Magnum P.I.

Magnum, TC, and the Ferrari.

I have been looking for a 1:48 scale Ferrari like the one in Magnum P.I. — the original series not the remade crap.  I found this one on eBay after years of searching.  It is 1:43, but close enough.  Then I needed a Magnum, T.C., and Rick.  I went to Crooked Dice to find a figure I could make into Thomas Magnum.

Crooked Nice men from the future.

I started with the figure on the left.  I figured mostly it would be paint conversion, but I had to add a collar to make a Hawaiian shirt.

Flamboyant Agent Heads

I started with the head on the right, but in person, it didn’t have enough hair.  (I have been watching old episodes of the show, so I know that Magnum has a lot of 80’s hair.)  With some green stuff, I added a little more hair and made the mustache a little bushier, which you can see in the top picture of this post.

Another view of Magnum and T.C.

I had a hand holding a .45 M-1911 from a box of Warlord U.S. Marines.  I hacked the right hand out of figure and added the hand holding the .45.  You can’t see it in these pictures, but T.C.’s shirt says “Island Hoppers.”   I figure just about any figure will pass as Rick, and I’m sure I have a suitable Higgins figure.

The Magnum faction will be added to the A-Team, Ghostbusters, and Scooby Doo factions in an upcoming wild and wooly To Be Continued… by GASLIGHT game, hopefully in time for Historicon 2019.

Sarissa Precision Peel Tower

I started to build this peel tower for my border rievers games.  This was a nice kit.  I did a bunch of the painting before assembly, which was the right answer, but I think I could do a much better job if I was to build a second one.

Sarissa Precision peel tower.

All the doors open with tape hinges.

Another view.
A third view.
Bottom floor.
The next floor.
Third floor (in U.S.) or second floor (in the U.K.)
Top floor

I can’t wait to get this on the table!

This is my submission to the February painting challenge on Azazel’s Bit Box:


Combat Patrol(TM) Commandos

Early in the game, commandos run into a German patrol.

Last night at our club night, Greg and I ran a commando game using Combat Patrol(TM).  We are trying to work up rules for sentries and commandos to put into a free supplement.  For purposes of this supplement, the attacker is referred to as “commando” regardless of nationality.  Bottom line: it worked okay for a first run, but we have some work to do.

The Commandos spotted a roving patrol and the sentries by the guard shack.

This scenario involved British Commandos (Guts: E, Accuracy: E, Melee: 2, Endurance: 3, Reaction: 4) attacking a chateau in France to kill or capture a high-ranking officer.  The Germans (Guts: R, Accuracy: R, Melee: 1, Endurance: 3, Reaction: 3) had two teams (5 figures each) that were in fixed positions, three on roving patrols, and two pairs of sentries in fixed positions.  The Commandos were in six, two-figure teams.  This gave them maximum flexibility, but also made it difficult, when the fur began to fly, to mass fires.  The Commandos also had three “Where’s my card?” counters that they could play if the reshuffle card came up before either card of a given number was drawn from the Activation Deck.  Greg played the Germans and worked off of a small board, so the game was “double blind.”

I let the Commandos enter anywhere they wanted on one of the short table edges.  They had to kill or capture the high-ranking officer and exit off the other short table edge.  The table was roughly five feet by three feet.  I used the spotting rules and night rules from the FREE optional rules supplement.

There German patrol spotted some movement they thought were the enemy in the woods. Because the alert level didn’t allow the Germans to shoot, they moved forward to enter into hand-to-hand combat. The Commandos easily dispatched the first two Germans, but the alert level was raised. The two Commandos activated next, dashed out into the open to engage the rest of the patrol, killing two more. The alert level was raised further, but it still wasn’t high enough to allow the Germans to shoot. The last member of the patrol was killed in hand-to-hand combat as well. At this point, the Commandos had killed one of five German teams, and I was worried the game was going to be lopsided.

The driving mechanic of the Commando games is the notion of an alert level (AL), which started and 1 and could go up or down based on different events.  The table was divided into a 3×5 grid.  When the AL reaches certain thresholds, the Germans are allowed to take different actions.  For instance, when the AL reached 5, the sentries were allowed to be more active.  At 10, the fixed German units were released to move toward “sounds.”  At 15, the Germans could begin for fire.  At 20, the German reinforcements would arrive.  On the drive home, I also thought that at 30, the Germans could kill the prisoner.  These thresholds are set before the game, but they can be different from game to game.

If Commandos and Germans were in adjacent zones, the AL increased by 1.  If they were in the same zone, the AL increased by 2.  Until the AL reached 10, the Commandos used a modification to the normal melee procedure.  The Commandos couldn’t apply the HtH modifier for their weapon unless they decided to fire during the melee, which would increase the AL.  If the Commandos lost a hand-to-hand, the German player drew a card from the Action Deck to determine if the Commando was wounded or incapacitated like normal.  In either case, the AL increased by 1.  If the Commando won the melee, he too drew card from the Action Deck to determine the result.  If the German was incapacitated, the AL remained the same.  If the German was wounded, he was incapacitated anyway, but the AL increased by 1.  Also, if the hand-to-hand occurred within sight of another German who wasn’t incapacitated during the same activation, the AL increased by 1.  The first three times that small arms fire occurred, regardless of who fired, the AL increased by 2.  In subsequent activations, if the Commandos fired their weapons, the AL increased by 1.

Two Commandos got across the open, spotted the Germans in the chateau, and ducked for cover in the small courtyard. Unfortunately, by that time the AL was high enough that one of the patrols began moving toward the activity and spotted the Commands. The German patrol activated before the Commandos could melt back into the darkness, and the Germans wiped out the pair.

To encourage the Commandos to exercise some stealth, on turns in which none of the Commandos were spotted, the AL decreased by 1.  There was a point after the first German patrol was killed that the Commandos might have concealed themselves back into the woods, but they unluckily ran into a patch of woods occupied by a fixed German unit.  So, instead of decreasing the AL, a melee occurred, which eventually drove the AL to a level that allowed the Germans to begin shooting.  After this point, the German combat power continued to increase as more and more units arrived and more shooting occurred.  Eventually, the AL got high enough that a nearby Pz. 38(t)  arrived on the scene.

Another German patrol heads to the sound of the guns.

A high point for the Commandos came when the 38(t) moved into the courtyard of the chateau.  One of Duncan’s Commandos was caught in the open.  This is the one we dubbed “Mac the Knife” from all the Germans he had incapacitated in hand-to-hand combat.   All of the Commandos was equipped with a satchel charge.  Mac the Knife assaulted the tank, got a penetrating hit, and brewed up the tank.  This of course increased the alert level, but was a major morale boost for the Commando players who were watching their forces get attritted.  The smoke from the burning tank also provided some concealment for the Commandos from the Germans in the upper rooms of the chateau.

Mac the Knife takes out the German tank with a satchel charge.

We played a few more turns, but the Commandos just didn’t have enough men left to even get to the high-ranking officer.  The Germans began the game with 30 figure and ended with 10.  The Commands began the game with 12 figures and ended with 2.  This was a first play test of a scenario that has so much randomness that it is probably impossible to completely balance, but this particular instance hinged on the Commandos unluckily running into the German patrol early on turn 2.  I the patrol had moved in the opposite direction, if the Commandos had chosen a different entry point, if the Germans had failed to spot, the Commandos might have slipped past, and the game might have been lopsided in their favor.  The AL mechanic seems to work.  The Commands had a good time, despite being defeated.

While Commands were dying in France, Zeb Cook was running a Finland Winter War 1939 game on the other table.  Below are some pictures.  From the whooping and hollering, the game seemed to be a lot of fun, and I really like the look of his table.

WWII Americans in Greatcoats

I have been painting a bunch of figures in greatcoats lately.  First, they are relatively easy to paint.  Second, they look a little different that other figures on the table.  So I finished two squads of infantry.  The nice this about the Artisan figures is that they come in full squad packs.

One of two squads of infantry I finished. After taking these pictures I put small patches of snow on the bases of one squad and small rocks on the other to distinguish them from the squad I completed some weeks ago. This makes it easier for players to find their squads when the figures get mixed up during a game.
Two bazooka a teams and a machine-gun team from Crusader.
The platoon headquarters with a Konflikt 47 Mudskipper.

For Christmas, a buddy gave me the Konflikt 47 Mudskpper kit from Warlord.  It was fun to assemble and will enable me to run a few “weird war” games.  I’ll bet the Americans wished they had one of these on New Years Even when they were facing the space aliens!  The Mudskipper is my submission for this month’s Azazel’s challenge (

A dwarf with a portable catapult.

When I am painting a batch of like figures, I usually put a handful of random figures on the table at the same time.  Sometimes I just use them as a place to apply leftover paint on the pallets.  This time I had this dwarf and the Lara Croft looking figure on the table, so I finished them at the same time.

Lara Croft, I guess.


I DID get a little painting done

I focused on actives with family and friends over Christmas and New Years, but I did get a few things painted.

The first were eight Copplestone Cossacks that I found in a flea market bin.  I will use these in my Retreat from Moscow games.

The next batch are a number of fantasy ducks (and other critters) from Star Hat Miniatures in New Zealand.  From previous posts, it is clear that the quirkiness of ducks appeals to me.  I bought into this Kickstarter, and I received my ducks a couple of months ago.  I finally got around to paining them.  I was looking for something a little different after 100 WWII 28mm Russian WWII infantry.

The non-ducks in the Kickstarter.  The goat with the battle axe guitar is interesting.


The back of the Jacobite looking duck.  I had fund painting the plaid on him.
Ducky Chan, Doctor Who, and two others.


The two on the right are among my favorites.
I really like Friar Duck, second from the left.
The duck on the right wielding a baguette quacks me up!

Now it’s time to work on WWII ETO Americans in greatcoats for Combat Patrol(TM).

Combat Patrol on New Years Eve

Early in the epic struggle in Granville, IL, between the American Army and space aliens.

Since 2009, we have been hosting a war-game on New Years Eve.  I don’t find New Years Eve a compelling holiday, and I don’t feel like sharing the road with a bunch of drunk people, so we start gaming around 1500 and end a little after midnight, which gives everyone time to get home before the craziness beings.  We usually make the games light, often Christmas themed.  The first game last night was a GASLIGHT game centered around the movie A Christmas Story in which two groups of characters from the movie competed to round up items from the movie, such as the Red Ryder BB gun and blue bowling ball, while the town was being invaded by zombies.  For this game, I set up my Granville, Illinois, town that I use for my pulp and gangster games.

The second game used the same terrain, since it takes a couple of hours to set up.  This time, American troops were defending the town against an attack by space aliens.  In the picture above, you see a crashed space ship in the foreground.  The aliens landed and advanced toward the ship.  The device in the foreground is the macguffin.  The aliens have to get to it and destroy it.  Why not nuke it from space?  The aliens had to make sure that the Americans hadn’t already found and exploited the device.

This doesn’t really follow any narrative, but it is meant to provide a bunch of eye candy.

The diner where not too much action took place.  You can also see the trailer park in the distance.
Two of my buildings.
Early in the game, the Americans advanced a bunch of cars from the drive-in theater to block the path of the alien tanks down two of the roads.
American infantry took up positions in two department stores. You can see where the Americans have parked cars in the road to block the path of the alien tanks.
An American tank gets brewed up by the aliens.

The aliens did a nice job maneuvering their tanks and infantry together up the roads agains the American opposition.

Early in the game: the aliens are just beginning to advance.
A long shot of the table before the game kicked off.
Another view of the table before the action.  It took several years to build up the town a few buildings at a time.
A swell GM helping to resolve indirect fire.
Early in the game. You can see the initial alien dispositions.
Giant-sized aliens and armored infantry advance up the road with tank support.
Another view of the table without troops.
Yet another view.
A space alien tank advances put he road toward the Americans. These tanks were made from cheap, soft plastic tanks in a bag of green army men from the dollar store.
An American anti-tank gun takes up position in the school yard. It had a limited field of view and was unable to penetrate the front of the alien tanks.
Another view of the table in the middle of the action.
Americans advance from the school yard and town hall to take up positions in the down town area.
Another view of the initial dispositions of the aliens.
After being hit by HE from an alien tank, the American anti-tank gun had to pull back deeper into the school yard to seek cover.
An American Sherman crashes through the fence of the drive-in theater to take up a firing position.
Alien armored infantry in the background and worm infantry in the foreground advance on the Americans.
A scrum taking shape between American in and on the building on the left and the advancing alien infantry.

The game went well.  The Americans had lots of opportunities to knock out the alien tanks, but they had bad luck, missing almost every shot.  While the Americans tore up the alien infantry on the American left flank and delayed the alien infantry on the American right, the aliens knocked out all but one American tank and drove relentlessly to the objective.  Combat Patrol worked fine for a science fiction game.  It was a nice way to spend New Years Eve.