Thousand Suns


This just arrived for me from DriveThruRPG today — the Thousand Suns rulebook by Jame Maliszewski. The POD format is (I think) digest-sized, and softcover — I believe you can also order it as a hardcover, but that would just be the softcover glued into a case binding. It might be a little more hard-wearing, maybe.

It's intended for fairly pulpish science fiction / space opera gaming. There is nothing particularly startling about the system; it's a pretty standard target-number skills-based game, using modified 2d12 rolls as the base mechanism. It is built to be about as simple as it's possible to be though, which is all to the good.

It includes, or is built around, a fairly nebulous milieu of Space Empires for players to rampage through. There are a couple of example alien races detailed, as well as a couple of genetically modified human variants (plus standard humans, or Terrans as they're called in the book) which give players enough to be going on with, and which provide templates for GMs to build their own aliens and things. Likewise, there are examples of spaceships and what-not, again enough to jump right in, and to provide guidance for building one's own.

I haven't yet read it through thoroughly, but it seems to me to be a decent enough space opera game, and simple enough to be able to run off the cuff without too much trouble.

There's a little supplementary material available — a book on starships, a star sector description and accompanying adventure, and there's the first issue of an occasional magazine too, called Imperio with an excellent cover by Russ Nicholson and the usual sort of bits and pieces you'd expect in a RPG system mag. Hopefully more will follow, but it's not really necessary; it would be a pretty simple matter for your average GM to create or adapt the material they want for this system.

I'm looking forward to trying it out.

Red Devils — Finished


I've finished my first section of 15mm paras, and I'm satisfied enough with them that I can proceed with confidence to do another couple of sections, and some command and support teams.

I'm making an effort these days to actually record what I'm doing with paints and things, so that I don't have to rely on my fairly crappy memory when I come back to a task weeks (or months, or years) later.

One would think, having been trained in this sort of record-keeping at art school, that it would be second nature. But no, my laziness tends to trump things like utility, and I have to keep a stern eye on myself so that I don't piss off Future-Self too much by my lack of consideration.

Red Devils in 15mm

PSC 15mm British Paratroopers

I recently got some 15mm plastic British WWII paratroopers from PSC. This is the first section off my painting desk.

I haven't ever tried painting the paras' Denison smocks in this scale. I do have a vague memory of painting an Airfix 1/32 scale para, probably some time in the early '70s, but I don't remember if it was any good or not. I suspect not.

I'm reasonably happy with how they've turned out. I might do little bit more with them — maybe a bit of highlighting on the trousers, for example — but apart from a bit of base flocking, this is about it for them.

There are always limitations with hard plastic figures, and compromises to be made for castability from rigid metal moulds. However, I think that PSC have done a pretty decent job with these ones.

Perilous Assumptions



I made a semi-fatal error recently, when I used a monster (three of them, in fact) straight out of the D&D Creature Catalogue, intended for use in BECMI D&D, but used instead in my AD&D game.

It was a critter that I'd used in other editions of the game, so I thought I knew pretty well what to expect from it.

What I discovered is that a BECMI monster type stands a good chance of being considerably more powerful than its AD&D equivalent. That's something I was not expecting.

It could have been worse I suppose; I only ended up killing one PC, but another one was drained away to a mere shadow of his former self.

I will have to be more careful in future.

The Soviet Horde is Getting Out Of Hand


When I went to chuck my recently-completed T-70 into its box with all its friends, I suddenly realised that I'd accidentally amassed a fairly respectable amount of early-war Soviet kit.

That's mainly due to poor impulse control: if I see a whole bunch of T-34s on sale for very cheap, I just can't help but grab them, just in case.

The T-35, SMK and T-28 models I did because I'm fond of the ridiculous land-dreadnought designs of the 1930s, and pandering to that fondness got a lot easier when I got myself my 3d printer. The T-35s are from Zvezda, but the others (apart from one very old Battlefront T-28) are all printed.

The trouble I have with turning all this clutter into a usable wargaming army is that I don't much enjoy painting and basing infantry, and the Russians need a lot of infantry.

Then again, I just got a copy of What a Tanker from the Lardies, which is pretty much World of Tanks for the tabletop, so I guess I could start using them for that.

Easy Wood Grain

These are bits from a very old 1/24 scale SPAD XIII that I started detailing, and never got around to finishing.

The plywood shelf below the cockpit coaming is the focus here: it's just a flat piece of plastic card with wood grain painted on.

I base coated it in a sandy tan to begin with, and then laid on some oil paint, thinned with linseed oil. I think, from memory, it was burnt umber, or maybe VanDyck brown.

When I had a reasonably complete, but thin, layer of oil paint, I created the grain by dragging across it with an old ragged stiff brush. You want to do this in one pass if you can; if you go back over an area that has already been done, it will probably just mess it up and you'll have to start again.

You can achieve a similar effect with acrylics, mixed with enough medium to make it translucent, but I found that it tends to dry too fast. It might be more successful if used with a retarder, but I haven't tried.

Oiling Up

This is a 3d-printed 1:100 scale T-70, printed on my Ender 3 from a (slightly changed) model by M. Bergman.

It's the first time I've tried using oil paints for pin-washes and streaking, and I think I like the process. The extended working and cleanup time is a boon, and the solvent (white spirit) wicks quickly and easily along creases and crevices.

The base colour is Vallejo's ModelAir Soviet 4B0 sprayed over black and white pre-shading.

I've only used one oil colour on this — raw umber. I've seen other modellers using spots of several colours for surface streaking, but that tends to be in larger scales (1/48 or 1/35), and this model is very tiny. I think a multi-toned streaking effect would get overdone very, very quickly.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with it so far. It could, no doubt, be done better, but that will come with experience. Now, on with all the detail painting.

And all done.

For someone with no intention of building a Soviet wargames army, I sure do have a lot of Soviet kit.

Burford-Kegresse, revisited

I have been redesigning my Burford-Kegresse to make it manageable for home FDM printing.

The Burford-Kegresse was an armoured half-tracked vehicle, used as a machine-gun carrier mounting a pair of .303 Vickers guns on a Scarf ring mount, as shown here, or as an unarmed personnel carrier.

It was in service with the British army from the mid to late 1920s, about the same time as the Birch Gun.

The British didn't use either half-tracks or self-propelled artillery again until WWII.

I've uploaded a couple of versions for 3d printing to

Zvezda 1:100 M3 Lee

Battlegroup: Pacific has hove into view over the horizon, and though it will likely be a couple of months before my own copy arrives out here in the back of beyond, I'm planning ahead.

Out in the Far East, the Brits made good use of the M3, which remained competitive there against the Japanese opposition long after it became an obsolescent death-trap against the Germans in North Africa. In the desert, the Grant version was preeminent, but in Burma the Lee was more common (though most often — but not always — with the turret MG cupola removed).

I have digital models of both the Grant and the Lee, and I will print some, but that takes ages. So I picked up this 1:100 (15mm) Zvezda kit of the Lee. It's not bad, for the price (about $9 in NZ).

It all went together without any issues. I had to fill a gap around the turret cupola, and there are a couple of other spots that a perfectionist would probably want to fill, but I suspect they'll be largely invisible after it's been painted.

It lacks the track guards that were often used on British vehicles, and the 75mm gun has the counterweight modelled on the end of the barrel. It would be a simple matter to trim it off, and I don't think the shortening of the barrel would be noticeable, but I think I'll leave it there.

I've never modelled any vehicles for the war in the Far East, so this will be a new painting adventure for me.