Travel Space Hulk

(A.K.A. Space Saver Hulk)

Some years ago I set about creating a Travel Space Hulk game.  I’d seen some people had made versions using Epic (6mm) models, magnets of some variety, and scaled down the boards that came with the original game.  This does reduce the size of the game but, as I know from experience, the individual 6mm figures are very fiddly and are realistically too small for game pieces, and the downsized boards still require a fair amount of space to set up – and that space needs to be level and stable.

I was planning to take my version of this to a friend’s stag do at the other end of a long train trip with other friends so my design brief necessitated something that was not only portable but also had a small footprint in play. As Space Hulk is fundamentally a square grid based game I looked at commercially available travel versions of other grid based games and Scrabble seemed like a good candidate. I initially bought a magnetic version but it was pretty clear as soon as I set it up that it wasn’t going to fly.  However, whilst killing time in the shops at an airport departure lounge I found a different set that used more substantial plastic tiles that clipped into the square grid.

Travel Space Hulk' Travel Scrabble box

(I don’t seem to have any photos of the set before I modified it.)

The added advantage of this set is that the board is clear plastic with the Scrabble board as a printed underlay so it can be sold in different language versions.  This was easy to remove and replace with a printed board with a Space Hulk style map.

Next up was the choice of figures.  I knew from Epic that 6mm was too small and it was pretty obvious that 28mm figures weren’t going to fit on the tiles.  15mm seemed like a reasonable compromise – with the added bonus that there are a wide selection of really good 15mm sci-fi figures out there.  After some casting around (no pun intended) I found Khurasan Miniatures who had some “Space Demon Assault Warriors” (TTC-901) and a multi-part “Federal Marine Special Assault Brigade in Power Armour” (TTC-1004). (Personally, I think these look better than James Workshop’s figures.)

Khurasan Miniatures TTC-1004: 15mm Federal Marine Special Assault Brigade in Power Armour

These figures proved to be an ideal size and, combined with some plasticard rectangles for doors, this gave me everything needed for the game.  Assembly was fairly straightforward and some roughly painted tokens for blips (with numbers written on the underside) and flame markers rounded things out for a playable game.

Space Saver Hulk, unpainted

This is where I got to as an MVP for the stag do trip:  we played it on the train on the way down and it worked really well.

Then, after the trip, it got put away into the games’ cupboard and that was it for nearly a decade.

Redux

With a trip to a French campsite situated in the middle of a race track coming up I dug it out of storage with a view to tidying it up and taking it to play whilst drinking pastis and eating barbecued ringpiece sausage – the set’s form factor being ideal for playing in that kind of situation.  It was still in the MVP state so I decided to spend a long weekend in getting it into a better shape.

Complete set of Travel Space Hulk

I went with classic Blood Angels and Genestealer colours, at the smaller scale the colours do more work than the sculpts so it really makes the game feel like classic Space Hulk. Travel Space Hulk Marines Travel Space Hulk

The blips have the number of Genestealers on the reverse as you would expect.
Travel Space Hulk blip reveal

The nature of this particular Travel Scrabble set really makes this work.  The map isn’t ideal for the original rule set, it lacks the long corridors that help the Marine player but that’s a minor issue – it’s better to be able to play some Space Hulk when travelling than none at all…

Marine player's view of Travel Space Hulk game in progress Genestealer player's view of Travel Space Hulk game in progress

The way the tiles clip into the board is perfect for game play as it stops things moving about when you’re playing on a train, in a pub or at a campsite, and the small size of the board means it doesn’t need a very big space to set up in the aforementioned locations.

Close up view of Travel Space Hulk game in progress

The counters fit inside the box but I need to come up with a storage solution for the figures, when they were unpainted it was fine to have them loose but, despite a heavy coat of varnish, they need some more protection now.
Travel Space Hulk counter storage

When it comes to rules we have a good enough understanding of the mechanics and what’s fun so freestyle things, that’s the joy of playing games with good friends.

Cyber Altered Task unit

And of course, what Space Hulk game would be complete without a C.A.T.
Travel Space Hulk C.A.T.

Epic Slaanesh army

My Epic Slaanesh army from the early 2000s.

Keeper of Secrets (Warhammer Fantasy Daemonette conversion) and Daemonettes (Warmaster)
Epic Slaanesh Keeper of Secrets and Daemonettes
Warlord Titan with aspects of a Keeper of Secrets
Epic Slaanesh Keeper of Secrets/Warlord titan
Reaver Titan with aspects of a Daemonette
Epic Slaanesh Deamonette/Reaver titan
Hell-Knights and (unfinished) Questor Titan
Epic Slaanesh Hell-KnightsEpic Slaanesh Questor titan
Tactical Squads
Epic Slaanesh tactical squadsEpic Slaanesh tactical squads
Chosen Squads
Epic Slaanesh Chosen squads
Raptor Squads
Epic Slaanesh Raptor squads
Havocs Squads
Epic Slaanesh squads
Squats (unbased)
Epic Chaos Squats
Steed Riders
Epic Slaanesh Steed ridersEpic Slaanesh Steed riders
Noise Marine Squads and Warhound Titan with aspects of a Fiend
Epic Noise marines and Fiend/Warhound titan
Beastmen Squads and Warhound Titan with aspects of a Fiend
Epic Slaanesh beastmen and Fiend/Warhound titan
Dreadnoughts and Land Raiders
Epic Slaanesh Dreadnoughts
Robots and Land Raiders
Epic Slaanesh robots and Land Raiders
Heavy Tanks and Spaceship
Epic Slaanesh heavy tanks and space ship
Aircraft
Epic Slaanesh aircraft
Giant Military Cat
A Giant Military Cat towers over the forces of Slaanesh

2CV windscreen heater duct refurbishment

The 2CV’s heater system is predictably simple:  air used for extracting heat from the engine is passed through cardboard tubes into the cabin.  As cardboard isn’t the most long lived of materials and the original ones were showing their age I purchased a set of replacements.  Thinking this would be a 15 minute job and a good one to cross off the list in order to give myself the illusion of being productive I set about replacing them.

The lower set from the heat exchangers to the diverter on the bulkhead was simple enough but when I removed the upper set from the diverter to the screen demister ducts that protrude through the bulkhead I found the end of the ducts were rusty.  This is when it became apparent that the 15 minute job was going to take somewhat longer than expected…

2CV windscreen header duct with surface rust

Going over the ducts with a wire wheel on the drill cleaned back the visible rust but as I progressed more and more of the paint came away which indicates that rust had got under it and it was only a matter of time before the tin worm had infested the whole thing.

2CV windscreen header ducts (back)

2CV windscreen header ducts (front)

After cleaning back as far as they needed to go the exposed metal was liberally treated with rust remedy prior to painting.

There now followed an extended period of cold and damp weather which meant that painting wasn’t going to be an option:  as I don’t have a walk in spray booth this would have to be done outside which meant dry weather with a temperature sufficient to allow the solvents in the paint to evaporate.

Once climatic conditions improved the ducts were painted with etch primer followed by several coats of generic car colour (satin back).

2CV windscreen header ducts etch primed

2CV windscreen header ducts painted satin black

At one point in the course of the 2CV’s history there would have been a flap mounted in these ducts and, as the tooling wasn’t changed, they still feature the holes for this.  Originally there would have been a white rubber bung in them but these had long since perished and disappeared so I acquired some 5.5mm black silicone bungs from a popular online auction site which fitted them perfectly.

2CV windscreen header ducts with 5.5mm sillicone bungs

Refitting is the reverse of removal, that’s to say the ducts fit through the bulkhead and are secured with the factory self tapping screws before the dashboard is replaced over the top of them.

2CV windscreen header duct (passenger's side)

It’s notable that, whilst the passenger’s side duct is fitted into a moulded section of the dash, the driver’s side simply has a cutout to allow it to pass through.  This is presumably because on the original left hand drive version of the car there is no duct on this side.

2CV windscreen header ducts (driver's side)

The ducts protrude through the bulkhead and have rubber grommets to seal them.2CV windscreen header ducts through bulkhead

Two months and change after starting this 15 minute job the new heater hoses were now fully fitted.

2CV header ducts under bonet

2CV exhaust cross box studs

The 2Cv’s exhaust cross box is hung off bolts that go into the gearbox casing.

2CV exhaust cross box bolt

This does the job of holding the cross box in place – as well as the brake “cooling” ducts – but it is somewhat awkward to assemble everything together. As with the fuel pump and engine breather, the SPOG make a set of studs to replace the bolts to make assembly of parts easier. Fitting is “simply” a case of removing the old bolts and screwing in the new studs. The catch being access, even with the wings removed it’s hard to get to this area – especially to fit the studs – with the exhaust still in place.

Access to the 2CV exhaust cross box studs

With patience, perseverance (and some swearing) the studs went in and the exhaust cross box and brake ducts were secured with the supplied nut and washers.

2CV exhaust cross box stud

Of course, the real key to the operation was the supervision of the car’s owner.

The owner of a 2CV inspecting the tools carried

2CV three bar grill bonnet chevrons

Having fitted a three bar grill I needed to fit some chevrons to the bonnet to complete the look.  I hadn’t been able to track down any that were designed to fit over the curve but had sourced two options: a pair of modern plastichrome ones for sprucing up number 4 grills and a pair of new-old-stock AX era chevrons.

I preferred the look of the older chevrons and they had the added bonus of being genuine Citroën parts.  For reference they are 75mm across the tips and 35mm between the mounting pins.

Citroën chevrons - part number 95 560 449

Citroën chevrons - part number 95 560 449

Having got the measurements of 120mm from the tip of the top chevron to the top edge of the grill and 10mm spacing between the two chevrons I made up a cardboard jig to figure out the correct placement for the holes.

Citroën chevrons on card jig

The notches are to help align the jig on the centreline of the bonnet which is hard to see if the jig is covering it.  (The lower pair of holes here are from “measure once”, the upper quad are the holes from “measure twice”.)

Chevron card jig on bonnet

The location of the holes were then transcribed onto some masking tape on the bonnet.  This has the added advantage of protecting the paint from the drilling and leaves a clean hole.

Drilling marks for chevrons on a 2CV bonnet

Then the bit I was least looking forward to:  drilling holes in my bonnet.  The masking tape is useful again here as it helps stop the drill bit sliding on the paint – even when centre punched this is a real risk.  Once the drill had started a high speed and gentle pressure were the order of the day to slowly and evenly get through the bodywork.  The chevron mounting pins have plastic barbs which compress as they go through the holes and expand to grip the bonnet.  After measuring the size of the pins at the base a 3.5mm drill bit was needed.

drilled holes for chevrons on a 2CV bonnet

After some treatment with paint applied with cotton buds to provide some kind of rust delaying effect on the edges of the holes, the chevrons pressed in.  This was a bit nervy as the force required to get the barbs through the holes was – I felt – very close to the braking strength of 20 odd year old plastic.

Bonnet chevrons and three bar grill on a 2CV

Bonnet chevrons and three bar grill on a 2CV

Once fitted they complete the look of the three bar grill.

Bonnet chevrons and three bar grill on a 2CV

Not being shaped to fit the curve of the bonnet they do stand slightly proud but this is only noticeable up close and from certain angles.

Olav’s Wood walk

Olav’s Wood is a cultivated woodland on Orkney that was started by Olav Dennison in the 1970s and is still being developed.

Entrance to Olav's Wood

There are a variety of trees, especially in the upper part of the wood near the entrance, and there a numerous paths that wander round this area.

Path in Olav's Wood

The path continues down alongside and over Oback burn.

Bridge over Oback Burn in Olav's Wood

Further down is an area of evergreen trees.

Path in Olav's Wood

The path then rejoins the burn.

Walkway in Olav's Wood

Oback Burn in Olav's Wood

Next to the south end of the woodland is an area that has been planted with dog roses.

Dog roses at Olav's Wood

Rose hips in Olav's Wood

Continue reading “Olav’s Wood walk”