Links: Ground Zero Games

The collected links from the old-format site for Dirtside II, Stargrunt II and Full Thrust, all from Ground Zero Games.

In need of weeding and there’s probably some duplicates! Updated 9 June 2011. If you have updated or new links to suggest, please contact us!

Dirtside 2 & General GZG Links

Stargrunt II

  • is the best SG2 website going. Lots of information, photos and other stuff, and still growing!
  • Alan Goodall’s HyperBear SG2 Pages has SG2 scenarios and photos, and the Bugs Don’t Surf Phalon Rules (beta release).
  • Laserlight’s has a variety of SG2 information, including TO&Es, and a nice layout.
  • Germ Warfare is an entertainingly different wargames site, with DS2 information & very cool 6mm & 25mm paper buildings to download.
  • The Firing Line is Brendan Robertson’s FT/SG2 site, with some information on the OUDF (Australia/NZ/South Pacific islands in the GZGverse.)
  • John Atkinson’s Nea Rhomaioi Empire pages – force compositions & vehicles for his own addition to the background of DS2/SG2/FT.
  • Stargrunt 40k has a conversion scheme for using GW 40k forces in SGII.
  • Agis Neugebauer has amazing galleries of his own miniature painting, including FT ships.
  • Etranger: The Militaries of 2300AD has dozens of descriptions and TO&Es of futuristic militaries. Designed for the 2300AD universe, but full of useful information for any SF gamer.
  • World Rank Insignia – just in case you want to go completely insane and paint rank badges on your 25mm or 15mm figures! Actually, this is an extremely well done site.

Full Thrust Links:

  • StarRanger – Starship Combat News — an excellent site for all sorts of space games, both miniatures and boardgames.
  • — still one of the best FT pages out there. Home of the FT FAQ.
  • Starship Jockey is Jerry Han’s excellent FT site.
  • is the homepage of the Traveller Power Projection group, who are using FT as the basis for a new Traveller-universe starship game. PP: Escort & PP: Fleet are both out now.
  • BITS UK Ltd (British Isles Traveller Support) are the publishers of Power Projection.
  • The GZGPedia is a player-driven project to flesh out the GZG universe.
  • The Unofficial Full Thrust WWWpage is Mark Siefert’s excellent & long-running FT site, with lots of resources & links available.
  • Beware the Beast of Aaarrggghh is Beth Fulton’s very nice gaming site – great FT starship pictures in her gallery. (Currently offline. Got a link?)
  • The Firing Line is Brendan Robertson’s FT/SG2 site, with some information on the OUDF (Australia/NZ/South Pacific islands in the GZGverse.)
  • NIFT – Noam Izenberg’s Full Thrust contains the FT Weapons & Defences Archive, and his New Isreali background, among other great resources.
  • Germ Warfare is an entertainingly different wargames site, with FT and DS2 information & house rules.
  • Laserlight’s Homepage has some ship designs, homebrew background information, and other stuff, with a nice looking layout.
  • Roger West’s GZG Pages has some FTFB ship designs, house rules, and a good links list.
  • Spinward Stars has FT fonts and play-aid graphics available.
  • Agis’ Miniatures Page has some incredibly well-painted minis, including FT ships.
  • The Starship Graveyard Scenario has been used as an FT convention game; it uses lots of recognizable science fiction vessels to get new people interested.
  • Tom’s Spaceship Miniatures & Game Lists

Pulp: Styracosaurus for .45 Adventures

Two views of a 28mm StyracosaurusRattrap Production’s .45 Adventures has an excellent supplement called “Valley of the Thunder Lizard”, filled with dinosaurs, dino-men, Neanderthals and other Lost World fodder. It’s definitely my favourite 45A supplement, and it sees a lot of use in our 45A games.
Continue reading Pulp: Styracosaurus for .45 Adventures

The Woods Tomorrow: Dangerous Flora in SG2

“If you go into the woods tomorrow,
You’re in for a HUGE surprise…”

In early April 2002 there was a very good discussion of alien, generally hostile plants on GZG-L. I thought the results were too good to just languish in the archives, so I’ve collected and HTMLed the emails. Original credit goes to the authors of the emails; all I’ve done is collect them here and do some very minor editing – spellchecking & HTML formating only.

These ideas range from fully-fledged ready to roll house rules to suggestions that suitably nasty minded GMs could incorporate into their own ideas! Have fun with them; I know I’ve been given several good – sorry, very nasty – ideas. But my local SG2 players read this site too, so no more from me…

Brian Bell started with:

I have been thinking of how to make the plant life more alien in a SG2 game. One option is Beth’s Triffids ( But I was looking to add flavor to an otherwise normal game of Stargrunt (rather than make the flora the major opponent). Some ideas that I have been toying with are:

Tar-Baby Plant:
The Tar-Baby Plant exudes a sticky sap that serves two purposes. First it
sticks to large animals which subsequently pollinate other Tar-Baby Plants.
Second, it traps insects, avians, and other small animals which it digests
to supplement the nutrients from the soil. Game Effect: Soldiers moving into contact with Tar-Baby Plant is given a suppression marker.

The Scare-Me-Not trees are very delicate. They extend long wispy strands into the atmosphere to harvest the multitude of gnats and bacteria prevalent in the planet’s atmosphere. However, these strands are a favorite of the local fauna. To protect themselves, the Scare-Me-Not trees pull in these strands whenever it senses movement. Game Effect: When a soldier moves within 2″ of a Scare-Me-Not tree replace the tree with a few small sticks (as it pulls in its foliage). The sticks provide no cover. This also gives away the position of the soldier.

Herd Bushes:
The Herd Bushes move around an area searching for nutrients and insect
nests. They tend to break up the ground which provides areas for other
plants to exploit. This effect is very slow, but noticeable over a period of
days. Game Effect: The Herd Bushes do not move fast enough to be modeled in a game. However, they do move enough that paths are almost impossible to keep clear, so satellite photos of an area are often incorrect (the photo shows a clearing, but it is choked with bushes.) Often runways and other “improved areas” fall to the Herd Bushes.

Nervous Nettle:
This bush has two defenses. First, it is full of sharp nettles. Animals
often look for easier food. Second, emits a pheromone that causes uneasyness in most warmblooded creatures (including humans). Game Effect: A unit with a soldier within 2″ of a Nervous Nettle plant, will panic if it fails any morale or confidence test. The unit may test again on subsequent activations (out of the effect of the NN plant) at TL:0, and if it passes regains the confidence level it had before testing under the influence of the NN.

This plant has the strange behavior of changing its color when touched. It
is thought that this is a byproduct of a chemical change the plant produces to make it taste bad to animals. Game Effect: When a soldier comes into contact with a Chromoplant, replace it with a plant of another color. Opponents observing should notice the change in color. This is bad for snipers trying to use hidden movement.

Karl Heinz added:

Kindling Grass:This grass grows, and produces a seed pod. It then dries itself out (dieing in the process), but leaving a very flammable chemical on the surface of the plant. The grass catches fire easily (heat from the sun, lightning, etc.). The heat of the fire ignites chemicals in the seed pod shooting the seeds high into the air to be deposited by winds upto miles away. Game Effect: Almost any fire action (shooting, artillery, etc.) will set the grass alight. Soldiers, vehicles with Chemical Fueled Engines (CFEs), ammo caches, etc. may be effected by the fires (use rules on p. 57 of Stargrunt).

Smoke Trees:
The wood of these trees does not splinter when hit, rather the section
hit disintegrates into fine dust. If the plants are shot at with
explosives, the effect is similar to smoke grenades.

Faraday Trees:
As a defence against being eaten, the plants have incorporated a fine
network of metallic fiber into their bark. Main efffect in game terms
is that it conducts electricity, enhancing ECM levels around the

Tanglefoot Wood:When the plant’s wood is damaged, the damaged part falls apart into long tangly fibers. Explosives produce an area that is difficult to move across.

Glass trees:
The tree’s wood is quite transparent, so it’s possible to discern
shapes behind the trunk (think of a thick glass or water column). Poor
visual cover, but as solid as any normal wood.

Lake Grass:
Vegetation that floats on ponds and looks like solid ground. Unable to
carry men (or just vehicles over a given weight ?) Effect depends on
the depth of the ponds.

DAWGIE added:

As a veteran of both the book and movie version of The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham and The Monster From Earth’s End by Murray Leinster, I have used mobile plants in my sci-fi games for many years. (also some less well known UK and American 1950s sci-fi epics involving
mobile plant horrors or alien /human mutations) since there were no Triffid or TMFEE models available , and my modeling
skills (then ) were not up to making my own, I bought and used el cheapo
plastic cacti from bakery supply stores (both the short flat leafed
version and the tall finger shaped versions-cannot remember the proper
names). Generally, Triffids/TMFEE were mobile carnivourous plants, caused
terror, moved slowly (in the case of TMFEE only during hours of
darkness) could sense their prey within a fixed range (6″), were very
tough and hard to kill (multiple hits, high armor value), were
vulnerable to fire, and very hard to “see” with the MARK I EYEBALL and
non-specific sensor scans, and reproduced rapidly where there was a good food supply.

The Triffid had a ranged attack and a close combat attack. both poisonous.

TMFEE had a close combat attack only, and this too was poisonous.
solitary hunter or packs of carnivores on the prowl. TMFEE will eat each

Other favorite boogery plants featured in my games were immobile
carnivores similar to the Venus flytraps or Audrey II (from The Little Shop of Horrors-both versions). This is one of my favorite really
stupid movies-especially V2 in which Audrey II became a rock star! I even bought 4 or 5 lead models (now OOP) of Audrey II made by Lance and Laser Miniatures, and have placed them on nicely terrained bases, among my other sci-fi terrain , for years. LOL, in just about every game appearance, Audrey II manages to eat one or two incautious soldiers! Solitary (usually) but can grow in clusters (colonies).

Here are some of my other plant boogers:

The Bag-Beast: (from book by John Brunner). This carnivore is immobile
and always lives near a body of water. It is very hard to detect with
the MARK I EYEBALL or sensors. The beast uses water pumped from the
nearby source to work with its own secretions to disolve a victim
within minutes of the unfortunate falling into the beast’s camouflaged
but open gut! Solitary.

Archer Bush: (from Men, Martians and Machines by Eric Frank Russel).
Immobile; fires flights of “clothyard arrows” at any warm blooded
critter or moving critter that gets too close to it! Poisoned and
barbed “arrows”, range 12 “. Solitary. I just had minor braindeath and cannot remember the details of the
very obnoxious tree from the same book.

Black Water: this horror appears as a pool of black water in jungle
areas. it is always surrounded by thick vegetation and trees., but is a
large immobile carnivourous plant that has several inches or a foot of
water floating on top of a fast acting digestive juices! penetrate the
water layer to get a drink, and meet the fast acting and poisonous
digestive acids! From Redliners by David Drake.

Sticky Trees & Logs: Another immobile horror that can be a standing
tree or as a tree or a rotting log. Anything that comes in contact with
it is IMMEDIATELY stuck to same, and is unable to break free. The
tree/logs then secrets digestive acids that disolve the unfortunate!
from Redliners by David Drake.

Spike Grass: From a story by CC Macapp in Worlds Of IF magazine way
back in the early 60s. Apears as “normal” grass up to 12″ tall until it
is trod upon by the unwary. WHEN TROD UPON, the grass reacts as if it
were punji-stakes, able to penetrate most foot wear and unprotected legs
or other parts of the anatomy that comes into contact with it. Once the
victim is impaled, barbs engage the flesh making removal almost
impossible (as well as escape!), and poisons enter the victim’s
bloodstream. Solitary patches, any size up to 12″x 12″

Flying Carpet: I do not know who to credit for this mobile monstrosity, but it
was in either Worlds of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Amazing,
Astounding or Analog way back in the late 50s or early 60s. This is a
flying, mossy looking plant carnivore that either lies on the ground
or hangs from tree limbs waiting for its dinner. The mossy surface is
chameleon like, and the carpet is A LOT TOUGHER than it looks. Fire is
the most effective weapon to use against them. The carpet envelopes
its prey, sting ing he/she/it with thousands of paralyzing and
poisonous barbs. The carpet then eats the prey by disolving he/she/it
with digestive acids. Solitary hunter, but, with ample food supply
can be found in large packs. Fly up to 12″. Close combat attack only.

Sunflowers: Plants that can use sunlight to create heat rays. This
nasty is from the Ringworld by Larry Niven, but I am not able to
remember the details about it right now. It was immobile and grew in
small , large, or huge patches, able to project those heat rays in 360
horizontal or 180s vertical fields of fire.

There are others but this ought to be enough to provide some ideas
for the GM to use on those who venture in the alien wilderness today!

John Crimmins added:

LISA: Would a rose by any other name not smell as sweet?

BART: Not if you called it a stench blossom.

Stenchblossoms are lovely plants, truly: renowned throughout the galaxy for their
lovely hues
and delicate structures…as well as for their nearly lethal funk. It’s an incredible
combining the worst qualities of rotting meat, spoiled cheese, and burning plastic,
and it is
fully capable of knocking a buzzard off a dung heap at a distance of 200 yards. Game effect: Any squad within 3″ of a stenchblossom grove gains a Supression
marker at the beginning of their activation. This will happen every turn that the
squad is subjected to the awful smell. Troops wearing sealed gear may be
immune to the effects of the stenchblossom: GM’s call.

The Land Anemone has a thick trunk surrounded by long, trailing fronds. These
fronds, which appear slightly furry when examined closely, are actually coated
with thousands of tiny needles…needles which will easily break off and imbed
themselves in anything that touches the fronds. The resulting wounds are too
tiny to be noticed, but the poison that they contain is *highly* irritating,
causing the victim to feel as though his skin is actually burning. Land anemone
wounds are rarely fatal; a cheap and effective antitoxin is readily available.
They remain, however, highly annoying. Game effect: whenever a figure comes into contact with a land anemone grove,
he suffers an automatic attack with d8 firepower and d4 impact. If a hit is scored,
treat the victim as Wounded until he can receive medical attention.

As a side note, let me recommend Wayne Barlowe’s Expedition: Being an
Account in Words and Artwork of the 2358 A.D. Voyage to Darwin IV
. It’s an
incredibly detailed look at a very alien ecology, and includes a lot of things that
could be adapted for gaming purposes. And man, the art is fantastic. And of course, there’s always the Shrieker fungus, straight out of D&D: an
oversized mushroom that produces a high pitched screech when approached too closely. Make a nice low-tech security fence, wouldn’t it?

Flak Magnet added:

During a briefing before going to Haiti (or was it Panama?), we were
informed that there were trees with seed-pods that would “explode” if
disturbed… After the seed-pods were “ripe” they dry out and internal fibers would
shorten, compressing the pulp at the center. while anaerobic
decomposition would release gases from the pulp which were trapped by
the fibers (and a membrane, I guess) so that eventually, either some
disturbance would cause them to burst or they’d just pop on their own. The force of the scattered seeds was enough to embed them into bare skin
if you happened to be within 10 feet of an exploding pod.

To xeno-ficate that type of tree: Make the released gases pyrotechnic-ally reactive with oxygen (something
that wasn’t an issue until we terra-formed the planet, meddling
eartlings) or maybe even nasty enough to qualify as a chemical agent. Make the seed-pods “launch” themselves by some kind of tensioned fibers
that are arranged in the stalk when the tree is disturbed/damaged. Symbiotic relationship with beetles that eat the decaying pulp and wind
up with seeds stuck to their bodies, the beetles survive the bursting
(sans fire) and burrow into the victim.

Another concept applying the stored-energy or tensioned fibers is
Twitch Trees. Plants with a relatively supple trunk that has fibers
running up and down it’s lenght as well as in bundles crossing it in
diagonals. When “attacked” the tree uses the energy stored in the
fibers to whip it’s trunk down and smack the offending critter that’s
gnawing on it’s bark. This could be made nasty if it had thorns/sticky sap and a carnivorous
nature. Though only harmful to infantry. If a heavy bulbous top was
added, (for storing water/etc) it could also prove disruptive to light
gev’s or over vehicles.

“B Lin” added:

…Perhaps a nasty type of Carnivorous Bamboo that is insidious. If a unit stays more than two turns inside a CB grove, it sends out tiny hair-like shoots covered in neuro-toxin. If they contact exposed flesh, the victim is paralyzed. The bamboo then grows a “feeder shoot” that is hollow which it injects into the victim then releases enzymes to turn the victim into fertilizer goo which then soaks into the ground and into the roots.

Any comments, additions, new ideas or similar, drop them on the GZG-L mailing list!

Two CD Terrain Tutorials

Two photo tutorials I did a while back, both on CD-based terrain.

CD-based Terrain Tutorial, Part 1

Full-sized (fully readable!) original on Flickr.

CD-base Terrain Tutorial, Part Two

Full-sized (fully readable!) original on Flickr.

And another pic of some of the scenery I’ve done following the techniques of these short tutorials:
Three Road CDs

I’ve also got a Wargame Terrain & Projects Flickr set with more related photos.

Basic Scenery & Terrain Ideas

Good, basic techniques, nothing fancy. We’ll be doing more specific terrain ideas and techniques in the future, but for now, a long catch-all cut’n’paste job from the old website.

Basic Scenery & Terrain:

General Scenery:

(any scale, very easy, very cheap)

Felt. Lots of it. (OK, seriously now…) I use lots
of different colored felt all over my gaming tables. It’s often nessecary
to mark the exact edges of woods, scrub and other areas of cover (to avoid
stupid “That’s in cover”/”No, it’s outside the treeline” type arguments)
so I use dark green for forests, light green for scrub/bushes, grey for
urban/built-up areas, brown & tan for cultivated fields, blue for rivers &
streams, and more grey for paved roads.

Forest/vegetation areas are cut rounded & blobby, fields are generally
square or rectangular, urban areas are complex polygons. Dirt roads &
streams I cut 1/2″ wide, paved roads are 1″, rivers are 1.5″ (This is for microarmour (1/300) and 15mm both – I tend towards slight
abstraction of scale)

Cut most pieces fairly small – the size of your palm or hand – you get
more flexibility that way, and can put several pieces together if you want
larger forests etc. You can get commercial things that do this sort of thing (Geo-Hex makes
some) but felt is dirt cheap – less than 50 cents Canadian for a 12″x12″
square – and you know how to use scissors, right?

Back to Top


(nearly any scale, easy, cheap)

The craft store near work (Lewiscraft) stocks big fat pipecleaners
– they call them ‘Chenille’ – for about 90 cents Canadian,
in packs of 12 one-foot-long pipecleaners.

These cleaners are 2x or 3x the thickness of regular pipecleaners, and
make good 15mm or smaller hedges, or perhaps 6mm hedgerows (Normandy
bocage type of thing). Cut them into whatever length looks right – I cut
mine around 10cm long, getting 3 of them from each fat pipecleaner.

Brush or spray glue (dilute white glue, for me) on them, then pour ground
foam turf onto them for foliage. Let them dry, then carefully shake off
the excess foam. The resulting hedges look pretty good, are fairly durable(the foam will rub off a bit, but you can always add more later). And with
a dozen per pack, that’s 12 feet (!) of hedges – more than enough, really.

Back to Top


(coniferous & leafed trees, 15mm scale or smaller, easy,

(For Birnam Wood, and less mobile sorts of trees) The same store that provided my hedges had “Bumpy Chenille” as well –
pipecleaner that’s puffy along the length. Properly cut, these make good
trees, very durable & cheap. 12/pack, roughly 90 cents Canadian for a pack
– each length makes between 4 to 8 trees, of various sizes. (That’s a lot
of trees per pack…)

A trio of chenille trees
A stand of bumpy chenille trees.

The tallest trees you can get from bumpy chenille are around 4-5cm tall –
so those of you with 25 or 30mm figs will call these shrubs. For 15mm or 6mm, they make good trees, though.

I glued mine to pennies, 1 tree per penny. White glue works. After they’re
secure, ‘paint’ dilute white glue onto the tree, working down from the top. This sticks some of the strands together, giving a good branch-like
effect. Then cover the tree in ground foam turf, shaking off the excess.

Let dry, and you have solid, stable trees for you tabletop. The basing
means that you won’t tip them over as easily, and you can move them out of
the way of you figures if you need to – much easier & more flexible that
fixed ‘forests’ of lots of trees on one larger base.

(Pennies are very useful as bases, actually – I’m starting to put all
sorts of things on penny-bases – I’ve finally got something to do with the
jar of them sitting on my desk…)

Back to Top


(15/25mm scale, somewhat complex, fairly cheap)

I’m building some trees using pipe cleaners for the trunks and branches and foliage netting for the leafy bits. I use 10-15cm lengths of pipe cleaner, three or four per tree. Twist them together in the middle for a trunk, spread them out at each end for short roots and longer branches. After assembly, paint the trunks – I started with brown spray paint, then brushpainted a coat of grey paint. The fuzziness of the pipe cleaners under the paint makes pretty good bark texture. (Especially if they’re supposed to be alien trees)

You can use lichen or foliage netting for foliage. I happened to find a big bag of foliage netting from model railroading days, so I’m using that. Cut it into inch-long bits (more or less), stretch them out a bit, and drape them down over the branches. Secure them with a spot of glue.

I based my trees on small pieces of matt board, and added foam ‘bushes’ and ground foam ‘grass’ to the bases. They look pretty damn good, I think, and seem durable enough to stand up to the horrors of war(gaming) and transport.

I didn’t invent this method – see the Scenery Links below for Terragenesis, where I originally found the method.

Back to Top


(any scale, more or less)

I have a way of doing forests. It’s not very good but I thought I’d share
it anyway: some blister packs (eg Geohex or even Games Wonkshop) come with foam
backing. Tear this up into little blobs, trim any highly pointy bits with scissors and paint
dark green (spray is best). Paint some card a lighter green (grass green). cover lightly with
glue (eg pva [white glue]), pour on painted foam chunks and squash down. You now have
forest of little foam trees. I did it quickly, so my forests tend to look a bit angular! The
scale is a bit off from how some do 1/300, though. It works fine in 1/1000, and matches
the groundscale, not the model scale, in 1/300.

Tom Anderson

[This could look good as scrub/brush areas for 15/25mm gaming as well. I’ll have to try it
and see – Brian]

Back to Top


(any scale; easy; less cheap)

A couple of hill-making ideas to try:


This is the blue or pink stuff, sold as building insulation, usually in 1 inch thicknesses. It’s solid, quite tough and strong, and carves fairly easily. (The white beaded stuff isn’t as solid or as strong, and the beads make for odd scenery.) It can be used to make very realistic looking hills.

Using a long razor knife or, even better, a serrated knife, cut out shapes in the sizes you want for hills. Slope the sides inward a bit, but don’t try to carve all the slopes out with the knife – it’s too much work.

Instead, get a sheet of quite coarse sandpaper (80 or 100 grit) in a sanding block, and sand the slopes into the styrofoam. It will come away under the sandpaper very easily, although it will produce a load of styrofoam dust & particles that probably aren’t very good for you. Working on a wet cloth or paper towel will keep most of the dust out of the air, and vacumning up afterward is essential.

A few minutes work will give you a hill with realistic looking sides, sloping gradually up to the peak of the hill. Your hill slopes should mostly be shallow enough to allow whatever figures you usually play with to stand without falling or sliding too much.

Paint the hill (usually green) and after it’s dry, flocking is probably a good idea. Here’s my two-part method to make really, really tough flocking:

  1. Dilute white glue half-and-half with water, and use a cheap paintbrush to apply it to the hill surface.
  2. Sprinkle liberally with flocking – I use Woodland Scenic’s ground foam. Let it sit for a minute.
  3. Then knock the excess flocking – the stuff that hasn’t been glued down – off the hill. Working carefully, you should be able to save most of it for use later.
  4. Mix white glue and water roughly 1:2 – you want a fairly thin white glue mix – and use an eyedropper to soak the flocking with this mix.
  5. The drops might create a few holes in the flock coat – it’s easy enough to drop a few pinches of flock back into those holes.
  6. Let the whole thing dry – usually at least overnight – and it’s done. The doubly-glued flocking can survive a surprising amount of wargaming, transport, and similar abuses, and if the flocking gets thin you can easily apply another layer or new patches.

Cardboard Hills:

This method gives less realistic hills than the styrofoam one, but the hills are even cheaper, solid, and give actual on-table contour lines for your hills.

Using boxes, pizza trays, or some other source of good cardboard, cut out pieces of cardboard in steadily increasing sizes, keeping all the pieces mostly similarly shaped, and use white glue or maybe hot glue to stick them together in a hill. Each piece will act as a contour line for it’s level of the hill, making it easy to determine who’s uphill of whom or what exact LOS is. If each piece is about one inch or so bigger on all sides than the one above it, you will get gentle, usable contours. Cliffs or similar are also possible, of course.

For finishing, a thick coat of green paint and flocking works, although you have to be careful that the cardboard doesn’t warp if you use too much water in either the paint or the glue.

Back to Top


(any scale, slightly complex, variable price)

These are more painting tips than modelling ones. Rocks of various sorts are easy enough to model. Plaster is of course practically stone already once dry, so with a bit of carving and molding makes great stonework, cliffs, and similar. Rock can also be carved into blue stryofoam easily enough, although that requires a bit more skill or luck.

However you make your stone, here’s two ways to get the stone looking good.

Method 1: Good grey stone should start not with grey but with black – paint the stone area solid black, and let it dry. Then do a heavy drybrush of medium grey, leaving the bottoms of the crevices and other low points mostly black. Then do a much, much lighter drybrush of white, hitting only the high points of the rockface. You can get a great look to your stone with this method – far superior to plain grey stones. Varying the exact shade of the stone is as easy as changing the weight of the grey & white drybrushings.

Method 2: This works on plaster, and is borrowed from model railroading landscaping. Use inks, washes or dyes to color the plaster a ‘base color’, using gray, black or any other color of wash. I have used burnt umber artist’s inks, slightly thinned, on plaster rocks, and will be using the method on castle walls soon. After the wash, moderate drybrushing will bring up some highlights, although the wash and the nature of plaster will give some highlights naturally.

Back to Top


(15mm, 25mm, other scales; a bit complex, less cheap)

I’ve been building a fair number of structures lately.
Nothing elaborate, but they look all right and work on the gaming
table. I’ve got my three usual methods of building construction here.

Part of the problem with a lot of buildings is that you really need access to the inside of the structure to fully use it in a game. This can make construction a bit of a challenge.

Method 1: Draw & Fold:

If you don’t need access to the inside of a building, and it’s of fairly small size (eg for 6mm or a small 15/25mm shed or something) I often use folding-card buildings. On paper, draw the building’s wall/roof/etc flat, and connected along common sides where possible, then add glue tabs to
the ends of walls. You can either leave the drawings uncolored and then
color them later, or color them now and spring for color photocopying onto
card. Either way, you then get your completed drawn building copied onto
a light card – the stuff that’s about the same weight as file cards.

Then cut the building out (coloring it first if you need to) and carefully
fold & glue it together. Use a ruler to make your folds exact and straight,
and I recommend a glue stick for gluing – it won’t run or warp the paper
the way white glue could.

The best part of this method is that you can draw one building, and then
get it copied as much as you need. Require a dozen towers for a city wall,
or a bunch of huts for a village? Draw it once, then copy & fold as many
as you need.

Method 2: Sheets of Stuff:

I use both foamcore and matt board for building construction.

Matt board is the stuff that is used in picture framing
– most framing shops will sell it to you. It’s not the cheapest material
going, but it is very strong and solid. Get a sheet that’s black on the
back and some building-like color on the colored side (mine is a sort of
grey-green) and you won’t even have to paint it.

Foamcore should be available in art supply or stationary
stores. The usual version is 1/4″ thick, with glossy paper on both sides and
open cell foam between (hence ‘foamcore’). This stuff is murder on cutting
blades, for some reason. Buy a bulk pack of X-Acto blades, and replace the
silly things whenever the blade starts catching on the foamcore instead of
cutting smoothly. The thickness of foamcore makes it very good for modelling
heavily-built structures – big warehouses, armoured structures, etc.

Matt board is better for modelling buildings with lots of doors, windows
and other openings. It’s easier to cut than foamcore, and being stronger,
less likely to suffer from being cut full of holes. They both have their uses,

Cut walls out from the board to the height & length needed, lay out doors &
windows using a ruler, then carefully cut them out – use several shallow passes
of the blade instead of attempting one deep cut, which could easily damage the
board, especially foamcore. Human scale doors are roughly one head-height taller
than a person and about half again as wide as a person’s shoulders. Larger doors
can be of any size & proportion desired.

Two Storey Buildings:

Making a multi-storey building that has the lower floors fully accessible is a
bit more work than normal building, but worth it, I think. Start by constructing
each floor as a single-storey height unit, adding a cardstock floor to all levels
above the ground level. To get the units to stay together when stacked, add
small pieces of scrap board to the outside of each wall which will hold the upper
floor in line with the lower. Make these holders look like utility conduits, vents,
signs, whatever you feel they need to be disguised as.

Alternatively, add strips to the bottom of the floors, positioned to fit against
the inside of the wall of the unit below, again to keep the top floor secure.

When access to lower floors is needed, the upper levels can simply be lifted off
carefully and placed to one side, if need be with figures still inside.

Foamcore is also good for small scenic details and bases for buildings and
small ‘scenes’. You could even make larger hills and similar with it, but it’s
a bit expensive for that.

Back to Top


(15mm or other scales; easy, cheap)

Easy, good looking trenches and similar earthworks for 15mm can be made from
foamcore by taking advantage of the multi-layered construction of foamcore. Cut
the top layer of paper all the way through, following the desired edges of the
trenchline. Carefully tear away the paper over the trench, then carve the foam
out, leaving the bottom layer of paper to hold the whole thing together. The
bottom & walls of the trench get a muddy brown coat of paint, and the outer
parts of the piece of foamcore should get green paint & flocking, along with some
brown – or all mud, if it’s the Western Front.

Back to Top


(15mm or larger scales, cheap,easy)

Next time you buy a blister-packed mini, don’t throw out the blister –
turn it into a bunker. Many of the square/rectangular blisters minis come
in have the slightly-rounded edges & corners that many bunker-type
installations have – just glue the blister to a cardboard base of some
sort, paint it concrete colored, add or paint on doors & firing slits, add
vegetation or details to the base, and there you go…dead easy, and isn’t
it nice that your new bunker came with an interesting mini or several as a

Back to Top


(any scale, cheap, easy)

Barbed or razor wire is fairly easy to make for any scale. Get a roll of very fine wire – mine came from a hardware store and was called “Hobby Wire”. I believe the width is .005″. Roll lengths of wire along a cylinder of the right width – wire is usually between knee and waist high in coils, so just match dowels or bits of tubing against the height of your figures. Fairly tight coils are the norm, so you’ll need a lot of wire to make your lengths of concertina. Just keep coiling until you’ve got the length of concertina you need. Base the coils on pieces of card, mounting them with posts or similar methods. These look really good, are fairly durable, and are easy. Get your troops hung up on the wire today!


A collection of scenery-related links, to sites that either focus exclusively on miniature wargaming scenery or that have good scenery sections in them:

  • Terragenesis This has to be the foremost wargames scenery site out there. Focuses mostly on Goudge Dorkshop games (ewww…) but the techniques are great, the photos are good, and the whole site is very cool. Also has a great collection of scenery links.
  • Major General Tremorden Rederring’s Colonial Wargames Page: Great scenery ideas, great photography, good sense of humour – this site even has Kipling, by Jove!
  • Schild & Vriend Wargaming Club: A Belgian club, with good scenery ideas, good photos, a good philosophy of scenery, and one of the most literate, clearly written sites I’ve seen – I only wish my site was as well written.
  • The WarFactory is an impressive site, mostly concerned with scenery building ideas, including some spectacular plants and trees. Great photographs, too.
  • The Miniatures Page The biggest, oldest news & community site in wargaming. Covers everything; check the Workshop section for occasional scenery articles.

Back to Top

Links: Fantasy Wargaming

Chipco’s Fantasy Rules! Links

Hordes of the Things & Misc. Fantasy Links:

Related Links:

  • Dan Smith’s Fantasy Fonts for Windows has Tolkein-inspired and other fantasy fonts, plus lots of related links.
  • Flat Earth Games have very cool fonts and other gaming information. Beautiful looking site, as well. [DEAD LINK?]
  • Warflags has free flags for wargamers – they’re intended as historicals, but a number of them work all right as fantasy flags, especially the mediaeval ones.
  • Leonardo da Vinci – diagrams, drawings, & models of his work, including many of his fascinating machines.
  • Town of Vinci’s Leonardo Museum has information and loads of great diagrams. Vinci was Leonardo’s hometown…
  • The Myths & Legends pages have good information on real-world dieties, myths and legends. Useful to inspire your fantasy-world mythos.
  • Information & Links on real-world Ancient Civilizations. More inspiration.
  • Worlds in the Net is a catalog of people’s fantasy and science fiction worlds on the WWW.
  • Xenite.Org: Worlds of Imagination on the Web – Science fiction & fantasy.
  • RPGnet has loads of interesting links and information, including a good review of FR! 2ed.
  • Lots of amusing RPG stories – should probably be called “Stupid Gamer Tricks”…or sometimes “Stupid GM Tricks”… [DEAD LINK?]
  • Not a fantasy wargames site either, but L-Space is the best Terry Prachett site going. Wonderful site if you’re a Pratchett fan. (Who isn’t?)
  • Sir Clisto Seversword’s Tome of Adventure & Knowledge – the site isn’t quite as long as the name, but nearly! This is a medieval-themed collection of links, very well sorted and indexed. Lots of good stuff. [DEAD LINK?]
  • Tempus Peregrinator’s Little Heraldry Book is a good heraldic primer, glossary and dictionary, online with good links.
  • The Medieval Sword Resource Site is a sort of online museum dedicated to the medieval swordsmith’s art. Great links, information and images.
  • is actually an SCA site, which has loads of information, links and images for Renaissance warfare.
  • The Dwarven Delving is an RPG site, but it’s got great images and some entertaining information on everyone’s favourite short axe-wielders!

Kra’Vak House Rules in Stargrunt II


By David D. Taylor

Kra’Vak Design Doctrine: The Kra’Vak use a doctrine of a 4 soldier element unit known as a claw. Most fists consist of 2 claws and a commander, with specialist elements consisting of only one claw and commander. The basic Kra’Vak force is based on a fist of two four man claws with a leader. The second claw can function independently as detached units while the Fist Overseer remains with the first claw giving the platoon a very flexible force. It is a matter of pride with most arms that the first combat fist is made up of the oldest and most experienced warriors (veterans). Normally the Last fist is made up of the inexperienced, new recruits (greens). This same convention is used by all platoons with the difference that the power armour and scout recruits have proven themselves in the combat platoon and the lowest rating will be regular with the first squad being elite. The rest of the squads will be veteran.

The standard ground combat arm consists of the command fist, six combat fists, and two augmented weapons fists. It will also have a sniper and a Sia’Na as an independent figure. The Sia’Na will attach themselves to the command fist. Both the standard power armour arm and standard scout arm consist of the command fist and four combat fists. The standard power armour is classed as fast and heavy. The scout arm also is trained to act as forward observers for artillery strikes. They will always have enough Kr’Gak riding beasts attached for every member of the arm. They are trained to fight both from the back of the Kr’Gak and dismounted as dragoons.

It is not uncommon for a combat arm to be mechanized with the addition of 9 Tu’Ha light ICVs. The movement rate of the power armour precludes the need for transport in the combat arena, and the stealth benefits of the Kr’Gak would be undermined by having vehicles attached to them. There may also be one or two Ha’Iv main battle tanks and as much as a fist of Sia’Kol Infantry Walker infantry walkers.

The basic rifle for the Kra’Vak foot soldier is the Ra’Sak gauss rifle. This weapon is configured to fire shot bursts of up to four 4-mm sabots at very high velocity. The limit is to prevent a soldier in the grips of Ro’Kah from emptying the weapon in a single uncontrolled burst. In game terms it is a firepower 2 impact D12 weapon.

The Da’Sak Gauss Machine Gun is a larger, fully automatic weapon firing an 8mm armour piercing sabot. It is often used with a giro-stabilized frame. It is a support firepower D10 impact D12 weapon.

The Va’Sak gauss tank killer is the standard anti-armour weapon. It consists of 3 fixed barrels and a fourth sabot in a chamber in the center of the weapon that is cycled into the first chamber after it is fired. The sabot is a 40mm ferrous iron jacketed spent uranium armour piercing shell with a shaped charge behind it to drive it further into the target upon impact. In game terms it as a 4 shot IAVR firepower D10 impact D12* weapon. While the weapon cannot be reloaded on the battlefield it is not considered disposable and is carried with the soldier for as long as is possible. For long term deployments extra, loaded Va’Saks can be carried in the Tu’Ha and can be exchanged by spending an action in contact with the ICV.

The general sniper rifle in use is the Ki’Sak. It is a single shot gauss rifle firing a 25mm armour-piercing sabot. Support firepower D10 impact D12

Independent Characters

Sia’Na: The presence of a Sia’Na on the battlefield can have a calming effect to all the forces on the field. Like a command unit a Sia’Na can pass his activation on to other units. Like a command unit his one activation will give the next unit two actions. The limitations is that they can only be used to take a morale check or pass on down the line. A failed check in this action will not negatively affect the squad’s morale. The normal morale check will still risk lowering the morale as per the normal rules. The squad can improve its morale 2 levels by passing both tests. It is possible to have more then one Sia’Na attached to a platoon for special operations. Because of the rarity of the Sia’Na it is all but unheard of to have one attached to each fist. To do so for one Arm would use more then half the available Sia’Nas for the entire body.

Sniper: The sniper is always an Elite. The need for them to work alone, close to or behind, the enemy lines requires they have the greatest possible control over Ro’Kah.

Confidence Levels:

At Confident (CO) a unit may make any actions that are normally available to it.

At STEADY (ST) they are unable to transfer actions.

At SHAKEN (SH) a unit may not enter cover or retreat from an enemy unless it passes a REACTION TEST.

At BROKEN (BR) a unit must use one of its actions to advance towards the nearest enemy. They may not go into position. If they are fired upon they we immediately drop to routed.

At ROUTED (RO) the unit must use both its actions to attempt to close assault the nearest enemy unit. If they fail both reactions tests passed from a Sia’Na they will close assault the nearest unit regardless if it’s friend or foe. If the Sia’Na that transferred the action is within close assault range they will assault that unit even if there is one closer.

Kra’Vak Physiology

Zha’Vak has a very thin ozone layer, as a result the Kra’Vak are much less susceptible to radiation then humans. The low level radiation from spent uranium munitions as well as low level dirty nukes do not have any major effect on them.

The Kra’Vak Physiology is somewhat redundant. With the exception of the brain they have at least 2 organs to perform every task. This mixed with a dermis that is on average two to three times tougher then a human’s and you have a very tough creature. Even though they wear Partial Light armour they are considered Full-Suit Light armour (D8).

The Kra’Vak hip and knee joint does not allow it to sit in what humans would consider a comfortable position. In their resting state they crouch. The seating in all vehicles is similar to a high performance motorcycle with the addition of a padded plate to rest their chest on. There are also braces on the calf and the small of the back to hold them in place during zero-g or rough maneuvering.

Progression of Command Levels:

  • Team = Claw
  • Squad = Fist
  • Platoon = Arm
  • Company = Body
  • Battalion = War Family
  • Regiment = War Clan

Basic Ground Combat Arm: (Normal Troops on Foot: movement 6)
Command Fist: (9 men at full strength)

  • Arm Overseer with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
    • First Claw
      • Claw Overseer with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Communications Specialist with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Rifleman with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Rifleman with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
    • Second Claw
      • Claw Overseer with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Rifleman with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Rifleman with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Da’Sak Gauss Machine Gunner

The command Fist has a sniper with a Ki’Sak gauss sniper rifle and a Sia’Na with Ra’Sak gauss rifle attached.

Basic Combat Fist: (9 men at full strength)

  • Fist Overseer with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
    • First Claw
      • Claw Overseer with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Rifleman with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Rifleman with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Da’Sak Gauss Machine Gunner
    • Second Claw
      • Claw Overseer with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Rifleman with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Rifleman with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Va’Sak Gauss Tank Killer

Augmented Weapons Fist: (9 men at full strength)

  • Fist Overseer with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
    • First Claw
      • Claw Overseer with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Da’Sak Gauss Machine Gunner \
      • Da’Sak Gauss Machine Gunner
      • Da’Sak Gauss Machine Gunner
    • Second Claw
      • Claw Overseer with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Va’Sak Gauss Tank Killer
      • Va’Sak Gauss Tank Killer
      • Va’Sak Gauss Tank Killer

Power armour Arm (Fast Power armour: Movement 12)
Command Fist: (5 men at full strength)

  • Arm Overseer
    • Claw
      • Rifleman with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Rifleman with MLP and with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Communications Specialist with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Da’Sak Gauss Machine Gunner

Powered Combat Fist: (5 men at full strength)

  • Fist Overseer with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
    • Claw
      • Rifleman with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Rifleman with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Rifleman with MLP and with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Da’Sak Gauss Machine Gunner

Scout Arm (Very Light Troops: Movement 8)
Command Fist: (5 men at full strength)

  • Arm Overseer with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
    • Claw
      • Rifleman with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Rifleman with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Rifleman with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Communications Specialist with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
    • Five Kr’Gak Riding Beasts Attached (Movement 10)

Scout Combat Fist: (5 men at full strength)

  • Fist Overseer
    • Claw
      • Rifleman with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Rifleman with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Rifleman with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Rifleman with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
    • Five Kr’Gak Riding Beasts Attached

Kra’Vak Vehicles:
The basic design doctrine is very simple; vehicles are designed to fit a specific role as well as possible. The idea is to mix different specialized vehicles to best meet any eventuality. A commander can achieve great renowned by coming up with unusual ways to combine resource to accent the unit’s strengths and overcome its limits.
Sia’Kol Infantry Walker
The Sia’Kol is unusual in that it is a 6 legged walker. It is usually meant to fill the place of the Tu’HA for the Power armoured fists. It is also the only vehicle in common use that is not GRAV based. (I use a Reaper CAV scorpion figure)
Class 1 Vehicle, Infantry Walker Mobility, Armour Value 1, 1x Class 2 Gauss Cannon in Fixed Mount, Gauss Machine Gun (SAW)
Tu’Ha light ICV
This is the standard workhorse of the Kra’Vak mechanized infantry. It is meant to support the disembarked infantry agents other foot soldiers and has a very limited anti-vehicle capability. The 10-man capacity allows for the addition of a sniper or other Independent Character. If there is no 10th soldier then the space can be used to carry 2 extra Va’Sak Gauss Tank Killers. The Va’Sak soldier must spend an action in contact with the back of the vehicle with the vehicle stopped to swap weapons.
Class 3 Vehicle, Armour Value 3, Grav Mobility, 10 Units of Infantry Transport, 2x Class 1 Gauss Cannon in Turret Mount
Ha’Iv main battle tanks
This is the most common Kra’Vak vehicle seen on the battlefield. It is a very capable tank mounting a very large main gun. It suffers in that it does not have the flexibility to adapt to changes in the battlefield that some human designs have. This can be seen as a limit with most of the Kra’Vak vehicles.
Class 3 Vehicle, Armour Value 3, Grav Mobility, 1x Class 5 Gauss Cannon in Turret Mount

Stargrunt II Xenomorphs (Aliens aliens!)

‘We Believe A Xenomorph May Be Involved…’

Rules for Ripley’s Nightmares in Stargrunt II.
Written by Brian Burger, June 2001

The aliens of the ‘Alien’ movie series are many people’s favourite nasty bugs; this is an attempt to portray them in Ground Zero Games’ Stargrunt II.

General: The aliens are best played by a referee, with players taking the roles of terrorized colonists and/or hapless Marines. To get the right feel, the playing area should be very tight, either the corridors and ducts of a base or building, or a heavily urbanized zone; any playing area should have lots of hiding places, nooks and crannies for slavering alien beasties to hide in.

The Xenomorphs: These seem to come in a variety of forms, probably representing different maturity levels of the organism.

  • Small Hunters: Probably immature forms of the Hunter xenomorph. Movement 8″ or d8x2/Armour d6/Close Assault d8.
  • Hunters: Larger, faster, more dangerous mature forms of xenomorph. Move 10″ or d10x2/Armour d8/Close Assault d10.
  • Queens: Very large, incredibly dangerous breeding form, rarely seen (thankfully). Move 10″ or d10x2/Armour d12/CA d12x2.
  • ‘Facehuggers’: The larval, active breeding form of the xenomorph, given their unofficial name for their habit of attaching to victim’s faces before inserting an egg down the victim’s throat. Facehuggers die after inserting this egg, and gestation time is unknown at this time. If the facehugger’s ‘CA’ roll succeeds, one member of the target squad is hugged, and is counted as untreated wounded. Move Special/Armour n/a/CA d12.

Special Morale: Aliens always count as Elite 1 for all leadership checks; note that the CA die is usually different, which is not usual SG2 practice. Further, aliens count as High Mission Motivation at all times, and when an alien squad is activated they get one free Clear Suppression roll, in addition to the usual two actions.

In Close Assault, zenomorphs count as 3x their own numbers for determining Confidence Checks. Queens always cause checks at +2, regardless of the numbers involved.

If zenomorphs loose 50% or more of their unit in one attack, they will fall back as soon as they are able.

Extra Morale Rules for Humans:

Panic: Zenomorphs cause Panic checks when first seen by Untrained, Green and Regular troops; if Panic is caused it is treated a bit differently from regular Panic, as follows: if a unit Panics when confronted or attacked by xenomorphs, it will flee, not instantly freeze. The unit will make one Combat Move back along the route it has been following, or directly away from the oncoming xenomorph unit. After this panicked movement, the squad will freeze in place, and be subject to all the usual Panic rules as laid out in the SG2 rules. Note that this check will take place during a CA run by xenomorphs, if that is the first sighting; this may make it impossible for the squad to make it’s usual rolls to stand and receive the assault.

New/Adapted Morale & Reaction Tests:

  • squad attacked unsuccessfully by facehugger: Threat +1
  • squad attacked successfully by facehugger: Threat +2
  • first sighting/attack by xenomorphs, including facehuggers: Panic Check for Untrained, Green & Reg squads.
  • All other checks in SG2 apply.

Have fun, and remember… “It’s a bug hunt.”

Copyright Brian Burger, 2001.

If you want more information on the movies, thank the IMDB: Alien (1979)Aliens (1986)Alien3 (1992)Alien: Resurrection (1997). There are persistant rumours about “Alien 5”, but nothing concrete yet, as far as I know.

Pulp Vehicle Cards

A while back, I made up a set of eight vehicle outlines, designed to be printed on Letter-sized business card blanks or regular cardstock and used alongside (or instead of) 28mm vehicles on the tabletop. That first set had small cars, light & heavy trucks, and a closed limousine.

Pulp Vehicle Sheet One
Pulp Vehicle Cards Sheet One, PDF

I’ve finally gotten off my duff and made up a second set of cards; this one has sporty roadsters (with and without rumble seats), larger sportscars, an open limousine, and motorcycles with and without sidecars.
Pulp Vehicle Sheet Two
Pulp Vehicle Cards Sheet Two, PDF

Dirtside II House Rules

A group of us here in Victoria, BC, Canada who play Dirtside II regularly. Individually & collectively, we’ve come up with some house rules to modify parts of DS2 to our liking. Feel free to use our rules if you like them, and if you’ve got house rules that you want to see posted, contact me.

House Rules: Cascading MoraleOverwatchHull Down & CoverArtillery Spotter DronesHidden Deployment & Observation Posts.

Cascading Morale

(for DS2 & SG2)
Continue reading Dirtside II House Rules