Friday, 2 March 2018

Captain Darling’s Grand Tour & Some WIP Stuff

Greetings! It's been a bit of ‘All Quiet On the VSF Front’ here on the bally Blog for while ain't it...well a couple of reasons for that; firstly I’ve been concentrating most of my spare time on The Great Antipodean Adventure project recently and second; my partner and I have been planning Captain Darling’s Grand Tour a five week whirlwind tour of certain bits of Europe! My other half hitherto known as Kathryn is rather excited about the latter and decidedly unexcited about the former 😊!

I don’t usually like putting up WIP stuff on the Blog but just to show I’m still plodding along with my various VSF interests here’s some stuff I’ve been tinkering away on...

Buildings: Thanks to a small windfall from my mum at Christmas I picked up several Sarissa buildings which will work well not only with my VSF gaming but for my WW II and TGAA stuff. I got several dwellings, the double fronted shop, the end of row cafe, a third floor for an existing town house I had and the Victorian Pub. All go together well and with a bit of paint look the part. You could really go to town on these and really make them hum but they’re for gaming so I’ve kept it simple, I can always go back and detail them later...

The Derailer Tank: I was given this baby by a devotee and plan on turning it into Doktor Von Hades Super Steam Powered Armoured Fighting Vehicle...

Scratch builds: I’m getting back to my British answer to the French Santos Dumont  airship, here's the current status of the Daley Brothers Steam Powered Armoured Balloon MK III...added a 28mm figure for size...

Now onto the Grand Tour: We've locked everything a few trips and ANZAC Day stuff but most of this trip will be off the cuff roaming once we arrive at each destination. Thanks to overnight trains most of the travel will be relegated to nights to maximise our 'touristing' during daylight hours.

An image of Captain Darling arriving in Rome during his Grand Tour dazzling the ladies...
Sourced online didn't see any copywrite...

Kathryn and I arrive in Rome on Easter Monday and then its on! Most places I've been to before, Vienna being the major exception but this is only Kathryn's second European trip so lots of new sites for her! Here’s a brief summary...

  • 2nd April, Rome four days
  • 6th April, Florence three days
  • 10th April, Vienna four days
  • 14th April, Berlin four days
  • 18th April, Brussels two days
  • 20th April, Ypres four days
  • 24th April, Amiens four days
  • 28th April, London/South East England seven days
  • 5th May, Back in sunny Adelaide!

So lots of train travel and general tourist things but I have include some Captain Darling bits of interest, mind you this has cost me some trade offs in other locations but is worth it...

  • ANZAC Dawn Service at Villiers-Bretonneux & visit to new Sir John Monash Centre
  • Waterloo battlefield walk (second visit for me but first since the new visitor centre) and brewery at Mont-Saint-Jean Farm hic!
  • Some WW I battlefield sight seeing
  • Take in some The Third Man movie locations and Dinner on the Vienna Ferris Wheel as its one of my all time favourite movies
  • The Vienna Military Museum
  • Some Cold War sight seeing in Berlin

Luckily I've done a lot of the other military museums on previous trips so I can skip them, though Kathryn has shown an interest in seeing one of my favourite spots, the Russian Room at the Royal Museum of Armed Forces in Brussels.

Now if any of you know a must see ‘sights’ that fall within the itinerary please let me know I’ll add it to Kathryn’s list! Also any must visit eateries or drinking establishments!

Things will remain a bit quiet here for a couple more months but then normal transmissions will resume!

Sunday, 31 December 2017

VSF Christmas AAR 2017 - "The Spirit of Christmas" FUBAR VSF PULP

Well time for the 2017 Christmas FUBAR VSF game! This year we're going down the PULP them after the success of the Big Trouble in Little Tinkle trial game! Without further ado here we go with..."The Spirit of Christmas"

"The Spirit of Christmas" - the Blurb...

December 1877, a battered Campaign chest was delivered to the Coding Division of Queen Victoria’s S.O.E. The Boffins were eager to examine the tattered contents which consisted of two papyri; these scrolls were covered in faint Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs that were rumoured to contain Biblical secrets. Fueled with gallons of tea a s hundreds of biscuits S.O.E.’s intelligentsia had soon revealed the texts deep secret...(insert dramatic music here)...that the “Spirit of Christmas” was an actual artifact and not only that but it featured clues to its location!

Armed with this information several Cambridge Professors accompanied by S.O.E. Field Agents traveled on the 3:20 from Victoria Station to the sleepy coastal town of Dunghill on Sea where further clues were discovered regarding the current resting place of the “Spirit of Christmas”! After S.O.E.’s jaunt the small Latvian hamlet of Dropalog became the focus of events and the British Government approved an expedition into the environs of the Evil Tsar of Russia!

Move forward a fortnight and as the sun rose majestically a steam air ship decamped the British Expeditionary Force only a chain from Dropalog, the Red Coats, led by Captain Small-Parts then advanced to recover their prize accompanied by an S.O.E. professor.

Unbeknownst to Small-Parts and his party Doktor Von Hades had discovered the details of the British endeavour and had dispatched a gang comprised of some of his evilest minions to snatch the “Spirit of Christmas” from the Britishers grasp...they arrived at Dropalog the same morning...

The Forces...

The Queen’s Men!
Captain Small-Parts - Hero Type - Revolver Sword 
Professor Tangent - Trusty Chap - Revolver
Sergeant Major - Trusty Chap - Galvanic Rifle
Rifleman Smith - Average Bloke - Repeating Rifle
Rifleman Heath - Average Bloke - Repeating Rifle
Gunner Pitt - Average Bloke - Flamethrower
Gunner Baldwin - Average Bloke - Tesla Cannon - New one man version!

Von Hades Minions
Emir Mustafa - Hero Type - Sword
Doctor Weevil - Trusty Chap - Revolver
‘Top Hat’ Malone - Trusty Chap - Sniper Rifle
Roger the Artful Dodger - Average Bloke - Repeating Rifle
Slasher Smith - Average Bloke - Shotgun
Harold Todd - Average Bloke - Light Rapid Fire Rifle (i.e. LMG 3FP)
Dougie.. - Average Bloke - Grenade launcher

The Bibs and Bobs... 
Lord Richard Wibbly-Wobbly - Hero Type Revolver Sword 
Bob and Richard - Rifle
The Donkey!

Cultist Swordsmen - Average Blokes

Mad Monks - Average Blokes

Character Ratings:
Hero Types:
Activation 3+
Expertise 4+
Wounds 3
Hero Points 5
Save 5+ 
Trusty Chaps:  
Activation 4+
Expertise 4+
Wounds 2
Hero Points 2
Save 5+
Average Blokes: 
Activation 5+
Expertise 5+
Wounds 1
Hero Points 0
Save 6+

Special Rules:
Characters can carry only one artifact and can do so at no penalty.
Game length is 10 Turns.
Turns 1 to 4 a TRUCE is in effect and Team Great Britain and Team Evil may not target each other, game generated Characters are not covered by the truce so go for it with them as they will with you!
Doors cost 0"
Window entry cost 1"
Fences crossing cost 1"
Moving upstairs/downstairs costs 2"
Artifacts: when discovered...
Move the discovering Character adjacent to Artifact and roll for a Booby Trap 
a 6 results in a 2 dice attack hitting on 3+
a 5 results in a 1 dice attack hitting on 3+
Note -  Hero Types  and Trust Chaps may play a maximum of 2 Hero Point that give a -1 modifier for the To Hit Number per Hero Point for these attacks

Game Characters 

Mad Monks and Cultist Swordsmen:
Controlled by the Umpire BUT must attack the closest Player Characters with fire or by charging.
A total of 4 pairs are available, a pair will appear on a roll of 5 or 6 when any building is entered for the first time. Once the forth set is placed no more will appear BUT there is umpire discretion at call here!
Mad Monks and Cultist Swordsmen
Activation Automatic with 1 Action only
Expertise 4+
-Monks may only combat with sword bonus
-Cultists combat with sword bonus or may cast bombs up to 8 inches that attack only the  Character targeted
Wounds 1
Hero Points 0
Save 6+
Statue Activation (Umpire discretion):
Anytime the Spirit of Christmas moves within 4' of a Statue the Umpire may activate said Statue and it becomes a Character:
Activation Automatic with 1 Action only
Expertise 5+
Wounds 4
Hero Points 0
Save 4+

Victory Conditions:
Locate and extricate to their side of the table as many of the five hidden stashes in the town and kill as many of the opposition as possible. A figure must leave the play area and can not return to achieve this.
"The Spirit of Christmas" 5VPs
Crate of Frankincense, The Original Candy Cane, The Present Stash & Barrel of Muir 1 VP each
Killing an opposition Character 1VP (game Characters not counted!)
Highest total after 10 Turns wins (the Umpire at their discretion may extend by 2 turns)

The AAR...

The winner was Von Hades Evil Minions! That's a bit of a smack in the face for the Empire!

Von Hades Minions; 6 VPs
The Spirit of Christmas 5VPs
The Present Stash 1 VP

The Queen’s Men! 5 VPs
Crate of Frankincense, The Original Candy Cane, and the Barrel of Muir 1 VP each
taking out two of Von hades party 1VP each

It was very much a Pyrrhic Victory for Von Hades boys they were hammered! In hindsight I should have stuck with the main artefact being worth 3 VPs like in the Big Trouble in Little Tinkle test game instead of 5 but hey you live and learn!

The rules played out a good game again! Stu had a great idea for an update to the rules which I'll incorporate for our next play, Activation Roll occurs after all figures complete their first i.e. default action. This is great as you need to complete your first action for every figure without being certain of a second it!

Next Time: Good question!

Sunday, 24 December 2017

VSF Bobbies & Bicycle Stands

Well I received my Ironclad Miniatures VSF British Policemen, they are nice castings and they live up to their pictures ion the Ironclad site! These Bobbies will no doubt come to grips with the evil minions of Doktor Von Hades and with true British pluck will surely tweak the noses of the bad guys! I ordered 4 figures with capes armed with revolvers and 8 figures with long arms. For character the cape clad ones are winners, I especially like the chap with the lantern in one hand and revolver in the other you can just imagine him in foggy London patrolling a dim backstreet inching forward into the unknown...

Anyway these are how they look after I've slopped some paint on them. Initially I had their uniform almost black but decided to go with more of a dark dark blue colour instead. There's lots of lovely Victorian facial hair on these fellows!

I took the opportunity while painting my Bobbies to assemble some laser cut bicycle stands I purchased on EBay quite a while ago. I picked them to see if they would make a good substitute for buying figures on bicycles. Basically while the figure is 'mounted' the bicycle moves along with him and when the figure dismounts the bicycle stand is simply removed. The finished stands look like they will work but the proof of the pudding will be using them in a game and see how the plan fares on the tabletop!

Here's PC Plod with the assembled bike stands. the bikes are thin MDF (2mm I think) and the stands are plastic. The circular figure bases are included in the deal.

Painted up bicycles on stands with the PCs treadling into action!

The same view from above..

Dismounted and ready for sleuthing! Yeah I know it's the same picture as above...

Well I hope everyone enjoys the Festive Season and doesn't over indulge! I'm looking forward to sharing my continuing VSF trials and tribulations with everyone in 2018!

Next Time those AARs?

Sunday, 17 December 2017

VSF Moon Cannon - The JVMG Mk II Projectile Accelerator

Well it's been a bit quiet here on the Emporium for a while...apologies for that I've been tied up with some other projects but I am happy to say I've was inspired to get into a bit of VSF scratch building again. Here's my latest VSF game accessory the JVMG Mk II Projectile Accelerator AKA The Moon Cannon based of course on Jules Verne's writings!

Period pictures of he JVMG Mk II Projectile Accelerator in situ on Salisbury Plain with its naval crew preparing a test fire! Captain Darling can be seen in the group of three Officers!


Captain Darling posing alongside the Prototype Interplanetary Travel Pod for use with the JVMG Mk II Projectile Accelerator, his trusty Triambulator is parked along side it.

S.O.E's Development Section had been toying with creating an interplanetary transport system to take their agents to the Moon ever since the first Martian Invasion of the Earth. They believed there could be strategic and territorial benefits in such a venture not to mention of course the jolly ballyhoo the landing of an Englishman on the Moon would cause and prestige boost to be gained for Her Most Gracious Majesty, Queen Victoria who would then also be Empress of the Moon!. It was in late 1876 that Professor Tangent made a breakthrough with a powerful yet compact explosive material that would enable S.O.E.'s IT (Interplanetary Team) to bring their ideas to fruition. Leave was sought and granted to build the JVMG Mk II Projectile Accelerator that had until now been nothing more than drawings on blue prints. Also put into production was the Interplanetary Travel Pod.

Unknown to IT other Departments within S.O.E were planning on employing the JVMG Mk II Projectile Accelerator as a bombard and were certain it had military applications. These Department Heads ensured Edward Bigger was part of the JVMG Mk II Projectile Accelerator construction team so he could keep them up to speed with all developments!

January 1877 saw the first test firings of the JVMG Mk II Projectile Accelerator and they were successful! Training for crewmen for the Interplanetary Travel Pod were commenced immediately...
Building the JVMG Mk II Projectile Accelerator

This whole project came about when I was shopping for a Christmas present for my brother and I spotted this small thermos on EBay; a great part present for him and a cool projectile for a Jules Verne type Moon Gun! I ordered two immediately and was AUD$27 out of pocket...

The projectile needed no work I'm using as it comes plus is doubles as a cool thermos when I need one!

The cannon wasn't too much work really I just needed some good old PVC pipe, some sheet styrene and a rummage through my parts box. I found a few of Dragon 1/6 Panzer II parts, springs and a return roller plus an old speaker surround. Okay that's basically it bring on some super glue and I'm ready to roll!

The parts...well most of them...

I used 70mm PVC tube for the barrel capped one end and added a couple of styrene sheet bands. The end is a 60mm piece of capped styrene and the Panzer II return roller. I sanded off all but the serial numbers on the return roller they looked like a casting number so I thought that'd be a cool detail!

I created a 'wooden' platform from styrene sheet and used some PVC tube as a joiner for the Panzer II spring sets which become the gun carriage. This sits on a rotating base i.e. the old speaker surround to be painted to look concretish.

I then added some Steampunk gears i bought from EBay.

The inside of the barrel was lined with felt for a snug projectile fit and also to protect its finish...

Some painting and super-gluing and then you get this!

I hope you like it!

Hmm I've also got pictures for two AAR's just waiting on blurb I must try to use the Christmas break to get them done!

Next time...The annual FUBAR VSF Christmas Game, the scenario this year is 'The Spirit of Christmas!'