Friday, 27 March 2015

Safari Of Death

General Charles came to visit today and between us we played out a Pulp Adventure. We used the rules Richard Lloyd provided in WSS Magazine a while ago. They fit on a postcard; use playing cards to decide initiative; use D6s; are super simple and above all are free!

General Charles took command of the safari while I ran the jungle horror. The plan for the safari was to make its way from the dock area, obtain The Item Of Great Value, survive and return to the dock area. Simple.

The Safari comprised five members:
1. Brad Sterling - Heroic Leader
2. 'Red' Mary Quintile - More Than Capable
3. Professor Septimus Quintile - Seeker of The Item Of Great Value
4. Tank Randlethrust - Big Game Hunter & Expendable Extra
5. Noble Spunkmeier - Dilettante & Expendable Extra

The Jungle Horrors include:
1. Pool of Certain Death
2. Dinosaurs
3. Angry tribesmen

Here we see The Film Crew capturing images of the safari's ship SS Venture and the squalor that is the Tarbooshian controlled outpost of Puerto Sucio.

The safari has set off through the gap between the two large, and impassable, hills. Known locally as El Paso De La Muerte Segura. In the far distance the group has attempted to cross a water course. Their movement has attracted a voracious T-Rex which is attacking them. The Film Crew shot it all.

Close-up of the water-hole fight. The heroes poured a fusillade of shots into the rampaging saurian. Which failed to stop its charge. The dino got into teeth-gnashing range and inflicted some hits on the party. The safari responded with even more bullets and down went the smashed and thrashing beast. PHEW!

The safari made more careful progress after the dino encounter and reached the statue without further incident, although they nearly stumbled into The Pool Of Certain Death (it's the funny looking thing between the statue and the green jungle piece).They were required to spend two turns at the statue to simulate their search for TIOGV (which they found). But look carefully. Is that a group of angry tribesmen in the bush there?

Of course it is. They can see the thieves at the statue and they aim to stop them and return TIOGV to its rightful place.

Battle in the bush! The tribesmen have let fly with a volley of arrows at our intrepid heroes. They take some hits but not enough to stop them blasting one of the tribesmen to death and mortally wounding one more. This breaks the morale of the locals....

....who flee for their lives. They hurtle away from the guns of the robbers but also away from the dinosaur that has been attracted by the noise. And this with the party of heroes so close to fortune and glory!  The monster has blocked the entrance to the Pass of Certain Death. As you do.

For about the first time in the game the saurian won the initiative and charged the safari. Hand-to-claw-to-teeth combat saw two of the party, Tank & Noble, go down in gouts of blood and guts as the angry dino lashed and gnashed about. Was this the end for our brave adventurers so close to safety?

Of course not. Brad and Mary give the monster the good news and knock it flat. We can see poor Tank and Noble down in the dirt.

The survivors return in triumph with TIOGV! Thankfully the main characters survived and the Expendable Extras did their job magnificently.

A really enjoyable game during which we had frequent breaks for coffee and pastries, lunch, then more coffee. The General said we must play another game in another Pulp location soon!

Updates as they happen, chumrades!

Monday, 23 March 2015

Book Review - Famous By My Sword

In this book Singleton examines the role of the Royalist general the Marquess of Montrose in the British Civil War during 1644-1645. The author argues convincingly that this army, rather than being one that comprised
only Scots Highlanders, was composed of well-trained, skilfully led and highly motivated troops. Troops who were, above all, professional. He shows that Montrose's army used the latest battlefield techniques which gave it success after success. The myth of Highland charges carrying all before them in bloody rout is turned upon its head completely.

That the Covenanting armies set against him were not of the highest quality is not the fault of Montrose. In a series of battle descriptions the author shows that time and time again professional troops triumph over amateurs. This is not to say the Covenanting troops were all duds. Their best trained and led men were fighting in England at the time. In fact Scots troops, specifically lancers, brought about the Royalist collapse at Marston Moor battle.

The book also contains a number of colour plates. These are uniformly excellent and include several photographs of present day interpreters clad in authentic costumes.I felt these photographs were the highlight in a book that is excellent throughout. The appendix is a fascinating collection of first-hand accounts of the battles of Tippermuir, Aberdeen, Auldearn, Inverlochy. The first-hand accounts conclude with a description of Montrose's final defeat at Kilsyth. A defeat brought about by a lack of Royalist regulars versus large numbers of professional Covenanting troops returned from England.

In conclusion I enjoyed reading this book immensely. The author proves his case that professional, disciplined troops made up the bulk of Montrose's army and that the Scots Highlanders, despite the national myth, were useful only in the pursuit of an already smashed enemy.


Sunday, 15 March 2015

Market Day

Saturday is market day in Oasis el Khazi and the locals come to town to sell their wares. This attracts visitors both foreign and domestic with cash to spend on stuff they need. Throughout the day people make business transactions and avoid paying, if possible, local taxes. This is well nigh impossible but they still try. Just business, nothing personal.

 Wide shot of the market

The first picture is a wide angle view of the market building and surrounding stalls. It's still early and not yet choc-a-bloc. From left to right we can see:
  • The Police Pavilion. They keep a watchful eye upon trading from here. It is also where market traders pay their rents and taxes.
  • Market stalls of various types with the Market Hall in the background.
  • A film crew
  • Police station. If anyone fails to pay the standard charges they will be taken here for a one-way interview on personal motivation. Possibly involving some percussive adjustment of attitude.

In the second shot we can see some of the products and people. Spices, fruit and vegetables. And a chicken. You may recognise the two ladies haggling for the chicken. (I also found out I can't paint chickens. Feathers are hard)

The third shot shows a frank exchange of views taking place between a bearded gentleman and a market trader. My guess is he wants one of those fine brass pots at a good price. The pistol and the onlooking police officer ensures fair trading for all. Off to the left we can see a trader trying to flog some cloth to an unconvinced woman. Who is that lurking in the background?

The final picture is along the front of the market. 
All of the market stuff I scratch-built from odds and ends. 

  • The cloth is paper which I painted with white glue; allowed to dry; painted; dried; loosely rolled. 
  • The brass pots are all gold coloured beads and sequins.
  • The spices are in those square size things you get on hangers in clothes shops. I painted them to resemble wooden crates and then inserted some pieces of white glue covered brown paper in to get a heavy cloth look.
  • The spices themselves are pieces of thick card bent into a V-shape and then coated with white glue and sand. Once dry they were painted and then glued in place.
  • The fruit and vegetables are all beads. Painted with a white glue and colour mix.
  • The large pottery vessels are wooden beads with a smaller plate-shaped sequin glued on top. Painted a pottery brown and with coloured beads glued on top.
  • The little truck with the barrel is scratch-built apart from the wheels (off a 1/72 scale A/T gun) and the barrel (Renedra).
  • The Police Pavilion is entirely scratch-built. The columns were cut from balsa pole and the roof is a framework of coffee stirrers. The wooden sections were fixed together with white glue. I strengthened all the joins with dressmakers pins in pre-drilled holes. The cloth cover is a piece of striped cotton cut to size and glued in place. I made sure that the uprights were high enough for figures to pass underneath without any bother. For such a simple construction it does look very sinister.
  • The figures are a mix of Copplestone, Bob Murch and Eureka.

 Updates as they happen, chumrades!

Sunday, 8 March 2015

A Jaunt To Alumwell* Wargames Show

I went, with General Charles, to the Alumwell Wargames Show today. We went via breakfast at a local hostelry: yum! The show was a lot of fun and I bought some of the items on my shopping list. There was however a dearth of Pulp figures by any manufacturer present. A sharper-eyed-than-me reader will now inform me there were heaps of them. There were also a number of interesting and some quite beautifully presented games. The one I can remember was a depiction of part of The Great Siege of Malta 1565 which looked great. The Nice Man even gave me an info sheet describing the action.

I was taken particularly by the range of stuff that Ainsty Castings had on offer. I bought a box of 'Trade Goods': stacks of assorted barrels, bales of cloth, crates and giant oil/wine bottles in wicker baskets. I was also impressed by Sgts' Mess. Very friendly with a wide range of unusual, and therefore useful, 20mm WW2. If I re-start Megablitz they can expect my custom. They were also selling some laser cut kits for harbour quays; I bought a nice landing stage and some trash cans. Bottled paint was also going at a nice price if you shopped around.

The only downside of the afternoon was a significant minority of unwashed, smelly bodies at the event. How hard is it to wash or bathe or shower oneself and wear clean clothes before going out in public? I guess they stood out because the majority of attendees did not stink.

The afternoon was brought to a premature end for the General and I by a REAL fire alarm and evacuation. Wargamers are a cool and orderly bunch. They left the hall with minimal fuss and followed the staff's orders. Well done!

Luckily for me I'd bought all I was likely to and wanted to by this point so off we schlepped for a cup of tea and a chat back at the General's GHQ. Which is an apt description of the building let me tell you. The General then dropped me off at Wolverhampton Train Station and I was back home in Brum regarding my loot an hour later. A very enjoyable day!

All the best!

*Not in Alumwell (Walsall) it's in Wolverhampton  these days. And actually easier to get to by bus and car.

 The Venue: Aldersley Sport Village

Friday, 6 March 2015

Tarbooshian Police

Tarbooshians. You knew they'd pitch up eventually. It's inevitable really. This latest batch of metallic toy heroes are from Bob Murch - The Istanbul Constabulary set. Re-imagined in this case into The Tarbooshian Constabulary, pretty original I'm sure you will agree.I love this set, so many interesting figures; my favourite though is the chap sitting on the chair puffing on a hookah.The original set has 4 figures in it so I added the Peter Lorre look-a-like figure from the Sinister Spies set. He fits in very well.

The Nick
The cells are in the lower end on the right
You don't want to end up in them......

They keep the town of Oasis El Khazi safe

The Boys in Brown

The Detectives

I'm still working on names and back-stories for this group so I'll update as and when.

All the best!