Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Inspiration: Star Wars

Following the release of the teaser trailer for the new Star Wars film i was struck by the land speeder featured. Very bulky and diesel punk i thought it would be perfect for the style of my space force so have decided to have a go…

Stills of the speeder:

Amtrak Project.3

Converting the Sea Arrows would mean removing the tail fins which i did by drilling out the block on the underside and taking the plane apart.

The tails were then sawed off from the main body, bit of an effort as they are metal, and the plane reassembled. In book one the Skyhawk is open canopy but by the start of book two it has been upgraded to closed canopy.
I have shown the reassembled plane next to one of my completed UNSC  and also a drivers from ion Age miniatures in an open canopy configuration. The books describe the engines as slung under the wings but I am happy with one on top, though i might look at building one in when I tidy up the rear, possibly build one out of Green Stuff.

Amtrak Project.2

I have discovered that matchbox is a good mine to the 15mm war gamer and has provided me with eth solution to one of the vehicles in the Amtrak Federation arsenal.
In the series the main weapon for the federation is the Wagon Trains but these are supported by its onboard airforce which is made up of armed microlight planes called Skyhawks:

SkyHawk MK.1
(Taken from The illustrated Guide to the Amtrak Wars)

the airforce will provide a great gaming piece, in terms of army list, visuals and also scenarios but i feared i would have to make them from scratch. Luckily Matchbox sell a range of planes and the Sea Arrow has great potential:

Having scoured the web and managed to pick up three I can start...

Amtrak Project 1.

Populating the Amtrak World

The Amtrak Federation forces will be represented by the UNSC line units from Ground Zero Games, working well as the Tracker foot troops in Red and blue for the pilots

The Plainsfolk are described similar to native americans but some with helmets and elements of armour (Shoulder pads etc) made up of leather and stone studs. For weapons they have knives, clubs etc but also crossbows rather than long bows. For these figures i have picked up some native Americans from Khurasan Miniatures, The figures have some armed with rifles but I aim to convert those to the crossbows.

Inspiration: The Amtrak Wars

The Amtrak Wars is a series of six books written by Patrick Tilley. The series is a post apocalyptic epic set in a future america and charts the conflict between the Amtrak Federation and the Plain folk Mutes.
The Amtrak federation are the descendants of the those who fled into the bunkers following a nuclear war and have now developed an advanced underground civilisation, highly militarised and based on an idealised version of America. Above ground are the Mutes, the descendants of those who survived the war and now live a Native American style existence, living of the land and forming warring clans.
After a thousand years the Amtrak Federation has now emerged to reconquer the 'Blue Sky world and eradicate the Mutes.
I first read the series when i was at school and the world it created has stuck with me, both in its creation of the Amtrak Federation society but also the technology they wield against the Mutes including great Wagon Trains:

' The Lady from Louisiana - which steve stood gazing up at - was a space age, multi-section, articulated vehicle over six hundred feet long!..
The Lady consisted of two command,fire control cars standing some thirty-five feet high to the roof of their raised cabs and situated at the head and tail of the wagon train, two powers cars, and twelve weapon, cargo and accommodation case - all connected by flexible passways. Each forty footlong section was mounted on four huge low pressure tyres, twelve feet in diameter and twelve feet wide, capable of traversing most types of terrain.'      
                                                                                 - Cloud Warrior. Book 1. Patrick Tilley

The idea has come to me to build up a set of figures based on the books and at 15mm scale maybe even a wagon train, if only a small one!

For those interested in picking up the story, the books have had several print runs so picking up second hand copies should be fairly cheap or digital versions are available as well. the series has its own Wikka which is a great resource and also has images taken from an illustrated guide which was produced:

The Amtrak Wars Wiki

And then there was six

I have not had much time and still a bit rusty painting, but I have completed the first six UNSC line troops and converted one for the Command squad into a standard bearer.
The figures were based on pennies and then covered in sand with PVA glue, the rubble was cut up sprue. The Standard was made of Tin foil and then painted.

The figures have been painted using Games Workshop paints. Colours used are Fortress Grey, Elf Grey, Boltgun metal, Ceremite White, Black Ink, Ruby Red, Chaos Black and 'Ardcoat for the white visors.  

Scout Ship. Part 2

The Scout ship has now been completed. In the original model the middle can split in two and the legs can be removed and stored inside but they have all been glued on now. I wanted a quite minimal look but added the faction icon which was inspired by Farscape and the Peacekeeper symbol. 

UPDATE: I have decide to revise the sign, the updated version is a bit more robust and incidentally easier to do!

Scout Ship.Part 1

I have picked up a Doctor Who toy which will convert nicely into a scout ship for my Sci-Fi faction (Backstory/Background/Fluff in preparation…)
The ship is from the Doctor Who Microverse range:

Judoon Patrol Ship

First Figure

The first two figures are completed, still deciding on a basing scheme but will probably go with the darker version. The figures are in urban colours so imagine them blending in with a burnt out rubble filled post bonbardment landscape
The figures are superbly detailed and i use an Optivisor magnifier headset when painting to try and get the best out of them.

And back with 15mm

And we are back…

From discovering Dystopian Wars I came across the 15mm gaming verse and have become hooked. The startup  cost for a Games Workshop force is still a bit intimidating but with 15mm I can field a force for a fraction of the cost.
After joining the 15mm Sci-fi Gaming Group on Facebook my first purchase was with Ground Zero Games
Ground Zero has huge range of figure and factions, both units, vehicles and mech a options. I settled on the UNSC Line troops

First delivery: £3.00 for 8 figures and £9.00 for a heavy APC all in metal

UNSC Line troops. Based on pennies

Size comparison to Games Workshop Adeptus Arbites. GZG UNSC Line trooper and Brigade Models Power Armour.

Brigade Games
Ground Zero Games

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Inspiration: Steampunk on Youtube

Youtube is full of steampunk and rather than post everything I find I will add them to this playlist:

Steampunk on Youtube

Resources: Victorian Battleships

Link to site with information and images of british warships from 1860's onwards.


Collection: First Look

My Kingdom of Britannia fleet all ready to start painting. My next planned purchases will be some air support and a carrier

Inspiration: Ironclads

Ironclads was a made for TV movie about the first ever battle between Ironclad ships which which took place during the American Civil War. The story centres on Betty Stuart (played by Virginia Madsen) a southern belle who is spying for the North and becomes involved with the race to complete both ships. The film touches on the development of the two ironclads, the USS Monitor for the North and the CSS Virginia which is more often known as Merrimac(k) as it was built upon the hull of the USS Merrimack and the encounter between the two during the Battle of the Hampton Roads.
The story moves along a quite a good pace and the battle is very watchable. The film is very hard to get hold of and I think has only ever been released on VHS but I have found a copy posted on Youtube and would recommend it, especially for any FSA fans!


For more information on the Battle of the Hampton Roads, the Wikipedia page is a good starting point:

Battle of Hampton Roads

Inspiration: The Warlord of the Air

" I thought at first that i saw a massive bank of black cloud moving over the horizon of the hills and blotting out the pale sunshine. With the cloud came a great thrumming sound, like  many deep-voiced gongs being beaten rapidly in unison. The sound grew louder as the cloud began to fill the whole sky, casting a dark and ominous shadow over the Valley of the Morning.
 It was the allied  air fleet of five nations.
each ship was a thousand fleet long. Each had a hull as a strong as steel. Each bristled with artillery and great grenades which could be dropped upon their enemies. each ship moved implacably through the sky, keeping pace with its mighty fellows. each was dedicated to exacting fierce vengeance upon the upstarts who had sought to question the power of those it served. A shoal of monstrous flying sharks, confident that they controlled the skies and, from the skies, the land.

The Warlord of the Air. Michael Moorcock

As part of this Blog I want to cover other bits of the wider Steampunk universe that might interest or inspire. I thought I would start of with Michael Moorcocks 'The Warlord of the Air'.
The book is the first in a trilogy ('The Nomad of the Time Steams') that follows the time travelling adventures of Oswald Bastable who is flung out of his own time in the first book to an alternative 1973 where the first world war never took place and the Great Powers have maintained and expanded their imperial power and colonial rule. The book contains many of the classic steampunk elements and is considered one of the genres founding books. The sequels follow a similar vein, first with The Land Leviathan which explores an alternative 20th century where Europe and America have collapsed and are facing a rising new power from Africa, the Ashanti Empire. Amongst its arsenal is the titled Land Leviathan, a gigantic landship ' a vast, moving ziggurat of destruction'. The last book, The Steel Tsar' is set in an alternative where the Confederate states won the American Civil war and the October Revolution never took place.
All three books are very easy to read with the lead character Oswald playing the gentleman adventurer and the explorer of each time stream. The series holds many elements that would tie in with the Dystopian Wars world.

The Nomad of the Time Streams

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Resources: Beasts of War

Beasts of War is a massive online resource for war gamers and supports the lines of may companies including those from Spartan Games. As well as news, forums etc they also have an active Youtube channel covering unboxing, battle reports and other guides. I have added the link to their Introduction  to Dystopian Wars;

Introduction to DW by The Beasts of War

Collection: First Pieces

The first pieces of my collection have now arrived.

The Dystopian Wars Rule book purchased from Spartan Games own store, which is presently available at a reduced price from £22 down to £9!

Spartan Games online store

I have chosen to start off with a force from the Kingdom of Britannia and picked up this Battle Group boxed set from Wayland Games

Why Dystopian Wars?
I grew up with Games Workshop and only put it aside when I went to University and other interests and then the demands of work and life took over. Recently I have had a hankering to get back, both to the gaming but also the wider creative side, painting and building. My time is still quite limited, split with work and other larger hobbies so i wanted something I could quite small but still get a nice battle out of. My initial thoughts were for Warhammer 40K Epic but that has now been retired (though rumours seem to be floating round for a return!) and the restart costs for their other lines seem a little steep for what I wanted. Wandering round the net for an alternative I came across Dystopian Wars which seemed to offer what I wanted in Epic but with a lovely Steam Punk sheen and plenty of Airships!

A beginning…

Steamfleet will follow my wargaming in the world of Dystopian Wars and will cover not only building my collection but also useful links, other media that might be of interest and link in with the Steam punk theme. I also intend to add some 'Fluff', fiction and snippets from my Dystopian Wars!

UPDATE: All the posts from the Steamfleet Blog have now been folded into my wider wargaming Blog.