Crossposted from my ManofTIN Two Blog
Toy soldiers, gaming, Imagi-Nations
Crossposted from my ManofTIN Two Blog
Good news from Imperial Miniatures / Dorset Toy Soldiers – their quirky rereleased 54mm Space Range
Blog crossposted by Mark Man Of TIN, 11 March 2023
In a year that has seen Chinese spy balloons and strange ‘alien’ shapes being shot down over the Americas, I stumbled at breakfast upon the secret behind the design of the enemy Cylon raider ships in Battlestar Galactica …
It must be some weird kind of cloaking device?
Raiders from the Croissant Nebula, no doubt?
Blog post by Mark Man Of TIN, April 2023
Celebrating Battlestar Galactica reboot being available on BBC Iplayer again
How did your games and world change in 1977 / 1978?
Cross posted from my Man Of TIN Blog Two
Airfix Space Warriors and TimMee Galaxy Laser Quest Figures … but how to paint them? Bare legs or leggings in Outer Space?
Crossposted from Man Of TIN Blog Two to mark International Women’s Day and the end of FEMbruary.
More of those curious Airfix Space Warriors:
Crossposted from Mark Man of TIN Blog Two, 31 January 2022
I hope the other bloggers on the Cupcakes and Machetes blog challenge have been getting along slightly better with their March reading plans than mine.
Being Women’s History Month, many of the blog followers are exploring female authors, including cartoon or graphic novels.
I had thought that I would get back into Bronte reading mode and started off reading the first few chapters of Charlotte Brontes novel Shirley (1849), which has interesting potential gaming scenario material. Inspired by recent 1830s and 1840s Chartist riots but set during the late Napoleonic Wars episodes of Luddite machine breaking, there is an interesting attack and defence of a textile mill.
Alongside this, I had lined up in my bedside table for reading another Bronte book from their edited juvenilia High Life in Verdopolis, A Story from the GlassTown Saga edited by Christine Alexander. Unpublished for over a hundred and fifty years since being written in 1834, this edition also has quite Gothic or Romantic illustrations of the main male and female characters by Charlotte herself.
What I ended up reading by accident instead, having found the Bronte books hard to get into, were the first two Star Wars film paperback novelisations that I had not read since childhood and the 1978 Battlestar Galactica novelisation, all well thumbed paperbacks.
Arguably, despite the male authors, there is one attractively feisty female role model in Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back in the form of no-nonsense Princess Leia.
Watching the Star Wars prequel stand-alone film Rogue One and sequels film Star Wars VII The Force Awakens and VIII The Last Jedi, I was pleased to see that in Disney’s version of the Star Wars franchise, outer space is now (alien races excepted) more multiracial and equal opportunities in its humanoids than it was in the 1970s Sci-fi days. More main female characters (Jyn Urso and Rey), more female fighter pilots of a mature age, more multiracial female role models, all this will hopefully attract a wider age range and demographic to these films, the sci-fi genre and potentially sci-fi and fantasy gaming.
After reading the Service Ration Distribution (Hobby) blog I found a fabulous free / cheap little app to turn photos into graphic novel / comic frames called Clip2Comic on AppStore https://servicerationdistributionhobby.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/kursk-action-comic.html which allowed me to do this to photos. Bliss!
It is a long time since as a child I saw bits and bobs of Battlestar Galactica on TV in the late 1970s and early 1980s. I completely missed the recent 2005 remake. The 1978 book and background scenario was surprisingly complex, including the metal clad robotic Cylon Warriors (Battlestar’s version of Star Wars storm troopers?). The Cylon villains regard the irrational, emotional nature of the human characters, along with the human imperialist or colonial expansion to other planets searching for resources, as a pest or threat to the peace of the rest of the galaxy. Interesting idea. I look forward to finishing this battered old paperback.
Being an American TV serial or movie like Star Trek, there are more black and female figures in the 1978 Battlestar Galactica than in Star Wars. The female characters in the book do get to pilot shuttles and analyse data but do seem more ‘eye candy’ than feisty. They often need rescuing. At least they get to do more than scream a lot at aliens like many of Doctor Who’s 1970s female companions. Some viewers may disagree.
These paperback novels (including the Star Wars Special Young Readers Edition that I think we bought cheaper through the school paperback book club) had not only the story and fairly accurate dialogue from the movie but x “pages of fabulous colour” pictures from the film. A bit of colour in the otherwise brown and orange 1970s colour palette.
In the late 1970s, before DVDs, videos, downloads and websites made film photos and footage easily available, this added feature of real colour movie photographs was really exciting. Alongside film still colour picture trading cards, I would have drawn these scenes many many times and used them to learn to draw the characters and spaceships.
These Cylon Warriors reminded me of some of the figures of the short lived 54mm / 1:32 Airfix Space Warriors.
The Airfix Space Warriors were only around in shop space in 1981 for a short while. I had one box. I missed these when reissued briefly in silver plastic 6 figure bags in 1995. Since then I have picked them up in ones and twos whenever seen and affordable.
Several more of the Airfix 1981 characters look as if they have a Flash Gordon (1980) Star Wars (1977) Battlestar Galactica (1978) Buck Rogers influence to this cloaked Starbuck / Apollo like space pilot figure.
These Space Warrior figures also contain the only fighting female 54mm figure made by Airfix, the Star Princess with space blaster. They are not often found second hand compared to the other figures. Maybe jealous sisters nicked them all?
I hope to get these figures painted and into action for the summer, added to pound store plastic ‘space warrior’ conversions, especially for future galactic garden games.
What would Charlotte Bronte and sisters have made of these fighting Star Princesses as their fantasy heroines?
Next week on Tuesday 20th March 2018 the Donald Featherstone Centenary. A change of reading matter maybe for that one!
Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN 17 March 2018.
Play testing my Close Little Star Wars / Close Little Space Wars blog post rules https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/25/close-little-space-wars/
Star date: 9.25.2016
Planet: Yarden / Location: in a galaxy far afar away (but strangely, just round the corner of my house)
Scenario: A captured red hat enemy staff officer of the Imperious Forces (usually the bad guys) has revealed the whereabouts of the secret Imperious Space Base on Planet Yarden.
He is interrogated with mind control by tiny General Yodel.
Rebellious or Revolutionary Commando Troops from many nations and planets led by the tiny General Yodel and feisty Princess Layla are heading there to destroy this base.
Its giant super laser cannon is capable of destroying entire planets / space ships / etc, yardeh yardeh yardeh …
Any similarity to the characters and plots of well known space films by George Lucas and Disney are entirely coincidental or in your own mind.
Meanwhile on Planet Yarden, the Rebellious or Revolutionary Troops head towards the Imperious base with their star crawler packed with Space TNT.
The secret Imperious base is protected by watchtowers and a smaller guard base.
Luckily the Rebellious or Revolutionary troops have a secret weapon, a heavy space ballista mounted on a space ship.
In Turn 1, whilst most of the figures are out of weapons range, the Rebellious troops land a direct hit with a space rock on several of the (Cylonic looking) Imperious Troops behind rocky barricades, guarding the smaller space cannon.
In Turn 2, Captain Lush and several of his Rebellious laser sword warriors are killed in a melee with Imperious Troopers.
Turn 3 – The giant space cannon of Imperious Trooper Base lands a direct hit on the Rebellious Space Freighter and destroys the space Ballista and its crew. A dice throw sorts out if it is repairable; it isn’t, cutting off the Rebellious chances on escape by ship.
Fortunately in Turn 3, the crew of the Rebellious Space Crawler packed with Space TNT roll the right d6 number: 4,5,6 to blow up on this move. The smaller guard base is breached, killing several Imperious troopers. The Rebellious crew bale out and head towards the larger base.
Turn 4 – A desperate fight takes place on the entrance ladders and drawbridge of the larger Imperious Space Base.
Turn 5 – Meanwhile some Imperial troopers threaten to capture General Yodel and Space Princess Layla and free the Imperious Staff Officer. However Layla grabs a space blaster rifle and Yodel uses his Mind Force (two d6 compared to 1d6 in the melee) to fight off the Imperious Troopers.
Turn 6 – A dice is thrown for when Rebellious troops might continue to attack and take over the base or withdraw into the forests.
Similarly the Imperious Base Commander dices to see when the base goes into lockdown.
The main Imperious base being in lockdown, its smaller base destroyed by the exploding Rebellious half-truck , their own Rebellious space freighter ship irreparably damaged – it’s time for General Yodel and Layla to escape into the forests and undergrowth of Yarden. Time to fight another day …
Figures, Vehicles and Buildings
The 54mm / 1:32 scale figures were a real mix, cobbled quickly together for this game, so many are unpainted. If I had waited to paint figures and vehicles or scratch build a space base etc, the weather may well have turned and I would not have got this solo outdoor game in.
Sterne the Imperious Base Commander and Staff Officer prisoner are Lone Star Afrika Korps. Colourful 1960s spacemen man the smaller space cannon.
Pound store figures in khaki form the bulk of the Imperious troops, commanded by Imperial Empire Star Wars officers. Airfix 1981 Space Warriors and Star Wars Command figures (from Pound stores / Wilko) form the rest of the Rebellious troops, led by a zoo ranger as Princess Layla. Pound store police formed some dark blue space marines.
The space freighter ship is a lucky ‘handmade’ wooden ship find from the 1960s, topped by another junk shop find of a plastic ballista (Timpo?) This had to be strapped on to fire properly.
The smaller laser cannon is really a spring loaded metal cannon from the 1920s, it had a good range of about 2 feet of more firing cotton buds / Q tips.
The buildings are an Airfix Strongpoint Bridge watchtower (off show in photos) and a small roofless ‘pet house’ to hold the Imperious Staff Officer prisoner.
The main space and guard bases are the black plastic delivery bases of those PC / computer server boxes, obtained spare as packaging from a local workplace. The plastic space domes are seed incubator tops from the garden centre. The deadly large space gun is a Tiger.com £1 periscope.
Rules and Playtesting
The Close Little Star Wars version of Close Wars were scaled up for the Yarden / Garden and 54mm figures.
Buildings such as the bases seemed too impregnable, without firing the Q Tip weapons.
Any umpire type command decisions (playing solo) were solved by creating special d6 dice throws such as Is the freighter reparable? Will the Rebellious troops withdraw? Will the Imperious base and big gun withdraw into lockdown? When will the TNT in the half track blow up the Guard base?
Many of the troops only had close quarter weapons such as laser pistols or laser swords, meaning they could only be used up close or in melee phase.
The Airfix space Warriors with the disc / boomerang thing were used as Laser Space Grenadiers. Range of 12″, throw 4 to 6 to hit home. Throw d6 to see how many troops are hit.
Luckiest Shot? The Space Ballista worked well firing in trials at first chunky dice (too heavy) and second, pea gravel. This took out several of the ‘Battlestar Galactica’ type Cylon figures from the Airfix Space Warriors set who were safely behind barriers serving with the Imperious forces. Ironic to be using plastic figure pound store rocky outcrops outdoors in the Yarden.
I hope H.G. Wells would approve of this stellar mash-up …
Great fun, possibly the last garden game maybe of the year as it gets colder and wetter going into autumn.
Posted by Man of TIN blog, September 2016.
As a further insult to Donald Featherstone’s Close Wars appendix rules to his 1962 book War Games, I have scaled these up to 54mm and taken them outside to a bigger outer space and another planet, the far off galaxies or planets of Yarden. How will they work out?
Previously on Man of Tin blog we have featured my hexed up version of these Close Wars rules:
Rainy day? Crowded alien planets work quite well on your tabletop (if forced inside by British wet weather) using different borrowed pieces of your Yarden (Yard / Garden). Fake plastic or real plants, rocks, stones etc create a sense of a cluttered planet / terrain etc.
As a child growing up in the 1970s, life changed around about 1977/78 when Star Wars came out as a rival to Airfix, Weebles, Cowboys, toy cars, Knights, Busybodies Etc.
This is primarily a ground troops / infantry based space game without much in the way of space vehicles or larger laser cannons, otherwise the ranges become toooooo big!
Create your own big laser cannon range and dice hit rules as needed.
Imperial (Earth) measurements and Earth GMT time will be used throughout (with Metric for those as likes)
Space Laser blaster pistol – 12″ or 30cms
Space Laser blaster rifle – 24″ or 60 cms
Space laser bow – 12″ or 30 cms
Space Laser swords – melee weapons only.
Space Laser spears – 6″ or 15 cms
Natives / Aliens / Savages – 18″ or 45cms
Space Infantry (<4) – 18″ or 45 cms
Space Infantry (groups of 4+) – 12″ or 30cms
Astromech droids 6″ or 15 cms.
Humanoid Robots – 9″ to 12″ 22 to 30cms
Hover Infantry on Space Bikes – 36″ or 90cms
Star Crawler vehicles, lunar buggies – 24″ or 60cms
Usual Melee Rules. Usual hit d6 Dice throws. Featherstone savings throws if you like them.
Add other rules, weapons and characters as you see fit.
Mark up a garden cane with 6″ intervals or use a metal retractable ruler as needed.
Find some knee pads or a garden kneeler if playing outside.
Before you play, some essential research for your Close Little Star Wars:
a) watch movies and TV, from Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica to Flash Gordon (Black and white 1930s) or the colour movie 1980, choose your favourite. Flash, ah-ah!
b) find some suitable plastic figures, raid the pound store for suitable plastic figures. Read our previous blog posts and Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog for conversion possibilities.
Track down the very scarce 1981 Airfix Space Warriors, they’re now in the V&A museum of childhood collection as toys of their time http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O41122/space-warriors-space-crews-airfix/
There’s the very odd Britain’s 1980s metal based Star Guards range with vehicles and aliens. There are more recent 54mm Star Wars Command plastic figures that were cheaply available c. £4 a box in branches of Wilko (2016). Some good deals on the eBay / Amazon / internet too!
Pound store fire fighters and their equipment make good space stuff.
Alternatively you could upscale the rules to use old or new 10″ Star Wars play figures (buy bundles of the more battered ones on EBay) but the fiddly weapons tend to get lost in gardens. The Playskool Heroes Star Wars series for younger children have weapons moulded on.
Hopefully H.G. Wells, father of modern science fiction, would approve of this futuristic version of Little Wars.
Let play commence in a galaxy / planet / garden “far far away …” in my next blog post.
Posted by Man of TIN blog, September 2016.