Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Forewarned is Four Armed

I have also begun to work on modeling the Brutes.  Here are some test models I have made for this alien faction.  The basic parts are from Warlord Games' Zulu range.  I cut the torso from one figure and attached it to the neck area of another, giving a four-armed body. I trimmed the head a bit, and extended the skull with putty.  The eyes are little putty spheres.  The resulting figure looked a bit top-heavy so I added a tail.

Altogether, I am pleased with the result.  (My biggest fear was that the Zulu elements would make the figures look like a racist caricature.  But I think they came out alien-looking enough to avoid that pitfall.)  I do wish the kit came with some left arms without shields, since these are still the most culturally-identifiable element of the figure.

I'll post some painted pics later.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Working on Test Armies

I've been working on modeling and painting two forces of infantry to playtest against each other: the Colonists and the Free Martian Humans.  As you can see, I've been making some progress, but I'm not yet done.  I expect it will take me a few more weeks to finish. 

The Free Martians Humans are from Warlord Games ancients models. The Colonists are Old Glory WWI British.

 I'll post more pics as I go:

The unpainted Martians
The Martians with some base colors, no highlighting yet.

The Colonists.
A cleaner shot of the unpainted Colonists.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Thinking About the Brutes

Medieval War Elephant
The Brutes are the barbarian faction on Mars. The theme for Brutes are Massive and Tough creatures, weak shooting and strong melee.

We will designate any humanoids as Brutes.  Players can represent them with any kind of alien, barbarian or monstrous model -- Orks, Kroot, Ogres, Ancient Celts, whatever.  Brutes come in many sizes (and species): small Brutes, Brutes, Large Brutes, Huge Brutes and Enormous Brutes.

Approximate Size
Small Brute
Large Brute
big Orc
Huge Brute
Enormous Brute

We'll call any non-humanoids Beasts. These aren't intelligent species, but the Brutes may use them as mounts or helpers.  We will likewise categorize them as Small Beasts, Beasts, Large Beasts, Huge Beasts and Enormous Beasts.

Approximate Size
Small Beast
Large Beast
Huge Beast
Enormous Beast

A typical squad will consist of about twenty Brutes. (By default these will all be regular Brutes, but other sizes may be substituted or intermixed.)  Each Brute will be armed with an RoF 1 gun and RoA 2.  Their weapons will have a Massive rating to match their Toughness.

Mathematically, then, a Brute squad will have firepower roughly equivalent to a squad of Free Humans or Colonists, but will be a bit more than twice as hard to suppress and aborb twice as many casualties. It will be much more effective in melee than in firefight.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Table Update

Table Update
I have been steadily collecting peices for my gaming board since my last post. Let me highlight a few of them:
First up is a huuuge  5' x 8' matt from the Terrain Guy.  As you can see, it's desert, but it's not completely tan.  It's made of a heavy canvas and covered in a gritty flock.  It looks pretty sturdy.  It came rolled onto a peice of PVC pipe and packed in a huge box that freaked out my local postal workers.
You may recognize some of these hills.  They are plastic GW products.  The small ones are single piece.  The larger one is actually a lot bigger than the others and comes in four quarters, which can be split if you want to place a hill on the board edge or corner. I originally bought the FoW years ago and painted them green.  Steve and I used them in some WWPD battles, but we found that they didn't hold 15mm stands very well, and the cliffs were unweildy for FoW tanks.  When I started this project, I retreived them from Fortress MacLauchlan, and repainted them tan.
The red mesas are from Battlefield in a BoxThere's one of each mesa type.  I think I might like a few more, to make a canyon effect.  Also from Battlefield in a Box is the smallish hill in the back; it's resin and I've seen it in a few different colors.
I was not able to get as many Hall of Heroes pieces as I wanted, since they kept going out of stock. I did get the one set, which you can (maybe) see in the far corner.  I gave it a tan drybrush just on top of its natural grey color.  I think I want a base of some kind for these walls -- they look kinda funny rising directly from the table surface.  Maybe some gravel to go about their base.
The forests are from Woodland Scenics.   I purchased a few bags of tree armatures for varying sizes. If you're not familiar with these - they are basically tree trunks.  You're supposed to glue flock to them to make foliage.  I decided I wanted a baren look, so I just drybrushed them a bit and assembled them.  The forest bases are cut out of Woodland Scenic matts.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Game Stats for the Human Cities

Free Human Game Stats
Here's a quick write-up of their weapons and armor for early play-testing.

Blaster Carbine
Blaster Pike
 Blaster "LMG"
Javelin Projector24"2Man1123

Venatores and Lanceators are equipped with light forcefield shields.  Scutarii are equipped with heavy force-field shields.

A model with a light force-field shield always receives the benefit of light cover to their cover saves. A model with a heavy force-field shield always receives the benefit of heavy cover to their cover save. (They are just as visible as normal, so they don't automatically receive a Concealment bonus.)

Venatores and Lanceators have Armor 1. Scutarii have Armor 2.

The Blaster "LMG" team counts as Armor 1 and Massive 1, with a light force-field shield.

Lanceators have RoA 1.  Venatores are RoA 2.  Scutarii are RoA3. 

Rules for other special types will follow eventually, but these match the models I'm building.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Martian Free Human Test Models

Martian Free Humans Test Models

For my Free Martians, I turned to plastic ancient ranges.  I purchased four boxed sets from Warlord Games' Hail Caesar range: Roman Early Imperial Legionaries, Roman Praetorian Guards, Macedonian Royal Guards, and Roman Early Imperial Scorpions.  

I mixed the parts from each range: the Macedonian bodies got Legionnaire Shields; the Praetorians got Macedonian shields, and the Legionnaires got Praetorian shields.

To add a sci-fi element, I cut the Macedonian pikes down and added some translucent beads from Michael's.  (Want to feel less than manly?  Go to Michael' s and buy beads.)

I cut the pila (throwing spears) from the romans to make ray-guns for my Venatores.  The swordsmen Scutatores needed some bits from the bits box to make up extra weapons -- in this case, some sabres from Napoleonic cavalry.

The Scorpion needed a few crystals, and I cut off the bow arms.

I painted the models in bright colors with no regard history.  I made each type a different color, so players can easily distinguish them:  the Lanceatores green, the Scutatores blue, the Venatores purple.

I was very pleased with the quality of the models and sculpts, except for the metal heads that came with the Macedonians.  (The winged helmets just didn't do it for me.  I really liked the shields tho.)

Here you can see my first four models.  The crystals cannot be sealed without becoming cloudy, so I painted only a few proof of concept models first.  Soon I will return to the rest of them.  With three boxes, that makes about 20 figures of each type.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

More Options for the Martian Colonists

More Thoughts on Models and Ranges
Old Glory WWI Brits

The colonial army is basically an alternate history interwar force. We can assume that the colonists had armies similar to those of Europe in 1914.  Then, instead of WWI, they experienced a major defeat from the Ancients and their vehicles.  In the years since, the colonists have been mechanizing and updating thier squad tactics,.  The result looks a lot like an early WWII army.

The model range for the colonists needs to have infantry, machine-guns, mortars, artillery, and anti-tank guns.  (Or be easily converted to have them.)  Most WWI and WWII armies qualify.Visually, I like something that has a bit of an old-fashioned, maybe even steam-punk look. I tend to favor WWI models over WWII models -- the primitive, unfinished look of a WWI equipment suggests that the armies are still experimenting, and haven't yet arrived at a polished product.

I used Old Glory's WWI British range for my proof-of-concept models.  I thought they combined the most iconic features of the period - gasmasks, funky helmets, and putees. But there are a lot of other options.

  • Other WWI nations:  Old Glory also makes ranges for most of the combatants.  There are Germans, French, and so forth.  I stayed away from the Germans because the helmet and uniform look so much like the WWII ones.  The French are also interesting - I really like the French greatcoats, too. 

  • WWII ranges.  There are manyWWII ranges, some of them in inexpensive plastics, rather than old-fashioned metal.  My favorites are those from Warlord Games for their Bolt Action range.  In addition to plastic infantry sets, they make specialized metal/resin figures, and a goodly number of tanks.  Best of all, they have lots of early war tanks, now, too! 

  • WWII Bolt Action British: The battle dress the British used in WWII does not look all that different from their WWI service dress.  (At least at a distance of a few feet from a 28mm figure.)  The webbing is similar, and the helmet is pretty much identical.  The BEF range has gasmask bags and smooth helmets (no camo netting).  It is metal, so it's a bit pricier.  The plastic late war range is really quite price effective.  There are also some peices of secondary equipment (like anti-tank guns) that won't be found in a WWI range, but that the Martian Colonists will need. I intend to supplement my Old Glory figures with some Bolt Action Boyes anti-tank rifles and 2-pdrs eventually. 

  • WWII Bolt Action French or Polish.  I think both of these ranges have potential, too.  The French have a spiffy platoon boxed set. The lumpy helmet and greatcoat give the French an archaic look.  The Polish high collar similarly distinguishes them from the more familiar WWII uniforms, but the main draw isn't their infantry.  It's their cavalry.

  • WWII US, Germans and Soviets: I can't say I'm really excited about any of these ranges as Martian Colonists.  Their uniforms and equipment are just so familiar, and so iconic, that it is difficult to reimagine them into another setting.  Your mileage may vary.
  • Vehicles: Let's talk tanks.  I love tanks.  Old Glory makes a 25mm Mark IV British tank from WWI.  I want. Also some early armored cars. But a number of WWII models will also serve to represent Martian colonial tanks.  I'd avoid the more familiar chassis of the Sherman, T-34 or any Panzer.  I'd also avoid long-barrelled guns -- they don't look right aesthetically, even though I bet the first thing the Colonists would do is put the biggest gun they could find onto anything with wheels. 

  • The following Bolt Action Tanks have about the right feel, I think: the British Matilda I and Matilda II, the early Vickers light tanks (and here), and maybe the Churchill. Any of the French armored vehicles look cool, especially the Char I.  Maybe the German Panzer II -- although all the German stuff mostly just looks too slick.  From the US range, the Buffalo stands out as beautifully ugly.

The Matilda II

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Martian Colonist Test Models

Test Models for the Martian Colonists
I've decided I like the Martian setting enough to make up a few platoons with which to play some games.  First up, the Martian Colonists.  These are the perhaps the easiest to find models to represent -- as they are based on an interwar historical European army.  

There are several ranges in production that would serve.  These models are from Old Glory's WWI range British.  

I love the gas-masks and the bowl helmet.  I painted them a Martian red, with Khaki helmets and webbing.  I think they may look a little too much like traditional pith helmets, though.  I'll have to see how they appear on a desert table.