Thursday, February 21, 2019

Fallout 4: Red Rocket Filling Station in 15mm

Looking for a terrain project, and having done a few "cyberpunk" buildings already, I decided to look for something fun and iconic that I could use with "This Is Not A Test" or maybe "Scrappers" or one of the zombie games out there.

Digging around, I settled on the "Red Rocket Filling Station" from Fallout 4.

Cue "Rocket 69"!
The view from the back.
The roof comes off.
The overhang part comes off, too, for ease of access.
Some people wanted to know how I did it.

The short answer is: *shrug* "I unno."

The long answer is kind of the same, but longer.  Here we go:

First off, I based a lot of what I'm doing on the existing 28mm Fallout Red Rocket terrain set.  That's great, because it's already designed for simplification and playability.  I don't own it, but there are photos online.  The side effect of eyeballing it is that I think my scale isn't right.  I mean, it looks right.  The doors and windows are correct, but I suspect that the whole building is nearly the same size as the 28mm building.  Of course, maybe their building is just too small.  Ever think of that?  Huh? :)

In stores now!
Step 1: The Tool
Wait for somebody to buy you a Proxxon hot wire table.
Wait for iiiiiiiit....
There may be better options and it might need some aftermarket mods to really shine, but dang if this wasn't a game-changer for me.  (It cuts foam.  In this case, pink XPS "insulation" foam.  Do not eat.)

I wasn't planning on documenting this, and as I said, I didn't even know what I was doing, so there aren't as many pictures as there could be.

Step 2: The Base

Crazy wastelander (with a banana in his pocket) for scale.
So, first example of winging it.  I wanted a pretty thin "sidewalk", and obviously I needed it to be the right size.  Unfortunately, the arm on the Proxxon is only so tall, so I had to make two halves and glue them together.  But this was the base, so it needed to not fall apart.  Now, maybe I could have just glued it and relied upon the walls and paint to hold it together later, but instead, I glued both pieces to a sheet of paper.  Unfortunately, the whole thing warped and despite painting both sides and trying to heat it and leaving books on it, it kept springing back to a saddle shape.  In the end, I ended up slashing the underside of the paper with a razor to "break it up", and that fixed it.  Maybe I could have also used plasticard instead of paper.  Whatever.  It worked eventually.

Then, ballpoint pen to draw cracks and crevices into the foam.  I've got sculpting tools, which sometimes come in handy, but something about the ink lubricates the process (and marks your progress) in a nice way.  So there's the blueprint.  Sidewalks, tiles, and the garage.  Then I coated it in matte Mod Podge mixed with a healthy does of black paint, ala Black Magic Craft.  Then I painted it.  The white never got quite white enough, but that's probably for the best.

The loose tiles are cut from a cereal box.

A nice coat of paint... Nope.  Still the apocalypse.
Step 3: The Walls
I did NOT, however, get any patterned foam rollers for Christmas, so I had to figure out a solution for the brick walls.  Experimenting ensued, but the answer: a pizza cutter!  I measured out the distances on each side, put down a ruler, and then sliced me some 'zza!

Holy crap!  I accidentally made aluminum siding!
Then I cut a little tool (not shown) out of plasticard that I could grip well, with the tip being as tall as a "brick", and measured out the distances (and half-distances) and proceeded to tediously push in the sides of the brick.  Actually, it wasn't that tedious, but it was still a chore.  I "removed" a couple of bricks with my ballpoint pen.  Then, it's paint and glue, then paint, then glue.  I started out with a white "tacky" glue, but eventually moved to a clear version.  I don't know that one's better than the other.

Cut out the doors and windows.
Paint job.  White with a red dry(ish) brush for the bricks.
XPS foam supports and cereal box cardboard moldings.
The walls were bowing a bit, but with a bit of heat from my space heater, glue, and some threats and imprecations, I got them to straighten out.

Step 4: The Roof (not on fire)
For this, I cut a thick-ish piece of foam.  Well, again, I had to use two pieces and glue them together, but they were thick enough that it wasn't a problem.  I did, however, overestimate how large the roof should be.  It overhung the sidewalk significantly which, while perhaps realistic and a nice touch for the patrons of the station when it rains, totally hid the model underneath.

With a heavy heart (in my throat), I used the Proxxon to just saw (burn?  melt?) off a huge chunk from two sides.  I had to go in and recurve the edges (little bit of cutting, and then a little bit of sanding).  I also had to redo the side panels, which was probably a good thing, anyway.  I had forgotten to "break" them.  Curving the side panels was tricky.  I bent them carefully and applied some heat until they stayed about where I wanted them, and then glued them in place mostly successfully.  The "pipe" behind the panel is "plasticard" tubing.  It only exists where it shows.  It doesn't go all the way around.

Then I cut thin strips with the Proxxon, and then cut those to size with a blade, and glued them down in a grid across the roof.  I added a trap door as an excuse for people wanting to get onto the roof.  I imagine you climb up on the workbench in the garage and up from there.  The whole thing gets a coat of black Mod Podge.

Sigh of relief!
Also got some not-Fallout-power-armor from Clear Horizon.
Step 5: The Sign(s)
So, this took some work.  First, I got my favorite graphics editor and found a good font.  Then I edited that image to be closer to the desired look.  I made sure to scale the image to match the actual model.  I printed a couple copies, then cut out each letter from the page, and used it as a stencil to trace the letters onto the foam.  Then, a lot of careful cutting and some selective filing, and I got this.

Oh my god!  Help me!  I can't "C"!
I painted it metallic with red on the front, and went back to the roof.

The side panels got painted white, and then I measured and drew some guidelines in pencil and carefully painted a red stripe.  Then I took a bit of sponge, the kind with the green scrubby on the top, and dipped it into black paint.  I dabbed it mostly dry on a towel (paper, I 'm not crazy!) and then went around scuffing up the side panels.  This wouldn't have occurred to me.  I got the idea from the 28mm model.  It has these black scratches and grime all over it.

That's not how the sign goes.  Ironically, this IS just a test. 
I also glued some bits of cork, gravel and sand onto spots on the roof.  These got black Mod Podge, then brown drybrushing.  I also drybrushed some brown onto the grey roof.  Then the whole thing got a black wash to dirty it up.

And there it all sat for a while.  Whew!

Step 6: That Overhang Thing (and the Rocket)
This worried me.  It seemed simple, but also difficult.
For the most part, you know how this goes.  Two pieces, glued together.  Cut the curve broadly and then sand it to the right shape.  Glue on the side panels.  The curved ones require extra attention.

The rocket, on the other hand, was a challenge.  I ended up cutting out rectangular solids and then sanding them into cylindrical, bullet shapes.  Make sure to wear a mask and probably do it outside.  I used cheap jewelry beads to glue the thrusters onto the main body of the rocket.  It's also, I think, a bit too big, but if you take a deep breath and relax, it's probably ok.

No jokes, please.  We're all adults here.
I glued strips of plasticard along the edges of the "legs" to reinforce them and give it that "I-beam" look. I also glued a plastic ring to the underside, because, I don't know... "rocket".

So... is this a girl or a boy rocket?
More little strips in a grid (not tedious at all!) and glue on the rocket and slather the whole thing in Black Magic secret sauce.

Step 7: This Stupid Thing
This was hard, and I pretty much messed it up, but it's good enough for government work, right?

Flimsy!  It'll never pass inspection!
So, these are the under-legs.  I didn't want to attach them to the roof, because it's cumbersome enough as it is, and I wanted to be able to see under it.  So there's this thing.  The curve doesn't match the legs on the roof.  Maybe if I had planned better, but it's a minor thing in the end.

Even though I wasn't yet done, I took this to a game, and this piece fell off of the seat beside me and went to bits.  So, I guess that's good, because at least I could address it before the whole thing was done.

New and Improved!  Now with Triangulol for added stability!

I added these little triangles (also on the tops) which gave them more surface area for glue, and also made them stand on their own, which was handy.

Examining the break, it appeared that the glue clung well to the legs, but popped off of the plasticard base.  I'd use super-glue, but that eats through the foam.  So, solution:  I used regular glue to glue little rectangles of stiff paper to the tops and bottoms of the legs, and then used super-glue on that to connect them to the plasticard.  A little "middle-man" action.

So then black magic and gravel and paint (again!) and now I wanted to add some rust to that exposed metal.

I asked my friend AbanthaPryde what he uses (because he's done some awesome stuff) and he says Burnt Sienna, Orange and then Yellow.  I actually found some "Burnt Orange" which looked promising, so I used that.  These are just craft paints, by the way, from the hobby store.  I don't know about minis, but for terrain, they're great.  This takes some artistry, but mostly it's just slopping the burnt sienna around in places, and then going back and kind of stippling less burnt orange on top of (but not completely covering) that, and also a little "outside the lines".  And then do the same, with even less yellow.  This is how it turned out:

So much tetanus!
And I guess that's it!

I'll try to get in a game of "This Is Not A Test" soon and tell you how it went.

Look what I found!  It's the bit of plastic that I used to push in the vertical edges of the bricks!

Stab! Stab! Stab-stab!

Jason "Ludanto" Smith C;E

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Blast Pistol: Attack on Malproksima Colony

Hi!  Until I have time to set up something new, here's another battle "report" from the pile of stuff underneath my desk.  This time, it's Nordic Weasel Games "Blast Pistol" (a "pay what you want" bundle at the time of writing).  It was originally planned as a "living ruleset", but I don't know how that turned out.  The game was pretty fun, though.

I apologize for some of my half-painted terrain.  I was still new at this at the time.  (Not that I don't have half-painted terrain now, I just try to hide it better.)

Fun fact: "Bloo" is a lady here.  I think I've got my first transgender character.  Huh!

Anyway, here's what happened:

-Jason "Ludanto" Smith C;E

Monday, February 4, 2019

Komrades in Arms: Satellite Reign with FiveCore

A little something different.  Here's a thing I did a few years ago, but hosted elsewhere.  I thought I'd add it here just to make it easier to find, and to generally consolidate things.  This is actually the second mission in this series, but I've lost the images for the first mission.

This uses Nordic Weasel Games' "FiveCore" rules, with custom advancement and a "Satellite Reign" theme.

Republishing this also gives me a chance to spell "satellite" correctly.

This is an escort mission: Get the former corp guy into the UZYKORP lab to steal a prototype weapon.  We gave our charge an empty pistol.  Don't want him getting himself hurt.  I should note that I'm not using random events, because there's too much to keep track of in a solo game as it is.  Also, since I've only got four figures, the activation level (figures activated on a normal turn) is "2".

Beginning mission... GO!
So, that was kind of neat, right?

- Jason "Ludanto" Smith C;E

Sunday, February 3, 2019

The Department of Fabricant Management - Second Mission

The previous mission, "Grassing the Neighborhood", wasn't particularly fruitful.  Agent M managed to pull a rogue Fabricant off of the streets, but that's about it.  It's time to draw on the Department's resources and talk to one of their paid informants, a "snitch".  "Meeting the Snitch" costs 5 Budget.

The meet is set in a rough part of town.  Tensions are high, and violence could erupt at any moment, so Agent M is bringing along some backup (at the cost of 3 Budget) in the form of Officer Nolan, a specialist Riot Officer, armed with a blaster rifle (on stun) and stun grenades.  Officer Nolan is in full uniform, but even if he wasn't, the residents can smell bacon from 60cm away, and neither officer starts out hidden.
The Setup

The officers in the southern corner.  The snitch in the center near
a crowd, and two more crowds.  Don't these people have jobs?
"Did I lock it?  Of course I locked it!  Look at this neighborhood!
"No, you don't need to check. Why can't you ever just trust me?"

Turns 1 - 6

The first several turns are just the officers carefully walking up to the snitch's location. There aren't any suspects yet, and until the officers approach a crowd, nothing special will happen. Eventually, Agent M ends his move within 6cm of the crowd marker, and a die is rolled to see what happens. A result of 4 means it's just nasty looks and innovative choreography... for now.

"There ain't no second chance against the thing with 40 eyes, girl!"

Agent M also comes within 3cm of the snitch, and the random result is "Information"! He still needs to make sense of it, though, which requires a Process Evidence test. Agent M doesn't have the skill, but his Logic is 2. He also has the Edge, which gives him +2 dice (although it's not clear if this counts as an "action" worthy of the Edge), and he drops both Fate points on the roll as well. He gets more than three Goals, and so earns 2 Financial Evidence. Finally!   "Follow the money", indeed.

HOWEVER, everybody has now seen the snitch talking to the cops. Somebody probably should have planned this out better. So anyway, our informant is now in potential danger, and can be targeted by any troublemakers that decide to leap out of the crowd.

I'm sure he'll be fine...

Game End?

Oh! I guess that's it. Met the snitch. No rioting crowds. That's the game end condition. Well, I suppose that's bound to happen sometimes. Really, it's probably for the best, though it doesn't make for a particularly interesting report.

"No!  I KNOW it was locked!  This is NOT my fault!"

Post-Battle Results

Officer Nolan is an NPC. He doesn't get Experience Points. Back into your hole, you soulless abomination!

Agent M, on the other hand, gets 1XP for surviving, and 1XP for successfully retrieving evidence in the field. That brings his total to 4XP. Just 1XP away from a Bump!

Back at the Station

There are no suspects to interrogate and the evidence doesn't require any special treatment, and nobody is hurt, and there are no IA points, so there's really nothing to do. However, Agent M brought along Nolan without needing him (and he's pretty sure Nolan left the cruiser's door unlocked), so he's inclined to try to ask for more Budget.

In triplicate, of course.

He needs to make a TN2[5] Bureaucracy test. (Bureaucracy, per the FAQ/Errata.)  The [5] means that the request requires some finesse. If Agent M gets super slick in his wheedling for more Budget and scores more than 5 Goals, it will raise Internal Affairs' suspicions. As such, he has to play it cool.  He rolls two dice and gets 3 and 6. The 6 counts as 2 Goals, which meets TN2. The rules say I get 1 Budget for every Goal, not every Goal over the TN, so I guess I get 2 Budget back. Not bad!

Final Result

88 Budget
2 Financial Evidence
+2XP (4 Total)

To stop the terrorist Fabricant, "Nick", I need 2 People, 4 Place, 1 Electronic, 3 Financial, and 1 Physical evidence point.  To that end, the next mission will be... "The Murder Sweep"!

- Jason "Ludanto" Smith C;E

Monday, January 28, 2019

Skirmish Outbreak: Zombie Apocalypse

It's time to play another game that I purchased years ago and then sat on forever!  This time, it's "Skirmish Outbreak" by Radio Dishdash Publishing.

Ok, first of all, for legal reasons, this game has been renamed "Skirmish Ragers".  So if you're looking for it, that's the new name.  Also, if you buy the PDF from Wargame Vault, it's locked so you can't print it, so be warned.  Also, the print book is printed with a bright yellow background, which doesn't bother me, but does bother some people, and probably isn't a best practice, since nobody else does it.

"Ragers" is what they call the fresh, fast, angry zombies.
I'm looking at the start of a campaign game, so I make my tiny little group of Survivors at 250 points.  Mr. Greene -- an "Average Joe" with a shotgun, and Dave & Buster -- "Average Joes" with pistols.  They met at a refugee camp that was overrun by the dead, which also grants me (at no cost) Agent M -- a "Professional" with the "Old and Wise" upgrade (+4 Morale, +4 Firearms), for whom I buy light body armor and another pistol.

Here's the table.  I guess it's kind of the future again?

I swear, this neighborhood has the WORST luck!
Our Survivors are huddled in a little group behind that building on the left.  There are 13 Zeds (normal, slow zombies) scattered around the table.  The Survivors are hungry and need food, so they have to search the buildings for it.  The cars won't have any food, so searching them won't help.  In order to consider this mission successful, the Survivors have to earn 250 points (equal to the size of my entire gang, not just what I brought to the table, although this time I brought everybody).  Points can be earned by finding resources and taking them off of the table.  They can also be earned by defeating zombies or rival Survivors.  Excess points can be used for upgrades.  Killing Zeds is only worth 25 points here, so the Survivors are going to need a couple of good finds in the buildings.


Morale Tests: None
Loud Markers: None
Rager Markers: None

Action Points:
The Survivors roll 1d6 per Survivor and halve the total.  (6+4+2+2)/2 = 7 AP.
The Zombie Controller just gets 3d6 (6+4+4) = 14.  Sure, that's fair.

Each Survivor player (just me) can activate one Survivor and spend from 1 to 3 action points.  Agent M will run 6" (1AP) to behind the smaller building, walk 3" (1AP) around the corner, and shoot that Zed (1AP).  It's out in the open, so no spotting roll is needed.  Agent M is ridiculous, and needs a 20 or less (on a d20, I assume, because I can't find where it actually says) to hit.  Also, he's within 4", so he actually needs 26 or less.  He gets an 8, which totally hits, and he adds his points over 20 (6) to his damage roll.  Destroying a Zed takes a 9+ on a d20 (plus 6 in this case).  I roll a 14 and the Zed is down.  Agent M generates a LOUD marker, and the Zombie Controller checks the "zombie chain" by rolling 1d20.  He gets more than 10, so no new zombies show up in reaction to the noise.  I've got 4 AP left, and gained 25 "Survivor Points".


The rules are a little fuzzy here.  The Zombie Controller can activate up to three zombies.  Each Zed can spend up to 2 AP.  There's talk about activating the closest ones first, but it's not super clear if that's only when visible or what.  Anyway, three of the nearest Zeds make two moves each toward the noise.  They still have 8 AP left.

"RRR! BRIAN!  They killed Brian!  RRRR!

Next, Buster activates.  It's implied, but not clearly stated, that you have to activate all Survivors once before you can activate them again.  So Buster walks 3" (1AP) around the corner, takes aim (1AP for +2 skill), and fires (1AP) at the oncoming zombie.  Unfortunately, it's a moving target, and he misses.  He does, however, attract THREE new zombies that climb out of nearby cars or windows.  One shows up right near Agent M, which is totally legitimate, as long as it's out of Buster's line of sight.  Yikes!

New Zeds by the small building, by the car, and on the roof.
Again, it's not clear, but it feels like maybe you have to activate a different zombie each time.  Anyway, the Zed near Agent M lurches at him, but (barely) misses.  The one by the car shuffles toward Buster and flails uselessly at him.  The one on the roof moves toward the nearest sound, but can't get over the roof's ledge.  The Zeds have 2 APs left.

Mr. Green runs 6" (1 AP), and that's all of the Survivors' Action Points.  The ZC moves one more zombie toward the loud noises, and is now out of APs as well.

Things go wrong quickly.  At least they don't have to contend
with a rival gang.

Morale Tests: None
Loud Markers: Remove all
Rager Markers: None

Action Points:
Survivors:  (6+6+5+3)/2 = 10 AP.
Zombies (3+2+2) = 7 AP

Mr. Greene runs around the corner (1AP + 1AP for the U-turn) and attacks the Zed in hand to hand combat (1AP), knocking it prone!  (No new zombies appear.)  Behind him, the zombie in the pink dress lumbers toward Buster and attacks him, ripping his throat out! :o  The virus immediately spreads to Buster's brain, turning him into an eponymous Rager, and Buster spends 3 AP to get up and run toward the sound of fighting nearby, eyes rolling in his head and teeth gnashing!  He doesn't quite reach Agent M, but it's close!  The Survivors have 7 AP left, and the zombies have zero (but it's actually worse than it sounds).

Crap.  This might end up being a short report.
Agent M pistol-whips the Zed's head in (1AP), turns around (less than 180 degrees) and shoots the Rager in the face (1AP), dropping it!  With one action left to him, he runs into the door of the building (1AP).  The sounds of combat don't spawn any new Zeds, but it turns out that there are THREE zombies inside the building, "guarding" 100 Resource Points worth of food.  This is going to be difficult.  At least the sound of gunfire won't travel outside of the building.  The Survivors now have 4 AP left.  "Killing" another Zed and a Rager brings the Survivor Points up to 100!

Here's where it gets dirty.  The zombies have 0 Action Points, so now they ALL get to take one action.  Just like that.  So they ALL shuffle 3" toward this kerfuffle in the corner of the map!

Yes, Agent M is a bad-ass.  They don't let just anyone become
an Agent, you know.
Unfortunately, Agent M and Mr. Greene won't be able to act again before the zombies.  I've got to use Dave at least once.  I want to make sure that Agent M gets more actions, so I just have Dave run (1AP) past the zombies to the back of the building.

Dave gets brave!
Unfortunately, now ALL of the zombies get to go again.  Most of them lurch forward, but the three in the building also lash out at Agent M.  Two miss, but the third rolls a '1', successfully attacking him!

Mr. Greene: "Do a barrel roll!"

However, Agent M rolls a successful Dodge (1AP), that that avoids the blow and moves him back (up to) 3".  There's also the option to Parry, which doesn't seem to cost any action points, but doesn't move you.  More importantly, the Parry skill doesn't seem to appear as an option for any character.  So, kind of hard to use in that case.

With his remaining two Action Points, Agent M kills one of the Zeds, but misses the other.

Not shown: A buttload of LOUD markers inside the building.

On the zombie's final turn (since the Survivors are out of APs, too), the Zeds all move in and attack everybody!  Mr. Greene gets wounded!  Dave gets seriously wounded!  Agent M gets infected!


Morale Test: EVERYBODY!

Everybody has to make heavily penalized Morale tests for being injured.  Also for seeing poor Buster turned into a Rager, though it's not clear what would happen if they fail just from seeing a friend turn, since the failure charts only list "shooting" and "hand-to-hand" results.  Either way, everyone fails and runs away.  They've technically got a chance to make a second test, but at even worse penalties, and Agent M is two turns from turning into a Rager anyway, so this is pretty much a total wipe-out.
The heroes bravely run away!

So that was that.  There's a solid core of a game in here.  I like the idea of having to collect enough supplies to "survive" with surplus going to experience, equipment and new hires.  The basic, roll-under system is easy enough to understand, and even playing solo, I didn't feel overwhelmed.  Having said that, the rules are super vague about nearly everything and kind of poorly organized.  And the Parry skill!  That might have been useful.  What happened to that?

For what it's worth, I'm using an old copy of the game.  Maybe reprints are better.  I actually ordered a hardback direct from the company (it's on sale) that includes the rules plus a bunch of Kickstarter add-ons.  Maybe that book will have things cleaned up.  Despite getting murdered, which happens, I guess, I still kind of had fun.  I'm looking forward to getting my hardback book.  I really hope that it fixes the problems.

Rarr!  Brains!

Jason "Ludanto" Smith C;E