Gisby's Gaming Blog

September 2, 2022

VBCW: Horse Guards

When North Star Military Figures announced they were releasing these figures, especially with a deal for a 10-figure unit, I knew I had to have them. Although intended for ‘steampunk’ I saw no appreciable difference between them and 1930’s (or indeed 2020’s) uniforms. Experts will no doubt point out dozens, but I generously ignore them.

Not only will these provide a colourful and interesting unit, but they will present as an old Britains toy soldier unit, adding to my joy as my various tanks, guns, and artillery are all stand-ins for they toys I could not afford as a child.

To this end, I needed all arms at the slope, and Nick did not fail me. He generously supplied me with that arms I requested, and followed up checking that all was OK. Great customer service as always.

I removed the cast-in-place trumpet banner and printed a new one on my computer. I also added a sword hilt to the trumpeter’s scabbard, as he had none.

There are two poses available, plus the officer and trumpeter. All except the officer share the same body. Each has a separate head and scabbard, and (except for the officer) sword/trumpet arms, The scabbard strap needs to be bent to fit but it is easy.

When they arrived, I wasn’t thrilled with the sculpting, the bodies looked sort of bulbous, and the proportions were off. Then I looked at actual troops, and the cuirass is bulbous and throws their proportions off. All in all, the sculpting is fine, and they paint up nicely.

Banner for Trumpeter – Print at 300 DPI

They are useful for VSF, VBCW, Pulp, whatever. They are nice figures.

August 22, 2022

Space 1889: Skrill Rider

I was looking for flying dinosaurs to use as skrill, and I came across a picture of the Rafm Um-Cijo Cliff Flyer. It looked interesting, and I put it on my list, while thinking ‘That is one miniature I never would have expected I would buy.’

Days later, I was searching through a box for some other figures…. and there it was, RAF3035, ‘Um-Cijo Cliff Flyer,‘ still in its package. The price tag was for a shop I had never heard of, and I certainly had no memory of the kit.

Sculpted by Bob Murch, it is superbly engineered – the wings slot into the body, and the outer wings fit in such a way that they almost don’t need glue. There was no need to pin the wings or any other parts.

The lower half of the rider is moulded as part of the flyer. I replaced the upper half with a Grenadier elf as a surrogate Martian.

I used the base supplied, glued onto a CD, with a length of coat-hanger wire to support the creature. Here he flies with a few lesser skrill.

August 21, 2022

Space 1889: More Skrill

Recently I have been looking for skrill. Like many others, I have been substituting flying dinosaurs for actual skrill. I have also used small-scale Nazgul mounts and dragons as small, niusance skrill. (They are cheap, which is nice)

Larger flying dinosaurs are usually quite expensive, fine if you want to use them as if they are a dragon, less useful if you want to use them like lions or wolves.

Antediluvian Miniatures has, in their Lost World range, a lovely Rhamphorhynchus, and not only is it well priced, but you can order a set of five for the price of four. This gives you a nice-sized pack of flying predators, and they are large enough to be threats even as individuals.

They are supplied with plastic flight bases, but I used bases of my own design. 40mm washers with sintra ‘rocks’ anchoring a wire support. The bottom end of the wire is bent and glued/puttied in place in the washer’s hole so it won’t twist loose.

The Rhamphorhynchus’s are far better painted on the Antediluvian site, but I wanted the pale blue look of the Space 1889 skrill. They are painted a pale sky blue with a lightly-pigmented brown wash.

Of course they are still useful for VSF, Pulp, and Lost World games!

Here they are with a skrill rider, allowing you to compare them to a Martian for scale.

August 13, 2022

SPACE 1889: German Land-Crawler

Filed under: Germany, SPACE 1889, Victorian Adventure Gaming — gisby @ 14:40

I wanted an armoured vehicle for my German forces: It had to be cool-looking, original, and ineffective. Taking a WW1 or WW2 tank and adding smokestacks to it wouldn’t do, I am not trying to refight WW1 30 years early.

Tehnolog in Russia produces a model tank called ‘Bronekorpus. There are two variants, and they are cleverly designed. You choose which end of the hull will be the front. The end pieces will fit on either end, and you choose which way is up. The same with the tracks, they can go on either side, and either side can be up. There are a bunch of different weapon configurations, and if that’s not enough the parts can be switched between the two variants.

They are also cheap as chips.

The design of the tanks is a bit 40K, they are not practical vehicles, but that just makes them more useful for VSF.

I used the hull with a forward casement, and set the tracks with an aggressive cant. (Note it will bottom-out quite readily at the hull’s ‘chin.’) I replaced the turret with a single access hatch, and added a smoke stack at the back.

There is a single machine-gun in a flexible mount at the front of the vehicle. It might be a lot of vehicle for a single MG, but there are times when a mobile armoured MG is a nice thing to have.

The figure is a Wargames Atlantic 28mm plastic WW1 German.

March 17, 2022

Space 1889: Skrill

Filed under: SPACE 1889, Victorian Adventure Gaming — gisby @ 14:43

The Skrill in Space 1889 is a nifty design. Unfortunately nobody makes them, or anything much like them. But on MY Mars, any flying nuisance is a Skrill, and there is more than one type.

They are quite useful, as nuisances, as scenery, or as clues (Why are the skrill circling over there?)

lI sourced mine in the Warrior Miniatures 10mm Fantasy range, TTF-2 Flying Dragon and TTF-3 Flying Nalsgul. They come in pairs, so I wound up with 20 in total (far more than pictured, and enough to give the impression of a huge swarm) John also included a larger dragon, from I know not where.

Although I intend them to be used as skrill, they are useful for any ‘Lost World’ game.

As cast, they are quite flat in pose, so bending wings makes a big difference, as does mounting them at different angles.

The bases are washers, with two layers of sintra rocks to support the wire stands. They are quite stable, as the skrill themselves are not large.

They turned out to be exactly what I wanted: Useful, cheap, and fairly unique.

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.

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.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is head1.jpg

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?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is triceratops1.jpg

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.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is scarab4.jpg

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.

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.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is pank1.jpg

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.

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.

Older Posts »

Blog at