Category Archives: #SmallWars

A quick post about Frostgrave Terrain


Continuing with the Frostgrave theme, here’s some recent structures I put together for Frostgrave or other skirmish games. Here are three ruined village buildings originally sold as Normandy scenery sold as “Bold Action 28mm Ruined Hamlet” by Warlord Games. These are three identical house kits that can be put together in any kind of way you want to put them together– which is a strength. I find that you kind of have to start with the largest corner pieces to have a second story, so all of mine kind of look similar. No worries, it’s easy enough to make them look different.

I assembled the pieces, primed them grey, went over with a medium shade of gray to bring out the details, glued them to small craft wood bases. Then did a small wash with dark tone to bring out the details. After the glue dried I sprayed with a fixative and sprinkled some white flocking on it to give it that snow fall look.

Hovel 1, with a big Octopus sigil on the second floor. That’s a little piece from Hirst Arts that I painted red and black.

Hovel 2 on a nifty round base. This one will take up less space.

Hovel 3.. I added the dollhouse bench as a nice detail. I like the way the snow is on the bench, too.

Here’s Hovel 3 with an Ice troll and a construct for scale.

The ice troll is a Pathfinder Miniature. I figure it fits with the theme of the game and I can stat it out eventually.

I wouldn’t want to use these for the internal part of a city but they will work great on the outskirts. The basic philosophy of Frostgrave terrain is to block line of sight to avoid long shots from across the table. These will help!

Review: Frostgrave Cultists, by Northstar Miniatures


FROSTGRAVE CULTISTS Warband box
Plastic soldiers, 28mm scale, sold as sprues that are assembled into a variety of poses
URL: http://www.northstarfigures.com/prod.php?prod=7731
Created for the game FROSTGRAVE (Osprey Publishing) but can be used for a variety of skirmish games in the 28mm scale. Not really a good addition to historical army, the fantasy theme is very pronounced.

I picked up a box of Frostgrave “Cultist” figures at the recent Cold Wars convention. This is a big box of assemble it yourself plastic figures– and I mean big, you can make 20 figures with this box. The intent of the plastic soldiers is to quickly give a Frostgrave player suitably Winter-themed troops to rapidly bulk up warbands. I’ll stress up front they aren’t required to play the game– you can play Frostgrave with anything that seems to fit the scale and setting. I got them because they looked pretty good (I love pointy headed cultist heads), they are in scale, and there’s a lot of them.

The Box Cover. Click to enlarge.

Details: There are 4 sprues with 5 body variations on them (I think). Essentially a mixture of cloth, leather armor, maybe some studded leather. There are many head variants in this box, most of them with pointy hats, helmets or hoods. Only two bare headed head variants per sprue, I used those sparingly. There is also a few weapon variants sculpted to represent skull heads and skeletal arms. Decent variations for possible weapons– a two handed knobbed club, a bow, a crossbow (two handed), several variations of hand weapons, mostly a Kopesh, a small sword, various daggers, a couple of target style shields, a spear etc. There are some hand-only variations and nice extra bits (like quivers, pouches, sheathed knives etc) to add to the figures to increase variation. Sculpting is excellent here– very detailed and weird looking cultists with a variety that really sells it. The best part of this set is just how well the two-handed weapon sculpts fit on every body type provided, every time, with minimal glue. The plastic type is hard gray styrene, you will need a Testor’s style glue to construct them. Every body provided comes with a matching styrene circular base.

And here’s my first batch of cultists. I actually did make 20, one of them broke and was drying after a repair job. Click to enlarge

I only have them primed up at the moment but they will take a coat of paint nicely. I’m very pleased with my first “war band” purchase from North Star. I would give this a 4 out of 5, for a few minor nits about weapons choices (I would have liked to have a longsword carried by a human arm, and larger shields so we could indicate Men at Arms types, but that really IS minor).

If you purchase these, and North Star’s other warbands, they should mix very well with the regular soldier types and the follow-on skeletons. Don’t throw away the sprues whatever you do. I had to fix some broken weapons pretty quickly– be sure to use a storage system with some padding as the swords can be a little fragile. Scale wise they mix perfectly with 28mm pewter from the same company, but would also work with Warhammer Fantasy (although they might be a tad chunky in comparison), Reaper miniatures, even older pre-painted monsters from the D&D Miniature and Pathfinder miniatures lines, although the latter may lack detail in comparison.

I’m glad I bought these cultists, they will be very handy going forward with Frostgrave games.

20mm figures for car combat games, from GW’s Dark Future game



Games Workshop's DARK FUTURE boardgame

As I reported in the last AAR on Cold Wars 2016I did hit up the dealer’s area and found a vendor selling off pieces to older games. I’m kind of still kicking myself for not buying up all of their old Heritage John Carter, Warlord of Mars stuff (and they had a lot of it), but those figures were kind of crappy looking even back then when they were new. I just know they would end up in a shoebox somewhere if I dropped a lot of cash on them, never painted, gathering dust. One purchase I have an immediate need for, kind of, is in scale drivers for open topped matchbox and hot wheels style diecast vehicles in more or less 1:64 scale. I’ve posted on other company’s products in this blog a few times about add on parts from Stan Johansen, Brigade Games and Ramshackle Games, even a few Aberrant scale items. One thing I didn’t think I’d ever post on would be in scale items from GW’s old Dark Future road combat game. If you aren’t familiar with the game it’s basically a circa-1998 standalone from GW, back when they were going gangbusters with standalone games and doing great things. I think Dark Future was heavily influenced by the success of Car Wars and related materials coming out of Steve Jackson Games back in those days– the premise is awfully similar but instead of cardboard cutouts, you got the full up Citadel-era GW miniatures treatment. The original board game came with adjustable cars and motorcycle tokens, and I think you could get accessory packs for pimping up Matchbox style diecasts in 1:64 scale. I found two bags of the accessory parts and two bags of the original motorcycle tokens.

Cyclists

I have tons of motorcyclists from Aberrant, Stan Johansen and Ramshackle games, but there’s always room for a few more. These were injection molded plastic parts mad in the 80s, so the scale is a bit “chunky” and the detail not quite up to metal (or even resin). However, they are quite durable and impart a sense of action. I wish there were more than one pose but I see these as being eminently modifiable. I could easily add a shotgun to the driver’s left hand in this pose and maybe even mount a heavier weapon on the motorcycle faring. Or a mine dropper in the back!

GW Dark Future Motorcyclists

Remember, these were board game pieces, of sorts. They weren’t produced as individual figures.

another angle of the DF Cyclist tokens

Drivers and Gunner Accessory Parts

I’m more excited about these than the cycles. This is a big group of cast metal accessory parts that might have been sold separately, I don’t know what was in the DF main box. Most of the drivers are cast exactly the same with a head variation of Garrison Cap (like a police officer), billed hat (ball cap style), bare headed, female headed. More importantly they really look like they could fit in a lot of my open topped vehicles. I like to put crew in them if I can.

Crew Figures

Gunners are fewer in number than drivers, but they appear to all be useful. most have a minigun attached to the figure.

gunners

So there you have it, I’ll post these incorporated into conversion as soon as they are ready.

The Flying Man game! aka Sky Smashers


I’m snowed in, enduring cabin fever, time to dust off off another old project that will (at last) see the light of day.  This is a game I’ve always referred to as “SKY SMASHERS!” because it has a pulpy sound to it, even though it was always meant to be semi-VSF in origin.  The concept behind this game was driven by what was then a surfeit of individual flying figures back when VSF* miniature games were newer.  Back in that day Eureka Miniatures was driving the train, but there were plenty of other companies making figures I could adapt for individual flight.   The big problem was that so few of them were sculpted in actual flight mode.  I would have worked around that problem eventually, and even had some ideas that I had put down on paper about how to handle the flight stand problem.  If you click here, you’ll see my homemade approach to the adjustable flight stand idea, dating back to 2004 (at least) and probably as old as 2000 or the late 90s.  So, yeah, that’s a thing.  This game has been kicking around my head for a long time.  The miniatures have changed over the years, VSF kind of came and went and came back again, but the design concepts were always the same for this game.   Each figure is a single man, flying in three dimensional face and interacting with other in flight single figures who are trying to kill him, plus possible ground units engaging from the ground, shooting up.

  1. Combat takes place in a three dimensional space; that means fire combat occurs with targets above, below, right or left, behind and in front.
  2. Time scale is attenuated; by this I mean the game will model a lot of small actions in a small time space– ten second turns are the standard.   FAST characters will have the option of more things to do in  a turn.
  3. There are different flight modes– swooping and gliding versus rocketing.  Riding some form of small powered one man vehicle along the lines of a rocket cycle is a possibility.
  4. Melee and Fire Combat are possible.
  5. Players should be able to physically change altitude once per turn.
  6. Fire combat angles are determined by strings– from the firing unit to the target.  Odd angles (below, above, behind) will have severe penalties.  Excessive speed differences cause severe penalties.
  7. Buckets o’ dice for resolution– people are comfortable with that.

So time has gone by and it’s 2015 now.  Just by happenstance I noticed that MINIATURE MARKET was holding a big sale, and one of the ranges for sale was DYSTOPIAN LEGIONS by Spartan Games.  Furthermore, they actually have “in flight” sculpted figures.  Nominally they are 32mm scale toe to head, which matches no other VSF range whatsoever.  So likely figures for the game would have to come entirely from this line.

Here’s what’s done so far.

The Pseudo-Americans, armed with pistols

Pseudo Britons

The Pseudo Britons, armed with pistols and automated SMGs.

The Pseudo Choimans, armed with some kind of electrified lance

The Pseudo Japanese (includes two flying steambikes), armed with Melee Weapons (katana swords)

I’m not much interested in the Dystopian Legions rules.. it’s a little too much for what I want to do, though maybe I’ll lift some of the tokens to track wounds or something.

The flight stands aren’t nearly as problematic as they were when I first envisioned this game back in 2000/1999  That’s because Corsec Engineering didn’t exist back then.  I really like their Omni Stand Technology.  I’m not sure how I’ll approach connecting the figure to the stand.  I’d like to have an adjustable one that can change the aspect of the flyer or vehicle easily.  That speaks to a tilting kind of stand (see the website).  I don’t want to add a bigger hole in the figure since they are already painted.  Maybe something with rare earth magnets.

The rules are going to be simple and universal.  I realize this might be a unique game for a lot of reasons– the buy in is kind of high unless you’re getting a sale on the figures.  The subject matter is popular enough.  so I think I’ll get some players.

Ground Game: I also have a few units that could be fighting on the ground and shooting up at the sky, like steam walkers and an AA gun.  I will add this to the rules as a random factor.

*Parenthetical point: I use “Victorian Science Fiction” or “VSF” instead of the more schlock made-up term of “Steampunk”, by preference.  It has more Victorian Gravitas.