Thursday, June 25, 2015

VSF walker - some resin additions

A little more progress on the VSF Walker this week, namely the forward view ports and the top hatch. These are cast in resin from the Hirst Arts small pipe mold.

The bottom shows the slot method of swapping-out armament. It's as quick as using magnets and a lot cheaper. Next up will be the smokestack and a few odds and ends for the top deck and turret sides. After that, it'll be on to riveting the hull followed by the paintwork. I've not decided on a finished color scheme yet, although I'm toying with a glossy black and copper look.

Speaking of painting... The build's going to be put on hold for a few days, as the weather forecast this coming week is cool enough to open the windows in my gaming room so I can paint it. What passes for normal service will resume as soon as possible...

Monday, June 22, 2015

VSF Walker - sequins of events

I haven't done much to the walker project lately. Eye-strain meant I needed new glasses, which are bifocal and take some getting used to. I did manage to set up the casemate under the hull and a weapons mounting. The photo shows the underside of the casemate. I reasoned that the walker would need some form of close-in defense should an enemy get past the other armament, so I adopted the medieval idea of murder holes. These are basically holes in the ceiling of gateways through which assorted forms of nastiness could be dropped on any attackers below. In this case seven sequins raided from my wife's sewing tin made handy murder-holes in the bottom of the casemate, enabling the crew to drop spikes, grenades, poison gas or whatever else they like upon unwanted visitors.

The hull itself got a mounting for a main weapon. I did toy with the idea of using magnetic strip to fix interchangeable weaponry here, but in the end decided a slotted mounting of some kind would work better.

In this case it's a short barreled mortar any WW2 German Brummbar would be pleased with. It drops into position and can be switched out quickly, depending on need. The hull will get rivets and seams, as well as viewing ports. These and some kind of smokestack/ boiler arrangement will come next. After that it should be ready to paint.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

VSF walker - got those happy feet

The VSF walker's legs are more or less done. Here they are in a dry-run fitting. The beastie does look like a chicken at the moment, but once the weaponry and fittings are in place it should look a lot more militant.

The legs are more or less complete. I'm undecided whether to fit any more bits and pieces to them, like hoses and cables and such. There's a risk it'll look too cluttered. I have a section of plastic dental-floss casing which will go on the underside of the hull to form a casemate. The next step will be to decide on weaponry. I'm inclined to try something with thin magnetic sheet fixed to the hull front which should allow me to swap-out weaponry as required. Rare earth magnets will be better, but cost more. After that I'll fit the smokestack to the rear and give the hull a good riveting.

Monday, June 15, 2015

VSF Walker - legs

I spent an annoying hour or so on this stormy day, wrestling with the legs for the VSF walker. Things that should have stayed glued didn't, resulting in my having to re-do them over. I added some strapping to the 'hips' to keep one particular bugbear - the side panels - in place, and a set of shields for the 'knees.' These are made of those caps that come with some types of milk carton, trimmed, sanded and drilled for lengths of plastic tubing.

I added a few rivets to the strapping using black 'Puffy paint.' Once everything's assembled I've a mind to spray the bloody lot with Rustoleum paint. At least the 'chicken feet' idea works...

Sunday, June 14, 2015

VSF Walker - a little more progress

A bit more progress with the VSF walker. I decided to work on the feet today. The components shown near the center of the photo are the small and large fleur-de-lis cast in resin from 'Mod Podge' molds picked up in a local craft store last weekend. The ankles and bones are wooden cocktail sticks and a spherical bead cut in half. I'm aiming at a kind of griffin claw-like look with Baroque overtones, if that's any guide.

Once the feet are done I'll attach them to the legs and the legs to the machine using epoxy adhesive so it'll have something to stand on before I crack on with the fuselage. The figures bottom-left are resin Belgian askari casualties, cast-up while I had the resin out. During their last outing the Force Publique got royally hammered by the G'Wunda tribe to the point I soon ran out of casualty figures. I'll need at least another dozen if I'm to be prepared for another carve-up on that scale...

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Havelock, complete

The Sun being somewhat hot in the Colonies at this time of year, I made a Havelock cap for wearing in the garden. Named after its designer, Major-General Henry Havelock KCB, it prevents the old sunstroke and sunburns, don't ye know. Now, where's my tiffin..?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

VSF Steam Propelled Combat Walker

It's getting warm these days, which mean we can have the windows open - which means it'll soon be time to start painting the house. The Man Cave is slated for a redo to get rid of the sad brown painted walls done by the house flippers. I began a lackluster sort of clear-up of the room and found one or two projects that had dropped by the wayside like stragglers on a long march.

One of them is this collection of components for a 28mm VSF Steam Propelled Combat Walker, begun four years or so ago...

Like my earlier Aerial Flyer, most of the pieces were cast in resin from Hirst Arts molds. The central turret/crew compartment is the tin from a variety of (rather disgusting) mini sausages, wrapped in card. The 'hips' for the legs are the central spools from dental floss filled with resin to make them stiffer.

So... I aim to resume work on this little beastie. I have an idea for the feet, which will probably look something like mechanical claws. I'll probably mount the whole model on a base, since it's not likely to balance too well on two legs. Weaponry has yet to be decided. Cannon, Gatling guns, or something else..?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Gardening has kept me pretty busy lately. A spell of cooler weather means I can dig over the ground and plant seedlings without turning into a puddle of perspiration. It also led me to ponder a means of protecting my head and neck from the sun, since I tend to burn easily. A baseball cap is next to useless. That took me in turn to - the Havelock cap.

It has to be said, along with the pith helmet the Havelock cap is the iconic head-wear of the Colonial period. Designed by Major General Sir Henry Havelock for use by the British army in India during the Mutiny, it went on to feature in the armies of the Union and of course the French Foreign Legion. I think it'll be perfect for protecting the old noggin in the hot summers found here in NW Ohio, so I'm making one based loosely on the example in the photo. Not having made any kind of hat since the heady days of Junior School, it's going to be a learning process. 
* * * * 
Gaming... I'm planning to resume the Darkest Africa campaign sometime soon, but have yet to decide the shape of the scenario. The Barsetshires are closing in on a town situated on the southern shores of a huge lake, their target for this campaign. Naturally they have a line of communication and supply. The G'Wunda tribe were licked but are still lurking in the area. Then there's the Arab slavers, who have their own agenda which doesn't welcome interference from the White Queen's men. Either or both could make a move against the Imperial force, directly in the field or against the LoC. Should I first play out the Imperial attack on the town, or an attack on the Barsetshire's halfway supply station at Tylers Knoll? Decisions, decisions...

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Sceptered Isle - post game

George Alcock, RIP. The Tribune was heard to mutter that he would probably have ordered Alcock shot at dawn for the three farms fiasco had Alcock survived the engagement.

The BUF suffered sixteen casualties. Of these 8 will never return, 4 will miss the next game, 4 will return to duty right away. Sergeant Huggins is promoted from the ranks to fill Alcock’s position. The Tribune is Displeased with the platoon’s performance and the current rating is -3, meaning -1 level of Support for each mission. The platoons morale drops but not as much as it would have had Alcock still been around. Their morale is now at -2. On the bright side those men that routed retired safely but will miss the next engagement. Six men missing from the first action at the airfield will return for the next encounter. Huggins outlook is Thoughtful.

The Anglican League suffered a mere four casualties. Of these, 2 are lost for good, 1 will miss the next encounter, and 1 returns to duty right away. Lt. Oliver Southgate’s stunning victory over the BUF has elevated him further in the eyes of his CO and the platoon. The capture of a BUF L3/33 adds to the spoils. The Colonel’s opinion is now at +4 giving the platoon +1 level of support for each mission. The platoon is pleased with Southgate’s improving battle skills, and their morale now stands at +1. 

The next step on the campaign ladder will take the Anglican League platoon into action against the BUF's main defences, located in the Domesday village of Ingham.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Drums at the Rapids

On Friday evening I had the pleasure of going to the Drums at the Rapids wargames con up at Fort Meigs, near Toledo. Like a twit I came out of doors in a rush and forgot my camera, which was a shame. The fellows had a wide variety of games going on from French-Indian War, WW2 aerial and onward to ground combat and various SF games; all nicely done. I had my eye on the A Canal Too Far game, a Victorian Sci-Fi romp with allied British and Prussian forces against Martians. I took my Aerial Flyer to show off to like-minded gamers. Unfortunately the guy running the game couldn't make it, so I opted for a Rorkes Drift game run to TSATF rules.

I took command of the British defenders of the outpost, modeled very nicely with a laser-cut MDF rendition of the famous storehouse/hospital. This was the first time I've played TSATF rules, and I found them very... bloody. Whilst I was able to deal with the Zulu charges on the barricades (aided by a verse of Men of Harlech and Lt. Chard and his belt-fed Webley), I suffered severely from dropping fire coming into the compound from the great hill. This whittled down my troops until the penultimate Zulu charge of the scenario swamped my men, cutting them down to a man. Bromhead was the last to fall. A good game, played with nice guys and all in a good spirit.

Another game played in the hall was a Pulp 1920's caper, with superb city scenery, including a movie theater with a lit marquee and flashing wall sign. Again, I wish I had my camera.

Returning to the main hall to collect my flyer I found a gamer admiring it. I showed him the optional armament and he promptly made me a generous offer for it!

So, another Aerial Flyer will begin rising on the slipway one of these days...


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