Sunday, 31 August 2014

5 Parsecs- Boarded!

After the sad death of Dash and Jella's departure, the crew of the Rampart set about finding some new members. Jann Silman put them in touch with some old explorer associates of his. "Kilo", an ex-military war-bot bounty hunter and "Muscleman" a hulker adventurer with a background in enforcement. They arranged to meet on board the Rampart for a meet up and interview.

They are interrupted by 5 UNITY enforcers led by a power armoured special agent... Havok ensues. This was an enemy assault scenario. The enforcers had to attack the engineering computer (represented by a computer console model from Khurasan) to win.

The photo shows the use of "Fiery Dragon Starship tiles"I bought ages ago. There's a lot to like about the set, which I think was relatively inexpensive. I came up with some simple rules for opening doors and gridded movement:

  • Opening a door takes the place of either moving or firing.
  • 1 square= 1", moves may be made in any direction, but a figure may not make 2 consecutive diagonal moves.
  • If a crew member can get to a security station, they can lock all the doors. Locked doors will need to be broken in following the standard FiveCore door rules.

"Kilo" (By Thescene)
The fight went well. Once again, Toros' military assault carbine's 3 shock dice of SUPPRESSIVE FIRRRE!!! made it very difficult for the UNITY enforcers to get into the main hold. As a figure that has fired on its previous turn cannot use guard fire, this meant that careful repositioning of Kilo and Toros was required to keep the corridor covered. A scurry turn got the power armoured agent into a good position eventually, shrugging off 2 shots thanks to his protective suit, but Muscleman managed to charge him and smash him with his power claw. Mackie finished the battle with a dramatic charge with her brutal melee weapon (a big wrench) and sent the last enforcer flying!

When the smoke cleared, only Muscleman was injured. He sustained a wound that would force him to miss 6 turns. I decided to use my medkit to avoid this. A tricky decision, as I was saving it to prevent a death... But on the Fringe, 6 turns is a very long time. Muscleman lives up to his name, so I think it's better to have him around kicking heads than missing so many missions.
A sterling debut from two deadly new crew members. Mackie is now the only human on board, amongst an ever increasing number of dangerous alien and robot killers! With the Vespulids and UNITY now as enemies, it was time to get off Imhotep! 

"Muscleman" (By GZG, converted)
The starship tiles were interesting. I think the layout was a little dull, but it still threw up a lot of interesting choices thanks to the Scurry and Firefight turns that came up when they did.

If I use the tiles again for a scenario like this, I think random deployment (of both sides!) would better represent the chaos of a surprise hostile boarding. I'm thinking of the Firefly episode when the bounty hunter infiltrated the ship at night and the crew were all over the place.

I've been thinking about coming up with a whole "space voyage" campaign turn that replaces a normal turn whenever you wish to change planets.

As it stands, leaving the planet (and getting the chance to elude enemies) is a simple choice that has no down-side. I'm thinking of a simple campaign turn with "space flight" tasks instead of planet-side ones, and a small chance to be boarded or otherwise get into trouble.

Finally, as requested, here is a photo of my station modules split apart and without all the clutter. 

By revolving them and obeying the "no double walls" rule, a huge variety of spaces can be had in a jiffy. 

The two lower modules were afterthoughts. The original plan was to only use 6 pieces (of 3 designs) to simulate cyberpunk office layouts. The empty walls were actually conceived as plate glass windows. 

I've been trying to decide wether to try my hand at laser etched MDF, or sculpted pieces in resin for a fancier batch. I'm leaning toward MDF, as I think I could get some great results with the use of acrylic pieces in the windows. 
I find MDF is extremely difficult to paint however, which is the only thing giving me pause. When I built my Mad Mecha Guy city buildings, spray paint just bounced right off. I had to hand-undercoat each one with decoupage primer in the end, which took ages and I don't want to do ever again.

27 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed this! Would sanding the MDF allow the paint to stick better? Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Glad to hear it David! No, sanding MDF just messes up the surface and makes the situation worse. I need to do some research into what causes the paint deflection effect.

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  2. The starship tiles look nice. I like how you've got the token human in your crew!

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    1. I guess war-bots and hulker aliens are just more survivable :)

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  3. Would using something like foamed PCV (used for sign boards and such commercially) be better than MDF?

    Also, if the walls were thick enough on your new tiles, it'd be nice to have sections where doors/forcefields/windows could be slotted it - this would allow you to make them solid, shuttered, glass, forcefields, damaged, open/closed, ect as you need them to be.

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    1. Laser etched MDF would be best for mass-production because nice SF detail would be possible without doing any modelling. Double-sided walls would allow drop-in doors and windows... The extra effort would most likely be worth it. MDF also ships light and sturdy as opposed to resin casts. I think plastic would be ideal, but it is prohibitively expensive for a manageable home product.

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    2. Love your take on how to make modular tiles and the double wall issue!

      Some companies use plywood (made of birch I think) instead of MDF... It seems to cut cleaner, to be slightly lighter yet stronger and to take paint better (woody surface instead of the MDF polished one) not sure about the price but shouldn't be extremly higher than MDF.

      I've thought before about laser etched wood modular spaceship modules and came up with this idea to handle both double sided engraving and windows (or force field or whatever): a 3mm (1/8") plywood base with both cosmetic details (tiles, hatches, grates, markings) and holes to slot in the walls etched in it. Walls made of a 3mm (1/8") acrylic (transparent or whatever color you want your windows/force field to be) layer slotted in the base and sandwitched between two layers of 0.8mm (1/32") plywood with cosmetic details and holes for windows etched in them...

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    3. I guess it depends on whether you're just looking to have some made for yourself, or if you're looking to commercialise your efforts - either way, it's not stupidly expensive for modest projects, and I'm sure you can find someone to laser cut it for you.

      For example, you can get it easily enough here:
      http://www.antenocitisworkshop.com/2mm-white-foamed-pvc-4268.html

      And this commercial terrain is made of the same stuff, so laser-etching is definitely doable:
      http://www.antenocitisworkshop.com/wargames-scenery-terrain/sci-fi-scenery-terrain/designed-for-infinity/designed-for-infinity-plastcraft-games.html

      Of course, I'm only suggesting this as an option. =0)

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  4. Nice! I was waiting for some Hulkers to show up :) They're basically space orcs but I expect people to have some fun modelling and painting them.

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    1. I have some more GZG alien mercs, but they are back in Sydney waiting to be shipped over with most of my leadpile. I almost used a Khurasan wasteland mutant, but then spotted this guy. I have a bunch of 15mm.co.uk Prang that are pretty beefy and would make great hulkers also... Probably my next painting project.

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  5. Replies
    1. Cheers Jay, I think I have a serious terrain building addiction. I cant seem to stop!

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  6. Loving the modules chief. But, you already knew that.

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    1. I'm now thinking of combining modules and buildings into 6" squares. My main beef with modular terrain is the big seams between pieces. With the right ground pattern I want to try to minimise it.

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  7. Painting MDF... you have to seal the wood first. Give it a blast of hair spray before priming. Worked perfectly on my Sarissa buildings.

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    1. Cheers Angus! After extensive googling, it turns out that painting mdf is a vast and complex topic.

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  8. Is MDF the same as hardboard or masonite here in the US? I've been told it is, but that is apparently incorrect, as I've never had trouble painting whatever it is we have. Hairspray should do the trick, in any case--my buddy swears by it, using even to seal painted figures.

    Chris

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    1. Its probably all variations of a similar process. What I would call masonite is quite different to what I call MDF. Even within one category, there is a lot of variability, depending on the exact way it is made.

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  9. All right, I'm sold. I'll be ordering a copy for myself here pretty soon.

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  10. love the write and the game . the minis look great. ive been looking for the mini you call "Kilo" (By Thescene) , but could not find thescene, do you have a link? thanks

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    1. http://thesceneuk.com/product-category/15mm-figures/battle-robots/

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  11. thanks SZ , keep up the great work.

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    1. Cheers! I haven't been there for a while myself, some nice new items available.

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  12. Awesome battrep - and briliant modeling - these tiles look rockin'.

    I've got one for you in "space travel" area - you could play scenario where the creww meets some derelict ship in space - they could be boarding it.

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  13. WOW !

    I'm really impressed by your blog, and especially the scifi modular system (your station modules) you invented ! I'm currently working on a 28mm scifi solo project, and searchin on google I found your blog. Your minis painting and scenery are really good, and it's probably one of the best wargaming blog I readed so far.

    I liked it so much that I spoke about it on Lead Adventure forum ! Once again, congratulations for your blog and your work !

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  14. I must say thanks for this blog. This is how I heard of FiveCore/Five Parsecs. After reading, I immediately bought the 2 books, and I'm loving the rules I've read through so far. Looking forward to having a proper game of it!

    Your minis look great - my painting is nowhere near that good

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