Wednesday 28 February 2007

The Revenge of Carlos Plynkes the name of a Blog Ive just found, belonging to the Polynikes some may know from TMP.

His Blog is a briliant pulp adventure into mayhem and madness. His latest post is:

"FOR THE HONOUR OF THE SERVICE: The Second Battle of Lake Wittelsbach


Biggles Takes a Bath"

Past adventures include the Lost Valley, Biggles in Africa and Mighty Joe Young (Parts 1 and 2) amongst others. Full of great models and fun looking gaming, do yourself a favour and drop in.

Monday 26 February 2007

Vagaries, Whims, and Fancies...

There can certainly be no way of prognosticating what may happen when items and surprises are shipped via Nef. In point of fact, these inconjecturable events — in association with anticipation — may cause us to seek recourse in the saying, "Necessity is the mother of invention."

What deity must we petition? To which shall we sacrifice in exchange for the fleeting genius to create a machine that might construct a three-dimensional copy of one item - anywhere else in the world?

In short, it ought not take a week or longer to send a box of gifts to Paul and his children.

Sausages, Bier and Vargaming

Karsten, a VSF fan who I met at CANCON last month (see entry of 27 Jan) now has his own gaming Blog - Sausages, Bier and Vargaming. Ok, its not new, its just that I only just found it...

In his own words:
'The tales of a German and his little men that he plays with against other men and their little men. There's dice. But more importantly beer, and the occasional sausage.'

Who can argue with that?

Thursday 22 February 2007

Paper VSF Models

Squirmydad’s page-o-creations and ramblings has a number of great paper models for free download.

Based on Space 1889 designs in 1/600 scale, he has an array of Martian, Russian, Brit, Yank and German Skygalleons and airships ready to go!

Monday 19 February 2007

The International League of Esteemed Leviathan Hunters

Honoured Patron: Sir Rupert Utterly-Barkinge

The International League of Esteemed Leviathan Hunters welcomes its members, current and retired, and their honoured guests. The Executive Council hopes that your visit to the Clubrooms will be socially enjoyable and that your unique and treasured trophies will continue to gain the admiration they deserve.

Pull up a comfortable leather padded chair next to the roaring open fire, and let our domestic staff serve you a snifter of cognac while you catch up on the latest news and intrigue of Leviathan hunting!

Who We Are

The International League of Esteemed Leviathan Hunters is an organization founded on the highest virtues of gentlemanly (and more frequently gentlewomanly) conduct whilst involved in the pursuit of slaying rather enormous quarry. It preserves a legacy that has been in existence ever since man first grasped a spear, but which has at times been banished by those who wish to pursue less sporting methods of finding and killing their prey. Our members loathe such uncivil shortcomings and strive to achieve their personal goals through the most noble and pompous methods possible.
Established by our founder Sir Rupert Utterly-Barkinge, the clubrooms of our noble League are located in London, though smaller affiliates are located in other civilised cities.

What we Offer

Customized hunts for Year-Round Adventure, and a civilised setting in which to discuss the hi-jinx and hillarity of hunting Leviathans from throughout the Ages.

We offer many different packages to accommodate the member's desires including diplomatic gratuities, exclusive group leases and fully guided hunts. Hunt from of our secret lodges or stay in our remote cabins or tent camps. The League can furnish everything but personal gear, manservants, gun bearers and any specifically eccentric needs. We provide all lodging and food, native porters and transportation. We box and ship your meat and trophies anywhere you desire and our skilled Taxidermy services are also available.

Wide ranging payment options are available, including any European currency, gold and diamonds or government bearer bonds (and no, we don't want to know where you got them from).

League Charter and Membership Requirements

Prospective members of this august body must be sponsored by a current League member and be screened for acceptance by the Membership Secretary. Indeed this League makes no hesitation to extend membership invitations to persons of sound and eccentric character without reference to nationality or political standings (notwithstanding damned cowardly Bolsheviks or bomb-toting anarchists). League members are free to belong to other associations and Orders as long as they do not utilise the League's premises and expeditions as as means to further nefarious plans.
Following his initial acceptance for trial membership, the candidate must complete the following induction steps:
a. Pay the initial membership fee and sign the total and utter secrecy pact
b. Stand each current member (and any guests in attendance) a round of beverages of their choice.
c. Participate in at least one hunt, from which the candidate must return alive and with a suitable trophy.

Upon completion of these induction rites, the member will undergo final screening by the Grand Council and, subject to this final assessment, accepted as a full member.

Rules of the Hunt
Members of the League agree to abide by the following Charter for the Hunt. Transgressions will be subject to punishment as decided by the Executive Committee. Possible penalties range from bar fines, the de-bagging ceremony, a hot crumpet from behind or explusion from the League.
1. Members will at all times behave in a sporting and civil manner toward all other members of the League and whatever bystanders as the members feels fit.
2. Expedition members will agree to share equally the payment of a gratuity to the families of staff, servants and porters who perish during an expedition.
3. Hunters may claim a kill if their shot dispatches the beast. It is most unsporting to pick off a quarry crippled by another hunter in order to claim the kill.
4. The morally reprehensible act of falsifying a claim or claiming that which belongs to a deceased hunting partner shall be expelled from this League in perpetuity, have all trophies destroyed, and be labelled a Bounder and a Cad.
5. Hunters shall never, ever, on pain of death, disclose the location of the hunting grounds.

Current League Standings

While it is base and uncouth to brags of one's exploits, it is appropriate for members to have the opportunity to pronounce their feats of courage in the face of adversity where they may be appreciated by peers of like mind and toasted in kind.

Name,No of Expeditions enjoyed, Notable Trophies.

Commander Plymsole-Lyne, RN, 2, 1 TRex.
Miss Victoria, 1, 1 Steg
Count Boris, 1, 2 Raptors
Pieter Koeniggard, 1, Nil
Lady Catherine Palmer, 0, Nil
Professor Nathaniel Wilson, 0, Nil

Noble and Revered Hunters of the Past
The Honourable Ronald Crawley, Esquire. A gentleman hunter of repute and a veteran of countless excursions, he was lost on the disastrous 'Smythe Expedition' of 1874. Only his silver lidded cognac flask was recovered intact.

Rittmeister Count Wilhelm von Schroeder.
An aristocratic Prussian of renowned Teutonic nerve and remarkably puffy cavalry trousers, he fell prey to an enraged T-Rex when his experimental Nordenfelt repeating rifle exploded in his face and shattered his monacle.

Messr Francois Bourbonnais. 
Famed for his perfection of the recipe for "Succulent oviraptor breast in a white wine sauce". Missing (presumed dead) when his converted river barge/gunboat caught fire (during a mid safari dinner party flambe) and upon jumping into the water to escape the flames, a hungry beast dragged him to the murky depths.

Pavel Ivanovich Budyonny
- A strange and barely known man, rumoured to have been a distant relation to the Tsar, whose portrait hangs in the main club dining hall for some reason...

Guiseppe Gnochhi Bersaglieri. 
A flamboyant character who tended to focus more on charming his female companions, he became embroiled in a duel during a hunt and while he prepared himself to fight his opponent with a foil, he was trampled to death by a rampaging sauropod.

Honorary Associate Member: Kavandish (first name forgotten).
Batman to the erstwhile Lord Suffolk, he selflessly threw himself into the jaws of a charging T-Rex in order to save his master, who was distracted at the time by a very tasty cucumber sandwich and a hot cup of Earl Grey.

Good Hunting and may God Bless Her Britannic Majesty!

Saturday 17 February 2007


A great new (well new to me anyway) GASLIGHT page with some splendid conversions for 25mm VSF gaming - British and German air and land ships, a Belgian gunboat, an arab land dhow, a steam spider and more!

Friday 16 February 2007

Emperor Norton I of America

Bizarre characters of History:

Norton the First, by the grace of God Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico
Proclamation of 17 Sep 1859:

"At the peremptory request and desire of a large majority of the citizens of these United States, I, Joshua Norton, formerly of Algoa Bay, Cape of Good Hope, and now for the last 9 years and 10 months past of S. F., Cal., declare and proclaim myself Emperor of these U. S.; and in virtue of the authority thereby in me vested, do hereby order and direct the representatives of the different States of the Union to assemble in Musical Hall, of this city, on the 1st day of Feb. next, then and there to make such alterations in the existing laws of the Union as may ameliorate the evils under which the country is laboring, and thereby cause confidence to exist, both at home and abroad, in our stability and integrity.
NORTON I, Emperor of the United States"

Tuesday 13 February 2007

Another Aerial Scrap at LSHM

I just found these images of those LSHM lads having a grand scrap after thier club's AGM earlier this year, using their own VSF rules "When Dreadnaughts Ruled the Sky".

The massed escorts laying into the disorganised Turkish Fleet are fantastic - another great looking game fom these boys!

Monday 12 February 2007

Vanvlak unveils his latest works

That madman Vanmullikan has reveilled his latest Nef works! Typically, he has written some excellent background to go with them too:

First there is the Slava, lead ship of her class, this hopelessly obsolete hulk was given by the Russian Emperor to the Knights when they left Russia to return to Malta in 1883. She is used as a training ship by the knights, and the younger generations have propelled her into all too many sticky situations....

A Bordeaux class, one of two used by pirate-members of the Grand Congregation of Sky Pirates. This is the Warlock.

The other pirate Bordeaux! The Esmeralde, captained by a disgruntled French royalist.

Well Done V! Up to your usual standard of excellence! I like the Slava in particular because she is such a different design. (Note that these two miniatures are produced by Wessex Games, rather than Brigade Models)

Sunday 11 February 2007

Colonel and Co. Rule Musings #1 C&C

Tas and Maksim have made some interesting comments on the rules that the Colonel and I have been working on. I though I would do a few short posts on what our design decisions were and why.

Command and Control:
Ok, command and control is a bit strong when discussing VSF / Colonial rules featuring steam powered walkers. But, as we are playing a miniature wargame, who gets to move their figures when and in what order is important.

Our design objective was to be able to run a large, convention game with 4 - 8 players who would not know the rules. (Yes, I know this smacks of meglo-mania) Bill, Tony, and I have all run convention games in the past, and are keenly aware that you have to keep people doing things so that they are engaged and do not wander off to the trade tables, etc.

We started playing GASLIGHT, but for the size games we were playing, one card per unit was way to slow. Next game out, we did one card per force, still to slow.

Over several phone calls and a hearty breakfast a couple of weeks ago, we settled on a order placing system. Here's how it works:
  1. Players place a covered order chip behind each unit. There are only 2 orders, move or stationary. Move chips have an arrow on them.
  2. Everyone reveals orders at the same time (uncovers)
  3. Units with move orders move, and MUST move in the direction the arrow is pointing. Units that wish to charge also add a charge bonus to their move distance.
  4. Random events occur (for us, this is the random appearance of Martians)
  5. Simultaneous shooting. Charging units may not fire, moving unit have a significant negative modifier.
  6. Melee (resolve charge and receive charge morale tests)
  7. Everyone takes all morale tests that are results of shooting and melee.
So far (one game) this seems to work well, everyone is constantly engaged in the game and it moves quickly.

We are still fiddling around with some of the rules, let me know what you guys think. next time I will expound on what we went with d10's, unit formations, and the shooting system.

Saturday 10 February 2007

A Feasibility Study of Tripodal Fighting Machines

Yes I know Ive been on a bit of a WOTW frenzy of late, but this is an interesting article:

A Feasibility Study of Tripodal Fighting Machines
by Professor Ian Stewart

'...and of their appliances, perhaps nothing is more wonderful to a man than thecurious fact that what is the dominant feature of almost all human devices inmechanism is absent - the wheel is absent.' [H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds, Book Two Chapter 2]

Why do Wells' Martians use legged Fighting Machines, and why three legs? The main reason must surely be that this choice would make them seem very alien indeed, especially to a Victorian audience. But Wells has a reputation as a hard science fiction writer, meaning that he did his best to get the science right - with the exception of whatever exotic gizmo gave the story its zing, such as the little matter of a time machine. So we must assume that he gave the Martian machines legs for a reason that would stand up to a moderate degree of scrutiny.

In this feasibility study I'm going to look at legged Fighting Machines from several different points of view: engineering, stability, control. The area of science into which such questions fall, is called Gait Analysis. The gait of a legged creature or machine is the pattern with which it moves its legs in order to be locomotive. So I will be taking a look at the Fighting Machines' three-legged gait in light of what we currently know about legged locomotion in both animals and robots.

Legs Good, Wheels Bad
Remember, these machines are for invasion. The terrain of the target planet Earth, is diverse. Much of it is unsuited to most of the obvious methods of legless locomotion. Sledges and skis work on snow and ice, but not on rocky ground. The method of mechanical locomotion that we terrestrials currently favour is entirely unsatisfactory for Martian use. It comprises, for the most part, a network of narrow flattened strips, along which improbable vehicles move by means of a cumbersome system of rotating discs. This technology requires the periphery of the disc to remain in contact with the ground, propelling the vehicle forwards by means of inter-surface friction. Such a method of locomotion is clumsy and unresponsive, subject to unexpected slippage, and entirely unsuited to the sudden changes of direction that are so vital in military campaigns. Moreover, such a network can be too easily sabotaged by the terrestrial inhabitants. Martian terrain is mostly rocky deserts, craters, and mountains, so there is little reason why the Martians would have evolved the wheel. Naturally, they would base their designs on the technology that had evolved, over thousands of years, to suit their own planet's conditions - just as we put wheels on the Lunar Rover and on Sojourner, our own Martian invader.

Caterpillar tracks present themselves as a plausible alternative - after all, we use them on our own 'Fighting Machines' for all kinds of terrain. However, there is a further consideration which leads to legs as being by far the most attractive option. That is the fact that Fighting Machines have to maintain adequate surveillance in all directions. This dictates a vertical architecture, whose base, for stability, must be broad - too broad to be constrained within the narrow width of the indigenes' strips (roads). This is yet another argument against wheels. But, very large caterpillar tracks are heavy, which is a major minus, given that initially the machines have to be shipped in from Mars via interplanetary cylinders. They are also clumsy, inflexible, and unreliable because of their mechanical complexity. And aluminium, the Martian's favoured construction material [Author's Note: Wells refers to aluminium three separate times in the text], wears too rapidly and is too brittle to make good caterpillar tracks. The Martians can therefore be expected to reason that Fighting Machines should take the form of a protected Life Enhancement Module (LEM) supported on legs.

What Wells Tells Us

When Wells first describes the motion of the Fighting Machines he presents an image that makes very little engineering sense: 'A monstrous tripod, higher than many houses... Can you imagine a milking-stool tilted and bowled violently along the ground?'

The immediate impression of this description is that the Fighting Machine rotates as it moves ('bowled'). But such a motion is very hard to control - it is rather like trying to balance a car on two wheels like James Bond does in the movies. Moreover, such a gait makes little sense for a military machine which, among other things, is used to carry a Heat Ray projector. I think it is more likely that Wells was having difficulty in finding a metaphor that would convey three-legged locomotion to his readers, which is not surprising given that we hardly ever witness it in real life. (A student of mine observed a three-legged dog, which had lost one hind leg in an accident, which is why I never say 'never'. More of the dog later). Wells' description at this stage of the book is exaggerated, no doubt, for dramatic effect: 'A flash, and it came out vividly, heeling over one way with two feet in the air, to vanish and reappear almost instantly as it seemed, with the next flash, a hundred yards nearer.'

Since we are told elsewhere in the text that the Fighting Machines are about 100 feet high, their stride must be of the order of 30 feet, so they take 10 or so strides (of each leg, 30 altogether) to cover 100 yards. To be fair, Wells is reporting what he sees at successive flashes of lighting in a thunderstorm, but even so 'almost instantly' is an exaggeration. However, 'heeling over one way with two feet in the air' does give what I suspect is an accurate account of the machine's most rapid gait.

Many terrestrial animals use more than one gait: the basic reason is that different patterns of locomotion are efficient at different speeds or under different conditions. It is clear that the Martian Fighting Machines employ the same trick, for they definitely have gaits that differ from the one just described (whatever it actually is!): '...the first party of Martians were crawling slowly towards their second cylinder under cover of a metal shield. Later this shield staggered up on tripod legs and became the first of the Fighting Machines I had seen.'

One cannot 'crawl' or 'stagger' while being 'bowled violently along'. There is other evidence for a versatile repertoire of gaits, too: 'In another moment it was on the bank, and in a stride wading half-way across.'

Water or mud would cause drag on the legs, which again would make 'bowling along' impossible. Less dramatic gaits, however, would be entirely feasible, as we shall see.

Enjoying this article? You'll find the rest online here - goto page 2 of the features:

Friday 9 February 2007

Martin's Tripods

I found this site the other day, which shows the fantastically detailed Martian fighting machines made by Martin Bower for a photo novel of WOTW. Sadly, the project got scrapped but his models are simply fantastic.

Martin says" Martian Fighting Machine 48" high. This is one of 3 scales of model built for a “WAR OF THE WORLDS” photo novel. Sadly the project was scuppered when Jeff Wayne brought out his record album. I also collaborated with artist Roger Dean on another project based on H.G.Wells’ wonderful novel. The 22inch (middle sized) model of the Martian Fighting Machine was also designed and built for the photonovel. It is made of Perspex, brass rod and etched brass. "

I also found this very interesting page through TMP that shows a couple of avi models of how a tripod could actually walk

Thursday 8 February 2007

Tripod Diorama

To go with the forthcoming Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds tour, Sculptoria Studio is planning to release a very nice Martian fighting machine diorama. Take a look!

If you want more info on the tour, which is UK only, see here:

Wednesday 7 February 2007

USS Meade painted

Following up on yesterday's article at TMP by Tony on building the USS Meade, comes another today on painting and finishing her up.

She looks beautiful with decals on and ensign flying. There is also a great section on how he made his own flying stand to hold up this model

Great job Tony!

You can see all the pics and details here:

Tuesday 6 February 2007

USS Meade scratchbuild

Tony Harwood has posted an article at TMP on his scratchbuilding project of the USS Meade in 1/300 scale

You'll see we even get a mention here with this bit:

"The first batch of pictures show the initial stages of construction, plus some rough drawings that I made from pictures that I found on the web – Paul James' blog Yours in White Wine Sauce – and in particular, a set of photos entitled Fleets of the Red Sky (which can be found in the Aeronef section)."

Huzzah! Glad to be of service Tony and the Meade came out beautifully!

Sunday 4 February 2007

THE IMPERIAL TIMES 5th February 1907

At an emergency session of parliament this afternoon it was announced that a delegation from the government of the Ottoman Empire would be carrying out a full state visit to the island of Malta for a series of summit meetings and official entertainments aimed at reducing the levels of tension and promoting closer levels of understanding and cooperation between the two states. A spokesman for the council of the Knights of St John of Malta - His Eminence Brother John Betts - has welcomed this initiative as a way to foster stronger ties between the two nations. The Ottoman delegation - headed by Pasha Daud Kirouk, the minister for Scientific Development - has already announced that the Turkish party will travel using an Air Malta Transport and is confident that this meeting will do much to repair the distrust and antipathy resulting from the second siege of the island in 1904.This initiative has been applauded by the international community and is scheduled to take place in July of this year.As well as a formal tour of the island their will be a symbolic ceremony of mourning at the large military cemetery to commemorate the fallen of both sides in the recent conflict. It is understood that the Turkish party will also return some historical artifacts taken from the island in 1565 as a further gesture of goodwill.

This journal will report on the full itinerary as soon as it is made available.

The Colonel & Co. Experimental VSF Rules

Patrick of "Patrick's Hobby Shed" acclaim has posted a draft version on the VSF rules he has been working on Colonel Harry Haggis .

A d10 GASLIGHT conversion with bits from TSATF thrown in, you can read more about it here:

Patrick's Hobby Shed: The Colonel and Co. Experimental VSF Rules

Friday 2 February 2007


Le Grand Courses Des Aérostats!

The page may be a few years old, but its darn impressive !

Walt, of 'Le Grand Cirque' fame, is responsible, saying:

"This page contains a few images (courtesy of and thanks to Bill Rutherford) of the Balloon Racing game event put on by Walt O'Hara at COLD WARS 2003. This was a NOVAG event, held in our NOVAG club room (New Holland?). LGCd'A is a game of chaos, for the most part. Players take the part of balloon pilots in the first running of the Coup Gordon Bennett, a prestigious international balloon race that has been held annually since 1901. The mechanics are pretty simple-- cards tell you what the wind (or other players) are doing to your balloon, cards tell you when you activate, and cards tell you what terrain is coming up next. The course was held on a "rotating conveyor belt" of terrain boards that gradually moved down the course. The race was two 'legs' of six boards. Terrain features were all in two dimensions (mostly these were obstructions, like a mountain, hills or a volcano, but some terrain can change altitude as well).

SUMMARY: The game was a hoot to run and I think people enjoyed themselves. I am working on ways to speed up and streamline a few design points that were clumsy. I will run this at HISTORICON 2003."

An exploration of debauchery, vice and other reasons to be a man!

An exploration of debauchery, vice and other reasons to be a man!