Finished putting together some scenery for Infinity.
Items are from:
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.
(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.)
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
My Epic Slaanesh army from the early 2000s.
The FW 190s are now fully painted and based with magnets on the top of the stands and the underside of the aircraft. Set against the B-17 combat box the two formations make an imposing sight.
For some additional options I’ve also done some Me 163s and Me 262s.
Of course, nothing is a match for a giant military cat.
To provide a period correct opposing force for my ealrly 70s Chieftain I settled on a T-62. (Early T-72s would have been entering service but they wouldn’t have been present in numbers but, more to the point, the only T-72 model I could find was an M1 variant that entered service in 1979.)
For this I picked up the Trumpeter T-62. This is fundamentally a reasonable kit but the image on the box features a lot more detail than is present on the sprues in the box. As any modeler will know this is a good reason to buy a new kit – in this case the Revell T-55 A/AM which is significantly better detailed than the Trumpeter T-62. As the T-62 is very similar to the T-55 there a a lot of parts that will translate directly across – from headlights to hatches. I think that between the two I can make a detailed T-62 appropriate for the early 70s.
Storage is a key part of the usability of any wargaming setup – it has to be easy otherwise I’m not going to make much use of it. For the 1:300 aircraft I have used closed cell foam floor mats stuck to card backing and stacked in a plastic storage box.
The foam was first cut to size so that it fitted into the box and then the individual aircraft shapes were cut out. A sharp knife is needed and I made a paper template for each aircraft type as tracing round the actual models would inevitably lead to damage.
Once the aircraft shapes were cut out, and trimmed where necessary to get a good fit, the foam was glued to a cardboard backing with PVA glue. After leaving them to set under a decent weight the card was trimmed to the edges of the foam.
Whilst the FW 190s fitted nicely in the foam layer the B-17s have a high tail. To get round this pieces of the foam I’d cut out of the aircraft holes were secured on top with a hot glue gun to provide some spacing. The layers on top won’t be that heavy so the slight compressibility of the foam isn’t an issue.
To make getting the layers out of the box easier one corner has been cut out to allow a finger to hook under a layer.
When initially looking at the heraldry I had left the B-17 numbering until later. I couldn’t find any available transfers that would fit what I needed so I’ve got some transfer paper and made up my own sheet.
By the point in the war this scenario is set (11 September 1944) the majority of aircraft would have been silver (or natural metal finish as it’s sometimes known) so the markings would have been black. (There would have been a few olive drab aircraft sill in service but I’m going with 12 silver aircraft.)
The identification symbol for the 100th BG was a square with a
D inside. This appeared on both sides of the tail and – in a slightly larger box – on the upper and lower surfaces of the wings.
The code for 351 squadron of 100th BG is
EP and the aircraft have a single letter identification code. As for the Luftwaffe aircraft I’ve gone for an idealised/abstract sequence of
I as it doesn’t look great). The squadron code appears on each side of the fuselage and, smaller, on both sides of the tail.
Finally there’s the individual aircraft’s serial number which appeared on both sides of the tail above its identification code. There are valid ranges for these but, for what I’m after, a set of random numbers in the 200,000 – 400,000 range is close enough.
With all that, a USAF lettering font, and some measuring of images from various sources and I’ve got enough to produce a vector image that I can print on the transfer paper: