Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Spinward Marches Solutions, LLIC.

Art by Ian Stead, by commission.

Spinward Marches Solutions
Rhylanor/2716 Spinward Marches
UCP: Im◄2444●23►LLPAR●Sec◄0466●56►

Established at the end of the Fourth Frontier War by mustered-out senior Naval personnel, Spinward Marches Solutions, LLIC., is a family-owned and operated mercenary, security and troubleshooter company, based on Rhylanor.  

Using their naval contacts, SMS were able to obtain a series of tickets for a subsidized 800-ton Type-M cruiser in the service of various march planetary governments, eager to re-establish peace and order in the wake of the recent war.  The first cruiser was paid off in just under ten years (1094). A second Type M was purchased used and paid off in eight years (1104).

The recent purchase of two additional Type M cruisers, while allowing SMS to service multiple tickets, has stretched corporate finances to their limit. It remains to be seen whether SMS can make the payments or has over-extended themselves.

Corporate recruiting policy is to engage previous-service mercenaries with either Army, Marine or Navy backgrounds. While this limits recruitment intakes, it reduces costs by reducing the need for basic training, and focuses on physical and mental reconditioning, as well as technical education.

Benefits are generous, with the leadership committed to attracting the best veterans in the subsector to their enterprise.

In addition to dirtside security, SMS offers a range of aerospace services, employing 6-ton light aero-space fighters. The company depends on High-Ticket, Moderate Risk assignments to keep operations profitable. Long term tickets with success-only bonuses are preferred.

Founder: Seth Coraille, Count of Aramanx
CEO: Garith Coraille,
CFO: Jone Coraille

Main Office on Rhylanor.  Servicing the Porozlo Schism on a retainer to Ling-Standard Products and the Free Trade Bloc.  3 Broadsword Cruisers carrying a Light Infantry Company.
Recruiting office: Marovic/Porozlo (5d+5 recruits per month)

Subsidiary Office on Vilis (4d+3 recruits per month).  Servicing Garda-Vilis brushwar in a government-supportive security capacity. 1 Broadsword Cruiser with Light Infantry Platoon.

Possible expansion projected to:
Aramis Subsector, with a recruiting office on Aramanx. (4d+3 RPM)
Glisten Subsector, with a recruiting office on Glisten (4d+3 RPM)

Friday, June 17, 2022

Traveller Scientists for Bug Hunt


Traveller miniatures by RAFM

For TravellerCON/USA last October, I ran a Bug Hunt scenario where the human forces had to escort a timid Hiver into the infested station and assist the recover of some critical data. I don't remember the result, except that the bugs arrived in deluge. I'll be running the scenario again at next month's RETCON Game Day, and I'll be certain to take some pictures for the gentle reader's delectation. 

Traveller miniature by RAFM

The 25/28mm Hivers were had some two decades ago, as part of the Traveller New Era clearance that swept the miniatures and RPG industry.  Produced by RAFM, they were, and are very nifty figures. They are easy to paint (once one decides on a colour-scheme), and look good on the table top.

My usual rating system is slightly skewed for these, since they were part of a packet that included a human scientist. In consideration, one may add a point for "Variety", resulting in a final mark of "4".

Animation: 3

Detail: 4

Proportions: 5

Variety: 3

Overall: 3.75 (4) out of 5

Miniatures by Ral Partha

The second set are part of the 25mm Ral Partha Shadowrun line, and are listed as Elven Deckers, or somesuch. To my eye, they shouted "Darrians" and since I need some hi-tech civilians for my games, these fit the bill nicely.

Miniatures by Ral Partha

These minis are also very nicely sculpted, with excellent detail (observe the data-pad), goggles and froopy 90's style clothes. The camera doesn't show it well, but the lady sports an iridescent body suit. Actually, I think I gave the bloke's shirt a bit of a shimmer as well.

Animation: 4

Detail: 4

Proportions: 5

Variety: 4

Overall: 4.25 out of 5....

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Bugs for Five Parsecs from Home: Bughunt

Editor's Note: I found some older draft posts that were incomplete, so I've updated them as best I could and will be releasing over the next few weeks. Saved from the Time Vault: Enjoy!

Some readers were confused, previously, in that there were no xenomorphs included in the last batch of Bug Hunt piccies. That's partially due to the way the game portrays the "bugs" Here are some pics of various models to use for Bug Hunt.

Slimey Blobs

These are Rutans from the ex-Harlequin Doctor Who Miniatures line, now offered by Black Tree Design. Some folks have had trouble with delays from Black Tree - while I've never had any serious delays from them, currently, I make it my practise to buy Black Tree from eBay when possible, since I know that at least the stock is ready and at hand.

"It isn't Life as WE Know It..."
Miniatures by Black Tree and Crooked Dice.

Skittering Spiders
These are some Stalker Spiders from the RAFM Fantasy Miniatures Line. Fun to paint, and a welcome break from my D&D Abominations. These were quick to arrive and easy to paint.

Miniatures by RAFM Minis and Crooked Dice.

I'm looking to probably pick up some Fury Bugs from Crucible Crush Miniatures

They have a suitable, scuttle-y vibe about them, don't you think?...

Monday, December 20, 2021

Skips, Dumptsers, and Related Rubbish

The alternate title "Down in the Dumpster" was rejected a touch too trite and a bit tropey much.

Modern urban scenery in the 25/28mm scale can be quite the challenge to locate, especially when one has determined to build a flashback to Philadelphia in the 1970s.  Did plastic trash bags exist in 1973? (apparently, yes. My old dad used to use paper shopping bags by economic choice, and those old TV averts - showing the soggy bottom falling through - bring back real childhood memories.)

What about dumpsters/skips? I remember my father taking me to one, in the mid-70's that was enormous, probably about 20', but to an eight year old, it looked like the whale what swallowed Pinnochio. It was painted red, had some steps to a metal platform, with rail guards. This was not some public dispose-all, this was on a gated site, where Dad knew the security staff.

Dad had some boxes of shredded paper he wanted disposed of...I know, that sounds a bit shady, but I think he was just blessed with a surfeit of caution...shady caution.

Anyway, my dad had me stand at the base of the steps, where the "start/stop" buttons were, while he cast in the box and indicated I should press "start". As I did, I ran up the steps, to see the great. steel piston slowly extend and press the box, crush the box, into the dark depths of Pinnochio's whale.

Unfortunately, in hindsight, I'm realising that was a compactor not a dumpster, and was probably from a customised shipping container with the engine, piston and platform purpose-built and added on. I haven't been able to find one in 28mm, or indeed ANY scale.

Which leads me back to skips/dumpsters.

The larger dumpster/skip is from Studio Miniatures. The smaller came out of a model train set. I'll need to find the manufacturer's name, becuase I like it better and would like to find more...

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Crucible Crush - Nice Minis, Once You Get Them...

Late in 2019, a new line of miniatures was teased by the redoubtable Bob Murch, of Pulp Miniatures. Originally at home on the Pulp Miniatures page, the Black Sun line of Weird Viet Nam War eventually moved to Crucible Crush Miniatures. Crucible is managed by Lee van Schaik, nephew and son of the RAFM van Schaiks, and the connections to RAFM are apparent from even a brief glance at the various miniature lines offered.

For starters, Black Sun is a set of rules and campaign setting for Viet Nam Weird War, set in 1968. Of course, with my current fixation on 1970's street skirmishing, my interest in the project was immediately piqued.

While I'm not much taken by the Viet Nam setting - thus the GIs and VC are of little interest to me, likewise neither are the rifle-armed Adaro/Deep Ones (if they were armed with spearguns or eldritch magic weapons that looked like spun coral or metallic driftwood, I would change my mind) - my main
interest is in the Children of Hastur.

Have you seen the Yellow Sign?

Illustration by Robert Price

Hastur the Unspeakable is reckoned the brother of Great Cthulhu, and awaits imprisoned beneath the lake of Hali, either in or near the Hyades. Hastur was created by Ambrose Bierce, expanded upon by Robert Chambers, adopted by H.P. Lovecraft and fleshed out by August Derleth.

Crucible Crush has released three sets of the Children of Hastur.

Some Black Sun 28mm figures from Crucible Crush Miniatures arrived in the post one fine day last year, and I was, and remain, well pleased with them. Sculpted by living legend, Bob Murch, these figures are excellent. Three packs of miniatures were ordered: The Children of Hastur group. Three sets of un-armed and rifle-armed Hippies. Various states of mutations are shown, none, almost none, tentacles galore. There is an excellent "Charles Mansion" in jeans and freaky beard, a rich, daddy's girl "Tanya" in headband and SMG, and a number of other, less remarkable but well sculpted extras.

For Crazy Charlie, I removed a cluster of short tentacles from back of his right shoulder, as being just a trifle much. He's chanting from an Unspeakable Tome, anything more is just dotting a capital I.

The Hippie with the pistol originally had an M-16. He was converted using a an pistol available from Crooked Dice. Crooked Dice seems to be the only miniatures company who had the stroke of brilliance in adding an extra hand weapon or head to the base of their metal figure sprues.

The order was late in coming, well over a month. Once I emailed CC, Lee v. S. was quick in shipping it out - so quick, in fact, that a miniature was left out and a duplicate miniature included. I'm an odd duck, in that I would like what I've paid for, so I shipped the odd miniature back, with an explanation and a printed PICTURE, from their web store.

Almost another month goes by - I actually have no reason to expect my parcel ever arrived, since the address is shared with another business, but I email anyway.  They replied that they thought my replacement went out in early July - I inform them that it's quite possible; some of my parcels did go astray, disappearing into the black void of Camden County, NJ.

So, Lee kindly offered to send another. Which arrived.

And was the wrong miniature, again.

There's a point one just stops, and this was it. Perhaps they regretted that particular mini - a Black Panther "militant"?  The game industry is busy tying itself in knots over "woke" alleged-players.

But, no, as an email reply to my inquiry assured me there was no agenda, political or otherwise, they'd just got it wrong, twice.  They did assure me they were doing their best...

That's good to know, and a bit bad at the same time. "I did my best" is an admission of failure, it's what Dad or Granddad or "Coach" told us when we lost to the other team. It's what we tell our boss, after we skew the pooch at work, hoping s/he won't fire us.  To claim one "did their best" is to acknowledge your "best" isn't really good enough. Failure wasn't for lack of trying, it was for lack of doing.

The answer is, to do better, and the remedy is to review your processes and locate where and how the errors are occurring, and fix them.

Maybe the packer is doing six orders at once "to save time".  As a university student, I hand packaged for an Aerospace supplier, and we were told NOT to work on more than one order at a time, because any time saved would be lost "times ten" in straightening out the error, and we could possibly lose the customer. "People can get parts anywhere" my boss once said. "We have to offer superior service to keep them buying from us."  That was 30 years ago, and they're still in business.

In the end, the missing figure finally showed up - Lee van S. said it was a matter of personal pride, and to his credit, he stuck to it until he finally got it right.

Animation: 5

Detail: 5

Proportions: 5

Variety: 4

Overall: 4.75 out of 5...Ω

Sunday, November 14, 2021

The Night Stalker in 28mm


No urban game set in the 70s, which included supernatural elements, would be complete without including a certain newshound who, in the opinion of his editor, "looks like he just came from a road company performance of "The Front Page."

The character is question is, as you have doubtless already concluded, one Carl Kolchack, reporter and journalist, and associate of the Independent News Service.

An excellent proxy model can be found at Pulp Figures, in their "News Hounds" pack, which also includes a potential Obstreperous Editor, plus sundry other Front Page folks.

For 7TV1 purposes, I would use the "Investigative Academic" profile, and purchase 3 Luck points. Our Carl always seems to be able to pull himself out of the fire...Ω

Thursday, February 25, 2021

"Tide's up. Time to stay alive..."

Yes, admittedly..."Ghosts of Mars" was a fairly disappointing film - especially at the time of release. However, compared to what's being turned out nowadays, that movie is now classic cinema gold.  Recently, having viewed a dvd version, I decided to paint up one Desolation Williams.

I used the RAFM miniature Karl Unger, from the USX Modern Day Heroes line, which had been loitering around my painting table for nearly a year, as the basis for my Williams - the weapon was easily  swapped from the stock, and there was no other modification necessary.

Aside from the Martian Red Desert Camo pattern, the colour palette for the character is very narrow - black undershirt, black webbing, black gloves, black boots. Yes, John Carpenter was quite burnt-out in anno 2001...

There's actually no scenario from "Ghosts of Mars" that I'm eager to play - it's just 'Zombies meet Wild West on Mars' which doesn't really interest me, tactically. That said, if I can find miniatures suitable for "Uno, Dos, and Tres", I'd paint them up to complete the posse...