Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Starmada - back in action

This past weekend, Stew, of the excellent blog A Terrible Loss of Lead and Wealth, again invited a couple of fellows and myself over for a large game of Starmada- TNG style.  As with the last game, Stew provided the space to play in, a lovely star mat, ship stats. a QRF, lunch, and drinks.  And of course two extremely well painted fleets (seriously, look at those ships!). 

This time we got to pick our fleets by victory points, and I decided to bring out the big guns and selected the Sovereign class Atlantic, backed up with three comparatively obsolete Excelsior class ships.  Stew selected the Galaxy class Freitag (which was portrayed by the Galaxy class Endeavor half way through the game after a magnet failure), as well as a Defiant class, an Akira class, and another Excelsior.  The dastardly Klingons went with a fleet that utilized all the available Vor'Cha models.  In game terms, this meant that the Federation had two big battlewagons, a cruiser,  and what amounted to heavy destroyers, which the Klingons had all cruisers (and a couple of warbirds that barely figured in the game). 

As is typical, I did not take as many pictures as I could have, but here are a few. 

Federation fleet selection

First turn, as the fleets are probing for advantage

The big ships make their appearance

Excelsior classes take a pounding  The flat hex is a cloaked ship

Battlewagons eliminate everything between then (two Klingons cloaked to retreat, er tactically redeploy)

Federation victory, and another great game!

Since Stew indicated that he was running out of ships to paint, and needed another very large project, I printed something to bring along for him...

(In the event that you are not a Trek fan, that is a 1/7000 scale model of DS9 printed in two halves, which I primed before I brought it over.  A bit over 200mm wide)

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Marching forward

I have been quite busy lately with dealing with my uncle's estate issues, so I have had little time for painting and other hobby activities.

I did recently receive a very generous gift from Dai, a whole British platoon for Chain of Command, painted and with extras. (such as the MMG teams in the bag on the right).  With just a bit of work on the bases they will match up with my Americans and Germans very nicely, and since I have a pack of Motorized British somewhere, I can add a few more extra items.

So you would think that painting more figures for Chain of Command and its related terrain would be in the forefront of my mind, and indeed it has been largely so.

However, I also recently got this for a hefty discount...

Yet more Eldar (and chaos bound for Ebay)

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Starmada - The Next Generation

This past weekend Stew of the excellent blog A Terrible loss of Lead and Wealth, invited a few other fellows and myself over to his place to playtest his modifications of Starmada for Star Trek the Next Generation era play.  I believe that he intends to run the game at a convention, and he selected a few "experts" to try it out.  In addition to some rule modifications, Stew also generated the ship stats, made QRFs, and selected the scenario, on top of painting two top notch fleets, hosting, and supplying lunch! 

After some introductory milling about, I was assigned one of the two Klingon fleets and battle commenced! 

The game was pretty exciting and I had to pay attention to what was going on and the ship stats, but I did manage a few pictures. 

Photo one:
Initial fleet placement for the good guys, and the various gaming ephemera we were issued.

Photo Two:
I think this is two turns in.  I cloaked all my little ships and they were working their way up the side undetected.

Photo Three:
The flagship mixes it up with an Excelsior class, while the Galaxy class drives by.  (following this round, the Excelsior class was crippled, and drifted off the playing area)
Photo Four:
Little ships uncloak and help to delete the Excelsior class directly in front of them.

The important part here is that the true warriors won, and pushed those milk toast Federation scientists back to their star base with their tails between their legs. 

Now Stew may claim that he is just a "table top quality" painter, or some such, but look at this Galaxy Class starship and you will see otherwise. 

So no surprise, Starmada is fun, playing games is fun, and I even had a bit of a thought about making my own 1/7000 TNG era fleets.

Pardon the messy, desk, but that is three Galors and a Excelsior class on the slipways

Well, maybe more than a bit of a thought. 

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Holidaze 2022

 Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you dear reader(s).  I hope that you had a lovely festive season.

Santa (or my family) was very kind to me this year with a nice stack of gaming related items.  Most surprising was that my sister ordered Chain of Command direct from Too Fat Lardies. which coincides nicely with my desire to work on 15mm WWII again this year. 

9th Edition Eldar Codex, Chain of Command, Random Encounters, Agon, and Banshees.

This year, like last, I managed to get away from work for a whole week. Little was accomplished, but I did mange to prepare and prime a few more Battletech figures on one of our few dry days.

Wintertime expedient of a portable heater
Most of these are intended to go with the gift set I started preparing back in the fall, including this Phoenix Hawk painted for my buddy who is a major Robotech fan:

This is a poor picture that somehow enhances all of the flaws of the figure, but hey, Jolly Roger on a PHX-1

We did get away to the mountains with cousins again, and we played a few more sessions of the very long running D&D game.  This time there were at least a few calls of "we should finish the main quest before doing these other things!"  They then promptly went on a new side quest, after ordering equipment for another one. 

The kid managed to get enough new space marines to basically double his current level of space marines, which would worry me more if he managed to also paint them... he did already build them all though, which was shocking, so we could see some progress on that front.

Hopefully 2023 treats everyone well. 

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Been a while

Loads of stuff going on here in the household, very little of it miniature or gaming related.  I was also too busy to read blogs for a while, so apologies for missing all of your great posts.  I am slowly going through all that. 

Some recap:

I printed and painted a face mask for a friend's son's Halloween mask.  since it was so large, I printed it in two sections, pined them together with spare filament, and then painted it with a few layers of PVA glue.  Then spray painted an off-white color, some detail painting, and sponged painted "bone" color. 

I have also been working on printing a lance, a company, a battalion of Battlemechs for Battletech.  Really quite an absurd number of Mechs. All Third Succession War era, mostly TRO 3025 stuff.  Started painting a few of them, little to see there yet.  Bought the maps and introductory rulebook from the starter box, so closer to a game at least. 

Speaking of which, before I got the intro rulebook, the kid and I muddled through a game using the free basic rules, while discussing my derived understanding of the rules not included in the basic ones (which are a lot, but mainly heat, levels, and close combat).

Pretty good initial effort for a 3d printed terrain and figures, and office 11x17 laser printer map

Stinger v. Commando, and of course the kid won.  We had a good time, but have not had the chance to get back to it yet with the more advanced rules (and more figures).  Some noises about playing with the friend and his kid, but then he got Covid, and with holidays and such I do not think it likely for a while. 

Friday, October 7, 2022

BattleTech: A Descent into Madness

 As fellow gamers, I know that you will understand how thin the line between "interest" and "obsession" can be.  I hope that you read the below as a cautionary tale, and take pity on the madness of your fellow gamer. 

Step 1 Buy a gift for a friend and his son.

My friend and his son have birthdays in the same week, and since he is an old school gamer, and his son is detail obsessed kid with a ton of time on his hands, I thought that they were well suited for a Battletech beginner boxed set.  This box comes with some basic rules, a couple of miniature robots (1-/250-1/300 scale), and other ephemera needed to play a few introduction games. Pretty good little box for $20. 

If you are not familiar with Battletech, it is a game of detailed robot combat, set about a thousand years in a dark age feudal future, where MechWarriors are the knights tromping about the galaxy.  Rules are little changed from the mid 80s, so hex based, very detailed, and with a number of additional books you can get to make them even more detailed.  Want to know the salary and healthcare benefits of the guy who fixes the left leg of the robot between battles?  You can!   And probably roleplay out the interaction when you cut his salary and threaten him with deportation if he does not keep up his job too. 

Step 2 Realize that I have some miniatures that could play with them

Long ago, I started on building a few 6mm armies for combat using Dirtside.  I bought a couple of metal Battletech figures from Ironwind, and then stuffed them in a box.  Recalling this, I dug out that box and looked at some pristine figures, still in blister after 16+ years.  Not unusual in this house, but in this case it paid off. 

Step 3 Remember that you have a 3D printer, and print some bases for the miniatures

The metal figures do not come with bases, and their integral bases are small and narrow, so not very useful for trying to stand up the figures.  I knocked out a basic 30mm hex base in Tinkercad, and printed a few of them. 

Step 4 Print some terrain for the gift

$20 seems sort of paltry for a gift for two people (even if it is the entry into a whole universe of fun!), so why not put that printer to work, and make a few trees and buildings to jazz up that starter set a bit?

Then my kid pointed out that more trees were needed to fill up the map, and I did not print any hills... so that part is still ongoing. 

Step 5 Print a few extra figures

Once I got a bit more into the lore, I realized that my metal mechs are out of period for the primary era of the game (3025).  Sort of like fighting a Great War Mark IV with an Abrams.  So I looked on thingiverse, and lo and behold there are Battletech figures on there.  Like a lot of figures.  So I selected a few likely sorts and printed them out.  At 3-6 hours each, printing is sort of a commitment, but not very much because what else is my printer doing, and they cost like $0.50 each. 

Shoddy primed picture of a Stinger, Whitworth, Hermes I, Assassin, Phoenix Hawk, and an Orion

Step 6 Start reading

Like Wikipedia, but for the Battletech universe.  Did you know that each mech, of which there are hundreds, has many variants each? Each with their own fictional history, manufacturers of parts, and canonical appearances?   Did you know that you can look at each planet of the galaxy and track its political affiliation and those of nearby systems with maps? Sarna is dangerous for obsessive nerds.  Many hours were lost. 

Step 7 Obsessively reread the Battle reports of 1000 Foot General    

Over at 1000 Foot General, John played a series of Battletech games in a campaign with his kid, and they are awesome.  He also has some house rules to smooth out the game play and campaign a bit, so that not every game devolves into last man standing bloodbaths.  Just some of them. 

Step 8 Print more figures

The danger of reading Sarna and learning about all of the cool mechs that exist, and reading 1000 Foot General, and seeing different mech types do cool stuff is that you then start to want more mechs...

Commando, Locust, Shadow Hawk, and a Jenner

Step 9 Make a few digital kitbash conversions

Remember how in step 6 I mentioned that there are a lot of variants?  Well some are more complicated, but others are basically weapon swaps, like this Javelin-10A above, which trades out two short range missile launchers for one large long range one.  I took two models of the Javelin, cut the arms off (digitally) and reposed them, re-sculpted the chest plate, and then dropped in the larger long range missile launcher.  I also made a ruined base for the robot to stand on, because why not?

Step 10 Obsessively collect all the STLs available to the point that you have to make a spreadsheet to track everything

Currently 64 variants deep, not counting pose variants for common 'mechs. Still looking for good models for ~17 more.

Step 11 Make the spreadsheet more complicated

Now with alternate era mechs, more variants, tonnage, battlefield role and more information...

Step 12 Consider digitally sculpting missing figures

Can not find a good Panther Mech?  Well, it sort of looks like a Wolfhound with more armor and a different gun...

...still not have played a game

I do have some painted figures though! 

At 30-60mm tall, they paint up fast. 

Metal Cerberus assault Mech

Printed Javelin-10 light Mech
More madness to come.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Klingon Armada - Second Game

Sunday I got together with Stew again for another game of Klingon Armada, the Armada system adaption of Federation Commander, itself a spinoff/simplification of StarFleet Battles.  Stew hosted again, and this time we had the pleasure of breaking in his brand new hexed star mat, which was absolutely perfect for the game. 

Since this was our second game, we thought we could throw some more ships around, so I switched out a D6 for a D7, and added a D7C and a second F5.  The D7C, one of the D7s and both of the F5s were newly painted for this game.

For the Federation I kept the fleet the same, but added a Dreadnaught.   The Dreadnaught is pretty beefy, and has a ton of power/weapons.  As such it rings in at over 400 points! 

As you might expect, we got pretty excited as the game went on, so I did not take very many pictures, but I did manage to capture a few.

This first picture is of the early game, where the cruisers in the center are exchanging long range fire with mostly the dreadnaught.  Look at that game mat!  

This next picture is a bit later when the Federation dreadnaught, battle cruiser, and heavy cruiser all come in to pound the Klingons. 

Cruiser scrum at in the middle of the board with a before....

And after shot.  12 overloaded disruptors did for the flagship of the Federation! 
In the above picture you can see that we figured out what to use drones for... to soak up enemy phasers! 

This last picture is of the end game, where you will note that the Klingons went from having seven ships to five, and the Federation from five to three

We had to end before one side or the other struck their colors, but of course I was going to win.

For those keeping track, it was 50% on newly painted cruisers surviving the game.  The D7C was sent to Sto-vo-kor, while the red-stripe D7 survived with the least damage of all cruisers. 

We both had a great time, and hope to play again... maybe with a third player?

Monday, August 15, 2022

D7 Command Cruiser conversion

Here is a bit of a teaser post, a hasty conversion of a standard D7 (MicroMachines version) to a D7 Command cruiser.  The command cruiser is a cruiser squadron leader, with an extra command deck, better phasers, and a couple more of them. 

I sculpted the extra neck detailing, and the little bit on top of the hanger, but otherwise just dashed this out.  A bit of repainting later, and it was done. 


Here is what my digitally sculpted version looks like.  Much sharper! 

Comparison to a regular D7.

Next time, will these ships survive a battlefield newly painted?

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Falcon III

The Eldar Falcon tank I started when my wife was out of town over a year ago has been sitting in a nearly finished state on my desk for a while now, and it was really just the base holding me back.

I finally finished it with a bit of weathering power, and here it is. 

Here is the base, where I tried to do too much and had it take much longer than it should have.  In fact with brickwork, ground work, painting, washes, and weathering powders, this probably took about 1/3 of the time it took me to make the whole tank! 

Next up SHOULD be more Eldar, but you never know what will eventually come out here. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2022


So in my last substantive hobby post, back in February (!), I outline my future plans for the Eldar army, which consisted of doing the basing for the figures I had finished, finishing up the ones which were 80% done, and then painting the figures which I had built and primed.

So naturally instead this happened:

Yes, that is right, I went off the plan, which itself was already off the original plan, and made up this unit of Wraithblades (the choppy version of Wraithguard, which are basically robots piloted by Eldar ghosts).  This version has a large axe and a shield on the left arm, but they could have two swords instead. 

Each of these fine robotic fellows is comprised of a few parts

17 parts each!

Here are some closeups:

I actually painted these fairly quickly, but then got hung up on the bases, as is often the case. 

I went with the same sort of decayed urban zone as the Wraithlord, but then nearly ruined it with some overeager application of weathering powders.  I basically scraped that all off, and here is the result. 

So these turned out nicely, but the kit was sort of a pain.  All the parts of the Wraithlord, but a quarter of the size means that it was less satisfying to build, and the fixed ankles limited possibility.  There are however still two options I do not have, so I suspect there is still the possibility of another kit in my future. 

I have a couple other projects nearing completion, so it should look like I am making progress soon. 

I still have to do all those bases though...