Thursday, 12 July 2018

Mushroom Forests

Mushroom forest and the crew of the HMSS Endeavour

Somewhere in the Solar System, the away team of the HMSS Endeavour, led by their intrepid leader Captain James T Cook, warily approach an alien village through the surrounding mushroom forests.

The away team is composed of Captain Cook, Dr Banks, Mr Solander, Cheerful Rodgers, one artist, two lieutenants, a Marine squad and Sargent Weston.

The crew advance watched over by some marines in the mushroom forest. One of  the Ship's artists is in the centre of the picture making quick sketches.

A view from the village

Captain Cook waves his men forward

Marines in the forest ready to provide covering fire

A view from the lander above

A drawing by one of the artists of the mushrooms - Science Officer Dr Bank's collection

Drawing of the whole forest - Dr Bank's collection

Figures from Pendraken, mushrooms from AliExpress, village part of a paper card castle that is not yet completed.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Episode One - Solar Travels and the HMSS Endeavour

Solar Travels

Captain James T Cook and the HMSS Endeavour - VSF 1770

“Space the new frontier.  These are the voyages of the Her Majesty’s Star Ship Endeavour.  Its five year mission: to explore strange new worlds; to seek out new life and new civilisations; to boldly go where no Englishman has gone before.”- Captain James T Cook

This Episode: Background of the world, Franco-Prussian Alliance and the battle of Dogger Bank, war in the antipodes, Martian invasion, the collapse of the colonial empires, a world littered with Martian technology and war machines.  Orders from the Admiralty. Meet the crew and the ship.  

Some fluffy background

History of the world so far.

The discovery of anti-gravitarium in 1865 and then of radium in 1868 led to an up ending of the world’s political order.  Within a generation the British Empire’s Royal Navy fleet was extinguished as a civilising force.  The Battle of Dogger Bank in 1885 between the Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet and the Franco-Prussian Aerial Fleet ended in a draw and with terrifying casualties for both fleets. 

The Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet was principally sea based but with radium powered steam engines.  The Royal Navy used its supply of anti-gravitarium to power smaller patrol ships of the sky that used the battleships and their new ‘carriers’ as bases.

The Franco-Prussian Fleet took a different view.  With no institutional sailing legacy to protect, they used all their anti-gravitarium for a smaller number of large flying battleships, powered by radium steam engines.  Their battleships could land on water but did so only to pick up new supplies or refill their water tanks that were used to supply their radium engines with propellant.

Battle of Dogger Bank

The Battle of Dogger Bank proved that the ability to move in three dimensions was a real winner when fighting similar sized craft who could only move in two dimensions.  The Royal Navy fought very bravely and had caused the Franco-Prussians great damage but in the end the Royal Navy had only the battleship HMS Indestructible left fighting with a few small flying patrol craft in support. 

The remaining five battleships of the Franco-Prussian Fleet circled around the Indestructible swatting away the small Royal Navy flyers.  Captain Fisher of the Indestructible shouted down to the engine room to give him all the power they had, remove the safety stops.  Everything! The engine room crew went to work and the power rose and rose, the Indestructible gaining speed and fighting bravely against the circling enemy.  First one of the Franco-Prussian flying battleships exploded, and then another.  Fisher dared to dream of escape or even victory.  The French admiral of the Franco-Prussian Fleet cursed, he did not want this battle snatched away from him at the last moment.  Eager to get a devastating victory over the hated English and erase two hundred years of naval defeats he signalled his fleet to fly closer to eliminate this final enemy. 

Just as the remaining Franco-Prussian flying battleships closed to 1,000 meters for their final assault that would surely destroy the last Royal Navy battleship and provide a shattering victory to the continental powers, the Indestructible’s engines went critical.  A blinding flash of light and a mushroom shaped cloud visible for over 100 miles marked in apocalyptic terms the site of the battle. 

Only one Royal Navy patrol boat survived, saved by being in the shadow of the French Battleship Austerlitz when the fireball from the Indestructible’s explosion crushed all before it.  The patrol boat was able to limp back to Scapa Flow and report to the Admiralty of their “victory”.  Within two weeks all the men of the patrol ship were dead and the last survivors of the battle were gone.

1886 and the Martian Invasion

Aliens and disaster

Subsequent to the cease fire between the European powers being signed small wars broke out across the Earth as the minor powers battled for resources and position while the super powers were distracted. Link  These wars all came to a halt when the Martian Invasion of 1886 began.  The Martians foolishly believed that the Earthlings would have been exhausted by their wars.  However, the Earthlings proved that they would never tire of battle and were armed, experienced and more than ready to fight the Martians instead of each other.

The Martian forces battled across the Earth smashing all forces sent to stop them.  Only in Australia were they halted but at a terrible cost and with the unleashing of an evil weapon, the wagon delivered munition - radium weapon “WDM-RW”.  Link Although this gave the Earth hope it needed it was the Martians dying from deadly earthly pathogens that saved the day. 

However then a new problem arose.  The Earth was now littered with powerful Martian technology.  Capable of being activated or reverse engineered by any intelligent mechanic, who might not know why it worked but would be able to make it work.  Any country with some industrial base was also able to make crude copies and soon clandestine scientists and engineers were selling their Martian Technology skills to the highest bidder.

Being in the MT industry was soon the place to be.

The major European colonial powers where in disarray and barely able to administer and protect their own countries, their armies shattered both from their war before the invasion as well as being a primary target of the Martians.  Much to their dismay the colonies and territories soon broke free and were ignoring the great powers.  China quickly sent the European mercantile concessions packing, India expelled the British and then broke up into independent kingdoms, the United States consolidated its grip on the northern American continent, Japan reorganised its navy as an air force, and the African countries broke free from their European overlords.

Every country and warlord across the Earth was soon sporting Martian technology and soon some of the more adventurous souls even started to migrate from Earth, looking for freedom from rules and conventions, or in search of adventure and treasure.

In a London still bearing the scars of the Martian invasion, the Empire in tatters, the government struggled to hold together the country.  The Martian technology provided a great new resource and with their great industrial and scientific base the United Kingdom was quick to take advantage of it.

1895 and Recovery and Reconstruction.

Our plucky hero receives his orders.

By 1895 the United Kingdom was back on track as a world power with Queen Victoria sitting firmly on the throne in a Buckingham Palace rebuilt in glass and steel.  The UK government carefully eyed its European rivals who were all smarting from the same problem – ancient aristocracies with a limited view of the changed reality.  All the old colonial empires had lost their possessions, they no longer had the technological advantages over the nations of Africa, Asia, Americas or the Pacific to take back what they wanted.  In any case a new arena of resources was now available – the Solar System.  A few lucky early pioneers who had explored the solar system in stolen Martian ships returned with tales of wonders and riches.

The Admiralty had sent out a series of expeditions to specific places.  One expedition built a moon base and another expedition built a base in the asteroids, but they soon realised they were working in the dark.  They needed information, so a great explorer was required, just like the voyages of the 17th and 18th centuries, they needed an explorer just like Cook.  Luckily they had one.

“Orders received by telegram sir!” said Captain James T Cook’s servant Cheerful Rodgers.  “You are to report to the Admiralty immediately.  This is excellent news sir.  Soon we will be sailing the seven seas and giving Johnny Foreigner what for!”

“What now” wondered Cook to himself ignoring Cheerful’s usual optimistic interpretation of any vaguely good news.  “Probably being reduced to quarter pay.” He had been in the doldrums and on half pay for a few years. After the Martian invasion ended, there no longer seemed to be a need to seafarers.  What use had the navy for its navigators in an age of anti-gravitarium, radium and steam power?

On Thursday at 9am Cook reported to the Admiralty’s new offices in London, much reduced from their pre-wars’ size and surrounded by the devastation of the wars, they still teemed with staff and people and Cook slowly made his way inside to the reception counter.  “Captain Cook presenting as ordered” he announced while handing over the telegram from the Admiralty.

“Captain, please report to the offices of Admiral Burns on the 2nd floor.  Midshipman Bootie will guide you”

Cook followed the midshipman to the Admiral’s offices and waited until invited in.

“Captain Cook, excellent, thank you for coming please take a seat.  We have a most extraordinary offer for you.  Will you take some tea?”

“Yes please Admiral, white with two please.” said Cook.

“Excellent” said the Admiral as he waited while the midshipman poured the teas. 

“Now the offer” he continued “as you know this dreadful radium and anti-gravitarium has ruined the navy, the Martians haven’t helped either.  The Empire is basically gone except for some small islands and forgotten outposts but we are planning a new one and we will need your skills.”

“More than happy to help in any way I can” said Cook enthusiastically as the prospect of full pay beckoned.

“Excellent Captain, excellent.  Now as you know there have been a few expeditions into the solar system to establish bases which have been more or less successful.  But our problem is that we don’t really know what is out there.  Is there anything worth grabbing? A new Empire perhaps, should we establish a Solar Trading Company like the East India Company to make money, diamond mines? You get the idea.  And that is where you and your navigation and map making skills come in.  We need someone to lead a five year mission to explore strange new worlds; to seek out new life and new civilisations; to boldly go where no Englishman has gone before and make them colonies.  Will you lead that mission?”

“I would be honoured Admiral” said Cook calmly – “five years on full pay, plus mission bonuses, prize money, loot – I will be made!” he thought to himself, “no more sharing run down boarding rooms with Cheerful”

“Excellent Captain” said the Admiral “Now let’s discuss the mission in detail and we can go and visit your command and then meet the crew later.”

“First up we want you to go to Mars and make sure they are not up to anything.  We believe that they have been devastated there as well but want to make sure that they are not rebuilding their forces to attack us again.”

“Sounds dangerous Admiral but I am more than willing to go”

“Excellent, once you have sorted that out you will make a grand tour of the Solar System.  Starting with Mercury, then Venus, the asteroids, Jupiter, and so on.  How does that sound Captain?”

“I would be honoured Admiral.  I am raring to go.”

“Excellent Captain.  I knew we could rely on you. Let’s go and meet your crew.”

The landing ship and crew

Royal Marines with radium rifles. Back left sargent Weston and  Corporal Smith with their mini-gatling guns

The crew armed with rifles

Officers and mid-shipmen

Science officer Dr Banks centre with his colleagues

Naval ratings with  Gatling guns to defend the landing ship

Cheerful Rodgers and friends

Captain James T Cook in various poses

The Endeavour is a frigate that was built in orbit around the Earth. The Landing Ship is what Captain Cook will use to land a party on the surface of any planet to investigate. While the top area can only contain a few crew the hull contains plenty of space to land a large force. There are four landing ships on the Endeavour.
The Landing ship of the Endeavour - used to bring the landing force to a planet's surface for investigations
The landing ship has two Gatling guns to clear the landing zone.   The ship is a copy of the Martian ships that attacked Earth. Not as smoothly built but sturdy like all Victorian machinery. Made to last.

The crew piloting the landing ship.
Left to Right - Captain Cook, Ship Commander Robert Molyneux, Science Officer Dr Banks, Navigation/Astronomer Charles Green

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Temples to explore

Another Terrain Post.

This time it is three Inca pyramids that I got off eBay.

Made out of card, they go together well and are the right size for my 10mm armies.

In these pictures, you can see the British regulars moving through the palm tree forests (supplied by AliExpress) towards the pyramids. Hopefully there will be some golden artifacts to return to London for display.

The rear guard is ready in the event the natives object to the scientific analysis of their treasures.

Through the palm groves

The whole company

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Ruins and Robots

Well moving took a lot longer than expected. But everything is pretty much sorted and I am back to help fill up the internet.

Just a short post of some terrain I have put together and some new figures.painted over the past few months.

First up the ruins of some city. Destroyed in battle it is littered with abandoned cars, buses and trucks. Craters sit where buildings used to stand. All the buildings in the city have been destroyed.

Buildings are mdf kits from Empires at War

Cars, trucks and buses are from Aliexpress.

Highways are hot wheel tracks with the pylons from the model railway section of the hobby shop. Atlas I think.

Must be near the sea with all that rust!

When the wars are over it is time to clean up. What better to do this than a company of WallE bots.
Here we see a squadron of WallE bots entering the city, lots of work to do.

But there is some competition. What are these minion bots up to? Some evil plan no doubt. Something is hiding out in the ruins of the city.

I think that these are meant to be Not R2-D2 bots but I like them better as minions.