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Grognard Files, Swedish Radio and Dalarna 1943 – More Progress

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Writing this after another day working from home during the Corona lock-down in Greater London – I am happy to report that my immediate and extended family are all ok. It all feels very surreal, and I hope as always that this blog will give you a few moments of being away from it all in a safe place.

Today,

  • More pictures from the Dalarna 1943 Project and being contacted by Swedish Radio
  • A note on my appearance on the Grognard Files

Dalarna 1943

I was contacted by the Swedish Radio last week, their regional Dalarna branch, about this project and recorded a short thing for their morning show today. It made me happy, I hope I did not come across as too much of an idiot whenever it is being aired.

Here is a sound file containing the segment (in Swedish, aired 03 Apr 2020)

A lot of recent progress on this project as I have finished the third batch of Prints from Sabotag3d (link here).  I am really happy to see that Paul has been shipping some round pole fences (gärdsgård) over to Sweden and consequently me not being the only one fascinated by this type of Fence. So if this appeals to someone get in contact with Paul and see what he can do for you, he makes these fences in 1/100 scale (15mm size miniatures) as well as for 28mm miniatures. But I suppose you can get them in any scale you like – it really takes us straight into the Dalarna landscape of old (and new) without to much leap of faith. We should also add that Paul also did a few damaged sections for me, to be used to illustrate the impact of an explosion or that a tank has driven through them.

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A similar piece to that used in the picture above as delivered by Sabota3d

Last time around we had done the basic village tiles and the round pole fences and it allowed to create something like this (there is a link here to an earlier blog that covers this is some detail and talks about the Falu Red colour used for the houses, etc).

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For further detailing I wanted to have some mail boxes, typical of the Swedish country side. So I sent Paul the idea and as always he returned a fantastic little print (truth is that the state post box may not have had the colour scheme and the symbol at that time, but I felt it just needed to look that way).

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I miniaturized some documents to represent some kind of messages having been posted up (perhaps about what to do in case or war, or the latest football results!), a Proganda Poster and an old Film Poster (this one a homage to my Dad, as it was the first movie he remembered seing on the big screen at a matinee viewing sometime in the 1950ies, it is the Sea Hawk with Errol Flynn – Slaghöken in Swedish), these were just printed small on a normal laser colour printer on normal print paper and cut out and glued in place.  The label on the yellow post box was made using a lable paper for a laser printer (Model by Sabotag3d)

Milk of course was collected differently in those days and milk churns would be standing on tables alongside the road, ready for collection on the morning.

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(Model by Sabotag3d)

The centre of the village is the Lanthandel that would sell you the supplies you needed.

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Ready for business (Model by Sabotag3d)
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Again some posters from the time used to add some immersion to it all. Some of the brands are still popular today.

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And finally a little petrol station, probably not that operational due to rationing, but again a not to uncommon feature in the Sweden of 1943.

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Petrol Station (model by Sabotag3d)

On top of this I have spent some time doing further features to add to the landscape and increase the immersion factor on the table.

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Made from various stuff tt scale benches (railway stuff), MC from HQ Pack, some cycles from Peter Pig, the wood piles are just cut matchsticks and looks great, and some other stuff.
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The table from a Peter Pig command set and the tools from some railways set I bought ages ago.
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Bikes from Peter Pig
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The wagon wheels and wall from Peter Pig the other stuff from the kit box

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That drawer has some Kurbits – a popular art form in my home county (Dalarna)

We laid out another table and had a game with the Little One last weekend (using the Chain of Command rules by Too Fat Lardies, link here) and then we did a lot of shots of vehicles because we could.

A Little Game

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Some random shots of Swedish WW2 Vehicles

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First out the L-series of armoured cars developed in the 1930s (1/100 model from shapeways).
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The Pansarbil M/39/M/40 was a better solution for the need of the Swedes, with improved off-road cability and maneuverability and double drive. I find it beautiful (1/100 model from Shapeways).
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Perhaps the most iconic Swedish vehicle the Terrängbil m/42 KP. It was a domestic development and allowed the infantry to keep up with the tanks and provide protection from artillery and small arms fire. You can read more about this vehicle and how this 1/100 Shapeways model was modified slightly and the riders added in an old blog post (link here). Still in trials in 1943 and sent back due to inadequate armour plating but if the Germans invade we take what we got.
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Finally we will look at the Swedish Tanks available in 1943. First the Tankette Stridsvagn m/37. There is a previous blog here that shows the how this conversion was made from and the details for the other tanks below (link here).
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Next “beast” is the M/40 Light tank Stridsvagn M/40 – many models and versions. I used this as the Generic one – an early print by Paul Edwards.
I love them. (Formed the backbone of the Irish Armoured force in 1937 and developed into the Hungarian Toldi)
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And in the medium tank class we have the M/41. These were licence built TNH Tanks (perhaps more known as the 38(t) and used by the German army in the early War Period. Later a lot of them were rebuilt for other roles)
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Finally, In the almost heavy weight class (well big medium) we have the M/42 – My favourite with – like the M/40 a domestic development.

 

The Grognard Files – First, Last and Everything

See the source image

For you not familiar with the Grognard files here is Dirk’s own summary what it is all about (stolen from his webpage).

I’m Dirk the Dice and this is the GROGNARD files podcast, talking bobbins about table-top RPGs from back in the day and today.  The Armchair Adventurers are small FRPG group that meet monthly in Bolton. We first got together thanks to a ‘small ad’ in WHITE DWARF in 1983.  We got back together in 2010 to play Call of Cthulhu Masks of Nyarlathotep monthly for 3 years. Playing again reignited our passion for RPGs, so we returned to some more classic campaigns from our teenage years: RuneQuest BORDERLANDS, Traveller ADVENTURE, RuneQuest GRIFFIN MOUNTAIN and Call of Cthulhu FUNGI FROM YUGGOTH. Our interest began to shift towards what had happened to RPGs during our period away from the hobby.

See the source imageI have been, in a friendly way, been pestering Dirk to do a podcast about the Middle Earth Roleplaying Game for a long time (check out #grogmerp on twitter if you do not believe me).  Last month he released part 1 of the MERP (Middle Earth Roleplaying) show and he asked me to do a “First, Last and Everything” segment for Part 2 – that is a presentation of my first, last and overall favourite RPG games.  I went for (because it is true) the first being the old Swedish RPG game Mutant (from 1984) that I have written about here on a few occasions (link some of it here, here, here and here), MERP as it is the last one I played and you can find out more about it in the two Episodes below, my everything is the classic Call of Cthulhu Rpg.

See the source imageHere are the links to the two parts of Episode 36 – Middle-Earth Role Playing (MERP) with Liz Danforth:

I did write a script for my part and it is appended below would you be interested, it may be cool to listen to it first though.

 

/ As always I do hope that this was of some interest, stay safe during these and any other times

First, Last and Everything

Hi, My name is Per and I am delighted to deliver my first, last and everything. You can find me on Twitter as Per at RollaOne or on my blog rollaone.com.

It was 1984 and I was 12 and my slightly older cousin Mika was visiting us in our little provincial town in the heartlands of Sweden, Dalarna, where if you take the wrong fork you may come upon a lonely and curious country, in areas that remind you of some Lovecraftian environment – desolate, quiet and with the occasional character sneaking around, or looking through the windows with empty stares and some doors hanging on rusty and consequently noisy hinges blowing in the wind. These are places where they say shoot-dig-keep quiet – that kind of thing. I mean all that Nordic Noir crime stuff must have come from somewhere? But most of it are quaint red houses with white trimmings, surrounded by, wait for it, round pole fences.

He, my cousin, cajoled me into buying this new game that he had played called Mutant, a game set after the catastrophe in a future Scandinavia. You could play as mutated humans & animals or be a robot from the old time (but with a messed up memory bank, with a tendency to obey orders from pure humans or those who had not too obvious mutations – later I learned they were programmed to follow Asimov’s 3 robotic Laws). You could also be a PSI-mutant with mental powers, shunned by most people with or without fur. They were like magic users but very often with defects like madness or confusion triggered by failing to use a mental ability – making it very frustrating at times, or pure (non-mutated) humans considerable sturdier and more clever than we are today and with a patronising at best to a disrespectful view on mutants. The society that had risen was roughly at the technology level of the early 19th century – you could arm yourself with a musket if you had the cash but equally common were a baseball bat and an old bin lid, or traffic sign with a moose, as a shield. It was a more organised society than in movies like Mad Max – things had calmed down. There were forbidden zones to adventure in and the dungeon equivalent were old research labs or other underground facilities with the chance of finding old tech, crazy cyber computers, frozen people from the old times or mutated beasts – sometimes all at once. The dragon equivalent were giant beetles and land sharks that swam through the earth It was my fist role-playing game and we had never heard about anything like it and it also came with some funny looking dice, but no gaming board. Just a little cardboard sheet that was used to resolve whether the character understood what the old tech item he has just found was. My cousin had never GM:ed before and actually as it turned out he had never played the game – however he spent a day reading it and the following evening a few friends and I made some characters – mine a mutated moose, a hunter, with a big club and a musket – then he very ably played us through the introductionary scenario “Mission in Mos Mosel” until the small hours ….it was love at first play….

This game has evolved to what today is known as Mutant Year 0, and a number of the modern products has given more than a nod to the old modules and adventures.

However we quickly advanced to non-Swedish rpgs – it was not as cool to play the Swedish games – at least not in those days.

We went on a School trip to London in Year 9, this was 1987, and the trip was funded to not a small part of us selling loaves of home baked breads outside a local shopping centre and we also set up a school show and invited all the parents and students – I and yet another cousin and fellow gamer Sebastian played two drunk characters and we made some crap jokes pretending to be pissed and we had a grand finale with the song “Shut uppa you face”, by Joe Dolce. In London we, equipped with a Summer of earnings from working for the local council’s real estate department cutting lawns, bushes and collecting rubbish, delivering leaflets at weekends or selling the Sunday issues of a broadsheet newspaper, bought a lot of RPG games and modules from Orcs Nest (still on Earlham Street today), Games Workshop and The Virgin shop on Oxford Street. We got Judge Dredd, MERP (Middle Earth Roleplaying Game), Call of Cthulhu, and “who ya gonna call” Ghostbusters, Top Secret, Chill, Timemaster, Paranoia and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying and god only knows what else, I remember the only non-rpg stuff I bought was the God Save the Queen single by Sex Pistols and Bob Marley’s Exodus (movement of Jah people).

But also a shout out to the Amazing swedish shop Hobby Huset in Uppsala – they had an amazing selection of RPGs in their catalogue and excellent shipping service. We sometimes even took the 1.5 hour train trip and visited the cellar it was located in and got some strange stuff from the bargain bucket. It was this shop that really opened up the hobby for us country boys.

We played so much RPG games in our youth, in people’s houses but eventually in a shed with a heater that made it bearable. We hated splitting up the group as we had to stand outside in the bloody cold freezing our Dirks off (remember this was Sweden when we had proper seasons). Later we asked our school if we could use one of the class rooms in the evening and weekends and the head teacher gave us a key and we had a hell of a good time. We had a good group with a few changes along the way, but then playing in death metal bands, national service, university education, and moving abroad split the old gang. We had our ups and downs but now 30 years or so later I can only recall the positive aspects, so to my old Grogsquad Jonas, Petri, Sebastian, Tommy, Thomas, Magnus, Micke, Reidar, Erik, Petter, Christer, Anton, Fredrik and the guy who only came once and played Pendragon with us and anyone else I forgot, but also to my new Grogsquad the Adventurers Club led by Dirk, Blythy, Ed, and the Daily Dwarf, I raise my glass of vodka to you all!

Although there was a lot of fear mongering around the Rpg hobby in the mainstream media at the time, thinking we would become too introvert, turn into extremists or jump from buildings imagining we could fly, I think our parents were grateful for the fact that instead of being out drinking moonshine vodka, a speciality of the region, and making the town unsafe, we instead sat in the shed telling each other stories and rolling dice. I think we all turned out ok in the end.

In the day we shared the burden of Game Mastering in our Little but Merry band, but the longer campaigns were usually game mastered by myself or Jonas and one of the first games he ran was MERP – Middle Earth Roleplaying. Jonas was amazing with regards to preparing for campaigns and game sessions and his knowledge of Middle Earth was very deep – he had even read the Silmarillion and the Lost Tales! Later Jonas were to run a very long AD&D campaign (2nd Edition) and although I never really liked the system, his overall campaign with a mixture of shorter episodes, long running plots and reappearing protagonists was probably the best one I ever played. However back to MERP. The rules today feels old-fashioned, being a Lite version of the bigger Rolemaster System but at the time offered us some kind of balance between the always fragile characters in the basic Roleplaying system kind of game and rise of your AD&D characters toward immortality – with MERPs open-ended rolls there was always a chance that an opponent could score critical hits and do some substantial damage whatever the differences in character levels, armour class etc. You had to be careful and not every encounter would be a question of drawing a sword. And the magic system was definitely not Tolkienesque but then Jonas did not allow us to be wizards. But what was more on top of this and perhaps the real legacy of MERP was the many fantastic modules and not the rules. The modules had some fantastic drawings and amazing covers that shaped our vision of this amazing world. There were many talented artists contributing to these modules but for me there are two I would like to mention especially – first the legend Angus McBride who did some exceptional cover art for many of the MERP modules. The second artist is of course Liz Danforth who created an outstanding visual presentation of the various characters, races and creatures of this wonderful world, and by the way a big thanks to you Liz for your support to the #grogmerp campaign on Twitter. But there was more, the modules contained information about the people and lands and it felt like it stayed true to the lore but expanded where there were white spots. Herbs, requires a special mention, and were like modern mobile phone apps – there was an app, sorry I meant a herb for that. It is actually my last RPG, I played and a big part of my recent interest in the hobby.

However, there was only one game that I really really immersed myself into in the day and it was the Call of Cthulhu rpg – I guess it does not need any deeper introduction. The first time I played it was at the RPG club in my hometown that some of us used to go to and play as well as playing with the core group, the club was founded by Magnus Seter and Dan Algstrand who today are well known characters in the RPG Industry. It was an excellent way in getting to know likeminded and try out a wider array of games. The club even run a few conventions and I wrote the Call of Cthulhu Scenario for the first two – with the imaginary titles of – the Shadow in Darkness and the Dweller in the Shadow (You can actually find these on the net, but mind you they are written in Swedish). Our little band played some of the epic campaigns like the Fungi form Yuggoth (later more adequately renamed the Day of the Beast), the Spawn of Azathoth and even the Horror on the Orient Express – although our campaign derailed after a few stops. But for me it was the Arkham county series of books that really made the game come alive – we played scenarios in the Miskatonic Valley – in places straight from the Lovecraft stories like Arkham, Dunwich, Innsmouth and Kingsport. The players included Professors working at the Miskatonic University, a PE teacher who could throw a javelin like no other, a retired Major from the British Army (yes he was a hell of a Marksman with his Webley Revolver), Private Investigators, a daredevil pilot and a Medical Doctor at the Arkham Asylym. The scenarios both readymade and homebrewed focused on local events – it made it more scary and intense when reoccurring NPCs asked for help, suddenly disappeared, ended up at the Asylum, or were found dead. When you could weave in characters family trees into the scenarios with the realisation that great grandfather Elijah Waitrose was a Cthulhu cultist or that Great Aunt Tess Collie was an adventurer lost in Dreamlands. As For anyone who may not be familiar with the literature I really recommend that you read the wonderful but not for the faint hearted stories like “The Call of Cthulhu”, “The Dunwich Horror”, “Escape from Innsmouth”, “The Whisperer in Darkness” and “The Colour out of Space” to name some of my favourites. Yes, having moved on more than 30 years from that initial fascination, I know that H.P. Lovecraft probably was a man I would end up arguing with in the pub – he was a racist, homophobe etc, revealed by studying his letter and analysing some of the stories – I get it! But I was never in it for that, I was in it for the chill, sense of hopelessness in a world full of unknown things that humanity at best had a very limited understanding of, the desperate fight against overwhelming odds of getting either permanently insane or ending up dead. The sheer joy of game mastering a group of seasoned investigators in gathering clues from libraries, local newspapers, speakeasies, weird locals, etc. They, the characters, were never flashing heroes with shiny armour and glimmering swords or caped crusaders flying the flag , they were mostly normal people who endlessly fought on. Call of Cthulhu is my everything!

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Readers Digest version Feb-19 – Star Wars Legion and Great Northern War

The last blog post was 28 days ago, that is the longest gap I have had since I started this blog in 2016 – my objective was to do a blog post every week or so.  I am slowly working away on a few hobby things but work and some personal issues has lead to some difficulties to find some time to write stuff down – I still do some Twitter binges as I find it a fantastic forum for miniatures and wargaming – it is friendly and inspirational.

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However here is a condensed catch-up blog of what hobby related activities I undertook during February 2019 – I hope it will suffice!

Roll a One blog 10th February – Star Wars Legion, first two Games

We Spent this week preparing and playing Star Wars what a Legion it was fantastic fun. We had a go at the learning scenario and then we did a more involved scenario with some objective in a little desert village.  I lost both of the battles… here are some pictures.

 

The Little One gave me a new nick name – Roll a Blank! However overall we had a blast and have played a few more time since. Fun game and thumbs up from the Little One.

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Roll a One blog 17th February – Some more Legion Building

A relatively calm week, we got a MDF piece for the Legion Desert terrain. Following some preparation we think it blends in nicely with the other terrain although it is made from MDF.

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Good value at about a tenner, and gives some options for fighting on the roof.

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Roll a One blog 25th February – Mapping it all Up, Bad Elephant Joke, Painting the Monastery/Cloister

I pulled the famous finger out of that infamous place and have now started with this years Joy of Six project for real – Poltava 1709. The Battlefield will be 16 by 5 feet and I did a rough map on how it will look in the end and have started planning the various key terrain elements (All miniature 6mm Baccus).

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Some of the key features on the left hand side are seen below, the Swedish Camp, Poltava with Siege lines, although I think they actually were on the left of Poltava in this picture. We can also see the Monastery, the Swedish Camp and some of the Russian Redoubts.

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Here is the Monastery made from models from Total Battle Miniatures. I think it will do the trick it will be place on a hill with trees.

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I have also got myself a whole camping worth of tents to do the Swedish Camp with a design based on how a battalion camped during the era (with the latrines to the left).

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I even found a guy in the Baccus camp pack who looked just perfect to convert to a man having a dump in the latrine area – he looks very peaceful and reflective, perhaps he was unwell on the day and could not be with the army (lucky guy!).

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Roll a One blog 3rd March – Russian Redoubts

The Russian redoubts are another of the key components of the Poltava Battlefield, here are my take on them (note due to ground scale vs figure scale these had to be relatively small).  I have just got the miniatures so only did a few for test purposes.

I first made some using clay but whilst in a Wickes (UK DIY shop) on another mission I noticed that the were selling Pine Glass Bead Moulding (basically strips of wood) that had a very interesting profile (see below, they are product code 121231 at Wickes and comes in lengths of 2.4 meters – plenty for my current needs).

 

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That was all, I think I am all up to date now, until next roll Ones!

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29 Let’s Go Pint Sized Campaign for CoC – Houses and Battlefield Clutter in 15mm

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In the post last week I discussed the Project the Little One and I are doing to play the 29 Let’s Go Pint sized campaign from Too Fat Lardies (link here if you are interested). The German platoon and supports have not yet been delivered as an item is on back-order, so we have pressed on with other stuff.  One of the most pleasing aspects of a WW2 Skirmish is a nice looking table that sets the scenes alive. If you look at any of the Too Fat Lardies games there is plenty of character in the table itself – nice buildings, trees, hedges but also those additional things that makes it look real, like Green houses, planters, sheds, benches, telegraphs poles, pissoirs, statutes, monuments, civilian cars, old advertisement on buildings,  etc.

Warbases have a nice range suitably called Chain of Command that has some very nice item including two garden sets (link here), they have been developed with Too Fat Lardies. The only problem for our project is that they are all in 28mm – if I did this in 28mm I would definitely get these.

I contacted Warbases and said something in the line of “Hey Lets Go 15mm?”.  They told me they do not do them in 15mm, but that perhaps the stuff that Scenic Route Models could fit my needs (link here).  Now these model are in OO scale that technically is 1/76 whilst 15mm is about 1/100 (most of the time) – in reality I feel that most of the Battlefront miniatures are bigger than 15mm.  However, I thought to myself, I could throw a few pounds in their direction in the interest of research. So I ordered the following sets this Tuesday and they were delivered this Saturday.

And of course their Green House (well I got two).

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I got them and as I suspected felt that there were a little bit on the large side (as they are design for another scale), this is the Greenhouse door vs the doors on the houses I am using (more about those below).

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However I got out my good old razor saw and cut of a few layers on the bottom on all the pieces before assembling (you could use a knife and cut carefully as well) – A relatively easy modification.

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And, I did similar modifications to the other stuff – always modifying the height.  The only further modifications I did to the buildings where adding roof ridges (cocktail sticks), and gluing on 80 grade sandpaper on the shed roofs, and adding some glass to the plant boxes and green houses – this was from some sheets from some thin plastic from packaging for strawberries (I ate them and cleaned it up first).  After I painted them I added some flower tufts to the planters and green houses. And, I almost forgot, I also added some detail to make the opening to the Green house look more like a door.

I am very happy with the results (the 15mm Americans from last week making another appearance).

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I have made a second order for some more stuff (mainly repeats, but trying out one or more other things) and also ordered some other things from some other suppliers I hope will work as well – but will write about those in future updates here on the blog.

I also stumbled upon the following during an eBay search for something completely different.  I thought it looked like some kind of stone pattern.

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So, I got myself a piece of it to try out – it is called Faux Leather Python Pattern Upholstery Fabric and is sold in 1 meter lengths (1.4m wide) for £12. I got it and did a quick dry-brush and detail and this is how it turned out – not 100% satisfied but it does work.

 

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Finally I bought a whole bunch of 15mm Normandy houses/structures (16 No. in total) from Empires at War – they are pre-painted stuff and are very good (link here).  We only built a few and will only need about 5 No. for the 29 Lets Go campaign and only applied a little bit of additional paint mainly to hide the brown laser cut mdf sides – if you look at the pictures you can see the before and after look – they do work well without any modifications as well.

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I will show more of the houses when I finished them.

/ All the best

 

Painted Cabin and Snowmobiles – Mutant 1984

As stated last time I am bulk finishing stuff for Horka so not much to show with regards to progress overall.  I realised I am approaching the 100th blog posting and I thought I would make a little bit of a special going back to Saga and do something with regards to the new rules.

 

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Basing in progress, followed by drybrushing, final detailing, flags and static grass. Getting there!

 

This is the plan, for the next 4 postings.

Blogpost 98, w.c 02-Apr-18. Some completed stuff for Horka 1708, this will be pictures of the completed Russian Infantry – the 64 bases required.  I just need to complete the basing and add flags to the final ones in the next few days. 

Blogpost 99, w.c. 09-Apr-18. – Gaslands in Microscale/6mm, this will have some shots from some games we have played and my impression of doing it with 50% measures.

Blogpost 100, w.c. 16-Apr-18. – Special about Saga 2 in 6mm, this will be some reflections, changes to rules and pictures from Gameplay with the new rules over the Easter Period.

Blogpost 101, w.c. 23-Apr-18. –  My take on Salute on the 14th.  Looking forward to see Michael Leck’s Stäket 1719 and Too Fat Lardies Demo game of What a Tanker!, to mention a few things. I also have a few things to pick up (some more Mutant 1984 stuff).

A little bit of progress on the Mutant 1984 stuff

I did put some paint on the Cabin I built and added some snow, I still have to do the doors and windows and a final fix of the snow cover but I think this will give an idea on how it will look in the end.  There is a note on how I built the cabin from the Blog post two weeks ago (link here).  (More on this overall project here)

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I also finished some Snowmobiles I will use for the Mutant 1984 project for a little scenario involving a motorised chase scene.  These were bases on some matchbox models I found whilst looking for some stuff for Gaslands – they are a different scale than the normal Matchbox stuff and work reasonably well with 28mm.  I used some Warlord Plastic Americans that I cut up a little bit (e.g. legs and hands) that allowed me to create something resembling drivers for these cool vehicles.

 

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Got two of these.  They are called the “Snow Hopper”. I liked the look of them and they had some detail that could be utilised in a repaint.
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Add some Plastic Americans (later I added some filler here and there) and we were good to go.  Later I skipped the wind screen as this was in blue plastic and I liked the look without. I guess I should have got heads with googles but I did not have any. And if you ask about the thin clothing I will pretend you did not.
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“I just light my Cigar then we get going mate!”
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Simple, but I like the way they turned out and a good deal at £1 each. Yes they have to stretch a little bit to be able to Steer but I think the fit is close enough.  Yes I can also see the blue foam, but it will be dealt with!

 

Hope that was of some interest.

/ Take care

 

 

GNW Horka 1708 update, Tiny Tin Troops, 2nd Edition Saga and Helion Books

 

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Dark Ages Warriors (6mm Baccus)

I am currently spending a lot of hobby time finalising bases for the Horka 1708 project that will be presented at the 6mm show Joy of Six in July this year (a link to the webpage here).  This will be  my 6th year of putting a game on (2012 GNW Fraustadt 1706, 2013 GNW Klissow 1702, 2014 GNW Kalisz 1706, 2015 GNW Gadebusch 1712, 2016 Saga in 6mm, 2017 GNW Lesnaya 1708 and Dragon Rampant in 6mm).  It is my favourite show of the year because it showcases what can be done in this scale and what is available as a lot of the 6mm miniature and terrain/building traders are in attendance. I suggest you check it out and get yourself to Sheffield this Summer (15th July).

I tend to move big chunks of works forward at the same time rather than completing say 4 bases and moving on to the next 4 set of bases.  I used to do it in incremental steps, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to complete a big project/campaign by winning small victories on the way.  I still get a kick of a completed base and how that seemingly randomless drybrushing on top of the brown base, in combination with the static grass creates that little illusion that puts the models in some kind of bigger context!

However, my current small victories are all the other diversions (Gaslands, Winter War, Mutant 1984, etc.) whilst I slog away with the big one.  At times these diversions takes me away from the main mission for weeks.  But I have to admit that it does not take much to get me back to the Great Northern war period.  This final futile grasp of Sweden as a Great Power and the great battles, tragedies and personalities it contains.  I know how it all ends, but it still blows me away and there is so much more to find out.

On that note (and I have mentioned a few before) check out Helion Company’s Century of the Soldier series that have a lot of upcoming books for the Great Northern War in particular but so much more. Link to Helion here.  Give them a visit and get yourself some cool books.  I am really pleased to see Great Northern war books in English and anyone who is doing them will certainly sell me a copy – but also gets a shout out.

Here are a few of the titles I am looking forward to (various release dates):

I am currently (re-)reading another one from the Century of the Soldier series about the Pruth campaign that was released a at the end of January this year (incidentally, as Nick wrote it I had read the initial draft, but had not seen the bespoke drawings of troop types of the two sides and re-enactment pictures of Russian soldiers – and I really enjoyed it).  I discussed this book here that formed the basis for a little skirmish side project using Pikeman’s Lament (see more here, here  and here).  However this campaign lends itself to bigger battles.  Think about the mixture of differing troop types with the colourful Ottoman army of the period on one side againt the more westernized Russian army with Kalmucks, Tartars and Cossack support on the other – what a spectacle.  [editor notes: At this note he drifts away into that la la land again, planning battles and setting up painting progress spreadsheets again].

In 1711 Peter the Great, the Tsar of Russia, led a large army of veterans from Poltava and his other Great Northern War victories into the Balkans. He aimed to humble the Ottomans in the same way he had the Swedes a few years before. Victory would secure useful allies in the Balkans, cement Russia’s ‘Great Power’ status and offer Peter the opportunity to finally gain control over the Swedish king, Charles XII, thus completing his victory over Sweden. Yet within a few months, the ‘backward’ Ottomans had forced the Tsar and his Tsarina and their army of veterans into a humbling surrender near the Pruth River. The war was the first time that Russia was strong enough to confront the Ottomans independently rather than as a member of an alliance. It marked an important stage in Russia’s development. However, it also showed the significant military strength of the Ottoman Empire and the limitations of Peter the Great’s achievements. The war was of significance to the allies of both the Russians and the Ottomans. It was of course of an even greater importance to all those directly affected by the war such as the Swedish, the Polish, and the Cossacks, who had taken refuge from the reverses of the Great Northern War in the Ottoman territory. It would also bring about the defeat of the Moldavian and Walachian ambitions to shake off the Ottoman overlordship, elevating Dimitrie Cantemir into the position of a national hero celebrated to this day by the people of Romania. The book looks at the causes of this little known war and its course. Using contemporary and modern sources it examines in detail the forces involved in the conflict, seeking to determine their size, actual composition, and tactics, offering the first realistic determination on the subject in English. 

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Taken from the Helion website (link here).

So how am I getting on with the Horka project, then?. I actually did not know until recently as my notes were a little bit here, there and everywhere.  So I opened up a spreadsheet and did an inventory and counted the models I had to date.  Here is a summary of where the painting is at expressed as percentage complete (then there is basing etc, but since that is relatively quick I am only interested at this stage on whether I have enough painted lead or not!):

  • Swedish Infantry (672 foot) – 57% (16 of 28 bases done)
  • Swedish Cavalry (648 riders)  – 96% (69 of 72 bases done)
  • Russian Infantry (1536 foot) – 94% (60 of 64 bases done)
  • Russian Cavalry (819 riders) – 93% (85 of 91 bases done)

Overall – 90% complete (230 bases of 255 are now in painted condition) – over 3,500 miniature .  When I counted it all up I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised that I had so little left to do.  It is the largest amount of bases I have ever put on a table to date. The picture below show the two armies spread on a 12 foot (3.6m) table (the middle white and blue ruler shows 1 feet increments). Both have a 8 foot frontage (2.4m) and the Russian one is mostly 4 bases deep.  I think it will be worth the Joy of Six ticket just to see that – but then I am somewhat biased with regards to tricorne hats (and Karpuses).

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Then there is artillery and leaders but I have not yet checked whether I need to do any more than what I already have available from previous projects.  I am going to have a little chat with Nick Dorrell on the likely composition of the artillery at this stage of the campaign – I will have a view and he will correct it.

Here is a photo of the work in progress – or work in a mess more like it!

 

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All required bases at various level of completion – 90% painted, 100% Baccus

I would like to do a shout out for Tiny Tin Troops that amongst many things do flags (web page here) – I found their Russian GNW flags especially useful for my project.  With so much infantry a lot of flags are required and although you could do them yourself it can be time consuming of to recolour images, etc.

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They compliment the Baccus sheets I have used up nicely (link here) – order the 8mm version (this is not the scale but the height of the flag) – link here. Nice and pleasant to deal with.

Their range of flags covers Crusades, Flodden, ECW, Ireland 1690, GNW, WSS, 7YW, Napoleonic, Armada Naval and they also have some WW2 Posters (for 6-28mm figs).

There is a painting gallery there that you may find fascinating if you are into the period, especially these.  This is from the time TTT had a painting service – inspiration stuff!

  • 6mm GNW here
  • 6mm Camps and baggage here (my favourite!, and very inspirational)
  • 6mm WSS here
  • overview page here

As for the Terrain I will not start the terrain mat (5 by 12 feet) until the weather gets more stable as I ideally need a good few sunny days – lacking in space and inspiration to do it on a gloomy day.  This is normally the last thing I do anyway so I do not expect this to be done until end of May or June.

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The rough sketch of the battle

I will need to start worrying about the real estate that I will need for Horka itself and the Villages around it.  The Better one got me a nice bunch of Eastern European buildings (mostly churches) following my thoughts on the Monastery at Poltava (more here) that I need to paint up as well.  I have some buildings already so I do not see this as a major effort.

Overall it is all in hand.

I also got the latest Saga Rules and the Viking supplement and they are nice products indeed.  I am coming up towards the 100th blogpost (having done an average of 1 post a week since I started) and I would like that particular one to be about Saga v2 in 6mm as a homage to the very first blog post Saga in 6mm (link here).  Planning to run a few games with the models I already have (I made 12 starter factions so I do not think I need to paint any more at the moment).

Some of the changes I noted so  far are:

  • Warlords have changed significantly with regards to the special abilities.
  • Levy units generate Saga dice (if they are 6 or more models on the table).
  • Warrior units reduced to less than 4 models do not give you Saga dice. This avoids the potential of a 1 man warrior unit being held back to spawn saga dice.
  • If you are far away from an enemy you can move a unit for free as a first activation.
  • Some simplification of fatigue, combat and movement rules

I got the basic rule book for £8.50 (this contains the basic rules) and the Viking supplement (this has the Viking factions and the battleboards) for £25.50, which I believe is very competitive, from Dark Sphere (link here) with free postage.

I have all the old Saga books and I am aware this version will probably not blow me away in the same way as the first set, but it is on the basis of that very first set I bought the second edition.  Saga is a fantastic game and I, and especially the Little One, want to be part of the ongoing process of making it even better.

So we are, for sure, dusting of the cobweb of the warbands (that was used for the Original Saga rules and have been stand in for some games of Too Fat Lardies Dux Britanniarum games).  The Little One is smiling – the Big One too.

Here are a few shots of the Saga stuff (all based on 25mm square bases) as we felt obliged to stare at it for a few minutes.

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/Take care

 

 

 

More Mutant 1984, other RPGs and all is the Dice’s Fault

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Following on from previous discussions with regards to replaying some of the Scenarios for the Mutant roleplaying game I have been doing some further thinking and practical work.  Link here for a better background (with more stuff here, here and here).

The Mutant game this relates to is the Swedish game from 1984. This is my stain and rustless first love and the game is the forefather of the current fantastic Mutant – Year One game, by Swedish company Free League published by the British company Modiphius, link here. [The Mutant 1984 version was set in year 108!] The team also publish the eminent Tales of the Loop – Roleplaying in the 1980s that never was that is one of the most beautifully looking gaming books I have ever seen. The artwork by Simon Stålenhag is amazing (if you do not know what I am talking about, check out his homepage here!).  You should check out both these excellent games!

Tales of the loop – Roleplaying in the 1980s that never was

The landscape was full of machines and scrap metal connected to the facility in one way or another. Always present on the horizon were the colossal cooling towers, with their green obstruction lights. If you put your ear to the ground, you could hear the heartbeat of the Loop – the purring of the Gravitron, the central piece of engineering magic that was the focus of the Loop’s experiments. The facility was the largest of its kind in the world, and it was said that its forces could bend space-time itself.

Scifi artist Simon Stålenhag’s paintings of Swedish 1980s suburbia, populated by fantastic machines and strange beasts, have won global acclaim. Now, you can step into the amazing world of the Loop.

In this roleplaying game in the vein of E.T. and Stranger Things, you’ll play teenagers solving mysteries connected to the Loop. The game rules are based on Mutant: Year Zero, which was awarded with a Silver ENnie for Best Rules at Gencon 2015.

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From the Modiphius webpage, here.

Mutant: Year Zero

…goes back to the origins of the Mutant franchise: role-playing after the Apocalypse. In this game, you play as one of The People – heavily mutated humans living in The Ark, a small and isolated settlement in a sea of chaos. The outside world is unknown to you, and so is your origin.

Mutant: Year Zero has two major game environments, each with its own style of play:

The Ark, your home in the dawnworld. A nest of intrigue and Lord of the Flies-style power struggles, it’s far from a safe haven. But it’s the only home you know, and just maybe the cradle of a new civilization. The game rules let you improve and develop the Ark in the areas of Warfare, Food Supply, Technology, and Culture. It is up to you, the players, to decide which projects to embark on.

The Zone, wastelands outside the Ark. You will venture into the Zone in search of food, artifacts, other mutants, and knowledge – not least about The People’s own origin. The game includes two maps of example Zones; London and New York and a plethora of tables and other tools to let the GM populate its sectors with mutants, deadly monsters and bizarre phenomena.

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From the Modiphius webpage, here.

Thinking about rules

Having debated on how I will play the scenarios, I have decided that I will use the Original 1984 rules with some inspiration from the Mutant 2 expansion (produced 1986) and also some inspiration from early Runequest as I really loved the grouping of skill categories and individual bonuses based on characteristics.

Mutant 2 had an interesting combat system with segments and a high dexterity character acted more often than a low dexterity character.  This Mutant 1984 2.0 project wants to be a simple as possible and therefore fatties (like myself) can act as often as anyone else – however we may be less efficient when we do so.

I have devised a character sheet that should be not too unfamiliar for anyone who have played Runequest or Call of Cthulhu – the characteristics range in general between 3 and 18 and all skills are percentages.  This is still work in progress and I will finalised these shortly (and the Mutant Logo is scanned from the original 1984 cover – I have not rights to this one whatsoever. However I hope this tongue-in-cheek project gets the right owners blessing as opposed to its cursing).

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First page – including personal information like name, class (this ranges from non-mutated humans to mentally mutated animals), birth environment (e.g. big town or wilderness), social status (from underclass to the more unlikely high nobility), occupation, etc.  It also states summary traits (the idea here are four traits that summarises the person, e.g. energetic, reckless, generous, rude, this was not part of the original rules), Characteristics and Bonuses, mutations and equipment and space for a portrait of the character.

 

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Second page – this is dominated by the skills, weapon information and other notes.  This in a nutshell is an early Runequest homage – 100%.  The skills are a mixture of the original ones, additional ones from Mutant 2 as well as some Runequest inspiration with skill categories with bonuses.

For the purpose of playing the set events more like “skirmish wargame scenarios” I will need to devise some simple rules – so far 7TV (from Crooked Dice, link here) looks promising and it also has a nice campaign feel for connected scenarios, or should that be shows.

Building the cabin – Part 1

From the earlier posting you may recall the cabin I need for one of the events in the first scenario (see here).

I suppose this would require the Cabin itself – and the set-up will be so that it allows action inside and outside.

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Floor plan and picture taken from Nekropolis – Den Grå Döden by Äventyrspel 1985. 

 

Based on the floor plan I sketched the cabin on a piece of paper and used some figures to make sure the would work in the setting – no point spending time on a building that does not work for the purpose of playing in it.

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With the original dimensions.  Note that the large bear (the Officer) looks like he is in a tight spot.

I made some modifications to the layout and the final layout became a square cabin with two of the small rooms being combined to a large one and a new one created.  I decided to build the cabin on a piece of Polystyrene (Blue Foam) I had laying around.  This piece was a 20mm thick piece and I will utilise this for the detailing I will do later.

Next I drew the floorplan on top of the blue foam and used some balsa wood dowels (5mm diameter) and set out the shape in one direction (glued them down, make sure they overshoot with about 1 cm at this time) and then cladded each room (glued down) with some cut out pieces of coffee stirrers (you know the ones they have in coffee shops). I varied the direction of the planks for each room.

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The base is set – note the cuts.  I also left a little hole for where the fireplace will go but more about that later.

 

knifeThe idea is that we need to make cuts where the timbers crosses to allow the characteristic look of a log cabin.  You need to make some cuts and then slightly file it down (I just used the rough part of the Exacto knife I have – as balsa wood is really soft).

Basically cut down a v shape and then rub the rough part until you have a round groove half the depth of the dowel diameter.

If you are using hard wood dowels you have my sympathies and this would take even longer than the pain I had in using the balsa wood.

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Just continue doing a layer in each direction – cut, glue and then I used dressmakers here and there to make the construction sturdier. Be careful and go slow – balsa is a very soft material indeed.  The models are Soldiers of the Pyri Commonwealth, any similarities to Napoleonic British Riflemen are just incidental.

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and more layers…  then cut out some windows (at this stage I have no idea how I will finish them).

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Then after a few sessions

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I cut out something resembling a fire place and made a roof from a 6mm thick piece of floor insulation board (polystyrene foam).  I then made a roof from the same material and cladded the sides (the roof will be mainly full of snow so most of the insulation foam will be covered with this.

Then I added a porch on the front, some chimneys (6mm foam using a pen to make a stone build effect), a few planks to make the illusion that the whole roof is made of wood (i.e. where the snow will not go), did a first layer of builders caulk on the roof.

 

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Wait a moment are those columns actually chopsticks? 

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Very happy so far with the Cabin (working title “Overkill”) I will probably detail the surroundings and paint it before I:

  • Add some LEDs to create a flickering fire effect in the fireplace (like I did in a recent trial, shown here)
  • Do the windows and doors
  • Add some further detailing like furniture but without making it to busy.
  • Do flagpole with the flag of Ulvriket – a white wolfhead on a black background.

But that is next time,

/ Hope that was of some interest, if not I blame Dirk of the Grognard Files for ongoing, constant and brilliant inspiration on gaming in a 1980s that damn surely was!  Check the Files out by clicking here and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kalisz 1706 at Salute 2017 – Part 4 ready for the Show and some Scrap for Scrappers

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This is the 50th blog post since we started last year following Salute 2016 (here is a link to the very first post) – no big parties lined up or memorial statues being carved but there is a certain level of satisfaction involved – I am celebrating the occasion rolling a few ones and having a few crafty beers.

We spent last week in Southern France visiting some friends with the compulsory sampling of the local produce to the small hours.  The Little One practiced his camouflage skills and apart from the bright NERF rifle it was difficult to spot him and his friend in the undergrowth.

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On the Wargames front there is not much new – all the Stuff for Salute is packed.

We have told you where to look for us at Salute in the last blog entry (see here) and here is the general blur about it (see here) – hope we will see you there!

I had to rearrange a little bit so the Russians got out of their box anyway in their full glory.  Here are a few shots showing 24 of the total 32 bases that will be present on the day.

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And finally and most important to create some dimension on an otherwise relatively flat battlefield – the trees.

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Below is a link to an PDF file with the details of the bases for the Battle and game statistics for both Polemos GNW as well as The Twilight of the Sun King.  See the notes below on regards on what each bases represents in the Polemos rules which should make it relatively easy to translate the overall list to whatever rules you are using.  Note that this list is slightly different to what I have presented in previous postings as some corrections in the list have been made.

I think we will run the Demo game using the Twilight of the Sun King rules on the day, see more here.

Link to Kalisz Bases Polemos GNW and TOTSK

With regards to the Polemos Basing the following act as guidelines.  Note that the leader/commander bases are markers indicating where the leaders are located on the field of battle and not active combat units.  I tend to base them with 1 to 3 models on the front row representing quality (1 – Poor, 2 – Average and 3 – Excellent) and models on the back row representing Tempo points (used in the Polemos rules).

The extract below is from the Polemos GNW Rulebook (Page 5).

“The actual ratio of figures to real men will vary depending on how many figures you put on a base.  A base represents the following: 
 
 A base of infantry, except skirmishing infantry, represents between 400 and 600 men.  They can be a single large battalion, a pair of smaller ones or a group of subunits up to this approximate strength.  
 
 A base of cavalry, dismounted dragoons and skirmishing infantry represents two to three squadrons or similar groups, representing 200 to 300 men.  A cavalry base is assumed to include wide intervals between squadrons, allowing friendly cavalry bases to pass through each other.  
 
 An artillery base represents four to eight guns.  The number of guns that a base represents varies depending on the size of the real guns.  Four heavy guns will be represented by one base.  While eight light guns will also be represented by one base.

And there was another thing…

A delivery of some Corrugated Sheet Metal

I get a fair few deliveries from Amazon (google it if you are not familiar with them) and I noted that their packaging have a very nice and tight corrugation.  I have seen this being used in the past to simulate corrugated sheets but had not tried it myself.  I wanted to give it a try as I want to expand on the terrain I have for using with the Scrappers Mutant 1984 project I am working on (See more about it here).

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Armed with a sharp knife I set slowly cut away the cover sheet on one side (I hope it is bleeding obvious but be careful when you use a knife).

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After a few minutes I had plenty of uncovered sheets (I only cut them on one side).

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After this I cut out small 40 by 20 mm pieces.

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I got a nice pile of them.

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I then built a simple test structure using some coffee stirrers (like the ones you get at Starbucks), matches, and my corrugated sheets. Using superglue and PVA to stick the things together,  The two colorful pieces on top are made from some Kinder Egg rubbish the Small One had lying around – I and the Little One speculated that these could be part of some semi-portable wind based energy system. They had some interesting detail that will look good when drybrushed later.

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I gave it a spray with a grey primer and I think this will paint up reasonably well (here with some unfinished miniatures to understand scale) and I think it looks ok with the 28mm figures.

Next week the Scrappers rules should arrive (from Amazon) with some new building materials! (although the little structure hardly caused a dent in the pile).

/ All revved up and certainly a place to go to…