Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Happy 2015!

Now that 2014 is coming to an end, it's time to welcome 2015. Hopefully, we'll have a lot of interesting wargames to play!

Cool website ...

Sometimes one stumbles across a wargaming website never seen before. The site of Irrational Number Line Games is a site I discovered yesterday. One of the nice things is that they have a "good ideas archive", many of which are conversions and clever modeling. Some highlights (pictures from their website):

Monday, 29 December 2014

Some more undead ...

Working through my pile of old fantasy armies, today I finished a 5 undead. These are 5 figures, from the Grenadier Fantasy Warrior range, set 51001, and sculpted by Bob Naismith (see Genadier's 1991 Catalogue).

Quick paintjob (<1 hour), picture by iPad.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Antares 2401: Squads of SpecOps

In out continuing skirmish scifi campaign, Antares 2401 (see labels for some other posts), one of the attractive features is that the squad of a player gains additional skills, much as a character in a roleplaying campaign.

The squads of the players consists of StarMarines, represented by old Games Workshop Mk6 Space Marines. Since these figures are not too detailed, we can easily repaint them between missions to indicate additional skills, medals, etc. This personalizes the figures, and gives them a distinctive and recognizable look on the battlefield. Of course, if a figure is killed during a game (and cannot be revived in MedBay), the figure's markings are completely removed, and the figure is usually drafted as a new recruit.

Beta Squad "The Shadows": Nichols; Lt. O'Brien; Cpl. McGraw; Cpl. Ramirez; Hickley
Beta squad has a shadow grey shoulder patch on the left. A white shoulder patch on the right indicates 5 successful combat missions. Coloured triangles on the left shoulder patch indicate skills: red for close combat specialist, white for a medic, yellow for a pilot, blue for a marskman.

Gamma Squad "Rattkopf's Jammers": Schmitt; Packard; Vasquez; Sgt Waldheim; Merkel.
StarMarine Vasquez is a Robodog specialist, allowing him to send a 4-legged drone forwards carrying 2 missiles on its back. Vasquez has a brown triangle indicating his skill.  Gamma squad have blue vertical lines on their leg armour and a bullet symbol on their left shoulder patches.

Delta Squad "The Reds": Lt. Moss; Illnitch; Vranitsky; Cohen; Le Clerc.
StarMarine Cohen is a Communications Specialist (pink markings). When his communication gear is deployed, he can call in orbital artillery strikes. StarMarine Le Clerc was the only survivor of Alfa squad after the fateful mission on Sardonis IV, and was transferred to Delta Squad. Delta Squad has red shoulder patches matching their nickname.

Epsilon Squad: Hayase; Kazima; Hokaido; Sgt Yoshida; Sakai.
Epsilon squad is equipped with special Titanium Armour Suits and short-range boltguns. StarMarine Hokaido has a special MicroMech suit equipped with heavy weaponry. Hayase has a white star on his right shoulder, indicating he is the proud recipient of a StarMedal for Exceptional Bravery.

Eta Squad: Sgt MacAuslan, Efrit; Cpl Dentz; Scevola; Oddjob, Vicensini.
Eta Squad is the newest squad in SpecOps. All StarMarines only have completed one mission so far.

The complete SpecOps organization also grows over time. After each mission, players can add suggestions to the continuing storyline. The GM assigns a %-chance, and if successful, that particular suggestions is added into the continuing campaign. Below you see the current org-chart of SpecOps.

Additional characters are also added as a result of these story suggestions. E.g. Lt O'Brien from Beta Squad is currently under military investigation for disobeying orders during the SpaceLiner Odessa mission. Omega Squad is a penal squad consisting of only prisoners of war.

Such a narrative campaign is great fun. Key is that all players can offer suggestions, but one player should act as GM and guard the overall consistency and play balance.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Merry Christmas

A Merry Christmas to all!

At the Liezele Wargaming Mansion, some unusual wargaming miniatures have taken the place of the usual nativity scene.

Some old Runequest miniatures

Confession: I have been a hoarder of miniatures since the late eighties. Ever since I bought my very first blister pack, Undead Orcs (Grenadier's Fantasy Lords series, #129), I have been addicted. I do sell miniatures now and then, but one "period" I can never let go are fantasy types. Probably this is related to how I first got into miniature wargaming - through Warhammer 1st edition. And although I long stopped playing Warhammer, I have had a fondness for fantasy miniatures ever since. I still have wild dreams of setting up a fantasy campaign along the lines of our Antares Scifi campaign, so a wide array of fantasy miniatures might come in handy in the future.

Lately, I have been browsing old catalogues in attempts to identify some of my old miniatures collected over the years. The lot below are 6 very old miniatures. I had a vague memory they might be miniatures produced for Runequest, but I never took the effort to figure it out. Until now.

The Collecting Citadel Miniatures Wiki was again very helpful. Apparently they are old Citadel miniatures, and come from different sets produced for Runequest.
From left to right:
  1. Orlanth Adventurer (set 2, Adventurers)
  2. Dark Troll with large Axe (set 3, Trolls)
  3. Ogre with Flail (set 6, Humanoids & Aldryami)
  4. Smitten Broo (Set 3b, Attack of the Broo)
  5. Broo Battling with Mace (Set 3b, Attack of the Broo)
  6. Runner with Bow (set 6, Humanoids & Aldryami)
I am glad they are now two Broo miniatures in my collection. I always had a fasciniation for the Broo, ever since I saw a drawing in the first Citadel Compendium. They are the precursors of the later Chaos Beastman.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Oldhammer: Armoured Skeletons

For the past couple of years, I am slowly working through my pile of unpainted lead. And I am making progress. The net influx of new unpainted figures has been lower than the output of painted figures, so there's hope!

Anyway, with my interest in Oldhammer lately, I have been working on undeads that were acquired late eighties, early nineties. Finished today are a couple of skeletons. The problem with painting such old figures is that a large part of my undead figures were painted more than 20 years ago. I try to match the painting style I had back then, but that's not always easy. The skeletons below were all bought in blisters (except for a few crew figures from the Skeleton Chariot), labeled as "Armoured Skeletons", if I remember correctly.

Anyway, here are the pictures (shot with my iPad) ...

The first 8 skeletons are listed in the 1991 Citadel catalogue (the one I use the most frequent as a reference, since most of my Citadel miniatures were acquired back then - see pages on Skeletons), from left to right:
  1. Axe 1
  2. Axe 9
  3. Halberd 5
  4. Mace 2
  5. Axe 7
  6. Axe 5
  7. Screamer from the Skeleton War Machines set
  8. Scythe 8
And here's a second batch:

From left to right:
  1. Halberd 2
  2. Hellblade from the Skeleton War Machines set
  3. Axe 4
  4. Axe 1
  5. Reaper from the Skeleton War Machines set
  6. Hammer. This is an interesting figure, because it has a cast shield (not a plastic add-on one), and is listed as a Chaos Warrior in the 1988 catalogue. I couldn't find an earlier reference for this figure so far. I also don;t remember whether he came in a Chaos Warrior blister, because I also have quite a few of them lying around.
  7. Halberd 5
  8. Scythe 5

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Star Trek: Citadel Miniatures from the 70s

Regularly, I scout 2nd hand websites in search for old ranges of toy soldiers or wargaming miniatures. Since I live in Belgium, I limit myself to Belgian websites. This is, of course, a limitation, but at the same time it makes the finds much more interesting.

Last week I stumbled on an ad selling Citadel Miniatures from the Star Trek range (produced during the 70s). The ad was not placed in the toy soldier or wargaming sections, but in the Star Trek fandom section. No one had bid on it before, although the miniatures had been there for quite a few months. The pictures showed not only the miniatures, but also mentioned the that all "cards" were still available. I recognized these as the cards that were used to keep the plastic bags stapled together in which the miniatures were sold. Also, the ad mentioned there were 48 figures total. Since the original range had 24 codes, consisting of 2 miniatures each, I had the suspicion this might be the entire Star Trek range from Citadel.

Original photograph from the ad on
So, I immediately contaced the seller, and made arrangements to pick up the miniatures at the seller's place. When I arrived, I was surprised to be greeted by a very friendly elderly woman. She told me she bought the miniatures many many years ago as toys for her son, and now wanted to get rid of them. She was oblivious about wargaming, so I filled her in a little bit about why I was interested and what the figures were meant for. Anyway, 20 minutes later I left with 48 miniatures and 24 original cards.

When I arrived at home later that day, I set out to check what exactly I had bought. According to Stuff of Legends, there are 24 entries in the range. Also on Stuff of Legends, the Citadel Red Catalogue (1980) lists the same entries, so the figures must have been made in 1980 or before. The Collecting Citadel Miniatures wiki also has page, having photographs for all miniatures in this range. Additional information can be found on the Memory Alpha site. Putting all this info together, I managed to identify all 46 miniatures. Only 46? Yes, there was a little surprise involved, but more about that later.

Anyway, let's take a look at the Star Trek miniatures first:

Complete overview of all Star Trek miniatures.
Kirk and Spock
McCoy; Scotty&Chekov
Sulu & Willard Decker; Uhura & Nurse Chapel
Ilia & Janice Rand; Only 1 figure from the Enterprise Crew (see later)
Security Guards & Vulcans
Deltans & Klingons. The Deltans are 2 identical figures, although an alternative pose was available.
Reviews from the time also implied that some packs contained 2 identical figures.
Aaamazzarites & Kazarites
Betalgeusians & Arcturians
Zaranites & K'normians
Rigellians & Rhaandrites (2 identical figures)
Shamin & Megarites
Saurians (2 identical figures) & Andoreans (only 1 figure)
So, in total 46 figures from the original Citadel Star Trek range, all in pretty good condition. A very interesting addition to my collection, and we'll add them to the painting queue.

But what about those other 2 figures? Indeed, the Andoreans (ST24) and Starship Crew (ST8) each are missing a figure. Out of the 48 figures that I bought, 2 figures did not match the Star Trek range:

This was at least a strange coincidence. If the original person was a wargamer (and bought more figures than just Star Trek), probably some more loose figures would have been part of the deal. But there were exactly 48. I assume that my seller bought the figures from a wargamer herself, who sold 48 "Star Trek figures". Probably, 2 figures were lost, and he added 2 from his collection, or he was not entirely sure what figures constituted the Star Trek range, and 2 figures were swapped by accident.

Anyway, I managed to identify the figure on the  left as Citadel's "S1 Star Patrolman with Laser Pistol" from the Spacefarers range. This puts this figures in the same period bracket as the Star Trek figures.

The other figure didn't look like a scifi figure at all, but looked more like a fantasy figure. Indeed, on the base we can see: "(1?)977 Ral Partha". My search through old Ral Partha catalogues hasn't yet produced a definite answer (because not all ranges are documented by photographs), but I suspect the figure might be "ES37 Monk" from the range "Personalities and Things that Go Bump in the Night".

In any case, an interesting acquisition!

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Wooden Legionnaires in the Desert

One of the most distinctive set of wargaming miniatures in my collection are the "Woodens" - lasercut wooden flat figures. Once produced by Windcatcher Graphics (no longer in existence), they provide a nice alternative to the "round metal" figures most wargamers use these days.

I have used these figures before, most notably for our Crisis 2003 game, and for a try-out game using the 1929 wargaming rules called Shambattle (both of these links point to the old Tiny Tin Men website).

I first got to know about Woodens through some adverts in Wargames Illustrated in 1999. Although figures were made for various periods (Colonial FFL, AWI, ACW), most  of the figures I own are from the French Foreign Legion and Arab range.

This weekend, I decided to take them out for another photoshoot. Enjoy.