Monday, 24 February 2020

Dungeon library - Mantic terraincrate review

One thing that my Hirst Arts dungeon has been lacking is a decent library.  All evil wizards need a good supply of magic spell books, gazetteers, atlases, arcane manuscripts etc.  I've been thinking about constructing one for years but haven't had a chance to sit down and do all the cutting out of balsa for the bookcases, cardboard for the books etc.  Fortunately Mantic Games have come to my aid with their Terrain Crate library, a set of which I recently picked up along with their torture chamber furniture, both for about half price.
Painted above, from the box below.
The bookcases are a hard plastic and come pre-assembled and pre-painted in a dark brown.  Mould lines are minimal but they still benefit from a quick clean up with a razor blade or very sharp craft knife.  I gave mine a good scrub with warm water and washing up liquid before painting in my usual "dungeon wood" colour scheme.

A small library.

The set include 2 complete sets of bookcases (3 wide, 1 narrow, 1 corner), a desk, pile of books and a ladder.  The torture set includes 2 complete sets of an iron maiden, trolley of equipment, rack, table, coffin, sarcophagus and skeletal remains.
Book cases and desk.
The bookcases have nice chunky detail that takes drybrushing well.  Although I repainted them completely, a quick brush of light brown would be sufficient if you wanted a fast, easy improvement.

Torture equipment and cupboard
Some of the torture equipment is a little fiddly and needs to stand in hot water to straighten out slightly warped legs etc.
Ready for the next victim!

Detail is excellent, especially on some of the torture equipment.
A few ominous stains on that wood...

Due to the moulding process, there isn't much recessed detail, eg under manacles and chains, but it's probably tougher than resin would be and lighter and cheaper than metal.

Cupboard and shelves.


The books are varied in size.  Although they don't have any spine detail, it's easy to add some with a dab of gold paint.
More bookcases.

I'd give the library set a B+ (good detail, comes ready-assembled and painted but quite chunky and a few mould lines to clean up) and the torture chamber set a B- (also excellent detail but mould lines again and also some warped legs on the rack, turture table etc.)

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Snow Trac

A few years ago I spotted this Snow Trac at the Norfolk & Suffolk Aviation Museum in Flixton. 

Snow Trac

Snow Tracs were used by NATO in Norway and I think they'd be a good addition to my mid-1980's Action Force collection.

Snow Trac rear detail

The Royal Marines version was very light weight, with the fixed cabin replaced by a canvas tilt.

Information panel at Flixton museum.

They could easily be fitted with a WOMBAT recoilless rifle for anti-tank work.  Incidentally, anyone who watched the recent His Dark Materials BBC TV series may recognise the Snow Trac as a vehicle the Gyptians had in their convoy to rescue the children from Bolvangar (though without the gun!).

Snow Trac in use with an L6 WOMBAT recoilless rifle.

A trip to the local car boot sale this morning furnished me with a matchbox Snow Trac for the princely sum of 50 pence.  It's slightly over-sized but not by much and to be honest, how often do you see one driving down the street to be able to compare it to a person?

Snow Trac in the snow.

I'll need to whip up some tracks for it but that shouldn't be too hard.  Royal Marine Snow Tracs did not have the fixed cabin but I'm not planning on fitting a WOMBAT so I'll just add a bit of stowage and leave it at that.

That man in blue should be wearing a hat in the cold weather.

I'll need to bend the front back into shape slightly and the tow hook and part of the rear equipment rack but should be fairly easy.

Won't get far without any tracks!

Some paint stripper or a polish with a steel brush and some wire wool should get it ready for an undercoat and a suitable snow camo scheme.

Saturday, 14 December 2019

Ikwen Uprising kickstarter

Very late (apologies) but I thought I'd better give a mention to Eli Arndt's Ikwen Uprising Kickstarter.  This is a great range of 15mm low-tech aliens.

Only 8 hours left as I write this and it isn't quite funded yet so if you read this and think you're interested, get over to Kickstarter pronto!

Friday, 13 September 2019

Desk Raiser Buildings

We've been having a massive clear out at work and among the piles of rubbish and recycling were these desk raisers.  You know the sort of thing, you stick them under the feet of your desk to make it a bit higher if the built-in adjustment isn't sufficient.  Anyway, I saw these and instantly thought "They'd make good 15mm buildings" which is possibly rather sad but there we go.

Some will need a bit of a wash because they're covered in crumbs, coffee splashes and bits of fluff but once that's done they'll receive some windows and doors and perhaps a few roof-top gubbins. They're made of a very sturdy, rigid plastic that should take paint and glue well.  What's more, they stack very neatly.

Windows will be some of Antenocitis Workshop old 15mm sci-fi ones, now sadly out of production.  I'm going to heat them and hold them in place so they conform to the curve of the desk-raisers, then glue them in place once they're cool.  I've had them for ages and never got around to using them so it will be good to finally justify their purchase!  Doors are also Antenocitis Workshop OOP 15mm resin items and I'll either file a flat patch into the curve of the desk raiser or possibly just glue the centre strip of the door onto the curve, then fill in around the edge of the frame with epoxy putty.

Roof gubbins will include aerials/comms dishes plus an assortment of pipes and boxes made from guitar strings, wire, small lego bricks.  I also have some OOP AW 15mm hatches or ventilation fans which will sit nicely in the middle of the roof, I've already glued a couple in place.
And there we are, 8 super-budget offices/homes from recycled junk and a few add-on items.

Friday, 6 September 2019

Diceni 2019

Early May Bank Holiday saw the latest Diceni games festival at The Forum in Norwich.  I was able to pop in for an hour or so to introduce my 4-year old to a few games...

Echidna Games: Alien Worlds

This was a fun little game, very easy to play and designed for getting youngsters into gaming!  Our mission was to capture the robot in the middle of the board.  Echidna Games have their own web site.

Creeping through cover towards the robot...

Trading fire with the enemy!

Contemplating the next move. (Great swamp monster!)

Got to the robot!

Rules sets available.

The Drowned Earth 

Great scenery for this one, not a demo game but nice to look at.  Rules are free to download online if you want to try them.  Small scale skirmish involving dinosaurs and semi-submerged ruined cities...

Saga - Viking raiders attacking a Saxon village to steal their beer!  I thought the scenery for this game was particularly fantastic.

The Anglo Saxon village.

A couple of houses.

The chicken coop!

Nice collection of pots.

Pig sty!

Infinity - Lots of pre-printed laser cut scenery meant this was a very 3D board.

Star Wars: Legion - a few nice scenery ideas here that I might copy.


Sarissa Precision was one of the traders present.  Interesting to see some of their stuff in person.

Occult Wars - The Occult Wars team used to pop along to the Old Buckenham Bone Crushers years ago to run some demonstration zombie and vampire games.  They were always good fun, the club bought a copy of the rules and we played several more games on our own.  I found that the rules were usually fairly flexible and the way the skills etc worked it encouraged players to think outside the box.

Moonstone was another demo game and had great scenery and miniatures.  It's a small scale skirmish game, very Brian Froud inspired by the look of it (think Labyrinth).

I particularly liked the very clever airship and mooring post.

Great waterfall!

Colourful goblin "Beaky Bobby".

To the Strongest!  Run by the Cowards Wargames Club (formerly the Coltishall Cowards until they relocated to nearby Hoveton).  This was an impressive looking game featuring Boudicca's warriors facing up to the Roman Legions.  Britons trying to escape from European control?  Certainly topical, whether you agree with it or not!

These "not Fimir" are by a small company whose name I unfortunately failed to note!  I think a sanitised version (ie without the capturing of human females as breeding stock) of Fimir are making a comeback with GW?

There were several traders - Warlord Games had a large presence.

Lots of second hand games too...

Including old school D&D 2nd edition for those who are interested.

Fewer people in costume this year but some traders still made a good effort.

Escape from the Dark Castle is a very entertaining game, a definite "Fighting Fantasy" vibe.

New Buckenham Historical Wargamers had some nice figures on show.

A final walk back to the car park took us past Norwich's watchful resident dragon.