Armoured Car: Ironclad Miniatures

| Monday, 20 October 2014 | 1 comments |
If you haven't seen them before, you'll enjoy Ironclad Miniatures's great range of VSF vehicles.  I tossed and turned for ages before settling on my initial (and I stress initial) purchase- the 3 wheeled Armoured Car to support my Royal Navy landing force.

 The vehicle comes in 5 parts - resin hull, turret and stack, and metal wheels x3 and the gun barrel.
All parts were cleanly cast and there was not pitting on the resin  A few small bubbles were quickly cleaned up with no damage to detail.

The model itself was very easy to assemble and paint, though I decided I wanted a more experimental look so replaced the stack with a taller one like an early coal fired warship, with a few supports welded on to help keep it place.

I high recommend this mode and the service I received from Ironclad Miniatures was outstanding.  I am ow umming and ahhing over what to get next...

Osprey's New Book - Steampunk Soldiers

| Friday, 17 October 2014 | 4 comments |
Osprey Publishing is releasing a new book in their Dark Osprey series in November. Steampunk Soldiers: Uniforms and Weapons From The Age of Steam.

I received a review copy a couple of weeks back and have just finished reading it. I must admit, when I first picked the book up I wasn't quite sure how much I would get out of it. At a quick flick through there's no denying that it is an attractive book. However, what use would it be to a wargamer, or roleplayer? Clearly, looking at the quality of the illustrations, as with the traditional historical Osprey range, there is plenty of inspiration for a figure sculptor but I am not planning to sculpt any more steampunk figures.

Still I dove into the book and found that it is well written and offers some fascinating ideas for new armies/companies, as well as giving some interesting scenario ideas. The book is written as a guide to the worlds military forces, with the fictional "author/artist" having toured the world and recorded his impressions of the various troops he has seen, both in paint and text.

The illustrations are beautiful and full of flavour. I would have liked to see some more strange and exotic steampunk outfits and equipment, several of the illustrations could easily be confused with historical pictures, however, the aim of the book has clearly been for a subtle deviation from history, at least in most instances.

The real joy of this book though is the text, it offers valuable ideas for new steampunk gaming scenarios, and for anyone who doesn't like the existing fluff from their own steampunk rules systems this will give you a great alternative, at least supplying plenty of alternative ideas to work with.

After finishing the book I have been left with an abiding desire to explore the world some more. I hope the book is successful enough for Osprey to commission a sequel that could possibly explore larger scale military equipment, vehicles, ships, space vessels and possibly even fortifications...

In Her Majesty's Name Gas Grenade Templates

| Thursday, 16 October 2014 | 3 comments |
I played my first game using my new Totenkopf Battalion company last week. It was the first time that any of us had used grenades, and as they use gas grenades a lot I didn't know what to expect. As it turns out they proved extremely effective and laid waste to Jeff's Scotland Yard company.

As I tossed the grenades around I placed a D10 at the impact point with the number of turns it would stay in effect on to. At the beginning of each turn I went around and reduced the turns left by one. It worked out fine, but it didn't really capture the feel of a field covered with swirling clouds of toxic gas. Also rolling D10s on the table while all the gas making D10s were lying around became a little confusing.

So over the last couple of days I have devised a template for use with the gas grenades.

I laser cut the basic disc to the size of the gas cloud and  engraved 1 to 10 on it. I also cut a 10 toothed gear in the middle. Then I added a second disc with a loop to show how many turns the gas has left.

I decided to use yellow and green light gathering acrylic as it  represented the sickly glow of the poison gas rather well. Also, at Del's suggestion I made a couple of the templates with three legs so that they could be placed over other terrain items.

Each turn it is just a case of lifting out the top disc and rotating it to show how many turns the gas has left.

A closer look at some Meridian Miniatures figures

| Friday, 26 September 2014 | 1 comments |
I recently finished assembling and painting a some Meridian Miniatures figures. I am using them in my In Her Majesty's Name game as Prussians, so I decided to use the bodies with long coats and a selection of the separate heads, all wearing variations on the classic Pickelhaube.

Firstly we have a selection of standard riflemen. There are a reasonable selection of poses, both active and standing, and the ability to position the heads gives some room for some variation too.The figure at the centre rear is actually the chaplain (carrying the book)

In these closer shots of some of the riflemen you can see the nice level of detail on the miniatures.

Moving on we have a variety of the weird weapons that could only appear in the steampunk genre. There are also a communications officer and an engineer lurking to the left and rear. I gave all these figures a slightly different head, using an upgraded gas-mask design, as I felt that specialists deserved slightly better equipment.

Taking a look at the communications officer, you can see the wonderfully weird design of his equipment.

Finally, the command section. In the middle we have the general, on the left an officer and on the right the medic.

 I am reasonably pleased with the paint job, it was a quick once over with various colours and then a couple of washes (one for the skin tone and then one all over...).

These figures were launched in a Kickstarter last year (2013), so it has only taken me a year to get around to painting them. I may be slightly quicker with the new Kickstarter that Meridian Miniatures are running at the moment, as these were a pleasure to paint.

Check out the new Kickstarter (it only has a couple of days to go), it has some very nice sculpts...

We live in…Savage Worlds!

| Monday, 1 September 2014 | 2 comments |
Product: Savage Worlds
Setting: Deadlands
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment Group, Inc. 

A Little History

We play the games that our friends play; its hard to play anything but MMORPG by yourself, after all. When I was living in Ohio, I was particularly fortunate that my friends had very open minds towards gaming, and while we all started out as a D&D group, we would frequently take breaks from our ongoing campaign to try out different game systems and settings. Among the games we played were Shadowrun, Call of Cthulhu (d20 version), UGHS (a system developed by my friend Darryl Nichols who passed away before it could be completed) and Peryton's WHAPS—a shameless plug since the publishers are friends of mine.

One of these various systems stood out as particularly friendly to our genre of Steampunk: Savage Worlds and its Deadlands setting.

About the System

Pinnacle claims that their system is Fast! Furious! Fun! When compared with other RPGs, the rule system is wonderfully simplified. For any task at hand, your Hero simply rolls a "Trait" die and (in addition to) a so-called "Wild Die" to determine success or failure. The Trait Die is variable (d4 to d12) depending on how many build points the player has assigned for that task; the Wild Die is always a d6. In essence, this allows heroes to roll twice to overcome any obstacle.

At the other end, the game master sets a value for success, which is called the Target Number. The Target Number starts at 4, although circumstances may increase that Target Number to reflect certain conditions: shooting an enemy requires a 4, but if the enemy has armor, cover, or modifications, the Target Number may become 6, 8 or higher depending on the specific modification and how many modifications there are.

Savage Worlds (which is the name of the system) allows for "exploding dice," which means that if you roll a six on a d6, you may roll it again. Thus, if you roll a 6, 6, and a 4 with your d6, you would score 16. Hopefully that's enough!

The rule system also provides for a bit of temporary luck called "bennies." Bennies—short for benefits—are chips that are cashed in to alter a particular outcome. Used to reroll a critical failure, for instance, could be the difference between life and death. But each player has a finite number of bennies to use in a session.

Although this is an abbreviated description of how the game is played, it should offer a glimpse into the relative ease that this system provides to both the player and to the game master. Setting up encounters is equally easy and quick to develop.

To go into a bit more detail, the system also provides mechanisms for combat, skills, advancement, magic, and role playing. Its a very flexible system with examples in the core book for a swords and sorcery setting to a futuristic adventure in space.

About the Setting

Pinnacle offers several settings for their system, although the system, as mentioned above, allows for creativity and the building of your own game world with relative ease. In the context of this blog, several settings could be appropriate for your gaming genre and style: Rippers; Space 1889Solomon Kane; Deadlands, which is reviewed below.

Deadlands is far and away the most successful product in Pinnacle's lineup. Originally a game system unto itself (Deadlands Classic), it provided the working basis for the Savage Worlds system. Since then, it has been reworked as Deadlands Reloaded (the setting under review), Deadlands Noir (1930s pulp), Deadlands: Hell on Earth (a dystopian future), and a line of novels. Reaper Miniatures even has a line of miniatures corresponding to specific characters in the official line of adventures. Clearly, this is a successful franchise for Pinnacle!

Get to the point already!

Deadlands is a Western setting in which the supernatural has arisen, fantastic gizmos utilizing Ghost Rock technology are common, and the dead sometimes walk again. The world is on the verge of apocalypse shortly after the American Civil War (circa 1880), and the heroes, armed with gatling guns, strange elixirs, and powerful—but potentially dangerous—weapons created by mad scientists do battle with various horrors as the game master sees fit to throw at them.


  • As a game system, Savage Worlds lives up to its claim: Fast! Furious! Fun!
  • As a game system, Savage Worlds is a very flexible set of rules that allows for quick and easy design of encounters and adventures.
  • Deadlands can be a very scary and exciting setting.
  • There are too many splat books to count if you'd like to expand upon options for Deadlands. Personally, not only do I have the Players Handbook and the GM guide (Marshall's Handbook), but also several of the canned adventure paths and books on encounter ideas—which are easy to toss into any adventure that you're running.
  • Reaper Mini has official figures; personally, I use my imagination for figures.


The biggest complaint that I have of this—and most gaming systems—is that it should have a better index. Rules on resolving attacks and injuries are in two separate chapters, and when players are trying to learn the game, the back-and-forth method of finding which rule covers which situation can bog down an exciting fight.


I would really love some feedback from those of you who read this blog. My personal experience is with old-school RPGs such as D&D (starting with AD&D through 4.0 and Pathfinder). I approach my articles from that point of view, but I would love to hear from other points of view as well. What games do you regularly play? What games have you tried? Do you prefer RPGs or are you more of a wargamer?

In so doing, you'll expand my horizons so that I can provide better articles to you, the reader.




Images liberally pilfered from Internet Archive Book Images.

Mounties to the Rescue!

| Monday, 18 August 2014 | 2 comments |
Pulp Figures by Bob Murch
Product: The Scarlet Patrol
Line: Yukon Menace: Northland Adventures
Manufacturer: Pulp Figures
Designer: Bob Murch
Where to buy: Pulp Figures

The Scenario

While running games, I frequently like to ask myself "What if…" questions. Which leads us to today's post.

Victorian Science Fiction as a genre often takes place in and around London or within Great Britain. Influential literature supports this assumption—from Bram Stoker's Dracula to Gordon Dahlquist's Glass Books of the Dream Eaters. A frequent visitor in this genre is, of course, is the local constabulary; the Metropolitan London Police and their ubiquitous "bobbies" make regular appearances to either save the day or to mess things up for our heroes.

But with Jack the Ripper, Moriarty, and Edward Hyde prowling the streets, London really must be a crowded place to do nefarious business. Move to Canada, of course! Natural resources, industry, railroads, gold…and Mounties. But do they always get their man?

If you're thinking that the Canadian Mounties are not Victorian enough, think again. Established in 1873 as the North West Mounted Police, by the 1890s the Baden-Powell styled Stetson was being introduced as a more practical alternative than the standard pith helmet normally used by cavalry units (Mounties, after all, were "mounted").

About the Figures

Three members of the Scarlet Patrol on stakeout!
Bob Murch is a relatively well known designer—having done a fair amount of work for RAFM in the past. He sculpted their Call of Cthulhu line, and won several awards in doing so.

Over all, his designs are sturdy and solid; while some sculptors excel at abundant detail (Werner Klocke being a good example), Murch amply demonstrates elegance in simplicity. The details that define each character at there; extraneous and distracting embellishments are not. Some of the other lines DO have substantial detail, but I will review those at a later time.

Pulp Figures are generally sold as units of five unique miniatures, each with its own personality, pose and style. Although designed for use in the Rugged Adventures RPG (free to download), these figures would be a great addition to any RPG in which North American character would be welcome.

Bob Murch's love of the Pulp genre and of gaming in its own right show through in each of his figures. Along with the standard pulp-style heroes and heroines, there are also plenty of military units to satisfy your next invasion of Istanbul with Rocket Troops.


Come out with your hands up!
(The house is Flying Tricycle, now defunct.)
  • Superb casting. One could almost start painting straight out of the mail.
  • Economical. At $15.50 per package (usually five miniatures), the cost is quite reasonable.
  • Personality. Personality goes a long way. From expressions to pose, each figure—despite the fact that each is part of a police unit—is completely different from another.


I've tried hard to find fault with anything from Pulp Figures. When I do, I'll post it here first, but in the meantime, be confident that you'll be getting first-rate service and products from Pulp Figures.
Looks like I forgot to paint a few! Fresh out of the package, these figures require very little prep work.

British Naval Brigade: Ironclad Miniatures

| Saturday, 16 August 2014 | 2 comments |
UK based Ironclad Miniatures makes a range of 28mm VSF figures.  In particular they have a great range of resin vehicles inkling submarine and aeronefs but more on those another time.

Today's review regards their British Naval Brigade Boarding Party figures.  These differ from other manufacturer's figures in that are heavily armoured - in steel plate carapaces and Ned Kelly style bucket helmets.  I think they look awesome!

There are 3 packs in the range, namely:

British Naval Brigade Boarding Party No.1: Four different figures equipped for close combat with pistols and cutlasses

British Naval Brigade Boarding Party No.2: Four different figures equipped for ranged combat with carbines

British Naval Brigade Boarding Party Command: Two stout looking leader types

I purchased a pack of each to give me a 10 man unit.  I like that all the poses are different and give good variety to the boarding party.  The figures were clean, crisp and easy to paint.  The nature of the armour means that there isn't a heap of detail on the figures, but neither is it needed.  I was very happy with how mine came out in winter blues styled uniforms, though the Ironclad site has some in tropical whites (pic at the bottom of the post).
Shortfalls: None other that there are no other figures available like support weapons.  The moustache on the Officer bugs me a little too, instead of a naval styled beard - but thats just me being pedantic!

If you are after something a little different for your Naval Brigades then I highly recommend these figures.
Party No2 from The Ironclad site here

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