Sunday, 31 January 2010

Isambard Kingdom Brunel

I came across this new (to me) wargame company selling post-apocolypse/steampunk miniatures and resin vehicles. One of the miniatures was a steampunk version of Isambard Kingdom Brunel - the greatest engineer since Imhotep said to Pharoh, "You know you wanted a really impressive headstone, sire. Well have a butchers at these plans."

Brunel was voted second greatest Briton of all time in a BBC national poll recently (Winston Churchill won).

Brunel University in West London is my dear old alma mater so I had to have this model.

You can find a link to Ramshackle on my sidebar. Well worth a visit.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Victorian Horror

I came across this wonderful new miniature for the SMOG game, painted by Ángel Giráldez, who is extremely good.

The original is here:

I love the SMOG models but they are a non-standard (large) size and I can't face making new terrain so I will have to pass.

Great models though.

The Hun in the Sun

The latest recruit to Jasta Lambshead has come in the post - the Fokker VII.

About 1,700 DVIIs were built in the summer and autumn of 1918 for the Die Fliegertruppen. It gave the hard-pressed German scout pilots a weapon of parity with the Camels, SEFas and Spads of the French and British air forces.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Wings of War - Battle Report

The Orientation Flight

Lt Algernon Smythe of the RFC was given the task of taking Capt Cornetto, a representative of the Aeronautica del Regio Eserciti, on a familiarisation flight over the Western Front. Smythe was of the Devonshire Smythes from Dartmoor, a place of few women and many sheep (and a hound).

Smythe flew his trusty Sopwith Camel while Cornetto insisted on using his Spad XIII, which was painted in the colours of the Aeronautica.

At 14.21 hours, Smyth spotted two dots approaching from the east. These resolved into a Roland two seater reconnaissance escorted by one of the new Fokker scouts. Smythe immediately waggled his wings and his moustache to get Cornettos attention and signalled his intention to attack.

Karl Ritter Von Schmidt, in the Fokker VII, noticing the approaching scouts, signalled to the Roland to close up on his fighter.

The two flights closed rapidly and Smythe opened fire, initially at too long a range, but soon fire from the Fokker fighter ripped through his wings. Cornetto slid around to the right flank.

The photo at left shows the control boards for the allied scouts. Note the system of three manouvre cards that are preselected for each turn. These must be used in order, simultaneously for all planes with simultaneous firing coming after each phase.

The intial exchange of fire was disastrous for the allies. The Camel took a hit in the rudder preventing right turns (the rotary engined Camel's party trick) and its guns jammed (see counters). the Spad took an engine hit that caused it to play at least one mandatary stall card each turn.

The position of the counters mark when special effects, such as jammed guns, can be removed.

The photo shows the position of the planes at the end of the turn. Note how the manouvre cards are used to 'fly' the planes.

Each plane has its own set of manoeuvre cards that show different distances, turn abilities and so on. The plastic bases have firing arcs on and other

The planes go into tight banks to dogfight with each other.

After another turn of three manoeuvre phases, the allied scouts have outmanouvred the dastardly Hun and are on their tails.

The Camel rakes the Fokker VII to no obvious effect. Fire from the Spad killed the Roland's observer. However, the Fokker snapped a long range shot at the Spad. Von Schmidt had spent his boyhood hunting boar in the Black Forest and showed himself again to be a skillfull marksman. There was a large bang and Cornetto's Spad fell out of the sky trailing black smoke.

In game turns, I had drawn a 'sudden death' damage card (see above photo) for the Spad.

Poor old Smythe was left to fight on alone. Army Intelligence had assured the RFC that the new Fokker was a poor piece of work. Smythe begged to differ when Schmidt made a tight Immelman turn and closed in on his rear, shooting holes in the Camel.

Schmidt was now in a 'tailing' position (can rearrange his manouvre cards) and followed the Camel firing all the time (its damagesum was starting to get close to the the total structure points of the machine).

Smythe took a pot at the Roland which had wandered out in front of his guns but both his Vickers jammed - again!

Smythe twisted and turned to stay out of the Fokker's twin Spandeau machine guns. In doing so, he had to accept hits from the Roland's single gun.

Finally, Smyth managed to disengage and flee.

The Camel limped back to the airfield. Smythe landed, taxied to the hanger and switched his engine off. The silence was only broken by his top wing collapsing.

Some time later he was fortifying his nerves with a snifter in the mess when the door flew open and in mached Cornetto with a blond on one arm, a brunette on the other, and a redhead following with his cap.

Apparently, he had crash landed on top of a detachment of the women's auxiliary balloon corps.

It was, Smyth reflected, going to be a long war.

I enjoyed this game greatly even though I lost (congrats to Shaun). The ergonomics are well thought out and slick. Cards are used for manouvre and damage - no dice needed. The battle took less than an hour. It would play well with multiple planes and multiple players.

Highly addictive.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Steampunk Airship Carrier

I am toying with an airship carrier for my next 'Storming' steampunk story.

I came across this piccy of a wonderful model on the internet but I couldn't find its provenance.

Does anyone recognise it?

Tuesday, 26 January 2010


Forge World have advertised a new model for their upcoming campaign book which will apparently feature Elysians. This very nice model costs £34 plus postage, which is good value for money so if you want a single display model or are a wargamer who is not on a budget then go ahead.

However, a squadron of three will cost somewhere in the region of £120 and that's a lot. So I asked myself if there are any alternatives.
My first stopping point for a resin 40K scale vehicle at a good price is Old Crow. Old Crow make good quality, extremely well finished resin and metal kits. They are simpler than Forge World, and a great deal easier to make, but are considerably cheaper.

Above is an Old Crow Goanna Scout and it costs the princely price of £7 so the total cost of a squadron plus P&P is about £25.

This is a slingshot AFV and it comes with a turret for £9

Old Crow models are modular so, for example, you can change the back wheels for tracks at no extra charge.

You can also buy a huge range of options from Old Crow. This is a Slingshot with missile launcher.

There are a large range of turrets, guns, stowage, hatches, drivers etc available. The turret above costs £4, for example.

A squadron of Old Crow 'Venators' would set you back about £45 t0 £50 all in.

Another alternative is the kitbash. You should be able to pick up one of these for a fiver.
or a tenner for the above.

Finally, the cheapest option of all. I picked up these 28ml (more or less) models for £2.99, or a quid each.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Politics of Fear

The British Government has started arresting people on the street for taking photographs under their all pervading 'terrorism programme'. Photographing in public is completely legal but photographers are still being harassed.

We recently had a mass photography session in Trafalgar Square. I couldn't make that so I took my freedom in my hands and photgraphed Mick's Plaice, a fish and chip shop in Chatham High Street.

Recently, Labour's stasi arrested a photgrapher under the terrorism act for photgraphing this very chip shop. Osama bin Laden sits in his office in the Pakastani Intelligence building plotting to blow up a Chatham fish and chip shop? That'll bring the western world to its knees.

Actually it's a moot point whether Al Quada terrorists would make it alive up Chatham High Street. This is the city that gave the word chav to modern popular culture.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Wings of War - Another DV

My last Albatross D5 has turned up from eBay.

This one was flown by Karl Jentsch who had seven confirmed kills.

These are great models.

Friday, 22 January 2010


It has been six months since I started recording data on visitors to this blog using Google Analytics.

In that time it has had 19, 821 separate visitors who have made 78,453 page visits.

I am stunned.

Thank you all very much,


Thursday, 21 January 2010

Nurgle Valkyrie

This model is by mini monsters and has been displayed on Cool Mini Or Not and Chest Of Colours.

You can find the original (higher res) photo strip here:

(Scroll Down)

What I like about this model is not just the painting - the world is full of commercial artists who can paint - but the superbly imaginative model making skills displayed.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Ana on Chest of Colors

I found this on the Chest of Colors site. It's a limited edition painted by Ana. You have to see the blow ups. They are just amazing.


Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Jagdestaffel Arrives

Majot WG Barker VC of Canada was the British Empire's ninth highest scoring ace with 52 victories. His Sopwith Camel B6313 shot down 46 aircraft, a record. Badly injured, he survived the war.

Capt Alfred Atkey MC of Canada was the Empire's 18th highest scoring ace with 38 victories, astonishing for a pilot of what was essentially a bomber. He ended the war flying the two-seater Bristol Fighter in which on two occasions he shot down five planes in a single day. Here is his DH4.

Camel flown by Belgian Ace Lt Jan Olieslagers. He was awarded 6 confirmed victories but, unlike most aces, this was probably an underestimate. He flew 491 sorties and engaged in 97 dogfights. He survived the war.

Spad XIII flown by top Italian ace Francesco Baracca, awarded 34 confirmed victories. He was killed trench strafing in June 1918. His personal symbol was the black prancing horse, later taken up by Enzo Ferrari at the request of Baracca's mother, Countess Paolina.

Ernst Udet was Germany's second highest scoring ace (second to you know who) with 62 confirmed kills. he once survived an encounter with 22 French fighters. He survived the war only to commit suicide after falling out with the Gestapo. This is a model of his Albatross DV.

Two seater LFG Roland CII piloted by the Red Baron hisself, 80 kills.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Wings of War

I recently purchased a box of Wings of War and a couple of planes. It has been heavily recommended to me and it does look good. It's a simple card-manoeuvre system and card resolved combat.

I read the rules over a few beers that evening.

It turns out that I had bought a Series 1 game and Series 2 planes.

So late that night I went on eBay and made a profusion of bids. I woke up this morning without total recall and found that I had bought an entire Jagdstaffel.

Ha hum. Better find something to sell before the Civilian Authorities see the size of the military budget.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Iron Halo Base Inserts

Deus Ex Machina


The DeM base insets caught my eye as perfect for my Malifaux figures so I bought a set of 30, 40 and 50mm inserts. While I was in the chair I decided to add a set of Fens (marsh inserts).

My first pleasant surprise was that the total came to just £14.43 including postage all the way from New Zealand to England.

I placed my order on the 4th of this month and the bases arrived on the 14th. They must have been posted immediately. The communications were excellent. The company kept me informed at all times of progress.

The bases are thin and light but there was no sign of warp (are you listening, Forge World!). I had to clean a little flash off the sides but the modelled surfaces were clean. I used a needle to remove a small amount amount of 'wax' from two of the bases.

The modelling was clean but rather 'flat', especially in the case of the Fens. They will need to be painted carefully to achieve a 3D look. The DeM bases are very imaginative and utterly perfect for fantasy-steampunk.

So the scores out of five:

Quality: 4 (5 for DeS, 3 for Fens)
Customer Service: 5
Communications: 5
Speed: 5
Value for Money: 4 (5 for DeS, 3 for Fens)

Would I use them again: I certainly will!

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Blood Pact Aeronef

This is my Blood Pact Aeronef. The basic light aeronef model is made by Ironclad Miniatures. I have added Citadel plastic models and Forge World iconsfrom Warhammer and Warhammer 40K.

It is not totally finished. I will probably add some decoration in the fullness of time.

Sorry about the photos, incidentally. We have no light here so I have to use a flasgun.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Mutant Ogryn Renegades Of Vrak

I put up some feral Ogryn conversions on this blog earlier:

Cyborg Trucker sent me an email about them:

"Your OB's look great and I like the Minimax guns. They fit right in.
I would have posted this in the comments but for some reason your blog won't let me cut and paste. Weird. Anyways I made these last year. Mine came out a little more chaotic and crazy. I tried to make them look like Construction Workers but the orange pants may make them look like
convicts instead."

The photo above is off Cyborg's site. These are great conversions. Cyborg has more pics here:

and here:

I urge you to look them up.


Saturday, 9 January 2010

Steampunk Exterminator

I was looking through steampunk sites for ideas on painting my Malifaux models when I came across Alex Holden's journal.

He built this.

What can I say but that I am loving it.

Alex's site address is given below:

Games Workshop Profit Upgrade

Apparently the sun is rising on our favourite wargame empire.
Last Friday the Times ran an article in their business section about GW:

(scroll down page)

The article reported that GW's stockbreaker, KBC Peel Hunt, have announced that pretax profits for 2009/10 are likely to be £14m rather than the previously estimated £9m - prompting a 30% jump in share price.

The interesting thing is the Times analysis of how this impressive profit has been achieved. Sales are not up, if anything revenue is somewhat down. The profits have been generated by cost cutting. The Times mentions two examples: smaller one man stores and more efficient plastic model production.

There have been other cost cutting measures that I can think of. For example the sale of Soaris and the concomitant cut in staff costs. There were also redundancies in 2008.

The smaller shop model confuses me. I can see how additional small stores exploiting the primary 'hobby centres' could work but surely this strategy could not be pursued very far without a major change in the business model of children's hobby centres?

Friday, 8 January 2010

Feral Ogryn

I have been working on a complicated project for a Blood Pact warp powered skimmer, more on that story later. In the meantime, I have been working on some feral ogryn that could be used with an IG or renegade army.

I bought some Warhammer Ogres, chopped the pointy things off and attached Minimax big guns. These are the first four off the line. I will use the one shouting orders as a bone head so I will have to come up with some prosthetics. They are mounted on resin bases. These are so good and cheap that I base everything on them now.

What do you think? Cool or silly?

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Storming Venus

My story Storming Venus, the sequel to Storming Hell, is avaible FREE at the Universe magazine website.

You can read it here:

Storming Hell is also available on an earlier edition of the mag. It made the cover - see above.

The Storming Series is my take on steampunk. It is set in an original universe where Victorian science, and the technology in SF stories by people like Jules Verne and HG Wells is assumed to be true.

Spiritualism and Life Force energy were as much a part of science as electricity and magnetism.

The story is free to read and download but if you like it please consider leaving a donation - whatever you think its worth.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Adeptus Arbites Constables Paint Job

I have tried putting some paint on the models using the same techniques as for the Repressor.

What do you think?