Saturday, December 11, 2021

Jungle terrain and jungle rules, now fully pictured!!!!!

 While working on my Vietnam project (and greatly enjoying that) I came to the realisation that my jungle terrain needed an upgrade. I made it about 10 years ago, at great speed as usual at that time to make a deadline for a project, and I simply didn't think it looked good enough. 

Empress Seal and SOG figures

I decided to re-purpose the materials I used then. And since it not only needed to look good but also needed to work well in games I tailored my terrain to some ruleset-agnostic jungle rules. Or the other way around. I don't really know. It kind of grew naturally, just like real jungle 😎


I had already developed a preference to jungle terrain placed on the table in small terrain pieces. That way figures could be moved around, terrain pieces could easily be removed to reach the miniatures and a table filled with them would still look sufficiently forested to resemble a jungle.  

Real jungle, of course, cannot be represented on a wargames table and still be practical. It is a dense and nearly impenetrable mass of vegetation rising up from the ground in multi-layered canopies, only sparsely criss-crossed by wildlife trails. 

So I aimed for something that would be playable and as good looking as possible. It is well known that an ugly figure on a beautiful base looks better than a beautiful figure on an ugly base. So I aimed for great looking bases to put my old palm trees and fishtank plants on. 

I started by making 30+ 6mm MDF bases in various sizes. I used pieces of tree bark (you can buy that in huge bags to use as ground cover in your garden) dried in the oven as rocks, glued to the bases. Admittedly, at this stage this had an uncanny resemblance with cat turds.....

Then the bases were covered in structure paint (a mix of paint and sand and tiny pebbles) and subsequently painted them in browns and greens, then highlighting them in sandy brown. The tree bark bits were painted dark grey and highlighted in light grey and white.   

I made a bright green flock mix and stuck that to the bases with PVA glue, tossing in some bright red bits to represent flowers. That finished the bases. 

I sorted out all the stuff I had left over from the old terrain as well as everything I had collected over the years "just in case". It seemed waaaay too much at the time, but as it turned out I used nearly all of it.

Then I distributed the trees I had and stuck them to the wooden bases using iron wire pins. I filled up the empty ground level with fishtank scrub and all kinds of cheap plastic plants and fishtank stuff to represent the undergrowth in a jungle.  

Then I finished it all by spraying browns and greens to subdue the bright plastic colours. 

Distributed on the table, it represented relatively well a wide stretch of vegetation covering the table in large and smaller clumps, interspersed with paths. I think it looks pretty good! 

Ruined Buddha temple by

Making rules

Game-wise, I think jungle should do a number of things it also does in reality: 

  • It should obscure sight, totally in some places, partly in other. 
  • It should hamper movement
  • It should offer plenty of soft cover in most places and hard cover in some
  • One should be able to place and move figures in and through the jungle
So the terrain should make clear in an easily visible way where and when it does all this. I used the terrain pieces to do this and will use the Spectre Operations rules as an example.  

  • A terrain piece represents dense jungle
  • Figures can move on a jungle base as through Difficult terrain (Move Agility inches in Spectre for example)
  • Figures can move all over a jungle terrain base but can only be placed where their base fits. Some bits of jungle are simply impenetrable. 
  • Figures can Hide anywhere on a jungle base. 
  • All views on a jungle base are obscured (All (additional) Range Intervals for ranged attacks into or out of jungle terrain pieces in Spectre are 1" for example)
  • Spotting rules on jungle terrain pieces use Night rules
  • Jungle terrain pieces offer 1 additional point of protection to all figures on it against all hits by ranged attacks (Wound roll -1) 
  • Off Table Assets cannot aim for targets under the jungle canopy i.o.w. on a jungle terrain piece. They can however target a point on the terrain piece as per normal rules. Every Hit still scatters D6" in a random direction.    
  • A "path" between the jungle terrain bases represents relatively thin forest. Perhaps a cleared path, empty waterways or a game track. 
  • Paths are clear terrain for all purposes. But mind that the jungle terrain pieces still add all their effects as soon as lines-of-sight of firing lines move into and through jungle terrain pieces. 

Slightly converted HobbyBoss Huey with Empress gunners

Senior Game Requisite Advisor Boom! comes for her customary inspection. Fortunately, she approves.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Gotham City Bank Heist: a Spectre game

A pictorial report of a Spectre Ops game. The scenario was basically Bob's Bargain Bullets Raid but this time with a bank as a centerpiece. Made by Pats Lasercuttings, by the way.  

My honorable opponent pltting his strategy

The cityscape

One of the ambushing gangsters revealed. Way too early I might add...

The SWAT team moving in

The gang leader scoring a grenade launcher hit on a police car

but revealing himself that way, got gunned down 

Gangsters in the crowd were sniffed out and a furious firefight ensued

SWAT officers in the closing stages of the operation

The gangsters trying to flee the bank under cover of the hostages

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Paulus Miniatures Paleolithic Hunter-gatherers

 A while ago I chanced upon the Facebook posts of Paulus Miniatures, a Portuguese company about to produce a range of Paleolithical hunter/gatherers.  

Colombian mammoth and hunter in 28mm

They are not primarily meant for wargaming but for education and produced in 54mm as well as 28mm scale. So far he has completed his paleolithical range and is now working on a range of 13th-14th century medieval European figures. I acquired a number of his 28mm figures and thought them impressive enough to s to point them out here for people collecting or playing games like Prehistoric Settlement or Paleo Diet

Child playing a flute at a burial site

Woman spearing a fish

Man warming himself on a fire

The figures are multipart resin castings of realistically sculpted human figures and animals. That means that compared to the usual 28mm wargaming figures they look rather small. To be fair, Paulus Miniatures version of 28mm is measured from the base to the top of the skull instead of the also very common base-to-eye scale (not to mention the increasingly common base-to-collarbone scale..... ) so they are indeed a tiny bit smaller than the usual wargaming figures. The visual size difference however is mainly due to their slender, realistic sculpting, next to the usually quite bulky wargaming figures, as the pictures below show. 

Empress 28mm compared to PM woman and man

28mm PM Colombian mammoth compared to DeeZee Woolly mammoth

28mm PM Colombian mammoth compared to Gripping Beast elephant

The figures I built needed no cleaning and were assembled using standard superglue, primed and painted with acrylics. Building is fiddly enough to demand some modelling skills, due to the small size and VERY fine detail. The engineering and fit is excellent. I have yet to find a mold line and only the big mammoth figure needed a bit of filler. 

The parts of the hunter shown below

Painting is a very rewarding experience. Let the pictures speak for themselves. 

Hunter with prey

The poses are very diverse. There are of course the dynamic hunting poses but also all kinds of domestic activities like making food, performing rituals or simply relaxing. 

Being essentially a niche product for education instead of the gaming market the figures are priced accordingly and are not cheap. Their quality however is undeniable, so you definitely get what you pay for: excellently sculpted and cast figures of great beauty.  

Shaman working on a rock painting

Woman making fire

Leather worker

Shaman or head hunter pointing towards the quarry

I am planning to acquire the rest of this range as soon as hey are in stock as well as a 54mm version of the mammoth. I have some devious plans for a fantasy army's Heavy Support.....

Woman with small child

Very much recommended. Future builds and paintings will be shown here.