Gisby's Gaming Blog

February 25, 2022

Space 1889: Steam Tank Cyclops

Filed under: RAFM Miniatures, SPACE 1889, Victorian Adventure Gaming — gisby @ 17:36

When Space 1889 was released, there was a limited selection of figures available, made specifically for the game. We had to use a lot of proxies to make up numbers and give variety.

Years after the game was no longer available, RAFM expanded the range with a bunch more figures, and (surprise of surprises) a lovely little steam tank, called the Cyclops.

It’s a small three-wheeled vehicle, about the size of a Stuart tank, armed with a limited-traverse machine gun. In real life it would be quite impractical, but on a VSF table it looks great!

The body is resin, cleanly cast and without flash. The wheels, gun, and stacks are all cast in metal, and again, flash-free.

The kit is simple to construct and all parts fit well. The Machine gun was just a thin wire-like barrel, so I replaced it with a Maxim gun barrel and cooling sleeve.

The green body with red wheels was traditional for tractor engines, and is in this case copied from the painted example on the RAFM site.

Frankly, it’s a little gem: A pleasure to make, and to behold.

VBCW: Indian Infantry

Filed under: COLONIAL WARS, VBCW, Woodbine Design, WW1 — gisby @ 00:52

This is a unit of Woodbine Design WW1 Hindu infantry, with a British officer. Intended as Colonials come to support one side or the other in the VBCW, they could be deployed just as easily in WW1 or on the NWF. If I am honest, I bought them just because I wanted to paint them.

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It’s no secret, I am a big fan of the Woodbine 28mm WW1 packs. The infantry comes in packs of 10, perfect for VBCW, and generally with separate heads. This allows them to provide a lot of troop types using the same bodies, and allows me to buy heads to replace crappy heads on other figures.

I specifically request only advancing/charging figures as I don’t like marching or kneeling figures, and they have never let me down yet. The fit of the heads is good, and they are pleasant to assemble.

But most of all, they are a joy to paint: I have units of Indian troops and British troops, and without fail painting them has been both calming and satisfying, and I have been pleased with the results.

There are plenty of pose variations, so if that’s your thing, you won’t be disappointed. They are also available with Sikh heads.

L to R: Great War Games, Woodbine Design, Wargames Atlantic, Crucible Crush

VBCW: Great War Scottish Infantry

Filed under: Great War Miniatures, North Star Military Figures, VBCW, WW1 — gisby @ 00:42

This is another unit built just because I wanted to paint the figures, sort of. They are Great Wars Miniatures WW1 Scottish infantry. I bought them for VCW use, but they will of course fit in my WW1 forces as well.

Looking through a website one day, I found some lovely WW1 Scots in Glengarry caps. They looked to be nice sculpts, but for some reason they were not available. I was sad about this, because the uniform looked great. But imagine my joy to find figures in the same dress order in the Great War catalogue. The figures looked to be just as good, at a better price, and in production. So because I saw one set of figures, I bought these instead.

I bought them, and I was not disappointed. They are single-piece castings, well detailed and cleanly cast. Of course there were extra figures left over from the packs I purchased – I still have surplus figures, but at least they are painted!

I also bought the matching HMG so they would have some support. (But mostly because I like making HMGs) It goes together well, and looks good, I think.

So I painted these figures because I wanted to paint different figures, but that’s how I roll.

February 20, 2022

SPACE 1889: Random Projects

Filed under: Science Fiction, SPACE 1889, Victorian Adventure Gaming — gisby @ 14:55

Here’s a smattering of projects I’m pleased with, but that don’t warrant their own post.

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I bought a Russian-made ‘Bronekorpus’ kit to make a VSF tank. I didn’t need the turret, but I couldn’t help but notice how much it resembled a lizard head.

I covered the weapon mounts with a pair of shields, and painted it as an idol or piece of a broken statue, to be found in the wild jungles on Venus. Why should Mars get all the mysteries, cults, and lost cities?

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This was a ‘Paint Your Own’ model from a dollar store. It required a bit of filling at the hips and shoulders, but for two dollars, it’s still not bad. It can be used as a draft animal, or you can put a howdah on it’s back. I choose to let it run loose on Venus and terrify the natives. The plastic is soft enough that it would be easy to remove the horns and frill, and rebuild the head to make something more Martian-looking.

In my parts box I found an old Grenadier Dark Elf – Originally a Raptor Rider. It took a bit of adjustment, but I fitted him to a Gashant, so he now serves as a leader for my Martian forces.

Space 1889: Scarab

Filed under: Science Fiction, SPACE 1889, Victorian Adventure Gaming — gisby @ 14:38

I saw some photos online of a ‘Victorian Dystopian’ tank kit. It looked nice, but was frighteningly expensive, and out of production. So I looked for a way to make my own, that didn’t require any talent.

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A quick ebay search for ‘Bronekorpus‘ will show two Russian-made SF armour kits. They are designed for variation, as the hull front can be the hull back, the tracks can be used upside down, it’s all up to you. There is also a variety of weapons supplied, so you can build a fleet of different vehicles. (And the parts are interchangeable between the kits) The best part? They are cheap as chips.

I arranged the tracks and hull parts as looked best to me: The tracks set up for their best climbing ability, (Still not great, as the hull sticks out at the bottom) and the crew compartment at the front, engine at the back. (You also have to choose which way is up on the hull front and back)

A length of plastic pen tube forms the smokestack, and a hatch covers the attachment point for the turret.

The vehicle is armed with a limited-traverse machine gun made from sprue and wire. I suppose I could treat it as a one-pound pom-pom if I wanted to make it more fearsome.

Overall, I am very pleased with the result. It cost less than a pack of figures, and it doesn’t look like an out-of-scale WW2 tank with a smokestack added.

Barsoom: Giant Spiders of the Valley Hohr

Filed under: Barsoom, Fantasy, Plastic Figures, Wargames Atlantic — gisby @ 03:08

There are Giant Spiders in the Valley Hohr, and deep in the tunnels under many cities – Who knows where else they may be found?

If you want to run a wilderness adventure, or a dungeon crawl in the tunnels beneath a city, these creatures will provide a terrifying challenge to your heroes.

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These are the Wargames Atlantic Giant Spiders, and they are horrifying in aspect but fun to assemble. They come 12 in a box, perfect if you want to use them as mounts for depraved cultists from a lost city.

There are also smaller spiders (not the ones under the big guys in the photos) and web-wrapped victims included.

The set includes mechanical arms and SF weapons for those of a more SF and less VSF bent. (Although they would be great for Barsoom, where weird science was the norm.)

Even if you aren’t scared of spiders, they are still pretty creepy, and a bunch of them on the table will give your players the squirms.

February 19, 2022

VBCW: Pankhurst Battalion

Like many gamers, I have a fascination for all-female units, especially in eras and armies that had none. I’d prefer to not go into the psychology behind it, but I cannot deny it.

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Minifigs has, in their Matchlock MiniaturesForgotten Front‘ range, four uniformed females for a ‘Pankhurst’ Battalion. The uniforms appear to be based on WW1-era nursing uniforms with webbing added, and they look the part. They are single-piece castings, and generally cleanly cast. I only chose to use one casting for the ranks, as the other is a firing pose, and the last is a standard bearer. (But she is a rather dynamic figure!)

As supplied, their rifles and bayonets are rather flimsy and prone to breakage. I strengthened them with putty, but didn’t file them down enough, so the bayonets look like cleavers.

The Officer is blowing a whistle and waving an umbrella rather than a sword, a rather charming touch.

The figures are fairly tall and hefty, giving a definitely Amazonian feel to the unit. They may not fit well with a lot of figures, or you can just not worry about it.

Overall a pleasing unit, and I am happy with it. I’d use it in Victorian or Pulp settings as well.

WW1: Mark V British Tank

Filed under: Brigade Games, RENEGADE Miniatures, VBCW, WW1 — gisby @ 13:25

Years ago, I was Renegade‘s webmaster, a job that came with lots of figures. But one day, they announced that they were selling 1/56 resin WW1 tanks – They were originally from Brigade Games in the USA. Since I had both early and late WW1 British armies, they sent me one.

It’s a Mark V ‘female’ tank, armed only with machine guns. There were no rails for unditching beams, no steering trail, just a lovely, rather plain-looking tank. It is still available through Brigade Games.

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Although I was delighted with the model, it sat in a box for many years, until I started painting my surplus WW1 figures for VBCW.

It was pleasant enough to build, and well-fitting, with no bubbles in the castings. Detail was crisp and the castings clean and without flash.

There was a one-piece hull, and two track sections, with locators so you could not misalign them. The two sponsons fitted in the sides (and could be replaced with the ‘male’ sponsons, as in real life) two cylindrical MG mounts fitted into each sponson (from the inside)

The five MGS were provided in white metal, and were quite delicate, so I made new assemblies from floral wire. There was also an exhaust system in white metal, which I also replaced with wire.

Some rudimentary research suggested that the British painted their tanks brown in WW1, so brown it was. If I am wrong, I still have a brown tank. It’s a lovely kit, a joy to build, and very satisfying to deploy on the table.

February 17, 2022

Barsoom: Light Flyer

For years this was the only model flyer I had: It was nice enough. but even with all the interior removed, it could only hold three figures on 20mm bases.


It was originally a Tatooine Sand Skiff by Galoob, designed for much smaller figures. I added some low wire railings and safety ropes, and four wire rings that I used to hang it above the wargames table. While it looked good hanging there, it liked to swing and tip the figures out.


But it does make a good private boat or light patrol craft. The crew shown are from Bronze Age Miniatures.


I made a base for it using dowels (The toy already had holes the right size for them) and the base plate from a RedVectors Small Martian Flyer.


I made the base the same height as the RedVectors base, and here are the two side by side. The similarities in style are obvious.

It’s a nice little flyer, and will be useful for Barsoom or SPACE 1889.

Old Glory Arthurian Warband

Filed under: Ancients, Dark Ages, Old Glory Miniatures — gisby @ 17:26

Many years ago I picked up a copy of Simon McDowell’s ‘Romans Goths, and Huns‘, a book on gaming the Age of Migrations. (Note, various editions change the order of the names*) It was a great little book, with rules, scenarios, and figure ideas, and I found it quite inspirational. now, 30 years later I wanted to try them out, so I made a few units for the game. (You can just use WRG-based units, of course.)


These are Old Glory Arthurian infantry. They are in a mix of armour and equipment, and are beginning to show their age. Some of the poses are a bit dodgy, and they require some care to rank up in units.


The shields are hand-painted and look far better from a distance (40 feet or so). The banner is Saint Cassandra, Nostra Domina de Motu Perpetuo. It’s based on a banner I made for use in the SCA.

I like the unit well enough, but it isn’t anything special – It probably would have looked better with shield decals rather than hand-painted Chi-ros.

* Simon McDowell later released the Comitatus rules, covering the same period, well worth a look.

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