Thursday 31 March 2011

Some Thoughts on Force on Force

Not long now till Ambush Alley Games' Force on Force is released via the Osprey Publishing stable.

It a cracking wargames publication. The best I've seen to date and a joy to own let alone use. I've said this before. But there has to be more it it than just being pretty, or is it just the Emperors New Clothes - all batter and no Mars Bar?

The truth of the matter is that FoF has it's detractors and it's exponents. It's not for everybody. Let's not pretend in any way, shape or form it is.But if I, yes me, could choose one game system on the market right now to have been designed by me in some alternative universe - Force on Force and I have to say, it's forthcoming fully fledged future variant Tomorrow's War, is it.

In Tomorrow's War, I am delighted Shawn was able to capture my vision of a netcentric future battlefield and turn a few scribblings into a coherent whole without allowing it to overpower the game.

Where they both win for me, is on the granularity they give the soldier and his ability to perform in combat. Together with a combat system that becomes intuitive very quickly.

This is a game engine to savour.  It's a fine dining experience rather than a fast meal. For me a Sunday afternoon where I can think about my tactics to reflect my troops rather than just banging miniatures across the table and rolling a +1.


Wednesday 30 March 2011

Life, Work, the Universe...... Hanging On. Just

My carefully planned, honed and nurtured project streams are coming together like motorcycle racers on the last bend, but the end of year financial scramble is threatening to unseat everything.

Never mind. One of my suppliers has offered to set me up to go freelance and make use of products from their cloud architecture. A great opportunity, but you know, I want to bring in the big bacon with these projects before I cut myself loose. . I want to see my projects through  and ensure the delivery of the year on year benefits that they will generate.

Yeah of course it will be great for the CV going forward, but I sincerely want to walk away proud of a job well done. In all truth, it's not the delivery but the barriers, and those have been mostly human that I've had to overcome which I'll be most proud of.

I picked up a classic game from my school days on Ebay at the end of last week - SPELLMAKER. I bought the original at Games Workshop, Dalling Road not long after it opened. I remember it was a frosty saturday morning. I had taken an E3 into Chiswick and walked the mile or so to Hammersmith. Spellmaker repayed every step of that joruney there and back.

Heather played it with me a couple of times on saturday night. It wasn't just a great laugh but also provided some inspiration. Kick starting several new pathways in my old head. My thanks to Bob Cordery for setting me off on the search for this classic.


Monday 28 March 2011

The Six Sigma Ninjas: Have Nunchuck Will Travel

The Six Sigma Ninja game last week was a blast, and such a great way to release pent up work issues when I get home that this week's project is to create a dedicated team of 15mm Six Sigma Ninja characters.

I have some spare Ninjas from Old Glory 15s and they are due to get the GZG separate head treatment (SG15-XH2).

Should be able to get my hands on some bona fide office layouts from work and I know Maff (Master Chef), as a big West Wing fan, has put together a map of the White House from online visitor guides - so we can take back the Oval Office, one water cooler at a time..... but first, the alien menace in the city Toon Hoos' must be quashed!

Sunday 27 March 2011

INCOMING: USE ME Modern Warfare

USE ME Modern Warfare from is a brand new rules system booklet in the USE ME series.

USE ME means 'Ultra Simple Engine for Miniature Engagements' and this system delivers just that. Tactically challenging, easy to learn and for any age of wargamer interested in ANY ultra modern setting. 

From skirmishes to full battles,
the 1D6 system creates games that last from five minutes to an hour. Extensive lists USE ME Mod.War allows you to generate any troops you like.

These games can be played in your lunch break or in the evening when the reality of a games system with greater complexity and granularity of detail doesn't appeal. Solo rules are also included for when you want to bash out a quick mission on your own.

This complete rules system is printed in A6 format
(110mm by 180mm) which is a booklet that will fit in your pocket, making it portable and something you can keep on you, in your desk, work or travel bag.

UM004 USE ME Modern Warfare 
(15mm & 20mm)
(A6 Booklet, 32pp, Colour Covers)
You can read an article about the game system and its mechanics from the booklet on the website.

Also, until 22nd April 2011 you can use our Salute 2011 offer to get 15% off the price of ANY order with us, see the home page ( for details. Plus USE ME Mod.War also contains a promotional offer, a code for a folder of free PDF files from and it qualifies for the reduced postage rate, see their website for details.
Both Master Chef and I use USE ME. I took it on holiday with me to Turkey last year and use it in the office with pre-painted HALO miniatures on those days when I need a diversion. I'm looking forward to trying out USE ME Mod.War as I'm coming home frazzled from work just now and this could be just what I need to push on with  Crisis in Alcovia.

Saturday 26 March 2011

INCOMING: 15mm HOF Zidhe Space Elves

Alex and Gavin at have brought a new race to life in our 15mm galaxy. The lithe and graceful Zidhe.

 HOF63 Zidhe Infantry (pack of 10)

 HOF64 Zidhe Command (pack of 10)

 HOF65 Zidhe Guardians (10)

 HOF66 Zidhe Androids (pack of 10)

HOF67 Zidhe Jetbike (2 kits)
HOF68 Zidhe Mobile Weapon (2 guns with Crew)
Each pack is £4.00 and you can make use of's generous  15% off SALUTE 2011 offer whether you drop by the stand, or purchase on the web to start your collection.

To make use of this offer when you enter your postage region (select Direct Collection if you want to collect your order from Stand TJ13 at Salute 2011 on the day, it will be awaiting you packed and ready for carrying home) then proceed to the CHECKOUT screen and in the Discount Box enter this code ' sal11 ' . If you have entered the code correctly the total on screen will automatically reduce by 15%.


Wednesday 23 March 2011

INCOMING: Khurasan Miniatures 15mm SPACERS

It's a question of character, and Jon at Khuarasn has plenty! Or should that be, his miniatures have plenty. Actually it's probably both. Jon took on board some of my comments in a previous post last year about the need for character in 15mm Sci Fi miniatures, even some of the specific things I felt would create this, and hey presto...... pure class in this new pack of blue collar Spacers from Khurasan Miniatures to crew your favourite "flying piece of go se".

 Khurasan Miniatures 15mm Sci Fi
TTC-2501 Small Spaceship Crew $4.99

Brilliant! What else can I say? Now, every Spacer needs a home and whether it's crew quarters or a little des res hab-pod dirtside a few little luxuries make life more comfortable between episodes.

Khurasan Miniatures 15mm Sci Fi 
TR-9 Sci Fi Furnishings $5.99

Again, brilliant. A well thought out little set. For decades missing from 15mm Sci Fi skirmishes and RPGs. It's small touches like these and Critical Mass Games recent street furniture that cement 15mm Sci Fi in the gaming psyche as being mainstream. A bold move and one which I hope pays off.


Tuesday 22 March 2011

AOL Grrr!!!!!!

 I'm phoned at home by AOL. After 12 years as a "faithful" customer they offer me a single month free, if, yes, if I sign up to a no get out contract for the next 18 months. I ask you. I politely refuse and point out that if I move to Plusnet I would save £180 over the same period.

Immediately after this little chat my AOL connection begins struggling to load pages with a speed averaging 230-350kb. I can't load photos, can't use Ebay, Paypal etc etc - Spite? Coincidence? Whatever, NOT a great incentive to sign up for another 18 months, is it fellas?

On a positive note - I dropped into Model Zone in Aberdeen and found OO scale cars from a James Bond diecast car collection that were on sale for £1 each.

So I picked up two of the Lotus Esprit 'submarine' models. You know, the sports car that turned into a submarine in The Spy Who Loved Me. Not because I'm a trousers made out of jam Bond fan, but because they make pretty decent 15mm Sci Fi civilian grav cars.

And on that bombshell....... 


Sunday 20 March 2011

April's Aliens

A platoon's worth of Critical Mass Games' Kamaados Naga to bolster my alien Covenant have arrived and you know, I'm now kicking myself that I didn't also order some of the Kamaados Battlesuits during their recent sale.

A couple of Kaamados Dragamaa Heavy Tanks were included in the order. Somehow I thought these would physically dominate my table, but no...... and they are crackingly good models, so there's plenty of room for another platoon.
Anyway, pay day is fast approaching and it's time to think ahead to April. GZG should be refreshed, restored and up for business again. I know there are 15mm goodies waiting in the wings, so some cash will be put aside for Jon. Khurasan? Always plenty on my wishlist, such as more  TTC104 Special Assault Brigade in Power Armour. I'm taken by MicroPanzer Wargame Studio's alien swarm. Meant to buy them last September but health issues mitigated against this.

MicroPanzer Wargame Studios 15mm Sci Fi
Krystrial Empire Riavaui Swarm Alien Squad -- 11 figures
 courtesy MicroPanzer Wargame Studio

The Krystrial are the just the sort of pulp Sci Fi novel/console game aliens that should be the staple of every 15mm Sci Fi, gamer's collection.  If you are looking for one pack of multi-purpose aliens with guns then the 'swarm' pack pictured above is it.

The range of figures in the swarm is broad enough to be anything from low VSF Green Martians to high tech sentient alien greeblies with pulse rifles overrunning human settlements.

One of these 'Swarm' packs alone (pictured above) would be perfect on it's own for 15mm skirmish and RPG games, offering a decent sprectrum of troops and weapons in one pack. It also becaones a good core force on which to build an alien raiding party or even whole army (thinking ASQL v0.2) from the other packs in the range.


Friday 18 March 2011

INCOMING: Khurasan Miniatures 15mm Vornids

Maybe not quite as sexy as the comic character 'Poison Ivy', but Khurasan's new Vornids are cracking 15mm Sci Fi alien flora miniatures.

Jon kindly sent me a couple of bags of sample Vornids which came today and I instantly took to them. The photo from the Khurasan Miniatures blog (left) gives a basic impression but really doesn't convey how neat these minis are.

Each model comes with a spure of separate leaves, flowers and Venus Flytrap appendages allowing some additional variety but also that the minis are fully 3D and not just cast in two dimensions.

The Vornids have plenty of scope and can be used in an alien planet type setting, as post apocalypse mutations, or an alien invasion following the style of the Day of the Triffids.

They come on a base 2mm deep and overall height averages 20mm (including base) with one Vornid standing fully upright at 25mm, making them formidable opponents for both 15 and 20mm Sci Fi figures. As a swarm they would be a hazard for 28mm Sci Fi as well.

Check out the Khurasan Miniatures blog for more pics. I'll post some myself once I work out how to use the camera on the iPhone.


Catastrophic Morale:

In a Galaxy Far Far Away, I wrote an article about using the kids game Snakes & Ladders as a unique and different morale table for skirmish games.

Thanks to Bob Cordery (Wargaming Miscellany) I've been exploring the abandoned warehouse of wargaming ideas and even full blown games that have been locked away in my head from a different time in my life and I'm going to spring a few on you. So be warned.

Maff (Master Chef) has also been prompting me to blog up some of our mini games. These are generally a set of scribbles on the back of an old envelope or in a notebook that never get written up or fully developed but often provide an evening or two's fun. As an example, the usual sort of thing would be say, a Gears of War (Xbox360) urban game.  The whole thing being light on rules but with the right mechanisms, that encourage fast and furious play reflecting the style of action in Gears of War.

Back to the Snakes & Ladders Morale Engine.  The concept very basically at this time in the morning, is that character morale starts high - can be 100 or lower, 60, 40 etc and then works backwards, as combat saps their combat energy, fear and tension increases etc. Using a D6 each turn, you work backwards. If the character lands on a snake - he has a catastrophic morale failure and slides down the snake. Conversely, you know the game, lands on a ladder, he has a sudden burst of courage...... If any character reaches 1, he is out of the game - runs away screaming, sulks off unnoticed or curls into a ball to hide.

Not convinced? Think of the ladder on square 28 which ascends to square 84 being the result that turns Hudson from zero to hero in the movie ALIENS.

You can imagine that this brings an edge of chaos to the game and I thought it would be particularly good at representing human's first contact with hideous or well tooled aliens.

Of course there are several ways of improving on the basic idea to reflect differences in training and experience, maybe different bands have an effect on combat ability. Of course you may also want to create your own more martial looking table for use in public. But I just wanted to get the idea out there.


Thursday 17 March 2011

Musings and Explorations into Steampunk

We love all things Roman here at Chez Dropship. This week we've luxuriated in watching the classic HBO/BBC drama series ROME and the UK/Latvian movie CENTURION.

Add an old episode of Time Team into the mix and the threads converge in my head to produce a Roman Steampunk alternative technology world. Sort of Simon Scarrow meets Jules Verne.

Probably more a flight of fantasy as far as 15mm gaming goes but could be merit in 28mm as something different.

Whilst on steampunk,  Mars. Victorian Mars. I'm firmly wedded to the idea of an early Victorian Steampunk colonisation of Mars in the 1850's. Flashman and the Overlords of Mars - that sort of thing. Inspired in part by the famous painting of the last stand of the 44th at Gandamak.

Easy to imagine the guy in the Afghan coat (2nd right, standing) as (Gene Hunt) Flashman holding off the Martian hordes. And East Riding Miniatures do appropriate Colonial Brits in their ERM15 range who only need a small amount of conversion to give them a more off world feel, wearing Martian tribal coats etc. Dixon's Indian Mutiny range would also be suitable with some of Essex's Victorian British officers (with headswops) for characters. It's also easy to transpose the Indian Mutiny to the canals of Mars.

Crimean War figures could be pressed into service, once gain being very Flashman. The best are undoubtably Eureka's 18mm range. The officers are nicely heroic, there's some grizzled Highlanders and some very,very classy British Guards. You can also double these up for Martian invasions of good ol' Blighty in the early Victorian age without a second thought, unlike more traditional Victorian colonial types in pith helmets.

Mmmm, I'm just picturing in my mind's eye adding some of Khurasan's Felid heads to the Eureka Crimean British bodies? A Felid Flashman perhaps?

Sláinte Mhaith!
Happy St Patricks Day

Centurion....Dog Soldiers meets Gladiator. Put tongue firmly in cheek, a couple of glasses of wine whilst watching and it's a good movie, especially as it starts in Inchtuil, just down the road.... Salve!

Tuesday 15 March 2011

First Glance at Rebel Minis Commanche MATV

Two of Rebel Minis' new 15mm Commanche MATVs turned up in the post today. So what are my first thoughts, straight out of the packet?

The kit comes as a crisp and well detailed semi hollow resin body (55mm x 30mm approx) that sits on a substantial metal chasis. Very impressed by the latter. The body is largely clean of mould seams, so another big bonus. Even before I put on the big metal wheels that in themselves add character to the model, the Commanche is lready a tasty looking vehicle.

Now let's talk firepower. The kit is accompanied by a robust metal sprue which holds the following weapon options for your Commanche:
  • 0.5 cal MG - one of the best sculpts I've ever seen in 15mm.
  • 7.62mm MAG. Again a fantastic sculpt. Very impressed.
  • 40mm auto grenade launcher. A tasty bit of kit.
  • Rotary Gatling style cannon.
  • Open top ammunition box containing what looks like 40mm shells.
These weapons can be mounted directly into a hole on top of the hull OR into the one-piece metal turret which fits neatly over the existing hatch. Finally theres an optional metal gunshield.

OK, I'm impressed. Very Impressed. All too often you buy a 15mm armoured vehicle only to find that the parts, even including the wheels are thin and spindly and ensure the vehicle looks like it would come off worse in a collision with a Renault 2CV.

Especially so the weapons. On the Commanche they are well sculpted and robustly cast. Well in keeping with the vehicle. I absolutely abhor models that turn up with weapons that have barrels thinner than Posh Spice. I'd love to obtain this weapon sprue separately to replace the weapons on some of my other 15mm models.

Any negative comments? Well, the rotary Gatling isn't as good as the one with the Rebel Minis Gila ATV Buggy. Plus, I would have liked a plasma cannon or similar added to the weapons options for a more Sci Fi look. Maybe in place of the 7.62 MAG. But those are really my only niggles.

Well done JBR! And if not on already on the cards, I'd like to see a six wheeler weapons platform version of the Commanche and yes, even a halftrack!

The new Commanche from Rebel Minis projects toughness. I love it. Whether you are going to be evadng Zombi hordes, on a Thunder Run in New Baghdad, or planning adventures in the Forbidden Zone for a small group of 15mm characters, this IS the taxi that'll take you "south of the river" and more importantly, bring you back again.


How to Get Blue Moon 15/18mm Sci Fi in UK

I had decided to go for a couple of packs of Blue Moon Manufacturing's Sci Fi figures until that is I saw the postage rates to the UK and thought "Rebel Minis are just $5. You are having a giraffe fellas!"

 Blue Moon Manufacturing 15/18mm Sci Fi
Orion Republic Heavy Infantry

So yesterday I emailed Andy at Old Glory UK. Andy got back to me straight away and said that he's happy to take orders for the range and will include them in his monthly order to Blue Moon. He reckons they'll be around £5 a pack plus normal Old Glory UK postage. Turn round once order placed 4-6 weeks, maybe less. Cheers Andy. Good bloke!

If you are starting out in 15mm Sci Fi, a pack of this, that the other from Blue Moon will populate your wretched hive of scum and villainy. So, if you want to get hold of these Sci Fi retro delights, email Andy at

I have to say that to me, there's very much a silver painted washing up squeezy bottle spaceship feel about these minis. I used to work in Education and visiting primary schools I'd regularly come across the obligatory silver painted 'Sci Fi City' made out of cereal boxes, butter tubs, Dairy Lea cartons and toilet tubes. I loved them for their naivety and quietly wished to myself, that I could take them home to play a Sci Fi game with. And you know, Blue Moon are just THE figures that would have been right at home here with their campy retro Cold War era Sci Fi character.

The Orion Republic Heavy infantry are a must have. There's something W40K meets Forbidden Planet that I find appealing. The Terran Confederation Legion Troopers (that's a mouthful) also as they have a certain Emperor Mong humanoid bad guy vibe.

In fact, I think this entire range is perfect for Alien Squad Leader v0.2 which is a fun no-nonsense game that plays to the pulp'iness of these miniatures and will encourage me to order more of the alien codes in due course.


Monday 14 March 2011

USE ME Skirmish Rules Sold Out!

USE ME! The popular pocket size Sci Fi skirmish rule system from has sold out! Don't worry, a large reprint has been ordered and it will be available again soon.

The success of USE ME  has led at popular request to an expansion of the Ultra Simple Engine for Miniature Engagements engine into other gaming genres. now offer USE ME for WW2, Fantasy, and shortly Modern Warfare,   American Civil War and Starship Battles as well.


New Vasquez: Tomorrows War Batrep

New Vasquez is a town with a certain lived in look. Not surprising as it's built from cat food boxes to resemble a neo-Mexican border ville after Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter.

Of course that border, is a couple of light years from that intended in the game.

Ran a Tomorrows War mission today. Nothing fancy but enough to have 3 fireteams of 'Ghosts' (Khurasan Feds), running round deploying drones and sensors to equal up a series of firefights with Vasquez planetary militia (Rebel Minis African Militia) and their internal security droids (Khurasan Mekanoids).

The drones and sensors enabled the 'Ghosts' to keep the initiative and race towards their objective, a militia Vid-Feed Transmitter. The Mekanoids guarding the transmitter stole the initiative back, taking down a gunship (Old Crow) that was called in to provide support. I love the gunship rules, so just had to bring one onto the table.

With the bird down, the original mission was scrubbed and turned into a race to save the pilot. Not part of the original scenario like the gunship, but hey, sometimes the story is more important! This was where the Ghosts started to take casualties. Initiative swung back and forth. Finally, the two remaining bots embedded with the Ghosts stood shoulder to shoulder under fire at an intersection whilst the enemy closed in allowing the Ghosts legged it with the pretty (Rafm Traveller) pilot.

Great fun! Can't wait for the movie....


Sunday 13 March 2011

Logging Out of Logging In

With no commuting costs this coming week, I plan to turn the spare cash into more 15mm Sci Fi figures. So a few minutes ago I'm banging through this webstore, 3,5,8,2, 10 add to cart, next page, 3,7,5 add to cart and then it asks me to 'Log-in'. No! Life is complicated enough, there are plenty of other web stores where I can click and go straight to Paypal.

I'm juggling 3 gaming projects at the moment - 15mm Sci Fi, which in all honesty has become more of a lifestyle, 20mm Modern/Futuristic Neo-Soviet Russians, and a 20mm British Civil War set in 1979. There's only so much cash to go round, and if you've noticed me spending a little less in your products recently, it's because Shaun at S&S Models knows what areas I'm currently gaming and sends me an email saying "Mark, I have X back from the caster, you can see it on Flickr here (link), are you interested?"

I really appreciate this proactive approach and depending upon how bad a day I'm having may just fire back an immediate email saying "Yup! Send me two." On occasion, Shaun will say," I'm making 'Z' and it will be ready at the end of the month" I say, "just send me a Paypal invoice when you've got them for sale". No mucking about with webstores, logging in, out, doing the hokey cokey. 2 weeks later or whatever, there's an invoice, which I pay immediately and normally have the goods within a few days. That gentlemen IS customer service.


Saturday 12 March 2011

Hise Rise Hab-Pods

Why does the future have to be so utilitarian? These are called Golly Pods by a company called Tend. When I came across them on the net, what my mind's eye instantly  'saw' was a 15mm Sci Fi high rise living module. Now imagine that behind the greenery in the 'pod' aperture is a full plexi-glass frontage. The greenery could be a cultural throwback or a city corporation planning feature.

I'd expect buildings like these to appear on an AE Van Vogt book cover. Of course, they could be an alien habitation, advanced intelligence or primitive rock dwellers.

From hi-rise to lo-rise.......

This picture also caught my eye. These are actually pet 'pods' from Plushpod. What I see in the picture is a 'first foot' colony. I like the fact the design of the pods break away from simply being hexagonal.

Now, this Danish round house impresses me.....

Lot's of 15mm Sci Fi gaming potential and the one base model can spawn an apartment, office or industrial unit. Something that again, breaks away from the Gothic or Sci Fi portakabin buildings we are used to.

This modern design fish bowl offers opportunities for a mass produced but stylish Sci Fi building design.....

Reminds me of the Futuristic City at Matakishi's Tea House.

Finally,whilst a lot of 'modern' house designs leave me cold, I find this one "funky". Yes "funky" It reminds me of the golden age of Sci Fi movies such as Rollerball with James Caan. Don't get me wrong, I'm not wedded to classic post Norman farmhouse or Georgian townhouse architecture, it's simply that a lot of futuristic design seems to be high on concept, low on form and even lower on function.

This is not a hab for the masses. Rather it's a futuristic 'mansion' set in manicured grounds and aimed at a rich industrialist, political leader, gliterrati or drug lord. Just ripe for a classic Traveller roleplay skirmish adventure game. Take out the guards and auto-security defences, infiltrate the house..... in fact there's a tale of an attack on a long house in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles that would transpose perfectly to this futuristic setting. And and possibly Beowulf for a modern age now I come to think of it....

PS Luckily I have pre-populated Dropship with a couple of draft posts which can be posted using the iphone whilst the issue with my PC is sorted.

Mein Computer ist Gersnappen

Das computermachinen ist derbrukkensnappen.

No excuses to prevent me painting now as the Xbox360 turned to toast as well last week with the 'Ring of Death'.

Gave me an opportunity to read at least and I managed to complete a Zombie apocalypse novel, DAY TO DAY ARMAGEDDON by JL Bourne, in just a few nights. Presented in a diary format it's a very good read. Get's a bit samey, but hey, it's a diary, "Dear Diary, Monday. Zombies"... nevertheless I was gripped as I felt it was a 'realistic' portrayal and I could easily imagine myself in the protagonist's shoes. And, as I read through the book I was continually conjuring mental images from Apocalypse Z. Maybe time to look out Undead States of America by UberGoober Games again.


Wednesday 9 March 2011

Life, Work......Oh Sod It!

I was having a good day. Turned round a deteriorating situation at work where everyone was getting their arses kicked, through standing my ground in a meeting with senior management. I countered every attempt to put the brakes on resolving the corporate priority with carefully constructed argument, backed by fact, all put together in the last 24 hours.

Finally I got a grudging acceptance. The parting shot from the most senior executive was "well you'll need to get go ahead from my team" to which I was able to reply with confidence - "As key stakeholders I spoke to them this morning, walked them through my draft strategy and they were behind it." Nothing left to be said. Result!

And subsequently tomorrow starts with a 7.30am meeting, another at 8.30....... but I'm happy that I managed to drive through such a positive outcome for the organisation, and at the end of the day, one for me too on a personal level.

Got home this evening to find that my laptop has been turned into a pile of scrap by the latest Microsoft update. Have wasted an entire evening unsuccessfully trying to solve the problem. Luckily though, bit by bit, each time it restarted I managed to save my data onto the E: drive before it froze again. Grrrr! Time to rebuild anyway but just don't need it.


Tuesday 8 March 2011

Life, Work, The Universe...... Options

Remember the options appraisal? Well it's still rumbling on.

Today it all came round in a big circle. I am asked.....

"Why haven't we addressed the biggest corporate priority issue?"

"You have me doing an Options Appraisal?"

"Why are you doing an Options Appraisal?"

"That was my question when you gave it to me"

"So you haven't addressed the corporate priority?"

"No. Your priority was for me to do an Options Appraisal" -  on the solution I had already come to after a fully scoped, analysed and measured options appraisal of my own and had been prepared to implement three weeks ago to solve the corporate priority.

"Our priority now is to solve the corporate priority"

Thank F***!

I'm going to start on some marshy/swamp terrain tonight. Well, I've been in one at work for the last 3 weeks....


Monday 7 March 2011

Life Imitating Art

Cosplay Colonial Marines from the movie Aliens?

No, modern Russians/CIS troops.
Now, imagine the guys from 9 Rota landing on LV-426

 "Is this going to be another ошибка охота?"
"I only need to know one thing......Where is the Vodka!"
конечной задира! Государство задира искусства!"

Now is this a new JBR prototype
for Khurasan Miniatures?

No its a BMP. No, it's a BTR. No it's a BRDM.
No it's a DPB (duck billed platypus)??? 
Must have been one hell of a hangover!


Sunday 6 March 2011

Master Chief in 15mm


Rebasing 15mm New Israelis

Rebased my original 'desert' scheme 15mm GZG New Israelis. This time I thought I'd go for a generic desolate base that would also compliment their camo scheme. I have a lot of 'desert' themed troops who came onboard after these guys and just wanted something different.

Close up the newly based minis look great, but on the table at normal viewing distances they merge far too successfully with their bases. So, do I go all 'artistic' and super highlight the bases or I add some 'yellow' Silfur grass clumps to bring in a bit of colour and depth but lose the desolation?


20mm Neo Sovz


These painted 20mm Neo-Sovz from Rolf Hedges were picked up on eBay to start off my Neo Sovs for Tomorrows War. They have a certain Rogue Trooper Norts vibe about them which appeals to me.

I will also use them as Near Future Spetnaz in more earthbound Ghost Recon/Call of Duty: Modern Warfare inspired games. 


Saturday 5 March 2011

INCOMING....... Wartime Miniatures 20mm Modern Russians

I ordered a platoon worth of Wartime Miniatures' new 20mm ultra-modern Russians this morning. I was going for two platoons but thought, no, still three weeks of the month to go.

Wartime Miniatures: MR04
20mm Russian Suppoort Weapons pack

I like the natural 'in the combat zone' poses, the mix of headdress, such as 'Ranger' caps and bandanas, which were very evident in Russian/CIS forces during recent conflicts. It also makes some of the figures suitable to be mixed in with post apocalypse survivors or financial meltdown American Militias to break up the hackneyed 'not another M16' look.

These particular miniatures also appealed to me because they had a passing resemblence to the mercenary illustration in the classic Traveller Book 4: Mercenary. So may well end up proxying for 20mm Mid-Tech mercenaries as well. 


Update: Consequently, I've been making some suitable buildings today based on those appearing in  Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. I'm using textured building material sheets from Wills Kits. The textured dressed stone is very good but I feel my old technique for using thin cardboard to create wood planking is superior as there's more definition, even if a bit rougher in appearance than the moulded plastic .

Friday 4 March 2011

NEWS FLASH! Haskin's World Overrun!

We have to break into "My Sweet 101 Orbital Prom Dresses" to bring you...


And in breaking news, we are receiving reports that contact has been lost with the corporate colony of Haskin’s World. Developed by the troubled Maas-Vorheis Biolabs corporation, Haskin’s transponders went offline a few hours ago, 2037 GMT; Maas-Vorheis’ legal department tried to block release of the following transcript but a freedom of information subpoena forced release. Some may find this disturbing:

All voices unidentified.
“Sir, we have unconfirmed blips on the far side of High Ridge. You need to get in the shuttle now.”
“Hold on, just need to upload the share value to core on the base uplink…”
“Wright, Shao, grab him. We’re moving”
“Hey you peeg whatabout us, heh? Whadda we do when the bleeps get here huh?”
“Not my concern. Step aside”
“Action Right! Cover fire”
“The Suits down”
“I’m hit”
“Queek, da habs, get da shotgaaaaaaaaaargh”
“Sniper! Sniper! On the nnng”
“Return fire stat!”
“Blip down”
“Left! LEFT! More of them”
“Talk to me Shao”
“Blip down”

“Hey you, eat these peeeg”
“Soldier boy, we got more bleeps here we getting shot da funnngghh”
“Here they come here they come”
“Blip down”
“They got the suit”
“Sergeant? Anyone? Blip down. This is Shao come in anyone? Blip down. Blip”
Military sources confirm that the so called blips were neither alien bioweapons nor local fauna gone rogue. 
“All indications suggest heavy armaments and ferocious aggression” said Major Mick Blore of Central Security Advisors (New Transvaal) PLC, “it’s the Redemptionists all over again. We need to nuke the entire system from hyperspace to be sure.”
In a separate development, todays Referendum on New Cardiff extended legislative powers and citizenship to the Aslan refugee community on the moons of Outer Tiger Bay. “That tiger bit is going straightaway” said an Aslan spokesperson. 


Thursday 3 March 2011

INCOMING....... Rebel Minis 15mm Commanche MATV

After writing about Road to Baghdad this morning, how could I resist Rebel Minis brand new 15mm MATV Commanche? So I ordered two from Mike before I left for work.

I first saw this on JBR's blog and drooled. I'm a Warthog man but the Commanche, whilst not overtly Sci Fi, provides the sort of blue collar transitional all terrain vehicle that any bleeding edge military, post apoc survivor, or colony survey party would be proud of.

The Commanche demonstrates a good balance between firepower, protection and mobility. The model comes with a choice of weaponry and an optional open turret for $11.95. Nice one JBR!


In The Pipe.....The Road To Baghdad from Osprey Publishing

Accompanying the forthcoming Osprey Publishing release of Force on Force from Ambush Alley Games is Road to Baghdad: Iraq 2003.

Now, let me set my stall out straight away. The recent middle eastern wars are not a big interest for me right now. I follow the operations in Afghanistan because it has echoes of the 'Police Actions' chart in classic Traveller: Book 4 Mercenary. And in 1979 I would probably have looked on the modern soldier as a Sci Fi warrior anyway. Hold that thought.

Road to Baghdad like Force on Force is a sumptuous publication. I have to say that both publications are the most impressive visually of Osprey's titles to date. Good photos of minis, real troops in action and seeded throughout with colour illustrations from current military Osprey stock.

So what do you get in the 104 pages? Well, theres a short background to the operations recreated in the book, 19 scenarios divided into 3 broad groupings and finally a selection of American and British sample unit organisations.

The first selection of scenarios are pulled together under the banner Marching Up Country with the USMC. 10 scenarios which take the USMC into the heart of Saddam's Reich. This is followed by 6 scenarios of The Armoured Spearhead following the US Army and finally 3 Special Forces Engagements. This works out at 79p a scenario.

All the scenarios follow the same pattern. Background, Historical Outcome, Scenario Information including  sketch map & suggested table size, Special Rules, individual force missions, victory points and and TOEs. Some scenarios also have the trademark Ambush Alley Reinforcement Table.

The games themselves offer a wide range of tactical situations. You are looking at squad to platoon sized affairs in the most part. Two foot by Two/Three foot tables. Most importantly, it's ALL do-able by average joe wargamer. This isn't one of those pretty 'Cosmo' lifestyle scenario books that requires you to give up your life savings and 10 years of your retirement to collect all the terrain and figures necessary. YOU can do this.

What would I would have liked to have seen added to Road to Baghdad? First is an at a glance round up of the figures and vehicles required for each scenario as per Too Fat Lardies' Vyazma or Bust. Perhaps Shaun can add this to the website. Second, less important, but maybe not, a page on painting suitable miniatures for Road to Baghdad by Piers.

So where does this sit with me as a Sci Fi gamer? Men are men. In a hundred years time, two hundred, who knows, men possibly cybernetically enhanced, are still going to have to patrol dusty hillsides, hunt down insurgents through the back streets of some dirtball colony and blast their way through Indian country to topple a tyrant or overlord or alien hve mind. Change your USMC to Felids, your Fedayheen to Spugs or Iraqi rabble militia to low grade combat androids and Road to Baghdad will deliver.

Available to Pre Order 
from Osprey Publishing


Wednesday 2 March 2011

After The Comet

I've returned to APOCALYPSE Z this week.  It's taunting me. Now I can't stomach everything but there's enough of a germ here to create a TW2000esque post comet world order.

And the best thing about it, I can collect a disparate range of rag tag bunch of odds and sods from my favourite 20mm figures on the market without feeling guilty.

Now, part of me wants to fight out a series of loosely related games between survivor factions somewhere in Nevada/New Mexico using  background and ideas from the American scenarios of the original Twilight 2000. I want to add-in not just the average joes, ex-cops and remnants of military units that survived, but bona fide American cultural elements such as Survivalists and Militias.

The other part of me, frustrated in my London Burning post apocalypse ideas through the spare heads I need no longer being available,  now wants to marry Twilight 2000 with Xenophon's Anabasis in modern day Afghanistan. With a nod to John Ringo and David Weber's Last Centurion.

I previously mentioned Elheim Miniatures' 20mm Special Forces/Contractors suitability as survivalists and now want to point you to some very nice figures from Wartime Miniatures in Australia.

Wartime Miniatures 20mm Moderns
Special Forces/Contractors in Baseball Caps
Is it me, or can you also see John Connor's resistance fighters?

Elheim, Liberation (RH Models), Wartime between them have enough SpecForces and armed 'contractor'  miniatures to ensure we never have to duplicate any figure before we even start looking at regular army options. Add to that a wide range of modern AFVs we can use without being a slave to paper TOEs and it starts looking like wargaming manna.

Move the scene to Iraq and suddenly you have a scenario very similar to Last Centurion. Not only that but Ambush Alley's new scenario book ROAD TO BAGHDAD, soon to be published by Osprey, is perfect scenario fodder!

Your American/coalition forces or SpecForces personnel are no longer trying to overthrow Saddam, but simply get home past resurgent Iraqi nationalists, military outlaws and criminal gangs. All this before the first Zombies shows up.....

Of course, our heroes, whether in Afghanistan or Iraq, may just decide to hole up in Fort Jessica Simpson and become Successor warlords, fighting off 'local' armed gangs or similar Russian, Pakistani, Iranian, coalition, displaced contractor warlords.

So much potential!


Xenos Don't Surf

Sooo much potential in this pic...
"In the keg, five by five". 

"Why are we taking this beach Sir?"
"'Cause Xenos don't surf son!"