MARCH Reading Minor Galactic Epic Fail

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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.

https://cupcakesandmachetes.wordpress.com/2018/03/12/celebrate-the-ladies-week-2/

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 Unpublished for over a hundred and fifty years since being written in 1834, this edition also has quite Gothic or Romantic illustrations of the main male and female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.

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March reading for Man of TIN

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.

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Nicely posed and animated 54mm Princess Leia from the Star Wars Battlepacks: Commanders 30th anniversary 77/07 set

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!

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My Princess Leia figure after the Clip2Comic treatment.
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Star Wars Battlepacks: Commanders 2007 

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.

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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.

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Lizard man legs but Battlestar Galactica Cylon type helmets – 54mm 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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/25/close-little-space-wars/

What would Charlotte Bronte and sisters have made of these fighting Star Princesses as their fantasy heroines?

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One of Charlotte Bronte’s illustrations gets the  Clip2Comic treatment into graphic novel style. 

Next week on Tuesday 20th March 2018 the Donald Featherstone Centenary. A change of reading matter maybe for that one!

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/03/featherstone100-donald-featherstone-centenary-20-march-2018/

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN 17 March 2018.

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Happy International Star Wars Day May the 4th … be with you!

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Last September’s back Yarden galaxy game with 54mm Star Wars Command and Airfix Space Warriors. 

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/25/in-a-garden-far-far-away/

Happy International Star Wars Day,  May the 4th … be with you!

A day for duelling lightsabers no doubt!

In homage to one of my all time favourite films (life was never quite the same after 1977/8) and in keeping with our last Duelling game blog about Bartitsu, some interesting duelling illustrations:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/28/more-duelling-inspiration-bartitsu/

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H. G. Wells meets Star Wars … Very funny altered image from the Bartitsu.org website. Well worth a long look through. 

http://www.bartitsu.org/index.php/2015/12/e-w-skywalker-vs-darth-vigny/

and some much more ‘serious’ discussion about lightsaber moves in duelling.

https://www.fx-sabers.com/forum/index.php?topic=23437.0

Happy May 4th! 

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 4 May 2017

 

Close Little Space Wars

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They may be Airfix but …Space laser swords and space blaster pistols?  What would Donald Featherstone think?

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:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/close-little-wars-featherstones-simplest-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)

Weapon Ranges

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

 

Movement ranges

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.

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Space Marine / Police with laser blaster rifle?

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/

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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.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/25/in-a-garden-far-far-away/

Posted by Man of TIN blog, September 2016.