Sunday, 6 November 2022

No Time But Back To Basics: The Stainless Steel Rat's Revenge!

 Hi!

Apologies for the lack of updates over the last while but I'm still run off my feet with work which is leaving no time for hobby which is a bit frustrating but I'm having quite a lot of fun with the job itself which is making up for it.

I'm finding myself without any real hobby outlet at the moment so I've been looking back through my twelve years of blogging for some ideas and happened across my original Special Corps post from back in April 2009:

Greetings!

I have decided to have a go at 15mm scale gaming and thought that as the Stainless Steel rat was may favourite book and pulp sci-fi seems to be getting a bit of interest at present I would start with him! The best thing about 15mm gaming is that you can collect forces on a really small budget and play a game on a smaller table (I only have a 4x4 foot board)

The plan is to first locate a suitable miniature to represent Slippery Jim, along with some flat footed police types and Inskipp with a small Special Corps task force. Following on from that I am hoping to add some of the characters that are featured in the books by Harry Harrison such as the beautiful but deadly Angelina, Professor Coypu, and a host of assorted heroes, villains and bystanders.

As I collect my forces I plan on posting them here, mainly in the guise of Inskipp although vehicles and high tech stuff will be reviewed by Professor Coypu and Slippery Jim will also make an occasional appearance with reports. Eventually the blog will also contain stuff from my other favourite books, movies and graphic novels ranging from Buck Rogers to Flash Gordon and feature organisations such as the mercenary company Star Risk and Cerberus Security Systems.


Looking back, it was my first year of uni and I was similarly run off my feet with work and had little time to spend on my hobby and even less budget. This got me to thinking that it might be a good way for me to get back into the swing of things with a very small, niche project on a limited budget and let me relive the genuine joy of putting together some tiny troops, paint them up and play some super quick skirmishes on a small board.

With this in mind, I suspect it will be January before I get chance to do anything much as the festive period is fast approaching but I plan on re-reading the books while I'm on my breaks at work so I can re-familiarise myself with the characters, factions and setting before looking at my hobby budget in the next year so I can begin work on my 2023 project!

I've got absolutely tons of ideas for other more ambitious projects but feel that instead of going mad with stuff that there's no way I'll be able to get off the ground, I should concentrate on a single manageable goal so expect to see a return to 15mm scale for the start of the year and the shenanigans of Slippery Jim di Griz, Angelina, Inskipp and Coypu!

I'll try and post some background up on the Stainless Steel Rat books, characters and whatnot as well as the odd artwork to portray the dramatis persone but with the ongoing workload, I suspect the blog will be a bit quiet until things calm down.

In the meantime, All the best!

Monday, 24 October 2022

Birthday Gubbins!

 Huzzah!

I turned 43 this year and I've been gifted some awesome bits and bobs and now just need to find the time to actually read them!

First up, there's two solo skirmish wargame/rpg hybrids from Modiphius in the form of Five Parsecs From Home and Five Leagues From the Borderland. I've actually got the first edition of Five Parsecs but haven't really used it but stumbled across some videos of battle reports on Youtube and liked what I saw and the fantasy edition looks pretty cool too!


Essentially the two games are based around the exploits of a small group of adventurers which take on jobs, quests and fight an assortment of random encounters whilst gaining experience and I'm really keen to give the rules a try as it looks like just the sort of game I'm interested in playing.

Next up, there's Table Fables II and Arcane Artefacts and Curious Curios!


I've been a fan of Table Fables for a while as its a wonderful resource for creating all sorts of random goodies and the newest volumes look like they'll be getting regular use in my solo rpg sessions too (once I have some spare time to do anything with them!)

Finally there's the Ultimate RPG Character Backstory Guide that my wife picked up for me. 


I must admit that I was initially unsure what I'd do with it but its been a really fascinating and entertaining read which has given me some good ideas for a mini campaign I'm hoping to find some time to put together.

Combined with my other bits and bobs, I seem to be compiling quite a nice library of rulebooks and other handy resources for my own games and I'm really looking forward to getting myself sorted out to start a project but I suspect its going to be a while before I get the opportunity as work has been super busy and the commute has resulted in me being knackered when I get home but hopefully once things settle down, I'll get on with putting it together.

I'm hoping that all this awesome reading material will result in inspiration and some painted miniatures and battle reports once I digest it all!

In the meantime, All the best!

Saturday, 8 October 2022

Not Dead!

 Hi!

Apologies for not posting for a while as I've been ill then incredibly busy with my new position which has resulted in 12 hour days and leaving no time for hobby shenanigans over the last week or so!

I've been in a bit of a hobby slump due to being knackered and have the urge to get back to some miniature related goodness but have found myself having lots of projects and not really having the time or inclination to do anything with them which in turn leads to stress as I feel that I really should be doing something more miniature related rather than just drawing and playing my solo RPG's which have become almost entirely miniature free of late.

This got me to thinking about some of the past projects I've put aside and wondering if I can reboot any of them to get me back into my more traditional hobby mojo. 

From the many, many bits and bobs I've got lying around I've selected the following as possibilities to get me going again:

Rogue Trader/Planet 28/Inquisimunda/2nd Edition 40k mini campaign 28mm or 15mm

Over the time I've run this blog, I've tooted a great deal about how much I love the retro charms of 40k, be it Rogue Trader or 2nd Edition and I've put together numerous mini warbands which is perfect for small skirmishes but can I find the focus to paint up an entire force for such an undertaking?


Games like Inquisimunda or Planet 28 have made the prospect of getting some gaming in with my small warbands but I'm really keen to finally make the pipe dream a bit more of a reality. I doubt that this will be a project that I can realistically do in the short term as I don't really have the miniatures that will allow me to field even a small army but maybe I can do a slow build using a mixture of Ebay rescues and new figures.



If I'm going for a quick, and somewhat cheaper option, I do have my classic 15mm sci-fi option which I put aside a few years back as I moved back to 28mm. On the plus side there's tons of choice and the figures are much cheaper than the likes of 40k in a larger scale.

Maybe I should just do a more generic home brew setting or revamp my Stainless Steel Rat project which would allow me. to put together some rather fun and quirky forces for a very small cost compared to the oft wished for classic 40k approach.



Its remarkably fun to put together forces in 15mm from whatever manufacturer you can to create some original looking armies, such as my cultists pictured above or Rdunrundt troops below and sculpting in the scale is much quicker and more forgiving than for larger scales too.
 

Interestingly, despite the low cost and amount of space they take up, I've never actually put together an army for 15mm scale, with most of my forces only coming to 15-20 figures but maybe I can put some thought into it and make something a bit more ambitious...

Land Ironclads 2mm

I've been pootling around with Land Ironclads for a while now and its probably the easiest of my possible projects to complete as everything is so easy to make and paint. The only downside is that I'm currently finding the prospect of working on such tiny stuff a wee bit uninspiring so I may keep this on the backburner or try something new with it as while my Dwarven and Vongola Landfleets are looking pretty healthy, I could try something a bit different and get my Elves beyond the drawing board and actually built and painted.

Who knows what next year will bring but I do want to get this little project moving again as it is something I'd love to get finished and play some properly big battles in a small space and I have a vague idea of an Orcish assault on the Axebite Pass with mighty siege behemoths battling it out with Dwarven forces for control of the pass.

Somewhere on the Border SD scale

My Boar Company and the Somewhere on the Border campaign is something I've been working on off and on for quite a while now and while I absolutely love the little guys, finding the time to sculpt is something I'm finding quite difficult to do at the moment and I doubt that will change much in the next six months, especially if we end up moving house!

Thats not to say that I don't have ideas for the tiny fellows, quite the contrary as I have absolutely tons of ideas, concepts and locations I'd love to explore so it may be the case that I use the wild frontiers of Aeroth as my solo RPG setting of choice which will allow me to add the odds and ends that I want when I do get the chance to sculpt so expect to see more action on the border in the not too distant future!

Unspecified Fantasy Project 28mm/15mm/6mm

I'm a bit of a butterfly when it comes to fantasy and have messed around with various rulesets, settings and scales over the years and as much as I'd love to put together some sort of awesome 28mm scale army, I know that the chances of that ever happening are somewhere between almost impossible and never.

I do have a few packs of the 15mm figures lying around for a fantasy warband but am not really feeling the excitement for such an undertaking, at least for the moment but this may change if I find myself wanting to try a full army challenge.

I'm more drawn to 6mm as its super cheap and when painted, looks pretty decent but again I keep find myself drawn to larger scales, purely for visual appeal rather than good sense, possibly due to the sterling work of the Old World Army Challenges which sees folks showcasing armies being built and painted over the course of several months.

Again this is more of a pipe dream than a serious option as its seriously unlikely that I'd ever get the stuff painted, let alone get a game played but maybe thats not the point and I should look at it as a challenge to paint a characterful collection of figures and slowly pull it all together into an army over the course of a year...

Needless to say this post has been rather rambling and doesn't really resolve the whole what do I do problem but it has been pretty handy to thrash out some ideas and get myself thinking about some of the things I'd like to try and its succeeding in getting me back into the hunt for a hobby project that I can get my teeth into!

In the meantime, All the best! 

Friday, 30 September 2022

Struck by the Lurgy

 Hi folks!

Apologies for the lack of updates over the last while. I've been off on holiday and no sooner did I get back, I have found myself struck with the lurgy and am feeling pretty rubbish.

I've not been able to produce any artwork for my September challenge as I foolishly left my art gear when I went on holiday and am feeling too rough to do anything now I'm back. Hopefully I'll be back to usual service come next week as I'm not only starting my new roll in Perth but I have Inktober to have a bash at to boot.

While I was on holiday we found quite a few second hand bookshops and came back with quite a haul of goodies.

First up, there's Table Fables a really handy RPG or gaming resource which consists of lots of different random tables that I suspect will be really handy for my own games moving forward and a book I'd highly recommend folks take a peek at!


Next up, I found a stack of Brian Jacques goodies in a bookshop and chatting to the lady who ran it found that she'd had them on the shelves for 20 years since new and I got this lot for £10:



I have slowly been building my collection of Redwall books so that eventually I'll have the lot with the vague idea of doing either a Burrows and Badgers campaign or a rpg sort of thing using them as inspiration as I have very fond memories of reading them back in the early 90's and am really looking forward to reading my way through the entire series.

Finally on our last day we found a massive second hand bookshop and amongst the dusty stacks, I found some David Drake!

I've read these some years ago but felt the need to add the Hammer's Slammers series to my collection as they're brilliant military sci-fi reads.

I'm now going to have a hot beverage and sniffle a bit and try and get better before I start work on Sunday so until then, All the best!

Monday, 19 September 2022

Character a Day Challenge Days 12-15

 Hi!

Here's the next batch of my character a day doodles!

Brady the Nightsoil Collector and Stevie 7


Brady appears to be a lowly nightsoil collector and his trusty assistant Stevie 7. Secretly they are highly trained members of the Governor General's security team, the duo have been operating on Farpoint in deep cover and have recently uncovered an assassination plot by the Cult of the Emerald Scyre which would have seen the entire sector thrown into chaos.

Brady, former Corporal Brady Mead of Her Imperial Majesties 87th Mechanised has an uncanny ability to disappear into the background and go unnoticed by those high and low and along with Stevie 7, a retrofitted combat droid that has been paired with Brady for more years than most of his handlers can remember.


Brady's low key investigation style has begun to really begun to show successes that more high visibility 
methods that the Arbites or Frontier Marshals have managed and now the mighty Inquisition has shown interest and Inquisitor Fisher has ''requested'' to be kept up to date with any of his findings. 

Governor General van Dorn has thus far managed to keep his identity secret but it is only a matter of time before the Cult finds out who has foiled their plotting and go gunning for Brady. For his part, Brady is more than ready for the sharks to start circling and both himself and Stevie pack an actual arsenal of weaponry and are raring for the chance to put some of his more militant skills to use once more.

Here's the prompt:


Hans Overstadt


When the criminal element of Farpoint need patching up or shady cybernetic upgrades, they invariably go knocking on the door of Overstadt's backstreet surgery.

The good doctor is legendary for being willing to perform any surgery, dodgy biogenic procedure or cybernetic grafting as long as he's provided enough cash to keep his personal experiments funded. His experiments have produced some of the more dangerous and unhinged combat cyborgs and battle drugs for the noble houses of Farpoint.

Overstadt is unnaturally lean and nobody is actually sure how old he is or indeed if he's even entirely human. Unbeknownst to the doctors clientele, Overstadt is actually a rogue AI that has been running from the Mechanicus for over a century now and has discovered that its easier to hide whilst waring a meat suit and keeping a low profile far from the Mechanicus out on the frontier.

Here's the Prompt: 

The Firehawk


Farpoint's resident superhero is actually Brother Vespasian of the Ultramarines who went AWOL following a supposedly lethal headshot during a skirmish several years a go. 

Vespasian was discovered by a group of street urchins who mistook the mortally wounded Marine as a character from their comic books and managed to keep the man alive long enough for his superhuman system to repair much of the damage caused by the head wound. Unfortunately Vespasian has no memory of his past and now actually believes he is The Firehawk, an avenger of the poor and innocent in a crime riddled cesspit of a city.

Since his recovery, many criminals have been found brutally beaten to death and crime dens have been destroyed in an assault of a monstrous man with flaming fists leaving the building a shambles and the goons guarding it very dead.

His exploits have made The Firehawk a legend in the slums of Freeport City but his vigilante actions have put him on a collision course with the Adeptus Arbites and as many in the Judges uniform were corrupt, he has also taken to bringing them to his own brutal sort of justice.

The Ultramarines have sent several covert teams to try and recover their fallen brother but he has thus far managed to avoid them or absolutely crush the few who have managed to corner him.

Here's the prompt:

I'm off on two weeks holiday on Wednesday so I doubt I'll get chance to get much more posted before I head off but will hopefully have a bunch of characters to share once I get back so in the meantime, All the best!

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

Magic the Gathering Cards for Worldbuilding?

 Hi!

A bit of a random post today but I got a big stack of Magic the Gathering cards which were going to be thrown out as they weren't getting used for games nights instore any more so I decided to recycle them for gaming of a different sort!

Now there's about a thousand cards in the box but they're pretty much all lands which used to get used for draft games and it got me to thinking, could I use them for a bit of a world building option for my own games?

With that in mind, I sorted through the box and selected ten of each of the land types (Plain, Mountain, Swamp, Island, Forest) and shuffled them into a deck. I then printed out a hex sheet on A4 paper and began drawing cards for the characters initial location and the surrounding hexes.


This resulted in a bit of a mixture of different environments and I could have stuck with the basics of the hexes contain either mountains, swamps or whatever but I got to thinking that maybe I could interpret them a bit further by actually looking at the images for some visual clues.


This resulted in a very basic map of a rather intriguing nature with floating islands, mysterious swamps and even some strange settlement built into a massive forest. 

It's pretty crude but by adding the roads, rivers and other elements that one sees on the cards it's possible to create a map really quickly and populate it with all manner of interesting elements. While it's not going to be particularly accurate from a geological or geographical standpoint with all manner of random elements thrown together, with a bit of care and lateral thinking, I believe it could work out rather well and I'll be introducing it into my games going forward, especially the likes of Collostle which is light on detail.


Taking the idea further, I also plan on using it for skirmish type gaming as a reference for the sort of terrain my games could be taking part in. For example looking at the following image:


If it's a fantasy setting, it could be that my warband finds itself ambushed whilst travelling through a mountain pass or being sent to exterminate some monster infestation that has been attacking a local mining camp. While the images are largely of a fantastic nature, I can absolutely imagine the method working for sci-fi games too!


The floating islands, dank swamp and strange fungal growths would absolutely work in a sci-fi setting which could see Imperial agents carrying out a sweep of the slime jungle (ala classic Rogue Trader!) to try and root out some rebels or different gangs fighting over some illicit fungal growth.


Even something like this rather moody, if featureless plain could work as the setting sun could be a key element with an attack taking place as the sun is setting which gives the forces a limited number of turns to achieve their objectives before the battlefield is covered in darkness, allowing their opponents to slink off under the cover of night. 


I must admit that I don't often see games set on the coastline but how about pirates or smugglers trying to avoid the attentions of the local authorities whilst seeking forgotten treasure or even a remote bio-lab having to be explored by Space Marines after communications have been lost and it just so happens to be set on an island miles from anywhere?


Even using something as simple as the weather portrayed can be useful as while the setting appears to be a mountainous one bordering an arid region, the threatening storm clouds could mean that the battlefield may be hit with a flash flood making for an interesting and unexpected element that can make even a generic skirmish far more exciting than expected as the characters have to seek high ground or face being washed away.


How about having an encounter between forces in a great forest that is home to an unknown third faction who don't take kindly to the fighting and decide to enter the fray to drive both invading parties away from their ancestral homes?

The options are really rather exciting and I suspect I'll be pootling around further with the cards to see if I can incorporate them further into my games. I'd be interested to see if anyone else uses a similar approach as I do think it has some possibilities for setting the scene in any game!

In the meantime, All the best!


Monday, 12 September 2022

Character a Day Challenge Days 8-11

 Hi!

Here's the next few days worth of character a day challenge illustrations!


Luthor Trumpington III


Trumpington hails from the corporate hive world of Polaria, a frozen waste pockmarked with megacities where money is the name of the game. Luthor Trumpington earned his first billion creds by the age of 21 and led the families Redline megacorporation to crush all opposition with a series of hostile takeovers, corporate skulduggery and all manner of shady deals but gave it all up when he won a supposedly authentic pirate treasure map whilst gambling on the frontier world of Farpoint whilst visiting a Redline facility.

Since then Trumpington has set aside his corporate ambitions and is seeking a crew to hire with the aim of setting out to the frontier to search for the Treasure Planet the map supposedly leads to. Thus far, there haven't been any takers as the business mogul has been very cagey with the details and any unscrupulous crews that have tried to strongarm Trumpington have been dealt with by his army of guards.

Here's the prompt:

Ghent Handerbilt


Garth Handerbilt was once the most feared gossip columnist on the staff of Farpoint's premier gossip rag, The Daily Tribune. Handerbilt had a prodigious skill to root out gossip on all the best known celebrities and had no compunction of sharing the indiscretions of the rich and famous to his horde of readers who mainly hail from the lower orders of society.

Unfortunately said rich and famous didn't appreciate their proclivities revealed to the scum of the sector and following a series of excoriating articles in the Tribune, Handerbilt met with an unfortunate accident and he was accidentally exposed to a deadly and extremely rare substance that left his body ravaged by the Mimjip Pathogen. 

Realising he only had a week to live, Handerbilt sold all his belongings and invested in a power suit that would keep him alive long enough to seek vengeance upon those who had struck him down. Now armed with a heavy handgun and towering rage, he stalks the sector hunting the wealthy and offering them the option to duel. Thus far he has killed 17 assorted nobles before disappearing back into the slums where his adoring readers keep his whereabouts secret from the law enforcement, bounty hunters and noble lackeys who are after his hide. 

Here's the prompt:


Rhogar Singh


Rhogar Singh is the mayor of Rafa Canyon, a small township in the badlands of Farpoint who became famous for singlehandedly defeating the Ork warlord Dygo Smashface while protecting his home from the deprivations of the Goff warband that had been raiding the surrounding settlements. 

When interviewed about his exploits, Singh informed the reporter that he was merely doing his civic duty as mayor and that if the now deceased Dygo had left his settlement alone and not tried to eat his wifes poodle, Fru Fru he wouldn't have to have dealt with the Ork.

Here's the prompt:


  The Bridesmaid


Ramona diGriz, AKA The Bridesmaid is an infamous bank robber who has hit several banks around the Farpoint sector leaving a heap of dead and wounded guards, law enforcement and even two Space Marines in her bloodthirsty wake.

Nobody is sure what has started the bloody rampage of The Bridesmaid but she seems intent on continuing her lawlessness and despite the efforts of the Adeptus Arbites and an increasingly ridiculously huge reward for her capture dead or alive (preferably dead), she still manages to elude the authorities.

Here's the prompt:


I'm going to take a day off from the project as I've been really busy with work and want a day to recoup before getting back to the swing of things so watch this space!

Until then, All the best!