Sunday, March 12, 2017

Tauntin' Da Tau (Working on new cars for the Ork Train)!!!

Hi everyone,

We're gearing up for the next chapter of work on the Ork Train - the Waaaghbash Kannonball!  [Here's a link to some of our most recent Ork Train posting....]

And, since we've had some fun conversations with fellow 40K players at the Reno Summit Warhammer store in the past few months about possible Tau looting, we've decided that the next big project should focus on Tau.

Here's our overall concept:

First of all, we have a good name for the project:  

Tau'ntin Da Tau

...our friend Mr. Z suggested we keep that apostrophe in there, to make the spelling a bit Tau-like :)

 Here is our plan for adding "Tauntin Da Tau" to the Ork Train!

The idea came about this way.  While at the store, one Tau player (who had a very nicely painted army) suggested that we take the top off of a StormSurge and mount that on a car.  That sounded very cool - and the more we have studied the model and thought about the nice massive scale of what that would create, the more excited we were about the idea.

Next, while at the 2017 Las Vegas Open event, we got into a fun chat with one of our Waaagh! on Railz participants -- who suggested that it would be fun to have a train car filled with water - and dunk Tau (while alive) into the tank of water -- to be eaten up by piranha-like-Squigs.

Progress so far:

We've wrangled the train cars we need.

We weren't sure what would look good as an aquarium car.  Turns out that Lionel made some aquirium cars - but it didn't seem that they had actual clear sides.  So, when we were at The Great Train Expo a few weeks back, we were very excited to see this Gold Bullion Car.  And, it has clear plastic windows which can be the sides of our water tanks!!!  We'll remove the gold, of course.

 Here is the Gold Bullion Car we will modify into our Squig Aquarium Car!

And, we also found a pretty inexpensive Crane Car.  We went with the Marx version (not the Lionel version).  One of us had a Lionel Car as a kid -- and it derailed ALL OF THE TIME!!!  This Marx car has simple two-axle trucks - much more simple.

Modification time:

So, the work we have to do now looks like the following....

1) Figure out how to create liquid water for the Aquarium car.  We've seen some references to people pulling this off with acrylic materials you can pour in.  One example is below -- pretty cool underwater scenery and nice tint to the water.  Evidently this wonderful model's photo came from a German modeling website.  Website with example of underwater scenes.

Here's one example of creating very cool water effects.  
This is the type of thing we need to figure out how to do....

2) Create the Squig-Pirhanas.  Thinking that we can probably do that with some green stuff to merge some shark tails (or something like that) onto Squig models.

3) And, of course the StormSurge.  Still hoping that we can find one which someone dropped on the floor or something so that we don't have to build a perfectly good StormSurge only to then lop off the bottom and attach it to our crane....

Well - to work we go.  Welcome any suggestions, and we'll post our progress :)

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Golden Sky Stories - Learning to Play!

Hi everyone,

This weekend we had a chance to play the Golden Sky Stories RPG with our friends Mr. M and Mr. B.
Image result for golden sky stories 
Here is the rulebook for Golden Sky Stories.

We had a terrific time!  Here is what we learned :)

1) In this game you play the role of Japanese animal spirits - HENGE.  You have several to choose from.  Maybe a cat, or dog, or bird, etc....  And, then, you set to work solving the problem of the story [in our case, finding a lost child] as a party of animal spirit HENGE.  

 Working on our HENGE "Fishy" the Bird

2) It's a game of building connections.  As you start the game, you define your relationship with the other players (maybe "like" or maybe "family" or maybe "protective").  And, as you play the game, you have chances to build those connections.  You can also create and strengthen connections with NPCs.  And, as you increase the number and depth of your connections, your HENGE grows in capability, power, influence, etc....

Making the quick decisions for "Mu" the cat HENGE.

3) Set-up is fast; rules are simple.  There are really only a few decisions to make in creating your character.  And, I'd say that our group (where two had played, and two had not) were ready to start within 15 minutes.  And, as we started playing one fun thing is that the game was really all about building the story together.  Our GM (Mr. M) was really more of a "story master" -- guiding the story here and there as the three players worked out ways to solve the problem of the story.  And, talk about simple rules - no dice roles; no cards.  Just three piles of points or manna (or whatever you want to call them).  Points for "wonder" -- which generate every turn; points for "feelings" which also generate every turn; and points for "dreams" -- which are given out by the players (and story master) to each other whenever anyone feels cool things have happened.

Quick overview of our session:

- One of us played a very bird-brained bird, named "Stinky"
- One of us played a very lazy cat, named "Mu" (like the Greek letter)
- And, one of us played a selfish rabbit, named "Chizu"

Very early in the game so only a few connections - and you can see our pool of Wonder on the left; our pool of Feeling points on the right.

And, how did we do?
  • We ended up forming connections with four children who lived in a boarding school
  • We did save the child which was lost
  • And, we managed to avoid being overly frightened away by a ghost who was haunting a building near the boarding school

Much later in the game.  Fishy now has a very large pile of feeling points accumulated!  He also had enough wonder points to give all four of our human kid friends wings so that they could fly :)

All-in-all, it was a very fun game to play.  We're looking forward to session #2!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Taking the Ork Train to Las Vegas Open (LVO)

Hi everyone,

We are making preparations to take the Ork Train to the 2017 Las Vegas Open convention coming up in 48 hours or so.  Zero-hour for train operation is Saturday evening, 8pm!

Here are our Ork Trains - getting ready for packing up....

Turns out that there is quite a bit to be done!

1) Fixing things which have broken....  It's been a few months since we had our Ork Train Apokalypse at the Reno Warhammer store this summer - and a few spiky bitz have broken off here and there.  Certainly need to fix those!

The hinge on our Kannon Kar suffered a failure.  Fixed that (and added epoxy for fracture toughness) and charged up the Kannon Kar's lithium ion battery for the trip....

2) Packaging the Ork Train.  Certainly checked out things like Battle Foam.  But, for something as heavy and large as the Ork train, decided that it just wouldn't fit into the budget this time around.  So, $6/sheet foam from Walmart -- and fabricating our own foam pieces is the plan.

More work for the mini-band-saw to cut the Walmart foam....

Our foam cutter didn't get quite hot enough to really cut the foam well -- but making it work....

The Dakka Chugga and Pain Train nestled in their foam....  Going to build up two more 2" layers for full protection....

3) Rulz.  We worked on writing down the rules the Reno team had proposed -- and have got those up on the LVO website.  Not sure what everyone will think about them - but I guess we'll find out shortly.

Here's a link to our event on the LVO website....

4) Upgrades which are close - upgrades which aren't going to make it....

a) Working on a "Stay-shun" for Fork and Spork's Orks to use to board the train.  Looking like that WILL make the trip :)

Here is the Stay-shun - ready for lootin'

b) The looted Necron Locomotive.  Still too much to be finished.  Will pack it up to chat about it with everyone at LVO -- but don't think we can have it ready to go just yet.  So, that'll have to be saved for the next Ork Train event....

Friday, January 20, 2017

D20 Holder for Pharasma Numbers Spell

Hi everyone,

We've continued to enjoy playing Pathfinder - have a few different campaigns going these days.

And, for our Life Oracle (healer) of Pharasma, having little Pharasma symbol tokens to keep track of the "re-rolls" which come from channeling have really been great for other players to keep track.

Here's a link to our post on making 3D Pharasma Tokens

So, when we stumbled across the Level 1 spell "Lucky Number" we started thinking about how we might create something similar....

Here is a link to the Lucky Number spell detailed information

The plan....
- Create a plastic "holder" for a d20
- When the spell is cast, the affected player rolls their d20 and puts in into the holder
- Then, no worries about losing track of what that die roll was
- And, (as we've learned again and again in table-top games to be really valuable) there is a nice *reminder* of the extra provided by the real-life token of the item

Getting to work....
- After quite a bit of thought, it occurred to us that looking down on a d20, it has a hexagonal sillouette.  So, if we could 3d print a little hexagonal box, that would be perfect.

- Looking around on Thingiverse, we found one which was perfect!  A little hexagonal box - we just needed to figure out what size would be just right for a standard d20.

- There was some trial and error....

Tried @ 30mm -- way too big.  The d20 rattles around and doesn't even stay locked on a single number.

Tried 25mm -- still too big.  Better though.  Almost feels locked in place.

Tried 24mm -- too big -- still rattling (and that didn't seem like proper workmanship)

Tried 23mm -- now, too small.  Couldn't get the d20 into the box!

Tried 23.5mm -- just right :)

Here is our rather iterative approach to getting the size just right!

We are thinking that it might be fun to have some symbols on the sides of the d20 holders.  Working on options there....

Here are some printed out spirals to use as symbols on the d20 holders.  We haven't managed to print a high enough resolution spiral-comet yet - so trying these instead for now.

And, after some thought, decided to prime these grey so that they look like they are made of good "dungeon" stone :)

Our d20 holders lined up for priming....

We noticed that after priming things were a little bit more snug.  So, it is important to remember that paint does have a real thickness.  We probably could have gone 0.5mm larger after all!  (But, they did fit.)

Here are our d20 holders with dice inside :)

So, what's next....

- Working on those Pharasma symbols.

- And, the other idea is the light these up from below!  We left a spot unpainted on the bottom.  With a small LED, they do have a very cool blue glow!

And, how did they work?

- Well, in the first game, our character cast two "Lucky Number" spells.  So, two party members' characters had lucky numbers.  One was a 3.  Great!  And, it actually did come up during the session.  But, the other character had the number 20.  Rats - that doesn't leave much room for improvement!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Battletech - preparing for an intro level game

Hi everyone,

We're going to have a session of Battletech this weekend.  What's cool is that we're going to play with a group of friends who generally only play RPG games such as Pathfinder.  So, this is our chance to show-off how fun one of our favorite games, Battletech, can be.

Here's our plan:

- Forces:

Planning to run the session with one of us acting as a "Game Master"; and the other of us acting a bit as a "Lance Leader".  Sounds like we'll have 6 friendly mechs going up against 6 enemy mechs.

And, here's a little bit of how far we've come in the two or so years we've been playing and modeling.  We took some of the models (like the Dragon mech) and stripped off the older, more primitive paint job; and added in some new models; and then created the enemy force below.  Also showing an image of one of our old paint jobs for comparison.  Believe this is proof that improvement is possible!!!

When we first got our starter-box full of mechs, we went to work painting them.  Here's how we did back in July of 2014.

And, here we are in December, 2016.  Learned a lot about painting between now and then!!!  Still have some work to do on the bases.  But, what a difference with practice, practice, practice.  And, of course, still lots of fun room for improvement :)

And, thinking that we'd like the experience to be positive - so going to give the players an advantage of about 20% or so in tonnage.  Likely it'll be 360 tons vs. 300 tons.

Since these players are coming from an RPG type of world, thinking of giving them a choice like this one:

- Default - you get a Heavy mech.  And, you get Gunnary and Piloting of 5's
- Option - you select a Medium mech.  Then, you get 4's.
- Option - you select a Light mech.  Then, you get 3's.
- Option - you want the firepower and armor of an Assault mech?  Then, you get 6's.

Going to have the "bad guys" all have 5's -- though toying with giving the lance leader 4's to create an incentive for the players to find a way to take that "bad" mech out of commission.

Oh - and one other simplification.  Playing with pre-clan mech's.  So, strictly old-school in terms of lasers, PPCs and auto-cannons.

- Scenario:

Thinking that we'll probably go with something like "the rag-tag rebels need to kick House [blank] out of the city."

Since the "bad guys" have nice, new paint jobs - and very likely that the players will have paint schemes which won't match, hoping that this feels real to everyone.

- Table top:

For the table-top, thinking to use 3 standard fold-up maps.

But, want to spice it up with a first try of 3D pieces added onto those maps.

To create the 3D pieces, here's what we've done:
1.  Got some very inexpensive old Battletech maps on eBay.

Cutting out the "Level 1" and "Level 2" sections of this map.

2.  Cut out the raised portions with Xacto knife.  [Warning - the older edition Level 1 / Level 2 / Etc., markings aren't quite the same as the new ones.  So, you have to look closely at what you're doing.]

Here is one section - carefully cut-out with scissors and X-acto.  Cut the Level 1 portion apart from the Level 2 portion....

3.  Cut out 1" pink foam with the mini-band-saw to match the paper maps.

Here we are at work with the mini-band-saw on the pink foam....

And, a test fit-up of our paper cut-outs and pink foam on the terrain....

One more test fit-up with the Level 2 and Level 3 pink foam added....

4.  Painted the pink foam with the same tones as the paper cut-outs.  Used brown house paint for this - then did "dry brushing" with a sponge to add some lighter colors and texture.

Why buy new paint when you can get nice colors (like this dirt-colored brown) at Home Depot for $0.50!!  Somebody got a sample and then didn't want it.  We can use it :)

 Here's how the pink foam looked after a layer of brown and then a bit of dry-brushing with sponge to lighten up with lighter brown and tan colors.

5.  Then, going to use Mod-Podge to glue the maps to the pink foam.

Here we are in the middle of the Mod Podge process.  It was a little bit scary because it's not clear when you first paint it on.  But, it does dry as clear!

Here is our terrain - in ready-to-go condition :)

6.  Lastly, going to place little magnets on the under-side -- and embedded into the board so that the foam stays put :)

- Rules:

We're going to try to use most of the rules -- believe we can explain them to new people pretty quickly.

The biggest challenge for us is always torso twists.  What we've done before is to simply hand-wave torso twists and to say that in the firing phase a player can always twist however they'd like.  Know that this isn't really proper - but it has simplified things when we have lots of mechs on the board (and in this battle there'll be 12!!)

Then, going to use the idea of writing moves onto sheets to help everyone keep track.  This has worked well for us in the past - and don't have to worry about dice (marking the type of move and number of hexes) getting lost.  [Here's a link to our blog write-up about that.]

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Orks vs. Eldar - Big Mek Stompa Takes on an Old Foe

Hi everyone,

We recently had a chance to play a very fun game against our friend Mr. S.

Some key background items here:
  1. We have not ever beaten Mr. S.  In fact, we've been on the fairly substantial end of a whipping the times we have played him.
  2. Mr. S. has some pretty powerful Eldar.  And, we've not been too good at tackling those D-1 weapons and all of the fancy-dancy movement his Eldar can do.
  3. Mr. S. is an extremely nice person - and has enjoyed Ork modeling - lots of fun to chat with about projects.
So, we did a little bit of thinking on how to give him a run for his money.  Here's what we came up with:
  1. Use the Necron-looted Big Mek Stompa we had built for Armies on Parade.  That way if he brings his really tall Eldar we can use the Lifta-Droppa on him!!
  2. Put Tank Bustas in the Big Mek Stompa.  That way they have some good armor.
  3. (Most Important) Strike a SYK-A-LOGIKUL (that's Psychological) Blow by bringing our Da Pain Train.  That lovely Looted Wagon is Supreme Warboss Fork's armies looting of Eldar technology - and sports a skewered Eldar pilot on the front  :)  :)  [Link to blog write-up about Da Pain Train]
Here is Fork's Big Mek Stompa.  We built the Lifta-Droppa out of parts we found washed up on the beach.  Used our green glowing stuff (Necron style) too.  Fork's Big Mek figurz this will keep the Eldar distrakted!!  Oh - and the Ork script on the side does say "Spork Suks".  The Rivalry continues....

Fork's Eldar Looted Train;Eldar Looting;Eldar Looted Wagon;Ork Train
 Here is Da Pain Train.  Skewered Eldar pilot right up front.  Lots of shiny Eldar blood for Mr. S's Eldars to look at and think about!  Da Pain Train is pulling a shield generator (why not?)

Here's how the battle shaped up....

We used the Mountain View Game Kastle's Normandy beach terrain.  We were the defenders - the Eldar were invading....

Eldar chanting; Eldar script
From the Warboss Log of Supreme Warboss Fork:  "Der waz sum weerd chant'in from dose Eldarz.  Figgured we wud attak anywayz."

The Eldar moved quickly to find positions of cover to shoot at the Ork vehicles.

As a set-back for the Orks, the Shield Generators effect on the Big Mek Stompa only granted one extra HP (rolled a 1 on the d6).

Eldar units moving quickly into cover to line up shoots against the Ork vehicles....

The Eldar quickly moved into positions of cover - and made a series of rapid runs against the Stompa.  Clearly their goal was to reach the weaker, rear armor.

However, while the Stompas big weapons pounded away, the Tank Busta crew cleaned up the Eldar units which did manage to get into the rear.

The tone of the battle began to shift.  Fork's boyz were shooting exceptionally well - and it did not appear to be the Eldar's day.

And, so in a move to save their fallen brother, the Eldar made a dash for Da Pain Train.  Successful in crashing the Ork vehicle, they almost managed to save the pilot "figurehead."

Eldar units mounting a rescue for the skewed pilot.  The Ork's looted vehicle is disabled.  This is their chance!

But, alas for the Eldar, the Stompa rounded on the rescuers and dispatched the lead units.

The lead units are wiped off the battlefield by the Stompa.  The Eldar pilot is not rescued....

And, with that, the Eldar retreated from the field.  Clearly seeing the long view of their fight with the Orks.  This battle wasn't crucial for them -- better to build their strength and fight again on a more auspicious day.

None of this made sense to Fork and his Boyz.  None of it mattered either.  There was looting to do on the battlefield!!! 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

How to get to Warhammer World (International Travel)

Hi everyone,

A short while back, we had the chance to visit the UK.  And, of course, near top of our list of things to see during any free time while there was Warhammer World!

We're probably the last ones to figure it out what Warhammer World is (seems that pretty much everyone knows that Games Workshop has a sort of company store and model-museum in England).  But, in case you're in the same boat as us, here's a walk-through of how we made our way there....

(Link to the Warhammer World website)

Warhammer in London; 40K in London;
Our favorite Ork and Space Marine by London's Tower Bridge.

Step 1:  Get to England

In our case this was a business trip with a weekend in the middle.  If we were to do it again, we'd want to plan for more time - and arrange to take some models along.  In this case, we pretty much arrived in England empty-handed.

Flying was relatively painless.  And, the customs people were quite friendly.  1) They actually thought it was funny when we ("American" speakers) said we'd been working on our English.

Step 2:  Get to Nottingham.

Warhammer World is in Nottingham, UK.  And, pretty much right in the middle of Nottingham proper.  We had decided to avoid driving.  Would have cut down on the travel time - but our "drive on the left skills" aren't so great.  And anyway, if you can manage a train to Nottingham, you can find your way to Warhammer World.

You can see on the Google map search below that it's roughly a two-hour train ride to get there.  Not so bad.  And, we'll point out a few subtle points that we we stumbled upon as we went.... 

Here's a phone screen capture of the trek from London to Nottingham.  Didn't want to risk driving on the left - so working on a route by train.

To begin with, you need to make your way to Kings Cross station.  Pretty easy on the Tube.  We dropped in a handy reference photo for comparison (making sure you're in the right place).

And, depending upon your inclination - while at Kings Cross Station, if Harry Potter fits your liking, you can check out the large display and store arranged at Platform 9 3/4.

A quick hint about booking the train.  There are (at least) two different train routes to get there.  The faster, more direct one costs more.  The slower, less direct one costs less.

We used the slower one on the way there -- the faster one on the way back.

Only downside of the slower one is that you end up spending about 45 minutes waiting for a connection in the nice town of Grantham.

If you happen to be a train fanatic, that's like all good -- because the station in Grantham has lots of memorabilia about the speed run set by the Mallard.  If you're not particularly into trains, this delay might be frustrating....

The train schedule board at Kings Cross - showing our train to Leeds (we'd be getting off at Grantham and changing trains for Nottingham)

 And, our train arriving!

 And, we're on the train!!!  Here are our favorite Ork and Space Marine with our ticket on-board.  They were both very excited to be heading for a sort of "homecoming."  [Also, you'll notice on our ticket that it says "via Grantham" in little letters - that's where we switched trains.]

Arriving in Nottingham....  We saw that there were some failed buildings right by the station.  Not sure about how those came to be in Nottingham.  In the US this is what a failed factory building often looks like.  If that's it, here's hoping that everyone in Nottingham sees better times in the coming future.

It did strike us though that these buildings, though falling down, did look very much like 40K scenery buildings.  And, we wondered if they were in some part the source material for Games Workshop artists.

As we arrived in Nottingham, there were several buildings on the eastern side of the station which looked a bit like 40K scenery pieces.  Not sure of the circumstances for these old failed buildings - and very sorry if those circumstances were sad ones.  But, interesting to see how much the 40K crumbling buildings look like those in real-life.

More photos of the crumbling buildings....

Step 3:  Tram from main station

When you arrive in Nottingham, make your way out of the station - and then up onto the elevated tram platform.

[From the station, Google maps has it as a 30 minute walk.  It was a little cloudy when we were there - threatening some rain - so even though we had the time for a walk, we took the "NET Tram" tram.]

We were a little bit confused about which side of the street to stand on....  We ended up asking grandmother and grandson for help on which direction's train we needed in order to go "west" to Warhammer World.

Our phone indicated that we should take the "Toton Lane" tram -- ride for three stops to "Gregory Street."

That turned out to be exactly right :)  And, the cool thing is that we would see Games Workshop on the left as we arrived coming down a slight hill toward Gregory Street.

 Here's our phone map of the route from the Nottingham Station to the Gregory Street stop for Warhammer Work.

The tram stop has a very nice sign to let you know how long it'll be until the next tram.  As you can see here, they run quite often.

 For piece of mind -- here is the list of stops on the Toton Lane tram line.  Sure enough only three from Nottingham Station up to Gregory Street (Warhammer World's stop)

Here's another phone screen-shot showing the route :)
Step 4:  A short walk.  

The walk down the street is very nice.  On a Saturday it wasn't a very busy road.  Crossed a small bridge with boat canal going underneath....

And, then walked into the parking lot of Warhammer World :)

Walking from Gregory Street back to Warhammer World - crossing over a very nice canal!

Battlegaming One; How to get to Warhammer World; Walk to Warhammer World; Warhammer World Directions; WarhammerWorld Directions
A quick shot from our walk to Warhammer World

The good news is that you know pretty well when you've arrived.  You've got the Games Workshop logo on the building.  And, there are also the full scale Ultramarines tank in the parking lot in case the other big graphics on the building aren't enough to tell you that you've arrived!

And, Warhammer World itself -- was awesome :)  Highly recommend making your way there!!  We're already working on ways that we can visit again....

The Warhammer World building with large emblem!!

Ultramarine's tank on display at Warhammer World :)