Monday, April 7, 2014

Victorian Scrunts take to the streets

I've written a company list for (some of) the excellent Victorian Scrunts Bob Olley produced and that I showed off here a couple of weeks ago.

This list is very much a work in progress, and I welcome, indeed require, your feedback to improve it. Believe me, I'm good at taking constructive criticism.

The problems with the list as it stands (the version you're seeing is my fourth swing at it) is that these buggers are PRICEY. If you're playing with a starting 250-point list, that'll get you a Chief Engineer, a couple of Bangers (long-range fighters), a handful of Beaters (melee fighters), and maybe a Boomer (specialist weapons).

The Stout attribute I've ascribed to them means their standard move is 5 inches, and their run adds only 2 inches, instead of the usual 6 inches and 3 inches of most figures. I thought about making this a -1 point disadvantage, but for now I've left it at zero. It's what gives the list much of its character.

I've tried to make it an entertaining list, but I know with your help, we can improve it. There's also a thread over on the Lead Adventure Forum and a post in the In Her Majesty's Name group on Facebook.

Here's the list:

“Up the airy mountain
Down the rushy glen,
We daren't go a-hunting,
For fear of little men ...”
-- William Allingham

Victorian Scrunts

As London has grown, many ethnic groups find themselves migrating to the city’s crowded interior to eke out an existence for themselves. One of the latest such groups consists of short-statured men and women who exhibit their toughness, bravery and technical prowess in their trades. They conjure up images out of their neighbors’ childhoods and are often called by names from those people’s folk and fairy tales -- dwarves, svartalfar, tommyknockers. But they’ve taken to themselves a name first used against them in derision: the Scrunts.

While Scrunts are found in all walks of Victorian life, they seem to excel in the building and technical trades. Many Scrunt-owned enterprises have cropped up, but none are better known than the engineers and weaponsmiths at Stronginthearm Industrial Machines and Armaments. For reliable weapons and inventive ammunition, people from all walks of life dream of getting their hands on Stronginthearm munitions.

Stronginthearm regularly displays its wares (and reportedly tests new ideas and products) through its street teams, each led by a Chief Engineer. In addition to marketing and research, these companies also protect the interests of Clan Stronginthearm.

Most company members can be broken down into “Bangers” and “Beaters.” Bangers carry predominantly long-range weaponry, while Beaters are primarily equipped for melee fighting.

Others with more specialized weapon load-outs carry even more descriptive nicknames. Scrunts strong enough to manage heavy weapons single-handed are called “Boomers.” Bangers who equip themselves exclusively with arc weapons are called “Blasters.”

Engineers assisting the Chief Engineer are sometimes called “Buzzers,” given that they are usually tasked with lugging around the company’s Arc Generator.

Current Chief of Operations Vili Stronginthearm is also pushing the company into the handling of mystical forces or objects. As such, he has lured runic practitioners from their ancient homeland, to see how such forces will perform in the field alongside the firm’s technological creations. None has been so foolish as to give these runesmiths a nickname.

Stronginthearm Research & Development Team


Chief Engineer

Pluck
FV
SV
Speed
Cost
Talents
Equipment
2+
+3
+3
+0
53
Tough, Stout, Engineer, Leadership +2
Faraday Coat, English All-Electric Truncheon, Arc Pistol

Engineer

Pluck
FV
SV
Speed
Cost
Talents
Equipment
3+
+2
+2
+0
59
Tough, Stout, Engineer, Leadership +1
Faraday Coat, Arc Rifle, Arc Generator

Banger

Pluck
FV
SV
Speed
Cost
Talents
Equipment
4+
+0
+4
+0
40
Tough, Stout, Marksman, Hunter
Brigandine, Carbine

Boomer

Pluck
FV
SV
Speed
Cost
Talents
Equipment
4+
+0
+4
+0
41
Tough, Stout, Strongman
Brigandine, Flamethrower

Beater

Pluck
FV
SV
Speed
Cost
Talents
Equipment
5+
+4
+0
+1
31
Tough, Stout, Martial Artist, Duellist
Brigandine, Fighting Knife, Club

Runecaster

Pluck
FV
SV
Speed
Cost
Talents
Equipment
4+
+2
+0
+0
36
Tough, Stout, Medic
Runes

A runecaster may engrave, carve, paint or daub one rune per phase onto one piece of equipment held by a figure with whom he or she is base to base contact at the beginning of the movement phase. The effects of the rune last until the end of the game. Once a figure has received one rune, it may not receive another.
Available runes are:
   Ansuz, “gods”: +1 to shooting rolls
   Uruz, “aurochs”: +2 to armor rating
   Raidho, “riding”: +3” move
   Perthro, “luck”: +2 to pluck rolls
   Sowilo, “victory”: +2 to fighting rolls

Recently, the firm has been experimenting with the mechanized walkers as are turning up in industrial uses and on the battlefields across the world. The first of these, called the “Buster Machine,” is a light industrial walker fitted with steam fists. It can be upgraded to fit machine guns as well.

Type
Description
Speed
Armour
Weapons/Tools
Cost
Buster
Light Industrial Walker
9”
8
Steam Fists
22
Gunbuster
Light Military Walker
9”
11
Steam Fists/ Machine Guns
56



Stout: A full move for Scrunts is 5 inches. When a scrunt runs, it adds only 2 inches to the distance.

A Chief Engineer may upgrade his English All-Electric Truncheon to an Edison Arc Truncheon (+3 points).

An Engineer may purchase Explosive or Gas Grenades (6 points).

An Engineer may purchase a Monocular Targeting Array (7 points).

A Banger may exchange his Carbine for a Hunting Rifle (+11 points) or an Arc Rifle (+3 points).

A Boomer may exchange his Flamethrower for an Arc Cannon (even swap) or a Machine Gun (+15 points).

A Beater may exchange his fighting knife for a rapier (straight exchange) or a sabre/sword (+1 point). Scrunts lack the necessary height to use a sword (large).

A Beater may exchange his Club for a Nightstick (+1 point).

Any company member may purchase a Breath Preserver (2 points).

Here's a link to the list as a pdf:

Victorian Scrunts on Dropbox

Monday, March 17, 2014

The hand of the master revealed ... my Victorian Scrunts arrive.

As I suspected he would, Bob Olley beat me. I received my items from Bob's Victorian Scrunts kickstarter before I've finished tinkering with the company rules I'm writing for "In Her Majesty's Name." I have two days off coming up, so I'll try to finish them off this week and have them posted before the weekend.

(My excitement has me waxing loquacious. There's a tl;dr summary down at the end if you don't want to wade through my excess verbiage!)

But I cannot deny you, my faithful readers, a look at the glory that is the work of the master. Olley's Scrunts are some of the most characterful miniatures out there, and though I haven't yet removed these from their (unique) packaging -- I'm still at work and don't want to lose anything -- they appear to be incredibly clean casts with minimal mold lines and no flash at all. At least I can't find any yet through visual examination. I mean, these did come out of a mold, right? Bob hasn't discovered some moldless method of casting metal miniatures with the sheer power of his mind, has he? Wouldn't put it past him. These things are gorgeous.

I wish I could've plunged into this KS much deeper, but I could only plump for the three-pack deal. That means there were lots I had to leave behind, like the light weapons, both gambling dioramas, the queen and the two vehicles, and the head sprues. Oh, the head sprues! Not that there's not plenty of variety with what I now hold in my grubby little hands, but still, the more, the merrier. You can see pics of all that escaped my greedy grasp on the pages of the kickstarter here. Bob has said over at LAF that he has ideas for many further Victorian Scrunt civilians, so more of the line may be forthcoming. He will certainly get more of my hard-earned cash when he does. I also intend to scoop up more of those I had to forgo initially, once he gets these up in his webstore.

What I chose were the lads armed with the Heavy Weapons, Packs 1 and 2:

The "unique" packaging I mentioned, here encasing
pack 2 of the Heavy Weapon Victorian Scrunts. 
Look at that face! The heads, bodies, arms and
 steam backpacks are all separate, interchangeable components.
Another closeup of the heavies' faces.

A top-hatted head from the Heavy Weapons Pack 1.

If you can look through the glare, you can see the detail
and dynamism of that body sculpt. I am impressed beyond words.

For my third pack I chose the Thugs:

Here we have the pack of Victorian thugs,
armed to bring violence to the streets.

A couple of bewhiskered close-ups of the thugs here.
They look suitably violent, that's for sure.

tl;dr version: Olley's Armies Victorian Scrunts are dynamic sculpts with exquisite detail, cast with minimal mold lines and, I swear, no visible flash. The variations available due to the modular design mean your assembled Scrunts will likely be unique. Highest recommendation, without reservation.

That's it for today, o my brothers and my sisters. Back to the boards, everyone, and I'll see you across the table soon.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Victorian Scrunts are on their way

The lastest word from Bob and Jackie Olley is that most of the packages from the Olley's Armies Victorian Scrunts kickstarter have been dispatched.

Need I reveal here that I'm maniacally scratching away, trying to perfect a company list for these figures before mine arrive in the post? I am. Fourth rewrite -- I don't know how Craig and Charles do it.

Actually I do. I've been writing game rules myself for over 15 years -- it's intense, draining but ultimately rewarding work. (I just wish I did it as successfully as they do it!)

In that vein, when I saw the Scibor figure below, I knew he would be a great walker addition to my scrunt company. The figure is designed for Blood Bowl-type fantasy football, but the inclusion of optional machine guns to go along with the steam fist certainly opens him up for use beyond the pitch.

Here's the picture from the Scibor online catalog so you can see what he's supposed to look like all put together.



That face looks like Cardinal Biggles from the Monty Python Spanish Inquisition sketch, no?


That's actually what made me fall in love with the little fella!

So here are my photos of the mini as I just received it:

Look at that adorable little face! The detail really comes through in this resin casting as well. Ornate yet functional and tough as hell, just like dwarves scrunts should make!

The backs of the steamfists. I checked the picture on Scibor's catalog page to see if these dings and divots were sculpted features or casting issues. (They're sculpted that way!)

The steamfists, palms-up.

This really surprised me. I was not prepared for the gorgeousness of the detail of this sculpted base. I wasn't expecting a sculpted base at all, so it was a wonderful surprise!

Optional machine gun and ammo canisters, I believe.

Shoulderpads, hatch crank and smokestacks. Gotta love more bits!
All in all, I gotta say this was a worthwhile purchase. As you can see, there is some resin flash between the parts in some locations, so thin that it could more accurately be called a film. There are also some tabs to be cut away on the knees of the armor, it seems. I haven't worked with resin much, so I've got my work cut out for me. For an experienced resin-modeler, I'm sure this would be an even greater value, as they won't have to cope with the learning curve I've got.

So back to the boards, everyone, and I'll see you across the tables soon. WITH a Victorian scrunts company list for IHMN, too. Soon, I promise!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Got my Fenris bases

Got my Fenris Nags Tavern fine planking bases for my IHMN Airship Pirates company. The quality on these is exceptional. Both the pattern and the polish are of very highest quality. Only one or two of the bases had minute bits of flash that I could've possibly eradicated with a fingernail. 


These Innsmouth cobblestone bases are, if anything, even better. No flash, no visible flaws, bottoms ground evenly to a fine polish. -- I love 'em. I don't know which IHMN crew will get these first, but I'm eager to try them out.

The joy of ordering from many of the boutique miniature companies, especially in the UK, is receiving sweeties along with your purchase. I'd never had a Super Fizz Wham! bar or a Barratt Fruit Salad chew before. (Both were pretty great as sweeties go.) Above you see what I received along with the third item I ordered, some sewer manhole covers. Unlike the resin bases, they're metal and attached to a sprue. Clean, clear casts, just like everything I've seen from Fenris. 

My thanks to Ian Brumby for the great work and great service!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Welcome, Wednesday!

We have a new public follower aboard. Welcome Nimrod, whom I am sure is a mighty hunter before The Lord (my readers did know I studied for the ministry at one point, right?), and who writes the excellent blog

Слишком много ножей, which Google translate tells me means "Too Many Knives."  Give the blog a visit -- we stomp much of the same ground, so I dare say you'll enjoy it. 


Now back to the boards everyone, and I'll see you across the table soon. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Incoming correspondence from The Peregrine

As I've mentioned previously, I am amazed at the connections the Internet has allowed me to make. I try not to be too starstruck, but the fact that I get to exchange messages regularly with Patrick Keith and Vicky Morgan-Keith, Brian Roe, James Wappel, Chris and Debs FitzPatrick, Craig Cartmell, Bob Mervine and other creators whose talents and work I so admire, as well as bloggers who inform and inspire me and with whom I've become friends, like Vampifan and Hendybadger, just blows my mind.


Capt. Constance Bashford of the airship The Peregrine

Well, after my post the other day about purchasing RAFM's Abney Park airship pirate minis, I sent steampunk model Constance Bashford a Facebook friend request. I was happy enough that she accepted, but then I got a very nice personal message from her about how thrilled she was to hear about someone buying the mini based on her persona. 

She, of course, wants to see it painted up, and frequent readers of "Dispatches" will know that I paint at a rate charitably described as "glacial." But I will say I am excited to add these characters to my IHMN setting, so that will urge my painting forward at a better pace.






Toward that end, I ordered some bases from Fenris for my airship pirates and some cobblestone bases for the figures from the EOTD Kickstarter. The ones I ordered were the 30mm round DS Nags Tavern fine-grained wooden planking (as opposed to the rougher-hewn Black Freighter planking bases) and the 30mm DS Innsmouth Cobblestone, rather than the slightly more irregular Whitechapel Cobblestone bases they offer. I also ordered a set of "London Foul Sewer" manhole covers. Whimsy on my part.



Given that some people who follow the Northern Path believe a bit of prophecy indicates that the Twilight of the Gods begins this weekend, Ian is offering a 10 percent discount between now and the end of Feb. 22 (midnight GMT)  if you enter the code "RAGNAROK" on checkout at their webstore.

Love you all, my friends. Back to the boards, and I'll see you across the tables soon.