Pack Up Your Dinosaurs

“I have never listened to anyone who criticized my taste in space travel, sideshows or gorillas. When this occurs, I pack up my dinosaurs and leave the room.”

― Ray Bradbury

Should you wish to have more dinosaurs to pack up, I note with pleasure that HLBS has apparently re-started regular production of some of their 28mm dinosaurs. The velociraptors are especially nice models, lots of character, and a swarm of toothy little compsognathus can improve nearly any game.

My collection of HLBS dinosaurs are amongst the figures I’ve never actually gotten any good photos of, except for the Styracosaur. I shall have to correct that sometime this winter.

RCW Cards Released for M&B

Red & White cards for RCW M&B

You saw the preview here a few days ago, and now they’re ready: the first release of my Initiative Cards for playing Russian Civil War conflicts with Through The Mud & The Blood by TooFatLardies.

The PDF file is 7 pages and 4.3Mb, and is RCW Cards (PDF).

The first three pages are the basic cards you’ll probably need for smaller games, the three pages after that have some of the more specialized cards you probably won’t need all the time (and some duplicate cards for larger battles), and finally there’s a sheet of partially blank cards for you to customize for your own purposes.

This set just has the basic cards from the main M&B rules, with none of the specialized cards suggested in any of the supplements. I’ll probably include them in an update, and if you’ve got any other suggestions or things you’d like to see included, please leave a suggestion below!

If anyone is able to help with Russian-language or just Russian-flavoured text, please leave a comment below. I’d be especially interested in alternate text for the Snifter, Storm and Air Support cards.


Second-pulpiest flying machine (after, naturally, the dirigible) the autogyro is barely seen these days but carved out a niche for itself in the 20s and 30s.

There’s a formation of US Army Aviation Corp autogyros being put through their paces. No date on the video, and no identity of which model of autogyro is being demonstrated, which is unfortunate. Still a very cool and pulpy piece of newsreel footage!

(video here on Youtube, if the embedded video fails to show up above)

RCW Cards for Mud & Blood

rcw m&b cards
A couple of cards for both sides for RCW-flavoured Mud & Blood gaming.

The TFL rules “Through the Mud & the Blood” use a Game Deck of cards for initiative and game events. The construction of each deck will vary for each game depending on the forces available but there’s a limited total number of cards and many of the same cards will appear in every game.

With that in mind, I’ve started work on a couple of sheets of Russian Civil War cards for the White Russian and Bolshevik sides. Nothing in publishable form yet, but here’s a quick sneak preview for your amusement — and because blogging about this stuff encourages me to actually finish it!

Minimal Maxim Basing

I’ve long been a fan of putting figures on the smallest bases they’ll fit on and that’ll keep them upright, when you’re doing individual bases for skirmish gaming.

Almost all of my 28mm pulp and historical figures are based on Canadian pennies, which are about 18mm across. You can’t beat the cost, they’re big enough for nearly any human-sized figure provided you don’t mind the occasional toe or heel sticking over the edge a few millimetres, and the small size makes it far, far easier to get your figures into scenery, especially buildings and larger vehicles like ships.

But what of guns, and larger-than-human figures?

Pennies and Milliput epoxy putty again there too. Why change what works? I’ve used that method before for monsters (werewolves and Yeti, just for two examples) and decided to stick with it when basing up the Bolshevik Maxim HMG from Copplestone. With the gunner prone behind the weapon, the whole thing would have required a base of about 60mm diameter to get him to fit — see above about wanting minimal footprint bases!

Pictures being worth a thousand words and such, see below for the Bolshevik and White Russian Maxim guns.

Minimal Maxim bases – pennies and Milliput.

The Copplestone Bolshie Maxim (on the left) has the gunner and gun on three pennies in line; the prone loader takes up two and is arranged on one edge of his base so he can reach the gun. On the right, the Brigade Games White Russian Maxim with seated gunner only needs two pennies; the kneeling loader is on one, again arranged to one side so he can reach his gun. Having the loaders and other crew on separate bases also makes casualty marking dead simple, as a bonus.

Incidentally, Copplestone and Brigade Games RCW figures work perfectly together, no size mismatch at all. I have a longer post comparing the two lines in the works — stay tuned.

Featherstone’s “Battles With Model Soldiers”

A friend scored this 1970 classic of our hobby when I was at BottosCon in Vancouver last week, and was kind enough to loan it to me right away, even before he’d had a chance to read it himself. A battered public library copy of this book was my first introduction to the idea of wargaming, when I was 9 or 10 years old! I was already into model building, and the idea of models you could use in games took root and hasn’t let go since…

It’s a fascinating look at what you might call the “early modern” period of wargaming, and demonstrates just how far the whole hobby has come in the intervening forty-some years!

I’m going to be using excerpts and favourite bits as material here as I read through it, but given my current interest in World War One and the Russian Civil War it was Featherstone’s short chapter on WW1 that I turned to first.

He had a novel suggestion for simulating the confusion and fog of war involved in a nighttime Western Front trench raid:

An extremely simple method—ensuring more than realistic confusion, since no one can see what they are doing—is to have the wargames table illuminated only by a small 5-watt lamp painted blue!

I think I’ll stick with Mud & Blood’s blinds, myself.

More quotes and excerpts from this book as they catch my eye!

Nov. 11, 2011

Adding Poppies

Went down to our main Cenotaph on the Legislature lawn this morning for the Remembrance Day ceremony, as I almost always do. Good turnout despite the threatening weather, and while it rained off and on through the ceremony and marchpast it had at least stopped bucketing down like it was earlier in the morning.

I’ve always thought those of us who study war for recreational purposes should pay extra attention to Remembrance Day or the local equivalent. It’s not always lead soldiers and dice, after all.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

I’ve got a few more photos from our ceremony over on Flickr.


Off overseas (ie, to Vancouver) Friday afternoon to spend the weekend at one of the area boardgame conventions, BottosCon.

Boardgames? It’s likely to be a pewter-deficient gaming event, true, but it’s mostly an excuse to get out of town for the weekend and hang out with an old friend who has recently moved back to Vancouver. Who knows, I may see some familiar faces from Trumpeter Salute, and I may even sell a few more t-shirts. We shall see.

If you happen to read this and are going to be at BottosCon this weekend, leave a comment below, the magic of smartphones means not being cut off despite being away from our computers!

Regular pewter-based gaming content will resume next week, no worries. There’s a huge crowd of 28mm Russians on my painting desk wondering when I’m planning on telling the world about them…

Russian Civil War Blinds

A number of the TooFatLardies games, including Through The Mud And The Blood, feature “Blinds” — markers used on the table at the start of the game to disguise the exact location and composition of your force and introduce some fog-of-war elements with a minimum of bookkeeping.

RCW Blinds
A quick screenshot of the two styles of RCW Blinds

Richard of TFL recently put out a PDF with a couple of generic blind markers to support his recently released I Ain’t Been Shot Mum, 3rd Edition WW2 rules — they’re on the TFL Yahoo Group, assuming you’re a member. They’re rather elegant oval markers, designed to print about 6″ wide and 4″ deep.

These inspired me to fire up Inkscape last night and create blinds for the Russian Civil War forces I am building for Mud & Blood. There’s ovals very much like the IABSM ones, and on the second page of each PDF is a pair of rectangular blinds, which are much less elegant but likely a lot easier to cut out! You could, for added elegance, use a round-corner punch on the corners of the rectangular ones; this is likely what I”ll do with the ones I print.

You can download both letter-sized versions for North America and an A4-sized version for the rest of the world. They’re tiny PDFs, two pages each but under 6Kb in file size.

Feedback below, especially if you have any suggestions for other blinds you’d like to see! I’m already planning Union Jack blinds for my British forces, for example.