Martian artillery is primitive by modern standards: Heavy and unwieldy. But they have an advantage we do not have…. Liftwood. They don’t need to drag heavy guns through sand and rocky terrain, they can just pull it with no problems.
The gun carrier is a simple platform fitted with liftwood, operated by a trimsman who hovers the gun 6 or so feet above the ground. It can then be pulled by whatever creatures or troops you have handy. It won’t get bogged down or break axles, and it’s less tiring for those hauling it.
Because it’s only hovering at a low altitude, and carrying a comparitively light load, it can be made using low-quality, scrap, or past-it’s-best liftwood, and the trimsman doesn’t need to be awfully skilled.
For best stability, the gun should be in a rigid frame, but they can also be hung from ropes.
Of course the same concept can be used for carrying freight, or for making smooth-riding carriages.
It’s not supposed to be a cheap flying gun-platform, or a piece of game-beating technology, more a bit of local colour.
It could also be a ‘Flight of the Phoenix’ plot point, where stranded travelers build a ‘life raft’ from bits of a crashed flyer and hope the wind will blow them to safety, barely skimming the ground.
I’ve been making cavalry, from various ex-Grenadier Elves, (from Forlorn Hope Games) and mounts from various companies. I have ‘Thoats’ (Formerly Hexatrixes, bought from Ral Partha) ‘Tauntauns’ (ex-Grenadier Traveler riding beasts) and Gashants from Rafm. I can’t guarantee the provenence of every one: I bought some from the manufacturers, some from ebay, and some from other 1889 gamers.
A General or champion: A GW Elf from a bargain bin in a comic store many years ago. He’s riding a Thoat and waving a RENEGADE shield. He originally had a spear, that I replaced with a flattened wire sword.
Steppe Martian light cavalry. An ex-Grenadier Elf riding an ex-Grenadier riding beast from Traveller. The beast looks like a Tuantuan, so that’s what I’ve been calling it. They’re not bad looking, and the mount is nice and alien looking. This was my first try, I have since finished the unit, but have not yet photographed it.
Because of the angle of the saddle, I had to bend the legs into a more seated position otherwise the rider leaned back in an odd fashion.
Martian heavy cavalry. An ex-Grenadier Elven Knight riding a Gashant. They did not want to fit together. I had to carve away a lot of saddle, and inside the rider’s legs, plus clip the bottom of the surcoat. I have never been a big fan of Gashants, they always looked to me like they would have sore backs. But it’s not so bad after all.
Again, I have since finished the unit, and they don’t look bad at all en masse. The Gashants might look better with designs painted on them, or colourful toucan-style beaks.
This is Pulp Figures‘ pack PYP05 ‘The Scarlet Patrol.’ Although intended for the Canadian Yukon, they can also serve (painted khaki) as dismounted Canadian troopers in the Boer War. They are well sculpted, and paint up really well.
I painted them as a gift for a friend, reinforcements for his VBCW forces (As seen on his blog, ‘The View From The Hill’) A group of sharpshooting Colonials was just what they need to tip things in their favour.
I also found a pair of souvenir zinc-cast Moose in the local dollar store. They are well-detailed, and a good size for 28mm. At one dollar each, they would be an economical source of mounts for a fantasy unit of some sort.
I didn’t send them off with the Mounties, I kept them for my Flint & Feather natives to hunt.
Of course you want random personalities for 1889 games and battles, and there are plenty of choices and ranges that can be found. These are a few of my recent conversions and repaints.
An Old Glory Tarzan painted as a Wyrm Cultist, and a pair of plastic D&D figures. Replacement swords are made from wire hammered flat.
3 Forlorn Hope female Elves
3 old GW Elves
3 plastic D&D figures. Swords and bows are wire. The female archer has the quiver from the bird-handler in the next row.
A plastic D&D figure, with 2 RAFM Martians with D&D heads.
REDvectors is an odd company, in that they seem to prefer to do custom work. Rather than have an ordinary website, they show you what they have made, and encourage you to approach them with ideas.
Mick then sits down and plans them out, and asks if that’s what you want, and if so, gives you a price.
I originally approached them because they had made a small Martian skiff, rather similar in style to the sand skiffs from Star Wars. (Which have themselves been re-purposed for many a Martian table)
This is one of mine, a great little kit: Perfect fit, nice lines, a great price.
I am quite taken with them, but while they are great personal flyers, I wanted something a bit bigger. So I contacted Mick, and asked for a design 50% bigger in length and width, but with railings the same height.
This is the design he presented me with:
It’s about 10 inches long, with lovely lines, and will be sweet on Barsoom or 1889 Mars. I will probably mount a small gun on the front of each.
So I have two on the way, and I am very excited. More news as it unfolds.
This is my final RAFM Martian Legion. I thought I had one, so I bought a second one. After it arrived, I found that I had two more. But they were all fun to paint, so I am happy.
To finish it, I had to wait for a couple of replacement figures from RAFM: I had removed their heads for conversions, which made them look rather odd in the ranks, and it was easier to just replace them. (I put new heads on the old bodies, of course)
The big swords were the only weapons that needed repairing. (Although one shield gunner plume was broken off and had to be remade.)
The others are straight-from-the-box, no weapons or hairstyles modified.
All-in-all, I am pleased with my Martian Legions. I prefer my units to be a bit more uniform, unless they are wild irregulars, but the uniform colour schemes seem to tie them all together quite well enough.
The figures are nicely alien, without being over-the-top.
This unit is a bit of a mash-up: It’s made up of ex-Grenadier products from both sides of the pond, and is the result of decades of planning.
Back in the day, Grenadier USA produced various boxed sets, including a set of Traveler beasties, including a rider on a TaunTaun-like beast. (Traveler fans will no doubt know its name, I do not)
Seeing the potential for use in a fantasy army that I never built, I bought several dozen of the beast, and they sat in a box for 25 or so years.
When I started my SPACE 1889 jag, I picked up some Elven horse archers from Forlorn Hope Games, and mounted them on these not-TaunTauns. They make a nice change from Gashants, and are a lot more fun to paint. (Although part of that is my boring paint choice for Gashants)
I also put Elven cavalry on Ral Partha Hexatrixes, that I use as Thoats. I’ve since finished the unit, but haven’t taken any pictures yet.
Last of all, we have a Tin Man Miniatures Calot. He looks a bit smug, but he’s a nice figure.
This is a laser-cut MDF Martian skiff from RedVectors. It’s a lovely kit, well designed, and a joy to build. I recommend it.
Stylistically it’s strongly influenced by the Desert Skiffs in Star Wars. Nothing wrong with that, it’s a good look. It’s useful for Star Wars, Barsoom, SPACE 1889, or of course any other game with flying boats.
It comes with a stand as shown, but it isn’t perfectly stable, especially with a metal crew. Having the supports farther apart, a longer base, or farther back on the hull might help.
The crew shown above are my Martian Marines from Forlorn Hope Games, with a RAFM pilot.
There are two options for the prow: The railing as shown, or an oval platform for a gun. I think there is also an option for the hull with layered MDF making a solid stepped hull.
The railings and other fittings are best (or most easily) painted before assembly (I couldn’t wait, and assembled it as soon as it arrived)
There is no visible means of propulsion, but if you want it, a propeller is easily added.
Now if they’d only build one 50% longer.
I’m building the crew and guns for my laser-cut skyship. I intend to build it over the Winter, but I want to have the crew ready for when it is finished.
These figures are ex-Grenadier miniatures from Forlorn Hope Games. The female greatswordsman is from their Amazons range, and the crossbowmen are Dark Elves. (I have a unit of them here)
The axemen/swordsmen in surcoats are High Elves.
The musketeer is a Dark Elf crossbowman, converted to a musketeer.
Because the SPACE 1889 Martians were designed to resemble GW Elves, (and so were everyone else’s) the Forlorn Hope Elves add a nice variety to my Martian forces.
This is a unit of heavily-armored crossbowmen, to be used as City-State infantry. Like the Raptor Riders, they are ex-Grenadier Dark Elves from Forlorn Hope Games.
I had originally planned to modify them into musketeers, but I did one and decided against it. He looked good, but doing another 17 was more effort than I wanted to make. They also look great as crossbowmen!
The Officer and Standard bearer are just a pair of swordsmen, converted to command. They do have command figures available, but I like these. The command figures are more flamboyant, and I wanted the unit to be all business.
I chose a crescent design for the banner, to echo the shields carried by the command figures.
The figures are great: Lots of detail to paint, and more brought out by ink washes. They will look great battling on Mars.
All in all I am very pleased with the way the unit turned out.