Category Archives: Misc

Things miscellaneous or otherwise not neatly sorted into other categories.

Pulp Design Tools & Resources, Part One: Inkscape

Everytime Corey or I post player aids, faux-vintage ads, building signs, faux magazine covers or similar to forums or elsewhere, there’s always people curious about the tools, fonts and resources we use.

This is the first in a series of posts (probably at least three) aimed at introducing gamers to some of the resources out there they might not be aware of for making their own graphics & such.

Part Two on fonts, typography & design has been published now.


The main tool is Inkscape, an amazing Open Source vector-graphics editor. It’s free to download, available for Windows, Linux, or Mac, and quite possibly the coolest program ever.
Continue reading Pulp Design Tools & Resources, Part One: Inkscape

Advice to a British Lead Soldier

Being a Kipling fan, I kept this when it came on one of the mailing lists I’m on, and decided to post it here. I have no idea who the original author is, but I didn’t write it, so if you know who did, please contact me so I can give credit where due! In the meantime, enjoy. — Brian

Advice to a British Lead Soldier
Dedicated to LVB
by Flashdout Kasting

If yer painted with oils and washed with a brush,
If yer de-tail’s all crisp and yer parting-line’s flush,
Remember it don’t mean a tittle or tush
To the Man Who Writes The Rules

If yer coat’s painted red when it ought to be blue
An yer ‘at’s an off-color, yer skin’s a sick hue
It don’t matter a bit ‘ow some fool painted you
For you lives an you dies by the Rules.

If yer paint is all chinky from years o’ hard use
An yer bayonet’s gone an one arm’s hangin loose,
Yer as good as the next ‘un an’ just as much use,
To The Man Who Writes The Rules.

Oh he knows all the hist’ry, he thinks an’ he reads,
And what ‘e don’t know ‘e can fake if he needs,
‘E can tell you the pace of men, camels or steeds,
An’ the 2D morale o’ the mules.
He’s a Solomon wise with a sceptre an’ crown
He’s historian, mathematician and clown,
An he don’t care a whit (which is good!) for renown.
He’s The Man Who Writes The Rules.

If yer lined with a marker, or lined with a pen
Painted double-ought sable or camel-hair ten,
It’s one an’ the same when the dice roll again
For you lives an’ you dies by the Rules.

If yer base is magnetic, or coinage or card,
If yer pose is high port, or reloading, or guard,
If yer bought by the casting or bought by the yard,
It don’t mean a toss if yer plastic or hard
To The Man Who Writes The Rules.

On styrofoam hill or vermiculite plain
When the tape-measures whirr and the dice roll again,
An’ the pizza-smell’s thick, so’s to rattle yer brain,
It’s the Rules that permit, an’ the Rules that restrain,
And you lives an you dies by the Rules.

For the painter’s a grind and the gamer’s a plod;
The collector, ‘es just an obsessive old sod,
But I tell you, ‘es bloody well near to a God
Is The Man Who Writes The Rules.

Oh the rules they are fresh, or the rules they are stale,
An’ they favour the dusky or favour the pale,
An’ they’re overly broad or ‘ave too much detail,
An’ they don’t know the difference ‘twixt Congreve and Hale,
And they finish too quick or they plod on too long,
An’ they figure the spears or machine-guns too strong,
An’ their cavalry movement is simply all wrong
But when the dice sing o’ their rattley song
It’s all just the prattle of fools
For you lives and you dies
Mind, you lives and you dies
Yes, you lives and you dies
By the Rules.

Where is the Orbiter stuff?

The Orbiter meshes for the Percival Lovell and space stations were for a very old version of Orbiter and are not currently supported. Check out the Orbiter Hanger, Orbiter Forum, and main Orbiter page for more information about the latest in Orbiter.

As both Brian and I run Ubuntu these days, it is unlikely that any new development for Orbiter will happen, at least until Orbiter is finally Open Sourced and ported to OpenGL and Linux.


Apparently not many people have webpages featuring working model trebuchets. Except the old version of this webpage! Transplanted and spruced up; it’s been many years since I’ve built this one (and it’s since been misplaced in a move) but the photos and story are still good, and I’ll try and update the links. Enjoy! — Brian, 12 Jan 2011.

One slow weekend, I built myself a siege engine of the ancient mold and threw rocks at the neighbours…

Actually, it wasn’t as bad as that – the beast is only about 40cm tall to the top of the frame, and the biggest rocks it throws are only maybe 8cm long. The counterweight is 4 pounds of lead fishing weights.

A trebuchet (tree-boo-shay) is a counterweight powered mechanical artillery piece, traditionally used for throwing huge rocks at castle walls or throwing dead horses over the walls. Mine is made entirely of 1×2 lumber, but the design is entirely traditional and historically accurate. The counterweight falls, pulling the far end of the arm up and over, which in turn propels the sling which actually contains the rock. The sling whips up and around, releasing when it comes over the top, sending the rock on its way. The trajectory can be changed by adjusting the sling’s release hook, on the end of the arm. The usual trajectory is fairly high and arcing, but a surprisingly flat, fast trajectory can also be achieved by careful adjustment of the hook.

Accuracy is quite good, providing you are slinging rocks of identical or similar weight. Firing the same rock, I landed 30 shots in the same 1.5m wide circular area. Range could also be quite long – firing a very small rock, one shot went over 25m, with the usual shot being around 10-15m.

The simple plans I used to build my treb used to be available on the Web from A Trebuchet Story (now sadly defunct, and possibly not in The Wayback Machine – Brian, 12 Jan 2011). These seem to be the only trebuchet plans actually available on the Web. There are loads more treb and engine site out there on the WWW – check out some of the following Trebuchet, Catapult, Siege Engine & Mechanical Artillery Links:

Igor Award Recipient: Goes to my brother Corey, who acted as mad scientist’s assistant during most of the firing of this beast. (then bugged me about giving him credit until I invented the Igor Award!)

And finally, the photos – click for complete views, although not that much larger, I’m afraid.

The New Re-Launched “The Warbard”

This website is devoted to wargaming, mostly in pulp adventure, hard science fiction or fantasy settings. The rules we play include Rattrap’s .45 Adventure, Dirtside II (Ground Zero Games), Stargrunt II (GZG), Full Thrust (GZG) and Fantasy Rules! (Chipco). We’ve got house rules, Galleries of my own and other people’s pictures of miniatures & games, reviews, how-to articles, and even some free stuff you can download.

This is the slightly-belated twelfth (!) anniversary edition of my wargaming website, with new shiny WordPress-based backend that we’re slowly converting all the old content over to. (the original site was founded in November 1998 as “Brian’s Wargame Pages”… I’ve gamed with players younger than my website…) The still-relevant parts of the old website are almost all converted now; with possibly another short flurry of postings of half-forgotten things still to come.

I’ve invited my brother Corey, who I do a lot of wargaming with, to join the site and add his own material. That’s the other part of the reason for the name change – “Brian’s Wargaming Pages” just wasn’t right for a multi-person site, so we’ve gone back to the site’s domain name for a name – welcome to “The Warbard”!

We each publish our own stuff here, and if we work on a post together we’ll publish it as “The Editors” instead of under our individual names. We’ve also been known to add interjections to each other’s posts, when we want to add something.

— Brian Burger
Last updated 11 April 2011; first published 11 Jan 2011.

Gradient Backgrounds for Photography

I’ve created a number of simple colour gradient backgrounds that I’ve printed out for use in miniature photography, and recently decided to bundle the most useful of them up in a PDF and make it available.

Eight smooth gradient backgrounds included; on North American 8.5×11 paper by default, but they’re all vector-based so they should scale to whatever size paper you can print them on.

The list:

  • Pale Grey
  • Grey
  • Dark Grey
  • Black (shades to grey)
  • Blue
  • Sea Blue
  • Blue Grey
  • Tan

These backdrops MAY be used for commercial uses (photographs for a webstore or similar) but the file & printed backdrops MAY NOT be sold on any medium.

Photo Backdrops PDF (60Kb)

Enjoy – let me know how you’re using these, and if you have any suggestions for more colours or other expansions on this idea.