Our last meeting of the year saw three “periods” in progress:
First up, our FOG contingent (John, Paul and Mark) ran a couple of games of Early Carthaginians vs Dominate Romans.
Next up Alan ran a game of Fief, France 1429, a game of dynastic ambition. You can probably guess where and when it is set. Boardgames are not unknown at the Society, but they are not that commonly played either. Alan, Marcus, Dave, Chris, Peter and Mike were the contenders for the control of France.
Alan and Peter formed an alliance and had a narrow lead at the end of the game, so they are claiming victory. Mike, Marcus, Dave & Chris wouldn’t necessarily agree with that assessment though
Finally, Tony & Phil combined their efforts to put on a 15mm Star Wars game, using slightly adapted Stargrave rules. Jeremey and Phil each took a squad of Stormtroopers, while Stephen and Andy had a squad of Rebels. Both sides were searching the village for a pair of droids who had concealed plans to a top secret Imperial Weapon System (the Death Star). Tony ran the unaligned Jawas and was in charge of resolving the players searches and random events.
The Society has been busy this weekend jut passed, a small contingent ventured to ExCeL for the delayed Salute 2020 (or 2021?) whilst others attended the normal society meeting. First up, Salute. Andy’s thoughts with pictures by John, Mark and Andy.
Five of the membership, John, Brian, Mark, Marcus and Andy, attended Salute putting on Marcus’ Pulp participation game “Biggles and the Island at the Top of the World“.
The theme for the show was the Battle of Britain. The 2020 show was intended to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the battle. Centrally displayed in the hall were a replica Spitfire and Hurricane, with some RAF reenactors making an appearance after the photo was taken.
I got the impression that Salute hired more of ExCeL than usual, to space us out more, although I also understand there were fewer games and traders scheduled to attend than in “normal” years; and there were a few “no shows” in both categories.
In Marcus’ game Biggles is searching a lost Artic island for a missing Professor and the strange artefacts he was studying.
His party discover a secret labyrinth, with ever changing chambers and passages.
However he was not alone, a party of Nazis with unworldly weapons were also trying to recover the Professor.
The Russians had also sent an NKVD team to prevent the Nazis securing their objective.
And finally, a lost tribe of Vikings were hellbent on preventing anyone from leaving the island with the Ragnarok Stones, the phenomena the Professor had been studying.
We ran several games throughout the day, with up to four members of the public taking control of one of the four parties.
A selection of photos from the games:
We are pleased to announce that the game won the Jim Clarke Memorial Award for the Best Science Fiction / Fantasy game at Salute.
Meanwhile, back at the regular Society meeting, other members were running a series of games. Photos courtesy of Mark J and Stephen.
First off Mark J and Pete ran a game of Fields of Glory, pitching Mark’s Hundred Years War English against Pete’s Hungarians.
The first battle was won by the English, the Hungarian Knights couldn’t cope with longbows and stakes. The Hungarians won the second battle by focusing on the men at arms and drawing the longbow fire away from the knights. So, honours even.
Alan ran a Star Wars X-Wing game.
And finally Stephen ran a Stargrave game – A Hive of Scum and Villainy:
Andy tells the story of the Fenris mission from a different perspective.
Following the limited success of the first mission to Denides, Captain Ash de Vere set about recruiting replacements for the losses incurred, Eric Olsen, the First Mate and Sam Fleet, a pathfinder had both died during the mission.
The first order of business was to recruit a new First Mate, by a stroke of fate the best candidate Ash could find was also called Eric, Eric Bamburgh. After some reflection Ash decided the crew really ought to have the services of a medic, and fortunately the new first mate knew of a good man called Dan McIntyre who was looking for a new berth.
As the two new crewmen were settling in Patina dZuk, one of the Runners Ash had engaged for the last mission, popped in and asked Ash if he could stump up 20 credits to get her the kit needed to become a Chisler. As there was just enough credit remaining after hiring Dan, Ash agreed.
So, with the crew back up to full strength Ash set about looking for a new mission to bolster the funds. An information broker Ash knew, Germy, had heard some rumours that Fenris, site of one of the major battles in the Robot Wars, was awash with loot and knew of potential buyers for any physical loot that Ash could find. What Germy didn’t say was how many robots remained active on the surface of Fenris…
Ash and Eric tried to lay some groundwork for the mission, Ash tried his usual sources for some high impact ammunition, but none was to be found. Eric tried greasing some palms to get possible rival crews to look the other way at an opportune moment, but there were no takers.
As Ash set the shuttle down on Fenris he briefed his crew. He would lead one team with Charlie, Jen and Patina. Eric would lead a second team with Skel, Honu and Offler. Bren, who hadn’t fully recovered from the injuries sustained on Denides, and the new medic Dan would be the reserve.
As the teams approached the ruins of a town movement could be seen, several of the Fenris incident robots were moving around the town.
In addition, more than one other crew were in the town, no doubt searching for the same loot Ash was after.
Ash led his team towards Tony’s crew, an ex-military group judging by their uniforms, activating his Energy Shield as he moved through the ruins.
Ash’s team took up positions behind some rocks while Patina got out her lock picks and set to opening a promising looking crate. Success, unlocked!
As Patina checked the contents of the crate she came under fire from Tony’s crew, presumably trying to take her out so they could steal the loot.
Ash and the rest of the team returned fire at Tony’s crew, giving the wounded Patina the chance to fall back with the loot behind some rocks to take her out of the line of fire. Ash told Patina to get back to the Troubadour with the loot as fast as she could; he and the rest of the team would cover her retreat.
In the ensuing firefight Jen was knocked down, and as Ash and Charlie were both hit before they pulled back. As did Tony’s crew, perhaps they realised they weren’t going to be able to catch Patina.
Meanwhile, Eric’s team had moved into a different part of the ruins searching for more loot.
As they advanced a clanking sound was heard behind them, one of the Fenris Robots had appeared from the ruins and opened fire, wounding Skel.
Bren and Dan came to Skel’s aid, Bren taking out the robot, and Dan treating Skel’s injuries.
Honu took up a position to guard the right flank, hunkering down amid the ruins. Good job too as another Robot moved up, firing on and wounding Honu. In returning fire Honu managed to put the Robot down.
While Honu dealt with the robot, Eric and Offler advanced through the ruins, finding another crate.
As they examined the crate they came under fire from Stephen’s crew, who seemed to be concentrating their fire on Offler. She was knocked down, and after returning fire Eric pulled back to some cover, with Bren coming up to support.
For some unknown reason the crew that had shot Offler then fell back, giving Eric the chance to go back and unlock the loot.
With Bren and Honu covering, Eric grabbed the loot and headed back toward the ship, only for yet another robot to appear! Luckily for the crew the combined fire of Bren, Honu and Eric managed to take down the robot, although Bren’s carbine jammed part way through the firefight.
With the robot down Eric’s team made good their escape, with Eric wondering why they had been robot magnets.
Once the Troubadour had left orbit, Dan took Jen and Offler into the sick bay to treat their wounds. Jen was remarkably uninjured after all, it must have been just a glancing blow, but Offler was in worse condition. Dan managed to patch her up, but she would not be back to full strength for a while.
Back at the Grand Market, Ash decided not to fence the loot through Germy, he hadn’t forgiven Germy for the bad intel on the robots. After some haggling, he found buyers for the Trade Goods and Alien Artefact they had recovered, netting 250 and 400 credits respectively. Ash would have to think on how to spend the hard-earned credits.
The crew gained 135 experience from the mission, enabling Eric to advance a level.
On another club outing with Stargrave Jeremey ran a game set on the legendary planet of Fenris, with Stephen providing a dramatic write up of the game …
The game was set up in the ruins of a city with the robots of Fenris on patrol throughout the region. The crews of four ships arrive to search for loot.
Each crew was given a random mission brief providing additional bonuses to be had based on those missions. Stephen ended up with a mission that allowed the crew to pick a rival crew and gain extra credits for any kills against that crew.
The Seedy Dive Space Bar
“100 Credits!? You gotta be kidding me. I want 200.” Kersh Wilson banged his fist on the table for emphasis.
His opposite number leaned forward. Only now did Kersh get an idea of his features in the half-light of the smoke-filled room – the flattened nose, the red skin and ritual scarring. Kersh was dealing with a Creduxian.
“I’ll tell you what I’ll do, Kid,” said the Creduxian. “What I’ll do for you is make it 150 credits for a kill. Just 75 for a hit. Do we have a deal?”
Kersh leaned back, trying to recover his composure, remember the calm and measure he’d been taught as a young student by his masters.
“150 for a kill, huh? Yeah, OK – we got a deal.”
“Good. Good. I’ve made it easy for you. The hit’s name is Offler dZuk – she killed my kinsman. She’s a crew member on a ship called The Troubadour. The captain’s name is Ash de Vere. I’ve had one of my cronies slip Ash some information about some ruins on Fenris. Told him there was money to be made. So I’ve got ‘em off-planet for ya’, somewhere quiet, somewhere away from the eyes of the lawmen. Who knows, maybe you can make some extra loot out of it yourself…”
Kersh and his crew, as well as trying to collect loot tokens, had a special mission – extra money for taking an opposing player’s crew down to zero Health.
Fenris was an area of ruins and covered in undergrowth. Also present were some battle droids, so they’d have to take it careful. I had to choose which player I would have to try and shoot. It would have to be either Andy or Phil, as they were either side of me. I looked at where the loot tokens were and I reckoned that I was more likely to bump into Andy, so it would make sense to have him as my target since there was every chance we’d exchange gunfire anyway. Where I deployed there were two tokens that shouldn’t be too difficult to grab. I pretty much split my force in three – crew Captain Kersh Wilson (a mystic) led a couple of his crew after one token. Shoggoth (a biomorph), the first mate, led some crew after another. I had two raw recruits who I decided I’d send after the furthest away, but also with an eye on the possibility of taking a pop at Andy’s crew if the opportunity presented itself.
Oh yeah, I also had a pathfinder and used his extra speed to lead the way, draw any fire, see what droids were about etc.
I took the first token without too much difficulty. At that point Phil rolled a bad initiative roll (any roll of 4 or under meant a random droid would appear – Phil proved good at rolling low…) and a droid appeared near my crew. Kersh took out his lightsabre (sorry, ‘void blade’ *ahem*). The droid took a shot and Kersh deflected the shots with his blade. He then concentrated carefully and caused psionic flames to shoot from his hand and engulf the droid. Didn’t do too much. So he drew his blaster pistol and let off a couple of shots. Down went the droid.
The two recruits – a robot called 2B-55 and a pale-skinned alien called Ronnock Crowder – advanced through the ruins. Not too far behind was Shoggoth and Yammet Lament, an ex-commando. TwoBee and Ronnock by-passed a loot token, leaving it for Shoggoth, and took position behind some ruins. Because on the opposite side of the road two of Andy’s crew could be seen trying to unlock a loot token.
Both TwoBee and Ronnock drew their pistols and started shooting. Down went one of Andy’s crew – Offler dZuk. She was only wounded, so on Andy’s activation he decided to pull her back. But TwoBee and Ronnock let rip again, and this time she wouldn’t get up – down to zero health. But was it a kill?
With three loot tokens, and having successfully completed their special mission, I decided discretion was the better part of valour and got my crew off with all their loot.
It had been a very successful first mission for Kersh and his crew.
Or was it? The story will to Return to Fenris for a different perspective …
Stephen gives us step by step guide to painting a Sci Fi villain.
For an upcoming game of Stargrave I wanted a baddie. The Big Boss. I looked at the models I had and none of them were really suitable.
So I decided I would buy something. I knew how I wanted the model to be armed, and knew my chances of finding something exactly like that was virtually zero, so it had to be something that could be modified.
Since I intended to order some bits from Ral Partha I thought I’d have a look there.
And lo and behold, I found just the thing – a Neo Soviet Handler from their Vor range (specifically, code 40-412):
I trimmed off the knuckle-duster thing in his left hand and in its place went a blaster pistol from the spares bag. His main armament was going to be a void blade. And when I saw this model, and what he had in his right hand, I couldn’t believe my luck. This would make the perfect handle for a lightsaber (sorry, void blade). I trimmed it down a bit, but I liked the flared ending so kept that. A hole was drilled and a piece of 1.5mm styrene rod was glued in. The model was then stuck to a 25mm plastic base and the base built up with filler. And then it was given a brown undercoat:
Now, in this write-up I am just going to give generic colours rather than specific names and codes for a brand. I use from more than one range of paints and I am sure everyone else does as well.
I decided his robes, gloves, and gimp mask were going to be black. So I slapped it on, letting it get into any awkward gaps in case I couldn’t get a brush in there later so it would act as a deep shade.
Right, this is just my own personal philosophy on black. But I never highlight black with just grey. No. Black is seldom that helpful. Look at any black clothes you may have. I bet they’re all slightly different shades – it depends on age, what the material is, what dye was used. Lots of variables. So try to keep that in mind when highlighting your blacks. The black for the robes had a bit of blue added, then white added to that for successive highlights. The gloves and mask had a blob of red added, then white added to that for successive highlights. You can see the slight difference in ‘black’ here:
Next up, I decided to do the bits that would get a dark brown (OK, OK, GW’s Agrax Earthshade) wash – the boots, pouches, bracers, and metallic bits. These received the same base brown colour. The metals had a steel base colour. Once dried, on goes the wash.
And when that’s dried the pieces are painted up. Like black (and most colours, to be honest) it helps if you vary what you use to highlight your base colours. It’s tempting to add white to lighten it. But maybe yellow might give a different shade to the base colour, or a pale grey. This is a good thing to keep in mind, especially if you have two uses of the same colour next to each other. That said, I did use white to highlight the brown. The metal bits were touched up with the base steel colour, and then highlighted with silver. I ummed and ahhed about what colour to do the lenses on the eyepieces. Blue or green were the first choices that came to mind. But then I thought, orange. So orange it was, highlighted with a dot of yellow.
Next up I decided to do his weapons. There’s a good reason for this – I just couldn’t make up my mind what colour to do his armour. Normally I would have left the weapons to last because they stick out and there’s every chance they could get knocked or rubbed as I did other bits. But I just couldn’t make up my mind. I had thought about green, but I had also decided that his blade was going to be green, and if there was too much green then I may have to re-paint the armour. With that, I decided to do the weapons first, and once that was done maybe the armour colour would be obvious. The handgun had a base colour that was a mix of steel and black to make a gun metal colour, then highlighted with the steel. A red laser sight was also dotted in. I knew from the outset I was going to do a green blade. I have a nice rich green colour, so I went with that. It’s hard to paint a 3D object like it is lit from inside, so I chose to just highlight the base and tip of the blade. I used white to highlight this time.
I looked at it. You know what, I thought, I reckon green would look OK. So I went with green for the armour, but a different shade of green. I gave all the armour panels a thin coating (not really a wash, but not really thick paint either) of the base green mixed with a blob of dark brown (again, you don’t have to darken colours with just black). Once dry I then painted in the panels with the base colour, which was highlighted by adding yellow to the green to create a more vibrant green, but also so it didn’t have the same tonal value as the green on the blade. The edges of the armour were based in dark yellow, and then picked out with a flat yellow.
And that’s the end of the painting for Doctor Moreau. Once finished, I thought the 25mm base looked a little small on what was a chunky model. So I pried the model off the base (and, inevitably, had to touch up a few knocks and chips) and glued him to a 30mm wooden base. Flocking was my standard recipe – a mix of railway ballasts first, and then some spots of static grass:
And that’s Doctor Moreau done, ready to be pestered and set upon by a group of ne’er do wells and freeloaders.
A brief picture album of the third meeting back, still operating under members only rules.
Four games in play today, in chronological order:
First up a FOG Ancients game by Colin & Paul, we only have one picture of this unfortunately.
Moving on to the 17th Century we had a FOG Renaissance game with Brett, Pete, John and Mark, the Scots involvement in the English Civil War.
Moving on a couple of Centuries we move to Mexico in the 1860’s, with the French Intervention played by Alan and Mike using Zouave II rules.
Finally we have a couple of games of Stargrave.
The first game was run by Stephen, with Eric, Marcus, Jeremey and Andy sending their crews to investigate Dr Moreau’s House of Pain.
We had to cut the first game short as Stephen had to leave, so we then played a second game which Jeremey had devised. As Andy’s crew had to disband after his Captain was killed in the first game he ran the second game enabling Jeremey to play.
A ship had crashed, leaving a trail of cargo and potential loot in its wake. Jeremey, Eric and Marcus’s crews came looking for loot, with indigenous interference run by Andy.
Inspired by the imminent arrival of Osprey’s new Stargrave rulebook, Marcus suggested that we have a shuttle scratchbuilding contest (this was several months ago, the book is of course out now). Although the rules are aimed at 28mm figures, this very loose ‘contest’ was for 15mm models.
A while ago I saw a 15mm scale spaceship made from a Nerf rifle on Facebook – it was probably the size of a corvette or small frigate. While I had no desire to make anything that big, the idea still seemed sound for a much smaller vessel made from a pistol or similar. So I picked up an X-Shot branded gun from a supermarket for a fiver … which then sat untouched in its box for over a year. The shuttle building competition seemed like the ideal time to dig it out and make something of it.
I started by dismantling it (it was held together by screws) and removing the trigger, grip and the spring mechanism that propelled the rubber projectiles. This left me with just three pieces – the triple barrel and the two body halves, which I superglued back together. The screw holes were filled with green stuff which I tried to hide as best I could by sculpting in detail to match the surrounding area. The plan was to turn the pistol round so that the gun barrels became the engines and the cockpit would somehow be grafted onto the trigger end. This was all a very vague concept, since I had no idea of the details and what I was going to use to make it all (this make-it-up-as-I-went-along theme ran through the whole build…).
I had to tidy up a couple of bits – I took a razor saw to what would be the nose and removed a protruding bit of plastic, which I covered with a hatch from a Games Workshop vehicle. The hole where the grip came out was boxed in with plasticard with a view to becoming a well for the nose landing gear.
After hunting through my spares box for a suitable aircraft cockpit I came up blank, so in the end I built a simple frame around a curved protrusion which should look like a cockpit when painted up.
Engines were my next issue. Try as I might, in my extensive pile of half-built kits I could not find three identical engines to cover the three muzzles of the original gun. I did find two Mirage-III engines which I used for the lower two. For the upper, central engine I found a rather odd finned one which came from a Japanese spaceship kit. I rationalised the different designs by designating the lower two as the sublight drives, while the upper one is the ship’s FTL or Jump drive.
The final major subassembly that I had to work out was the landing gear – it would have to be robust enough to hold the weight of the ship and stand up to the rigours of gameplay. I’d originally planned to scratchbuild something with skids or feet along the lines of the Millennium Falcon, but during my various delves through my kit pile I came across the landing gear of a 1/48th Rafale which looked like it would work. Having wheels rather than skids also made sense as it would make the shuttle easier to manoeuvre in the tight confines of a carrier bay or hangar. The nose wheel fitted perfectly into the well I’d made earlier – I just superglued it solidly to the back of the well. I drilled holes in the fuselage sides to secure the two larger rear wheel struts and added some extra supports to make them even more secure.
The forward hull had a circular recess on each side – on the left I put the main hatch, originally from a GW Rhino. I gave it some hinges and a grab rail from various kits, and an entry keypad which is the only 3D printed piece on the ship. On the right is the ship’s main armament – when the shuttle was originally built this would have been a second hatch, but now it’s in private service the captain has added a twin heavy cannon mounting, which came from a GW dreadnought. I’ve never played Warhammer 40k, but once upon a time I worked on a video game project for Games Workshop and ended up with number of WH40K sprues in my bits box, which have finally proved to be very handy.
Then I was into full-scale greeblie mode, covering much of the surface of the vessel with all manner of bits and pieces – there are aircraft weapon pylons, bits of superstructure from 1/1200th battleships, a metal radome, some windows and shutters from model railway buildings, helicopter rocket pods and many other unidentifiable bits. There’s also a small defensive gun turret under the main hatch. The engine body got lots of pipes and valves made from plastic rod and strip, and a couple of lengths of old bass guitar strings.
Eventually I called a halt and declared the build finished, and moved onto painting. The overall colour scheme reversed the original colours of the plastic gun, with the main body in white and the nose in orange, and the engines bare metal. I sprayed it overall with Halfords’ white car primer and then washed it with light grey acrylic paint thinned with Johnson’s floor polish (I had planned to use Citadel Apothecary White contrast paint but I’d run out and had to improvise…). This was then heavily drybrushed with pure white with some edge highlights thrown in. The nose was painted with Gryph Hound Orange (another contrast paint) and drybrushed up, and then the engines painted with Citadel Leadbelcher before washing black and drybrushing silver. Contrast paints can be a bit patchy on large flat areas, which just what I was after – this is meant to be an well used, battered vessel that has seen plenty of use.
I painted the gun housing in dark blue-grey, along with the numbers etched into the sides of the fuselage, the cockpit glass in a variety of blues to give a graduated shade and the undercarriage in silver. I then picked out lots of details in different spot colours – a red and white striped probe, yellow emergency gas tanks, grey sensors, a green radome and orange and blue dorsal fins. I even had a go at a rainbow-like heat distortion effect on the engine using washes.
Finally I raided my collection of decals to finish things off – a mixed selection of aircraft markings and GW Tau symbols.
So that’s it – the Empyrean Drifter takes to the spacelanes. Of course it needs a crew, which I’m currently pulling together from various sources. And I’ve now started to think that they need a base to operate the Drifter from, which is a whole new rabbit hole…
A few club members managed to get together for our first game of Stargrave. It’s an interesting set of rules (I had played Frostgrave once) but a big advantage of the rules is you can have multiplayer games easily and players can pick up the basic rules fairly quickly.
Read on to find out what happened, including interjections from the players (Andy, Jeremey, Phil and Tony. Stephen was umpire for the game) …
During the wars there were many isolated and secret installations throughout the galaxy.
One of those could be found on Denides, an otherwise unremarkable desert planet in the Tuetera system. It was used as a recycling plant, where everything from military hardware, chemicals, and electronic equipment was sent to be reprocessed.
The plant was semi-automated and controlled by droids. Its secrets couldn’t remain secret for long. There’d been a buzz on the underground info net about Denides for a long time. Then some data jockey hacked into a government mainframe, found out exactly where it was, and all of a sudden there was a bidding war for the coordinates. Pirates, scavengers, and rogues from all across the galaxy knew this was a chance to acquire some sensitive information or useful tech they could sell.
Then one day it happened that several deep space vessels came out of hyperdrive in the Tuetera system, all with sub-light drives powering them to the planet of Denides…
You have managed to uncover an interesting piece of information. When the wars came to an end many items were still conveyed to a recycling plant on the planet of Denides, many things that probably shouldn’t have been because the plant was decommissioned when the war ended and so they remain there, untouched.
These include useful data and information on activities conducted by governments during the war and could prove a valuable source of income for selling off. It transpires that advanced equipment was also shipped off to be recycled and this could also be lucrative.
Be warned, Denides is isolated and remote – could easily be pirates and smugglers hiding out. There’s also the droids who run the place. And who knows what wild creatures could have since moved in.
Phil’s Hallucinations: Old Ned wasn’t happy. At all. The small, green first mate of the starship Delivon put his feet up and reflected on the events of the previous few hours. “Don’t worry,” said the captain. “Easy pickings,” said the captain. “It’s a deserted facility,” she said.
Well the target of their foraging mission didn’t turn out to be easy pickings. It also wasn’t deserted – as Captain Rita discovered herself when she took a hit from a security droid early on.
Still after being pinned down by several droids for what seemed like an age they finally managed to locate some abandoned data canisters. All good.
And then one of the hired help fired un-necessarily at a group of scavengers.
The return of fire killed one of the crew and wounded two more (including the captain for the second time). Worst still as far as Ned was concerned the ship’s robot took a bad hit. Robot was Ned’s favourite of all the crew.
With the captain down Ned had assumed command and got everyone back to the ship. Well nearly everyone.
Ned lay back in his bunk. ‘Captain Ned’ – I like the sound of that he thought.
Tony’s Rantings: Captain Jenin Hosvarn had heard about the decommissioned recycling plant on Denides over a Sabacc game in the Blazing Shuttle cantina, and immediately realised the possibilities that it held. Of course, everyone else in the game heard about it too, so he had to move fast. He made sure that he folded early in the next hand – not too obviously, mind – and, pleading poverty, cashed up his few remaining chips and slipped out the side door into the drizzle.
Returning to docking bay 32, he was greeted enthusiastically by Lucifer, his Toskinian wolf-hound and, rather less effusively, by C6R5 the utility/pilot droid. Kicking Budfodo, the hulking Altavian first mate of the Empyrean Drifter, out of his bunk, he jumped straight on to the comms station. One call later he had secured 36 standard hours of the services of half-a-dozen former Federal troopers-turned-mercenaries for a moderately eye-watering fee, a modest share of any potential loot and a promise to defray the cost of any expended ammo. Hopefully that should be plenty of time for the short return hop to Denides, as the overtime penalties would rapidly wipe out his profits.
As soon as the hired guns were strapped into the Drifter’s jump seats, C6R5 engaged the sublight drives and lifted the shuttle through the clouds. Next stop, Denides…
Before we set up the game and created our crews I had already decided on the basic premise of mine. I wanted a very small core crew, just the captain and his sidekick essentially, who would add a number of hired hands as required. During the set up phase I added the idea of the Captain’s faithful hound and the ship’s utility droid, mainly because I needed a couple of cheap characters to fill out the roster. This left me with room for six Mercs, a mix of troopers and specialists.
Despite some disparaging comments from the rest of the Captains about leading from the rear, I figured that Jenin had paid the mercenaries enough for them to go first. It was all part of the plan! The rest of the plan involved keeping out of trouble (Jenin was paying for the Mercs’ ammo after all), and hopefully getting away with a couple of loot counters.
Mostly things went as intended; I rapidly disposed of two armed sentinel droids, and saw off some annoying wandering creatures – a sandwyrm and some bat-like beasties. I’d hired a gunner with a heavy rapid fire weapon, Budfodo had one too and after a couple of early duff rolls I was generally effective with their shooting.
I had Jeremey on my right flank – we were separated by two rows of billboards and couldn’t really see each other for most of the game. Phil was on my left flank and he was having a lot more trouble getting past the droids than I did (his party trick for the day involved rolling mostly single figure numbers on his D20), which meant I was pretty much left to my own devices.
Having knocked out the sentinels, Jenin unlocked the first data-loot token and passed it onto C6R5 to take back to the Drifter. Scogill, the Merc hacker, made his way up the gantry to a second token and unlocked that as well. At this point my crew were ready to make a graceful withdrawal, I’d have been quite happy to get away with two loot counters and no casualties.
But for some reason, Captain Rita (Phil) decided to take a pot shot at Jenin and caused him 9 points of damage – not enough to wound, but certainly sufficient to irritate. Budfodo and Whibert, the specialist Merc gunner, took exception to this unprovoked assault on their leader and immediately took out Rita in return. The following turn I beat Phil on the initiative roll which meant, since he no longer had his Captain in play, that I was able to activate and fire almost all of my crew using group moves before he could react, leaving two of Rita’s goons and her combat droid lying next to her in the oily sand of the recycling plant.
Jenin was most unhappy about the additional expense of the extra ammunition they’d had to use, so he sent in one of the Mercs to grab the loot token that Phil had originally been unlocking. He managed to do this first go, so in the end the Drifter hit orbit with three data-loot tokens aboard rather than two. Which made it a profitable afternoon, that alien plasma pistol could come in handy one day…
Andy’s Ravings: Captain Ash de Vere sat back in the pilot’s seat of his ship, The Troubadour, as it lifted off from the arid planet Denides. “Well”, he thought, “that was one hell of a clusterfuck!”…
A couple of weeks ago he’d heard rumours that there might be some useful tech scattered around an old recycling plant on the planet Denides, and put together a crew to search the site for anything useful. His first mate, Eric Olsen, was sceptical not trusting the source of the rumours, but went along with the plan.
In addition to the 4 regular crew of Charlie Crow (Gunner), Sam Fleet (Pathfinder) and the two Fox sisters, Bren & Jen (Troopers), Ash had recruited two more Troopers, Skel Black and Honu Mihru and a couple of Runners: the cousins Offler and Patina dZuk from the Manticore system, the only non-humans on the crew.
Approaching the scrapyard Ash split the crew into three teams. He led the first team comprising Charlie (Rapid Fire MG), Skel (Carbine) and Jen (Shotgun) and took the left flank. Eric (Shotgun) took the right flank with the second team of Bren and Honu (both with Carbines). The final group was led by Sam (Carbine) with Offler and Patina (both armed with pistols).
As the crew advanced Sam’s group heard a steady flapping sound and turned to find a Ryankan approaching from behind. Patina fired at it and missed, but was able to fight it off when it attacked her. As the Ryankan prepared to attack again Bren let rip with her carbine and tore it to shreds.
Ash’s team headed towards a landing pad with a derelict shuttle, only to encounter a security droid which opened fire on Skel. He and Jen took cover behind some quad bikes and trailers and returned fire.
Ash and Charlie joined in the firefight, and the droid fell to a burst from Ash’s carbine.
Eric’s group had split up following the encounter with the Ryankan, they made their way towards a data cache while Sam’s team made use of their faster speed and approached some water extraction towers.
Eric called Patina over to help with a data cache; using his deck Eric cracked the lock on the data cache and downloaded the data on to a data chip.
As they completed the download, they spotted another crew approaching, with hostile intent. Eric and Patina fell back to some cover; Eric gave Patina the data chip and told her to get back to the Troubadour as fast as she could.
Offler had advanced to some fencing, ahead of her she saw another crew in a firefight with more security droids with more local wildlife, in the form of some Ferrox and more Ryankan attacking this new group. Discretion being the better part of valour, she hunkered down, only to be attacked by Bileworm which surfaced near her. Whether the Bileworm’s toxin is more effective against Manticorean physiology we don’t know, but she soon lost consciousness.
Ash and Jen moved to Offler’s aid, firing on the Bileworm to no effect. The Bileworm however had much better aim and spat its toxin them, injuring both of them.
Meanwhile Eric and Sam had advanced to a physical loot cache, but were unable to unlock it before they were shot down by the first hostile crew. Skel, Honu and Bren exchanged fire with other members of the first hostile crew, taking one of them out of the game at the cost of Bren who was felled by a volley.
With four of the crew down, two more injured and one now heading back to the ship with loot Ash decided to call it a day and told the crew to break off.
Skel and Honu made it out of the scrapyard without any further contact, but Ash and Jen had to get past the Bileworm to make their escape. Luckily for them Charlie kept up suppressive fire on the Bileworm, eventually reducing it to mincemeat.
Once back at the Troubadour Ash took stock of the mission. On the plus side, the crew retrieved a data loot cache, killed three of the local predators and took one member of another crew out of the game. The data loot turned out to be an advanced Shotgun (?) worth 120 credits. The crew gained 105 experience points.
On the debit side, both Eric and Sam succumbed to their wounds and would need to be replaced. Ash and Jen eventually recovered from the Bileworm toxin, but Bren Fox was badly wounded and would either need medical treatment before taking part in another mission of have to fight with reduced health. Offler fully recovered from her injuries, Skel and Honu were bloodied and bruised but sustained no long-term damage. Only Charlie and Patina quit the field unscathed.
With the announcement of the release of Stargrave last year one of our members suggested that as a lockdown project those interested might like to kitbash or scratchbuild a shuttle or spaceship and paint up a 15mm crew for the game, with a target date of early 2021 when we hoped we might be able to resume meetings. The due date was of course extended.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…
Actually, no, it was in the 1970’s in Rochester, I bought and made up an Airfix Space 1999 Eagle Transporter. Said model has followed me around various student lodgings, digs, flats and finally my current home.
So, I had a search in the loft and found the Eagle. It’s not had very much use, but at one point I completely repainted it into a non-cannon scheme.
I noticed that the thruster units were missing, I have a vague recollection that I removed them for the last repaint, and put them in a ziplock bag somewhere. Exactly where I don’t recall, hopefully they will turn up at some point.
Having found the model I decided I didn’t want to do a full strip and repaint, but I wasn’t that keen on the colour scheme I had used for the doors on the cargo pod or cockpit.
I decided to just touch up the grey and repaint the cargo pod and cockpit panels. I started off by giving the doors and the cockpit panels a couple of coats of Foundation White. Once dry I then repainted the doors and panels with Fluorescent Orange, with some black lining. The instrument panels at the top of the doors were painted Gunmetal Grey.
I also decided that the main engine nozzles need a touch-up, matt black inside and Gunmetal Grey outside. I also repainted the black panels on the cockpit section. I suspect my decision to use a grey and orange scheme may have been influenced by old Royal Navy SAR helicopters.
I had a rummage through my spare transfer box and found quite a few sheets from some Hasegawa 1:72nd scalexe UH-1D Helicopters I’d built for Vietnam games. This gave me a load of duplicate registration numbers, plus some Japanese Kanji characters. I gloss varnished the areas I to which I was going to place the transfers, added some 5-digit numbers to the front and sides, and larger two-digit numbers to the sides and top surfaces. I also added a Kanji block to the sides of the cargo pod, these actually read Rikujōjieitai or “Japan Ground Self Defence Force”. The reasons for adding some Kanji characters will become clearer later.
While I was working on the Eagle and posting WIP pictures on the MWS groups.io discussion page a debate arose about whether I should give the Eagle some weapons. There were arguments in favour and against, some of which were quite passionate.
I decided to try and have the best of both worlds, and make the guns detachable. Looking at the Eagle the spinal lattice work had gaps of approximately one inch. I thought I could make some inserts to fit this lattice to hold the guns.
I started by cutting some 25mm square sections of 5mm foamboard, then trimming about 2 mm off each edge of one of the cardboard faces and the underlying foam. This needs to be done carefully so as not to cut through the second face. This results in a roughly 21mm square “plug” with a 25mm square upper face. I made two of these.
I painted the guns Gunmetal grey and the body of the pack as close a match to the Eagle’s grey as I could mix. I then gave the guns a liberal coat of Army Painter Dark Tone wash.
These gun packs just push fit into the spinal lattice, the foam is flexible enough to deform as they fit into place and expand again to hold them solid. The separate twin turret just fits into a recess in the cockpit section.
Now onto the crew.
A while ago I was tempted by a couple of GZG figure packs that bore an uncanny resemblance to the cast of a certain 2000’s Sci Fi TV show and film. Shiny. So, these would become the crew of the Eagle.
I mounted these on some 16mm diameter washers, built up the bases with Polyfilla and undercoated them with grey primer.
I found a few pictures of the cast on the web and used those as inspiration for the colour scheme, or as close as I could get with the mostly Valljeo paints I had available. The bases were then finished off with basetex and the figures varnished.
Three of the cast had duplicate figures, either different clothing and / or weapons, so I painted the second version in slightly different colours so that they could be used as different characters if required.
The other six members of the crew only had a single casting each:
Oh, and the use of the Kanji script on the Eagle? In the TV show the characters speak a mixture of American English and Mandarin (the latter usually mild profanities) and the latter also appears in company names and logos, the Kanji decals were the closest I had to Mandarin.
I originally thought that the Airfix kit was 1:72nd scale, but if so, the crew would have to be contortionists to fit in the cockpit.
Off to Google. There’s quite a few websites dedicated to Space: 1999. I found one website that states that the Eagle is 76 feet (23.16m) long which, given the model length of 300mm nose to engine nozzles, would make the kit approximately 1:77th scale; another compares the Airfix kit to the different Eagle models used in the TV series, which were not necessarily consistent with each other.
This suggests that the Airfix model is likely to be closer to 1:96th scale. I could probably start some arguments if I started making pronouncements that 15mm = 1:100 scale (personally I reckon it’s closer to 1:120), but the bottom line is I think that the Eagle looks OK next to 15mm figures, and the crew could get into the cockpit without scraping their heads on the ceiling.
Wherever you have protagonists you need antagonists. As far as I could see GZG didn’t do any of the TV show’s “baddies”, the Alliance, so I went elsewhere.
Brigade models do some Uniformed Starship Crew and some Tank Crew in helmets. I got a pack of each. Unfortunately, the bases on these were too small to glue directly to the washers, so I had to cut some suitably sized cardboard fillers to bridge the gap. These figures got a generic mid grey uniform with some red and silver highlights here and there. Depending on your viewpoint these are the heroes of justice, or the lackeys of the oppressive state.
These chaps don’t have a ship of their own, but I do have a vehicle, a Brigade Javelot scout car, for them.
It might be a bit tight for all 8 of them in there, so I might need to get them more transport!
I can see myself wanting to play it loads (mind you, there’s loads of other games I want to play as well – currently undergoing bad Saga withdrawal symptoms).
Lucky for me, I have enough figures and scenery to get started with Stargrave, no need to paint before play, etc.
So what I have here is an introduction to two crews I have put together.
The first group are a party of scavengers from the Candolorian system. They are led by Elias Dante, captain of The Devastator, and a rogue who has been one side of the galaxy to the other. With Elias is Imjin Tik-tok, a Tuncoul and experienced tekker who looks after Elias’ droids.
The droids themselves are TT-1B and CLN-T 35TWD. 1B is an old sentry bot who’s had his software updated. CLN-T is of unknown origin.
The rest of the crew are made up of Mackenzie Talian, Quill Raiker, and Murch Nagu. Mac and Quill have known each other for years and have worked on many heists and smuggling jobs. Murch is a Thecan and a heavy trooper from the wars.
Next up is Madam Sholay, a psionicist and owner of The Monsoon – a converted Hauler class light freighter. First mate on The Monsoon is a biomorph called Shoggoth, who never strays far from Sholay’s side.
The crew of The Monsoon is made up of ex-military personnel. There’s Aidan Kenver and Yammet de la Cruz, a pair of advance party pathfinders.
And rounding off the group are Mallias Bygrove and Zanford Schneider, two snipers who have a long list of kills to their names.