Saturday, March 31, 2012

Dem bones, dem bones ...

... dem Warhammer skeletons.  I just can't seem to stop buying them.

After a hefty purchase of a whole lotta skellies, I thought I was done purchasing old Games Workshop figures for awhile.  However, when I saw this quartet of skeleton archers for five bucks--including shipping--I couldn't resist.

I didn't notice in the seller's photo that one of the metal minis (the one on the right) was missing the bottom part of its leg.  No big deal, though: I can either sculpt something with greenstuff or use a spare part from the multitude of plastic skeletons I have stockpiled.

Also, it's not obvious from this pic, but the previous owner removed all the tabs attached to the feet of these miniatures instead of attaching them to the slottabases in the conventional way.  This isn't a problem for me, either--I remove the tabs anyway, since I'm basing these minis on multi-figure stands for Hordes of the Things.  Another stand of Shooters on the to-do list!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Resin SGDNs from Monday Knight

Big news for Galactic Knights fans, as well as anyone else wanting a Super Galactic Dreadnought model from Monday Knight Productions.  The company announced it is now selling SGDNs in resin as well as metal, cutting down on the price as well as the weight of these massive starship castings.
Photo from Monday Knight Productions.
These ships might look familiar.  Last summer, I linked to a blog post about MKP's resin spaceship model offerings.  At the time there was no word on when they would be available, but they're now offered for sale on the company's website.  At $17.50 a pop, the resin Super Galactic Dreadnoughts are nearly 10 bucks cheaper than their metal counterparts, which are still for sale, too.

The company also announced it is once more selling components for its build-your-own space station (the old star fortress from Superior Models).

Finally, of interest to players of the company's starship combat game Galactic Knights, the MKP proprietor said in the same announcement that he'll be playtesting rules GK for the Aquarian faction this Memorial Day weekend at Enfilade in Olympia, Washington.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Two men enter ...

Ed the Two Hour Wargames Guy is working on another set of arena rules--this time a post-apocalyptic version based on his boxing game.  We tested the system out last night, and it plays faster than Red Sand Blue Sky
This 15mm scale arena will soon be available for purchase.
We got in two bouts with different fighters before the mechs showed up, scattered the crowd, and knocked open the zombie pen--but that's a tale for another blog post.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


I dug up some more pics of my Imperial Army force for Hordes of the Things, so I thought I'd share them with you.  I took these a couple of years ago when I was futzing around with my camera.
The miniatures themselves aren't painted that well, but I like the composition of these photos.
Unfortunately, these guys have never performed that well on the battlefield.  Still, they're pretty cool-looking.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Full Thrust compilation

As a part of my latest gaming obsession, I decided to compile the various Full Thrust rules and supplements into one volume.  I loaded all the free downloads--255 pages total--onto a flash drive and took it to a copy store for printing and binding.  The first place I went to was gonna charge me about $34, so I decided to pass.  Since I was headed to an office supply store on another errand, I checked out their print facilities.  
No, it's not a black & white photo; I was too cheap to pay for a color cover.
They quoted me a price of around $20 so I went ahead and had them print and bind the documents.  Unfortunately, there were problems with the printer, and the More Thrust booklet  had to be redone.  But somehow, it didn't get placed in the spiral binding--so I'm missing a 50-page book that I paid for.  Not only that, but since most of the rules were originally published on A4 (British) size paper instead of standard letter (American), the page numbers didn't come out in the printing they gave me. 

It might have been less hassle to just print everything out myself.  Still, I have most of the rules in hardcopy now, which will make it easier to actually play this game at some point in the future.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Thyrm vs. Surtr

 From a Hordes of the Things tournament game at the 2010 Chimaeracon: Blake's frost giants vs. my fire giants.
The armies were almost identical element-for-element, each with a Behemoth general supported by two more Behemoth stands. 
The sides might have differed slightly among smaller units, but there was no real weakness for either side to exploit.
This was the endgame, when my Beasts got behind the frosties' line and then contacted the Behemoth general's flank, helping my general take out the opposing leader in a clash of titans.
Sigh.  I need to play some more HotT.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Starships: Thinking about Full Thrust

Lately, I've also been reading through the various incarnations of Full Thrust, the space combat game created by designer Jon Tuffley.  I think if I ever do a privateers campaign, I'll use this set of rules.  The rules basically came about as a vehicle for the author's company Ground Zero Games to sell miniatures, but the background quickly captivated fans and took on a life of its own.  The game, of course, is now available for free, as are all the supplements (see the links below):
  • Full Thrust: The second edition of the original, hard-to-find rulebook came out in 1992.  It introduced the movement, firing, and ship system displays still in use today.  This book also included a design system for creating your own starships.  However, a lot of the nuts-and-bolts details were superseded by later publications.  The game also gave us the background to the "Tuffleyverse," a future history featuring various Earth factions in conflict with one another.
  • More Thrust: The first expansion to FT hit game stores in 1994.  More Thrust included new weapons and other optional rules, expanded fighter rules, and suggestions on interfacing with ground combat games.  This book also advanced the timeline of the background setting, giving the various human factions alien adversaries (with their own unique ship systems).
  • Fleet Book 1: This 1998 book provided a vector movement system, increased the number of fire arcs from four to six, revamped the weapons rules, and added more details in the way of ship systems.  It also overhauled the rules for designing starships.  More importantly, FB1 contained official ship system displays of four of the human factions in the Full Thrust universe, as well as examples of noncombatant vessels.
  • Fleet Book 2: The second fleet book went on sale in 2000, and it further refined the rules as amended in the initial fleet book.  It also contained official starship designs for the three alien species introduced in earlier supplements.
  • Full Thrust Light: GZG released a four-page electronic summary in 2008 containing enough basic rules for a quick game of FT.  There are actually only two pages of game mechanics, the remaining half of this publication contains ship displays for the vessels involved in the introductory scenario.
  • Full Thrust Cross Dimensions: This isn't actually a supplement, but a publisher-sanctioned consolidation and revision of the rules from the first four Full Thrust publications.  Written by fan Hugh Fisher, FT:XD (as the kids are calling it) has all the rules and most of the weapons in one place, along with some new systems and tweaks to the game mechanics.  No ship designs, though. 
That's it for official and semi-official Full Thrust material, but there's a ton of unofficial rules and designs and background and scenarios on the internet.  I'm curious: What's your favorite fan-made Full Thrust creation?  What do you recommend I should check out or download? 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Why I love Hordes of the Things

Because I can have my Imperial Army landspeeder and jetbikes take on a line of night goblins on spiders and dinosaurs.
Photo from January 2010.

Friday, March 23, 2012

New Game: Silent Fury

I recently learned of a new spaceship combat game that's under development: Silent Fury.  In the words of the developers: "Our system features detailed damage modeling, critical hits, boarding actions, and inertial movement, all while having simple and elegant rules for doing so."
From the Silent Fury website.
Here's a list of components the rules require, and a very brief FAQ.  The game uses vector movement on a typical hex map for ship-to-ship combat, but Silent Fury also uses miniature figures on ship system displays to track boarding actions.  Once it's complete, I'll have to give the game a try.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

More Nightmare Legion figures

Look what I got in the mail last week--some more figures from Citadel's old Nightmare Legion boxed set:
These troopers will join their brethren as additional Spears elements in my Hordes of the Things army of the same name.  In addition to the rank-and-file, the auction I won included the command figures and a few more skeleton minis.
The 19 halberdiers are enough for four stands of Spears, leaving three extra figures--almost enough for a fifth element of Spears.  I have another three figures left over from my original set, so that's enough for nearly six new elements of Spears.  And if I include a standard-bearer, that leaves me just one figure short.  By the way, the reason I want to have an even number of this element is because in HotT, a second rank of Spears adds a combat bonus to the Spears element in front of it.  Therefore, six new elements is better than five, which means I need another figure or two. 

I thought about using the standard-bearer that came with the Nightmare Legion, but that won't really work; he's got the banner in his left hand and facing the opposite direction of the troopers, who all carry their weapons in their right hands.  If I put him on the same stand as the troopers, he won't really fit, but will look like he's about to walk into the other troopers. So I figure I can use another old GW figure I have lying around, like the one to the right.  I'll have to remove the sword, drill out the hand and scratchbuild a banner, so I might just try to find another trooper or two online.  We'll see.
I'm not sure what I will do with the command miniatures yet.  And in addition to all the metal figures, the package included a number of plastic skellies--and not just infantry figures.  If you look closely at the plastic box, you can see some skeletal cavalry along with a skeleton chariot.  I also need to figure out how I will use them with my Hordes of the Things army.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Work in progress: Lizardman behemoth element

In order to fill out my Lizardman Hordes of the Things army and lend it some variety, some people suggested I use toy dinosaurs to create Behemoth elements.  I purchased quite a few toys from the dollar store, and I've begun working on a Behemoth for the scaly folk.  The dinosaur needs some kind of platform to hold its operators, so I just superglued a bunch of party toothpicks together with some crossbeams.
I plan on painting the toothpicks to look like fresh-sawed lumber, so they don't look like some kind of skink carnival ride (although I'm kind of tempted to leave it as is).  The crossbeams in the middle keep the platform centered over the dinosaur's spine.  In the picture below it's just sitting there without any glue or other method of attachment:
I'm not sure what else, if anything this platform needs (the lizardman equivalent of OSHA doesn't require handrails).  I think I'll use string or twine to make reins, and nails or pins for some kind of bridle for the dino, but other than that it's good to go.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Work in progress: Paladin element

Here's the figure that I will use for the Paladin element to round out my Bretonnian Hordes of the Things army.  This miniature was originally made for the computer-assisted tabletop wargame Ex Illis; I won him as a prize in a HotT tournament some time back.
As you can see,the horse is a little smaller than the destriers meant to carry the Bretonnian knights, and the fighter looks scrawny when compared to his Games Workshop counterparts.
However, the dynamic pose, along with the fact that I will build up the base a little to give him additional height, should help the paladin fit in with the Bretonnians.  Additionally, I can justify the slight build by saying the paladin is actually a young man or a woman, and therefore smaller than the largish knights in the main part of the army.  It will be interesting to have a Paladin element in my army; I've never used that unit in a game of HotT.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A wargamer's Aesop

I recently started working on the dozen plastic knights from the Warhammer boxed set I purchased for a song.  I plan on using these figures as part of a Bretonnian army for Hordes of the Things.  As I was fitting the two halves of the horse bodies together before applying the glue, I noticed how well-made these models are--very small tolerances and a tight fit, with no large gaps between the edges of the parts.  In assembly-line fashion, I glued together all twelve of the horse bodies at once, then placed them in the slots on their cavalry bases.
Once I had the steeds put together and lined up, I reached for the sprues holding the tails and heads for each horse.  Can you see where this is going?  That's right; those parts had tabs meant to secure them inside the assembled body--meaning I was supposed to add the head and tail to the model before gluing each side of the body together! 
It was only after I noticed my mistake that I remembered that the boxed set came with an instruction book!  Not only that, but I had read the instructions at least once after I got my purchase home from the store!  Needless to say, I was angry at myself for this blatant act of stupidity. 
And to make things worse, since I had used plastic model cement--which basically welds polystyrene together--instead of superglue that can be dissolved by rubbing alcohol or Pine-Sol, I'd have to live with my blunder.  There would be no prying apart the halves to undo my mistake.  Thankfully, there was a solution, and it only took a little effort with an Exacto to trim those tabs down to where I could insert each part inside the glued bodies.  I hadn't ruined my figures with my stupidity, just created a little additional work for myself.  The horses came out looking fine in the end.
The moral of the story: Before irrevocably merging the parts of your figures together, read the instructions!  Or at least do a test-fit with all the parts of the model, not just the subsection you're working on at the moment.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday Starships: Starfleet Wars on other blogs

When I began Super Galactic Dreadnought, there wasn't very much information on the Internet about the Starfleet Wars (now Galactic Knights) line of miniature starships and sci-fi combat games.  Like I've said before, one of the reasons I launched the Dreadnought was to create a resource for others focusing on these minis and related games.  So now I'm thrilled to see these days that there are other bloggers out there interested in the SfW spaceships. 

One blog with some great scholarship regarding this subject is called, appropriately enough, Starfleet Wars.  It's author, THE HESSIAN, has collected a great deal of information regarding the game and the models.  These offerings include clippings of old advertisements and reviews, scans of the art from the rulebooks, and even weight comparisons between the old Superior Models lead castings and the new Monday Knight Productions pewter models.  He also collected photos of the company's packaging for the game and minis and an article in Military Modeller magazine featuring Superior's 90mm SfW figures.

Another blog of interest to Starfleet Wars fans is Gonsalvo's Blunders on the Danube.  The author has posted lists and photos of his SfW fleets.  These have some great paint jobs, and I encourage you to check them out.  Gonsalvo also has some scholarship of his own, performing a then-and-now price comparison between the Superior Models 1979 catalog and the current-day Monday Knight Productions web store (spoiler alert: even before taking inflation into account, today's products are almost as cheap or cheaper than the listed prices of yesteryear).

There are a few other blogs containing posts which readers of SGDN should find interesting.  These sites (as well as the two mentioned above) are all on my blogroll, but in case you overlooked them, here they are:
My thanks go out to all my fellow bloggers who share an interest in the models and games of the Starfleet Wars setting and its successor.  Keep on blogging, and if you come across anyone else touching on this topic, be sure to let me know!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Test-driving some mechs

Last week at Ed's (the Two Hour Wargames guy), he happened to have some alien-looking terrain on the board and some old plastic Battletech minis at hand.  Since he's been working on a mech combat game for his 5150 universe, I was happy to give the 5150: No Quarter rules a go.
The first game we tried was a one-on-one battle.  We each took the same type of mech, although he gave me a Star Army version and he took a model belonging to the rebel faction.  The first game involved a lot of shooting (and a lot of die rolling) as our giant robots took In Sight tests and ducked back or otherwise responded according to that Two Hour Wargames mechanic.
Finally, I charged and tried to melee.  The combat went back and forth, with me punching my opponent's mech, and then my foe kicking my model.  I backed off and went to ranged weapons again, blowing off the robot's arm.  Since Ed's pilot was more easily rattled than mine, the game ended as his mech fled off the board.
The second game, I had the rules down a little better, and so we each took a couple of mechs.  This match seemed to flow much quicker, and whether it was because we had heavier weapons or just knew the rules better it seemed to emulate those old giant robot battles of old, in a fraction of the time and without all the recordkeeping.
The battle stayed at long range, with each of my mechs pouring fire into one of Ed's, and vice versa.  Unfortunately for me, Ed's warriors landed a couple of shots to the torso of each of my units.  The first telling blow knocked over one mech and incapacitated its pilot.  The second shot ripped through the armor, causing an explosion and destroying the mech along with its operator.
5150: No Quarter is a fun game that captures the feel of your more granular big robot battle rules without so much paperwork, and I plan on dusting off my old Battletech minis to use with this.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday Starships: Battle of Angle Run AAR

Last week we finally played the battle for Turn 3 of the Chancellor campaign.  Things didn't go so well for the Terrans. 
Avarian Gatherer Flight V (fourteen galactic transports and three stellar destroyer escorts) left vertex along the shipping lane to Angle.  It was accompanied by Homeworld Flight's Cruiser Wing and Battlecruiser Wing.  
While the Cruiser Wing had lost its flight leader, a galactic dreadnought, and one of its stellar cruisers in the Battle of Vertex (and another SC due to mechanical issues--OK, I could only fit four ship displays on one piece of paper so I dropped cruiser No. 5), the Avarian Battlecruiser flight was unbloodied with a galactic dreadnought flight leader and four battlecruisers.
Opposing them all was a Terran Valiant-class galactic dreadnought, the Noble Knight Prince, played by yours truly.
Da Baron, who played the transports, surprised me by having them come on the map in a line instead of a column.  Joe had the battlecruisers and dreadnought to the right, while Holdfast took the cruisers on my left.
I figured the Avarians would all gang up on me, so I entered on my left and tried to stay out of range of the birds' capital ships. 
I headed toward the cruisers but no one was in range the first turn.  Meanwhile, the transports broke to my right, while the big guns came after me.
Finally, I was in range!  Instead of targeting the cruisers, I shot at a couple of the nearest transports.
Two hits!  But not enough to finish off the birds.
The capital ships responded in kind, combining their fire against the NKP and scoring several hits.
The cruisers added their weapons to the mix, inflicting more damage on the Terran ship.  I knew I couldn't stick around if I wanted to live.  I was able to get in a good shot at one of the cruisers as I tried to haul as to the opposite side of the board.  This left the convoy free to make its escape, guarded by the other two battlecruisers.
In the third turn, the combined fire finally proved too much, and the Valiant erupted in a rapidly expanding cloud of plasma.
This left the convoy and escorts free to head on to their destination.
I was really sorry to see the game end so quickly, especially since the other players had driven out from San Antonio.  But the rules as written allow ships to combine fire, meaning they add all their offensive factors together when attacking the same target.  The way the mechanics of the game work, when a half-dozen ships join in against a single opponent, they get a lot of shots--and the ones that hit do massive amounts of damage.  I think I'll enact a house rule that ships can only combine fire for a maximum offensive factor of 20.  Much more than that, and you break the game--or at least the scenarios we've played in this campaign.  My apologies to the admirals, especially to the Terrans.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Old Superior Models order form

In a comment on my post showing the original packaging for the Starfleet Wars line of miniatures, Black Vulmea recalled that some ships were sold three to a box back when they were originally manufactured by Superior Models.

That reminded me that I have a scan of an old Alnavco order form from 1980 (while still in business, the company no longer distributes these sci-fi lines) with models and prices for models for use with Starfleet Wars and its companion game of ground combat, MAATAC:
The writing on this form isn't mine, it was on the original scan.
Sure enough, starbombers, star armored pursuit ships, and stellar destroyers were sold as triplets.  Stellar destroyer leaders, stellar cruisers, and galactic transports came in pairs.  The larger capital ships--galactic battlecruisers, galactic dreadnoughts, galactic attack carriers, and super galactic dreadnoughts--were offered as individual models.  Starfighters were sold in packs of ten.  The MAATAC units also were packaged as multiples; from larger armor models sold two at a time to the robot infantry going five to the box. 

And check out the prices on some of those models.  Ah, the good ol' days ...

Friday, March 9, 2012

Superior Models original starships packaging

Da Baron, one of the players in last night's battle in the Chancellor campaign, very generously brought me a couple of boxes of Starfleet Wars miniatures.  Since I'd thrown away the packaging of my vintage SfW acquisitions long before I started my blog, it's time to share photos of the original containers for these models.
Each box is about 3 inches wide, 5 inches long, and 1¼ inches deep.  The only label is the sticker on the lid, with the word "STARSHIPS," in a font reminiscent of 1960s acid rock album covers, above a photo of a Terran galactic dreadnought.  Beneath the picture, there's the Superior Models logo and a small copyright notice dated 1978.
Hive-class GAC and Mosquito attack craft
Inside the box, a long piece of foam (about 10 inches or so) is folded in half to hold the spaceship models.  Interestingly, Superior sold its galactic attack carriers in combination with 10 starfighter models.  As you can see, the attack craft came in a separate, sealed plastic bag.
Hornet-class SCs and Sting-class SB
The company packaged some ships, like these stellar cruisers, two (sometimes three) to a box, although the starbomber in there is just a bonus from the previous owner's collection.  Since these escorts are all primered, I'll need to soak them in PineSol to strip the paint so I can basecoat them black before applying my Entomalian color scheme.

These ships were a nice surprise from a sporting wargamer and all-around nice guy.  Thanks again, Baron!