Culverin Science Fiction Vehicles for Star Patrol(R)

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.)

Typhos with mini-gun.
Typhos with short-range cannon.
Typhos with long-range cannon.
Typhos with dual energy beam weapons.
Typhos with demolition gun.

They also offer a tank destroyer.

Culverin tank destroyer.
I have painted my science fiction vehicles in a number of different paint schemes over the years. I decided to paint these in US WWII olive drab.
The Typhos tank with no main weapon. The secondary weapon can be a cannon, flame thrower, heavy machine-gun, or beam weapon.

Here are the finished Typos tanks with the various weapons.

Typos with long-range, heavy cannon.
Typhos with mini-gun.
Typhos with demolition gun.
Typhos with short-range cannon.
Typhos with dual energy beam 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.

Hyena APC with mini-gun.
Hyena with anti-tank gun.
Hyena with flamer.  The figures are from Pig Iron.

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.

Boar weapon carriers.

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.

Great WOOD Game Yesterday

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.
Initial disposition of forces showing the hobbit defenses. In the top right you can see our flanking force of giant blood orcs. I normally like to put the hills under the cloth, but they photograph better this way.
Initial dispositions of Kevin’s “brigade” of Minifigs pig-face orcs.
Initial disposition of my brigade of Dragonbait Miniatures pig-faced orcs.
Initial dispositions of hobbit defenders. Most of the figures are Mirliton and Assuat Group. The hydra is a 3D print. They waddle walls and the stone hut are Reynedra.
A close view of the hobbit defenses.
Initial dispositions from a hobbit perspective.
     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!
The goos hydra facing off with the giant blood orcs. The orcs had charged the hydra previously, which is why they are disordered. The blood orcs (and most of Kevin’s troops) fought poorly all day (dismal dice rolling). The hobbit unit had eliminated one base of orcs previously. In the next round of melee, the orcs lost two bases to the hydra while inflicting only one hit in return!
Kevin’s brigade of orcs turning the hobbit flank. The Minifigs pig-face orcs in the foreground slipped behind the elite hobbit swordsmen in the woods and routed the hobbit bowmen along the wall and the hobbit artillery from behind. It was Kevin’s finest hour, but it only lasted one activation before David rallied all his troops.
My heavily attritted orcs eventually routed the unit of hobbits they were fighting.
In the lower left, you can see the hobbit bowmen who inexplicably (Reaction Test Result) decided to charge out of their defenses. At this point, the lightly armored bowmen and completely wiped out one of my orc units through a combination of melee and archery.
     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.
The rallied hobbits returning to the fight, supported by the goose hydra.
The orc bowmen had routed the hobbit gunners (seen trying to reoccupy the cannons). This shot is just after David rallied all his troops. You can see the hobbit bowmen returning to the fight in the upper left. This is also right before the orc commander seized (briefly) Princess McGuffin.
     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!

The Captain America Orcs Get Reinforcements

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.”

The Captain America Orcs. In this picture the flocked base is one of Mark’s originals. The unlocked bases are the new ones.

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.

Long Weekend and Three National Parks

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.

A rest stop along I-70
Rain in the distance. It seemed strange to see rain so far away coming toward us.
Roadside views enroute to Canyonlands National Park.

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.

Entrance to Canyonlands National Park.

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.

A view from one of the overlooks. The rock formations in the distance look similar to Monument Valley.

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.

An overlook
A sweeping vista. This view is reminiscent of Bryce Canyon.
This view really looks like the Grand Canyon

We took a hike out to Mesa Arch, which was not too strenuous, and the view at the end was well worth the walk.

A view of the valley floor through Mesa Arch. Again, note the similar look to Monument Valley — but much, much larger.
A descriptive plaque.
Posing in front of Mesa Arch.

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.

Entrance to 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.

A descriptive plaque
A view across the Mesa.
One of the many lakes atop Grand Mesa. The most common activity in the forest is fishing. It makes one wonder how fish climbed 10,000 feet to get into one of these lakes. They are probably stocked now, but how did they get there originally?
We walked out to an overlook and saw “Island Lake” from above. The lake is on top of Grand Mesa, as were we, so you can get a sense of scale.
Atop Grand Mesa looking back toward Mesa, Colorado, and high desert.
Candy and her trophy husband.

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.

A display of household artifacts inside one of the three original corn silos.
The frontier street in Pioneer Town.
Candy at the bar in the saloon.
The frontier mercantile.

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.

Park entrance.

As with all the national parks, the gift store was open, but the visitors center with all the educational displays were closed.  Sigh.

Panoramic view from near the visitors center.
A view into the Black Canyon. The canyon is so deep and narrow at the bottom, that the very bottom gets very little light. Apparently the nearby Indians were afraid to go into the canyon for fear of never returning.
In this view, you can see the Gunnison river far below. This view also shows the the south side (to the right) is more gently sloped and more heavily vegetated than the north side.
Another view in which you can see the difference between the north and south sides. The south wall gets more sun and rain. The north face gets less sun, so the longer ice and snow cause the rocks to break off and form the steep cliffs.
The “painted wall” overlook.
Another view of the north side of the Black Canyon.
If you look carefully, you can see the river way down below.
You had to lean way over to see the river from the Devil’s overlook.
How did we get this picture of a movie star mixed in with our trip pictures?

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.

The dunes are huge, and you can see them from a great distance. At this point we are more than 20 miles from the park entrance.
A field of wild flowers nearby.
It is difficult to get a sense of scale. LT Zebulon Pike (of Pike’s Peak fame) was the first explorer to see the Great Sand Dunes as he conducted his “reconnaissance.” He described them as waves at sea except for the color.
This is Pike’s first view of the dunes we saw during a hike.
It is difficult to get a sense of scale from these pictures. If you look very closely, the little dots in the center left are people.
Park entrance
A panoramic view of the dunes.
Just before the park entrance is the Oasis restaurant. Being the only food for at least 50 miles, it is a gold mine. Here you can rent sleds to use on the dunes.

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.

Once we parked at the dunes, we had to walk almost half a mile to get to the dunes themselves.
This is a view from one of the shorter dunes back toward the parking lot.
A creek runs through the valley, creating the “Riparian Zone.” We had to cross this from the parking lot to get to the dunes. A lot of young kids were enjoying the creek.
Approaching the dunes.

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.

 

Third and Final Unit of Pig-Faced Orcs for Wars of Orcs and Dwarves

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.

A unit of pig-faced orcs with hand weapons.
A side view of the unit.
A final view.

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.

Orcs for Wars of Orcs and Dwarves

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.

Dragon Bait pig-face orcs ready for flocking

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.

Another view of the pig-faced orcs

This picture shows the pig-faced orcs supported by an orc shaman and hero and backed up by Old Glory giant blood orcs.

Dragon Bait pig-face orcs supported by an orc shaman and hero and backed up by giant Old Glory blood orcs.

 

Progress on Wars of Orcs and Dwarves

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.

The start of a recent WOOD Zoom game in which the undead faces off against humans.

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.

A regiment of hobbit musketeers.
A closer look at the musketeers

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.

Heavily armored hobbit cavalry.
The whole “brigade” of hobbits: 3D printed hobbit heavy cavalry (top left), old Heritage Lord of the Rings hobbit cavalry (center top), 3D printed hobbit spearmen (top right), and musketeers (center bottom).
A close look at a 3D printed hobbit ranger I am using as my general.
A final look at the hobbit brigade. You can see the paint scheme on the badgers of the 3D printed cavalry.

I am currently working on three regiments of hobbit infantry in Italian Renaissance style dress from The Assault Group.

Munchkin Balloon

The crewmen of the Munchkin balloon. Though it only has three figures, the rules state that it takes five hits like an artillery battery.

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.

A closeup of the balloon
A long shot of the whole balloon and its stand.

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.

New Figures for Ozz and WOOD

The Summoning Bell for Ozz

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.

Impkin Infantry Regiment
Impkin artillery battery
Gnomes. This is a faction that will be released later in the year and is not available to the public yet.
A final unit of Winkie cavalry, mounted on Zilks
Gillikin infantry fighting giants of the Albine mountains.

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.

Roomans. These are old Ral Partha figures from the late 1970s or early 1980s. I really like these figures, but they are out of production, and they were only made in two poses of pikemen.
Ductaurs: I ordered some plastic centaurs. When they arrived, though advertised as 28mm, the seems a little small to me. I had some extra duck heads from Star Hat Miniatures, so I did a quick head swap. I am happy with the results, but I fear the plastic weapons are going to be too fragile for gaming.

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.