In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Rogue Stars

Rogue Stars, last year's science fiction skirmish game from Osprey Publishing, arrived in my mailbox Wednesday.

I have decided to give it a try based upon price, availability and some decent reviews on the Lead Adventure Forum. It is very close to role playing, each figure potentially having its own skills, traits, equipment and abilities. But I will preserve, since adventures with a more Firefly or Expanse vibe require a bit more roleplay than a squad level skirmish game like Stargrunt. It also comes as a hard copy. I have found PDF rules (Nordic Weasel Press over at Wargames Vault has some suitable rules too) a problem; they're expensive to print out or a nuisance to try and reference during a game when you're still learning and need to look stuff up.

But a work around for the roleplay detail can be reached by having only one or two easy to keep track of characters, and the rest of a team/squad/crew can be made up of generic identical troopers/minions. Or keep the plucky crew of the independent merchant ship "Anxiety" small enough that each character is easy to keep track of.

It is also finally above 0 this weekend, so I have been able to get some scatter terrain  I made back in November and a bunch of 3-D printed furniture Keith did for me out to the garage to prime.

Rogue Stars is intended for a 3' square playing area. 4 of the boards I plan to lay out my space colony on make for an area roughly 3' square. So I think using 15mm figures and terrain will give a better sense of space and I think more visually interesting layouts.

Four of these boards will be roughly 3x3
OK, I might need to rethink the launch bay. Having such limited access to a quarter of the table might be an issue. But tonight we're going to start some trial games and see how it works.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

First Landing SitRep

I have been poking away at my off world colony, the town of First Landing on Trappist 4. A headache made my afternoon hobby time less than productive but here's where I am:

I'm adding greebles onto three more buildings. Lower right is a set of shops or offices. Middle right is a manufacturer.  I think a cheese factory. Lower left with the two tall yellow cannisters is something big and corporate; Yoyodyne's reactor maybe? Tyrell Corporation's vats of bio-goo? Upper left are four more mill tool cases that will get turned into ore (or something)  storage silos.

Cheese Factory

I've also decided to add my ancient middle eastern buildings to the township as quick set concrete houses etc. I've started doing some removable roof greebles for them to bring them out of the 4th century, but I may just do permanent modifications to moderise them. If I go with permanent modifications then I can have power cables running up the walls etc.

If you look close you'll see some figures for scale.

So after I get these finished and painted I think I just need a security building with interior, a landing pad and some street clutter.

Friday, January 12, 2018


The young lady who coordinates the events for Hotlead launched us a Twitter account to try and reach out to younger gamers.
So I now have a Twitter account since it behooves me to follow what is going on.
My Twitter account will be another gaming channel where I  will post painting updates and perhaps live tweet some games.
Might be a time sink, who knows?
You can follow me @JamesManto4 and you can follow Hotlead @hotleadgaming. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Babylon's Ashes

Just finished the sixth installment in The Expanse, Babylon's Ashes.

Very gripping, well written and lots of good detail. There are some exchanges between the characters that made me laugh out loud. Of course a system wide war is hard to describe in enough detail for us wargamers but I'm sure we can figure it out.

One of the things I like about the series is the moral complexity. The bad guys sometimes have very good motives, they just go about things in a dick-headed way and don't give a damn about who gets hurt in the process. Even our heroes, desperately trying to save all of humanity, still feel badly that they need to kill some folks to do it. The Path of Righteousness is never clear and always difficult. But the moral compass is always protecting the weak against the powerful, a theme that has been a constant since the tales of King Arthur. I also like that small characters like the Methodist Pastor Anna in Abbadon's Gate or the quiet, mildly autistic biologist Prax in Caliban's War and Babylon's Ashes can both do small but important things that help save humanity.

I also like the central protagonist, James  Holden. Some have called the character whiny. But I like that he is constantly worrying that he is fucking up. He sets out to do "the right thing" and kicks over the apple cart and wonders if he really did do the right thing.

And underneath the whole series is the moral paradox, that the alien technology that allows the teaming legions of Earth to survive by opening up 1300 new worlds for us to spread to, is only possible because it ate the entire population of Eros station, and echos of those voices can still be heard in signals from the Ring Gate. Just like we admire ancient monuments, but need to remember the blood of the slaves who made them.

The TV show on Amazon Prime is also very well done and provides good visuals. But the plotting is weird. Elements of book 2, Caliban's War show up in Season 1, but Season 2 ends before the end of Book 2. But they've done a good job of keeping the major threads and adapting a complex story to the small screen. I'm anxious to get a chance to see season 3.

But now I need to delve into Full Thrust and figure out how to adapt the rules to Expanse technology; vector mechanics, missiles, rail guns, armour, ECMs....

Monday, January 1, 2018

2017 in Review

It's been a not bad year, if somewhat uneven on the gaming front. I've had months of lots of games and lots of productivity interspersed with months  of gaming drought.

I did a rough tally by going through the blog and came up with these figures:
  • 28mm painted  -135
  • 15mm painted- 171
  • Vehicles painted -9
  • Terrain - two big hills, grain fields, garden plots, siege lines, scatter terrain, two SF buildings, markers for CoC and DR.
  • Games played 16 or 17? I didn't blog them all so it's a best guess
  • Attended two games days/cons other than Hotlead 
So not bad really.
By staying focused I've managed to paint much of the figures I bought this year. So the lead pile has only grown a little bit. And in between projects I've knocked a few things off of my mental "to do" and the lead pile.

Being willing to play solo helped get more games in.

Job and personal life are all going really well. My income is back up to pre-crash levels so I can do things like jump on a good sale and start a new project or yesterday I could buy the rest of the Crescent Root buildings before they went out of production. Which is nice. I've never been able to do that before.

I think I'll continue my vague "not really a plan, plan." Try to play more variety. Add some armour and guns and terrain to my WW2 Soviets. Finish the elves. Finish my asteroid base, some more colony buildings and do lots of science fiction gaming. In between try to knock a few more figures off of the colonial medieval SYW and WW2 lead piles. That's probably enough for now.

So as long our public leaders don't cock it all up I'm very hopeful for this year.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017


Got two of these during RAFM's 40% off sale in August.
The number of parts and complexity of construction has put me off assembling until now.
This is not for the faint of heart.
Took me three attempts to get the inner and end pieces all together, square and attached to the top.

Here's the first one assembled.

Interesting design, but I'm not sure why they had to cast the hull in so many pieces.

It comes with two weapon options; a remote gun turret and a missile launcher.

Russian Armour

Another bit if holiday painting, the start of some armoured support for my WW2 Soviets.
The KV-2 is a gift from the Mad Padre. A Command Decision model, the Padre figured 3 were more than needed and sent me one.
The others are all Battlefront that Mikey found for me at the Fall-In flea market.  T-60s and T-70s were the last tanks I wanted, but I did say I was looking for any Soviet vehicles or artillery, and ironically the T-60 and T-70s are what he found.

Mikey has a blind spot for Battlefront, or else they've become so market dominant that you can't find other, not so overpriced manufactures, in the flea markets right now. 
Next time I'll have to send him with some money to the Old Glory booth to get the T-26s that I really want for 1941 games.
But at least my Soviets have some support now.