Showing posts with label film. Show all posts
Showing posts with label film. Show all posts

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Where Would You Rather Die? Here? Or In A Jaeger?

Having now printed and painted the five key jaegers from Pacific Rim, I thought I'd post my Mighty Monsters stats for them, for comment, criticism, or simple adoration. Each one is built to roughly the same cost - roughly 320-330pts. Obviously this means that I have had to simplify a few things and make compromises. But each one has been designed with what I hope is its own distinctive style.

General Notes

The jaegers are mostly designed using Samurai Robots Battle Royale, but I have included a couple of bits and pieces which are exclusive to Mighty Monsters as well. I used the Pacific Rim Wiki as my main source of information. This draws on the film, as well as the novelisation, graphic novels and some production notes. I'm not sure how canonical some of the information is, but it all helped to flesh out the designs. 

Strictly jaegers are designed to operate with two (or in one case, three) pilots, with a neural link, and a cheap design would reflect this by simply classing the crew as one pilot. However the film does feature single crew-members piloting the jaegers in an emergency, so I went with the multiple pilots option. The neural net option does add an element of uncertainty.

All of the jaegers have the amphibious trait because they are unaffected when wading out to sea or when operating on the sea-bed.

 Gipsy Danger (330 points)

Head - Q3 C2 - Two Heroic Neural-Net Pilots
Body - Q3 C4 - Spikes (One Use)
Arms - Q3 C3 - Blade, Elbow Thruster x1, Plasma Gun C4S
Legs - Q3 C3 - Amphibious

I made Gipsy Danger a simple all-rounder, as befits the star of the film. It's not brilliant at anything, but with the Heroic pilots should be capable of taking on a range of opponents. The ‘Spikes’ are vented coolant. 'Single use' isn't an option for this ability, but I simply halved the cost. Its use should be declared when a grapple attack is made. 

Crimson Typhoon (330 points)

Head - Q3 C2 - Three Neural-Net Pilots
Body - Q3 C4
Arms - Q2 C4 - Twin Blades, Plasma Cannon C4S
Legs - Q3 C3 - Amphibious, Free Disengage

Crimson Typhoon is my favourite design. I tried very hard to fit it with two sets of arms, but 330pts wasn't enough to do them justice. Instead I gave the one set it has a good Quality and high Combat factor; it should generally be able to get three Arm actions each turn and make them count. The Free Disengage represents its agility in close combat. And close combat is really this jaeger's forte.

Striker Eureka (325pts)

Head - Q3 C2 - Two Neural-Net Pilots
Body - Q3 C4 - Missiles C4L
Arms - Q2 C3 - Blades, Elbow Thruster, Martial Arts
Legs - Q3 C3 - Amphibious

The Australian jaeger is described as a 'brawler', so I gave it the Martial Arts ability that is normally reserved for Tokusatsu Heroes in Mighty Monsters. Otherwise its special feature is the rack of missiles in its chest. Like Gipsy Danger, this jaeger is an all-rounder.

Cherno Alpha (330pts)

Head - Q3 C3 - Heavy Armour, Armoured Cockpit, Two Neural-Net Pilots
Body - Q3 C4 - Light  Armour, Massive
Arms - Q3 C4 - Light Armour, Elbow Thrusters x3
Legs - Q3 C3 - Short Move, Amphibious

Cherno Alpha is pretty much lifted from one of the sample mechs in 'Samurai Robots Battle Royale', with a few adjustments and additions. According to the background fluff for the film, this jaeger does have some kind of short-ranged attack - incinerators mounted on the cooling tower 'helmet'. I didn't have the points for them, so have skipped them. This makes Cherno Alpha the only jaeger design equipped solely for close combat.

Coyote Tango (327pts)

Head - Q3 C2 - Two Neural-Net Pilots
Body - Q3 C3 - Twin-Linked Mortars, C4L with Unlimited Missiles
Arms - Q3 C3 - One-Shot Shooter C3S (Plasma Cannon)
Legs - Q2 C3 - Amphibious

Where Cherno Alpha is equipped entirely for close combat, Coyote Tango is built for ranged combat. It is described as having less armour than other jaegers, sacrificing defence for speed. Rather than increase its move to Long, I increased the quality of its legs, so that it gets more opportunities to make multiple moves and stay at a distance from its opponents whilst attacking them with the massive firepower offered by its big guns. As an early model jaeger, the plasma cannon in the arm was experimental, so I have assumed it has a long recharge time (or is simply unreliable) and given it a single shot.

I have tried three of these designs in combat. Gipsy Danger performs well, as befits an all-rounder. Cherno Alpha suffered badly against a kaiju with a ranged combat capability; it was too slow to close quickly, and the kaiju was using an attack that ignored the armour. Crimson Typhoon works very well, but needs a understanding of how to best make use of multiple actions within one activation. I have yet to try Coyote Tango or Striker Eureka; they will feature in my next game, I hope. 

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

The Picnic Train and Priscilla

On New Years Day 1915 a train left Broken Hill in far western New South Wales carrying townspeople to a picnic in nearby Silverton. Just outside of the town it came under fire by two men, Gool Mohamed and Mulla Abdulla. Both were originally from the area that is now north Pakistan, the former having originally worked in the mines that dominated the town and then as an ice-cream seller, the latter as a butcher for the local camel-driver encampment. The men used the cover of Gool Mohamed's ice-cream cart, which flew an improvised Turkish flag. Two passengers on the train were killed immediately, whilst several others were wounded.

Gool Mohamed and Mulla Adbulla then fled the scene, as the police and local militia were mobilised, and troops from a nearby army base were sent for. During their flight they shot and killed another man, and wounded a constable who seemed unaware that the men he was confronting where the attackers he was looking for. They took cover in an outcrop of quartz boulders abut two kilometres from the original attack site.

A ninety-minute gun battle ensued, during which another man was killed - not one of the combatants, but a man chopping wood in the yard of a nearby hotel. Mulla Abdulla was killed and when the police, military, militia and civilians stormed the men's position around 1pm they found Gool Mohamed seriously wounded. He died later in hospital.

The townsfolk later burned down the local German Club in misguided retaliation, and a lynch mob was stopped from assaulting the nearby Afghan cameleers' camp by a line of bayonets.

Although the attack was initially thought to be politically a Turkish attack on the Australian people, accounts now seem to suggest that it was at best a misguided pro-Turkish terrorist attack, and at worse aa simple criminal act. However the links to the war make the six people killed the first, and only, direct casualties of WW1 on Australian soil.

I first read about this incident when I was in Broken Hill last year. I went there again this weekend, and took some photos relating to it.

In a local museum is this front page of the local newspaper.

The hill on which the attackers made their last stand is now a reserve, and has this unusual memorial; a reconstruction of the ice-cream cart, made from an examination of contemporary photos.

 This is the rock outcrop they used as cover.

This is the view to the north. Normally this is far less green, but the area seems to  have had a decent amount of rain recently (including the first night we stayed there).

And here is the view in the other direction; the outer suburbs of Broken Hill.

You can read the Wikipedia account of the incident HERE

And this newspaper story from a couple of years ago fleshes out the story some more.

Whilst we were in town I took pictures of two more memorials. This was constructed in memory of the fallen of WW1

And this is, apparently, the towns first ever memorial - constructed in 1912 it was erected by the town's band in memory of the band on board the Titanic.

So why was I in Broken Hill in the first place? Well, they hold an annual festival devoted to 'The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert', some of which was filmed there in the glorious Palace Hotel, and surrounding area. Needless to say I though that, despite an 800 mile drive each way, it would be a great chance to give my alter-ego a chance to spend a weekend being fabulous at a great event in what is, in NSW terms, the middle of nowhere.

For Saturday's daytime events, which included a parade and a show in the town square, I went for this retro-cute ensemble. Before we headed out for the day I posed by our campsite's field gun. I think it's an 18pdr horse-artillery piece. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

In the evening we went to the big party at the Palace Hotel itself. Here I am posing against one of the stages - the original bus prop from the 'Priscilla' stage show.

Sunday's activities took place in nearby Silverton. I went for a more subdued look, but couldn't resist accessorising it with the bowler hat I acquired recently. Everyone should have a bowler hat in their wardrobe. I then posed outside the Mad Max II museum.

I did take some figures and terrain, but the only time I had chance to set up a game (I planned to play one of scenarios from Grant's WRG book using Liberated Hordes) it was too breezy to be practical; we were camping again, so all of our activities were outdoors. We did, however, spend a few evenings in local pubs, and Catherine and I played a lot of 'Love Letter', as well as some 'Exploding Kittens', 'Fluxx' and even a couple of games of 'W1815'. Because I know how to show a girl a good time when I'm in the Outback.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road - Concept Art

If you thought the film had some eye-catching concepts in it, how about THIS LOT? My favourite is the locomotive with road wheels:

Original image from

Monday, 1 December 2014


Another blast from my wargaming past. These pictures were taken at 'Campaign' in Milton Keynes on May 23rd 2004. They are from The Staines Wargamers' 'Thunderball' paticipation game, which is based on the big fight at the end of the Bond film of the same name. The figures are plastic toy divers, with the sharks and octopus from the same source. The sleds and mini-sub were scratchbuilt, and the Vulcan bomber is a 1/72nd scale kit from Airfix.

SPECTRE ready for the off. Each side consisted of three groups, corresponding to up to three players. SPECTRE had two groups of divers, and one mini-sub, escorted by a couple of divers with sleds.

The Forces of Good - Navy divers on their start-line. The Navy had three groups of four divers. On both sides each diver was armed with a single-shot spear-gun, and a knife for close combat. The sleds each had two spear-guns, and the mini-sub had four. These could be fired individually, or as a volley.

SPECTRE Divers swimming past the stolen Vulcan bomber, hidden under its camouflage netting.

The two forces advance towards each other. The greenery is made from plastic aquarium plants.

SPECTRE advances. Their aim was to get the mini-sub, carrying two atomic bombs taken from the Vulcan, off the opposite board-edge.

Most games developed into a battle around the mini-sub. Divers could be killed, or just wounded. If wounded, they bled. And the blood attracted sharks. Sharks would home in on the nearest wounded figure, so there was always some tactical positional play designed to lure them in enemy divers.

In this picture two players advance the Navy divers according to a cunning plan. In the foreground can be seen the Bucket of Blood and some sharks waiting to be attracted by it.

A shark swims towards the Vulcan bomber whilst one of SPECTRE's younger members moved some divers. Behind him can be seen trade-stands, stretching away into the distance. We took this game to a few shows during the year, including Salute and Valhalla.

The shark is on the playing cards used to randomly determine the order in which the groups acted during the turn. Bottom right can see the fluffy white cat, which the person adjudicating the game was allowed to stroke in a suitably villainous manner. At Salute we were put in a room with a big black swivel chair as well, so most club members involved in thh game got to discover their inner Blofeld.

Here's the mini-sub under attack again. This time the fight has disturbed a giant octopus from its lair. The octopus was secretly positioned somewhere on the board, and emerged when a diver, sub or sled passed too close to where it lurked.

Whilst the spear-guns hit or missed according to a die-roll, hand-to-hand combat was adjudicated by a round of scissors-paper-stone.

There one thing you'll notice is missing from the game - James Bond. Although we had a figure for him, he was never used. Early on we realised that he would just attract too much attention from the opposition, shifting the focus of the game, and distracting people from the actual objective. So he was left out.

Whilst the divers and subs were limited in their application elsewhere, the board saw later use in 20mm WWII Western Desert games, whilst the shrubbery appeared as jungle from time to time.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014


I don't normally do film reviews on The Stronghold Rebuilt, and this isn't a review anyway. But given my obvious interest in such things I thought it best to give you my opinion on the new Godzilla film, which we had a family outing to see on Sunday.

If you want to see a film to excise the disaster that was the Matthew Broderick one from several years ago*, then this is it. It's Hollywood managing to make something that works both as a Hollywood film and a classic Japanese Godzilla film. True the first hour is a little slow, but it makes up for it in the second. Everything else is exactly what you'd expect; two-dimensional characters, dodgy scientific explanations and an improbable storyline, all serving as the backdrop to monsters flattening cities and beating each other up. And that's all I wanted.

If you have any interest in Kaiju, then you have to see Godzilla.

*Which is actually an OK film - just not a Godzilla film.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

'Things To Come'

Karl Heinz Ranitzsch posted this on the HOTT Yahoo Group nearly 12 years ago. It appeared on The Stronghold in due course, but hasn't been seen since. Until now ...


As a boy, I often read my grandfather's 1930's Meccano Magazines, and was fascinated by a review of the 1936 Science Fiction film 'Things to Come', with screen play by H.G.Wells. I recently got hold of a video copy of the film, and was, indeed, impressed.

The story, in short:
On Christmas day, 1940, war breaks out in Europe. The very English city of "Everytown" is subject to a surprise gas bombing by enemy bombers. War lasts for decades. By the 1960's, Everytown is reduced to post-apocalyptic rubble, ruled by the 'Boss' a tin-pot dictator. But in another part of the world, scientists and engineers have restored order and built new high-tech airplanes. With the narcotic "Gas of Peace", they put the Boss' army to sleep and disarm them. Under the scientist's leadership , Everytown is rebuilt into a high-tech metropolis. By 2036, the first trip to the moon is being prepared, using a giant space gun. But many people are overwhelmed by the changes brought by progress, and a resistance movement springs up, who threaten to destroy the space gun.

Although the film is only in black and white, and shows its age, especially in its acting, it is visually stunning in all its phases The war scenes blend WWI documentaries, with scenes of 1930's equipment, with some impressive footage resembling Eisenstein's best scenes, and are better than many a WWII film. The style of the post-apocalyptic scenes easily rivals "Mad Max" and hosts of lesser films of that ilk. The future community is a visually stunning blend of Bauhaus and Art Deco, the Space Gun rivals the Saturn Moon rockets in scale. The philosophical questions it raises about warfare, progress and human reactions to it are still with us. Definitely worth seeing if you can find a copy.

You can read the film script here:

The film can also provide material for HOTT Armies:

1940's ARMIES

Stronghold: European City
1 x Commander with long-range artillery - Magician general @ 4AP
1 x Artillery - Artillery @ 3AP
1 x Bomber - Airboat @ 3AP
2 x Tanks - Knights @ 2AP
1 x Machine gunners - Shooters @ 2AP
3 x Infantrymen - Blades @ 2AP
1 x Fighter plane - Flyers @ 2AP

Alternatives: Poison Gas attack as God @ 4AP

The forces of Everytown's country use typical 1930's British tanks and biplane fighters, their troops are British. Their enemy, not identified as a specific European country, use more modern early WWII monoplane fighters and clumsy bombers that look like 1930's French planes. Their tanks are streamlined Art Deco designs that would not look out of place in any SF setting.

1960's ARMIES

Stronghold: European City reduced to rubble by warfare
1 x Boss - Hero general @ 4AP
2 x Cavalry - Riders @ 2AP
1 x Machine gunners - Shooters @ 2AP
7 x Infantrymen - Warband @ 2AP
1 x Fighter plane - Flyers @ 2AP

Alternatives: Boss as Warband General @ 2AP. Infantrymen as Hordes @ 1 AP

The Boss is regarded as a Hero, at least by his