Sunday 31 August 2014

Battle Report: Robin Hood and the Tournament


Robin's men are underlined in red, the Sheriff's are in blue and the bystanders are in green.
There has been a tournament held on a grassy plain on the outskirts of Nottingham.  People have travelled from far and wide to attend; there are a lot of strangers around today.  As the afternoon draws to a close and the crowds start to disperse, someone shouts out "There's Robin Hood, the outlaw!  Seize him!".  Is it really Robin and the Merry Men?  Or is it just a case of mistaken identity?

The game will be played with the Song of Blades and Heroes rules; the outlaws have to escape back to the forest.

Forces Involved

Robin and the Merry Men

  • 300 points value, no limit on personalities.  This buys Robin Hood, Little John, Marion and 5 Merry Men [see here for my first cut at stats for these guys, though note that I've made slight adjustments to Little John since].  Note that Marion has the Inconvenient trait and is therefore given to the enemy band as a hindrance.  She was attached to Guy of Gisborne, who would therefore have to remain within "L" of her at all times.
  • The outlaws have to exit from the southern edge of the table into the forest, where it will be difficult to track them.

The Sheriff of Nottingham

  • 450 points value.  The forces of law and order consist of The Sheriff, Guy of Gisborne, Yorik the Jester, 2 lesser knights, 4 crossbowmen and 18 men at arms.  Note that the Sheriff's foot soldiers are mostly rabble, which means that they are brittle in combat.  It also means that they are very cheap, so he can field large numbers of them and outnumber the outlaws by 4:1 !
  • For a major victory, kill or capture Robin Hood and Little John.  If only one of them is apprehended then this is a minor victory for the Sheriff, while if they both escape then the outlaws win.

The Bystanders

  • There are a number of civilians milling about, getting in everyone's way and so on!  We used at least 12, though I didn't count and there may have been a few more than this.  The numbers aren't really critical.  All of them are Q5+
  • Roughly speaking, the civilians are ambivalent towards Robin and his band of Merry Men.  The townsfolk probably don't like his activities very much, but people from the surrounding villages are generally supportive.  However, neither farmer nor merchant is willing to risk life or limb in armed confrontation either for or against the outlaws.  Consequently they will not fight and may not be engaged in combat or targeted with missiles.
  • The bystanders act as if they were a 3rd, neutral warband.  Both Robin and the Sheriff may take a turn with the bystanders after their own warband has finished its actions.  This allows them to attempt to move some of the civilians into positions that will block line of sight for shooting or will impede the free movement of enemy combatants.  Remember that in Song of Blades and Heroes a model may not pass through another non-friendly model.  Also note that the bystanders don't fight, so there is no penalty for breaking off from contact with a civilian - but you still have to go around them!

The Game

The Sheriff's men moved first; a couple of men-at-arms moved forward hesitantly.  Neither was particularly keen to tackle the notorious outlaw band on his own, so both were waiting for backup.

However, a drunken civilian was much more forward.  He stumbled down from the stands and staggered over to the Merry Men.  "Well, if it ishn't my old friend, Robin Hood" he slurred.  "Hey look, everybody!  It's Robin Hood, my best pal!"

With difficulty, Robin managed to evade the embrace of the tipsy bystander.  He whipped an arrow to his bow and shot dead one of the approaching spear men in a particularly gruesome fashion.  This caused the Sheriff and his 2 guards to flee for 1 move from the covered stand.  When they paused for breath just a few paces away, the Sheriff promptly knifed both of his men for their cowardice (don't you just love the evil trait?)

Meanwhile, Little John stood nearby, doing nothing.

Back near the starting positions, the drunken bystander staggered onwards.  2 Merry Men had been a bit slow in realising that they were in danger and they now found their way obstructed by the crowd.  One of the outlaws was grabbed by a spear man and then cut down as Sir Stanley rushed into the fray from the nearby tents.

Robin and his remaining men shook themselves free from the crowd and started to run around the end of the tilt barrier.  Little John was in the lead, but was accosted by Sir Walter and a man at arms.  In the background, the Sheriff ran towards another group of soldiers, intending to order them into the pursuit.

Off screen to the left, Guy of Gisborne was trying to force his way through the crowd and catch up with Robin.  He kept looking over his shoulder at Maid Marion, to make sure that she was safe (she was promised to him as a bride, after all).  Between this distraction and the various citizens who clung to him demanding protection from the vicious outlaws, he didn't make much progress.

The outlaws sent a Merry Man in to assist Little John (though in truth, he was probably capable of fighting 2 men at once even on his own).  However, Robin found his way blocked by a priest and a lady in waiting.  "Is it true" the priest asked "that you give money to the poor and deserving?  I am - I mean my parish is very poor.  We could really use some cash".  The lady in waiting didn't say anything, but just simpered and giggled a little at the thought of being so close to such a dangerous outlaw - and him so handsome too...

While Robin was occupied with his fans, the Sheriff's squad approached from one side and Sir Stanley and Sir Guy came in from the other.  At this point, it didn't look as if any of the Merry Men would be able to escape!

By this time, the field was in an uproar!  The priest moved on to obstruct Sir Guy, ostensibly to discuss details for his hoped wedding to Lady Marion.  It was all the knight to do not to cuff the impudent churchman out of the way!  However his betrothed was watching and he knew that she disapproved of such behaviour, so he restrained himself.

Robin glimpsed the Sheriff skulking nearby, hiding behind one of the tournament heralds.  When the civilian moved aside, Robin took a quick shot at his enemy.  He missed, but the Sheriff was so taken aback by the audacious attack that he fell over in the mud.

Just at this moment, Little John gave his opponent an almighty whack with his quarterstaff.  Nobody present had ever seen a corpse fly so far before; many of them felt very unsettled by the event.  First to run was one of the men at arms: he fled right past the Sheriff.  The evil lord tripped up his minion and daggered him, proclaiming "Thus do all cowardly dogs die!".

Next, the sheriff took his own morale check for seeing the original gruesome death.  He failed miserably, scrambled to his feet and fled like a bunny rabbit.  2 further men at arms routed off in the same general direction to keep him company (though presumably keeping more than an arms length away from their boss, just in case).

Strangely, both players were happy to see the Sheriff depart (and both hoped that he'd trip and fall into a midden in his hasty flight).  Steve, playing the outlaws, was concerned in case the Sheriff managed to use his Leader skill to organise a concerted attack on Robin or Little John.  On the other hand, I (playing the authorities) was tired of the Sheriff's evil ways, especially the slaughtering of "cowards".  Honestly, the man's a menace!  He killed more of his own side than the outlaws had managed, at least up to that point in the game.

Finally, Sir Walter was fighting the Merry Man just beside Little John.  When he glanced sideways and saw the giant's fury, he also turned to run.  However, Sir Walter wasn't lucky: the Merry Man lunged at the knight's back and slid his long dagger through an unprotected armpit.  Sir Walter fell to his knees and died before he even knew what had happened.

Spectators mobbed Robin, showering him with complements or complaining about the spoiling of the tournament.  Swiftly, he found that he couldn't move in the crush.

Robin was having a hard time of it.  He untangled himself from the mob, but hadn't gone very much further before Sir Stanley charged at him.  Robin struck at the over-zealous knight with his sword and killed him, but this was all taking time and other enemies were closing in.

Now it was the time of Yorik, the jester.  He was partially hidden behind a couple of bystanders, but Robin could see that the little man was doing something terribly interesting.  His attention wavered as the jester cavorted, told half-heard jokes and played the fool.  Robin's attention wandered; he was torn between waiting for the punchline and fleeing his approaching enemies.

Towards the southern end of the tournament field, Little John had almost reached the edge of the forest.  The Merry Man behind him had fallen with a grunt and a crossbow bolt sticking out of the middle of his back.  The outlaw that was ahead of him was waylaid by a pair of men at arms and overwhelmed, so John was on his own!

By this time, Robin had been left far behind by the other outlaws.  Several spearmen tried to grab him, though he killed one of them with his sword.  Robin kept turning round to try to see what Yorik was doing and this lack of attention was his downfall.  Eventually, Guy of Gisborne joined the fight (having persuaded Marion to come close enough to permit him!).  Between them, Guy and the remaining 2 spearmen managed to drag Robin down, though whether he was dead or captured wasn't clear.

The last crossbowman contemplates tackling Little John all on his own
Little John was so close to freedom now!  One Merry Man had scampered past him and disappeared into the forest, but soldiers kept trying to subdue the giant.  At one point, a pair of them even managed to knock him to the ground, but this small victory was short-lived.  Bellowing furiously, the huge outlaw set about all and sundry with his quarterstaff.  Once they were all defeated, he strode off towards the trees, defying anyone else to try and stop him!

The only man left on the field who would have had much of a chance against the big man was Guy of Gisborne.  His forlorn pursuit was hampered by his need to stay close to Maid Marion and by the actions of the bystanders.  Firstly, "angry old man" gave the knight a lung full of invective and then "rock-throwing young boy" got in his way and taunted him!  With a sense of deep frustration and many unrepeatable words, Guy gave up the chase and went to seek the Sheriff.  At least he could report that they had captured the notorious bandit Robin Hood, if not his lieutenant as well...


I love "Song of Blades and Heroes"!  All through the game, both sides were left unable to carry out their plans just the way they wanted; much improvisation was needed to try to adapt to the changing circumstances.  There was plenty of high drama as the game swayed to and fro - also some good comic moments!

Possibly we gave the authorities a bit too much of an advantage in points.  The intention was to force the outlaws into running away rather than deciding to stay and fight it out - but maybe they didn't have much of a chance of escaping when there were so many enemies around?

In the end the game was a minor victory for the forces of law, although this was somewhat tainted by the fact that their leader smelled of sewage for a while afterwards.  Another game is clearly needed to rescue Robin from the executioner!

The "Man of the Match" award is a split decision; I cannot pick just one.  Candidates are:
  • Maid Marion, whose stubborn refusal to move for almost all of the game acted as a considerable anchor on Guy of Gisborne's movements and therefore prevented the authorities' best warrior from seeing much fighting.
  • Yorik: he distracted Robin for several turns in a row, thus requiring the outlaw chief to use up almost all of his own activations in just trying to clear his head.  This delay enabled various spearmen and knights to surround and ultimately take down Robin.
    Mind you, the game's setup was almost perfect for Yorik's special abilities.  The bystanders gave him a very convenient mobile shield (to prevent him being simply shot down) and the scenario was one where delaying the enemy would pay dividends.  Isn't hindsight wonderful?
  • The bystanders.  Although not all of them were close to the action, the crowd was a constant thorn in the sides of both players, impeding each in turn at several critical junctures!

Tuesday 26 August 2014

Black Powder: The Three Villages!


The battlefield after 1 move.  Mouse-over the image to see who is who...
So, last weekend Steve came round for a day's gaming.  This is something we're fortunate enough to be able to do every few months and since it's quite a long journey for poor Steve, we try at least to make it an activity-packed visit.  This time we managed to fit in 2 games.

As is customary, we started with a big game of Black Powder using our 6mm Napoleonic forces.  We also managed a game of Song of Blades and Heroes, using my Robin Hood-themed warbands.  More on that another time.

On with the show: here's a description of the Black Powder game...

The Scenario

In 1809, a large Russian force is approaching a plain which contains the 3 fictional, central European villages of Großrinderheim, Württemfeld and Tauberbischofsberg.  Help (?) is on its way to repel the invaders, in the shape of a mixed force of French and Confederation of the Rhine troops.  The Confederation troops are outnumbered but have a more flexible command structure.  Would that be enough to make a difference?  Oh, the allies also have a lot more artillery than the Russians...

Victory would be determined very simply: each of the 3 villages is an objective.  Whoever holds more villages at the end of the game would be declared the winner.  The game would end either when 1 side were all dead or ran away, or when we ran out of time or energy to continue!

In the past, we have found troops in buildings to be nearly invulnerable under the Black Powder rules.  Since we didn't want this game to stagnate, it had to be at least plausible to assault an occupied village.  To achieve this, we reduced the morale save modifier for troops in houses from +2 to +1 and the combat result bonus from 3 to 2.  Maybe these buildings are wooden rather than stone?  Or maybe our troops haven't read the manuals on the best way to defend such a position?  Who knows?

The Forces

Most of the troops we used in this battle were fairly standard, with few special rules employed.  However, we wanted to test out the optional rules for Personal Characteristics of Commanders.  We could just have rolled dice for the results and written them down on paper, but I like things to be a bit easier than that.  I've made a deck of cards with a reasonable distribution of these characteristics on them, so all we needed to do was draw one card for each general and brigadier.


The Russian force was made up of 3 identical brigades, each consisting of 4 infantry units, 1 battery of artillery and a unit of (unreliable) Cossacks.
When we assigned characteristics to the Russian commanders, we discovered that the corps commander, Generallieutenant Raevskii, was average but that his subordinates were anything but!  Generalmajor Rylieff was timid and hesitant (!), Generalmajor Pantzerbeiter was decisive (probably an emigre with something to prove, I think...) and Generalmajor Palitsyn was also timid.  OK, this could be interesting...
Totals: 12 infantry, 3 cavalry, 3 artillery units.


The Confederation had 5 small brigades (1 Bavarian, 2 French, 1 Hesse-Darmstadt and 1 mixed light cavalry).  Each of these typically had 2 units of infantry or cavalry and 1 battery of artillery.
The commander (French general Saint Cyr) was decisive, but all 5 of his brigadiers (Cossons and Dalesme for the French infantry, the Hessian Schiner, Bavarian von Minucci and cavalry commander des Essarts) were all completely bland.  A bit disappointing, perhaps, but I suppose it simplified things.
Totals: 9 infantry (7 normal, 2 small), 2 cavalry, 5 artillery units.

The Game

The Russians moved first and immediately force-marched regiments of infantry into all 3 of the villages.  Some of their support forces were a bit slower off the mark, but they were well entrenched in the objectives before the Confederation forces got close.  As the armies approached each other there was an outbreak of firing all along the line, though most was relatively ineffective due to the use of skirmish screens.

The exceptions to this were in the centre, where the French General Cossons steadfastly kept his infantry in attack columns (without a screen!) and the otherwise professional Dalesme advanced the "Lucky 56th" Ligne into a storm of cannon and musket fire without any support.

The Musketry Exchanges

For most of the game, fire was given and taken all along the front line, with the Russian line anchored in the 3 villages and the Confederation just beyond them.  Rather than bore you with a turn by turn account, here are the highlights:
  • French Hussars tried to outflank in the north, but were met by Cossacks.  In an inconclusive skirmish, both sides withdrew behind their infantry supports.
  • In the south, a probe by Bavarian cavalry and light infantry was met by a Russian square.  Without any nearby artillery, the Bavarians were unable to advance any further and a stand-off developed.
  • First blood went to the concentrated French and Hessian artillery on the northern ridge.  One unlucky Russian regiment was decimated and then fled in rout.  There were still plenty more like them, though...
  • At the near end of the line, the Russians found themselves unable to make use of their superior numbers.  A combination of hesitant command and the occasional blunder led to a bunching of units with no room to deploy.
  • Meanwhile, the Russian front line took a pounding, especially from the Confederation artillery that was mostly placed along the ridges in their rear.  In particular, the Russian centre fell into disarray and had trouble reacting.

The Assault

Seeing the Russian centre apparently in disorder, General Cossons ordered his columns to attack.  With banners waving and shouts of "Vive L'Empereur!", the 24th Légère and 44th Ligne regiments marched in double time towards their enemies.  At the last moment, the columns broke into a run and crashed into the confused Russians.  At the same time, General Dalesme's 4th Ligne made a diversionary attack on the village of Württemfeld, fully expecting to withdraw after distracting the defenders from the fight to their flanks.

Disoriented the Russians may have been, but they were going nowhere!  2 of the attacks stalled and halted in stalemates, whilst the 44th Ligne was repulsed in disorder.  Oh, crumbs!

Near Tauberbischofsberg in the north, a single Russian regiment attempted to close with some of the artillery that had been galling them all through the game.  This was a small but bad mistake; the nearby French cavalry made several fake charges to force the attacking infantry into a square.  As soon as this happened, the Hessian artillery and skirmishers set about the poor Russians with a vengeance.
All the square could do was hold on and pray for deliverance; if they moved then the hussars would have been on them in a flash and if they didn't then they would be pummelled with cannister from the cannons.  A unit of Cossacks attempted to charge the guns to relieve their infantry, but these light cavalry refused to charge home and withdrew after taking a few losses.

The Turning Point

In a completely unexpected turn of events, the next round of the 4th Ligne's diversionary attack on the central village succeeded in eliminating the defenders with no real loss to the attacking regiment.  The French soldiers quickly occupied the objective and then poured a thunderous enfilading volley on the unsuspecting Russian regiment at the far side.

Seeing this, the nearby "Lucky 56th" Ligne charged at the wavering Russian unit.  In a tremendous crash, both regiments just disintegrated, leaving whoever was left alive streaming from the field.

Suddenly, it was all over.  The Russians had lost 3 regiments completely, but enough of their other units were shaken for 2 of the 3 brigades to now count as broken.  Since most of the brigades in the army were broken, the entire army was broken.  This came as a complete shock to both players, I think!

Rather than play out the rest of the game, we decided to allow the defeated Russian army to retire in (relatively) good order.  No doubt the small numbers of Confederation cavalry and the ever present Cossacks would have prevented a close pursuit and a total rout.


Well, that was unexpected!  Most of the Confederation units had taken some hits, but were still in good shape.  The Russian infantry never really got going; their superior numbers (especially in the south!) couldn't be brought to bear because of a mixture of hesitant leadership from General Rylieff and frequent disorder in the front lines.

Heroes of the hour were the Confederation artillery: the guns lined the ridges and pounded away on the masses of infantry below.  Some counter-battery fire from the few Russian cannons to get into action had done a lot of damage, but not enough to silence their enemies.

The cards for leaders' characteristics seemed to work well.  We found that most of the time the characteristics didn't have much influence on play, though just occasionally they made a critical moment more ... interesting!  That's as it should be.  Having the cards laid out made it easier to remember which commanders had these special rules.  It also brought a more personal touch to the game: the officers had both names and portraits (even if the pictures are technically all in Russian uniforms!)

Finally, next time I think the Confederation should take fewer brigades, but with more regiments in each one.  5 sub-commanders is really a bit too many!

Thursday 21 August 2014

The Hospital (it's a part-work)

Once again, I've missed my self-imposed Wednesday deadline for a new article.  I'm annoyed with myself that this keeps happening recently; maybe I've got too many things going on simultaneously?

That being so, here's a quick description and a couple of pictures of my part-built Grekwood hospital.  I really need to complete this before I can continue with my ATZ campaign, as the last couple of episodes have clearly been leading up to a scenario set in a place of healing.  Please be patient; it may take me some time yet and I'm also finding this quite frustrating...

As you can see, I have made a start on the hospital!  So far I've completed 1 ward & day room, 1 corridor section and the entrance hall (less the steps and sign).  Also you can see the floor for a second hallway.

My vision is for a 2-storey affair with 4 "wards", though I'll probably only outfit 2 of them as real wards.  The remaining 2 should contain other hospital services, though I'm not sure what.  Perhaps a cafeteria and out-patient clinics?  Or an operating theatre?  Or administrative offices, a pharmacy, a laboratory or even an industrial laundry?  Ah, so many ideas; I know that I cannot realistically do them all.

At least the build is very modular, so this does leave open the possibility of expansion later.  It should also make the pieces a bit easier to store, I hope.

So far I've really only got the shells for these rooms.  I've done a little work on the roofs, but almost none on the furniture and fittings.  Hmm, perhaps this is all too ambitious and I should settle for a much smaller establishment?  Ah, but I have such dreams...

Sunday 17 August 2014

Traffic Jam!


I've written a few posts on paper models recently, so I think it's only fair that I photograph my entire collection.  As well as being a visual treat for your eyes (I hope!), getting the entire collection together in one place also allows me to take stock, find any notable omissions, spot any damage that may have occurred and so on.

Everything together in one big picture

So, let's break this down...

Military Vehicles

My army trucks and APCs are all from Genet Models, which used to be known as Ebbles Models, I think.  These all come from the Patrol and Convoy kits - at least, that's what they were called when I bought them.  I think that the site may have been rearranged since then.

One note about the Genet kits: they're huge!  If I remember correctly then I printed these out at 84% or so of the original size - and they're still very large vehicles, if not quite so overwhelming as before.  At least you can resize paper models easily!

Emergency Services

My collection of emergency response vehicles are almost entirely police machines and almost entirely from WorldWorks Games. There is a single ambulance but no fire engines (a distinct gap in the market, I think.  I've not seen a fire engine yet that I would wish to build).

The other outsider is a solitary white "No Go Zone" police car in British colours.  It's a nice idea, but the car body has a very complex shape and the texturing is bland.  I wouldn't recommend this to anyone unless you are an experienced card modeller and have a particular need for UK-branded cop cars.

"Regular" Cars

Here is my collection of compact and sedan cars.  All of the ones at the back are from WorldWorks, but the four at the front are from Stoelzel's Structures, if I remember right.

Note the convertible at the front: I'm very pleased to have it, but it did take a lot more effort to build than any of the other vehicles here.  Obviously, it has an interior and that complicates the design quite a bit.

Also note that the convertible is a little larger than the other "civilian" automobiles.  This inconsistency of scale is something that afflicts most manufacturers to some extent.  Mind you, I think that WorldWorks is probably a far worse offender than Stoelzel in this respect.

Trucks and Buses

I have a relatively small collection of large commercial vehicles: 2 buses and 2 articulated trucks (with 1 extra trailer).  Also there's a garbage truck.  This latter is an early WorldWorks model and although it has all the right components, it just doesn't look quite right to me.  The cab is too narrow, the body too wide and tall.  Additionally, the double tyres at the back are badly aligned with the single tyres at the front.  It's an odd model.

On another note, buses are some of the easiest card models to make, so I would recommend them strongly to anyone who wished to begin making this type of kit.

Pick-ups, Estates and Vans

I have considerably more light commercial vehicles than I do of the large ones.  Most of these are from WorldWorks, though 2 in the front row are Stoelzel's and the white box van at the rear is a No Go Zone kit (one of my least favourite models.  It was a little awkward to build and I don't think that the result is very impressive)

Note that this picture clearly shows one of the worst discrepancies in scale between the WorldWorks vans and their pick-ups.  I'm not an expert on cars and trucks in real life, but surely the vans should be rather bigger than the pick-ups?  If anything, it's the other way round for these models.  As before, I could resize the printouts, but it's somewhat annoying to have to do so when the kits are all from the same publisher.


These are the remaining vehicles that didn't seem to fit into any other category.  There are 2 "Lamborgharri"s, 2 burnt out compacts, 3 motorcycles, a classic roadster and a hearse.  The latter is from Mega Miniatures; the rest are again from WorldWorks.

Most of these models (apart from the hearse) are significantly more complex than average to build.  You should be able to tell this just by looking at them!


This may look like a lot of models, but remember that each one is very cheap to make.  Once the kit has been purchased, each new car is typically just half a sheet of cardboard and a little printer ink and glue.  They're also relatively quick to build, which is partly why I have so many: card vehicles are very good filler models between other projects or when you only have small amounts of time for the hobby.  I've never sat down to build more than 2 or 3 vehicles at any one time, yet over the years the collection has grown steadily!

So, what do I think is missing from this collection?  Well, I could use more estate cars (station wagons).  The Stoelzel's car set has a number of these in it so I'm certain to build some in due course.  There are no good fire engines on the market, at least ones that I know about.  And I've never come across any kits for construction or agricultural vehicles, apart from a single excavator (?) in one of the WorldWorks kits.  I'd really like a cement mixer; imagine what you could do in a game with that!

Thursday 14 August 2014

The Robots from Combat Zone


I've just realised that I missed my normal Wednesday post.  There's no excuse for this, save perhaps that the household is a little more chaotic than usual because the kids had their first day back at school.  These days, everything just seems like a blur; I wonder how I ever manage to get anything done...

Anyway, here's a quick post about some mechs!

The Mechs

So, does this mean that I've suddenly become interested in yet another new genre of gaming?  No, not really.  These 3 models are all plastic robots which came from the Combat Zone boxed set.  Incidentally, although I bought my set many years ago, the same product is still available from EM-4 Miniatures.  At a little over £15, I think it must be the cheapest introductory wargame set available!

It's obvious to anyone who looks closely that these 28mm "robots" were originally Battletech-style mechs and therefore must be in a much smaller scale (1:300?).  However if you're not too fussy then they can be used alongside larger human figures.  I rationalise this by thinking of the models' windows as being sensor housings rather than human-sized cockpit canopies.

The Combat Zone world is really classic Cyberpunk, with high tech and lowlives.  Gangs roam those parts of the cities which aren't patrolled by corporate police forces and all sides have access to a lot of fairly traditional firearms.  In addition, robots are widely used and can be heavily armed.

I've painted 2 of these 3 robots (Street Tiger II and Avenger 500) in opposing gang colours, whilst Sentinel Type 37 is a police machine.

So, how do these models look alongside 28mm humans?  The picture above shows the trio of mechs next to a pair of troopers (also from the EM-4 Combat Zone set).  The robots are clearly a little bigger, but not so much as to overwhelm the people.  These aren't Transformers or city-eating monster machines!  However they are nice little models and they're incredibly cheap!

Sunday 10 August 2014

28mm Big Rigs


A little while ago, I mentioned that I was building some WorldWorks trucks for my 28mm modern wargames such as All Things Zombie: here.  Note that this was an impulse decision and not based on a need for trucks in any upcoming scenario.  Still, here we are!

So far, I have built 3 semi-trailers and 2 tractors.  That's probably enough for now; much as I enjoy building these vehicles I do need some time for all the other model-making projects which have been on hold for the past 2 weeks or so!

The Container Semi-Trailer

Both the red and the blue tractors have been built straight from the WorldWorks Mayhem Industrial kit and so I won't spend a lot of time describing them - the only modification is the addition of a socket to take the trailer's coupling, as described in my previous article.  Mayhem Industrial gives 3 choices of colour scheme for each of the long-nose and cab-over variants (blue, yellow & green for the long-nose and red, white & black for the cab-over), but sadly there's no black long-nose.  Maybe I'll kitbash one some day, with a little rubber duck mascot on top of the bonnet/hood?

The container semi-trailer is also built straight from the kit and is also one of the 3 possible variants that are supplied.

The Flatbed Semi-Trailer

As well as the container semi-trailer, I thought that a flatbed would be useful.  I can put any kind of loads I like on this: logs, concrete pipe sections or large pieces of machinery.

For the most part, this is also built straight from the WorldWorks kit; it's basically just the container semi-trailer but without the container on top.  There are a few minor modifications to my version, though:

  • I've added a "headboard" at the front, to stop loads from sliding forwards into the tractor.  This was cut from a spare piece of the trailer bed, so it matches the colouring and style perfectly.
  • The card for the upper and lower sides of the trailer bed were separated and then used to sandwich a piece of mounting board.  This makes the model much thicker and rather stronger than it would have been otherwise.
  • As with all of my semi-trailers, I've glued a Hama bead on the underside to act as a pivot.  This fits into the tractor's socket and thus holds the rig together.

The Tanker Semi-Trailer

Articulated tankers are such an important part of many movies and other sources of inspiration that I just had to have one.  However there was no such model in the Mayhem Industrial set.  What was I to do?

So, there are essentially 2 parts to this model: the undercarriage and the tank itself.  The undercarriage is all from the WorldWorks kit, but very heavily modified.  The tank is entirely my own design.

I'm not a graphic designer of any kind, but I'm reasonably good with 3d shapes and how they can be built up from 2d designs (nets).  The tank itself is just an oval prism, though I swept back the front end a bit.  I have added some texture to the model, but sadly it doesn't look very evident in any of these pictures.

Rolling a card tube of this length is very difficult, so I added an old block of balsa along the centreline.  Even with this support, I'm not entirely happy with the way that the tank turned out.  The front was particularly troublesome and I couldn't get the curve even from top to bottom - I don't know why.  Perhaps I should have added more formers along the length of the tank?

Compared with the tube, the top block (with the hatches) was very easy to build.  Note that this tanker is about 4 or 5cm shorter than it would be if the model were true to scale.  That matches the length of the WorldWorks semi-trailers.  I haven't measured them but I suspect that this is a compromise in the name of playability.

As mentioned before, the undercarriage of this model has been adapted from the WorldWorks components.  Here are the main differences:
  • The "underbody" has been narrowed considerably, so that it just peeks out from underneath the tank.
  • I've changed the wheel arrangement from 2 axles with double tyres on each side (i.e. 8 wheels) to a 3 axle, single type arrangement (i.e. 6 wheels).  This involved both widening and lengthening the axle unit, as well as sourcing some single wheels from the tractor unit.
  • A mudguard was taken from the "long-nose" tractor and lengthened (a lot) and narrowed (a little).  I also changed the colour to a neutral grey, before fitting the mudguards around a specially-designed black half-oval.


These are nice models to have and will no doubt find a use in my ATZ games or anything with a similar (modern) setting.  For the most part, they're straightforward to build (but oh, I'm tired of making wheels!).  The tanker semi-trailer took far longer than all the others put together; this was entirely due to the design work needed.  Every time I undertake such a task, I come out of it wondering where all the hours went!

10-10, Good buddy!

Wednesday 6 August 2014

"We don't need no steekin' badges!"


I've got several small projects that I'm dying to show you, but none of them are quite ready yet.  This means that today's post will be a good opportunity to carry on my work in documenting my collection of figures.  Actually I doubt that I'll ever come close to completing this self-imposed task, but I'll give it a good shot!

It occurs to me that I've described a number of games of The Rules with No Name, but I've never shown any of my Old West figures.  That's an omission which needs to be remedied, so without further ado here are my 28mm Mexican banditos!

Oh, the title of this article?  It's a very famous misquote, possibly the best known line in any Western.  The original encounter between Humphrey Bogart and a group of banditos from which this line derives is, of course, in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

The Leaders

I have 2 models that I use as El Jefe, depending on the role that the Mexicans are to play in a game.  Santos is smartly dressed, well off and honourable.  He's probably the owner of a ranch south of the border and not really much different from his American counterparts.  Santos comes from Knuckleduster Miniatures.

On the other hand, Tuco is just plain evil!  Don't be fooled by his unkempt appearance; this man is a ruthless and sadistic killer.  He'd shoot his own men just as happily as anyone else's if he thought it would help his cause.  Tuco is made by Artizan Designs.


Rafael is known for his habit of firing 2 revolvers at once.  He thinks it makes him look tough, though in reality all he achieves is to make a lot of noise and smoke.  Rafael doesn't have much in the way of brains, but he'll willingly undertake any dirty task that his boss commands.  Put plain and simply, he's a thug!  Rafael is from the same Knuckleduster pack as before.

Unlike the other lieutenant, Emilio is quieter and more reflective.  He's intelligent but not particularly strong-willed; he'll try to please his chief by following orders.  Also, Emilio is a very good shot with his rifle.  This model also comes from Artizan, though not from the same pack as Tuco.

Foot Soldiers

The banditos gang has a lot of cannon fodder at the bottom of the pecking order.  These are a mixture of disenchanted peasants, low grade crooks and aged has-beens!

To be honest, in all the games we've played, these characters tend to blend into each other.  I find it difficult to remember one such bandito from another.  The only exception to this is Rico, the drunk.  He's always been crazy and unpredictable; sometimes passing out without firing a shot and sometimes charging into fistfights with hostile shootists.  Never a dull moment, except when he sobers up!

The first 4 of these models are from Knuckleduster, whilst the last 2 are Artizan, again.


I've always liked the banditos.  They may just be used as generic bad guys, but in my mind they're more than that.  Perhaps they're displaced farmers who have resorted to banditry to try to feed their families?  Maybe they're misunderstood revolutionaries fighting for a better world?  Or possibly they're just 2-bit outlaws after all!

Obviously I need to get some more guys for this gang sometime.  The Magnificent Seven wouldn't even get to shoot 2 banditos each, let alone an entire village full!  I'm also lacking any mounted models or casualty figures, though I do have an as-yet-unpainted Mexican taking a siesta under his sombrero!