Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Back to Painting

Well, now that I've gotten that Science Fiction urge out of my system, back to a right, proper, Napoleonic painting update.  I've managed to get a few more units painted which are shown below (my apologies for the picture quality).  Not shown but finished (except for the flags) are the last 2 Grenadier battalions I need for Historicon.

I'm also about half way through my two Hussar units (actually only 1 unit, I'm building them double sized like the actual Russian Hussar and Uhlan Regiments).  The Hussars are really kicking my butt, I had hoped to have them finished last weekend, but I'm not not sure I'll be able to get them done this weekend.

But, enough with the words on with the photos.  All Russian figures are Front Rank, all flags are from GMB.  The Duchy of Warsaw figures are Old Glory.

1st Battalion Alexopol Infantry

Another view of the 1st Battalion Alexopol Infantry

1st Battalion Alexopol Infantry deploy inside Smolensk

3rd Battalion Alexopol Infantry

3rd Battalion Alexopol Infantry march into Smolensk

General Kniaziewicz, Commander 18th Division of Prince Poniatowski's Fifth Corps

A Random Battalion of the Duchy of Warsaw 
I'm not very happy with this paint job, but it's one less that needs to be painted

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Spaced Out

December 14, 1815 hrs Earth Standard Time, Alliance Light Carrier Constitution, In Jump Transit between the United Star Alliance Constitution star system to Lakota star system, Personal Log of Vice Admiral Franklin

It’s been just under three days since we jumped from Constitution to Lakota. We arrive at Lakota in two days and 7 hours. This is my first Task Force command and I wish it were under better circumstances. My command is an impressive peace time force, but we’re not at peace any more.

Admiral Straker’s last words to me were, “Michael, you’ve got everything but the kitchen sink, kick those bastards out of our space.” Fortunately the 9th fleet was in system enjoying shore leave when the attacks occurred; allowing us to send all the sector naval assets to Lakota. Well, not all, three destroyers are going to Kaliban to rescue the crew of a customs station and mine the jump point into Republic space.

We know we’re out numbered, hopefully our training and better equipment will make the difference. Our Destroyer’s are all state of the art; designed after the end of the Civil War none of the hulls are over 10 years old.

I wish I could say the same for our Light Cruisers, all of them saw service in the Civil War. The newest hull is 46 years old, the oldest over 50 years old, when they were built at the height of the civil war they had a life expectancy of about 10 years. How much maneuver stress can those old hulls take? I remember the defense appropriation committee hearings 5 years ago when the military was told we had no need for updated Light Cruisers, the new Destroyers could handle their duties – part of the ‘continuing peace dividend’ and ‘a matter of priorities’ they called it. I wonder how those politicians would feel about ‘priorities’ if they were going into battle in one of those antiques?

Our Heavy Cruisers were all built in the first decade after the end of the Civil War. Externally then look like the Cruisers that fought in the war, but their modular design means they contain the latest technological advances. They may be 30 years old, but the hulls were built to last at least 100 years. I only wish I had more of them, a lot more of them.

The Battle Cruisers are solid but too few in number for the forces we know are, or at least were, in Lakota. We could be passing them right now in Jump space and we’d never know it.

The Constitution, my flag ship, (that has a ring to it) is an updated version of the carriers we used in the Civil War. She’s technically a Light Carrier, but she sounds and just came out of an overhaul 4 years ago. She’s by far the best ship in the sector. I just hope I don’t let the crew down.

What will we find when we arrive at Lakota? Will the Republic forces still be there? Have they nuked the two populated planets there? There are roughly 3.2 billion Alliance citizens in Lakota, what’s happened to them?

And why the hell did they have to attack now, I was going to retire in 13 months. I swear the universe is out to get me.

I pray we don’t find another Grendal when we get there.

End personal log entry.

Franklin shivered as he thought about Grendal. Grendal had one habitable world and is located on the PSSR border with the Alliance and has a direct jump route to the Lakota system. During the last year of the Civil War Grendal was attacked by PSSR forces and mounted a surprisingly strong defense. In the end determined that if they couldn’t have it, no one could, the PSSR resorted to an orbital bombardment that lasted for 2 weeks. Grendal was devastated, to the point that now almost 50 years later the planet was still quarantined. The Southern continent was rendered lifeless and lethal radiation levels still exist there today. The Northern continent was spared somewhat, and some pathetic struggling life remained. Alliance Intelligence over the last 15 years indicates that the remaining life on the Northern continent has been grotesquely mutated by the radiation levels. Additionally, all indications are that the PSSR forces have been conducting ‘genetic modification’ on the hideously mutated creatures in their quest to ‘build’ the perfect killing machine – the ultimate ground combat soldier.

“Lord I hope the intelligence geeks are wrong about what’s going on at Grendal,” prayed Franklin, “and if those bastards did the same thing at Lakota…”


Below is a draft of the Sector Map that covers this sector of my universe.

O.K., I think I've tortured all of you enough with this diversion.  This introduces all of the main characters (poorly, but at least they've been introduced) for my post-Historicon Space project.

For the Alliance Destroyers I'll be using the BattleStar 'Brenik' ships from Iron Wind Metals.  With their massive engines they just look like a fast, maneuverable ship.  The poor 'Sheridan Class
Destroyer' below has had at least 3 different paint schemes on her engines, but I think this is the finall scheme I'll go with.  (please excuse the i-phone quality photo)

The Light Cruisers will most likely be Battletech 'McKenna' ships from Iron Wind Metals. They have the basic 'cigar' shape, that looks like it would be cheap to produce which would have been critical during a war lasting almost 100 years.

The Heavy Cruisers, Battle Cruisers, Battle Ships, and Dreadnought's I haven't settled on yet.  The Light Carrier will be the 'not Battle Star' from Studio Bergstrom, and the Heavy Carrier will be the Battle Star from Iron Wind Metals.

Then again, I may see something else shinny and forget all about this for another year.

So much lead, so little time

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

More Space?

Yet more random thoughts - sorry

December 11, 1757 hrs Earth Standard Time, United Star Alliance Sector Command, Constitution System, United Star Alliance

“Sir, we have a jump signature forming at the point to Kaliban! Readings indicate it’s a message pod.”

“Very well Lieutenant, how long for the signal to reach us?” asked Admiral Joe Straker.

“It’ll take about 5 minutes, Sir.

“I think we can all guess what it’s going to tell us, Lieutenant.” Straker looked around the command center, there was a flurry of activity everywhere. The faces of the staff officers held a mix of fear, and worry.

Since the message pod from Lakota arrived in system 48 minutes ago the sector, his command, had gone from routine to a frantic war footing. The visiting warships from the 9th Fleet who had just arrived in system the other day after a 9 month extended anti-pirate deployment were frantically recalling their people from shore leave. For at least the tenth time he thanked heaven the fleet had unexpectedly arrived the other day.

Admiral Straker turned back to the plotting display where his Operations officer was making finally adjustments to the deployment orders. “Captain Frazer, assuming the pod from Kaliban is going to tell us they’ve been attacked, what’s your recommended course of action?”

“Sir, the deployment orders have one of our System Destroyer squadrons ear marked to jump into Kaliban. The current orders indicate they are to render assistance to the custom station, if the Republic forces haven’t arrived yet, they will maintain station there to assist in the defense if this turns out to be more than an isolated incident… and since Kaliban just sent a message pod, I’m inclined to believe it’s more than an isolated incident.”

“Thank you Captain.” Straker turned to his right, “Communications, get me a link to the Lexington, I need to speak with Admiral Garrison.”

Admiral Susan Garrison, in command of the 9th Fleet was having a hell of a day. The bridge of the Alliance Heavy Carrier, Lexington, her flag ship, had exploded into a flurry of activity as soon as the message of the attack on Lakota was received.. “I should have known everything was going to well. Let’s put in at Constitution for a quick break, re-supply and give the crews some shore leave. What was I thinking.”

“Admiral, I have Admiral Straker on gold channel for you”, reported one of the bridge watch standers. “Put it through to my monitor” replied Garrison as she punched the accept button.

Straker’s smiling image appeared on her monitor, but she could tell the smile was forced, and could see the fear in his eyes.  “Susan, I wanted to make sure you’re getting all the support you need from us. Also, we’ll be scrambling the bulk of our sector forces to Lakota within the next 30 minutes.”

Garrison cocked an eyebrow at him as she replied, “Damn Joe, you look old. I’ll keep the 9th fleet here.  With 4 populated worlds and over 25 billion people, you’ll need our firepower if, or should I say when, the Republic forces get here. But it still hurts like hell to not go with your forces to Lakota. Any update on the strength of the attack at Lakota?”

“Based on the last message pod we’ve received they’ve got 35 Destroyers, 10 Heavy Cruisers, 2 Battleships, and 1 Dreadnaught. I’m sending everything I’ve got to Lakota except for one destroyer squadron which we’re sending to Kaliban. That means 16 Destroyers, 15 Light Cruisers, 6 Heavy Cruisers, 2 Battle Cruisers and 1 Light Carrier go to Lakota. Lakota has 2 populated worlds, with a strong fighter presence, plus several Cruisers. With any luck they will have whittled them down by the time we get there.” Straker sighed, “Susan, I’m glad you’re here. You may have to pull my butt out of this just like in the Academy days. I’ve got to go now, there’s more activity at the jump point to Kaliban.”

“Sir, second message pod emerging from the Kaliban jump point. We’ll have telemetry in about 5 minutes.” “Very well Lieutenant, let me know once we have a summary,” Straker responded.


“… and the latest information from Kaliban indicates they destroyed the attacking vessel, but that little Custom’s Base is all shot to hell. Captain Frazer, revise the orders of the squadron going to Kaliban; they are now to evacuate the crew. Make sure they have a full load out of mines before they depart, I want a mine field in front of the jump point from Kaliban to Grendal so dense that if the Republic sends through any more ships they pay a heavy price.” Straker paused and looked around at his staff officers, took a deep breath and continued, “All right, you have your orders, they started this but by god we’ll end it. Let’s go kick some pisser ass!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


In my last post I mentioned that the Science Fiction bug seems to have hit the Connecticut gaming community, and as threatened, below is my contribution. This is pretty rough so my apologies up front. After one of the more painful commutes in a while that included a 30 minute subway ride with a crying / screaming baby about 4 people away, followed by a 1.5 hour train ride with someone who insisted on shouting, not just talking, but shouting into their phone the whole way sitting in front of me there was no way I was getting any sleep. And being sleep deprived my mind wanders as it is wont to due, which is how I ended up with the following. (The sleep deprivation also explains the poor quality). 

I haven't really found a Sci-Fi setting that fits what I'm looking for - sort of a combination of Starship Troopers (the novel), Wing Commander (the movie), Space Above and Beyond with a touch of Babylon 5.  I'm looking for that gritty, not perfect future.  This is my first attempt at trying to set the tone for the setting plus I'm trying a slightly different approach which makes this very much a work in progress.  

If I’m not attacked with pitchforks and flaming torches (or should that be blasters and light sabers?) I may flesh this out a little more; even if I am, I still may, it’s my universe after all. I have a rough draft of a detailed time line, but it gets a little preachy so I’ll spare you from that (at least for now – queue diabolical laughter).

In 2578, exhausted by nearly 100 years of constant warfare the Civil War officially ended. The human sphere was divided into two main governments. The inner star systems, the United Star Alliance, having been originally settled by the Western powers of old earth hold to a loosely democratic form of government while the outer systems, the Peoples Stellar Socialist Republic, were primarily settled by the old earth nations of China, Russia and India, have a more socialist form of government.

The year is 2623, peace and stability has returned to the human sphere. Trade between the United Star Alliance and the Peoples Stellar Socialist Republic has once again become common.


December 7, 2623 0300hrs Earth Standard Time, United Star Alliance Customs station, Kaliban System, United Star Alliance border with the Peoples Stellar Socialist Republic.

Lieutenant (Jg) Alistair Johnson slowly became aware that he was no longer sitting in his chair at the command console. He could feel the hard cold surface of the deck plates beneath him. He opened his eyes and was staring at the back of the chair he had been in, how long ago, a moment, a minute, a hour? He could hear the muffled decompression alarms going off somewhere in the station, and his nostrils stung with the smell of burned electrical systems. He attempted to roll over onto his left shoulder and felt intense pain shoot through his shoulder. Gritting his teeth he struggled to his knees. Over the back of his fallen chair he could see Ensign Rosa Garcia struggling to her feet.

As he turned to the readouts on the command console of the station bridge he barked out “Ensign, damage report!” Scanning his console he saw the Pisser (Alliance slang for the PSSR forces) ‘freighter’ was still holding station, not taking any evasive maneuvers. “The bastards think they knocked us out” he mumbled. “It’ll take them time to reload their missiles if they even have reloads”.

“Sir, the outboard crew quarters have been breached, emergency bulkheads have sealed. Dorsal beam weapons are off line. Atmosphere is stable. Missile tube 2 is off line, tubes 1, and 3 show green” Garica responded in a shaky voice.

“Very well Ensign, please call the Commander to the bridge. What’s the status of the customs party shuttle that was in route to the freighter”, responded Johnson. Johnson was amazed at how calm he was as his fingers flew over his command keypad as he keyed in the commands to target the operational weapons on the enemy freighter.

“No sign of our shuttle, reading debris field consistent with a destroyed shuttle. Readings indicate probable bodies in the debris field, no signs of life” Garcia stated in an unemotional voice.

“Damn.” When the freighter had exited from the jump point it had been treated as a standard commerce inspection. The Customs station existed primarily to tax and inspect cargo transiting between the Alliance and the PSSR, its secondary role was to act as an early warning station for the Alliance Naval forces, which is why the naval personnel outnumbered Customs personnel by 8 to 1. Everything had seemed normal. The freighter took up station at the usual inspection point; a shuttle was dispatched with 2 customs officers and a detachment of 10 Marines (including pilot and co-pilot). The shuttle was maneuvering to dock with the freighter when the alerts sounded in the control room indicating a missile launch. The Socialist Republic forces had placed an incredible amount of electronic counter measures on the freighter to disguise the 4 missile tubes she carried.

“Ensign, download the last 10 minutes of our logs into a message pod and launch it.” The message pod wasn’t really a pod, it was essentially a large hard drive housed in a Faster-Than-Light or "Jump" capable automated drone. Its range was limited to one jump, but at least they could notify the sector command located in the Constitution system one jump away

“Missiles away! Firing beam weapons, Ensign, where the hell is the Commander.”

“Sir, he was off duty, if he was in his quarters…” stammered Garcia.

Both of the stations missiles slammed into the engines of the freighter while the heavy beam weapons sliced into the bridge area. Secondary explosions and rapid decompression followed the major explosions in the engine section. “Sir, their power core is going critical, estimate 30 seconds to detonation. We’re awfully close…” reported Garcia.


The NCO call was depressing. The station had loss half of its Marine and Custom’s compliment. However, by diverting one of their missiles to destroy the shuttle (amazing actually that a big anti-ship missile hit a shuttle, even at point blank range – maybe the shuttle hit the missile) the freighter had probably saved the station. Gunnery Sergeant Menendez was the only surviving Marine NCO, Chief Petty Officer Bowes was the sole surviving NCO from the station maintenance crew. Station records showed that Commander Chappelear as well as Ensign Park had both been in their quarters when the missiles struck. They were among the 12 crew members who had died when the outer hull was breached and they were exposed to vacuum.

Johnson began to wonder if volunteering for this specific assignment was such a good idea after all. The Kaliban system contained one world, uninhabitable and devoid of any resources. Serving a tour on a custom station was one of the many required ticket punches in an Officers career, and a tour that was despised by almost all of them. Serving on a custom station in dead system like Kaliban was deemed a ‘hard luck’ tour, which meant you typically had a fair amount of say in your next assignment. Plus, being a small station with a total compliment of under 50 personnel, it also meant that as a Lieutenant (JG) you were also the station Executive Officer. No, thought Johnson, if the damn Pissers hadn’t decided to start another war this would have been a good assignment and positioned him for a prime position on a Capital ship.

“…24 dead, another 3 badly burned and unfit for duty, 4 with broken bones, leaving us with 21 ready for normal duty” finished Garcia. “Dorsal beam weapons are back on line. We won’t be able to repair missile tube number two. We have 7 missiles remaining; we can’t unload the missile from tube two at this time due to safety concerns. The emergency bulkheads are holding in the crew quarters, I’ve got teams outside working on patching up the hull. We’re also retrieving the bodies. To answer your earlier question Ensign they were only armed with missiles because they couldn’t adequately shield the power usage of any beam weapons”, reported Chief Bowes.

“Thank you all. Ensign Garcia, I’ll be completing my report within the next 10 minutes, please have a message pod ready as I’ll want to send off the report as soon as it’s completed,” Johnson hesitated for a moment and then went on, “I want to compliment all of you on your actions following the attack. Please continue your repairs and submit updates every 6 hours. We don’t know if the Pisser’s plan on sending anything else through our system or not, so we need to be ready.”


Johnson flexed the fingers of his left hand as he adjusted the sling the Corpsman had fitted on his sprained left shoulder earlier. He glanced at the clock on the command console in front of him, 7 hours and 35 minutes since the attack. The first message pod would be reaching the Jump Point to the Constitution system in about 2 minutes. Then it would be another 103 hours, 21 minutes, and 9 seconds until the pod exited hyperspace and began transmitting the alarm to the Alliance forces in Constitution. Just a little over 4 days, and the Alliance would know it was in another war.

“I wonder when, or if, they’ll send a ship to evacuate us? Would they leave us to die in place? The Constitution System has a Jump point to Lakota, another border system, I wonder if they hit it too? Or maybe they hit it days ahead of us? If the Republic sends a warship here we’re toast. If we learned anything from the last war it was that bases are just targets waiting to be turned into scrap once the shooting starts. Damn I’m tired,” Johnson mumbled to himself.