Hubbard’s World: A Fantastic Worlds Star Trek Campaign

I decided since I have all these Modiphius Star Trek miniatures, I should play something with them. This left me with the task of finding a set of rules conducive to Star Trek skirmish gaming. Modiphius has their own rules, callled Red Alert, for just this sort of thing; but I find it to be a cumbersome system that requires familiarity with their roleplaying game (which I have, but still…) I looked into a few other options, like using Osprey’s Black Ops (fail) and Pulp Alley (I only perused the starter rules, but it seemed like too much work for Trek). None of them really captured what I was looking for: simple rules that allow for heroic acts and can capture the feel of Star Trek.

Then I remembered Fantastic Worlds, which is the pulp sci-fi version of Rattrap’s .45 Adventure. I haven’t played .45 Adventure in a long time, but I love it lots. After I dug out my copy of Fantastic Worlds I knew I had what I needed. I made some rules changes (primarily to combat) to help speed everything along.

The rules I changed were really quite simple. .45 Adventure has a detailed combat system that involves wound location and deteriorating statistics based on damage received. For example, you get shot in the arm, your shooting and brawling abilities go down; you get shot in the legs, your movement speed decreases, etc. The better your character, the higher his stats and the more wound boxes he has; therefore wounds have less of an effect on heroic characters and a greater effect on scrubs.

For my game, this was a bit more bookkeeping than I wanted to deal with. I decided a model has a number of wounds equal to its rank and damage resistance (DR) commensurate with their abilities, and that wound location doesn’t matter. If a character is wounded, he loses a wound. Rank 3 and Rank 2 characters are KOed when they lose their last wound; Rank 1 scrubs aren’t so lucky: they’re dead (unless they are supposed to be KOed). This makes combat a lot faster and more deadly, but requires a lot less effort to keep track of a character round-to-round. Heroic characters ( like Kirk) may have access to abilities that allow them to shrug off and/or heal wounds, or to act regardless of them, but Joe Redshirt is probably going to die. It’s the Trek way.

The tradeoff is that a lot of special abilities are based around wound location, such as Supreme Effort, which allows a model to use his starting stats for a wound location for a turn (regardless of how badly damaged that location is); or Dead Shot, which improves your chances of hitting a specific location. Since I scrapped wound location, none of the models could use these; which somewhat limited the selection of skills I had access to. Each location also has its own Damage Resistance value. It’s generally easier to wound someone if you hit them in the head as opposed to hitting their arm, for example. I scrapped that too, and just assigned a blanket DR to an entire model. The more important or tough the model is, the more DR it has.

I was ready to boldly go. I just needed a compelling story. So…

Hubbard’s World (or Q’uvakh, as it is known in Klingon) is a lush, jungle-covered M-Class planet in the midst of the Klingon/Federation Neutral Zone. No one can say with certainty who discovered it first (although Dr. William Hubbard took the liberty of naming it after himself); however, both the Federation and The Klingon Empire have staked a claim. Under the provisions of the Organian Treaty, both powers are allowed to develop the planet for non-military use to the best of their ability, while ensuring any native species are not interfered with.

Several months ago, the Federation sent a science team to set up an outpost to observe the new life on Hubbard’s World, but soon lost contact with them. The U.S.S. Enterprise was dispatched to investigate the disappearance of Dr. Hubbard and his team. When they arrived in the sector they discovered a Klingon battle cruiser orbiting the planet. Naturally, suspicion immediately fell upon the Klingons; but they denied any knowledge of the science team’s disappearance.

The Klingons explained that while the Federation claimed to be interested in scientific research, the Klingon Empire had more practical concerns: their intent was to cultivate the world for food production, as (unbeknownst to the Federation) the Empire was in the midst of famine. They loudly insisted that they had no reason to interfere with any scientific expedition and resented the implication they would do so. They warned the Enterprise to quickly conduct their investigation and be on their way, as they considered this larger Federation presence to be an act of aggression.

Of course, the Federation was telling the truth about their motives. The Klingons were lying…

Up next: Hubbard’s World, Part 1: Outpost Laertes!

Christmas is all about…ME.

‘Tis the season, and as usual, I have taken advantage of the holiday sales to buy a bunch of shit for me that I don’t need, but definitely want.

A couple of months ago I broke down and subscribed to Amazon Prime, mainly so I could watch The Boys (one of my favorite comics of all time). Of course, Amazon Prime comes with free shipping on anything I order from Amazon, so guess who has been busy? (Hint: it’s me.) Now, I know Amazon is like Wal-Mart…the deep discounts they offer are bad for the economy, and certain death for brick-and-mortar stores. And I do feel bad when I order something from Amazon, and it arrives at my door at 9 pm the next night, because I don’t NEED anything that badly, and delivery drivers shouldn’t have to deliver dumb shit to my house at 9 pm in the freezing cold when they could be home instead.

I get it. I know Amazon is a bad company to work for. Yet I’m weak. I can’t say no to those sweet price cuts. For some reason, I can’t ignore Amazon the same way I refuse to deal with other asshole companies like Chick-Fil-A and Hobby Lobby (fuck those guys). The discounts are SO big…Right now, as I write this post, the Modiphius Original Series Away Team that I painted last month is on sale for $18.96. That’s a little over ONE THIRD the retail price (which, at $52.00, is fucking stupidly expensive, but still…) Less than $20 for 10 miniatures is a pretty good deal, I would say.

So, between Amazon and other vendors, I’ve racked up quite the grocery bill, and it’s not even Christmas. Here’s how to spend money irresponsibly on yourself before the holidays, so that whatever Santa brings you (or doesn’t), you won’t be disappointed.

Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition (Amazon): I picked up this bundle for $82, which is 48% of what it retails for ($170). I get all the core rulebooks: (Player’s Handbook, DMG, Monster Manual) and a DM screen; all in a handsome slipcase. Why would I buy this when I’m already all-in on 3 out of 4 editions of Dungeons and Dragons (I skipped 4th, and assumed I was stopping at 3.5)? First: because it seems that’s all anyone plays around me, and I want desperately to get into a game; second: it’s supposedly a good system, and finally: because I got all the core books at 52% off.

Red Markets (Indie Press Revolution): I bought this PDF (after I bought the get started kit at DrivethruRPG) after hearing some pretty amazing things about this game. I listened to a bunch of actual play podcasts (which were alternately interesting and irritating; there’s always at least one annoying asshole in every gaming group, sometimes more) and an interview with the game’s creator, and I’m hooked. I wanna play. I’m an old-school kinda guy; I don’t like reading PDFs. I’d rather have a book in my hand. Red Markets is almost 500 pages of full-color awesomeness, so if I tried to print it out it would suck my printer dry and probably look like shit. Lucky for me, Indie Press Revolution printed it for me, and I got the PDF version as part of the package, too. I’m happy to say their printed book is very high-quality and durable; much better than if I had tried to do it myself. It’s a thing of beauty.

Savage Worlds Adventure Edition (Amazon): I got this new hardcover edition of the rules at 30% off. I’ve heard good things about Savage Worlds, but I’ve never played it. The discount (and some whisky, TBH) was enough to push me, in a weak moment, to buy it. I haven’t looked at it yet (too much Star Trek and Red Markets on the brain).

Wreck Age (eBay): I collect rules sets (which explains why I own a copy of Spinespur). This post-apocalyptic skirmish game was well-reviewed, and even had its own line of miniatures. This was a cheap purchase, so I guess that justifies it.

Note this doesn’t include my purchases from Troll and Toad (individual Star Trek Heroclix) and from Etsy shops (3D Printed Terrain).

Am I done? Maybe…I have my eye on a few other things. I want the latest version of Call of Cthulhu (7th Edition), and Delta Green, which I have heard great things about. And I have my eye on yet more Modiphius Trek miniatures: the Next Generation Away Team set, which, sadly, never seems to drop below $30. (Once it does, it’s fair game.)

Lower Decks: TOS

This month went in a surprising direction for me. I had tried to cajole my friend back into the hobby by taunting him with his own miniatures, painted by me; but that didn’t work. (He told me so.) I started work on creating my own rules for a skirmish game I have kicking around, but didn’t get far. I started a new project for Gaslands but abandoned it for now; I rekindled my interest in roleplaying by purchasing a bunch of small-press indie games and listening to a lot of gaming podcasts. Somewhere in the middle of all that I managed to purchase and paint another Modiphius Star Trek set: The Original Series-era Landing Party.

The usual Modiphius annoyances aside (shitty plastic, unnecessary assembly, ridiculous pricing), this is a pretty good set. You get a male and female of five different TOS-era species: Humans, Denobulans, Tellarites, Andorians and Vulcans. What color you paint their attire is entirely up to you: Red, Gold or Blue; but with 10 miniatures in the set, you can’t have an even division. I decided to go heavy on the science/medical personnel.

My only real criticism is that 3 out of 5 of the female miniatures have similar poses. It’s a minor quibble in an otherwise solid set. My favorite miniature is this human male. (I painted him as a redshirt, so I won’t get too attached to him.)

My least favorite is the female Tellarite all the way in back, on the right. You can’t really see it, but I hard a hard time painting her face as it’s sculpted weird. Maybe it’s just me.

Insanity Pile Progress

Miniatures Purchased: 80

Miniatures Painted: 146

Total: +66

Owen’s Miniatures: Part 2

Last time I lamented that two years ago, my friend Owen decided with finality that he was done with painting miniatures and gave me his sizable collection, amassed over the span of decades, to do with as I see fit. Up until now, all I have done is hold them in safekeeping for the last couple of years in the vain hope that he would leap headlong back into the hobby, eager and excited, his passion rekindled for all things paint and lead themed.

That has not happened.

So, I decided to start painting some of his unpainted lead, the hope being that my efforts will reignite in him that which lies dormant. Then, he will graciously thank me for keeping his miniatures and politely ask for their return, which I, of course, will expeditiously grant. Then we will rule the galaxy together as father and son (figuratively speaking, pardon the pun), gleefully painting miniatures until our fingers bleed.

That’s my hope, anyway.

Over the years, I have created many characters for role-playing games, many of which I have never actually played. I don’t consider that wasted time, as creating characters is by far my favorite part of gaming. I thought it would be fun to come up with some fluff for these guys, so while painting them up, I thought about a backstory for each one.

Karl Rost, master-at-arms, served Baron Graf of Zondergeld as military advisor, as his own father had served the Baron’s father before him. But this Baron was a fool. Baron Graf was obsessed with games, and to him, Karl Rost was merely another pawn to be used–or sacrificed. Thus when the Baron lost a wager to Duke Danius of neighboring Cyndar, a wager he could not cover, he paid his debt with Karl Rost. Baron Graf sent his master-at-arms to work like a common tradesman for a rival kingdom without a second thought, oblivious to the man’s true worth.

The term of Rost’s service was to be a year and one day, after which he would return to the service of Baron Graf. Humiliated and betrayed, Rost performed his assigned duties for Duke Danius as he was bound. With Rost’s guidance, the forces of Cyndar easily swept through the Baron’s defenses and subjugated Zondergeld within two months. The Baron was beheaded and his line ended; thus when Rost’s term of service was up, he had no place to return. He rejected Duke Danius’s offer of position and wealth in his new realm, and instead now wanders the land as a masterless adventurer and sellsword, making his way as he can.

Rost is Reaper’s Damian Helthorne, Bandit; sculpted by Tre Manor. I was aware of this miniature through my frequent browsing of Reaper’s site, but until Owen gave it to me (along with all his other miniatures) I had never seen it “in the flesh”, so to speak. It’s a terrific miniature (albeit a bit heavily-armed for a “bandit”), and I quickly fell in love with it. I think he’s a perfect representation of a lawless mercenary like Karl Rost. I’m not thrilled by my freehand shield design, but I’m also not motivated enough to fix it for what would be the third time, so this is what he’s stuck with.

The Red Wolf of Thord was born in that frozen wasteland as Lorm Einarsson, the youngest of four. Before he was twenty he had killed his three older brothers, none of them quickly, for motives unknown. Some say they bullied him as a youth, others claim he just didn’t like them very much. He usurped his eldest brother as cyng upon his death and took over his band of thegns, sailing with them southward into the fertile lands of Mornellorn and Evaleaux. There his cruel path of destruction, pillage and rapine quickly tore those kingdoms asunder. Centuries later, his name is still whispered to children to encourage compliance and good behavior, lest the Red Wolf appear.

In the frozen lands of Thord, there are only white wolves. During one of Einarsson’s prolonged “stays” in Evaleaux, he hunted and slew a huge red wolf that had been attacking cattle he had pillaged from nearby villages, splitting its head with his great axe, Skuffe. From that day on he wore its pelt as a cloak, and thus the legend of the “Red Wolf of Thord” was born.

Another Reaper Tre Manor sculpt, the Red Wolf is represented by the hirsute Olaf, Viking Chieftain. Unlike the previous model, I likely never would have purchased this guy. Not because the sculpt is bad (I don’t think Tre Manor is capable of bad sculpting), but because I hate double-bladed axes. I just think they look really stupid. Coming from a guy who loves dwarfs and has many dwarf miniatures, you can assume I have to deal with them more often than I would like, and you would be right. Typically, I remove one of the axe blades, and the model usually looks a lot better. But because of the way Olaf here is holding his axe, it wouldn’t look right if I modified it. (Besides, this is Owen’s miniature. I’m just working with what I have.) I should probably fix his eyes a little bit, as they look too wide.

I have made Owen aware of this post and the previous one, so hopefully my effrontery will work: he’ll demand all his miniatures back and start painting them again. (Fingers crossed.) If not, I will continue to do so myself in the hopes he will one day return to the dark side…

Owen’s Miniatures: Part 1

I first met my friend Owen when we were in college, almost 30 years ago (Christ, that’s depressing as hell.) We quickly found we had much in common. Some examples: we both had a brother with the same name. We both played role-playing games. We both worked at a (now) defunct electronics retailer, albeit at different stores (at first). We both took the same hellish philosophy class taught by a crazed Jesuit who was banned from practicing mass because…well, because he was batshit crazy, among other things. We had a mutual friend that neither of us knew about until the first time I joined Owen for a gaming session and found him at the table.

Most significantly, we discovered that we both collected and painted miniatures. Prior to meeting Owen, I didn’t know anyone else who was the slightest bit interested in miniatures at all. Neither of us played wargames; we collected and painted miniatures purely because of our interest in rpgs. We bought mostly Ral Partha and Grenadier miniatures, as these were the ones commonly available at the time. We even bought them at the same store, but we didn’t know that until later.

I got into Warhammer in the mid-90’s, but Owen never did. Eventually, we both stopped painting for a while here and there over the years. I took a hiatus for about 5-6 years between 2002-2008, and I think he may have done the same, only sooner. I jumped right back into the hobby, whereas Owen never really did.

Two years ago or so, Owen gave me all his miniatures; hundreds of them, possibly more. Most of them are in various stages of paint; many complete, many primed or dabbed with color here and there, all stored in Plano tackle boxes. As I remembered, they’re mostly Ral Partha and Grenadier. In fact, I already own many of them already. But Owen’s miniatures also include many Reaper miniatures purchased in the early years of that company, as well as some impulse buys over time (as is any miniatures enthusiast’s wont). Owen told me he just doesn’t have the interest to paint them any more, and he would rather have the space than hold onto the lead. He knew I would give them a good home (and I have).

It broke my fucking heart.

This may surprise readers of this blog for several reasons. First, that I have a heart at all may come as a shock. Second, it may be surprising to some that I would be sad at the gift of so much lead. But both are true.

I offered to pay him for them. We have yet to discuss this in any meaningful way. This is because he’s not in a hurry to get paid, and also because I’m not in any hurry to pay him. In fact, I have been hoping very much that he would come to his senses and take them back. But that hasn’t happened.

I have a problem assigning value to any miniatures I have painted, as to me their value goes far beyond money. If I were to ever sell my miniatures (I can’t see how), I would likely overvalue them. Even though I may never again play the games they were designed for or use them for what was intended, the fact remains that I spent time, effort and money (obviously), on them; and I can’t easily part with them for those reasons.

I suspect many gamers feel the same way, although I know a significant number do not. (Our mutual friend, for example, had no problem painting and playing any number of Warhammer armies, only to sell them off at a significant loss whenever he got bored. He would then buy another army and repeat the process, only to eventually end up back where he started, with his original army that he needed to repurchase and repaint.)

Which is why, as I look at Owen’s miniatures, many of which he affixed to cardboard hexes that he lovingly cut out by hand (the better to fit on a combat map; unlike me, Owen actually USED his miniatures when he ran a game), I feel defeated. I want him to want his miniatures back. I want him to want to paint them again. I want him to be a miniatures nut like me, looking at painting tutorials online, geeking out over new releases, and planning and playing games. But it seems unlikely.

So, after a couple of years of ignoring his boxes, hoping he’ll ask for them back, I have decided to take a new strategy. I’m gonna start painting some of them. I don’t have the heart to strip his paint jobs and repaint any of his miniatures, but Owen was kind enough to supply me with some primed figures he never got around to. I’m hoping he will look at my work (on HIS miniatures) and get inspired.

Up next: the first two “Owen” miniatures, painted by yours truly.

“A Good Day to Die!”

I recently got a good deal on some Modiphius Klingons for the Star Trek Adventures game (they just weren’t selling at my FLGS, hence the discount). Having little self-control, I bought them.

Klingons have never been known for a vibrant fashion color palette, so painting these guys was more challenging and less fun than I thought it would be. Mostly dark greys and metallics; not exactly eye-catching. I decided to add some red here and there to give some contrast to an otherwise boring look.

The good news is that I like the poses on these, and I like the overall look of the warband. This female Klingon lieutenant is by far my favorite miniature of them all. I love the bat’leth over the shoulder pose, casually daring you to try your luck.

Continuing with the good news: the rest of the set looks pretty good, and the inclusion of a few female Klingons is certainly nice. There is a nice assortment of weaponry; bat’leths are prominent, and this lieutenant swinging a mek’leth is pretty cool. Almost all miniatures sport at least two weapons (in true Klingon style). Where does it rank up among my Trek miniatures? Well, it’s better by far than the TNG bridge crew, better than the Romulan warband, and not as good as the TOS crew (despite Scotty’s bizarre pose). Just my opinion, of course.

And now the not-so-good news…

In my previous reviews of the Modiphius Trek miniatures I have thus far painted, I stated that they’re made of shitty, brittle plastic and that they absolutely suck to put together, because they’re fiddly and unnecessarily complicated. This remains true. If I didn’t love Trek so much I’d never put up with this level of annoyance, especially at the prices they charge. Put simply: these miniatures could and should be designed better and made out of stronger material. And, despite their obvious digital sculpting, noticeable gaps remain at all the glue points after assembly, making green stuff a necessity.

Also, the 30mm “scenic base” is really just a deck plate, much like the bases in the Romulan set. I actually don’t mind this that much, but calling it “scenic” is kind of a stretch.

Get your shit together, Modiphius, especially since you have the balls to charge over $50 per set. (Not that I paid anywhere near that, because that’s just bullshit.) Thankfully, these scale well with Heroclix (which are a lot cheaper), so you can use them alongside less-expensive options for Trek gaming, should you desire.

A recent visit to the Modiphius website revealed they are conducting a survey on which miniatures gamers would like to see next. I cast my vote for some Cardassians (my favorite alien Trek species), along with the DS9 station crew and a Dominion/Jem’Hadar warband. Some TOS-era Klingons and Romulans would be nice, too; but I can make do with Heroclix until then.

Insanity Pile Progress

Miniatures Purchased: 69

Miniatures Painted: 136

Total: +67

Behold: My Workspace!

It was high time I got organized, so I recently stripped everything off my painting desk and did that. I’m so proud of this I took a picture.

In setting things up, I realized I have a shitload of paints, many of which I use infrequently at best. Many bottles have never even been opened, and many are duplicates purchased because either I thought I would need a replacement sooner than I did, or (more likely) because I forgot I had the color in the first place. I also suffer from the compulsion to always have the right tool for the job, even if it’s a job I will perform once and never again. For example, if I watch a painting tutorial that I like, I will slavishly buy the paint brand and color used rather than seek or mix an alternative. (This isn’t limited to my hobby; it’s why I bought an angle grinder to hone an axe.)

I have a clean area to the left to hold the projects I’m working on, and to the right to hold painted miniatures awaiting Dull Cote (I do my priming and sealing in another room). I bought an office organizer to hold my sculpting tools, my green stuff, my glue, my basing tufts and my brushes, because prior to this they were scattered all over my desk. My paints were always grouped (I won’t say organized) by color; but now they are arranged in logical color progression, i.e. dark-light. We’ll see how long that lasts.

In fact, take a good look now because I give this about 3 painted miniatures before it’s utter chaos again.

“Strongest One There Is!”

Jealousy. I has it.

The source? Not an unfaithful wife. Not another’s success, wealth or good looks. Not even another’s superior painting skill or bagpiping prowess. None of these. Yet my particular jealousy was a daily, unwelcome guest for many months. It would arrive when unexpected and stay far too long, like an irritating relative, or an annoying ghost. It consumed me and I could think of little else.

Put simply, I coveted the Knight Models Hulk miniature possessed by frequent Dead Dick’s visitor and owner of Cheaphammer, Kieron, and wanted it for my own.

I’m not proud of this. Although I nursed my envy closely and didn’t let Kieron know how hotly it burned, it remains that jealousy is unbecoming. It diminished me as a person. And over what? It’s just a miniature. A MINIATURE.

Well, I am happy to report that all that is past, and that I am no longer consumed with burning jealousy. I would like to say that is because I have evolved as a person. That I have now realized that jealousy is a base, toxic emotion that is an obstacle on my path to self-actualization. I would like to say that, but I can’t.

Because the real reason I am no longer jealous of Kieron’s Knight Models Incredible Hulk miniature IS ‘CUZ I GOT MY OWN!

I finally managed to snag one off of eBay! The price? More than I would typically pay for any miniature, but certainly nowhere near what the “standard” starting point is for this particular model on the secondary market. With shipping, it was still less than almost everything on Games Workshop’s site.

And I love it so.

This model is HUGE, and it’s all metal.  It’s also an asshole of a miniature. It’s seven pieces (not counting the base), and because it’s a Knight Models miniature, it was a pain in the ass to put together, requiring much in the way of gap-filling green stuff and Magic Sculpt.

I knew right away I wanted my Hulk to be darker in hue than the Knight Models version. I was never a big fan of the neon green Hulk. (I have a Hallmark Hulk Christmas ornament that’s particularly egregious; he might as well be yellow. If it wasn’t stored away in my attic with all my other Christmas decorations, I’d show you.)

To achieve this, I first primed him black. Then I painted his skin Citadel Caliban Green, followed by Vallejo Uniform Green, and finally Coat D’arms Goblin Green. Then I applied a wash of Citadel Waywatcher Green, followed by a final application of Yellow Wash. The pants were painted Citadel Naggaroth Night, followed by Vallejo Royal Purple, highlighted with Citadel Screamer Pink. The final highlight was a thinned-down wash of Vallejo Warlord Purple. The shirt (what’s left of it) was based with Reaper’s Bone Shadow, highlighted with Reaper’s Polished Bone and Vampiric Skin.  I applied two coats of Citadel Stirland Mud to the base before I drybrushed it with Reaper Stained Ivory and added all the grass and tufts.

To give you a better idea of how enormous the KM Hulk is, here he is between a Reaper Hill Giant (also all metal) and a Heroclix Hulk. Most impressive, n’est ce-pas?

Last year I played a Super Mission Force scenario based on Hulk #300, in which pretty much every Marvel hero in New York tries to stop the rampaging Hulk from destroying the city. One of my friends who is a lifelong Hulk fan controlled the Hulk, while the rest of us took teams of various heroes. For that, I used the Heroclix Hulk shown above. Nice, but…

You see what I’m saying?

Above: The Leader is using his super-brain to calculate to the nearest power just how exponentially fucked he is.

With the release of SMF 2nd Edition and my acquisition of this model, I think it might be time to fire up that scenario once again, to prove once and for all that “HULK IS STRONGEST ONE THERE IS!”

This is the first miniature I’ve painted in a while, as Terrain Time had been my focus last month. The insanity pile has suffered a bit, as in addition to the Hulk I bought a box of Modiphius Klingons, too…

Insanity Pile Progress

Miniatures Purchased: 69

Miniatures Painted: 123

Total: +54

How AWESOME is this???

A couple of weeks back I was pleasantly surprised to receive a PM on Lead Adventure Forum from Scott Pyle, creator of Super Mission Force. Visitors to this site probably know that I am a huge fan of this game, so I was very happy to find that he wanted to send me a copy of the new second edition in appreciation for my support!

I certainly don’t trumpet my love for SMF in the hopes of getting freebies, but I’m not about to say no to one, either. I’m very grateful for the gift, which arrived today. I chose the coil binding, so the booklet can lay flat if I’m referencing something during play.

Although I didn’t have any problems with the first edition, it looks like Scott has expanded the archetypes, powers and team composition rules quite a bit. The inclusion of a blank hero sheet is a welcome addition, too. I’m sure there are other changes I have yet to discover, and I will be giving it a good look-through this weekend.

As if getting a copy for free wasn’t cool enough, there’s also this:

Another surprise! I am happy that I could contribute in any way.

Once again, a heartfelt thanks to Scott Pyle both for his generosity and for creating one of my favorite games of all time. I can’t wait to try out the new edition!

The Pipes are Calling…

If wishes were horses, I’d have made more terrain…

TerrainTime 2019 is over, and I managed to complete only ONE terrain project all month, a gas (or sewer) pipeline. So much for all the other stuff I wanted to get done.

A while ago, I picked up this pumping station and this storage tank from Joerg Bender over at Things from the Basement. Joerg sells laser-cut MDF kits and dollhouse furniture. His stuff is awesome. I really can’t say enough good things about it. Many of his gaming kits are designed to fit commonly available supplies like electrical boxes, PVC pipe fittings and, in the case of the storage tank, a Chock Full o’Nuts coffee can. (I don’t drink Chock Full o’Nuts, but I bought some just to get the can.) They’re scaled for 28mm miniatures, but I plan on using the pipeline both for 28mm supers/pulp/sci-fi games and for Gaslands, as you will soon see.

The elevated pipe stands, spacer rings and terminal grates are all purchased from Things From the Basement. The pipes themselves are simple 1/2″ PVC pipe along with standard elbow, T and coupler fittings; readily available at Home Depot for super cheap. I think I spent less than $10.00 on this entire setup.

Once I cut the pipe into varying lengths, I gave it and the fittings a spray with this Rustoleum Metal Primer. I also primed the pipe platforms with a rusty bronze primer. Then, I painted the inside of the pipes a few centimeters deep with some Vallejo acrylic black primer, as I didn’t want the white pipe interior to be visible from the outside.

I want to add some of these buttons that look like steampunk gears as valve handles, but I wasn’t able to by month’s end. They don’t look right sitting flush against the pipe and require a spacer. (Ideally, I could just replace the faux-screw in the center with an actual screw and put it directly into the pipe, but I don’t have screws that small at present.)

Once I started playing around with my pipe (not what you think, Roger), I decided they would look better if the pipe ends were mounted on bases rather than just sitting flush on the table. The problem I encountered is that the pipe stands are designed to hold the pipes so that the ends rest flush against the surface, so if I used a base, would it lift the pipe off the stand? How much difference can 5 mm MDF make? Another quick order to Joerg for some 50mm circular bases (among other things) and I was good to go.

As you can see, I constructed a very sophisticated device to hold the pipes upright while I primed and weathered them. This took a lot of my time this month, which is why I didn’t complete as many projects as I would have liked.

Once assembled and primed, my pipes looked a bit too shiny for me. So, I decided to weather them up with some rust and grime. I used some Weather System rust pigments, after applying some black/brown wash made from craft paint. Once dry, I drybrushed more of the rust anywhere that made sense, in progressively lighter shades. This got messy real quick. I advise wearing gloves when using pigments. A mask wouldn’t hurt either. (I discovered I was breathing it in unaware when I sneezed later and thought my nose was hemhorraging.) After each layer of rust, I sealed the pipes with Dullcote.

I drybrushed the stands and pipe end rings with some Reaper brass, then washed it in Citadel Nihilakh Oxide, to get the verdigris effect. Then I sealed the whole shebang with Mod Podge, to ensure that the paint wouldn’t rub off when I was assembling the pipes in different configurations later. That didn’t work so well. The edges still chip easily.

For the pumping station, I also used a different rust technique for the electrical box.  I applied some Citadel Typhus Corrosion in patches and drybrushed some Citadel Ryza Rust over those areas.

Sadly, the storage tank was one of several planned projects that didn’t get done this month. But I did manage to make some burned out car wrecks for Gaslands, using cheap cars, Magic Sculpt and plenty of Stirland Mud.

My technique for these is quite simple, separate the top half of the car, apply a hammer liberally to the car body to simulate damage, then affix it to the base with some loose wheels and other detritus as you see fit. Prime, cover the base with Stirland Mud or the texture of your choice, and paint the car whatever color you want. Then apply a black wash and rust effects to make it look like burned-out wreckage. These are so easy and quick to do that I will probably do several more. They’ll look great as Gaslands scatter terrain.

As you can see, the pipeline works equally well for Gaslands as a large, aboveground sprawling rust monster….

…as it does for 28mm skirmish, as you can see with these Heroclix Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

One look at this and I decided I need more pipe, and more fittings, in order to have maximum variation in my layouts. I bought another 5′ piece of 1/2″ PVC pipe, which will be more than enough. In addition to the extra fittings I already have, I purchased a few more. So I’m pretty much set to have games in a maze of pipes, should I desire.

My thanks to all who participated in TerrainTime 2019! You can see their contributions at their respective blogs. While you’re visiting, check out their other posts and drop a comment or two if so inclined!

Jeremy at Carrion Crow’s Buffet  scratch-built a terrific Star Wars Imperial bunker.

Kieron at Cheaphammer! made some ruins and a jungle board (complete with submerged alligator) for TerrainTime, as well has prolifically posting a lot of other cool stuff over the course of the month.

Daniel at Wade’s World of Wargaming  made a spectacular Wizard’s Tower from scratch.

Anton at Anton’s Wargame Blog  really went all out, scratchbuilding a hexagonal “Dark Tower”, complete with spiral staircases, and basing/converting a Playmobil coliseum that looks amazing! Inspiring work, Anton!

Charles the Modeller at All Hell Let Loose painted some 6mm Brigade Models buildings and made some terrain plates, complete with walls and foliage. I envy you, Charles. 6mm terrain must be so much easier to store…

Codsticker at Codsticker’s Historicals  made the Hornet’s Nest, an area of terrain specific to the Battle of Shiloh (ACW) which includes a road and lots of trees. It looks fantastic, and you can see it and the battle report in which it was used over at his site.

Thanks again to all who participated and all who dropped by to check out the results. I still want to get that storage tank done (and probably make some more pipes) but for now I’m happy to get back to some good old-fashioned miniature painting for a while.

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