For many years I have been using Combat Patrol(R) for “serious” science fiction games and GASLIGHT for pulpy science fiction games. I have begun adapting Combat Patrol(R) and Albedo Combat Patrol(TM) as a new release of a set of rules for science fiction skirmish games. I have been collecting vehicles and figures from a variety of manufacturers for years. Recently, I discovered vehicle kits from Culverin. They are a mix of resin and 3D printed parts.
This weekend I finished several of them.
The Typhos tank comes with several different weapons. The kit is meant for you to choose one. Instead, I inset some small rare-earth magnets to make the weapons interchangeable based on the scenario. In this series of pictures, you can see the various weapons. (The gray portions are 3D printed, and the white portion is resin.)
They also offer a tank destroyer.
Here are the finished Typos tanks with the various weapons.
Culverin makes a bunch of different vehicles. Another one I like is the Hyena armored personnel carrier. It comes with three different weapons as well.
Finally, I also bought three of the Boar weapon carriers. These look like over-sized Bren / Universal carriers. I have two with heavy machine-guns and one with a flame thrower.
Service from Culverin was fast, and everything arrived in good condition. They assembled easily. I recommend that you drill holes in the weapons and turret front of the Typhos to allow you to exchange weapons.
I had two guys over for what turned out to be an excellent game of Wars of Orcs and Dwarves yesterday.
Kevin and I played the Orcs, and David played the hobbits. The orcs (good guys) were attacking to seize a hilltop and grab Princess McGuffin. The hobbits (bad guys) were defending a waddle wall and the hill. The orces had two “brigades,” each consisting of two “regiments” with hand weapons and one with bows. The hobbits had two units of archers, two units with spears and halberds, an elite unit with swords, a small unit of chariots, and a light artillery piece. The orcs also had one unit of giant blood orcs (with a stealthy commander!) that began in the hobbit’s rear.
The good guys’ (orcs’) plan was for me to be aggressive on the orc right to keep the bad guys (hobbits) pinned down, while Kevin maneuvered around the right flank. I thought the plan was going to work well, when after a melee, the hobbit bowmen decided to pursue my orcs. They leapt over the wall and advanced toward me. By the time the smoke cleared, my two hand-weapon units had been crushed by the combined efforts of three units of hobbits.
A unit of hobbits with halberds and the goose hydra routed the blood orcs in a dynamic melee. Kevin’s fought poorly all day (dismal dice), while David had pretty good luck.
The key moment came in turn three. Often the brigade commanders’ abilities do not frequently have a major impact, but in this game they were decisive. Kevin used his “Follow Me, Boys!” ability to launch all of his units in a combined assault. His bowmen charged up the hill, defeated one unit and then fell on the rear of the hobbit artillery while his sword unit routed another hobbit unit. At this point, all but one hobbit unit was routed or destroyed. Unfortunately for the good guys (orcs), David’s brigade commander had Rally. This allows the commander, once per game, to automatically rally all units within 36 inches. In the past, this has allowed a commander to rally one or two key units. In this case, David rallied every routing unit, so the hobbits went from completely routed to back in the game. Ouch!
In the end the hobbits had five units left, and the orcs were down to two chewed up ones. While the orc commander briefly captured Princess McGuffin, the game was a clear hobbit (bad guy) victory.
What made this game so fun was the dramatic changes of fortune. At the beginning the orcs thought we were doing well. At the end of turn two, we thought we had lost. In turn three, the hobbits were all mostly routed, and the orcs were celebratory. At the end, it was a clear hobbit victory. The game was bloody, dramatic, and fun!
Way back in 1983 Mark Morin painted 12 Minifigs orcs. As Mark and I are old groganrds, he and I remember the story differently. As I remember the story, Mark found these figures somewhere and gifted a set to me and Patty’s New Wave Bar and Grill Militia to Dave Wood. As Mark remembers the story, he was looking for something to paint as he was just entering the hobby. I handed him these figures, and he painted them. In any event, they were a gift that I have maintained for many years. Due to the garish painting scheme, these became known as the “Captain America Orcs.”
A year ago (or so) when I started working on Wars of Orcs and Dwarves, I found the few fantasy figures I had and remounted them on two-inch square bases. In the intervening years, I had forgotten who produced these figures.
I had enough figures to make three bases. I wanted two more bases worth of these figures. After all these years, I couldn’t remember who produced the figures, so I posted a picture to the Vintage Lead Facebook page. Not only did someone (several actually) identify the figures, but it turns out they were still in production. I found the Minifigs Web site. (Searching for Minifigs is tricky, because the search results are mostly Lego mini figures.) I ordered the missing figures (and some others in different poses, and the order shipped quickly.
Last weekend I finished painting them and one evening I based them and flocked the bases. The tricky bit was trying to match the colors. They were originally painted with Poly-S. I think they turned out pretty close to the originals. I block painted them like Mark’s.
The original figures participated in a recent fight (and got spanked). Buck’s Law says that the first time a new unit participates in a game, it usually gets smacked around. Since I am adding two more bases to the unit, I don’t know if Buck’s Law will be invoked in the next game.
We had some miles on Southwest we need to use by the middle of August or lose them, so Candy planned a four-day weekend to Colorado and Utah to see three National Parks. There are 63 National Parks, and we plan to eventually see them all. We have seen well over half after this trip. I will have to check the exact count when we get home.
Our trip began poorly. Our flight from Orlando to Denver was delayed several times by lightning. We eventually left three hours late. Then when we landed in Denver, they didn’t have a gate for us, and when they found a gate, it took a while to find someone to drive the jet bridge to our plane. We ended up driving three hours in the dark through unfamiliar mountains to get to our hotel for the first night. We arrived at 0200 local time, or 0400 Florida time. Ouch.
The next morning, we got going early. Interstate 70 was closed due to mud slides, so instead of a three hour drive to get to our first destination, it took over seven hours. Along the way, we saw some interesting scenery.
Canyonlands National Park
Finally we arrived at Canyonlands National Park. Due to the long detour, we only had about four hours at the park, so we only took a small number of hikes to various vantage points and overlooks.
Our consistent disappointment on this trip was that the visitors centers at the national parks were essentially closed. All the interior displays that described the park, its formation, what to do and see, etc. were all covered, or the building was closed. (They did have the gift stores open for people to spend money — the hypocrisy of that is hard to ignore.) Part of the enjoyment of the parks for us has been spending an hour in the visitors centers to LEARN something before going on hikes. In many cases, there weren’t even any hiking maps or other propaganda available.
To me Canyonlands had the feel of both the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley. While the Grand Canyon is certainly deeper, there was a majesty to the wide vistas of Canyonlands.
We took a hike out to Mesa Arch, which was not too strenuous, and the view at the end was well worth the walk.
That night we stayed in Mesa, Colorado. We stayed in the only hotel and restaurant in town. Friday night was karaoke night. We enjoyed a drink and some local color. Everyone was friendly. The karaoke varied from excellent to awful, but everyone was having a good time.
Grand Mesa National Park
Our destination for the next day was Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, or “Black Canyon.” We could have taken two routes to Black Canyon. We elected for the slightly longer route that took us through Grand Mesa National Forest.
After a day of desert, a forest was nice. Grand Mesa is the largest flat-topped mountain in the world. It was wild to see lakes and creeks on the top of a flat mountain. Unlike the national parks, the visitor center at Grand Mesa was open and fully staffed. There were displays and rangers to show us the high points.
Pioneer Town, Cedaredge, CO
From Grand Mesa National Forest we headed toward Black Canyon. We stopped at a roadside attraction, called Pioneer Town, in Cedaredge, CO, which was surprisingly nice. There were a number of buildings, a frontier street, and many historical artifacts.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Finally, we arrived at Black Canyon of the Gunnison, named after the railroad engineer who first explored the area looking for a place to lay a bridge. He eventually determined that it was impassible.
As with all the national parks, the gift store was open, but the visitors center with all the educational displays were closed. Sigh.
That night we stayed in the GG Ranch bed and breakfast run by a German expatriate couple. I was looking forward the the German breakfast during the whole trip.
Great Sand Dunes National Park
Four hours from our bed and breakfast was Great Sand Dunes National Park. Again the visitors center was essentially closed, but from what we could gather, there is an ancient lake bed across the valley that left a “sand sheet.” The prevailing winds have blown the sand into dunes, because the tall mountains stop the sand from going farther. Apparently these are the tallest sand dunes in North America and some of the tallest in the world.
We rented a sled to use on the dunes. The guy warned us about going too fast, because the sleds can achieve 50 miles per hour. As we were entering, an ambulance passed us, and when we got to the dunes, they were putting a guy in a cervical collar into the ambulance at the base of the dunes. We were starting to wonder if this was a good idea.
Watch these video clips of us sledding on the dunes. It was hard to make sure the the sled didn’t turn around while going down the dunes despite how much we waxed them. By the end, we were getting the hang of it.
I have been working on this unit a little at a time over the past week, and I finished them this morning. These are my third (and final) unit of pig-faced orcs from Dragonbait Miniatures. I REALLY like these figures.
I hope to have these on the table for a rules play test in a week or so. That game will likely involve my pig-faced orcs, supplemented by some Prince August home-cast orcs from 1984 (painted by my friend Ma’k), and a unit of Old Glory Dwarf Wars orcs. They will be fighting some portion of my hobbit army.
It has been a long time since I have posted anything on the blog. Work and life have interfered. I’m sure that both people who read the blog didn’t miss anything. 🙂
I have been developing Wars of Orcs and Dwarves, which is the general fantasy, massed battles application of Wars of Ozz. As I began development, I realized I had very few fantasy figures. Those I had were individual figures for skirmish games or RPGs. I have been painting hobbits like crazy. Now that the hobbit army is nearly complete, I have begun to work on orcs and goblins for them to fight.
I decided to go with AD&D yellow skin on my orcs instead of GW green. I really like the look of them.
My orcs and goblins are a mix of Old Glory and pig-faced orcs from the recent Dragon Bait Miniatures Kickstarter.
This picture shows the pig-faced orcs supported by an orc shaman and hero and backed up by Old Glory giant blood orcs.
I’ve continued to work on WOOD via Zoom games. Development is coming along okay. There is the typical tension between those wanting to complicate to game to account for every nuance of a particular vision of fantasy battles (whatever that means) and trying to keep all the mechanics consistent and streamlines.
I don’t have my own fantasy armies. In the past any fantasy figures I painted were for role playing games to were instated into GASLIGHT games. So, I have been working to create a hobbit army.
These hobbits were 3D printed on my resin printer. I think I prefer metal figures, but printing figures is a cost effective way to build up an army very quickly.
I am currently working on three regiments of hobbit infantry in Italian Renaissance style dress from The Assault Group.
The LAST set of Ozz figures I had to paint is this balloon. I am awaiting the dire Lions, Tigers, and Bears, but until they arrive, I am out of Ozz figures. In late Summer I had three linear yards of bags of Ozz figures. I have been knocking out one or two units a week.
The balloon kit comes with the lucite rod. One of the things I like about this kit is that the rod goes up through the gondola to the balloon. The gondola is actually suspended from the balloon by the lines (wire). I have built other airships over the years where the base is connected to the gondola and then the lines actually hold up the balloon. The Old Glory balloon seems more stable. The gas bag is made of a very light foamy resin. This reduced the weight on the end of the moment arm. I glued the base that came with the kit to an old CD, which provides enough stability.
I have been working hard to finish the last of my Wars of Ozz figures. If we are ever allowed to peacefully assemble again, I want to have every Ozz figure painted to use in demonstration / participation games at conventions. A few months ago, I had three linear yards of Ozz figures to paint. The last of them are the summoning bell (pictured above) and the Munchkin balloon, which I hope to complete later today.
I have also recently completed a few other Ozz figures to get to this point.
In addition ot figures of Wars of Ozz, I am painting up a couple of fantasy armies for Wars of Orcs and Dwarves (WOOD). WOOD is an adaptation of Wars of Ozz (WOZZ) for general, massed-battle, fantasy games. I haven’t traditionally done much fantasy gaming. As we were testing Bear Yourselves Valiantly, I relied on Chris Palmer and Dave Wood to provide figures for the play tests. I used to think I had a lot of fantasy figures “back in the day.” In getting ready for WOOD games at conventions, I realized that I only had enough figures to make three units, hardly enough for a massed-battle game. Most of my fantasy figures were individuals for role-playing games or G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. So, I have started to assemble six players worth of figures.
So far, for WOOD, I have a very complex spreadsheet that can be used to “stat out” units for WOOD. The idea is that players can bring whatever armies they have. (Apparently a large number of gamers were orphaned when GW discontinued Warhammer in favor of Age of Sigmar. So WOOD has not back story or lore. This means instead of providing pre-approved army lists, I need to provide a mechanism for players to determine the costs of the units they want to use. In addition, my friends have been creating army lists with WOOD stats for armies from other gaming systems.