Steam Wars – Martian Elites Ready To Go

An impressive little lot if I say so myself.  Well, slightly less impressive when I say that, this time round, I only painted eleven figures of the seventeen pictured here.

The remainder are ones painted over the last year or so but without any clear position to play in the Martian Army.  Now though, they are all profiled up and ready to go.

Command unit one – Two Elite Crypto Cephalopods with heat rays and their officer, an Archo-magus, that can project his powers across the battlefield (if I manage to roll high enough that is).

Command unit two – Science Officer, a drone controller, and his marvellous mechanical gundogs.

A unit of Heavy Mechanical Assault infantry

Science team – An Elite Crypto Cephalopod in his personal exo-suit with a pair of Science drones as assistants.  Played as fast infantry, he also fulfils the role of a backup drone controller.

My first unit of Fast Cavalry for the martians.  The heat rays and grasping tentacles on these personal Eco-Suits should make them to be hard hitting, versatile, troops in the upcoming game.

All I have to do now is find a bigger box for this army as they are slowly outgrowing their original case…

Steam Wars – Martian Elites Incoming

As the shed has been out of action for so long, I have been unable to host any games at my place.  Coronasan has been kind enough to take up some of my slack and have me over for a game or two.

One of those games coincided with my regaining access to the shed.  As I had just gotten comfortable in the painting chair, I thought that I may as well bash out a few new pieces for the game.  It was planned to be another, larger sized, game of Steam Wars.  As such, I thought it was about time I added a few units to the Martian forces, as the Navy had seen some attention last time round.  I pulled a few painted units out of the case as inspiration, and to remember what colours I had used, and took a look at the painting queue to see what we had waiting.

My Martians are a small elite cadre of ancient Cephalopods that manage to retain their hold on the red planet by enslaving other races to do their bidding (and all the dirty jobs).  Their allied forces also contain a large number of mechanical constructs that can be fielded as specialists troops or good old fashioned foot slogging infantry.

This time round I have added a number of Cephalopod leader types, in their natural form.  These can be played as either drone controllers (to ensure the mechanical forces are doing what they need to) or as Archo-magi (to add a slightly fantasy/ hsteamtech magic element to our games).

Last, but by no means least, I have started on some heavy infantry. I fell out of love with these figures some time ago but, with a fast and dirty paint job, they will serve their purpose well on the game table.

Steam Wars – Gyrocopter Number Two Finished

Yes, I know, I should be painting little green things…  Some times you need to win a bit of motivation back by getting a couple of quick and easy successes under your belt though…

Here I present, for your viewing pleasure (or not), Gyrocopter Number Two.

Mounted on the wobbliest thin plastic rod that I have (note to self – buy more Perspex rod – next pack needs be much stronger) and flying high over the green and pleasant lands laid out in the shed.

Armed with chin mounted generic weapon (could be flamer or MG)

Ah! There it is, almost hidden from view in full flight…

Oh! That’s worse, looks like they mounted a shower head under the cockpit

Ah! Better again…   Hmmn, strange as to how they both look better with the copter in a crashed pose.  Hope that is not a sign of things to come.

And proof that photos should not be taken in a cold shed after a couple of shots of anything warming.  Look how crisp the focus is on that stagnant pool!

If I get any more done on those little green men I will let you know…

Steam Wars – Gyrocopter Number Two

There is always plenty to distract me from the job at hand in the shed.  When I am supposed to be painting Greenskins I end up starting work on a second Steam Wars Gyrocopter.

‘Starting work on’ might be a slight exaggeration.  This little Ironclad Miniatures Gyro was started about a year ago…  Built and undercoated/ basecoated then parked when the next new thing came in the door.  The pilot was done only a couple of weeks ago when I was prepping for our big weekend game of Steam Wars.  The gyros were dropped from the army list so this one didn’t get finished when all the other bits were getting completed.

As it has been front and centre in an almost started/ almost finished state for a week or two now, I decided to just get it done and out of the way…

These come unarmed and my first, you might remember, has some bombs stuck firmly to its sides.  This one will be a slightly more versatile model when it is finished.

A small generic MG style chin mount allows me to profile up a range of ranged anti infantry weapons.

A small rocket pod could be used against light vehicles or as more anti infantry firepower again.

Both are magnet mounted so I also have the option of leaving it unarmed.  In this format I can use it as an airborne artillery spotter, at a very much reduced points cost.

The chin magnet will allow for later weapon additions as well, if I find that an alternate option is needed (maybe a rotating Buzz Saw that I can cut down Zepplins with…)

A quick clean up and splash of grey paint and these will be done (as long as I don’t get distracted again…)

Steam Wars – Big Weekend Prep Continues

With our big weekend Steam Wars game looming, lots of work has been done with an added sense of urgency.  Sometimes this brings out the best in me, but it can also lead to me taking short cuts and simplifying things just to get things done.

Its odd how our perceived OCD in one area can be ignored in another (or when we don’t have time to think it through).  I have never been a perfectionist in my painting. Sometimes I get by with simple pant schemes and other times I can get very involved with a piece and spend hours trying new tricks on it.

This week its all about simple…

My work colleagues (mostly all ladies) seem to be able to multi task with little effort. I’m am less likely to multi task and more likely to ‘Start one thing – Stop – Start something else – Stop – Go back to the first thing – Stop…’  You get the picture?

My painting table has been rotating from Heavy Dive Suits to Landing Craft to Walking Transport to Wheeled Transport.  As one wash dries on something, another colour is applied elsewhere, then as that dries, on to the next thing.  Its been quite nice actually.  Productive, as long as I don’t ask too much of the finished articles!

The one thing that has slowed things up is bloody rivets!  A side effect of playing a Victorian themed Steampunk game I guess, but why does everything have to have 200 rivets on it…

I know, it could be worse, I’m not painting tartan, or black and white checks I guess, but after 200 little silver dots I can’t always see straight.

Thankfully the Landing Craft are rivet free.  They also lend them selves to a ‘2 can basecoat’.  Nothing to do with the Toucan, although I remember as a child being told a story about how that particular bird got its name and colourful plumage.  He found out the hard way that he couldn’t carry 3 cans of paint!

Anyway, the ‘2 can basecoat’ is as simple as it sounds.  Spray one colour on the top side (obviously its best then to let it dry) turn it over and spray the bottom with an alternate colour.  In my case white and grey.  Don’t worry if the colours bleed across slightly, that adds weathering and shading.  An effect that, if you were using a proper painting method, you would need to add in at another stage.

The second shortcut with these boats was the sponge and dirty paint water method. Allows you the pleasure of avoiding unwanted brush marks and leaves you with a lovely layer of staining under the fingernails if you were not wearing gloves…

The usual sand and black edge completes the bases of any figures and adds a lighter look back to figures that can appear quite dark at first pass.

1/72 and 1/48 scale decals from the US Navy Goshawk model kit (easily available on eBay) finish the models off nicely.  I have used the same decals on every part of my Navy Force (I have been through about 4 sets of decals so far I think).

Loadouts for the Landing Craft have been planned to perfection and should allow me to get the best from the sea deployment I plan to use.

Snug but room for a few friends if needed.

Even the big guns and their tows are all but set for the off.

The Ironclad transports will be ready as well with the walker wading in and the wheeled car hitching a lift on a Lander.

The walking car also has a small gun that I picked up from a bits box at the Derby worlds game show a while back.  Just for self defence you know.

With that lot done I think I might even be ready…

Steam Wars – Planning For Our Largest Game Yet

With our second weekend planned for another larger game, I had only 7 days to get ready for what would prove to be our largest Steam Wars game to date.  The US navy would be deploying from the sea for the first time. If they were to do this successfully they would need plenty of transports that would allow the troops to come ashore safely.

Steam wars uses 5-6 men as a basic unit size, as such, it doesn’t need hordes of figures to get a good sized force together.  I had planned for an army of 3000 points but found that even a force that large left a lot of my US Navy army still in the box.  A normal game of Steam Wars is about 1000-1500 points a side.

So as to not choke the table with too many figures all at one time, the Navy was to deploy in 3 waves. Each deployed from their lovely new landing craft.

The landing craft are designs drawn up by Coronasan and cut by Jim at Products For Wargamers.  The first is the finished design and the second (slightly simpler design) is the initial prototype updated to be playable in our game.  Hopefully they will be available from Jims web store at some point.

The remaining forces were to be deployed from the Navy Steamer and their newest walking (and swimming) transport.  If I was to be ready for the game I had to sweet talk my own female cohort and talk them into me getting more time in the shed.

Thankfully, she who holds the keys is a kind and benevolent ruler and agreed to my requests, as long as a shopping trip was promised in the near future…

Steam Wars – Prepping For Our Next Game

Another couple of weeks without a post and the guilt is upon me again.  Best to do something about it before it gets to be too long and I forget what I have done.

The last few weeks have been surprisingly busy. Not on the blog front (obviously) but I have been almost too busy with completing hobby stuff to find time to write these words!  I have taken a few photos though, and played a couple of games in that time as well.  I have even painted a few neglected models, though I suspect that as I haven’t bought many recently, most of my collection is now likely to be classed as neglected.

We planned a warm up game of Steam Wars, so that we could remind ourselves of the rules (even the rules we write become forgotten when not played regularly) as a larger game was planned for later the same month.

My plan was to add in a few new units to the US Navy army so that they could be trialled in this smaller warm up game and then used with better results in what was planned to be a ‘big weekend’ of Steam Wars.

Also some of the other units that had been finished over the summer, but never deployed, would get their first outing in the warm up and either prove their worth or be reprofiled to play better in the bigger game. The joy of Steam Wars is the ability to profile up the units and vehicles as and how you want.

Want your Monowheel tank to be armed with Quad Ack Ack? – fine.  Want it to better its chances of hitting? – play it as being armed with two sets of ‘Twin Linked’ Ack Ack.

It also afforded me the excuse (not that I need one) of painting up the last of my Pulp Figures Rocketmen.  My last unit of these were SMG armed fly boys, and can deliver a good number of shots up close to any target.  These guys are pistol toting fly boys and are more close combat orientated.  We have found that a flying unit is difficult to destroy using traditional land based firearms. however, flying up to the aircraft and shooting the pilot in the head seems to do the trick quite well.

I will let you know how the actual game goes when I next get time to post something…


Steam Wars – Martian Slaves Update

A lovely sunny weekend and I should be out enjoying it.  Well, I did pop out this morning in the company of the good lady of the house, and was allowed to be head chauffeur for a short shopping trip.  Once I managed to get home though I found a balmy 38 degrees of heat awaiting me in the shed. On a day that reached 24 degrees outside, in late spring, I do wonder what will be achievable in there on other more summery days.

It wouldn’t be the first sacrifice I have been forced to make to the hobby.  Other summers I have been forced to drink buckets of iced rum and coke just to get through a heatwave in the shed.  Needs must when the devil (…add your own ending, as ‘vomits into your kettle’ seems too brash for such a lovely day).

Enough of the old English phrases and on with the images…

In all that heat a simple job was about all I could manage so changing the colour on the bases on a few figures was a good choice for today (also it afforded lots of drying time, while I popped in for another cold one…)

These were purchased already painted at Salute, so only needed a base change to fit in with the existing Martian scheme.

Grouped up into units of 6, with a combat role specified by their weapon choices.  First up a unit of short ranged missile troops (a standard option for my Steam Wars Martian Slaves)

A second unit of Short range missiles (told you they were a staple – I have 5 units of these I believe).

An artillery piece with 3 crew. Likely to be seen as Medium Anti Tank or a more rapid firing Light AT gun.

A Tesla style wheeled gun.  Crewmen (x3) still waiting for some attention in the painting queue.

Short ranged missiles again but with a standard bearer type that allows me to make them a rally point for other units. That might just keep my hordes of slaves from being pinned all game long.

A close combat unit with Standard (one of 2 units of this format) again adding a rally point to the other forward thrusting units.

Languishing in the paint queue, are some more of these guys.  A few are completed and have has their units split so that their combat role is more specific.  Last game they were slowed by the presence of a couple of riflemen who wanted to fire while the majority of the unit could not do anything but wish they were closer to the enemy.

These should be done by summers end…

Steam Wars – Biplane With Rockets

A model that has sat unfinished in the shed for months now is a biplane that was slated to join the Steam Wars Navy but never started.  I got the pilot ready, an Ironclad Gyro copter pilot, months ago and still it was not promoted to the front of the queue.

With the recent good weather, and with me undercoating stuff in blue and grey, this got its base and top done in these colours and a boost up the paint queue without realising it.

With so much of it complete after just the base coats it only needed a touch of black here and a bit of silver there.

A propeller and a set of decals later and she was almost done.

The wing mounted rockets went on after painting along with the MG, and suddenly after 5 months, she was done.

The ironclad pilot was a tight squeeze to get in (so lost his legs before being seated…)

This photo does it no justice but underside in blue…

…and top in grey makes it a match for the first of my Navy fly-boys.

I may go back and trim that overly long rocket stick.  Hadn’t actually noticed that until looking the pictures over…

Steam Wars – Navy Mole Finished

I have managed to find a few more minutes in this busy life to hide in the shed and get a few items finished off.  The first of these is the Ironclad Tunneller that I was working on last week.

Not much was required to finish this model off.  A bit of brass to the bands on the main body of the thing.

A couple of decals to the rim to show its allegiance to the US Navy forces.

Sand has been added to the base plate, as this brings it in line with the Navy basing scheme, and tries to get it to lighten up. The original base I had painted was looking very dark…

I always forget to give a bit of scale with models in photos.  Today we have a Pulp Figures 28mm miniature included for scale.  It also shows that it can easily hold a five man unit, ready for deployment as it breaches the surface…

A great little model and easy to prep for the table.  It also adds a new aspect for my army to use with the Steam Wars Rules.  Deployment from a tunneller is slightly random, as 3 tokens are placed on the table, and it will emerge from one of these during the course of the game…  That way your opponent can’t be sure where it will pop up…