Steam Wars – A Game Planned And Some Barges Decked Out

When you come to read this I will have likely already had my first game using these Assault barges in Steam Wars.  I plan to try a full on airborne assault (well, almost fully airborne as I don’t have an airborne transport for any of my steam tanks as yet – Any ideas, on a postcard to the usual address).

When I started building these Barges I guessed that I would get six or so figures onboard if I also wanted a deck gun in place.  I can actually get two units of five marines, or ratings, onboard while still having room for a deck gun (I need to get hold of a few more crewmen that can be based on little 15-20mm round bases so as to not take up too much room.

The Oxford can take a much larger complement of marines.  Here she is, loaded with two units of six heavy boarders, as well as a large deck gun and a five man command squad.  Even will this lot onboard she could take another one or two units.

The second Barge matches the original with ten men and deck gun.

The main assault force totals 37 men (7 units of 5 or 6 men) and their three deck guns.

To support them, I have also allocated my two Gyrocopters to the force. One is tasked with eliminating armoured ground targets with its bombs, the other is tasked with providing close air support, as I know Coronasan will be bringing along plenty of fighter planes.

Finally the force is completed with the inclusion of an armoured scout car.  Fast moving, and tasked with  providing a level of mobile cover for the infantry when they make their initial assaults.  It also supplies, not only a light antitank gun, but also an additional AA capable machine gun to the force.

A fairly small force, due to the cost of my airborne carriers, I am hoping that their increased flexibility might make up for my lack of armoured vehicles.

We shall see how I fare…

Steam Wars – Assault Barges Completed

Once everything was dry it was time to add the 10 or so decals that would match the Oxford and proclaim the Barges as officially drafted into my Steam Wars Navy force.

Although these are MDF kits, the method of applying decals is no different to a standard plastic or die cast kit.  Once you have painted the MDF it is waterproof, and the surfaces are fairly flat. As long as the placement of your decal is not over an edge, or seam in the kit, you should never have any issues.

I would suggest a coat of spray varnish when it is all completed, to seal in the decals (I find it almost seems to dissolve the decal into the painted surface). Doing this ensures they do not lift off when handling the model during game play.

10 decals later and the finished effect is quite nice.

I had not noticed until I left them out to dry but they now cover a sizeable chunk of my gaming table.  Thats a 4 foot wide gaming surface covered when arrayed nose to tail…

I just have to profile them up for Steam Wars and then talk Coronasan into a game later this week.  They need a chance to hit the gaming table, and show me their worth.

Steam Wars – Assault Barges WIP

When last seen, these Blotz MDF Aether Launches (Assault Barges in my world) were built to the point of painting, and outside the weather was very wet and very windy.  Not ideal base coating weather if you are planning on using spray paints to speed up the process.

Painting the barges while they are still in parts allows me to cheat a little, as it allows me to leave the decks with the natural MDF finish.  As the decks are simple wooden planking by design, it will look just fine, and save me some time when finishing off these models.

This weekend I did manage to get outside to spray. I managed to find a brief moment, on Saturday, when it seemed dryer and the wind only gusted every other time I sprayed paint at the models. As all I needed to accomplish was a coat or two of white to the engine housings and the underside of each hull it was not too traumatic a time.

I then had to wait for the spray to dry so that I could get some colour on the metal edges of the engines, hull and the captains shield.  My collection of metallic marker pens again come in handy for these details.

Being an organised chap I managed to sand coat the bases while these were again drying so as to get all parts to roughly the same stage.  I also pulled out the Oxford class skyship, that I have as the flagship of the army, so that I could make sure they fitted the original paint scheme. The placement of decals on the new Assault Barges would also be dictated by this original model.

Steam Wars – More MDF Skyships

While I was tinkering with other MDF kits in the shed, I thought it was about time that I tried to get a couple of other kits off the ground (pun intended).

At one of the shows I attended last year I managed to get these two Skyships from the lovely folks at BlotZ.  They were £11 each and well worth the money in my opinion.  I already have one of the larger Blotz Skyships (my Oxford Class Patrol Skyship).  These are what they call their Aether Launch however I am likely just to call them my Assault Barges.

It is a really easy task to build these kits, but I don’t plan to paint these in the same way as my recent MDF houses.  These are going to be done in mostly white or bare wood. With that in mind, I don’t need lots of different parts painting up beforehand.  I can easily get away with just spraying the undersides of these, along with the hand rails, engine blocks, funnels and fins, in white – as I did my original Skyship – and then, when its dry, I can go over the metal work with a bronze metallic marker pen.  A couple of other colourful details and a few decals and I should be almost finished.

Before all that, while I am waiting for the glue to dry, I can try out the deck plans of these barges to see how they will load up with figures.  These will be part of my Navy Marine army so please excuse the use of Martian Sanwar Slaves for measuring the crew complement.

These barges have very long decks, so I am hoping that they will be able to fit a deck gun at the front and still have plenty of room for for Marines to be transported to the thick of battle.

By my guess, at this point, it looks to be a maximum of about 10-12 infantry that will fit that deck length. However, if I want to bring that deck gun along, I might have to limit things a little.  I might only be able to get a deck gun onboard with a unit of 6 infantry and maybe an officer or two to motivate them to jump off and attack.

Decisions, decisions…

Steam Wars – Scale Shots Of Navy Skyship

As I have been trying to remind myself that it is useful to have a sense of scale in my last 2 photo posts, I thought that a few shots of the new Skyship, with crew, would be useful.

28mm miniatures from a couple of manufacturers on 25mm round MDF bases. As a transport ship it can hold 20-25 figures with room to spare.

As Steam Wars uses 5-6 man units this is going to be more than I need in most games.

With the Blotz Tesla guns on board I can still get 3 units onboard and still have room for crew if I wanted.

Painted to match the Skyship the Deck guns are a nice addition to the boat.

For a little perspective (and as I had them still sat on the drying table) the new Mole and Ball Tank along side.

Not bad for a couple of weeks work…

Steam Wars – Navy Skyship

I am jumping the queue with this post slightly.  I have other posts, that I expected to post before this one, but the month is almost over and if I plan to get something posted for Azazel’s Assembly April challenge I will have to shuffle that queue…

The kit I planned to build for this challenge was one that I bought before Salute.  Its an Oxford Class Patrol Skyship from Blotz.

As with most MDF kits it come in what seems like a trillion pieces… It needed some patience and lots of sets of hands (or rubberbands if hands are in short supply) to put it together.

Dry fitting of parts is essential as I plan to paint the model as I build it. I would need to decide on what stage to stop, and paint the parts, before restarting the build.

A couple of Tesla Guns from Blotz are to be its main deck guns although I will leave these unglued as I then have the option to use my older deck guns when needed.

Bleached bone deck colour

White hull colour.

The new Skyship comes up as shorter than my original steam ship but its wider deck can hold more miniatures when fielded in a game.

Again, dry fitting the parts allows me to see if they need to be painted before gluing them in place.

Those Tesla Guns might be a tight fit when the hand rails are all in place.

Did I mention that it appears to have trillions of pieces, 58 supports are used for the hand rails.

The design is excellent though, as each part fits well, and gives a great visual effect when completed.

As of today the decals are on and it sits waiting for a second coat of varnish to seal them.

I went for a paint scheme that was similar to the original on the BlotZ website.

My decision to paint it while building it meant that the project took slightly longer than normal but probably made it oh so much easier than trying to paint it after it was constructed.   For anyone interested in how I painted the metallic parts, I have to admit that I cheated. I used silver and bronze Sharpie metallic pens as my hand is slightly steadier with a pen than a brush it would seem.