Sunday, August 13, 2017

Full Thrust Xarr Strike Swarm

Recent project meant to be the start of a Xarr battlefleet, using repurposed Gates of Antares minis since Ground Zero Games doesn't make figures for them yet.  They're sold as Ghar Flitter Drones for a 28mm ground combat scifi rules set, but I think they make very nice little starship minis and I'll probably be doing some more over time.  The GoA range in general includes a lot of grav drones of various types, many of which look like they can be cribbed for use in spaceship games.

I've rated these models as "heavy corvettes" for Full Thrust purposes.  My current plan is to do the Xarr fleet as rather nonstandard with a greater reliance on relatively expendable smaller ships than other stellar navies, backed up by a few larger vessels that serve as combination fighter carriers and tenders for the smaller ships.  They'll also eventually have large transports used for both military troop transport and civilian cargo hauling roles rather than the more specialized designs used by most fleets. 

Of course, first I have to find minis for all these - maybe Jon Tuffley will sculpt us all a new range before then, eh?  :)

The Xarr are generally built using the basic Fleet Book 1 construction rules, with the addition of a new weapon system, the Light Pulse Torpedo.

Light Pulse Torpedo 

Mass 2 (1 arc of fire) or Mass 3 (3 arcs of fire), cost Mass x3. 

LPTs use exactly the same to-hit rolls and range bands as standard pulse torpedoes do, eg they hit on 2+ at up to 6MU range and can reach up to 30MU away with decreasing accuracy.  They ignore screens as pulse torpedoes do, but each hit scores damage as follows (roll 1d6):

1-3:  1 damage
4-5:  2 damage (1 of which penetrates armor)
6:  3 damage (1 of which penetrates armor)

For those of you who hate memorizing new charts, the damage is exactly the same as a standard beam die result plus one.  Alternately, you could look at it as a d3 rounded down, to a minimum of one.

Light pulse torpedoes are slightly less damaging than and equal mass of the standard FB1 model, but they have the advantage of giving smaller craft a less massive weapon that still ignores screens and has a very long potential range.  This is usually something only the Kra'Vak really have access to, so the lower damage output is a balancing factor.  If you find it too weak, increase damage to straight d3, although you might also want to increase the point cost a bit (perhaps to Mass x 3.5) to give a good reason to still use standard pulse torps.

Xevexex-class Xarr Heavy Corvette (UNDIA Codename Xenophobe)
Mass 18
NPV 61 / CPV 46
Thrust 6  q 3 q
1 Fire Control System q
1 Beam-2  (F/FS/FP) q
1 Light Pulse Torpedo (F/FS/FP) q
5 Hull (2/1/1/1, 1 DCT)
An agile and aggressive design, the Xenophobe has been designated as a heavy corvette by UNDIA observers.  They commonly operate in strike swarms of up to a dozen ships, relying on speed, concentrated fire, and sheer numbers to make up for their notable lack of defensive systems.  Like many Xarr ships they use a mix of relatively conventional particle beam weaponry and a remarkably miniaturized version of human pulse torpedo weaponry.

This first test swarm of nine ships is currently on ebay here:

This poor Xuvaxi heavy cruiser from Irrational Designs/Studio Bergstrom is about to find out the Xarr are real possessive of the letter X in their part of space.

Starship Terrain: Custom Planets, Moons, and Stars

Back in 2015-2016 I painted and sold a bunch of starship terrain, put together from the rounded ends of a bunch of plastic Easter eggs.  The sizes varied quite a bit, from an inch or two in diameter to over a foot.  The pieces had added detailing texture in the form of clouds and continents rather than painting them on over bare plastic, using a mix of superglue, putty, and sand.  They're not the fanciest things ever and were wore time-consuming than they should have been (although my speed picked up with practice) but overall I was pretty happy with the way they came out and they sold for adequate prices.  Maybe I'll get around to doing more one of these days although I'll need to restock on parts during the post-Easter craft store sales. 
The images below are a fair sampling of my output.
One of the mid-sized pieces, a star about 6" in diameter.  
And some planets to go with it, before I registered on the fact that terminators are a thing.

A biggish gas giant the only bare plastic I did.

You can't see it well but there's a (huge, in scale) polar station suspended in the atmosphere, painted on to conceal the injection point on the plastic. 

A terrestrial planet, first one with a proper dark side.

Lot of active volcanism on this one, which is more visible in the shadows.

Cloudworld, ala Venus.

In general I tended not to do enough cloud cover on the ones with continents, especially the Terran-type worlds.

The two of them together, perhaps as a dual-planet system - think I was watching Crash of the Moons when I did them and I liked the idea.

Big one-foot star with a large gas giant and a whole brood of planets/moons - and an obscenely huge Ancient planetbuster built out of a holiday decoration.

Nice thing about stars is you don't have a dark side to deal with.

The sheer size of them takes a while to paint, though - an airbrush would accelerate that a lot.

Gas giant and moons or small planets again.

Another star system lot, this time with teeny-tiny moons from a beaded necklace I found at a garage sale.

You can't see them very well but they're nicely cratered.

They're way too close for proper scale, of course, but so is having multiple planets on a table in most games.

First molten planet on the right, no terminator when you're glowing from within.

Yet another system, this one with a red-orange star.

Big gas giant with some glowing cloud streamers.

And again with the neon clouds on the left side planet.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Not Your Daddy's Star Trek - more Studio Bergstrom minis

Showcasing two miniatures from Studio Bergstrom painted up for use as Star Fleet Battles-inspired Trek proxies.

Both are single piece castings with no prep time required beyond basing.

The not-Federation cruiser is a Charles Oines creation from Irrational Designs, cast by Bergstrom under license.  The not-Orion pirate is a J'Guairre from Bergstrom's recent Kickstarter.  Suggested Full Thrust stats are below, based very loosely on Star Fleet Battles. 
The Xuvaxi heavy cruiser is currently on ebay here:

Endurance-class UPF Cruiser
Mass 104
NPV 360 / CPV 352
Thrust 4  q 2 q
Screen-2 qq
2 Fire Control Systems qq
2 Pulse Torpedoes (front 120 degrees) qq
3 Beam-3 (F/FP/FS) q ( (F/FP/AP) q (F/FS/AS) q
2 Beam-1 (360 degrees) qq
31 Hull (8/8/8/7, 6 DCTs, one per six boxes)

Raider-class Orion Pirate
Mass 34

NPV 91 / CPV 113
Thrust 6  q 3 q

Screen-1 q

1 Fire Control System q 
2 Beam-2  (F/FP/AP) q (F/FS/AS) q
2 Beam-1 (360 degrees) qq
11 Hull (3/3/3/2, 2 DCTs, one every six boxes)



Studio Bergstrom Galactic Patrol Revisited

Following up on my previous post, here's all three of the current Galactic Patrol ships from Studio Bergstrom, including suggested stats for Full Thrust.  The smaller ships are single-piece castings and very clean, with no prep required beyond straightening a fin or two.  They're built using the UNSC playtest rules, with three-row hulls and the advanced battlecruiser design using light grasers.

I've done a slightly more complex paint scheme on them this time around since the original source anime's color choices were...bland.  Let's just be polite and call them bland.

Britannia-class Battlecruiser
Mass 108
NPV 413 / CPV 404
Thrust 6  q 3 q
Screen-1 q
3 Fire Control Systems qqq
3 Point Defense Systems qqq

4 Graser-1 (F/FP/AP) qq (F/FS/AS) qq

2 Pulse Torpedoes (F/FP/FS) qq
30 Hull (10/10/10, 6 DCTs, one per five boxes)


Europa-class Heavy Cruiser
Mass 84

NPV 292 / CPV 305
Thrust 6  q 3 q

Screen-1 q

2 Fire Control Systems qq
2 Point Defense Systems qq

6 Beam-2 (F/FP/AP) qqq (F/FS/AS) qqq
1 Pulse Torpedo (F/FP/FS) q

25 Hull (9/8/8, 5 DCTs, one per five boxes)



Scandinavia-class Heavy Destroyer
Mass 48

NPV 150 / CPV 175
Thrust 6  q 3 q

Screen-1 q

2 Fire Control Systems qq
2 Point Defense Systems qq

4 Beam-2  (F/FP/AP) qq (F/FS/AS) qq
14 Hull (5/5/4, 3 DCTs, one per five boxes)



Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Studio Bergstrom's Britannia-class battlecruiser for Full Thrust

Just a quick post highlighting a recent purchase from Studio Bergstrom's Galactic Patrol range, inspired by the 1984 Lensmen anime.  This is the Britannia-class battlecruiser, the "hero ship" of the movie.

The model is about 3" long, cast in two pieces, the main hull and  asmaller engine cap at the rear that fits snugly and smoothly in place.  Quite a durable design despite all the little fins.

The overall sculpting style reminds me of the Battlespace/Aerotech range from Iron Wind Metals, mostly due to the fins and hull detailing.

I've stuck with a fairly plain color scheme to honor the original inspiration, but you could obviously go wild with picking out all those small panels and details in different colors, striping the fins, etc.

In Full Thrust terms I'd rate her as a fair-sized battlecruiser.  The anime (unlike the books) doesn't give the Britannia her signature experimental weapon, nor does she appear to be particularly undergunned for conventional combat.  The stats below use the playtest rules for the UNSC, including grasers and three-row hulls.  See here for details:


Britannia-class Battlecruiser
Mass 104
NPV 394 / CPV 398
Thrust 6  q 3 q
Screen-1 q
3 Fire Control Systems qqq
3 Point Defense Systems qqq
4 Graser-1 (360 degree arcs) qqqq
1 Pulse Torpedo (180 degree front arc) q
30 Hull
Galactic Patrol battlecruisers are built for close-range fighting, using their high thrust to close rapidly at odd angles before lighting up their targets with massed fire from their broad-arc graser turrets.  They also carry a pulse torpedo launcher for added damage output and a bit of sniping potential.  If you want to experiment with some tech-sloshing, you could trade out the pulse torp for a Phalon plasma bolt launcher and an extra PDS mount.  Personally I think it's a more interesting design, but it breaks a whole bunch of Full Thrust's rules, loosely defined as they generally are.  For balance you might want to declare the ship's screens to be inactive on any turn it actually launches a bolt.
Britannia-class Battlecruiser (Bolt Variant)
Mass 104
NPV 394 / CPV 398
Thrust 6  q 3 q
Screen-1 q
3 Fire Control Systems qqq
3 Point Defense Systems qqqq
4 Graser-1 (360 degree arcs) qqqq
1 Plasma Bolt Launcher-1 (180 degree front arc) q
30 Hull
The Britannia miniature is available from Studio Bergstrom here:
The painted miniature in the photos is currently on ebay here:



Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Dropfleet Commander Space Station sprues & parts guides

There don't seem to be many images of these online, so here are images of the parts guide/assembly instructions (more like "vague suggestions" really) from the Dropfleet Commander space station kit.

The box set comes with the guide sheet and two frames worth of the elaborate Dropfleet Commander bases, including their required labels, tracking pegs, flight posts, and widgets.  There are six 50mm bases and eight 35mm ones, although any of them will work reasonably well for any size station.  That's probably enough to give you a couple of spares even if you really stretch your parts out over smaller builds.  You can easily get eight to ten good-sized builds out of one box, and twelve is not a huge stretch.  This is what I built out of my first box, with only a few bits left over for future projects.
There are also four identical frames of actual model parts, which you can see photographed from both sides below.


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Dropfleet Commander Space Station Builds - A Gallery

Hawk Wargames' Space Station boxed set may be the best starship gaming product I've ever encountered.  It was made as part of the Dropfleet Commander launch Kickstarter, but it has uses in virtually any space combat gaming rules set and beyond.  Not so much a kit as a very deep toolbox for putting together an infinite number of variant buildups, it's got unmatched modularity and can easily be integrated with leftover parts from their other kits for even more utility.  I'm going to be posting images of painted buildups as I finish them, so this post will be getting updated from time to time.  It's also likely to get rather image-intensive, so my apologies to anyone who has problems with that.
Without further ado and in no particular order, here are the builds I've completed so far:
Carrier/missile launcher platform cluster with command sensor/guidance station - currently on ebay here:
Large Starcity

Midas Station

Orbital fortress

Cloverleaf fortress


Sensor Picket
Another Starcity

Orbital Transfer Hub

Yet Another Starcity


HyperComm Relay

Emerald City

Orbital Defense Cluster

Observatory Platform

Industrial Platform 1

Industrial Platform 2

Industrial Platform 3

Industrial Platform 4

Industrial Platform 5

Station group shot
Small Spires

Orbital Command Center

Medium Spire & Gun Platform

Station group shot

Fortress Platform

Medium Armed Stations

Small Armed Stations

Stairway to Heaven
Refueling Platforms

Large Spinner Station

Manufacturing Platform

Medium Spire City

Orbital Power Generator Array

Refinery Platform

Fortress Reynard

Science Platform

Armed Medium Station
Yet Another Starcity
Chemical Synthesis Platform
Fortress Barge