine to get to that level.

Calamityville, Boone's Landing. Moments before the peace is shattered.

You can see the farm in the background of the picture above, also the two watchtowers I built for Wolf Time on the left and right sides plus a refinery/silo type building in the foreground made from a defunct hairdryer. It was broken before I touched it, I swear! I have liberally scattered parked vehicles about the place, next time I will have some civilians wandering around too hopefully. The battle mat is from Hotzmatz, in Canada. I will be doing a separate post on mats soon and plugging Eric Hotz quite a bit because he is a customer service legend and deserves to be the first stop globally for battle mats under $100 (Can). Mine didn't need much in the way of screen printing and made it's way to me in the UK for $40 (Can)!

Here is the background blurb I gave to my players:

"Boone's Landing is a backwater, dirtball planet (sort of the Rogue Trader 'Lost Worlds' meets Mad Max meets the Wild West meets Necromunda meets Dune). It has has several influential Founding Families which look down on the masses and form the elite, land-owning, merchant class. Out on the prairie tribes of techno-savages roam, hunting wild grox and burrowing death-crabs. Further out in the barren hills live degenerate clans of inbred muties. The only Imperial forces ever to visit are those of passing Rogue Traders and the occasional Inquisitor. The planet is a port to all sorts of xenos scum, Eldar pirates, Ork freebooters, Dark Eldar slavers, Genestealer cultists and of course the servants of the ruinous powers to name but a few. There is very little in the way of law enforcement, mercenaries are hired on an ad hoc basis by the wealthiest mine owners and grox herders to solve any 'problems'. Needless to say, there are plenty of the usual hired guns that evolve in this sort of environment, gunslingers for hire, bounty hunters, escaped cyborg-slaves and unsanctioned psykers."

A closer shot of the rusty refinery, you can see the planking and ladders that facilitate access to rooftops and add an extra dimension to the scenery more clearly from this distance.

A shot of the farm, a large vent (more hairdryer) which has some not too shonky stripes painted on in freehand and the sabotaged pipeline.

A shot down the deserted high street. The locals (being unpainted) are all wisely hiding in their homes. You get a better idea of the watchtower from this angle.

A nice aerial shot focussing on the centre of Calamityville.

The High Street at high noon. A mob of unruly bandits show up to steal food, supplies and anything else sufficiently unguarded. If there is a little bit of 'unwinding' to be had too, so much the better.

"Hoooo-wee! Looks like we got ourselves a welcomin' committee boys! What say we give 'em a welcome of our own, huh?"

Word has spread of their coming however and Calamityville is prepared. Lawman Brig (Inquisitor Beaumenteur pressed into action) has hired some HPS mercenaries to teach the thieving desperados a lesson.

A great shot of the minis interacting with the terrain.

"Godsdammit Merl git that gun on that thar ruff and lay down some fraggin' lead on targit!"

The Hotel car park, the bandit leader breaks right with two of his men.

"Alrigh' you two bozos come with me. You sorta wave your heads out roun' this here hotel until some o' Brig's goons give away their spot, then I jump 'em wi' ole Sally Shotgun see!"

The HPS merc with the big gun tries to set up a machine gun nest with a buddy out wide on the flank.

The bandits make an aggressive, reckless push across the rooftops and towards the HPS positions.

"Well come on boys! Time's a flyin' so let's cause some dyin'! Whoop!

The HPS panic as they get outflanked, their shooting becomes very wild at a critical moment and their positions are overrun.

"I will always remember that hot day in Summer when bandits came to Calamityville. Lawman Brig had warned us of their comin' and collected a tax from the whole town, my folks included, and shelled out on some ' deputies'. Hah! Mercenaries more like, they mighta had shiny badges and what not but they sure got licked good nonetheless when the shootout started! Afterwards it kinda went quiet for a bit, then things started to get real tough for us folks. Lawman Brig never lived to regret his purchase. I lost my Ma and Pa that day too, kinda raised myself since. The day I turned fifteen I upped and joined the Cartwright gang so as I could learn how to fight. I will never forget the face of the bandit who broke into my house as I peered from the cupboard and some day I will find that son of a bitch and cut him where it matters."

So there you have it. I find I can't quite do a blow by blow account, I was totally overwhelmed by the response to the game and table (I know it may seem a bit basic to some but at Harrogate we had let things go pretty badly in recent years so it was a big deal to us) and I was far too busy to make proper notes and take photos. Fortunately, I now have Boone's Landing games booked for the next two Thursdays in a row at least so I can bring you the events from those, maybe doing a reshoot/replay for the blog.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Rogue Trader stuff for this Thursday. (6/6/13).

In between fiddling about with my blog layout I did do something useful that I can't resist showing you quickly, some scatter terrain for my Rogue Trader game this week!

Setting the scene. Boone's Landing detritus.

The main terrain will still be shacks and vehicles but I want to have loads of this stuff on the periphery of the gaming table. Thankfully I now have a suitable gaming mat, the shenanigans involved deserve a blog post of their own so expect that later on.

I love these rock piles, they are ideal for some of the 'Wolf Time' scenarios too.

These vertical pipe outlets are really versatile, they look good in Rogue Trader, have a practical purpose in Necromunda and will fulfil the role of the four emergency gas vents in one of the 'Wolf Time' scenarios.

Thanks for stopping by!

This site is undergoing maintenance.

Hi all. I am messing about with the blog layout over the next couple of days (5/6/13 to 7/6/13) so sorry for any inconvenience caused. I am back Thursday with a Rogue Trader post that should be a good one.

I am renaming the blog 'The Black Hole' in a gentle move away from narcissism but it's just a new page header, the web address is staying the same. Expect the updated mission statement soon, there is a new labels feature that should help link back to older posts too.

Anything else you want to see, let me know!

*UPDATE* Pretty much all finished with the tweaking, got the old blog looking ship shape and Bristol fashion. This post is pretty redundant now, normally I would liven it up with some pictures of naughty ladies but my new mission statement won't allow that! Instead, I have Google imaged 'Female Wargamers' and present to you some of the results. *UPDATE*

Great! An image from Board Game Geek, what would we do without them. I hope that bloke in the background isn't taking the piss!

Ooh, whats that? The fantasy version of Battlecry? Looks ace.

Ok. Not sure how many pairs of furry love cuffs died to make that land raider but 'girl power' and all that.

This is more like it, board games and beverages!

Crikey, that looks like a busy board. Wait, don't trust that cat! I mean it!

WTF! This is exactly my point! FAIL!

Better, probably a bit patronising but an improvement on Playboy.

Wait! I recognise that one! Hi Tamsin! You're totally famous!

AAAAAH! Jesus, Mary and Joseph...  Not cool, Google.

What? What? What? The lower down I go, the crazier it gets, the less I understand.

Ok we're done here. That's enough!