Toy Soldiers and Dining Room Battles

Toy Soldiers and Dining Room Battles

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Pulp Alley Miniatures

As I have expanded my gaming interests into skirmish and large skirmish games, I have been reliving the thrilling adventures of my youth in lost worlds, other planets, and most of all, defeating the sinister bad guys. I first started skirmish/large skirmish gaming with Games Workshops Lord of the Rings series of games and fell in love with the concept with the games published by Daniel Mersey including Dragon Rampant, The Men Who Would be Kings and Rebels and Patriots.

For skirmish games I love In Her Majesty's Name which is set in the year 1895 allowing players to incorporate Jules Vernes, H. G. Wells and play with iconic characters like Tarzan, Sherlock Holmes and Allan Quartermain. What I love most about the rules is the character generation system and to be honest, I have allowed a bit of time travel to bring some of my favorite Pulp characters into the late 19th Century.

"Pulp Girl" from Pulp Alley Miniatures.

A game I will be trying soon is Pulp Alley, a game designed for adventures from about 1900 to the start of and through World War II (Think Raiders of the Lost Ark.) They have their own line of miniatures that are fascinating; beautifully sculpted, animated and nicely proportioned. They come in packs of two with 20mm bases included and character cards for the game. My only complaint (very minor) is that the from the descriptions of their characters, they don't have the characters that are associated with each other in the same packs. For example it is described that "Pulp Girl" and Mak O'Reilly are associates, put they come in different packs with another figure that is an associate of another figure, etc. Oh well . . . good marketing to buy more figures!

 Another view of "Pulp Girl". A female figure that actually looks realistic and I love the gauntlet! 

I did not use the 20mm bases that came with the figures but mounted them instead on 25mm bases for the simple reason that all of my man-sized skirmish figures are mounted on 25mm bases. I look forward to purchasing the game Pulp Alley and I have a feeling that the first figures I have purchased will first show up as part of the aerial contingent of the US Navy.

 "Mak O'Reilly."

 "Phantom Ace."

 "Gauge." This is Phantom Ace's trusty mechanic and based on the figure description, quite the inventor. One of my favorites so far.

I added an upside down screw and washer to give the appearance of a machine or engine she is working on.

This is "Zdenko Cerny" who I am using as Professor Calculus. 

Since I easily succumb to the "Shiny new object" syndrom, there will be some more heroes - and villains, appearing over the next few month. 

 "Now where did Pulp Girl run off too?

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Veteran's Day 2019: My Family

 November 11th is Veteran's Day in the USA and Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in other countries.  

My combat positions: Platoon leader 81mm mortars; Rifle Platoon leader; Platoon leader 107mm mortars; XO Combat Support Company, Brigade S3 Air; Battalion S-1; Rifle Company Commander; Headquarters Company Commander; Assistant Battalion S3; Battalion S3; Battalion XO; Interim (6 months) Battalion Commander; Task Force Commander (unit classified) in Northern Iraq providing military assistance to the Kurds.

My Battalions:

2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry (Raiders)

1st Battalion, 52nd Infantry (Ready Rifles)

 7th Battalion, 6th Infantry (Regulars by God!)

 4th Battalion, 12th Infantry (Warriors)

2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry (Regulars by God!)

Me and Honorable Son #2 (who is now a Captain).

I proudly wear the patch of the First Armored Division on my right sleeve.

Younger me  (in need of a shave) on my Bradley "Audacity" with the 1st Armored Division when I was doing the heavy infantry thing. Always hot coffee with heavy infantry.

My Brother #1 and his lovely bride. 

 My Brother #1's son-in-law with Daughter #2.
My lovely bride and sister-in-law #2 (a retired Colonel who is still my favorite Blackhawk pilot!).

Sister-in-law #2's brother.

Sister-in-law #2's brother and his son. 

My Brother #2 

 Brother #2's son and his lovely bride.

My cousin Sarah's husband Edgar. To her everlasting regret, I introduced him to miniature wargaming!
My Dad.  He was "Doc" to the Marines during 2 tours in Vietnam. I owe a lot to this man.

My Dad's brother Gus. He was a Military Intelligence Vietnamese Language Specialist.

 My amazing father-in-law Jim who as a 19 year old 1st Lieutenant flying B-17 bombers with the 8th Air Force in 1944 and ended the war as a captain. Had a great phone call with him the other day. A product of the depression (when he was a very young cowboy), he volunteered to be a pilot because it paid more!

My grandfather Sylvester was a Gunner's Mate on a destroyer in the US Navy during World War II.

 My grandfather Mike served as a civilian civil engineer during World War II building railroads in Persia to help supply the Soviets.

My Great Uncle Jack (Professor Emeritus of English at Princeton University) served with the OSS in World War II in various theaters and Honorable Son #1 still have his Sykes Fairbairn knife. You know how sneaking those English majors are - Right Honorable Son #1?

My Uncle Gus who served in the Army as a Vietnamese language intelligence specialist and my Uncle Glenn who served in the US Navy.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

It's Professor Calculus to the Rescue!

Randolph Carter: "Professor Calculus. I am so glad that you are finally here."
Professor Calculus: "Why are you mad and there is nothing wrong with my ear."
Randolph Carter: "Unhhh . . . my name is Randolph Carter."
Professor Calculus: "There is dandruff on my collar?"
Randolph Carter: "No, not your coat."
Professor Calculus: "Are you calling me a goat?!!!"
Randolph Carter: (Sigh). Maybe we should let the Old One's win.
Professor Calculus:"I do enjoy pedaling on my Schwinn."

Professor Cuthbert Calculus is an eccentric scientist, engineer and inventor who is as clever as he is absentminded. Despite his very slight physique, he claims to have been a sportsman in his youth, leading Captain Haddock to mockingly refer to him as the “Olympic athlete.”

Although he is a capable scientist, Professor Calculus also practices the unproven method of divining using a pendulum. This mainly succeeds in infuriating Captain Haddock; however, this odd approach does prove to have some merit.

Weird Science: The Pendulum. This is a special Pendulum used only by Professor Calculus to find hidden treasure, missing persons, secret doorways, etc. The only problem is that it rarely, if ever works. To successfully utilize the object must be within 24 inches and Professor Calculus must roll his Pluck -2 to successful divine where the object, person, etc. is located.
Cost: 3 points

Sound Wave Projector: The Sound Wave Projector is a machine capable of destroying objects with sound waves. Needless to say, it is an invention far ahead of its time (thank you time travel) and is eagerly sought out by all of the nefarious, and sometimes not nefarious, agents of 1895. It is cleverly hidden in his umbrella. It may be triggered every other turn and has a range of 12" and is considered a shooting attack. It may be used in the Fighting Phase. The Sound Wave Projector ignores armor so treat all targets as having an armor of 7. Figures successfully hit must Roll Pluck -2. If unsuccessful, they are knocked down and any object they are caring, to include the last weapon they used, is instantly destroyed. To recover from the knock down, the figure must roll their Pluck -1. If they fail this roll, they are inoperable for the rest of the game. The Sound Wave Project can also be used against inanimate objects. If doing so, assign inanimate objects a Pluck rating based on your best guess (hey, I can't do all of the work!) For example, a wooden door would have a Pluck of 5+. A natural 1 is still always a miss. The Sound Wave Projector is cleverly hidden in Professor Calculus' umbrella.
Cost: 20 points.
SV Bonus: +2
Pluck Modifier: -2
Armor Modifier: All he has to do is push the button and it adds +2 to his armor unless in the Fighting Phase he attacks using Martial Arts.

Name: Professor Cuthbert Calculus
Pluck: 4+
Leadership: 0
Speed: 0
Fighting Value: +2
Shooting Value: +1
Talents: Engineer, Erudite Wit (his deafness), Fanatic, Martial Artist (Savate), Mechanic
Basic Equipment: Brigadine, Sound Wave Projector Umbrella, The Pendulum, Briefcase (Counts as a club)
Armor: 9
Cost: 50

The Boys are back in Town!

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

A Princess of Mars

"She was indeed the proud daughter of a thousand jeddaks, every inch of her dear, precious little body; so small, so frail beside the towering warriors around her, but in her majesty dwarfing them into insignificance; she was the mightiest figure among them and I verily believe that they felt it"

Whenever I do research for a new army or genre of gaming, I always look for credible sources, the review of literature and especially primary sources. Fortunately for us, Captain John Carter of Virginia's adventures on Mars, or Barsoom as the Martians refer to their planet, were written down by Captain Carter and passed down to his nephew, Edgar Rice Burroughs.

“There was one slight, desperate chance, and that I decided I must take--it was for Dejah Thoris, and no man has lived who would not risk a thousand deaths for such as she.”  From the journals of Captain John Carter

In trying to find a suitable figure for Dejah Thoris to go with my slowing expanding Barsoomian collection of figures, I noticed several times in his first journal A Princess of Mars how Captain Carter described her as a smaller woman - but one with the dignity and bearing of a daughter of a royal line of a thousand jeddaks. In my searches I was becoming disappointed as most of the Martian themed women tended to be sculpted as "pin-up" girls or buxom women in some ridiculous poses. And then I found Tin Man Miniatures and the figure Queen Althia; I had found my Dejah Thoris. I added a sword to her right hand and I thought she would be the perfect match for my John Carter figure.

Name: Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium
Pluck: 3+
Leadership: +1
Speed: 1
Fighting Value: +1
Shooting Value: +2
Talents: Erudite Wit (Have you heard her speeches as recorded by her husband!), Inspirational, Medic, Unearthly Beauty (Come on! She's Dejah Thoris!)
Basic Equipment: Sword, dagger (fighting knife) and The Royal Halberd of Helium (Halberd). May also purchase a radium pistol for 8 points.
Armor: 8
Cost:52 points

"I loved Dejah Thoris. The touch of my arm upon her naked shoulder had spoken to me in words I would not mistake, and I knew that I had loved her since the first moment my eyes had met hers that first time in the plaza of the dead city of Korad.” From the journals of Captain John Carter.

Scale comparison with the Bronze Age miniature figures of John Carter and Tars Tarkas.

  “So this was love! I had escaped it for all the years I had roamed the five continents and their encircling seas; in spite of beautiful women and urging opportunity; in spite of a half-desire for love and a constant search for my ideal, it had remained for me to fall furiously and hopelessly in love with a creature from another world, of a species similar possibly, yet not identical with mine.”  From the journals of Captain John Carter.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

IHMN: John Carter of Virginia

"I am a very old man; how old I do not know. Possibly I am a hundred, possibly more; but I cannot tell because I have never aged as other men, nor do I remember any childhood. So far as I can recollect I have always been a man, a man of about thirty. I appear today as I did forty years and more ago, and yet I feel that I cannot go on living forever; that some day I shall die the real death from which there is no resurrection. I do not know why I should fear death, I who have died twice and am still alive; but yet I have the same horror of it as you who have never died, and it is because of this terror of death, I believe, that I am so convinced of my mortality."

John Carter of Virginia, ex-Confederate Captain of Cavalry, gold prospector, Prince of Helium, Jeddak of Jeddaks and Warlord of Mars. Arguably, John Carter is the greatest swordsman of his time, regardless of the extra strength and dexterity his Earth muscles give him on Barsoom (Mars). Let's face it, John Carter is a freaking force of nature and beware the bad guy that gets between him and his princess.

On Mars, Carter encounters both formidable alien creatures resembling the beasts of ancient myth, and various humanoids. He finds his true calling in life as a warlord who strives to save the planet's inhabitants. He wins the hand of the Martian princess, Dejah Thoris of Helium.

 John Carter and his fighting buddy, Tars Tarkas, Jeddak of Thark.

His nephew Edgar Rice Burroughs describes Carter as standing 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) and has close-cropped black hair (though it often grows long on his quests and adventures) and steel-grey eyes. Burroughs describes him as immortal. In Carter's journal it is revealed that Carter can remember no childhood, having always been a man of about thirty years old. Many generations have known him as "Uncle Jack," but he always lived to see them grow old and die, while he remained young.

New Talent: Jumping (same as Levitate but not a Mystical Power)

Name: John Carter of Virginia, Prince of Helium, Jeddak of Jeddaks and Warlord of Mars
Move: 9"/6"
Pluck: 2+
Leadership: +3
Speed: 2
Fighting Value: +5
Shooting Value: +3
Talents: Duelist (Sword), Fearless, Immortal (Campaigns Only), Fortitude, Jumping, Inspirational, Intuitive, Intervention, Iron Will (no Martian can penetrate his mind), Leadership +3, Lightening Draw (FV), Martial Artist (+1 to Speed in Fights), Sword Master, Tough
Basic Equipment: Long Sword (Large sword and requires only one hand), short sword (sword), dagger (fighting knife) and radium pistol. May purchase a radium rifle for 24 points and has the option of adding the Hunter Talent for 5 points.
Armor: 8
Cost: 142

I have not included the cost of Immortal (10 points) in the above. If you are playing a campaign game you better add it . . . if you have thoats or other riding beasts, you can pay the appropriate points for the Talents Cavalryman and Trick Riding is so desired.

John Carter can join any company and lead any Martians as long as they are good guys!

 Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium and wife of John Carter of Virginia.

Special Rule: Dejah Thoris.
If Dejah Thoris is in base to base contact of an enemy figure, or if an enemy figure moves within one inch of Dejah Thoris, John Carter MUST move toward the enemy and attempt to kill him or her (count as knocked out because John Carter would never kill a women) or it or whatever threatens his princess. If Dejah Thoris is killed (THE HORROR!) John Carter automatically gets the Beserker and Numb Talents (the pain and anguish of losing his princess) for free but loses Fortitude and his Leadership drops to +2. No matter what the scenario, John Carter now ignores it and any objectives and is now locked into the "Last Man Standing" scenario and will now attempt to kill every enemy figure in the game. You don't mess with Dejah Thoris.

A word of caution: We have not play tested John Carter yet and I actually toned down some of his skills based on his journals since we want a play balanced and entertaining game. We will be having a Barsoomian Battle soon and I will let everyone know how the Warlord of Mars did!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

IHMN: Tar Tarkas, Jeddak of Thark

"The combat was soon over, and, with his foot upon the neck of the dead monster, Tars Tarkas became jeddak among the Tharks. His first act was to make me a full-fledged chieftain with the rank I had won by my combats the first few weeks of my captivity among them." From the journals of Captain John Carter.

Tars Tarkas is a great warrior and leader among his people (the brutal and mirthless Tharks), He possesses a sense of compassion and empathy uncharacteristic of his race. With the help of the newly arrived Earth man John Carter, he becomes Jeddak, or king, of the Tharks. 

 John Carter of Virginia, former Captain of Cavalry, Confederate States of America.

Tars Tarkas is the first Barsoomian John Carter encounters when he appears on Barsoom (Mars). Over the course of the next weeks, Carter comes to respect Tars Tarkas for his abilities as a warrior and statesman. Carter also discovers that Tars Tarkas has a secret: long ago he fell in love and had a child (egg) with his lover, Gozava, two actions punishable by death in the Tharks' culture. Tars Tarkas and Gozava hid the egg and incubated it in secret. Tars Tarkas was ordered away on a long military expedition, and when the child finally hatched, Gozava managed to mingle her child with the newborn children from the communal incubator. Gozava's maternity (although not the child's identity) was discovered, and she was tortured and killed by the Tharkian chieftain Tal Hajus for the crime of childbearing. However, even under torture she refused to reveal the name of the child's father. The daughter's name is Sola, and she befriends Carter and tells him the story of her birth and the identity of her father. 

When he learns this, Carter's sympathy and admiration for Tars Tarkas increases, and he resolves to do all he can to help. Over time, the two become friends, and Carter, after escaping the Tharks in the course of his pursuit of Dejah Thoris, returns to them and helps engineer a duel between Tars Tarkas and Tal Hajus, the Jeddak of Thark. Tars Tarkas wins the duel, and according to Tharkian law becomes Jeddak. In exchange for Carter's help, Tars Tarkas becomes one of Carter's closest friends and allies.

Name: Tars Tarkas, Jeddak of Thark
Pluck: 3+
Leadership: +2
Speed: 1
Fighting Value: +4
Shooting Value: +3
Talents: Beserker, Duelist (Sword), Fearless, Fortitude, Inspirational, Intuitive, Sword Master, Tough
Basic Equipment: Long Sword (Large sword and requires only one hand), short sword (sword), dagger (fighting knife) and radium pistol. May purchase a radium rifle for 24 points and has the option of adding the Hunter Talent for 5 points.
Armor: 8
Cost: 92

Tars Tarkas can lead the Tharks and any Green Martian war band except for the Warhoons. Tars Tarkas can lead a mix force of Green Martians and other Martians if John Carter joins the group or is part of the plan that brings them together.

I will not be using thoats in my games but if you do you can give Tars Tarkas Cavalryman and Trick Riding.

Next: John Carter of Virginia

Saturday, October 26, 2019

IHMN: The Green Men of Mars

"The man himself, for such I may call him, was fully fifteen feet in height and, on Earth, would have weighed some four hundred pounds. He sat his mount as we sit a horse, grasping the animal's barrel with his lower limbs, while the hands of his two right arms held his immense spear low at the side of his mount; his two left arms were outstretched laterally to help preserve his balance, the thing he rode having neither bridle or reins of any description for guidance." From the journal of Captain John Carter.

"The men are trained in the higher branches of the art of war; in strategy and the maneuvering of large bodies of troops. They make the laws as they are needed; a new law for each emergency. They are unfettered by precedent in the administration of justice. Customs have been handed down by ages of repetition, but the punishment for ignoring a custom is a matter for individual treatment by a jury of the culprit's peers, and I may say that justice seldom misses fire, but seems rather to rule in inverse ratio to the ascendancy of law. In one respect at least the Martians are a happy people; they have no lawyers."  From the journal of Captain John Carter.

We have had a wonderful time working on the Barsoom project and we think we have some stats for In Her Majesty's Name. BIG DISCLAIMER: We have not play tested yet but rest assured there is going to be a hair raising adventure soon that will put them to the test!

Weird Science:

Radium Rifles are an extremely deadly weapon with a theoretical range of 300 miles. They fire small caliber explosive radium bullets which explode when exposed to light. The bullets are covered with a thin coating that breaks on contact with the target, thus creating an explosion. This is the principal firearm used by the green men. Many models are equipped with wireless finders and sighters and this lightweight weapon has a wood stock - a rare material on Barsoom - and a long metal barrel composed of a specially tempered alloy of aluminum and steel.

Radium Rifle
SV Bonus: +4
Range: 36"
Hands Required: 2
Pluck Modifier: -3 in Daylight; -1 at night or in situations like the Mystical Power Zone of Shadows.
Cost: 24 points. Has a built-in Monocular Targeting Array. Must have the Hunter talent to use for full effect. If the figure does not have the Hunter talent, it counts as an ordinary Military Rifle.

Radium Pistols are a firearm with a shorter range than the radium rifle:
Radium Pistol
SV Bonus: +2
Range: 8"
Hands Required: 1
Pluck Modifier: -2 in Daylight; 0 at night or in situations like the Mystical Power Zone of Shadows.
Cost: 7 points. 

"The Green Martians are the largest of the Martian races, the males standing up to fifteen feet tall and the females up to twelve feet. They have green skin, small antennae-like ears just above the eyes, and large tusks. In the males these tusks extend upwards to the level of the eyes. The eyes themselves are large and wide-set, with snowy white sclera and blood red irises. Each eye is capable of moving independently of the other. Green women differ in the fact that their skin color is lighter, their tusks extend up to the level of their antennae, and they also have vestigial fingernails." From the journal of Captain John Carter.

New Talent. Sword master: If the figure is armed with two blade weapons they can split their FV between them and thus between targets in base to base contact. 5 points.

Name: Green Martian
Pluck: 4+
Leadership: 0
Speed: 0
Fighting Value: +3
Shooting Value: +2
Talents: Fearless, Tough
May have up to 2 additional Talents: Beserker, Cavalryman (those thoats are big expensive models!), Duelist, Fanatic, Fortitude, Hunter, Intuitive, Lighting Draw, Marksman, Sword Master, Trick Riding.
Basic Equipment: Long Sword (Large sword and requires only one hand), short sword (sword) and dagger (fighting knife)
Armor: 8
Cost: 41

One Green Martian may choose the Leadership Talent +1 in addition to 2 additional talents.
A Thark Green Martian war band may include Tars Tarkas, John Carter, Dejah Thoris or Red Martains from the Empire of Helium. I have not done stats or point values for thoats because I doubt any time soon I will have them - but some other zoological specimens of Barsoom will be showing up!

"They are intelligent and capable of organizing themselves into a society, but they are almost all to a man brutish and cruel." From the journal of Captain John Carter.

A Green Martian War band among the ancient ruins of a Martian city.

Next: Tars Tarkas, Jeddak of Thark