Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Pulp: Building an Arab market scene

As I've been harping on abor all month, the post-Salute challenge was to build a market scene for some Pulp games. No easy task alongside a stack of other projects!

The start was to see what was out there to buy. The best priced were Black Cat, who sell an amazing variety of thing:, two stalls for £10. Conveniently Black Cat also do loads of different trade goods which came in useful. The stalls themselves were fairly solid pieces of textured resin to give a covered table and canopy. While they arent particularly innovative or detailed designs, they look the part and painted up pretty well. The stalls come with a metal topper piece covered in goods, I left these off and added single loose trade goods instead. The one on the left ended up being a bit bare ad cold do with a couple more pieces when I get chance.

I figured that I could make the outlay go twice as far by building table legs under the weighty metal stall toppers. Dead simple: two sizes of balsa wood and a small piece of foamed PVC underneath to give structure. So we've an antique armaments stall and a few sellers of various foodstuffs on my slightly wonky stalls.

With these purchases giving a good start, I turned to a scratch build for the next. Yup, it's Abdul peddler of rumours and rugs, for all your finest quality floor covering needs.

Simply two bits of dowel, 'rope' wrapped around to make two lines made from leftover scale barbed wire. The rugs themselves are a quite excellent freebie from Adventures in Lead, printed, carefully cut out and with the backs and edges painted in a suitable colour to hide the sharp white of the paper. Folded in half they were just glued overlapping on the lines. There are plenty spare rugs to lay in buildings to add more period flavour. I'm really pleased with how this came out.

And finally, a pot merchant. A selection of metal pots from Black Cat's trade goods, two large and one small pack, very reasonably priced hunks of metal at £2 a set. Based with another rug added, sorted!

One day I might add a couple more stalls: does anyone have any suggestions for me to have a go at? For now, the scene is completed with scatter terrain that I've plenty of already: boxes, sacks of grain, a fountain, civilians, walls and buildings.

On another note, Mike at Trouble at t'Mill is running a series of giveaways, here's the link to day three.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Pulp Alley AAR: On the Trail of the Professor (part 2)

The adventure continues from part 1:

Michaels, still wounded from his exchange with Detective Adolfo, gets into a firefight with Captain Usman of the Constabulary. He pauses to pop open the battered briefcase: Lo and behold - the Professor's papers! He wouldn't go far without them and surely must be close by.

Over in the busy market, Pilot Renshaw dashes over to Abdul the rug merchant, gesticulating wildly. Could he know where the professor is? But without a word of Arabic, he just can't make himself understood. Victoria, holding her own against the Constabulary's finest, knocks Constable Atso down with a single blow.

Victoria nimbly melts away into the crowd, but Atso shrugs off the blow and staggers to his feet - he isn't knocked out that easily!

But before our dashing heroine can speak to the gate guard, Usman throws open the gates and barges her out of the way. The gate guard is flabbergasted by the sudden appearance of the Captain of the Constabulary. Waving his pistol angrily, Usman demands to know where the Professor is. Before Victoria can intervene, the guard tells Usman he thought he saw him just an hour ago - the trail is still warm.

Renshaw, having none of the luck today, is charged by an angry Atso who pummels him to the ground. The Constabulary seize the initiative and have a chance to quiz canny old Abdul.

With Usman having disappeared, Michaels, tries to circle around Adolfo while his back is turned, clutching the briefcase closely...

...before noticing rustling in a copse at the edge of town. Heading over to investigate, he finds a local porter, bleeding heavily.

Continuing the search, Usman manhandles the gate guard away. Seeing the opportunity to find her father slip away, Victoria takes aim at the Captain, but can't draw a bead through the shocked crowds. Pausing to recover her breath, she sets off in pursuit. Meanwhile, our adventurers boat captain, Jenkins, charges Adolfo, who is still in a commanding position on the rooftop. But hardened Adolfo dives out of the way, leaving Jenkins sprawling.

Time is running out and the Professor is still nowhere to be seen. In a last ditch attempt to get solid information, Victoria abandons her pursuit of Usman and doubles back, heading for slow-witted Atso and the baffled trader Abdul. Taking aim, she fires on Atso, who scrambles for cover.

Converging on Abdul, Edo harangues him, threatnening and waving his nightstick, but Victoria pushes him aside and smiles sweetly. Taking Abdul by the arm, she regales him with her tale in fluent Arabic. 

Always happy to ignore the Constabulary and honoured to help a lady in distress, Abdul smirks and turns, arm outstretched, to reveal the Professor, lurking away from curious eyes. Success!

Our heroes find Professor Hemmingway, but the Constabulary are hot on their heels.

Next up: Can our heroes, now (almost) all reunited, escape the clutches of the Constabulary?

Closing thoughts

Another mighty fun game of Pulp Alley. The streamlined core system is great fun and the dual use cards for both random events, perils, encounters and to drive the plot really work well. Best of all, it doesn't need an umpire, it gives you the toolkit to throw together a scenario quickly and easily.  As a fun, light game full of twists and turns in 90 minutes and which gives plenty of fodder to make a ripping yarn, I'd highly recommend it.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Pulp Alley AAR: On the Trail of the Professor (part 1)

Setting the scene

We rejoin our daring adventurers after a disastrous chain of events: en route to India, their airplane crashed in the Egyptian desert, two days from civilisation. Beset by less than friendly local tribesmen. Sq Ldr Michaels and his old RAF buddy, pilot Renshaw swallowed by a sandstorm. Singh captured and Professor Hemmingway escaping by a whisker on a donkey.

Renshaw surveys the bustling marketplace

We rejoin Michaels and Renshaw, who weathered the storm and salvaged enough supplies from the crashed plane to make it to the nearest town. A minor and utterly unmemorable port on the banks of the Red Sea. Here they happen upon no other than Victoria Hemmingway, travelling a more leisurely route to the East on Captain Jenkins's steamer. What a place to stop off for fuel and supplies!

Someone must have seen him!

In town, they start asking after the Prof. You know, pale well dressed gentleman, glasses, about so tall? You can't miss a man like him in a town like this. On top of that, it just so happens that the regional chief of constabulary, Usman, has been trying to collar the professor for some years over a trifling issue over a few antiquities that may have been taken from Egypt without the proper signature on the official paperwork. The constabulary are also combing the town for our beloved Prof.

Two locals languidly making repairs

The Scenario

Gharak and I used a manhunt scenario from the forthcoming Pulp Alley Perilous Island expansion. Our daredevil adventurers must find the Professor before the Constabulary and high-tail it out of town!

The (invented, rather than rolled) plot points were:
-A recognisable briefcase
-The dying porter
-An officious gate guard
-Abdul, peddler of rumours and rugs
-A stolen donkey

After successfully completeing a plot point, each league can place a card representing the Professor into the deck, giving a chance to find him from the next plot point.
Opening Gambits

With both leagues scattered across town in the search, things literally start with bang for Michaels as Usman's sidekick, Detective Adolfo opens up on him from a nearby rooftop. Lightly wounded, he dives for cover and trades shots back to no effect.

Meanwhile, Victoria starts to search the market area, before two more of the constabulary pot her and head off to intercept. Eager to capture the foreigners at the behest of Usman, the Constabulary break out into fire even in the busy marketplace, with little regard for the citizens going about their business. After wounding Detective Chigaru with counter-fire, Victoria approaches to finish him off, before hearing the dreaded 'click' of the hammer on an empty chamber. Curses!

In a quieter part of town, Constable Ebo bumbles through the dockside, happening on an untethered and very dusty-looking donkey. Very suspicious! Reports suggested the Professor ridden into town on just such a beast. As he reaches out to search the load, the ill-tempered mule kicks out, sending Ebo flying. Picking himself up, Ebo manages to grab the load and rifle through, finding an old leather glasses case marked "B. Hemmingway". Meanwhile, in the background Michaels has made retreated to higher ground, coming across a very battered and very familiar briefcase...
The hapless Ebo and the ill-tempered mule

With neither side claiming a clear advantage, there are countless more thrills to be had in part two...

End note: do you like the vintage-effect photos? I've been playing with the options and it seems fitting for pulpy AARs but I've tried to tone it down to show off the minis and terrain too!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

I've been busy!

I haven't posted much recently because I've been frantically painting bits and pieces to play some Pulp Alley with Gharak over the weekend. I'm providing the terrain, specifically a middle eastern town/market. I've pretty ch finished that and should have some photos up of it in game over the weekend. 

Today I've these civilians, good townspeople I thought. A couple of diggers (also useful for the Indiana Jones-inspired archaeological dig scene I would love to build!), a stall holder and two modestly dressed ladies. I think the green-robed stallholder and older digger leaning on his spade came out particularly well. I was running around Late at Salute looking for reasonable priced Muslim civilians. I totally forgot to give the Perry range a good going over and later remembered they did a Crusades range and lo and behold: civilians! The sixth from the pack didn't quite get finished.

I also finished the Constabulary with their second detective, who seems to be going for a role in Miami Vice. The league is now all painted and should get a run out over the next few days.

As if I didn't have enough to do, I've also found time to do some of that most hated of hobby jobs: rebasing. After finishing these Bashi Bazouk cavalry, I decided I wanted my Sudan cavalry to be on pill bases rather than rectangular and I'll mount them in Warbases trays. These were re-based almost without damage, but my Beja Camelry need more touching up.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

A series of giveaways... Tamsin at Wargaming Girl. Get yourself over there and check it out, it seems she will have something for everyone over the course of the next few days.

It is traditional that entrants spread the word so others can enter, to boost their own chances and to build up those page views! That is the purpose of this post.

Update: day three is now up and it's a good one!

No progress for me to post up, though I'm itching to crack on with more Sudan as my last batch seemed well received! But I really must finish the half-built and painted market for some Pulpy fun with Gharak next week.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Sudan: Mounted Infantry, Anglo-Egyptian OOB

Working thought the Salute lead pile, first of the unit for the refreshed Sudan project. These are the camel corps in melee pack, instead painted as Mounted Infantry drawn from the KRRC, which I already have a unit of. Fantastic sculpts these, very dynamic.

Oddly, these were only bought as the Perry stand was out of infantry firing lines! I gather Sudan was popular at Salute. I wanted to do my second ordinarily unit of infantry next, the Royal Marine Light Infantry. But I had the command for the RMLI already and painted them up at the same time, notably different to the KRRC with their white pipe-clayed helmets and packs. I wasn't sure what colour the bugle's cord should be but blue seemed to be fitting despite my best guess of green.

Im drawing up an force loosely suitable for engagements around Suakin. I decided early on to do an Anglo-Egyptian force, either to do relief operations of garrisoned troops, or as an 'alternate history' El Teb (I imagine a plausible scenario at the first El Teb where some Egyptian troops manage a fighting withdrawal and escape. while still a crushing defeat necessitating the deployment of British troops a reduced Egyptian field force is available). Sorry purists, I wanted both British and Egyptians without breaking the bank!

The Beja crash against the British line

The loose OOB for Black Powder looks something like this at the moment:


Brigade Commander leading a British infantry brigade
-King's Royal Rifle Corps
-Royal Marine Light Infantry
-Naval Brigade
-Gardner Gun

Brigade Commander leading an Egyptian infantry brigade:
-1st Battalion
-IXth (Sudanese) Battalion
-Bashi Bazouks on foot
-British 7pdr Screw Gun

Brigade Commander leading the cavalry and scouts:
-10th Hussars
-Mounted infantry
-Mounted Bashi Bazouks

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Terrain: Modding Sarissa Precision buildings

I picked up a small Sarissa shack at Salute, making four of their old west buildings. But I was curious how well they would take to being converted. The plan was to trim and fill some of the rafters holding the roof up, and make the windows much smaller, leaving the shutters off and sand the endless to lose the sharp corners. I also picked up a resin dome at Salute for the princely sum of £1.50, so I flipped the roof and stuck it on. After filling and sanding, the pieces were ready to be sprayed white:

I painted it the same as my last two, working from 'buff' to white using watered down layers. I'm pleased that you can barely see the filled areas once painted.

The painting went a bit awry too much fiddling around trying to perfect it, much messier compared to the older one. You can't see well in this shot, but I lifted the roof half a centimetre or so with some balsa wood.

I also gave these two small features a fresh lick of paint, they were grey before and looked a bit too much like concrete, I also tried a greeny ageing affect on the fountain. The water was an unrealistic blue and has been changed to a muddy green. I don't think painting terrain is my strong point, but these are somewhat better at the second attempt!

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Pulp: the Constabulary get a detective, modding hills

A brief post as I've not much finished to show you this week, though I've been juggling a lot of projects across the workbench. The missus also indulged me in a game of Commands and Colours Napoleonics. She was clearly a cavalry commander in a former life (who knew?), annihilating my French Cavalry brigade and pinning my right flank in place before riding into the sunset. All in all, a bit of a pasting.

Hobby-wise, to break up mostly prep work, I did add this detective to the Cairo Constabulary, an Artizan Designs sculpt.

I also picked up a couple more hills at Salute, with a mind to carving them up a bit. The first went from this:

To this:

Yup, much cursing as I carved it in half, splodged some wood filler to cover the polystyrene interior that I discovered inside. Useful as I can either have impassible rock faces or run hills agains the board edge, they won't sort the greater issue that all of my boards are variations on 'pretty flat'.

Anyway, I must get back to it, Gharak has me building an arab market for a Pulp game at the end of the month. While he enjoys the good weather no doubt! It is coming along nicely, I've even managed to find some stallholders and civilians to mill about in it.