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…

A Break In The Weather And A Day To Spray

Its not often that we get a day to consider undercoating something in the UK, especially in mid February.  Moisture and temperature can play havoc with spray cans.

This week we did get the window to spray for one afternoon and I took it while I could.

Silver for robots…

Lots of robots…

Silver for some of Coronasan’s MDF Gaslands gates.

(and silver for the Martian underground base entrances…  but I forgot to photograph them in the mad rush to get so many batches out on the BBQ)

And, just to mix things up, black and grey for the MDF house that I started a few weeks ago…

Lets hope I can get some real painting done soon.

A Moment To Myself, Then Back To The Grind

Well, another few weeks have passed and I’ve not been too active in the shed.  Part of that is my own depleted motivation, part is the weather being slightly colder and part is the fact that 6 new internal doors won’t paint themselves.

I have had a slight boost to my motivation due to the almost summer like few days we have just had in the UK and the fact that the end is in sight when it comes to this batch of DIY.

I gave myself an evening of mooching about in the shed recently and came across this chap. I actually came across a bag of small bits and had no idea what it was until I trimmed and glued most of it together and found he was a Mantic Games Deadzone Strider model.

That prompted me to dig out an even older, this time completed, model of the Rebel variant of this figure.  It had an open, shattered, cockpit which would not go well with my slowly expanding Mechanical Steam Wars Army. (Yes, my Martian force is likely to be having a mutiny on its hands as their robotic slaves break free of their programming and forge themselves an small empire of their own).

Anyway, the cockpit needed filling so, as I am not a gifted sculptor, I have bunged in enough green stuff to fill the hole and plan to trim and file back any that has my fingerprints in it when its dry…

This beast is more hands on than the first with a weapon that I can profile up as some sort of flamer and a meaty chain saw.

I can see a third recruit for the mechanical force in the background, but more on that later.

For now though, back to the grind…

Steam Wars – More Maddening Martian Mechanical Men

Remember the 60 part unit that made up the last 5 mechanical men?  Well I just completed another, smaller scale, 10 man unit from Privateer Press.

I thought 60 tiny pieces was a pain.  Each of the figures in the next unit consists of 9 parts (the leader is 11 parts as it has different shoulders from the remainder of the unit), and there are 10 of them…

Thats a finger tip stripping, eye straining, back aching, 101 parts (not counting their bases).  All trimmed, cleaned and glued in one sitting in the shed…  I don’t know if I am proud to have managed it or worried that I tried…

To top it all off they are not even made of standard plastic, so its a case of: Super Glue, try to hold the buggers together with one hand, spray the Activator with the other hand and hope they don’t move while you do it…  Done?  Good, repeat that another 100 times…

Joy unbound…

Steam Wars – Martian Underground Base Entrances

The builds on these kits were finished, to this stage anyway, back at the start of December.  Due to me having a bad month, along with the usual family commitments that Xmas and the New Year bring along, they haven’t progressed any further so far. I do have all the needed plans and parts ready for when I get a good day to spray a base coat on them. After that they should be quite quick to complete.

These two smaller entrances will suffice as the access points for cephalopods and their slaves.  They are, however, really not a realistic size for allowing access by any Tripods or other vehicles. I therefore need to find, or design something, to represent these entrances in any narrative games we play.

Currently I am open to all ideas but I have played with the idea of a sloped hangar style opening with a set of sliding doors, or a pop up style lift tube (to keep things in line with the ’round’ look of the other scenery items, like my craters).  I need to get a few sketched ideas on to paper and then see what Coronasan can design and cut in MDF…

First Foray Into A Neglected Shed Space

After sweeping away the cobwebs at the door, and running the dehumidifier for a while along with a small heater. All I had managed to do was awaken the hibernating lacewings and other crawly things that share the shed with me. In hopes of maybe evicting them before they start to annoy me I thought I might have a tidy up and check the state of play of the ‘To Do’ pile.

Unsurprisingly it hadn’t gotten any smaller while it had been neglected…

As I had been off my rhythm for some time I thought – start simple – so I grabbed a couple of scenic items from the shelf and sat down to try to get my mojo back.

Bronze dry brushing over silver base coat (why I didn’t just paint them bronze at first is beyond me at this point). Oxide green wash in some creases here and there.

Dirty up some MDF plinths (supplied by the talented Coronasan) and I have my first successes for this new push at getting back into the swing of things.

One an Alien hero (the pilot from my martian flier if I recall correctly) and the other a simple space marine in a suitably static pose.

Well, Its a start…

Steam Wars – Martian Cephalopod – Hidden Base Entrances

Yep, you guessed it still no change in the little green skinned fella pile.

I have been productive though! I recently bought a couple of these… (actually one of these Retro Americana bunkers and one of the original Burrows and Badgers sets).

I cant see any real difference in the way these are designed.  Only that one was planned to be more ‘buried looking’ than the other…

Scale wise they will work well with my Steam Wars 28mm Martian force. I plan to use these two on the red Martian earth terrain set as their entrances to the secret subterranean base

With a slightly buried in cracked red earth look, and overgrown with some Martian red weed, they should work fine.  I plan to add a small light or control panel over the square hole to the left of the airlock.  The hole was for a very retro American post box that just wouldn’t be found in a secret Martian Base.

But mounted on a small MDF round, and suitably based and weathered, it will fit in perfectly outside of any number of my existing houses.  Never throw anything away…

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 – The Big Weekend

As if by magic, the big weekend number 2 was upon us.  Steam Wars was the planned game, and it was a game that we expected to take some time.  All the women folk were away and the curry was bubbling away on the stove.

Nothing but a cat or two would be able to distract us!

Coronasan had not been idle while I was prepping my forces.  He had been building and painting a mix of MDF buildings and sorting out a 2 foot sea section to add to his fancy new harbour boards.  In a week he had also managed to build a selection of harbour jetties and walkways that would enable my Navy to arrive in style.

My photos do not do things justice sadly but, as my first wave made landfall and the Navy fliers picked out their first targets, we were off.  The objective was for the Navy to push inland and find the ‘Secret Plans’ that the British Science Division had stashed in one of the taller buildings on the second half of the table.

I suspect that this would have made a lovely demo game for our local game show ‘Campaign’.  We might have to consider this again if we get the time and have the energy to plan it.

The Navy pushed inland and quickly found the British rushing to the towns defence.

A few easy targets were taken out by my Navy Air Corps before they tried to move further inland.

The second wave was already arriving on the next Landing Craft and it would begin to get crowded on the harbour if the navy didn’t push on into the town soon.

Both tanks and artillery were present in the second wave, along with a second HMG team in their little steam launch.

As the British formed up in the town square, their jump troopers forged ahead and prepared for an attack from the rooftops.

After making short work of one of the Biplanes, the jump troopers found their retreat to be more difficult as they became pinned down by Navy rifle fire.

All this activity and rushing about was unnoticed by the Heavy divers who continued to plod on up the stairs of the harbour. Slow and steady wins the race!

The Navy tried to push through on their right flank but found the way congested and a British steam tank did nothing to help this along.

With more reinforcements arriving it was getting quite busy on the old quayside.

More effort was made on the Navy’s left flank and at first it seemed a way through might be found.

When the roads are blocked it is sometimes best to head over the rooftops.

Especially when a giant armoured bear and a steam giant come round the corner to stand in your way.

The British deployed their own Royal Air Force as they tried to hold the centre of the town.

In the end the US Rocketmen were able to reach the target building and secure the plans.  While the remainder of the US Navy force continued to be tied up fighting in the streets.

A great game that I would happily play again although my tactics would definitely be different. The artillery units, in a raid like this, proved themselves to be more of a hinderance than a help.  Failing to supply any of the covering fire they had been tasked with.