War on Mars!

Todays post is an actual battle report! Yes, I finally got some gaming in and took some photos :-) The arrangement will be slightly different than my normal posts as it seems easier to do it this way (and I'm not very good at 'narrative').

The basic set up was a four by four table, using some of the boards from the Salute 2012 game with a small mining encampment and a docked neff. Two units of Martians (using our new figures) were dropped off by skiff and raided the camp which was defended by the miners and a small detachment of the Naval Brigade.

On to the photos...

The Martian force

The thin blue line

The Martians land on the docked Japanese neff 'Kaze' and start to decimate the crew

After killing the crew, the Martians decend to the ground and advance towards the enemy

Fierce fighting ensues but the British line holds
The Martian Warleader tackles Lt A A Milne of the Naval Brigade and takes him down
The raid was to of no avail as the Martians were soundly beaten but an overhead skiff noted the Earther ways of battle and another warclan is being prepared. They will return...

Not the best selection of photos but it conveys what happened. I'm actually pleased with some of the really red looking ones as it looks like a Martian sunrise, I didn't do anything, that's just how they came out. We'll be playing again on Wednesday and will have more troops this time. The rules used were T+T (Triumph and Tragedy) and although no real VSF contraptions were used they seemed to work very well. A few alterations for the Martians will be implemented for the next game along with some basic flying rules for neffs and skiffs. I can't wait !!!




Japanese neff

Today I'm going to show you the first proper neff I ever built (three years ago now). This has already been on LAF but I've got a better write up of the construction here.

I had seen various VSF flying contrations for sale on the net but was never very happy with the size so I decided to go for something that was practical on the tabletop but not too large.

After deciding on a basic hull size of about 390mm by 120mm it was time to start construction.

One side of the hull profile was cut out from 1.5mm mounting card and this was used as a template for the other half so the hull would be even.  

The superstructure was also cut from mounting card. The engine house was cut from a material called chemiwood to some. It's basically a machinable resin compound that is quite easy to shape with the right machine tools.

The two discs were acyrlic leftovers from another project and they were the base for machineguns.

The main turret was a short section of tube, again with leftover discs for the top and bottom.

The funnel was a narrow peice of tube with a slight angle sanded on it and the small funnels and portholes were from my bits box (they are resin cast and I made them years ago). The mast is an old Victorian lampost that was made for a project at work.

The superstructure was edged with styrene strip to neaten the edges and were then riveted.

During the main construction I made some of the smaller details like a pesudo Maxim gun (there were two of these). I also made a small gatling gun to go on the rear. All three were made from various styrene parts and the odd little bit of acrylic leftover.

The gun deck has a styrene treadplate glued on and it has fancy supports underneath.

The main deck was planked with 5mm wide balsa strips that were about 120mm long to represent the actual breaks in planking that you get on ships.

The underhull was carved out of insulation foam (blue/pink foam) with a long knife to get the basic shape, it was then smoothed down with a disc sander and then finally sandpaper keeping an eye on the eveness.

Riveting was done throughout the build if I got bored with any of the main construction. The rivets themselves are either tiny discs of acrylic or cut down styrene rod. Both types were stuck on with a steady hand and a paintbrush loaded with a version of Plastic Weld.

The prop-house was made from chemiwood the same as the engine house and was stuck in the under hull slightly protruding.

As you can see from the photos, various hatches, stowage boxes and other details were added all the way through the construction.

The propellor is from Tamiya (I think) and I got the shops entire stock :-) It's supported by a styrene tube and is removable. Rivets and such were also added along with a rear mast (styrene again).

I only decided to rail the upper deck as it makes it easier for gaming. This rather dodgy photo shows the basic idea. It's brass rod, cut to size and drilled in place on the upper deck. A chain is then strung between the posts and held in place by dressmaking pins which conveniently 'slot' inside the brass rod. Clever huh?

The wheel shaft was from an old resin ship kit and the wheel itself is actually a medieval gun wheel (until I change it for a proper one!). The figure is an old Redoubt Boxer Japanese officer.

The next thing to do was the stearing aerofoils. Most of the other neffs on the market (and that people had scratchbuilt) always seemd to have the stearing coming out of the rear. I fancied something a bit different for my Japanese neff and so therefore had them coming out the sides.

The construction was from embossed styrene sheeting with a pretend hinge inbetween and then clad round the outside with halfround rod. A basic rod support was made for the other side and that just sticks into a small block on the hull.

This might not make it the most maneuverable ship out there but I don't care because it's VSF and as long as it's not too outlandish I'm happy.

The whole thing was given a coat of primer and painted in the same way as the defense platform in the post below (but I'll go through it again).

The colour scheme is taken from Japanese fleet ships from the very early 1900's, and was painted with Foundry paints (I use these as it's easy to remember which colours were used).

The decking was Palomino with various washes and drybrushes added to give it a worn sense. The lower hull was Foundry slate grey and the upper was arctic grey. these were given a wash of GW green/brown ink (can't be bothered to remember the stupid names) and subtly drybrushed with varying degrees of light grey.

Weathering was acheived with thinned down orange ink and applied to various areas. Silver was also lightly drybrushed in areas that would see a lot of use (paint being worn away etc).

The flags are accurate to the historical period of the paint scheme and were printed from the computer after having a look for the relevent ones. You can't see them on the photos as they were a later addition. Basically there is a Commanders flag on the main mast and a normal Japanese naval ensign on the rear mast.

I'll leave you with a few more photos of various parts but just so you know the bloody thing was shot down in the first turn of it's first game and I haven't lived it down yet :-(



VSF for a change

I thought it was about time that I showed some of the rather large VSF project I've been working on for the past few years.

The basic premise is that the major powers are competing for the resources that have been discovered on Mars.

I will write a more detailed back story as we decide on the details but for now all you need to know is that my chosen faction are the Japanese (no surprises there then :-)

The first thing I'm going to show for this project is a defense platform. The idea of which is that it gets towed into place, say, along a trade route and is armed with three heavy machine guns with crossing arcs of fire.

Now, the initial pictures might not make much sense but it will be come clear as the post progresses.

The basic construction was with lasered acrylic (after finalising the design) clad with wood of styrene for the finished surfaces.

The turrets are cast from resin and will soon be available on my website, along with (hopefully) a whole range of VSF goodies.

The bottom shape was just simply styrene wrapped round an inverted cone frame and stuck together, using strip styrene as pretend joints between the panels. The top railing was made from brass rod cut to size with dressmaking pins pushed through a fine chain and lightly glued in place. It's actually quite robust unless you drop the whole thing on the floor... (guess what I did).

The ladders and portholes were taken from my ever expanding bits boxes along with the hatch on the top.

The whole thing was covered in rivets, and no, I haven't counted them :-) The top surface on the command deck is textured styrene sheeting.

The whole thing was given a coat of Halfords grey primer (probably the best all round primer going).

Then came the fun bit...

The paint scheme was chosen to match historical Japanese ships of the time (namely 1900-1905), the main influence being the battleship Mikasa.

There was also an Japanese style emblem added to the cone base (better picture below). The main hull and tops of the turrets were painted dark grey with the superstructure and upperworks a light grey. The whole lot was washed with a mix of brown and green GW inks (god knows what they are called now).

When this was dry a light drybrushing of very light grey was added and then plenty of washes of thinned orange ink for the rust. Occasional topdeck areas were also given a light drybrush of sliver to represent the worn metal surface.

The emblem was painted gold and then treated in the same way as the rest.

The base is a disc of arcylic with a 10mm clear rod sticking up that fits in a respective hole in the bottom of it. The anchor was a late addition and might need some more weathering. 

I'm amassing quite a collection of 28mm neffs at the moment and at the last count I had five complete, two nearing completion and two more just started.

I do have plans for plenty more but as you'll see in the coming months, this is a massive project and so everything in time.