Monday, January 29, 2024

Song of Drums and the Spirit World?

    It's 'Song of Drums and Tomahawks' with mythological creatures from the "Spirit World" added in!
One of my co-authors of Song of Drums and Tomahawks (my French & Indian War rules) mentioned he was intrigued by incorporating fantasy and horror elements in skirmish warfare on the American frontier. Mike S also knew I had done some preliminary research into creatures from various tribal myths with a look towards doing a similarly themed expansion for our rules. Since family and school have my writing tied up for now, I urged him to pursue it.

    "We come from the land of ice and snow..." -- the Viking invaders of Newfoundland
Last night, we sat down with our Sunday evening gaming group and gave it our first playtest. Mike liberally blended rules and traits from various other games in the "Song of..." series, both Basic rules and Advanced. Interestingly, he had set up three one-on-one scenarios from wildly different times on the American frontier. My game against Allen was set in the Middle Ages with Vikings vs. Skraelings in Newfoundland. Mike faced off against Keith in one set during the Salem witch trials. And finally, Joel and Mike's son Jason played English and French forces set upon by a Wendigo. Unfortunately, I did not get any pictures of the other games -- just my own. 

    The shaman urges the Skinwalkers forward, the Bear having already changed into his animal form
Allen took the Vikings and had a force of a Hero, four spearmen, three archers, a priest of Odin, and three brothers who were berserkers/weres. Similarly, I had three Skinwalkers (Bear, Wolf, Puma), a shaman, tribal chieftain, and a half dozen bow armed Skraeling warriors. We each moved our forces up to rocky outcrops in the light woods, while sending forward a handful of troops to scout out the enemy. The difference was I sent my three Skinwalkers to attack the enemy while Allen had sent ordinary Viking warriors. 

    My plan takes shape -- 3 powerful skinwalkers ready to pounce on two ordinary Viking warriors
My plan was to pounce upon the spearmen with my much-tougher Skinwalkers and hopefully get a "gruesome kill" (which Mike was re-introducing into these games). Allen was also struggling with activation rolls, and it looked like my plan was set to be implemented as the three Skinwalkers faced off against two trembling Vikings. Allen's dice came to life, though, and in a flash, three werewolves howled towards my trio and it was now 4 to 3. Still, he hadn't made contact, so I was able to begin the melee on my next turn. I sent the Bear Skinwalker, the mightiest creature on the table, forward to attack the werewolf on the end with a "powerful blow" (-1 to the enemy). Up +2 on the die roll, the mighty bear knocked the werewolf down. My Wolf Skinwalker surged forward and slew the disadvantaged werewolf. First blood to the Skraelings protecting their homeland!

    But it was not to be -- two werewolves race to the aid of the trembling Viking spearmen!
My plan was to next begin working on his ordinary Viking warriors. The chieftain, noticing that his Skraeling warriors were hanging back (bad activation rolls), raced forward to support his mighty skinwalkers. He launched arrow after arrow at the Vikings, keeping them from helping each other. Meahwhile, the Bear-sark Viking changed into his animal form and hurled himself upon the Bear Skinwalker. He was swatted backwards with a mighty sweep of the skinwalker's paw. Time and again, the bear would hurl himself upon his ursine rival. Each time he was driven back or his attack stopped.

    First blood! The Bear Skinwalkers knocks down the werewolf and my Wolf then leaps in for the kill
As a Viking and member of an honor culture, Allen fought fair, one-one-one matchups. My Skraelings had no such scruples. We ganged up on enemy warriors whenever we could. The plan was to try to get a gruesome kill -- tripling an enemy's total in combat. This would cause a morale check for all within a Long distance and likely shatter his line. This should leave more lone, unsupported Vikings to pick off. Eventually, the Wolf and Bear teamed up against a Viking spearmen whose head soon went flying through the air. The Viking line duly fragmented, but none fled the field completely.

    Lucky long range arrow knocks down a Viking warrior while the Puma Skinwalker wades in, too
The Viking leader saw the situation was dire and stepped in to intervene. He charged the Puma Skinwalker and slew it with a might stroke of his sword -- worthy of the Sagas! However, encouraged by their tribe's success, the Skraeling archers had finally crept within range. Whenever a Viking was knocked down by an arrow, a Skinwalkers or the chieftain would race over and finish him off. A key mechanic in Song of Drums and Tomahawks if a combat can result in a figure being knocked down. If they are beaten a second time before they have a chance to clamber to their feet, they are knocked out of action. My rolls that night were definitely better than Allen's. At key moments, I knocked down his troops and then was able to activate another figure to finish it off.

    With his Skraeling bowmen hanging back, the chieftain in red moves forward to support his attack

Morale checks happen when a force falls below half, and Allen was teetering that direction. Soon, he had lost two both of his werewolves (the mighty bear fought on), all four spearmen, and Odin's priest. One more loss and he his force would test morale. The Skraeling chieftain took aim at the Viking warleader and was able to knock him down. The skinwalkers had already acted that turn, so it fell to a Skraeling brave to attempt to finish him off. He raced forward and used his flint knife to slice Olaf's throat as he tried to pull himself to his feet. A mighty roar went up from the tribe's warriors. Victory!

    Skinwalkers then began to attack the Viking warriors, hoping to get a gruesome kill and scatter them

Allen and I agreed to call the game at that point. He had just lost more than half his figures AND his leader, so would likely have men running for their lives at this point. The Skraelings had lost only the Puma. I was very careful about sending my Indians into the fray. The archers had stayed back as a firing line in close support of each other. The chieftain used the skinwalkers as a shield and shot his bow from behind their protection. The trio of skinwalkers stayed close to each other and cooperated well.

    Olaf the Fearless wades into the battle, and in a blow worthy of the Sagas, takes down the Puma

Despite the seeming one-sided nature of the battle, Allen and I had a lot of fun. I definitely think Song of Drums and Tomahawks works with mythical creatures thrown into the mix. I asked the others how their battles went, and they both seemed very close. The magical duel between Keith's native shamans and the freed-from-prison Salem witches was apparently a tightly-contest of wills. Everyone seemed to have fun, so not only was the evening a success, the playtest was off to a great start. Mike plans on running these games at Origins Game Fair in Columbus, June 19-23. So, we will doubtless see more evenings of tweaking the rules and crafting a competitive and fun convention game.

    Bear on bear and wolf on werewolf - the battle in the primeval American forest rages!

The miniatures were a mix of mine and Mike's. The mythical creatures were all his except for my Wendigo, which is a very creepy looking 3-D print from Thingiverse. I have picked up various Reaper Bones or other figures that will work for creatures from various tribes' mythologies. Mike seems intent on painting them up, so my contribution will likely remain either the rank and file or human heroes.

    After Olaf is knocked down by a Skinwalker, a brave native warrior rushes forward and finishes him

If everything goes well with the rules, Mike is interested in publishing an expansion book for this period. He wants to chat with Andrea Sfiligoi from Ganesha Games first, though. Ganesha and First Command Wargames cooperate closely on the "Song of Drums and Tomahawks" line of rules, so we want to make sure he's on board first, as well. So, look for more "Spirit World" games in the future...!

Miniature Painting & Purchasing Tally for 2024

  • Miniatures purchased in 2024: 15
  • Miniatures painted in 2024: 26

Sunday, January 28, 2024

3-story Corner Ruin from Jarls Workshop

    Another 3-D printed, ruin for my post-apocalyptic games - this one from Jarl's Workshop
I picked this 3-D printed building up from Jarl's Workshop this past Advance the Colors. I liked the way it looked and that was before I realized the two pieces taped to the side were the floors for the second and third story! Once I got the building out and began to assemble it, I was even more happy. Everything fit together well, and I liked that it had crumbling stone walls marking out the foundations. The inner rectangle was modeled like rough ground, much like some of the other buildings I have painted up from Rusty at Jarl's Workshop.

    Only the corner remains in this building, the rest having fallen away and been buried
If I were to do this building again, I would probably add some rubble, bricks, and such inside the foundation. I guess I didn't stop and think about it too much, though. I was just happy with how quickly it was coming together. I followed my usual recipe of Krylon matte black spray paint, 50/50 acrylic paint and water. The tan walls did require two coats to cover the black base, but the stone and brickwork went relatively quickly. 

    A final look at the 3-story corner ruin and the Barbarozas on the prowl, looking for salvage
Once again in hindsight, I should probably have "dirtied up" the walls of this building more. As my ruined city grows, I'm learning more and more how to take 3-D or MDF buildings and customize them to look more like what we see in either post-apocalyptic movies or modern day urban war zones. It is just a matter of telling myself to slow down. Don't rush my way through this particular piece of terrain. Still, even if a building isn't dirtied up enough, a good collection of scatter terrain pieces placed around it can give the proper effect.

So, what's next? One of the largest 3-D printed pieces I have ever purchased has been glued together, as of today. If we actually get a letup in the Biblical rain we've been experiencing, I plan on beginning its spray priming. What is it? Well, it is not specifically for post-apocalyptic, but it IS urban. Stay tuned! Meanwhile, I am progressing, miniatures-wise, on a second batch of Heavy Infantry for the Bronze Legion. Stay tuned...!

Miniature Painting & Purchasing Tally for 2024

  • Miniatures purchased in 2024: 15
  • Miniatures painted in 2024: 26

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Even More Ruins! Small, 1-story Corner Ruins for Post-apocalyptic Games

    3-D printed, one-story, corner ruins that I purchased from Diabolical Terrain at ATC 2023
All last year (2023), I was purchasing various ruined buildings in resin, MDF, and 3-D printed. Now that winter has arrived, it is time to start cranking some of these out for the tabletop. These three one story corner ruins were purchased from Diabolical Terrain at Advance the Colors a few months ago. I figured they would paint up fairly quickly, so I made them "next up" on my painting desk.

    One of the ruins was brick - I really liked the brick framing of the windows and dangling shutters
The first step was to cut L-shaped pieces of styrene to base them onto. The pieces were fairly simply, so I wanted to add various bricks and rubble to the bases to pretty them up a little. I did my usual method for painting ruins. I spray painted them first with Krylon matte black. Second, I went over thoroughly a 50/50 mixture of black paint and water brushed on liberally. For the two gray stone pieces, I did a medium gray wetbrush followed by a light gray drybrush. For the brick one, I used Iron Wind Red Brown as a base with a Howard Hues Middle East Flesh dry brush.

    The interior side of the largest of the the three, painted in stone with lighter colored plaster walls
On the interior sides of the corner ruins, part of the walls looked like they had plaster showing. I decided to use some pale colors -- light blue, green, or yellow -- to make it look like some of the paint was still showing on the interior walls. I did a white dry brush on top of the plaster to make it look faded and worn. I thought about adding some pictures or posters, but figured that realistically, those would have fallen or peeled off long ago, beign exposed in the weather.

    I added to the rubble that was part of the print (like the gutter) with bricks and piles of gravel
There was a decent amount of rubble and other details designed onto these ruins. Whether it was the boarded up wooden window or the drainpipe laying on the ground or the pieces of wood here and there, I picked out those details next. I added the bricks and coarse gravel randomly along the styrene base. Finally, the whole thing got a black wash. On reflection, it should probably have been even darker than it was. Still, I feel it "dirtied it up" a bit and made it look older and more decayed.

    The interior side of the brick corner ruins -- I like where the plaster has peeled away exposing brick
I finished the bases off with Woodland Scenics Mixed Turf ballast. I had originally been thinking of using a fine, blended gray ballast to represent stones, but felt the dirt would look better. Now that I am looking at pictures of them, I think they would have been helped by adding some grass, tufts, or clump foliage to represent vegetation taking root in the recesses and corners. Who knows? Maybe I will go back and add it later, now that I am thinking about it.

    The boarded up window was a cool touch on the larger gray stone ruin
So, what's up next? I have another, larger 3-D printed ruin that I bought at the same convention from Jarl's Workshop. I like how it is looking as I glued it together and primed it. So, look forward to that soon, along with another batch of Heavy Infantry for the Bronze Legion!

Miniature Painting & Purchasing Tally for 2024

  • Miniatures purchased in 2024: 15
  • Miniatures painted in 2024: 26
    These three pieces will definitely make it onto the tabletop in my next post-apocalyptic scenario


Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Heavy Infantry for the Bronze Legion & Xenos Rampant

    Heavy Infantry for the Bronze Legion for my Xenos Rampant 'Detachment'
As I continue to flesh out my Xenos Rampant "Detachments" (as the rules call a force), I definitely want to get the Bronze Legion on the table in the first game. The legion began with two squads of Wiley Games Space Marines that I painted up back in November and December of last year (2023). I really liked how they came out, but wanted some more variety for other squads. I picked up a Stargrave Troopers plastic kit box from Jeff Gatlin at Shieldwall Gaming Club. These looked like they would mix well, and now that they're painted up, I feel they did.

    I used the Stargrave 'Troopers' box for this 3rd Bronze Legion squad & glued them together myself!
I like the ancient bronze metallic craft color and black combo. I feel the black clothing accentuates the bronze colored plates. Assembling the figures with model glue wasn't too horrible of an experience. I do like how the pack numbers the arms (discreetly -- missed it on the first batch I'd assembled awhile back). So, the right hand #10 goes with the left hand #10. That's important as many of the left hands are cupping or supporting the weapon they are holding in the right. And as much as I prefer one piece miniatures (particularly metal), I guess I can live with gluing on two arms and a head. I'm sure others out there do a MUCH better job gluing these together, but hey! I actually accomplished it, so am happy.

    Plastic details tend not to be as deep as deep as metals, so dry brushing only partially brings out folds

I like the rocket launcher weapons that come with the box. That'll let me give them heavy weapons or some other such upgrade when I finally get around to pointing out the detachment for Xenos Rampant. After assembling them, I spray painted the figures Krylon matte black and followed it up with my usual 50/50 mix of black acrylic paint and water. Next, I gave them a medium to dark gray drybrush to pick out some of the detail which might otherwise simply look all black. This also helped me be able to see the detail better to paint. I have my lighted magnifying lamp on my painting desk, but every little bit helps! Following that, I painted the bronze plates, followed by the flesh, which in this case was just the bottom half of the face. I painted the helmet visor Iron Wind Metals Steel, as well as the forearm band with communications gear.

    The Bronze Legion assembled - 2 Wiley Games elites, 1 Stargrave heavies, & 1 Robot Vehicle
I tricked up the comm gear with a metallic blue screen and green, yellow, and red glowing buttons. After clear coating, I would go back and apply clear gloss to the helmet visor. I felt it still needed something, so I painted red dots around each figure's waist belt, as well as on the center backpack. I'm sure something in the Troopers box is supposed to glue to that circle, but nothing jumped out at me as belonging there. So, I left the circle in the red accent and also went back and hit it with gloss, too (much like I did with the space marines figures). I was tempted to make the bronze legion's skin color an alien one, but decided they would be a human faction. I already plan on a few other different colored skinned aliens, so I didn't want to go overboard. I like how the final black wash I put on it brought out detail and depth in the face. I used watered down black vehicle wash for this batch rather than my pre-mixed black Vallejo wash. I like how it looks better on metallics. My premixed makes metallics look a little cloudy, in my opinion.

    The legion sends its heavy infantry to investigate a bombed out settlement on a battlefield planet
So, what's next for miniatures? I should probably point out the Bronze Legion and see what I actually need to get them up to 24 points. My best guess would be simply another batch of these figures. I am rethinking my 1 figure = 2 points idea for Xenos Rampant, though. For some reason, I thought that I would make ALL infantry squads "Increased Squad Size" (up to 10 strength points from 5). Now, I see that isn't necessary. And if I keep some squads -- or maybe most squads -- at 5 strength points, I may need one final batch of Planet of the Apes figures. I have a pack of 10 "Planet of the Monkeys" gorillas with sub-machine gun that I bought from JS Wargamer Printing at last year's CincyCon. So, I may prime and paint those up instead. However, I want to compare them to the Eureka and Battle Valor metal miniatures the rest of the force is to make sure they don't look odd next to them.

Stay tuned and see what's next!

Miniature Painting & Purchasing Tally for 2024

  • Miniatures purchased in 2024: 15
  • Miniatures painted in 2024: 26

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Chopper Down! Specialty Terrain Piece

    A helicopter has gone down in a ruined cityscape - a specialty terrain piece for an upcoming scenario
I was trying to think of something to lure my post-apocalyptic survivor gangs back into another free-for-all after their last cooperative scenario. Someone on the excellent Lead Adventure Forum suggested a downed aircraft in the city. Each gangs wants to scavenge ammunition and tech from the wreck before the others. Since my campaign is based around the Terminator concept with the apocalypse being the war between the sentient Machines and humans, this fit in well. I decided to use as my wreck a helicopter, with the story being humans fighting back were using it against the Machines when it was shot down.

`The chopper wreck lies partially on its side, having crashed into a building and mostly destroyed it
The helicopter in question is one of the $2.99 ones in the bins at Menards home improvement store, where I picked up many of my die cast vehicles. I also decided this would be a perfect time to tinker with the pack of flickering tea candles I'd bought a couple months back. My idea would be that the chopper came down in an urban area, so I'd have a shell of the walls holding it up and it would be resting on the tea candle. I broke out the plastic windows (except for the front) and used wire cutters to trim away the bottom and one of the sides of the helicopter. The candle was still too large (or the wreck too small) for the candle to be essentially inserted into the underside. I decided to try slicing away the top of the candle, and that worked. I found out that really you need only the bottom half of a flickering tea candle for it to remain intact and keep flickering.

    The brick pattern base and the ruins were painted and readied before gluing the chopper into place
I used some Acheson Creations stone and wood post fence pieces to create "U shape", then added more bricks to enclose the wreck on three sides. The base was a piece of brick-patterned styrene plastic from Hobby Lobby. I cut a hole out for the candle to pop in through the bottom (so I could replace it if and when the battery died). I also added in lots of coarse ballast painted black and dry brushed gray like the rest of the stone walls to represent rubble and debris. I even recycled a few slivers of the tea candle's top as pieces of the helicopter torn off onto the ground.

    Two rotor blades were "snapped off" and embedded in the walls, the others bent by the collision
I had fun with the rotors, too. First, I trimmed off two of them and then embedded parts of them in the fence. The other two were bent at an angle to give it even more of a wrecked look. I had painted the walls and bricks first, then glued the spray painted black chopper in place. I used Tacky Glue and hopefully it holds. It seems pretty secure. I added some dark olive to the chopper here and there on the parts that would be furthest from the flames. Finally, when I was satisfied with how it looked, I stuffed in batting (pillow stuffing) and teased it out through the open windows. Then I turned on the candle and was pretty happy with the look of flames still flickering inside the helicopter.

    A final look at the downed helicopter, which you will hopefully see in a few weeks in a scenario!

All in all, I'm fairly happy with how it turned out. I won't win any contests with it, but it should add to the "cool" factor of a nicely set up tabletop! What's next, terrain-wise? I have several corner wall sections primed that I bought from Diabolical Terrain at Advance the Colors 2023. I also am getting ready another 3-D printed ruin from Jarls Workshop. So, stay tuned...more on the way!

Miniature Painting & Purchasing Tally for 2024

  • Miniatures purchased in 2024: 15
  • Miniatures painted in 2024: 21

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Gibbon Monkeys for Xenos Rampant

    A squad of Gibbon Monkeys from Eureka Miniatures' "Boiler Suit Apes" line of figures
I had a lot of fun painting this latest batch of miniatures for my Planet of the Apes contingent for Xenos Rampant. Although Gibbon Monkeys are not part of the movies' established lore, they are an excellent batch of figures from Eureka Miniatures. They have lots of character and variety of poses. There's even one sitting cross-legged on a laptop, who was immediately dragooned into being fire controller for Sci-Fi artillery. I bought these years ago at a convention, and would love to pick up some more to put together a second squad of them.

    The squad commander and a trooper -- I love the Mac-10 machine pistols they carry!
Google Image searches revealed there are more than one different types of coloring, but I thought the light yellowish tan ones with the black and white faces would stand out the most on the tabletop. I painted them a base "Maple Sugar" craft paint base coat. Then, I did a white dry brush to bring out the details on the fur and soften their color. Next, I painted the face white and then the black on the snout, brows, and eyes. I did a medium gray dry brush to bring out the facial detail, but perhaps should have done more. 

    The coloring for the monkeys came out well, though maybe I needed more highlights on their races
I went back and forth on what color to paint their clothes. Initially, I was thinking an olive drab, but then changed my mind to a brighter "Leaf Green" craft paint. I did a bright very pale green dry brush on the folds of the clothes, which really picked out the detail on these figures, I think. Various shades of metallic paints worked for the weapons, darkened with a black vehicle wash. I was really happy with how the color scheme turned out.

    The monkey on the laptop was perfect for a Fire Controller for this Reviresco 'Robot Power Gun'
The fire controller is tapping on a laptop keyboard. Being a Mac person, I decided to make it a MacBook -- of course! I used a Pewter metallic paint for the base coat, black for the keys, and did a lighter black wash over it all. The apple symbol was done in a Pearl White to hopefully give it some glow. I think this is a really awesome figure and I'm glad Eureka included it in the pack. In Xenos Rampant, the monkey fire controller will be combined with a tracked artillery piece and a chimpanzee bodyguard into a Support Infantry unit of three figures.

    'Space Chimp on Litter' was demoted to a humble bodyguard for the monkey fire controller
The chimp bodyguard comes from a line carried by Brigade Games called Atomic Cafe. It is part of a pack called Boondockers and Space Chimp on Litter. Having no need for two humans carrying the chimp in a spacesuit around, I propped the chimp up against a boulder and learned an assault rifle against it, as well. I figured he could be the fire controller's bodyguard. I decided to somewhat match the color scheme of my current chimpanzee force, and did a Iron Wind Metals base coat and a Howard Hues Middle East Flesh dry brush. The knee and arm pads I did in a metallic brown, but they don't show up in the pictures as very metallic looking. Maybe I will go back over them with a clear gloss -- we'll see. I decided against any other insignia or detail, so it is a rather plain looking figure. Still, I think the two make a good vignette when paired with the tracked artillery piece from Reviresco (Robot Power Gun - RRB Minis & More). 

    The three minis make a nice little vignette that will work well as Support Infantry in Xenos Rampant

So, what's next for me? My next update will be a specialty terrain piece that I've been working on for my next post-apocalyptic scenario. It is pretty much done, so look for that update in the next day or so. After that, I plan on doing some more urban ruins for terrain. Not 100% sure what is next for miniatures, though. Stay tuned and see!

    I'll field the squad of Gibbons as Light Infantry (and forward observers) in Xenos Rampant
Miniature Painting & Purchasing Tally for 2024
  • Miniatures purchased in 2024: 15
  • Miniatures painted in 2024: 21

Monday, January 15, 2024

New Boardgame: Ancient Civilizations of the Middle East

    Ancient Civilizations of the Middle East by GMT games covers the same period as AH's Civilization
One of my presents to myself (used with Christmas money) was a new, multiplayer boardgame. Many years ago, we enjoyed extremely long-playing games such as Britannia, History of the World, and Civilization. No longer being able to play all night long, we slowly switched to more Euro style games. Some may still take a few hours to complete, but all in all, with streamlined mechanics they tend to play much faster than the old dinosaurs I remember fondly.

I saw Ancient Civilizations of the Middle East by GMT Games at the local game store and was intrigued. I read several reviews online and checked its Boardgamegeek rating (7.6 out of 10). I decided to pick it up and read through the rules. Streamlined yes, but there are a lot of steps and rules. Would it play well? Would it be the 21st century version of Civilization (considering it dealt with the same time period)? I convinced the Sunday evening gang to give it a try. On the day of the game, I re-read the rules, set out the board with initial placements for six civilizations and even dealt them their hand of Fate cards.

    My fellow "Ancient" players gathered around the board game table figuring out how to play
It took about a half hour or so to run through all the rules, and the guys were patient and asked clarification questions. So, we got started actually taking the first turn around 6:30pm. We had very few rules questions, actually, for a first play-through. We quickly found out that the Fate cards are nasty! A civilization can be gutted and lose half of its circular disks representing population on one card. One of the cruelest of the night was when I played the Biblical flood of "40 Days and 40 Nights" on my friend Allen controlling Assyria. I was stunned how badly it affected him. Of course, I got my comeuppance when his brother Joel hit me with a sea version of my river flood and then Keith hit me with a different river flood. 

Everyone enjoyed it, though. We resolved to play it again, but perhaps when we have more time allotted than a standard Sunday evening gaming time (3-4 hours). I like that the game has an irregular mechanism for how many turns an "Epoch" will last. Our first epoch ran long, and I timed it right to have a couple victory point lead at the end of it. We did the transition to Epoch 2, ran through most of our first turn of it, and then decided to call it at 10pm. Definitely an interesting game, and one that will see all player civilizations suffer the slings and arrows of Fate cards. 

    The starting positions for six civilizations all set up and waiting for my players to arrive

I look forward to our next game of it!

Miniature Painting & Purchasing Tally for 2024

  • Miniatures purchased in 2024: 15
  • Miniatures painted in 2024: 14

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Two New Corner Ruins for Post-Apocalyptic (or Sci-Fi)

    I bought these two 3-D printed corner ruins at ATC 2023 from my friend Rusty of Jarl's Workshop

Here are a few shots of some corner ruins I recently finished up. My friend Rusty Parker, who has a 3-D printing business called Jarl's Workshop, sold these to me at Advance the Colors 2023 because I liked the first one I painted up so much. They are originally from WOWBuildings, who sells the STL files. The kit is a six story corner ruin, but I decided to add some variety by lopping off a level or two on these two builds. Plus, my first one leaned a bit more than I liked when it got all the way up to six stories tall. Maybe that was my fault for not using some steel bases or something to wait it down on the bottom, but I am glad I made the decision to do 4- and 5-story versions. It should provide more variety on the tabletop.

    I used large bricks (Pegasus Terrain?) to simulate tumbled rubble on the base of the corner ruin

I cut my styrene plastic bases that I epoxied the ruins onto wider to also combat the lean. While I was at it, I added a lot more rubble on the bases, too. I want it to represent large blocks that that fell off the upper floors and now lay in piles on the ground around it. I used large red bricks that I bought at Dragons Guildhall in Beavercreek, OH -- which I believe come from Pegasus Terrain. I have long since thrown away the tag that came on the bag, so I can't be sure until my next trip there!

    These are great terrain pieces and really add to the look of a ruined, post-apocalyptic city

I did my usual treatment - spray painting the ruin with Krylon matte black paint and following it up with a 50/50 mixture of acrylic black paint and water. Then I did a dark gray wet brush and a light gray dry brush over the surface. I then added small red bricks and coarse gray ballast (from Woodland Scenics) to each of the floors to represent rubble piled up. For the ballast and small bricks, I went over them with a dark black wash.

    A good view of the small bricks and coarse gray ballast I added to each level of the ruin

You do have to glue the various levels together ("some assembly required"), but they fit together well and were no problem. Rusty sold them to me at a good price and I will probably (eventually) buy even more of them from him. I want to work on some more of the other ruined terrain that I picked up in the second half of the 2023. So stay tuned for more of those intermixed in with my Xenos Rampant figures!

    The original corner ruin -- all leaning six stories of it...!


Miniature Painting & Purchasing Tally for 2024

  • Miniatures purchased in 2024: 15
  • Miniatures painted in 2024: 14

Saturday, January 6, 2024

Filling Out the Ranks of Survivors for Xenos Rampant Squads

    F Troop gets reinforcements to bring them up to 2 squads for 'Xenos Rampant'
My first blog post of 2024 covers what I finished over winter break. Since it is my goal to host Sci-Fi skirmish games using Xenos Rampant rules this year, I have been fleshing out some of my post-apocalyptic survivor gangs. My goal is to bring them up so I have two complete squads of five figures for each gang (my planned base 10-point squad size for my games). I selected three survivor gangs and my Planet of the Apes figures for the first upgrades.

    The Nightstalkers were one of my survivor gangs that easily transition to Xenos Rampant Sci-Fi
First up were three more miniatures for the Nightstalkers. I had only two metal Battle Valor Games miniatures that I used for this unit left over, so I supplemented the third one with a Stargrave Trooper miniature painted in the same basic color scheme. It's always a bit problematic matching colors and washes when you add to an existing force later. After their final wash, these guys look a bit darker. So, I imagine my wash is a bit heavier black than it was when I first did this force. The plastic Stargrave trooper looks close enough, and can be considered an officer figure which explains the different armor and kit.

    The Bass Reeves get 3 more troopers to beef them up to 10 figures - love those Foundry figures!
Next up were three more miniatures for the Bass Reeves survivor gang. I think these will make good mercenaries or light infantry under the Xenos Rampant rules. These figs are Foundry Street Violence metal miniatures that I picked up from a flea market vendor. I really like how they paint up and wish I had bought more of them way back when. I still have some left over, but in my opinion, Foundry are always top quality. I matched the tan duster color as best I could, and of course, made them African-Americans like the rest of the Bass Reeves. I really like how the colored metallic paints look on sunglasses. I will likely continue doing "mirrored sunglasses" like that rather than use all black frames and lenses going forward.
    I really like 'Torch' - the Wiley Games resin figure with the flamethrower

I painted two more figures for F Troop since I originally did 8 (rather than 7) gang members when I did first painted up these guys. I had only one Sgt. Major Miniatures figure left over, so I supplemented a Wiley Games resin miniature I had purchased recently. This figure is called "Torch," and wears a 20th century army helmet, which helps him blend in with the rest of the gang. I do like the Wiley Games figures. They paint up well, and have a nice amount of detail without going overboard. They look better proportioned than the Reaper Bones figures, too, in my opinion.

    F Troop assembles into 2 squads of 5 figs to battle it out on a ruined planet using Xenos Rampant
Once again, I think I struggled a bit matching colors of the original survivor gang. I used a dark olive drab as a base coat, dry brushing it with a lighter tone. After seeing the results, I am thinking now that maybe I started with a lighter olive drab? Not sure. I don't think it is a huge deal, though. Uniforms worn by different members of a unit could undergo varying amounts of weathering or sun bleaching, depending on how long they'd been in the field. Plus, I really like how "Torch" came out. The mix of various metallic paints really sets off the figure, I think.

The Basss Reeves will make good mercenaries or light troops, adept at ambushing from terrain
The final batch were from my Planet of the Apes figures. I had three chimpanzees from Eureka Miniatures left over, and three gorillas from Sgt. Major Miniatures. Note that I specify Sgt. Major rather than the current producer, Battle Valor Games, because I believe these figures are literally holdovers from more than a decade ago. My Battle Valor Games order was a couple years back (I think...? Jason, do you remember when we ordered??). The casting seems to be similar quality as Sgt. Major, so I guess I don't need to differentiate. 

    Did you know underneath the helmets, the Nightstalkers are blue-skinned aliens?
Once again, I struggled a bit matching colors. I did my best, though. I think the chimpanzee uniform matches fairly well. Not sure about the hair and skin tones of the apes, though. I like the colors I used originally, so it was worth trying to replicate them. I DO have quite a few other Planet of the Apes style figures in my unpainted lead/resin pile. So, look for more of these soon. I am particularly excited about painting up the Eureka Gibbons pack. These are really cool figures. Since they're smaller than the chimps and gorillas, maybe I will field these as Light Infantry in Xenos Rampant? In fact, I would actually like to buy a second pack of these, but likely won't see Eureka at a show again until maybe Historicon 2024 in July. So....if anyone has a second unpainted pack laying around they are willing to part with, contact me please!

    Three new Sgt. Major Miniatures Gorillas fill in the ranks of the troop
I am posting photos both of the new additions, as well as them combined with the originals into 5-man squads for XR. The Planet of the Apes figures will eventually become its own force of 4-6 squads. The Nightstalkers are combining with the Stargrave figures for the "blue-skinned aliens" force. I think F Troop and the Bass Reeves are likely to be either mercenary forces or supplement squads for a different force, though. Either way, with each XR squad readied for the tabletop, I get closer to being able to host a game for our Sunday evening gaming group!

    Three more Eureka Miniatures chimps beef up my 'Planet of the Apes' troop count
This year, I have also decided to do what I've seen others doing on their blogs -- track my miniature painting progress and purchases. Starting in 2024, I will list at the bottom of each blog entry the number of figures purchased, followed by how many painted to that point for the year. Note -- this is starting at zero, of course! The previous years' lead (and plastic or resin) pile is still there. Hopefully, I'll get around to cataloging it this year, as I have been doing for my unpainted terrain.

Miniature Painting & Purchasing Tally for 2024
  • Miniatures purchased in 2024: 15
  • Miniatures painted in 2024: 14

    A mounted gorilla officer leads two squads of gorillas through the city, searching for humans

    Yes, that's a cigar-smoking chimpanzee officer leading two squads of Eureka Minatures chimps