Undercoating While The Weather Holds

Living in the UK we have to take opportunities to undercoat when we can.  Gamers across the land can be seen, on weekend mornings, sensing the weather.  They stand on their doorsteps, with noses lifted to the sky, trying desperately to pick the few hours that undercoating can be attempted.  A wrong decision can lead to a higher risk of those cooler damp days ruining the finish on their prized miniatures…

Recently, a weekend perfect in every way, afforded me the chance to undercoat a few batches of miniatures.  I grabbed as much as I could as the window of opportunity would not last long.  Everything from a resin Ironclad Miniatures tunnelling machine, that has sat for over a year on the shelf, to a batch of newer ironclad Sanwar Infantry and Cephalopods got laid out.

It was also an opportunity to get the Venusian infantry undercoated to match their War Barge.

But I cant stop to chat as other batches need to be attended to…

Steam Wars – More Martian Reinforcements

My trip last weekend to Salute was expected to distract me away from my Martian Steam Wars project.  It may have actually refocussed me more than I expected though.

The Martians actually got a few reinforcements from the show this year, and also has me looking towards changing the army list a little and reviewing the paint queue to accommodate more of these figures.

I found a set of second hand Sanwar Infantry, from Ironclad Miniatures, that were similar paintjobs to my own troopers.  The set included a small field gun as well as crew.

My own field gun remains unfinished but has jumped up the queue, as has some more of the slave infantry.

The new pieces will need a touch up, and the bases need a Martian red repaint, but should fit in nicely with the original units when finished.

I also picked up a box of these chaps.  Grey alien types that will make effective allies to the Martians (and will be usable in any Sci-Fi game I want to field aliens in).  I suspect these will end up as Venusian Mercenary Shock Troopers. They may also be gifted the large Martian flier that I have, as a transport option, as it has always seemed a little out of style with the original, Tripod heavy, Martian force.

Steam Wars – Infantry For Our First Game Finished

Time for a glamour shot.  My newly painted Martian Infantry in all its glory.  Elite caste controllers and Sanwar slave infantry. All painted in less than 2 weeks…

Lets not mention the 2 years this has been in the planning stages or the remaining 4-5 units that have yet to get started…

This lot are about 450 points of a 1000 point Steam Wars force planned for our April 4th game.

Add in the already painted Mechanical infantry and the points jump to about 650 points. Mechanical troops are unreliable, and their programming often glitches, so they get a large points reduction in the game.  This is mostly due to the possibility of them not acting in every game turn.

That leaves me with about 350 points still sat on the painting table in the form of these three Martian Tripods.  I guess I had better pull my finger out and get these walkers done, as its only a few days before they are supposed to be striding across a table and using their heat rays to turn the Victorian British forces to carbon like dust…

Steam Wars – Martian Elite Caste

The Martian force I had planned for use in Steam Wars has always been envisioned as a two fold army.  Elite overlord controllers shepherding units of controlled, or slave, infantry towards their foe.  Therefore, I was always going to need the army controllers to stand out from the infantry by being a little different.

In this case it was by being a whole different race (Cephalopods) and maintaining a higher technology level than the regular forces.

Technology far advanced from their enemy as well.  Lets hope that the grit, determination and hard projectiles of the Victorian British infantry will be enough to hold back the Martian might.  One problem with all advanced civilised forces is their habit of underestimating the simple tenacity and brute force of lesser races…

A Cephalopod is in the end a flesh and blood creature, despite its ability to subjugate and overwhelm other races.

Like all overlord races their numbers are lower than the populace they control.  Drones and mechanical assistants are therefore essential when the lesser slaves are not up to higher tasks.  The discovery of new knowledge and the advancement of science must be allowed to progress, so the Martian Cephalopods have long advocated the use of drone helpers to gather information and protect their masters.

Science Caste Cephalopods are often sent out into the field to discover the weaknesses of their enemies.  This task can be a dangerous one, even when the enemy is a lesser species.  Collection suits and science drone assistants are therefore deployed whenever exposure to dangerous lifeforms is likely.

When slave infantry, or mechanical troopers are deployed, their actions need to be overseen by a controller from one of the elite castes of Cephalopods. Mind control and the direction of slaves, or strategic control of mechanoids, is often the role of Cephalopod command units. Especially trained to deploy their units ahead of themselves and to monitor and direct the progress of missions. When subjugating lesser species the hard suits of the science caste are often not required by these units.

Steam Wars – Sanwar Slave Infantry

With 2 weeks to go before we play our first game of Steam Wars, in what seems like ages, I have managed to finish off some of the troops that are planned for use in the force.  I have a number of Sanwar troopers to use as Humanoid slave infantry in the Martian force.  The two units below are my effort to start painting them. I have to say they came out as good as I would have liked and in half the time I expected.

These are the low tech end of the Martian force. Why would the Martian Cephalopods share any technology with their slaves… Nutrino rifles and blast guns will do for these guys.  Most of them are armed with short range weapons, but if they get in range, they should be pretty lethal.

Even shorter range are these close combat slaves.  Clubs and little else.  Two of these chaps do have blast guns but after they have charged its all about the grunting and blood splatter.

This puts me well on track to get the army painted for when we plan to play.

Steam Wars – Martian Cephalopods

The Overlords of Mars are a race of Martian Cephalopods that have ruled the red planet for a thousand years and are seeking to expand that empire on earth. Their hold on Mars is absolute because of their highly developed level of technology and their ability to survive both drought and famine by taking nourishment from the intra and extra cellular fluids of any living creature.

Some might call them vampires, the reality is that their evolution has been greatly helped by their nutritional versatility. That and the fact that they do not worry too much about what their dinner tastes like.

Their society is a well disciplined hierarchy. An individuals place within that society is measured at birth. Genetic markers are used to show where the developing child’s strengths will be, and what resources should be allocated gain the most from that potential.

On attaining adult status they are accepted into their designated caste where they will be able to work to further the Martian societal goals.

A work in progress shot but as they live on a red planet, and drink the blood of anything they rule over, I thought that painting these guys in red tones would be apt…

Again the figures are from Ironclad Miniatures, a manufacturer I have a definite soft spot for.  Many of my Steam Wars Navy forces are based on either Ironclad’s tanks or infantry.  It looks like they are now supporting most of the Martian invasion as well.

Steam Wars – Martian Painting Officially Started

In the grand scale of things 12 figures is not much really.  But its a start, and everything needs a start. I have a long way to go before these guys are an official army but it doesn’t seem quite so daunting when you get a few at a time under your belt.

Two Sanwar slave infantry units in all their grime smeared, gun toting and club swinging finery…

I have decided to coat their bases with the contents of a packet of ancient flock, to better blend the pill bases to the MDF rounds, then paint them in the normal Martian earth colour so that the army theme carries through.  I suspect as my eyesight slowly fails, these will look better and better to me over the next few years…

I am quite pleased with how these look, especially as they were done in super quick time and with little effort expended.

When I look at them now I see them as proper Steam Wars Martian Infantry, but I also suspect that they will be found on a gaming table as 40k chaos cultists and maybe as part of a low tech Scrappers or Rogue Stars crew…

Next up should be the Cephalopod command unit, but I am far from reliable or consistent at the moment so don’t hold your breath!


Steam Wars – Martian Test Figure

In total, within the wider Martian army, I have 4 units of 6 of these Sanwar slave infantry. To get me started though I have chosen to only play a force with 2 units of these infantry in it.  Lets be honest, if I asked too much of myself by planning to paint them all, I would likely falter at the first unit and never get them done.  With the Tripods and other units also needing some paint, it seems a good idea to keep things simple.

If I manage to get this unit of close combat troops, and a unit of missile troops, done I am officially half way through the Sanwar part of the army.

These figures are from the Sanwar range by Ironclad Miniatures.  I see them a little like the sand people from Star Wars. A tribe of primitive people, subjugated by their technologically advanced overlords, the Martian Cephalopods.  Part slave labourers, part food source.

As I have been a little out of sorts with painting lately, these will be getting a simple paint job. This is partly to get me back in a rhythm with my painting but mostly just because I need to get quite a few of them done in the next month or so.

As a slave race they are not well equipped or outfitted.  Poor bloody infantry was never so poor as these guys.  Old torn robes and leg wrappings. Wheezing old rebreathers and goggles are their only support against the harshness of the alien Earth atmosphere.

Their weapons may look old fashioned but the ammunition they fire is a mix of Martian ores and Nutrino crystals. Ammunition that, when exited by the physical force of firing, produces an electrical charge that is grounded when it contacts a target. This charge can cause the nervous system to become overloaded if the initial shock of impact does not immediately kill its victim.

A simple 5 colour paint job with wash gets the desired, worn and dirty, look. All with as little effort as is possible…

Basing might be an issue as my Martian army basing theme is ‘Flat Cracked Martian Earth’.  Not so easy with pill bases as these are modelled.

Oh well, by the time I have the other 11 painted I am sure that I will have decided on how to get around that problem.

Steam Wars – So, Someone Said Something About Some Martians

Coronasan and I have a game of Steam Wars planned for early April and I plan to use some Martians as my army.  I have been doing some planning and have already profiled up some units for our game.  The force below is about 1000 points (a small to average sized game).

The joy of Steam Wars is that you can profile up the miniatures you want to use in just about anyway you want to.  A small elite force, a massed horde or anything in between.

I picture the Martians as being an invasion force.  I have profiled them up as having different castes of Cephalopods leading a mix of slave infantry and automated units.

My command unit is a 3 figure (6 wound) Elite Caste group.  A Science Caste Drone controller and his two Guardian Caste bodyguards.

6x Sanwar Slaves armed with Clubs and a couple of Blast Guns.

6x Sanwar Slaves armed with Blast Guns and a couple of Nutrino Rifles.

5x Automated Infantry armed with Rapid Fire Cannons and with the Mechanical Will ability (allowing them to continue after death as a crawling torso).

5x Automated Infantry armed with Electro Gladius and Dart Guns.

5x Automated Infantry armed with Stub Guns.

A Science Caste Cephalopod in a Sample Collection Suit and supported by his 2 Automated Science Drones.

An Assault Tripod armed with Gas Globes, a set of Tripod Claws and an Electro Whip.

A Scout Tripod with a Ray Gun, Tripod Claw and a pair of Electro Whips.

My second Scout Tripod is also armed with a Ray Gun, Tripod Claw and a pair of Electro Whips but the claw is an alternate style so that I can profile it up differently if I so wish in the future.

This is but a small portion of the full Martian Invasion Force.  Luckily I had already painted up the Automated Infantry but lots of figures still require some work.

I guess I know what will be on the painting table next…

Steam Wars – Steam Plane II

As I have had limited time in the shed lately and as a few games have had to be cancelled due to that thing called ‘real life’ I have been mostly pottering at the moment.

Ebay continues to add more clutter to the shed but a few bits get knocked together every so often to allow me to clear a few boxes away.

This little 1/48 scale biplane was a cheap kit I found on ebay.  Its such a simple design and easy build that it begs to be converted to a new Steam Wars plane for the US Navy force I have.

Armed with a machine gun it can act as air to air protection for the larger fliers that I have.

But with these small rockets (10 in the kit) it has a few more options up its sleeve.

I have to say that thanks to the continued kindness of John at Ironclad Miniatures I now have another pilot for use with this model.