Tag Archives: Mana Press

MadMax34 Turning Templates from Things from the Basement


I have been playing around with the Mad Maximillian 1934 car combat rules for a little bit now as the past two posts can attest to. I am enjoying the game very much. One thing I wanted to do was assemble the little turning template that comes in the rules, but the only way I thought it would be durable enough would be to print it on card stock, laminate it, THEN cut it out and punch it so it could rotate.

Yeah, I could do that. OR I could send www.thingsfromthebasement.com a few bucks and get a very durable laser cut wooden one of my very own. Or maybe two. So I did that instead.

Template

There’s not a lot to this thing. Two pieces ; one with an arrow going IN and another with an arrow going OUT. There are graduations on the template itself which will effect how many fate and fortune dice to roll. The template starts off on this single sheet. Punch out everything carefully. The top circle (as show) will overlay the bottom one. The two tiny bits and the inner circle are there to keep the spindle rotating nicely. You may want to be sparing with the glue here, you don’t want the two main circles to bond together accidentally or the template is worthless.

Once you build the spindle out of the two tiny bits (that make a kind of stand up X together, you put the small circle on top of that (very sparingly with glue) making sure the top circle and bottom circle can rotate.

With paint on

At the end of that drill, you have this. The bottom circle rotates and indicates where your turn is going to be and how risky it is. Coloring the areas on the edge of the wheel to match how it is depicted in the rule book is a bonus that I recommend. Green is no danger, Yellow is some danger, Red is dangerous!

In my mind, this is the Cadillac option, if you’ll pardon the car pun. It’s durable, inexpensive and works like a charm. Not nearly as large as I thought. A very handy option indeed.

Turning template in use

Here is a time lapse photograph of a template in use. The Three Wheeler moves forward 4 and attempts a slight left hand turn, sufficiently into the yellow zone to be risky.

And there you have it.  That’s from Things from the Basement (URL up above).  I think it’s worth the tiny investment.  I got two!

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More on Mad Maximillian 1934, an ongoing project


Part 2 of 2.  In which I greatly expand on the Mad Maximillian 1934 material…

BRUMM Bentley Le Mans 30 Touring Car, an Ebay Purchase modified with a twin Vickers MG and two drivers from Sloppy Jalopy.

Mad Maximillian 1934 (MadMax34) is a very small scale skirmish game set in a dystopic past– that’s right, the past, during the Depression.  The publisher, Mana Press, doesn’t flesh out the back story very much, as I indicated in the previous post.   Just take it as a given that some form of world wide calamity has occurred some time after WWI, roughly corresponding with our Depression.  The setting has a decidedly English focus, which I like (although the publisher and the miniatures manufacturer are resolutely Australian).  I just don’t associate English country roads with Dystopia, which lends a little charm to the idea.  The theme of the game is car combat– on a much lower end technologically than comparable games from the past– such as Car Wars or games of that ilk.  The Interwar years are a favorite period for me, and MadMax34 is definitely positioned “in there somewhere.”  The rulebook, from Mana Press, is about 56 pages, with photographs on many pages and blueprints for cars and a turning template in the back part of the book.  As far as I know, there isn’t a printed copy of the rulebook available at this time, but I could be wrong.  I got mine as a watermarked PDF from Wargame Vault.  I don’t regret the purchase.  I can read the rules on my tablet, which is maybe slightly less handy than paper but that’s fine by me in the long run.

One of the two Eureka kits I purchased for this game. I modeled this on the GREEN MACHINE example in the book. Two rocket pods on a sliding sheet metal rack, and fixed forward facing MGs.

Mechanics:

In terms of game mechanics I don’t think MadMax34 is going to give anyone a serious headache.  They are dirt simple and “bucket of sixes” based.  I like that– not every game has to be about gun calibers and armor thicknesses and firing aspects.  The key mechanic is to roll a FATE roll and a FORTUNE roll.  The outcome determines if you pull off your slick maneuver, or flip your tin lizzy into a scrapheap.  Simply put, FATE = “bad things” FORTUNE = “good things”.

1936 Shelsley Walsh Hillclimb, Auto Union 5.3L C-Type. I fudged the year, as I liked the diecast model. Diecast conversions are a lot of fun– this one has two Lewis MG firing forward and either a couple of oil slick generators or paint sprayers (see red cans).

Taking an example right out of the rulebook, During the Movement Phase, Player A wants to make a tight turn.  Her vehicle is already damaged, which adds FATE dice (everything is 1D6 based, but Fate should be red and Fortune white for ease of play).  So she rolls a 3,4,5,6,2 & 6.  Like a lot of games using buckets of six siders, you count 5 and 6 results.  Player A counts 3 Fate here. 
Player A then responds with a Fortune roll of Vehicle Handling plus Driver Skill, which sorts out as: 3,6,4,1 & 6.  She scores two Fortunes.   THEN, subtract Fate from Fortune, and that’s the modifier of -1.  Yikes.  Go to Skidding test. 

“Old Number 3” Another fine diecast conversion, this from some Pacific Rim diecast manufacturer. Ford 32 basic black pickup, with Rocket tubes (2), Vickers mounted on hood, and some welded on extra armor here and there. I added a harpoon guy from Pulp Figures to give the vehicle a little verisimilitude.

Activation and Initiative, Turn Order, blah blah blah

In my  mind, there are only so many ways you can design a game that involves vehicles shooting at each other, in motion, even at lower speeds.  You have to take into account current acceleration, shooting, defending, maneuvering safely and at high risk, and what happens when you take damage or don’t make a turn.  That is the core of it.  I’ve played around at this myself– see: White Line Fever.  They are all equally valid, great ways of simulating these factors.  MadMax34 does a very good job of factoring in these elements in a straightforward fashion.  Initiative is easy.  The player moving at the highest Speed (at start of turn) Activates, or goes first.  If tied, the smaller vehicle goes first.  If tied, roll a danged dice, won’t you?  Activation leads to performing each of the three actions in any order the driver chooses: Move, Attack and Special.

A Brumm Bugatti type 30 (diecast, found on Ebay) with a Lewis MG up top and an improvised anti-tank rifle bolted on the left plays chicken with an oncoming Green Machine. I’m sanguine about this chances.

There are several nuances to movement and honestly I’m not going to go in depth with each one– a thumbnail would be: You can adjust speed up or down by one, with no problems.  You can STOMP on the brakes but these vehicles are ramshackle and you may need to check the car to see if it skids or not.  You can FANG IT (accelerate as fast as you can) but that also might cause the rather battered engine, which is likely running on corn squeezings these days, to explode or some other dramatic response.  Really, my favorite bit of these rules is the turning template, which is design elegance.

This is a PDF template in the rules, but you can order a laser cut version from THINGS IN THE BASEMENT (whose picture this is). I just ordered two of them. Click on the picture to visit their store.

Simply place the incoming (up facing) arrow aligned with the front of the vehicle, and twist the the adjustable (top) arrow in the direction you need to go. The farther you turn it, the more FATE DICE you have to throw to make the turn. I like this. It might be difficult to use in tight terrain but I’ll figure it out. There are special rules for special maneuvers like the bootlegger’s turn, and what happens when you skid or flip, but I won’t describe them in detail. Crashing is pretty bad in a MadMax34 vehicle, you basically roll to see how severe it is.. the consequences are rather tough on these (well used, poorly constructed) vehicles.

Click Me

The first model I bought from Eureka. This is a sport racing vehicle (generic “Flyer”) with a pintle mounted AAMG in the back. I love the figures– they are very dynamic. These kits are designed with a high degree of customization in mind; I went very basic with this one. Click on the picture to see the customization kit and other vehicle kits at Eureka.

Winning is a rather loose concept, and usually involves pounding the snot out of your opponents. There are scenario goals that determine victory conditions. There are about 4 scenarios in the rules (I think).

Vehicle Construction/Availability

MadMax34 comes with design-your-vehicle modules, just like the old CAR WARS game did. You have about four chassis sizes and each of them has a number of hard points assigned. The more hard points, the more creative you can be with what you strap on to the car to create mayhem with. Most of the vehicles I created had very few hard points– 5 or lower (five being average). I may have stretched the concept of “hard points” by including hand weapons, which I don’t agree would take up a mounting on your vehicle. I also add additional armor here and there and that technically is using a hard point as well– how many, I’m not sure. One of the reasons I hesitated jumping into this project was my perception that vehicles and drivers would be hard to find. That has NOT proven to be the case. A typical browse through Ebay will provide auctions for diecast vehicles that are perfectly within period. I have fielded a Bugatti Type 30, a Bentley Touring Car, a shabby 1932 Ford Pickup, and an odd “Shelby Walsh Hillclimber” that looks suspiciously futuristic but was historically built in 1936. Close enough.

Bentley Touring Car (1930), a diecast model, chasing a generic 3 Wheeler Cyclecar from 1st Corps (resin kit with metal bits). I’ll probably add more weapons to these or improvised armor, as both have hard points to spare. The Bentley is a BRUMM Diecast vehicle, easy to find on auction sites.

In addition, I highly recommend 1stCorps in the UK for period armor vehicles (if you want to build the largest vehicles in the game), they also have a section for pulp style vehicles (not many) with a lot of style. I picked up a generic 3 wheeler Cycle Car and put a dual Vickers on it, along with a gunner that is armed with a side arm. In addition, I picked up a WWI era dispatch motorcyle with a Maxim machine gun installed, and added some civilian touches.

WWI era BEF Dispatch motorcycle from 1stCorps.  I added a passenger figure Sloppy Jalopy, and painted the driver and gunner in a non specific “uniform”

Of course, you can also get miniatures from Eureka Australia or USA, under their small (but hopefully growing) Mad Maximillian line. The twist is you can always use the same kits to make more than one radically different vehicle. I’ve only touched the surface of customization, I want to build a flame thrower car next. The real difficulty is obtaining vehicle weapons (which I found from a number of sources) and especially drivers. The scaling between Eureka and 1stCorp isn’t a perfect match by a long shot, but when the drivers are sitting down, it’s hardly noticable. Stan Johansen (of Road Warrior 20mm fame, I’ve mentioned him on here before), also makes some 28mm driver and gunner figures– pretty rudimentary but it does the job nicely– and a paintjob hides a lot of things. He also has a ton of add on hand weapons like ATRs, shotguns and the like, so their figures are customizable, more so than Eureka or 1stCorps. In addition to THAT, Sloppy Jalopy has some very spirited and thematic looking drivers and passengers (the Tommy gunner on the back of the Motorcycle is one). You need to check those out!

Another look at 1st Corps three wheeler touring car, decked out for mayhem. I may add some more armor.

I don’t see terrain being a big obstacle. This game plays well on a 4 x 6 and even smaller space– I don’t recommend having more than 10 players due to the scale. Ground scale isn’t specified anywhere, but the models are large, and I forsee problems with table geometry. So maybe some craters, maybe some rubbled buildings.. a dirt road, some hills, dead trees, barbed wire.. I have all those already!

In conclusion

As I’ve alluded to, this has been a fun project to work on, especially the part about customizing and creating vehicles out of kits and diecast. I haven’t tested it yet but I plan to as soon as I move back in to my house. The vehicles were variably priced (the resin kits actually more expensive than the diecasts I found on Ebay, but more militant looking).  The rules are very straight forward and almost expendable, really.  You could play this with a game of your choice as long as you track the basic elements of road combat games– speed, shooting, protection, damage.. etc.  My only disappointment (and it is very minor) is that the period fluff is almost absent.  There is a long wheedling narrative at the front of the document but it isn’t a very conclusive or convincing depiction of the setting (can’t help kvetching, this is a favorite historical period of mine).  Other than that, I would recommend it highly.

STUFF:

Slideshow of all my conversions and kit vehicles built so far on flickr

Some Youtube “Project Videos”

From the rulebook, Mana Press. A collection of the Eureka Miniatures custom cars— except white lightning (second from bottom), which doesn’t seem to be a kit you can buy.

SOURCES MENTIONED in both posts

  • 1st Corps (WWI range and 20th Century Follies. Also some good individual standing figures)
  • Eureka Miniatures USA (and of course, Australia) The basic customizable car kits are produced by Nic Robson’s Eureka miniatures and Eureka USA for us Yanks. I highly recommend the custom parts kit you can purchase as an extra. You can also buy drivers and gunners (3 types) individually.
  • Company B is a company that sells period authentic vehicle mount machine guns– mostly twin mount Vickers and Lewis. I can’t recommend them highly enough.
  • Sloppy Jalopy sells a great line of 28mm drivers and passengers, right inside the period..
  • For individual pedestrian figures, try Pulp Figures. In scale and totally in period.
  • Copplestone’s gangster figures also work as pedestrians.
  • Hexxy Shop sells all kinds of interesting bits for vehicle conversion and customization, although their SF stuff is pretty futuristic.
  • Stan Johansen makes a Road Warrior line which is very futuristic but features drivers and gunners in 28mm that are dressed with minimal detail, so they work in the 1930s.

Eureka Miniatures’ Mad Maximillian 1934: A new Obsession & Frustrations


Part 1 of 2.  So, yeah, this is a thing. I’ve been noticing these larger scale old timey racing and fighting vehicles at the Eureka booth the last few shows, and I’ve restrained myself.. until now.  Why? Because there’s a new set of rules for these vehicles, and I rather like them.  I have no idea who Mana press is, but they are publishing rules to accompany Eureka Miniatures’ figure line called “Mad Maximillian“.  I like it when rules show up.. it makes it a little harder for a great visual idea (1930s roadsters with machine guns) to just fade away, another flash in the creative pan.  I suspect I could have cobbled something together out of my own White Line Fever rules, maybe, but those are somewhat futuristic post apocalyptic, Mad Maximillian is unique in that it is ‘In the past-post apocalyptic” if that makes any sense.  Set in 1934, a very alternative 1934 where gun equipped roadsters move from place to place in the landscape, trying to win trophies and gun down the opposition.  The “why” part isn’t’ really clear.   Has there been a world wide collapse?  A new war?  Civil Chaos?  The fluff is pretty cryptic, so things are flexible in terms of history.  Here’s a little bit of color text from the first page, as told from a fictional bartender:

I’m told. There’s still infected towns out there, rumour has it, where nobody dares to go.  Maybe it was them hi-falutin flappers, wheeling and dealing at the high-end of town.  Making all of their money on shares, off the back of us poor workers. And they goes and spends it on champagne and bugattis, caviar and fancy planes. Wasting all that money, right up until the Crash, when it all went bust! And who pays for it? Us – that’s who! And we’re still paying for it right now! Just look at what’s happened to the cost of Gas – it’s as precious as the booze I’m serving ya. And you know better than me what fuel can mean out
there on the Road. “No Gas, no Ride” – amen, brother.

So, somehow, the world has gone to pot, like it does.. and people are clamping period weaponry on their cars to take to the road and rustle up fuel and other scarcities.  I think.  You know, like one does.

The scale is 28mm, the art direction is rather whimsical, and I have been charmed, completely, by the idea.  Eureka is supporting this game by producing 4 basic car types plus a pack of accessories and stand alone crew purchases.   Their approach is to field the basic body types and have the end user customize to his or her heart’s content.  There’s the Flyer, a two seater with a gunner cockpit in the back, the Roadster, a one seater with a similar body but a more “finny” rear end.  Some odd 3 wheeler type of vehicle, and a gigantic “Interceptor” vehicle that looks like a twelve cyclinder roadster.

Conversions of period diecasts

Converting diecasts?  post-apocalyptic?  Well, if you know me, you know I’m all in.  Therein lies the confusion, and the fun.  The thing is, this is a 28mm scale game.  There really doesn’t seem to be a consistent industry scale for 28mm diecast.  I know (when I was designing WLF and converting matchbox and hot wheels) that 20mm equates to roughly 1:64 and HO scales.  There is no good rule of thumb once the scale creeps up!  I have recently purchased three great Old-Timey vehicles from Matchbox’s Models of Yesteryear line– and each time discovered what was being advertised on Ebay as 1:43 showed up looking suspiciously like 1:64 (matchbox sized).  So if you are going to do conversions with existing commercial diecasts, make SURE it’s 1:43, which, supposedly, is the rule of thumb for 28mm.  As far as “Models of Yesteryear” vehicles, this site is a really good source for research.   There are some great historically themed choices out there but A) you will need to do your homework (is it REALLY 1:43?) and B) be aware that the larger the diecast, the more likely it is being sold as a “collectible” vice game model, so the prices will be astronomical for the truly interesting models.   So far, the only for certain matching vehicle I have found has been a 1934 Ford Pickup truck which is perfectly in scale with the “Flyer” (see above).    Further conversion notes: You can get period authentic vehicle weapons (Lewis Gun/Vickers Guns) from Company B, which sells them separately.

“White Lightning” from the Mad Maximillian rulebook

With that said, some vehicles in the rulebook don’t appear anywhere else, which is confusing and a little frustrating. The rulebook cites (and pictures the “White Lightning” three wheeled motorcycle (above) but it isn’t for sale on the Eureka Website. Possibly it can be made by buying other car kits and using their accessories (I notice the really high fenders on the White Lightning are also in the “Roadster” kit, but that’s all I can identify from another kit). This could be a very expensive option for customization.

“Green Machine”, from the Mad Maximillian rulebook

Even with the customization kit for sale, there are some head scratchers. Note the gently rounded front end with two vertical machine gun slots on the “GREEN MACHINE” model from the rulebook. There’s just no way to replicate this design with parts you can purchase from Eureka that I can see. I mean, you can get CLOSE, but not exactly the same. I think.. it’s hard to tell from this angle:


spare parts, from the Eureka USA website

I’d like to build what they call the Firefly as well, which looks like it is the Flyer main body with a standardized custom front end, but, again, I’m stymied. There are no customized wheel covers in the spare parts package.

They MIGHT be part of another car kit, but given they cost either 22 or 30 dollars EACH, I’m not going to be buying one for cannibalization purposes.  So, Eureka!  Add these to your spare parts!

An alternative source of 28mm period vehicles
Credit: 1stCorp website, 20th century follies, three wheeled roadster

There are other sources of period 28mm vehicles out there, of course, just not many period authentic civilian ones.  I have gone to 1stCorp in the UK for additional vehicles in their “2oth century follies” and “WWI” lines.  I have picked up the three wheeled roadster (I now have plenty of machine guns to add) and a Motorcycle with sidecar (and 30 cal).   I probably will also get four wheel speedster with female driver and possible a suitable converted military vehicle.  So as it stands I’m at about 6 vehicles (depending on if the scales work) which is more than enough to jump into this game with.  I’m looking forward to this.. the terrain should be simple enough.  I have enough wrecked buildings and roadside clutter to make it work.

In conclusion, thus I have discovered another project to have fun with.  I’ll close with a few pics of my first roadster (the Flyer) painted up straight out of the box, as it were.

Enjoy, and thanks for reading.