Lizards & Lunatics

Had two small orders come in last week. I have been saving money for an epic bike vacation to Europe in a few months (Vienna, Austria to Nantes, France over six weeks!) and not ordering much new stuff for wargaming the last few months, which is one of several reasons it’s been quiet around here. Nevertheless, some new stuff comes in every so often!

The first order was from Impact Miniatures, all Blood Bowl/fantasy football related stuff. A set of three block dice, two of their football markers, and eight more Baby Crocs – Skinks, basically, for their Sarcos Crocodile team, which I bought last year.

The footballs are neat. I haven’t confirmed with Impact, but I’m pretty sure they’re 3D-printed – they’re a slightly flexible resin-like stuff, with a large spike-adorned football and a ring/loop so you can hang the football of a figure’s arm or around their neck or shoulder when they’re carrying the ball. Imagine the sort of cheap charm ring you get in Christmas crackers, except in white resin and with a spiked football instead of a fake jewel. It’s a great idea for Blood Bowl or other fantasy football games and a much easier way to show which figure has the ball than the freestanding individual balls, which can be awkward to balance on some figure bases.

I already have eight Baby Crocs, so why double the local population? So I can proxy Baby Crocs as Halflings and field a BB team of Croclings, mostly! I’ve heard that Halflings are a challenging team to use and don’t expect them to win much, but what the heck, they’ll be entertaining. Corey also has a team of Impact’s Scotlings (Halfings in kilts with cabers) so a Scotling-vs-Crocling matchup should be entertaining.

I’ll also be using a few of the extra Baby Crocs as auxiliary figures for my existing Sarcos team. Cheer-crocs with greenstuff pompoms added to their hands, maybe an apothecary-croc with a barrel of go-juice to get injured players back on the pitch, that sort of thing – the fun, oddball sideline figures that round out a BB team.

Oh, and for the Treemen on the Croclings team, I’ll probably pick up a pair of these Reaper Bones Spirit of the Forest figures and convert them a bit as swamp-flavoured Treemen. Like the Impact Trollcast resin figures, the Reaper Bones plastic resin figures are a great thing, nice figures in easy-to-convert material for a very good price!

The other order is from Statuesque Miniatures in the UK, and as oddball as the Impact order was, this order was definitely crazier. Crazed, in fact, and lunatic, as it included six Frothing Loonies, a small girl, and a pulp hero & heroine! All part of a special introductory bundle deal Statuesque had put on back in the first week of March.

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Lunatics & Heroes. 28mm figures from Statuesque. Head sprues for the lunatics at the bottom, headless lunatic bodies, then (L to R at top) Lillie, Pulp Girl & Phantom Ace. Click for larger, as always.

The six loonies have three different bodies and a sprue of six heads. Because I got two packs of three figures each, I have two of each body and two full sprues of heads, so I have half a dozen spare lunatic heads now – fodder for converting other figures, perhaps! The bodies are in hospital robes (yes, they’re all partially open at the back, in proper hospital robe style…) and have shackles on their wrists. The heads look suitably lunatic, and most have obvious scars across their shaved heads where diabolical, insanity-causing surgery was undoubtedly been performed by mad doctors!

The small girl is Lillie Poots, who wanders the world curious and unafraid, her path lit by the large lantern she holds up in one hand.

The pulp hero is Phantom Ace, a large man in flying leathers, helmet and goggles, with a pair of automatic pistols, one in each hand. Pulp Girl, his crimefighting companion, is a slender teenage girl with some sort of mystical or weird-science apparatus on one wrist and hand.

All the Statuesque figures are very cleanly sculpted and beautifully cast, with hardly a mold line or casting vent mark to be seen. The adult figures are bulky 28mm, sized to go with Pulp Figures, Copplestone and other common pulp lines. The only downside to them is they’re all designed to fit on slottabases, which I strongly dislike – my Blood Bowl teams are the only figures I own that I mount on slottas. I’ll be snipping the mounting bars off all of these figures and putting them on pennies or other flat bases to match my existing pulp collection. That aside, they’re lovely figures and I’ll be keeping an eye on Statuesque in the future as they expand their pulp ranges – I believe they’re going to be adding asylum staff and other asylum denizens at some point.

A Motor Yacht, Part Four

Just to prove that there really is progress being made around here, despite the relative quiet on the blogging front, here’s a fairly bad late night photo of the motor yacht, with it’s second coat of white paint applied!

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Motor yacht, with paint on it! Click for full size.

Because of the board expanses of plain, untextured surfaces on this thing, and the tendency of those broad expanses to show brush strokes really well, I’m using very diluted paint, pretty much just using layers of washes to get colour onto the thing. It means a couple of coats to get a good colour, but also no visible brush strokes!

I’m going to do the bow and rear decks dark, glossy wood, and then pick out the railings and other details either in white or in brass — haven’t decided which yet.

A Motor Yacht, Part Three

Slow but steady progress on the 28mm pulp motor yacht. I hit it with a light coat of grey primer, to better show the seams and bits that needed additional putty and sanding work — that sort of thing shows up so much better under a thin coat of primer than it does in the blindingly-white bare plastic!

I’ve re-done the edge of the bow deck around the curve of the bow, and several areas on the cabin roof and around the flying bridge. Here’s a pair of low-res after dark images showing the boat in it’s current state.

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Easier to take photos of now it’s not blinding white, too. Low quality image, but click for larger.

The cabin roof/flying bridge assembly is still removable, and I glued a 1.25″ washer to the roof then skinned over it with another layer of styrene plastic. With that ballast and reinforcement, the roof is a lot more solid and stays in place much more easily. It also visually makes the boat seem more solid, somehow.

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Stern quarter view. Low quality image but click for slightly larger.

The rear view shows the cabin door and the ladder up to the flying bridge. The three round windows started out with a hand-spun drill bit, then got carefully and slowly reamed out with a sharp Xacto blade. I thought about doing window frames or something around them, but ultimately decided the boat would have to manage without in the interests of my own sanity!

Second, proper coat of primer tonight, then paint later this week. The paint scheme is going to be pretty simple — white hull and walls, glossy wooden decking — so it should be fairly quick to paint up.

A Motor Yacht, Part Two

Part One is here, for those of you just joining in. The project is a small 28mm motor yacht for pulp gaming, based loosely on real motor yachts from early in the 20th C and built entirely out of styrene plastic sheet, because I have a lot of it hanging around!

I finally got the hull sides done this weekend, using one long strip of .020″ styrene plastic per side. To accommodate the slight rake of the hull side and the curve of the bow, I cut the strips slightly too wide and wider toward the bow of the boat. After gluing one side at a time, I trimmed the thin plastic down with knife and sandpaper to match the actual lines of the boat.

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Adding the hull sides. Right-hand side glued all the way to the bow but not trimmed; left side glued along the stern and cabin. Click for larger.

The stern and cabin area was simpler, except for being careful where the curve was placed that fits the higher bow deck into the hull side. Initial glue was quick-acting Plastruct Bondene solvent; after that set up I used superglue along the bottom seam to strengthen it.

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Boat from the stern quarter, with cabin roof in place. Door frame and ladder in progress. Click for larger.

I’ve also gotten panelling into the cabin (see the first photo), door frames on either side of the door at the rear of the cabin, and started in on the ladder up to the flying bridge on the cabin roof.

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Boat from bow quarter. Lots of putty work and detailing to do, but it’s structurally complete! Click for larger.

There’s a large amount of cleanup and detailing needed with Milliput and modelling putty to get everything cleaned up and smoothed out, a bunch more details to add, then the first spraycoat of primer to show up any glitches and things that still need to be fixed. The cabin roof needs some weight on it to get it to sit properly on the cabin walls; the seams all need cleaning up, especially around the bow deck and the bow itself; and I might yet put another layer of styrene down on the bow deck, as the single layer there currently is quite thin and I worry about it standing up to the wear and tear of gaming and transport.

Still, it’s great to have the major structural parts of the boat complete!

A Long-Neglected Project Gets Dusted Off

Back in the long-lost days of mid-2009 (OK, four years back…) a contest called “Build Something” was held over on the excellent Lead Adventure Forum, with the contest theme of “Transportation”. I decided to build a small motor yacht/large powerboat sort of boat for pulp gaming, taking inspiration from and got as far as cutting the base of the hull, the cabin walls and the sides of the stern out of styrene plastic before inspiration fled and I moved on to other projects.

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The now-lost original plan, from October 2009. Click for larger.

Lots of other projects, in the intervening years, but I never actually threw out the barely-started boat, it just gathered dust and got used as an impromptu container for scrap wood and other bits. Late last week I finally got around to cleaning up my long-neglected hobby bench, didn’t feel like painting, and decided to dust off the motor yacht instead of starting an entirely new project. I still have a large amount of styrene plastic (plastic card) hanging around, so it was still the material of choice for this project.

I’ve added frames to the bow and a deck, then added a removable roof to the cabin and a flying bridge on top of that.

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The boat restarted, October 2013. Click for larger.

The hull sides will be the next big step. I’m planning on doing each side with a single long strip of styrene, and then use putty up at the bow to properly form the actual point of the bow.

After that there’s still a lot of detail work and cleanup to do. Door and window frames, a ladder up to the flying bridge, and a lot of putty to smooth things out and hide seams.

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From the stern quarter. Scale provided by 28mm Pulp Figures reporters. Click for larger.

This last photo shows the curves in the aft end of the boat quite nicely. I’m going to use steel wire for railings on the sides and back of the flying bridge, and might put a removable canopy over the rear deck. Also need to come up with a name, to be painted across the stern in large gold letters!

The Dread Thuggee, A Pulp Alley League!

First, on a quick administrative note, the Warbard was offline for part of last week due to an attempted attack on the WordPress installation that runs this site. I was able to work with the my webspace providers and get everything sorted and up and running, I’ve made some behinds-the-scenes changes and tweaks, and hopefully that will be the first and last time I have to worry about crap like that! No content was lost and we’re fully back up and running, at least!

On a happier note, I’ve been very gradually upgrading our pencil-marked handwritten Pulp Alley League sheets to spiffy-looking word processor documents. This also gives me the ability to share them more widely, of course, so here’s the Dread Thuggee stranglers for Pulp Alley (PDF, 80Kb) for everyone’s enjoyment.

Adding Thuggee stranglers to a pulp universe is obvious enough, and was actually something I started thinking about in relation to the pulp-horror game Strange Aeons. There was a thread I started over on Lead Adventure, to which several people contributed excellent links, both to miniatures suitable for India and other related resources. The Thuggee figures are from Pulp Figures. The first of mine appeared way back in LPL5, a more recent batch appeared in LPL7, and I still have a few left to paint to round out the cult and add some variety.

In Pulp Alley, the stranglers re-use and re-brand the useful and flexible Animal skill to show their lack of firepower and dedication to strangling and other brawling skills. The Stealthy Agents perk lets the whole League skulk in the shadows more effectively, but does mean it’s a small League at merely four stranglers. They’re good at what they do, though, and have had a fair bit of success in our games, especially in tight terrain or limited visibility where they can really put their melee skills to use!

Blank League Roster for Pulp Alley

As a followup to last week’s posting of four of our Pulp Alley Leagues, here’s the blank PDF version of the roster I created. Pulp Alley is of course © Pulp Alley; this roster sheet is my own work but anyone can print or modify it for personal use. Enjoy!

There’s a very nice blank roster in the Pulp Alley rulebook, but being able to type one out and print copies as needed is also useful!

We’re probably getting back to some Russian Civil War action this Sunday at gaming; I’ll probably try to get some photos and get a game report of some sort up here to help compensate for the tragic shortage of activity on the Warbard recently…

Four of our Pulp Alley Leagues

Although things have been quiet on this blog (too quiet…) we have been gaming fairly regularly! In fact, this long weekend is the first weekend in quite a while I haven’t gotten a game in. It’s been a Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend filled with museum visits, bike rides and food instead, which is just fine.

Anyway, most of what we’ve been playing has been Pulp Alley, a fast and elegant set of pulp skirmish rules. Teams in PA are called “Leagues”, and we’ve created six or eight that appear regularly. Rather than have one person always playing the same League, we’ve got a “pool” of Leagues that we all take turns playing as the mood strikes us. I created most of the Leagues when I first bought the rules, although most of those early Leagues have been rebuilt and tweaked at least once since then, as our understanding of the rules improved!

I’ve done up a few of our Leagues as proper PDF files thanks to LibreOffice, and I’m putting them up here for inspiration or to use as-is in your own Pulp Alley games. All four of these files are free to print or reproduce for personal use only.

First off, Sir Charles, Aristocratic Investigator (PDF, 81Kb). He may or may not be secretly doing the bidding of His Majesty’s Government in London, but this wealthy, well-connected character, his staff and hangers-on have the habit of turning up in some remarkable places.

Second, Count-General Vladimir Drunkovich and his White Russian Exiles (PDF, 80Kb). Being on the losing side of the Russian Civil War meant exile from Mother Russia and has made these ruthless, dangerous characters even more desperate and daring. No-one is sure anymore if Drunkovich is still fighting for Russia or if he’s gone entirely mercenary… and only a suicidal fool would ask the Count that sort of question directly. If he didn’t kill you himself, the deadly Natalya would skewer you!

Third, the scarred, ruthless and mysterious villain known as “Stahlmaske” or “the Teutonic Schemer” (PDF, 80Kb). A veteran of the brutal trenches of the Great War, Stahlmaske and his flunkies bring ruthless violence wherever they go… but Stahlmaske is nearly as deadly to his followers as his enemies!

Finally (for now…) we have the mysterious, mystical Shadow (PDF, 80Kb). He can cloud men’s minds… and possibly read them! He knows many things, but his opponents know very little about him…

Note that the Shadow is built from the “Weird Abilities” in the first Pulp Alley supplement, Perilous Island; the first three Leagues need only the main Pulp Alley book to use!

Links of Interest, 3 September 2013

Quiet around here recently; I’ve been gaming regularly through the summer but not doing a whole lot of painting, scenery building or much of anything else!

Here’s a few cool links to share, though. They’re all, mostly by coincidence, on that perennial Warbard theme, zeppelins! First off, some notes, sketches and other cool stuff from Kevin Conran, the lead designer of the movie Sky Captain.

Over on Dark Roasted Blend, there’s Airship Dreams, Part One and Airship Dreams, Part Two which both, especially Part Two, have some awesome photographs of real and imagined airships & zepps.

Actual substantial blog posts soon, I promise…

Added Peril & Weirdness in Pulp Alley!

Sunday’s five-player Pulp Alley game set a number of “firsts” locally, as our biggest-ever Pulp Alley-powered game with five players and about thirty figures on the table, and as the first appearance of the “Weird League” rules from the new PA supplement, Perilous Island. It was also the first on-table appearance of my newly finished urban buildings from Sarissa Precision.

Sean pulled out his half-painted The Shadow figure and quickly thrashed together a League based around The Shadow, using the “Dark Pact” League Perk to add a number of powerful and creepy Shadow-like abilities, notably the ability to vanish from the gaze of men (and women…), and the ability to seemingly teleport straight through solid walls, among other things.

Neither of us have built Leagues with the new “Weird” abilities, but as far as I know The Shadow & friends are properly constructed and we used the rules correctly. The “Weird” abilities certainly add a very cool flavour and some great new powers to the Pulp Alley game, and I’m looking forward to future outings of The Shadow, and to building new Leagues (or re-building old ones) to incorporate more of the “Weird” abilities.

I’m also pleased to report that Pulp Alley moves along just fine with five players and thirty figures; it’s naturally a bit slower with that much stuff going on and that many people, and the tabletop can be gloriously crowded, but the system works just as well for a big crowd as it does for two players with six or ten figures total!

I took a few photos, but only one of them turned out OK. Here’s the setup right near the beginning of the game; only Dale’s Red Air Pirates are visible on the rooftop they arrived at; the other four Leagues are lurking behind buildings or off the edges of the photo! I like how the buildings look, but they really show how I need to crank out a bunch of alleyways, sidewalks and other urban filler/background scenery bits now…

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A Pulp Alley game setup, before the action starts. Click for larger, as usual.