GURPS 4e in physical form

NOTE: This review concerns only the physical manifestation of the rules; I make no judgement whatsoever here about the usefulness of the GURPS rules and system for roleplaying games.


The first half of my GURPS 4e order arrived today. 

I ordered the Characters volume from the Book Depository (it hasn't arrived yet) under the impression that I was getting the set of two books. Then I realised that I'd ordered only the one, so I ordered the Campaigns volume from Amazon, and it arrived on my doorstep this morning.

I think this edition is GURPS's first foray into signature-bound hardback publishing. I don't really care one way or another about hardcover/softcover books for roleplaying manuals. As long as the glue used for softcover perfect-binding is adequate to the task so that pages don't start falling out, that's fine by me, though signature binding is always going to be harder wearing if it's done even half-way competently. This appears at first sight to be well bound, but that's not something that is easy to determine until the book has been in use for a while.

As an aside, I recently bought a copy of WotC's 5e Tasha's Cauldron of Everything book, which is the worst of both worlds. It's really just a badly perfect-bound book stuck into hard covers, and the binding is really shit. Anyway. Back to GURPS 4e.

Let me say at the offset that I hate the paper. It's a very bright white, glossy stock. That's no doubt excellent for making the colour illustration pop, but it's hard on the eyes when reading dense blocks of text (of which there is a lot) and it feels kind of nasty to the fingers.


The illustration style is competent enough, though not particularly inspiring. It's in colour throughout, which is another new thing for GURPS. Again, it's not something that I require in a RPG manual; black & white illustration is fine by me as long as it is informative or evocative (or preferably both).

What is useful about the transition to all-colour publishing is that each chapter has its own full-bleed coloured page borders, which (once you get to know which colour refers to what) makes navigating the book much easier. The colours are easily visible even when the book is closed, so you can go straight to the relevant section with an absolute minimum of page-flipping.

I'm not enthralled with the serif typeface choices, but I have to admit that I've seen worse. The impression I get is one of "good enough" conservatism in layout design.

The glossary and index at the back of volume 2 Campaigns covers both volumes, and appears at first glance to be pretty comprehensive. Of course, only extended use will show that for sure.

In the end, what matters is whether or not this hardback full-colour glossy format is a genuine improvement over GURPS's old softcover black & white books. I'm not convinced that the advantages are significant, but I am aware that I am of an older gaming generation and that The Youth these days won't look twice at anything that isn't ALL THE COLOURS, so I guess from a commercial point of view, it's a necessary change.

AD&D2e (revised) P.o.D.

 

These arrived today for me from DriveThruRPG.

They're print-on-demand softcover copies of AD&D2e (revised), originally published in 1995. When I ordered these, there was no hardcover option offered. However, I don't mind softcover RPG books at all.

The paper stock used for the P.o.D. publication is a bit heavier than that used for the original hardcover printing, and as a result these are fairly hefty books. The print quality is very good; it's not identical to the original, but it's very very close.

The original books were signature bound, and open flatter than the perfect-bound softcover without cracking the spine — it won't take a huge amount of use before the softcovers start looking less than new, but if that matters to you... well, I guess you'd just have to buy two copies, one for use and the other to sit on the shelf looking fresh and unused. It matters to me not one jot.

How durable the glue binding is I don't know, these things are always a bit of a gamble. I have perfect-bound books that have lasted for decades, and others that started falling apart within weeks of purchase.

I've included a comparison image below: the original is on the left, the DriveThruRPG P.o.D. is on the right. As you can see, the text is very crisp and clear, and so are the many (mostly pretty mediocre) colour illustrations peppered throughout the volumes.



Stand for Paasche HO414

 


I thought I'd make a stand for this Paasche single-action external-mix airbrush. I seldom use it; it's very limited in its application, being little more than a spray-gun. However, external-mix brushes have the advantage of being able to move thicker paint than internal-mix types, so it's good for spraying varnish or PVA for terrain flocking and stuff like that. It's also good for covering large areas fairly quickly.

The stand is a Flintstones-ish sort of thing, and it's intended to be screwed to a piece of wood or something, though it would probably be adequately stable just on its own.

I actually spent a lot more time creating the digital model of the airbrush than the stand, a lot more time and effort than I really needed for what was really just a measuring maquette. I got a bit distracted though.


The STL is up on Thingiverse at https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4819867

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And fourteen hours later (plus a couple because I slept in), here's the actual physical result.



Char B1(bis) conversion

 

One of the many conversions of French vehicles, this one was (I think) designated LeFH-18 auf GW B2. It was basically a 105mm howitzer in a hexagonal steel box on top of a Char B1 (bis) chassis, with a few other adjustments like the removal of the hull 75mm and improvements to the driver's sight.

I was going to add some crewmen to this 15mm 3d print, but there's just not room for them in the fighting compartment, so it can go without.

These conversions started out being painted overall panzergrau, then went to overall dunkelgelb. I don't know if there's any direct photographic evidence of them being painted in the three-colour scheme, but I think it likely, and besides, I like it better.

April 6th


I've made a start on another of the Char B1(bis) conversions, this time the Flammpanzer. Fortunately I've only made it as far as the base-coating though, since it looks like I'm going to have to repaint it in overall panzer grey.

The Vickers-Crossley armoured car to the right is on its way to the plain light grey livery that the Brits used for them during the inter-war era. It's too dark at the moment, but it will lighten substantially when I come back in with the airbrush and do a bit of panel-shading.






And here is the Flammpanzer in all its panzergrau glory.

Light Tank Mk.VII Tetrarch

 

The Light Tank Mk.VII, called "Tetrarch" from 1941, was intended by its manufacturer to replace their Mk.VIb and VIc, but its timing , and military conservatism, turned out to be against it.

It was in production by 1938, but before it could be built in numbers, WWII kicked off. The BEF went off to France with their Mk.VI light tanks, and lost them in droves. Partly as a result of this, and partly because the military thinkers decided that reconnaissance could be better handled by cheaper, faster scout cars meant that the army soured on the idea of light tanks and plans for the Tetrarch were scaled right back.

In the end, it stayed in service until 1949, but it saw only very limited action, and it was declared officially obsolete in 1944.

This is a 15mm (1:100) 3d print. I've painted it in Khaki Green #3 and Nobel's Dark Tarmac, which would put it at about the end of '41 or beginning of '42, just before the base colour for British armoured vehicles changed over to SCC2 brown.

3d Printing Miscellany

 

As happens quite a lot with me, my 3d printing is outstripping my painting.

This is the clutter on my modeling desk at the moment. Apart from the aircraft, everything is 15mm, and everything is 3d printed with the exception of some metal medieval crossbowmen, lurking down the back where they have been literally for years... I really should get them finished.


So, what do we have here?

  1. PaK38 50mm anti-tank gun
  2. leFH18-3 auf GW B2 — A German "beutepanzer" conversion of a French Char B2(bis) into a 150mm self-propelled gun
  3. Kettenkrad with Goliath on trailer
  4. Springer demolitions vehicle
  5. Tetrarch light tank
  6. Goliath
  7. Vickers-Crossley armoured car
  8. Seated WWII British infantry
  9. Albatros DVa (1/200)
  10. Sopwith triplane (1/200)
  11. Fokker Dr1 (1/200)
  12. Very chunky early WWII German infantryman (up-scaled from 6mm)
  13. Westland Whirlwind (1/144, failed print)
  14. SdKfz 251 C ambulance (semi-failed print)
  15. Rolls-Royce armoured car (old FDM print)