Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Manliest of Pastels

Here are some close-up shots of the Free Martian test army. I pulled an older digital camera out of storage, hoping it would focus better on small objects than my general-purpose cell phone. It does, provided I don't get it too close to the target model. (You can see the offending shots below.) 

In painting the Free Martians, I chose a color pallette away from the medium greens, blues and reds you normally see in wargames. I chose brighter colors like purples, light blues, and yellowish greens.  (Only the command group has a conventional-looking red.) 

South-west art often features such bold, bright colors.  To someone used to life in the green-grey East Coast of the US, such colors seemed garish to me.  Then I moved to Tucson for a few years, and I realized that against the red-brown landscape and blazing sky of the southwest, such strong colors looked really amazing.  They matched the landscape.  So I have tried that sort of pallette out on my Martians.

The standard ray-beam cannon.

The alternatate "anti-tank" cannon.

A hunter with a "grenade launcher."

A hunter with a ray beam gun, in a blurry shot.

The standard lancer. I am least happy with the green color. It was going to be orange, but orange is a pain to paint.

A shieldsman.

A shieldsman "sergeant" with a ray gun. One of the blurrier shots.
The command group in standard wargaming red. Boring but there are only 3 of them.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Out Sick

"I think they are out to get me."
I'm ill, so I've not had a chance to write anything new this week.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Roman the Skies

I intend to build vehicles for my test armies. For the Free Martians, I want a flying ship.  One of the classic Martian images consists of a skiff or skimmer or ornithopter.  Since I'm using ancient models as my Martians, a classical ship seems the most appropriate base.
For this project, I purchased two model ship kits, Academy's "Roman Warship" and Zvezda's "Niña."  I intend to use the hull from the Roman ship as my base model.  I will then use the masts and sails from "Niña" as my vehicle's wings. Each ship cost about 30$ online.

The Academy ship.

The Zvezda ship.
My first step is to make the ship compatible with a Games Workshop aircraft base.  I have several of these for my Warhammer 40K armies, and they are sturdy and attractive.  As you can see, the base has a cross-shaped section, onto which the aircraft sits.  The only odd thing is that the curve in the base bends the opposite way you'd expect. 

A GW aircraft base.
So I assemble the lower part of the ship: the keel and rower's space.  (I'm not going to assemble the oars.) I cut a hole in the keel to accommodate the flying base, and reinforce the interior with a plug of green stuff.  I wet the end of the flying base, and press it into the green stuff for the correct shape.

Here is the underside, with the base hole carved.

Here it is from above, with the green stuff blob visible.

Now I can rest the ship on the base, or remove it if I need to. I assemble the upper decks of the ship.

The ship on its base.
Now I take out the Zvezda sails from Niña.  I envision the final craft looking like a dragonfly or ornithopter.  Anti-grav holds up the keel, and the sails adds propulsion or maneuvering.  I really like the Niña's Lateen sails.  They look Middle Eastern, and add an Orientalist touch reflecting retro setting.

I mount the masts to the sides of the ship, at an angle.  One is larger than the other, so the final vessel will be asymmetrical.  I hope it will look cool and not goofy, but danged if I'm going to cannibalize two 30$ Niñas.

The ship with side masts.
The ship from another angle.
 The sails themselves are an extremely thin plastic, which is slightly flexible. I don't know whether it will hold primer without cracking or flaking.  So I intend to leave the sails off until the rest of the ship is painted.  I test them out for size but do not attach them.

The sails.
 Here is the resulting ship, on my gaming table for scale.  I will post more as I complete the project.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Martian Tactics

These pictures should illustrate the Free Martians' typical tactics.  They have three troop types: Lanceatores, Venatores, and Scutatores.  I've painted them green, purple and blue, respectively.  The Lanceatores have long-ranged, high RoF fire, but are not very mobile. The Venatores have medium-to-short ranged guns, and are highly mobile.  The Scutatores have stronger energy shields and melee weapons.

In the attack, the Lanceatores lay down suppressing fire from a distance.  The Venatores close to firefight distance, while the Scutatores flank for the kill. 

This picture shows an attack by a Martian squad on some colonials.  The Lanceatores are left in place behind.  The Scutatores and Venatores are in a manuevering group within command distance of the Sergeant:

A squad attacks.
 This picture shows the same tactics employed by a platoon.  In this case, the Venatores and Scutatores are more separated, each led by their own Sergeant:

A platoon attacks.

This final picture represents a defense.  The Venatores fall back towards the main line while giving harassing fire against the attacking Colonials. The Lanceatores add their fire, while the Scuatores wait to perform a counter-assault, if necessary.
The Martians defend. 

Now, the tricky bit will be write rules in which these tactics are both possible and effective.