Category Archives: Miniatures

Last Changes/Updates to the HISTORICON 2015 guidebook app

Various Guidebook Formats

Various Guidebook Formats

HISTORICON 2015 convention goers.. I’m making the last changes to the GUIDEBOOK app for HISTORICON 2015. So here are a few notes for you.

Dudley Garidel got the final vendor count and maps to me, they are now included. I’ve added one more event since PEL.  There’s one BIG map image to show how the tables fit together, then I broke the big map into 3 smaller ones, front, middle and back.

I enabled three new features for HISTORICON 2015. Twitter feed, Notepad and TMP News feed. What the heck, why not, they are free!

1) A News feed uses a RSS feed to transmit news items to the Guidebook. Since HMGS doesn’t keep up a RSS feed, I used the miniatures page, which is as close as we come. It’s not very relevant to a specific show, but what the heck, it might provide interesting reading.

2) Notepad is just that– a place for the user to keep notes.. like ” I need to vist PicoArmor and buy Hind D helicopters”.. etc. etc.

3) Twitter feed. Again, there ISN’T a Twitter account for Historicon (that I could find), so I’ll do some tweeting about it during the show using my account (@TheLastBrunch) and the hashtag HISTORICON2015. I encourage EVERYONE who uses twitter to use #historicon2015 during the show!!

If you need a reminder about how to get the GUIDEBOOK app and the specific HISTORICON 2015 guide, visit the landing page.

HERE is the guide on the web

White Line Fever used in an actual game

One of the new covers. I like this one..

The Brooklyn Wargaming club recently ran a game of Road Warrior/White Line Fever and it appears as if they had a ripsnorting success.  Apparently they used a a version of the Road Warrior Rules (v. 2.65) in Digital Rules (above).  This blog received minimal notice but that’s okay, it’s the internet.

Shane Metzger, who created the car/vehicle sheets for RW/WLF, ran the game ran this game for the Brooklyn Wargaming club.  I was very impressed with the little touches he added to the game.  For instance, Dust trails for when you are offroad.  And little heaps of track junk.   And explosions.



Here are some more pictures of his game and his great car conversions.

I’ll be adding some material Shane came up with to the main rulebook in the next release!

The Weekend: Gaming on the Mellow Side

I’ve been meaning to catch Otto Schmidt’s THE WEEKEND for a long time now. It’s been tough, as June is a busy month usually with high school age kids.  Now that one is in college and the other is in his last year, I thought I’d spread my wings a little and manage a day trip.  Background: the Weekend is held late June, and appears to be a 3 day affair, so it is about as much of a commitment as any small convention in terms of time.  As I recall, this was started by Otto Schmidt as an alternative for HISTORICON when the latter was slated to go to a much more expensive venue in Baltimore, MD (this did not transpire, for many reasons).  Otto wanted the Weekend to be a gathering of old friends who wanted to blab, gossip, game and hang out.  It is held at the Continental Inn off of Route 30 pretty much right across the street from the Lancaster Host, site of Fall-IN! and Cold Wars.

The Inn is an old building, family owned and operated.  It has seen some hard usage but is not what I would call “a dump” by any means.  The hotel has a major meeting space downstairs and other, smaller rooms here and there in the upper and lower lobby floors.  Frankly, I would have killed for a space like this back in the TriadCon days.  If we’d only known.   It’s not perfect– the handicapped facilities are about as non-existent as they are at the Host if not worse (no elevators in critical areas; no handicapped bathroom stalls) but you can always drive around back to the lower level to unload things, which is a plus.

There is a MST3K (Military Science Theater 3000) set up for this con but I wasn’t there for that.  No vendors that I could see, and a desultory bring-n-buy style flea market.  That was about the normal convention “stuff” present.

An exquisite Age of Reason battle in 15mm, created by Bill Grey, the Author of Age of Eagles. Click the picture to see more.

I got there a little after noon (due to traffic and helping get my son ready for camp).  Literally, I spent much of my time there BSing and catching up with friends, so I’d say Otto’s goals for this convention are certainly being met.  It was great seeing many people I haven’t seen in a month of Sundays, including Dennis Largess, Rich Low, Andy Turlington, Bill Grey, Bob Leibl, Cleo Hanlon, and Pete Frechtling.  And Otto of course, but I talk to him on the phone frequently.

Mr. Tracy Johnson ran AFTER THE HOLOCAUST, the old rare SPI game on a giant splodey map with army men. It had a great look to it. For other pictures, click on the picture above

When I got there there was an ACW game going on in the corner, and two being set up, an AFTER THE HOLOCAUST (SPI) game being rendered in miniature form by Tracy Johnson, a two player game set in 1714 being run by Bill Gray,  and an I Leonardo game run by Pete Frechtling.

I definitely wanted to play the I Leonardo game, by temperament and experience.  I’ve played in Pete Frechtling’s skewed version of the Italian Wars (with Leonardo Da Vinci tanks, helicopters, gliders and etc.).  So with your kind forbearance, I will sketch things out as best I can, providing something of an “After the Battle” report of sorts.

The basic set up was the Imperials holding a bastion with supplies on one side of a canal that opened up into a river.  There was only one established bridge over the river (made of stone) and it was being defended by a force of two commands of Imperials, with two Leonardo style tanks each (not the conical tanks, the flat ones).  The Imperials also had a ship loaded with mixed troops and cannon to defend the water entrance with.   On the far side of the canal were the Allies– British (red striped tank), Swiss (green striped tank) and French (blue striped tank).  Each Ally had one “castle” style Leonardo tank, painted as I have noted, plus a wild mixture of artillery, infantry and a little cavalry.  I took the French (blue striped) command on the far right of the line.  I had the tank as mentioned, a grenadier, Leonardo himself, some engineers, some cavalry units, some foot knights, and a bridging unit (important!).   The Swiss to my left were in the center.  They had more artillery than I and some ruins to hide in.  They kept a hot fire going against the forces that would venture clear enough to be shot at in the center of the line opposite us.  At the far left was the British and the Allies’ two ships.  The ships also (important!) had a bridging unit.   The idea being they would sail into the canal, beach, and construct the bridge from their ship to the opposing side.

I didn’t spend a lot of time tracking the naval conflict, but it was protracted and savage.

The English engaged such targets of opportunity as were available across the canal.  With the canal there to impede movement the battle became kind of a long ranged slugging match over the canal as both sides attempted to bombard each other.  The big guns on the Imperial side were their two flat rectangular tanks, and a flame thrower style vehicle that was somewhat hindered by being in the midst of a pack of infantry.

We were in a stalemate for the first few turns.. The French being the closest to the existing bridge (played by your humble correspondent) we were going to have to swarm over it somehow and take the bridge.. Unfortunately the Imperials had placed one of their two precious tanks to cover that very narrow defile, and they were aggressively defending with everything at their disposal, including a land rocket that misfired and went fizzing off in a random direction (panicking my troops but causing no damage).   My plan was to make a big demonstration and hoo-hah at the center bridge and focus the defenders there, while building my bridge train on the far right of the battlefield.

Now that’s a satisfying reaction! More smoke clouds please.

The Swiss did their best to support me, and were game to swarm over the center bridge as well, but we had to move the vehicles out of the way to accomplish this.  They had the advantage of some ruins to disperse into and set up artillery and other fun Leonardo style weapons (including a machine gun) to plaster the Imperial bridge defenders with.  I had a single artillery piece on my front which did some service fighting the opposing tank unit.  About midway through the game I steamed over the bridge and tried for a ram on the opposing tank.  Yes, I know this sounds decidedly risky but sometimes  you have to push things to win things.  The ram did not accomplish much, nor did the follow on fire into his sides at point blank range.  It wasn’t a bad idea, really, I just rolled pretty badly throughout the game.  I followed it up with a fusilade of infantry attacks which DID cause problems… the French grenadier tossed a grenade into the mix and it actually exploded more or less correctly, starting a fire and killing several of the crew.

Here we come, you knaves! Take that, and that, and that…

Meanwhile the bridge building gang on the right had succeeded at their task and the first independent bridgehead over the canal had happened.  The opposing player realized this and moved half-armored knights into the gap to engage with me.   On the left, the Imperials attempted to move all their infantry down the road, lost their general to gunfire, and moved their secret weapons out to engage the Allied Ships, which had bested the Imperial and were heading up the channel.  The flaming water borne holocaust the Imperial player was loudly fantasizing over (repeatedly) did not transpire, and thus the left flank was able to create a bridgehead over the canal as well.

Victory is nigh!!!

Although we were slated to play until 10PM, I was being frantically called from the home front, over a matter of shoes for my son’s camp.  Timing came together wonderfully, as Peter declared the game a victory for the Allies at the end of the turn where the second bridgehead had taken place.  This makes sense.  Although the center bridge was very much in dispute, I could still push men over the the entangled two tanks and even though the defenders had a larger group of infantry there, it was so narrow between the buildings he would never have the chance to use them effectively.  I actually welcomed such a push of the pike.    The much referenced “secret weapon” (flamethrower) amounted to almost nothing and the two Imperial tanks were heavily damaged.  The French tank (mine) had suffered damage but was still firing and reloading.  I was expecting casualties on the right flank as our crossing attempts had triggered some ambuscades from hidden troops.  Still, I could see the tide of battle was changing rapidly in our favor, and who was I to contest the GM’s view of things, anyway?  My thoughts on the I, Leonardo game system was that it seems remarkably bloodless.  Most of the Imperial arsenal was taking a heavy pound throughout the game and we really didn’t kill much of anything– we disabled a lot, and killed some crews.. but that’s about it.  I would like to redo the charts to this one some day.. just pondering.  I like the system itself just fine, but it’s really for a history geek audience who pretty much know the subject already.

For an amusing SLIDESHOW of the I LEONARDO BATTLE, click here.

As mentioned, I had to depart earlier than planned to solve a problem at home but I was glad I had an opportunity (at long last) to visit THE WEEKEND.

Major Guidebook Update for HISTORICON 2015

Hey HMGS Convention Attendees, we have a MAJOR Guidebook Update for you.

Hey Historicon! There’s an app for that!

First of all, I tried floating events early without room numbers.  That was a bad idea, as updating them (later) WITH the numbers nuked most of what I had done before, causing me to reenter data for tournaments and seminars!  Woo hoo! I love entering data twice.

So I’m making a business decision– we don’t post events (that is, regular games) until the events guy irons out what the table numbers are and where they are at.. it’s too painful to bounce back if the earlier input crashes on you.  If that means we post Guidebook a little closer to the event, so be it.

So, what do we have?

  • TOURNAMENTS (again)
  • SEMINARS (again)
  • HOBBY UNIVERSITY (first time)
  • GAMES (again)
  • Maps!

What am I missing?  The map of the Exhibitor Hall and Exhibitor List.

And then we will be done, unless we get new games between now and the convention itself.

How to get it

Go to the Guidebook Landing Page which is HERE and follow directions.

To Preview the Guide

Go to the Preview Page which is here

Historicals versus Non-Historical Count

New feature: I thought I’d do an actual count by period.  The reality of Non-Historical versus Historical by counting the actual numbers, not by hand waving*:

Source: Events Spreadsheet extracted on 6/18/2015, Historicon 2015

So the reality is 20% non-historical games at Historicon.  And I’m grouping in anything that could remotely be considered fantasy and SF together.  There are the numbers.

Events by Rules mentioned in PEL

You may have to click to see original size. There were a lot of rule sets.

This was all over the map.. there were a lot of rule sets being used.  Where it was possible I combined version and flavors and variants into the parent.

In any event, there’s the true facts, and a big, big, big guidebook update.  See you at HISTORICON 2015.

* Note on the period count above– it excludes all tournaments, which probably should be entered under fantasy in some respects.  Did I say that out loud?  I’m trying not to snark…

Saxon Warband just about done

I took a break from feverish working on HISTORICON projects to base up some SAGA figures for my SAXON Saga army.  I currently have painted:

1 warlord stand
5-7 HG armored mail and shield
9 Warriors mix of sword and spear, some armor
12 peasants using Spears
9 Archers

Here are some pictures

Warlord Stand: Gripping Beast plus unknown standard bearer (flea market figure)

HEARTH GUARD (HG) are elite fighters, deployed in small numbers. I believe I’ll field either 8 or 4 of these. This is a mix of Gripping Beast’s SAXON warband pack and some extras from flea market.

WARRIORS are trained, partly armored men who have been in battles before. Most of these are Gripping Beast
LEVY are peasants whose training consists of knowing which end of the spear is “pointy like”

ARCHERS are something I added on, mostly from Wargames Factory Saxons packs.

I might be able to finish it up with what I have on hand but who knows, any excuse to attend flea market.  My intention is to field a SIX POINT army, so he advised:

  • 3 more archers
  • 1 more hearth guard
    7 more warriors.

Some Road Warrior/White Line Fever Edits, ver. 2.65 out now, plus Veh. Sheets


Sorry to keep doing this to anyone who is interested, but I got some feedback to from a guy who ran these rules recently and he had some handy suggestions.  Out of this came the recent Trifold handout (which I revised the main text in the Epub to match in v. 2.5) and also the new Vehicle Sheets which are attached*.

Version 2.65 revision expands the vehicle statistics (what do these MEAN?) and shows an example of a filled in Vehicle Sheet.   I don’t forsee any other major changes before Historicon.  I might have some changes in the wake of a large multi-player game at a convention, but nothing to worry about until then.

Thanks to Shane Metzger for both his feedback and contributing vehicle sheets to this design.   Contributions like his only make a game better.

* The Vehicle Sheet sample linked to this post is in the PowerPoint 2013 format.

Road Warrior/WLF Quickref Trifold Released, also slight integral change in EPUB

QuickRef 1.0, all folded into a nice trifold brochure format. Print ’em out, hand em out to your players.

I was getting some questions about the rules in the EPUB listed in the Digital Rules section, and that’s entirely fair, trying to blend two vastly different literary styles into a single coherent document can be tough on clarity and coherence. Forgive me my foibles; I will rewrite it at some point in the future.

In the meantime, I have a solution.  Attached is a QUICKREF file that is a PDF, meant to be printed and handed out.  This will clarify turn order, how to fire weapons, ramming, damage, and cumulative damage (if you like that “hit point” model of damage).  You will still need the EPUB for the Weapons and Damage Tables, but this should help for a non-tablet using audience.

Concurrently, I have appended the cumulative damage rule in the Appendix, and reworded ramming to make it more clear, in the base epub (now version 5).  Download from the usual  places in Digital Rules.

Road Warrior / White Line Fever update ver 2.2 to 2.4

Just a quick note. RW/WLF has been updated, from version 2.2 to version 2.4. This update covers oil slicks and road debris, and as well as adding the one shot heavy rocket to the arsenal. There are also some rules for limiting the game based on ammunition expenditure and a point-based victory point system (the last two optional appendices).

Anyway, you can find it in the standard places, under DIGITAL RULES on the DIGITAL RULES page. See that handy tab at the top of this page.

Revising my game design “Bucket List”

On the right side of the blog in the side column, there is a little text list about outstanding Game Design projects that featuring the following bullets– well, game design in the sense that I might be making up something new, or might use an existing system to I have taken the liberty of editing it a little. This is a very old list, and I think I need to revisit it somewhat, hence this post.

Miniature Games Project List

  • Man to Man 54mm Napoleonic Game: Voltigeurs Vs. Redcoats
  • Spaceport Bar in a 28mm Pulp SF Future: Draco’s Tavern
  • Darkly Humorous Zombie Race Game: Corpse Racing Olympiad in 28mm.
  • Motorcycle Race/Combat game in Dystopian Future 28mm
  • More material for Big Danged Boats (15mm Fantasy Naval) including Magic, new boats, rewrite, new cards
  • More material for the Magi (54mm magical dueling game based on Waving Hands): new cards, new magic users, NPCs, Mirrors, Smoke, etc.
  • SAGA

For starters, I’m striking the Motorcycle Race game off the list. The recent work I’ve been doing with Road Warrior/White Line Fever (scroll down a little to see recent posts) pretty much answers this bullet, with two major changes– I’ve decreased the scale to 20mm from the 28mm scale game I had imagined, and I’ve abandoned the idea of an “endless highway” mechanic– where I kept a rolled up terrain cloth that kept rolling along under the racers, so I could run the game on one table. It’s too complicated– what I’ve done for terrain will work fine. So that’s crossed off right off the bat.

SAGA and VIKING LOOTERS are kind of scratching that same Dark Ages Combat itch for me. So I’m going to combine them into an and/or. I have the cards done for Viking Looters and have a ship done. But I might want to pick up some more specialized “looted” figures to add a little comic relief. That’s going to be tough since I don’t know if they make such stuff any more. As for SAGA, I have a Viking Army ready and will soon have a Saxon Army. That might be it for a while.

FANTICIDE? I’m giving up on it. There just doesn’t seem to be a lot of impetus building behind that game, and if Alien Dungeon isn’t doing anything with it, I’m sure not going to bother. Ditto for In her Majesty’s Name! It’s just not grabbing me.

BDB (Big Danged Boats, my 15mm fantasy boat game): I will probably strike this one out and just keep adding factions and new ships. I think I’ve pretty much accomplished all the points outstanding. I don’t want to make the game a constant search for new complicated chrome to tack on the basic design. So this will be edited a little bit.

The Magi (my Wizard Spellcasting using Hand Gestures game): Sure, this is still good, I’d add writing a more comprehensive spell list with some edits.

Man to Man 54mm Skirmish: It’s funny.. this is maybe .. maybe.. the oldest idea or notion on this list. It might be as old as 20 years, and it’s changed a lot from the scrawlings I put in a notebook way back in the day. I still have that notebook. It was always going to be, and still is, a game of man to man fighting in the Napoleonic era. However, my initial design was heavily influenced by Paddy Griffith’s NAPOLEONIC WARGAMING FOR FUN, with a soupcon of Donald Featherstone. I don’t know if it would hold up with a modern crowd with expectations of immediate fulfillment. So the design has morphed over the years. The GOOD NEWS is that I have the figures done, and based. I can field a company of British riflemen and light infantry mixed, and two companies of French voltigeurs.

Darkly Humorous Zombie Race Game: Corpse Racing Olympiad in 28mm. This was (and is) going to be a “one trick pony” game where the Jockeys are zombies ambling after carts of healthy Victorian children being used as “Zombie bait”. I’m not sure if I was designing this just to shock or what. It dates back to the big zombie gaming fad that is pretty much dying out now. Still, I love the game for its cynicism alone, so I might go through with it. It’s been a while since Amish Rake Fight or Sgt. Slaughter in Bun-Bun Land.

Spaceport Bar in a 28mm Pulp SF Future Draco’s Tavern: This is an acknowledgement of my love for “spaceport bar” stories like Draco’s Tavern, and my love for skirmish games with hidden agendas and plot lines. Like my old Cowboy games. I am using the mostly-[url=]GAFDOZ[/url] huge 28mm/33mm pulpy science fiction figures, of which I have about 23 to 28 of. Not much in the way variety but they don’t really match anything else, so man to man it is. Figures are painted, I just need some good SF terrain for a space bar and other interiors. A set of rules would be nice, I’m thinking of using something from the Howard Whitehouse pantheon.

Other items– well I’d add these:

15mm Science Fiction skirmish game, based loosely on BATTLESUIT. One side painted up.

(Notional) Cold War conflict in 2mm — I’d like to try out HIND COMMANDER.

6mm Science Fiction.. i’m a sucker for crowding a battlefield.

FUTURE TANK (just about done). possibly more Jim Wallman games. I like his approach.

Something with Baron Munchausen.. just kicking an idea round.

The New, revised list will look like this:

  • Man to Man 54mm Napoleonic Game: Voltigeurs Vs. Redcoats
  • Spaceport Bar in a 28mm Pulp SF Future: Draco’s Tavern
  • Darkly Humorous Zombie Race Game: Corpse Racing Olympiad in 28mm.
  • War Rocket, the Pulp Space Combat Game (big news on this one that will have to wait for a future post)
  • Dungeons and Dragons Attack Wing
  • New Ships and Factions for Big Danged Boats (15mm Fantasy Naval)
  • More material for the Magi (54mm magical dueling game based on Waving Hands): new cards, new magic users, NPCs, Mirrors, Smoke, etc.
  • SAGA and VIKING LOOTERS (either one)
  • ALL Quiet on the Martian Front. A great new game I’ve bought into heavily
  • Something with Baron Munchausen
  • Battlesuit-like 15mm SF Battlefield game
  • 6mm SF?
  • Cold War in 2mm?

One thing I’m noticing is that games are coming off of the list more often. Big Danged Boats was another game (like the man to man one) that had been on my list for a decade before 2012. The Magi rode on there for about 7 years as I slowly built up the right figures for it. In the case of the bold faced bullets up above, I don’t have a lot more to do to field a game so you can look forward to more about these games after I execute gaming camp this Summer!

Something New: FUTURE TANK a (sort of) sequel to TANK LEADER

Click for larger view

So, remember when I waxed enthusiastic about TANK DUEL by Mr. Jim Wallman, of the UK?   How I was charmed enough by his roleplaying approach to the trials and tribulations of tank teams on the Western Front of World War II?   How I was looking at running Tank Duel (or some iteration of it) at the Game Camp I run for kids in August?  Okay, so you don’t, but I do.  Tank Duel is pretty goofy and enjoyable and I’m going ahead with creating a game based on it.  Follow the link above to digital rules to get the EPUB I made of it.  However, even though I don’t think anyone would kick about it being historical, I do make a valid effort at keeping the content either Fantasy or Science Fiction oriented– to draw the kids into doing historical games (e.g., my evil plan).    As a result I’ve put some effort into converting Tank Duel into a more science fiction-y version that I call FUTURE TANK.  Future Tank makes a few assumptions that generally match certain observations I’ve made about the evolution of the modern battlefield as part of my day job– without being too sunk into the details.  Simply put, the tank battles of the future will be fought by Tanks that can A) see better B) communicate better C) are linked into a network and D) have access to drones for attack and defense.   I’ve tried to reflect that in the Future Tank rules without being too technical about it.  In a thumbnail, Future Tank is like Tank Duel, only the roles have more to do and there’s a lot of extras in it– it’s more customizable.   But still easy… I hope!


It’s Double Blind.  I’ve never even PLAYED in a double blind team game before, and now I’m going to run one.  This is going to require some finesse!  My plan on building the screen between the two terrain areas is to build a curtain from a frame of PVC pipe that extends up about four feet.   As for umpiring one?  Well, it seems easy enough, we’re just going to see what chaos ensues.

I’m using 25mm Scale.  I really don’t want to go smaller than this. 15mm is fine, I suppose but you don’t get the same visual appeal and “chunkiness” of a 25mm game, and I don’t want to spend a huge amount of time driving around and trying to find each other– these are kids, they will get bored.   Still, 25mm scale?  Who makes tanks that big and how much of an arm and a leg will they command?  Games Workshop does, of course.. but yeah,  you can keep that.  I don’t need to spend 80 dollars on a single tank.   Solution: the Tehnolog Bronekorpus series.  The wha of the wha?   As it turns out, there’s a Russian figure company that I have done business with in the past (they made the figures for Orcs for The Magi) called Tehnolog.  No idea what the word means, but they make big, cartoony fantasy and historical figures, and somewhat less cartoony science fiction structures and vehicles.  Their stuff is decent looking, though I don’t always approve of the plastic they use.  Still, it paints up well.    They have a line of sort of snap together tanks in roughly 28mm scale– each tank a bewildering variety of Weapons and Sensors.  Being satisfied they will fit with 28mm figures, I picked up a box of four of them.  Again, not the best plastic, but wow, I am really happy with the result:

Click to enlarge (the next four)

Tanks 2, 11, 4 and 15 more or less done. I have some tidy up painting to do– I want the ordinance to all have thematic colors– missiles and guns different from each other. I suppose I should have painted the camo different for each tank but really, that’s not the point of this game, and it’s science fiction… I’m not trying to be “historically authentic” here.

I may have six kids.  I may have 20.   I scaled the game that each tank can probably work with three roles or less. If I get less than that I’ll just run something else, with deep regrets.  Sigh.

The new rules have more stuff than Tank Duel.   YES.  They certainly do.  That’s not complexity for complexity’s sake.  I think there’s a general assumption that if you are simulating something on a near-future battlefield (and I’m projecting forward about 40 years here, so it’s not a stretch), you should include nifty stuff like sensors, and IR, and networks, and drones, and railguns, etc.  It comes with the sobriquet “Science Fiction”.  That doesn’t mean they have to be too complicated for twelve year olds!  These kids are growing up with these concepts.  I have faith in their intelligence, shouldn’t you?

This is all largely untested.  Yep, well, there it is then.  It may suck.  It might not.  I don’t think it will.  Want to take a peek at Future Tank?  Contact me through the standard channels in a week or so from this posting.  I can get you a draft.  You’ll have to have a way of reading EPUB files.

So there we have it… a sort of roleplaying game simulating the complexities of the near future battlefield environment, all done in more or less 25mm scale with miniatures, kids, double-blind, and a very patient and overworked umpire with a stopwatch and a sense of gamesmanship.  What have I got myself into?


Six Dollar SF Tanks from Russia (contains a listing of parts, comparison to GW vehicles)

Post Apocalyptic Roadway Terrain– 32 feet of Hell-road!

I know, I’m posting a lot about the Road Warrior/White Line Fever game.   However, I’m just about done with the major bits.  I did promise one or two on terrain and some of the pedestrians and bike gangs.  So here we are, how to make 32 feet of Hellish Highway with a relatively cheap buy in.

I wanted a ground cloth for the base– looking like desert with a lot of dark spots and stippling to give it some shadows, and a road right up the middle.  Why 32 feet?  That’s roughly the size of 4 standard convention tables, which are 5 x 8, laid end to end.

When you are making a groundcloth, go cheap.  You won’t be using a 32 foot long groundcloth very often so there’s no need to spend a mint on the base material.  I chose a light tan muslin which cost me 2.95 a yard at Joanne’s Fabrics. AND I got a nice 20% off coupon just for looking for a store on their store locator, so it was cheaper than that!  We dropped in the Mart of Wal on the way home and picked up 3 cans of spray paint– dark brown, olive green, and a tan highlight.  These were Rustoleum for about 2.50 a can.  I also picked up two cans of the dirt cheapest flat black spraypaint at 96 cents a can.   We got home, laid it out flat in the yard, and started spraying.  What??? I didn’t wash it first and dry it? No way.  But we’ll get to that.

Start with the Brown. Don’t make a lot of straight lines– there are no straight lines in nature! Then overlay with the Olive to make shadows. Fix the bad spray lines by overlaying with Brown again. Highlight with the Tan.

After about 30 minutes of effort, you’ll have the base done.  It dries fast, but do yourself a favor, give it at least an hour before stage two.

There you go, 32 feet of land, done my way. It will be more than enough for a convention game.

Meanwhile, we went to the rubbish kip behind the grocery store, and found a nice sturdy WAXED CARDBOARD box.. the thick kind of cardboard.  Using an Exacto, I cut a rectangular space into the box bottom roughly 8 inches across and the length of the box, which is about 24 inches.

After an hour or so, I picked up the cheap black paint (remember the 96 cent cans?) and went out to the yard where the now-dry cloth was set up.  Starting more or less in the middle, I placed the rectangular stencil right down the center of the cloth (eyeballing it is fine).  How did I know it was the center?  Because I didn’t wash the crease out of it first, remember?  It made a handy guide for painting the road straight up the center of the entire 32 foot stretch.

Just like this… end to end, with a slight overlap so it is consistently black from section to section.

Gradually, you get a nice long stretch of tarmac

And voila, after about 40 more minutes of effort:

32 feet of Post-Apocalyptic Highway!

The end result isn’t charming, but it looks pretty good from the 3 foot high test. When you consider it’s pretty much a specialized bit of terrain for only a certain kind of game, I think it looks pretty great.

Sadly this pictures is on grass and not very flat, but this will give you an idea of the playing space. If I were doing it again I’d make the road six inches wide, not eight, but I can live with this.  Would it look better with little yellow line marks?

Summary: 10 yards of cheap muslin, 17 dollars with a coupon.  5 cans of paint about 12 dollars.  40 USD invested plus the time = End result, 32 feet of Road!

Let’s flail that dead horse– more car conversions

With the appearance of a postal truck I had been expecting, I’m done with car conversions for a while.  I couldn’t resist getting just a  few new art deco styled classic cars when I saw them hanging on the rack at Safeway of all places, for less than a buck a piece!  Also, I’ve been experimenting with adding crews to the cars with exposed cockpits and fighting areas, and I thought I’d display a few of the better attempts.

HW 49 Merc convertible

Click me for larger view

Part of the 2009 Hot Wheel Treasure hunt series.  I took this lovely bright and shiny Detroit Iron, originally brown with gold highlights and a cheerful tan and brown interior, and totally filthed it all up.  The interior went dull black.    I didn’t want to lose the original paint job, because that’s just lovely, but I did dull it down with 3 coats of flat matte varnish, and then a filth wash of blotches of tan paint.  The crew are both from Stan Johansen.  The .30 cal is from ERM miniatures, and the flame thrower up front is from Stan.

MB Postal Van, modern

Going Postal. Click to enlarge

A pretty old and hard to find diecast, actually, the Matchbox Postal Vehicle (circa 2000) is a design that is still in use today.  Like many of these recognizable “service” vehicles, I wanted to retain the look and feel of the original, just with a lot of wear and tear (and armor) on it.  So I added plastic styrene “plate armor” on either door, plus a piece to represent a hatch cut into the roof.   There’s cage armor on the front (I’m going to need to repaint this) and an air cooled .30 cal machine gun bolted to the roof (from Stan Johansen).  I will likely have a figure up there as well eventually.   I’m thinking of some graffiti as well.. perhaps DISGRUNTLED or GOING POSTAL.

MB Checker Cab, circa 1958

Click to enlarge

I had to pay homage to the old 1993 Windows 3.1 game Hellcab, of course.  This is a Checker Cab from Matchbox which is kind of difficult to find with the original Checker logo.  The more modern and generic “Taxi” markings of later Matchbox cab models seemed kind of cheap and inaccurate so I held off until I could find a decent original model.    I wanted to keep the original paint job of bright yellow, especially the decals.  So I matte varnished it repeatedly, added an autocannon up front, added side cage armor and a half slab of styrene “armor” over the windshield to protect the autocannon gunner, then added generous rust and a thin coat of sepia wash on top of it all.  The result is one grimey hellcab for cuties.

HW Custom 55 Chevy

Click me to enlarge

This is also part of the 2009 Treasure Hunt series from Hot Wheels.  I ended up getting a two tone Chevy with a somewhat annoying bright metal flake paint job that was hard to dull down.  Still, I love the two tones.   I used the same approach I take to any car where I wish to retain the base paint scheme, dull it down and add some filth.  I reeled in the “extra armor” I usually add on this one and built a small Heavy Rocket mount box from plastic card.  This car will have two heavy “Fire and Forget” Rockets (painted standard rocket red), then the driver is down to a pistol.

MW Volkswagen Transporter Van

I did mention this vehicle in passing in the last post on the “Hell truck” but I wanted to show a closer look.  This isn’t exactly Detroit iron here, but I felt we should have one of these in the game to represent the 1960s.  The original is a two tone, bright colored blue VW Van with a skylight, lots of clear plastic windows and tons of chairs for passengers.  Nice, but it wouldn’t do for combat purposes.  I added an interior platform for gunners to stand on, painted the interior all black and the windows all grey.   I’m including this picture in the post to show that I’ve been painting up crew and militia figures for the game, and plan on adding some as crew permanently.   The weapon up front is a four shot flame thrower, angled down somewhat– envisioned as being operated by the crewman standing on the firing platform.


Two small pickups with Harpoon Teams, Datsun and Volkswagen pickups

For some reason I’m tickled pink about harpoon guns. Click to enlarge.

I think these are both Hot Wheels.  You’ve seen them in the background of a few pictures so far but I wanted to post them with pictures of crew on board.  Crew is all Stan Johansen, so are the weapons.   I see them as equivalent of technicals, but with harpoon guns designed to ensnare and roll vehicles of roughly the same mass.

I love the visual effect of adding crew to some of these vehicles.  It wouldn’t be practical (or possible) to crew every car with an open cockpit, but I can do enough to add that action element to the game.


Just a little visual inspiration for a project I’m working on. That is all.

Ground Troops!

I’m not going to have a ton of people on foot for RW/WLF but I’ll need some wacky survivalists, punks, paramilitary types and cultists for this game. Here’s a start:

Low Rent Paramilitary types, left, and Filthy Texas Survivalists, right.

Original Size Graphic

The Low Rent Paramilitaries are Vietnam era miniatures from East Riding, 20mm. They are crew on some support weapons I purchased recently. I just painted them up to look more haphazard, slapdash and using remnant uniform stuff. The Kettenkrad is a Monogram model, modified to be a mobile MG platform using a US water cooled .30 cal machine gun bolted to the platform. The model was colored a dull olive and then some camo highlights with a dark sepia wash and rust. It’s a pretty simple model.

The cowboy hats are from Elhiem Miniatures. They have a range of survivor types– mostly in a Post Zombie Apocalypse context. One group is this gang of Duster-wearing cowboys. Another are wearing full up chem suits. Bizarrely, they also produce the Scooby Doo kids (Velma, Alan, etc.) which fits right in to the Mystery Machine I already have painted up!

The cowboys are four figures, tall and rather slender. I undercoated them an Armory mustard yellow and then highlighted facial features and surface bits like guns, gun belts, shirts, etc. Then a big wash of sepia to filth them up and highlight all the great nooks and crannies, and I was done!

Stay tuned for more Figures. I’ll be painting up the rest of the punks, cultists and what not in the weeks to come.

Road Warrior / White Line Fever 1.2 Revision


A quick note– I’ve revised WHITE LINE FEVER (the expanded version of Eric Goodlater’s ROAD WARRIOR rules).  The Fire Combat Table was lacking to hit numbers after the range numbers.. that’s fixed  I also added some ideas for Mortars and Recoiless Rifles, and redid the damage table to include them.

You can find it on the DIGITAL RULES page  See the tab above.  It’s rather prominent.