Monday, March 31, 2014

A Fanciful Nautilus Design

When Jules Verne wrote his Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea, he envisioned his nautilus in a rather conical design, it sort of resembled are large cigar. Not a very fanciful design at all. Disney came along and redesigned the Nautilus and gave it Victorian aspect. Although many have taken to envisioning what the Nautilus could have looked like. Some of the designs were rather fanciful like Disney’s, however the Disney design became one of the most popular. You might have seen miniatures, and scale models using this very design.

However, there is Nautilus design in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen that is even more fanciful than all others. It is big and ominous. It sports an orange livery and features several, what look like tentacles like a squid or octopus have. These tentacles do not seem to have any purpose except to give the vessel a frightful appearance. In addition, there is coat of arms of Captain Nemo, or should I say Prince Dakkar on the submarines conning tower and the vessel spouts water like a whale would from its blow hole.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Terror from the Deep

'Journey to the Center of the Earth' by Édouard Riou 03

Image from Wikimedia Commons

The image portrays two per-historic creatures battling to the death. According to Verne the battle is between an Ichthyosaurus or great fish lizard and an ancient sea crocodile or Plesiosaurus. One of the creatures had swept under our adventurers raft and nearly swamped their craft.

“We remain still and dumb from utter horror. They advance upon us, nearer and nearer. Our fate appears certain, fearful and terrible. On one side the mighty crocodile, on the other the great sea serpent. The rest of the fearful crowd of marine prodigies have plunged beneath the briny waves and disappeared!”

“Two liquid columns rose to a vast height above the level of the sea, into which they fell with a terrific crash, waking up the echoes of that awful place. We stood still—surprised, stupefied, terror-stricken at the sight of this group of fearful marine monsters, more hideous in the reality than in my dream. They were of supernatural dimensions; the very smallest of the whole party could with ease have crushed our raft and ourselves with a single bite.”

I am sure there are more adventures and discovery’s to be made in the upcoming chapters.

Quotes from Chapter 30: Terrific Saurian Combat-A Journey to the Center of the Earth, by Jules Verne

Friday, March 28, 2014

1/72 Scale British WWI Scout Car

I purchased this 1/72 model (72102) sometime ago from Squadron. It is manufactured by RPM , a Polish company, and represents a 1916 Ford Model T. The model package is small as well are the parts. The package contains two spruces with many small, well formed, and delicate parts.

There are no figures included in this kit, much to my dismay, however there a sheet of decals, a good set of instructions printed on the back of the box, and some illustrations indicating how the model could be painted.

A couple of the models enduring features are its small size, its unique lines and its Lewis gun. There aren't any ammo boxes included in with this kit, but these can be easily fabricated out of some scrap plastic strip.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Heroics and Ros WWI 1-300 scale Figures and Vehicles

Heroics and Ros offers a whole line of 1/300 scale figures and vehicles, from the ancients, to modern figures and military vehicles. What got my attention was their line of 1/300 scale WWI figures and vehicles.

I have not seen any other supplier of WWI miniatures in this scale. The detail of these miniatures looks pretty good on those featured in their gallery. I look forward to ordering a few of these miniatures for a WWI skirmish game.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Journey to the Center of the Earth-Another Meal

I picked this novel first because of its cover. The A Journey to the Center of the Earth epub has an illustrated cover that depicts several giant mushrooms with the professor and his nephew admiring these specimens.

This is another case where an author mentioned food and detailed what was consumed by the characters of the story. The last time a menu was described was in my reading of Redwall, where a grand banquet was held for the friends and occupants of the Abbey. In both cases the meal was described before some great event took place. As was the case in Redwall, it was the battle with Cluny the Scourge and his forces of evil. In A Journey to the Center of the Earth it was before the departure of the Professor and his nephew to Iceland.

I was a little surprised not to see any mushrooms on the menu. In chapter one of A Journey to the Center of the Earth there a dinner mentioned. It contained the following items:

Parsley Soup
Omelet of ham, garnished with spiced sorrel
Fillet of Veal with compote of prunes

Sweet Moselle

Crystallized fruit

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Back to My Voyages Extraordinaires

It has been awhile since I last read anything of Jules Verne and especially titles from his Voyages Extraordinaires. Here is a list of his works that are part of my spring 2014 reading list. Although some of these titles can be heard from readings, all of these titles will be read as epubs.
I will start with the A Journey to the Center of the Earth and after that I will pick from these titles randomly.

Monday, March 24, 2014

My Readings of Zane Grey

Over the winter I read, among other novels, this set of Zane Grey’s novels. Zane Gray is a writer of westerns. Most of all of what I have read has taken place in Arizona and Utah and depicts the old west. Zane gives you quite a few glances into the forests, deserts, and canyons of Arizona and Utah. The beauty of these places see detailed for the reader where you feel like you right there with the characters.

Zane make use of many colorful characters: villains, rustlers, vigilantes, heroes and heroines. Zane tells stories about Navahos, Mormons, outlaws, horses, and of gold. His stories are spirited, full of adventure and intrigue.

All were read as epubs.

  • The Young Forester
  • The Man of the Forest
  • Riders of the Purple Sage
  • The Rainbow Trail (is a sequel of the previous title)
  • The Call of the Canyon

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Special Rules for the Lusca

The Lusca game piece is labeled as a sea monster and with that tag it does have a set of special abilities. However, whatever the special abilities, the vessel should probably have some additional attributes and special abilities. I would think this piece should include a shock value. In addition, like the Nautilus, the Lusca vessel would be made of steal and thus almost impervious to ordinary cannon fire.

There are more than a Few Reasons the British should (if they haven’t already) build a Submarine like the Lusca

The first reason for the British to build a submarine is to catch Captain Nemo, while he is under the sea. The mechanical tentacles could be maneuvered to catch and put a hold on the unsuspecting Nautilus

A vessel like the Lusca could also be brought into play against other enemies of the realm. The physiological effect on Britain’s enemies would be great. Think of the terror the vessel like this would stir among the crew from a vessel being attacked by what looks like a giant squid?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Books by Brian Jacques

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the first part of the Redwall Adventures. With its interesting plot and characters I believe this series would make a great RPG (which it already is) or skirmish war game. So, it is off to read the rest of the novels in this series. I have a long way to go, but there is no time like the present.  Mossflower will be added to my next order with Amazon.

The Redwall Adventures
The list is in chronological order as to when they were published.
Mariel of Redwall                              
Martin the Warrior                            
The Bellmaker                                     
Outcast of Redwall                        
The Pearls of Lutra                         
The Long Patrol                                 
The Legend of Luke                      
Lord Brocktree                                 
The Taggerung                                
Rakkety Tam                                     
High Rhulain                                      
The Sable Queen                          

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Is There a Hint of Steampunk in Pirates at Oceans Edge?

Evidently there is. One blogger reported seeing Steampunk like contraptions on the bows of some ships. The contraptions resemble pinchers that can be used to grab and hold a bow of another ship.

Another discovery that smacks of Steampunk is a playing piece called Lusca. Lusca, a sea monster and whether real or myth Lusca does figure in to local lore. The beast is said to be half shark and half squid and is said to live in the Bahamian blue holes. The version included in Pirates at Ocean Edge is depicted as a large squid.

There two clues that point to this creature as being another Steampunk invention instead of the sea creature as purported.

If you look closely at the creature you will see what looks like three green port holes. In addition to the port holes the vessel is said to belong to the English. How could the English train a sea creature like Lusca to do its bidding? Have the English built a submarine?

Phileas Fogg makes a cameo appearance in Anderson’s Captain Nemo. Whereas Fogg is self-assured in Verne’s “Around the World in Eighty Days”, he seems to be quite indifferent in Anderson’s Captain Nemo. After being pulled out of the sea by the crew of the Nautilus Fogg’s huffy demeanor puzzles Nemo. Fogg seems to haves no interest in the Nautilus or its workings. However, a bit later blurts out “You and this abomination of a vessel have just cost me a very large wager”. Because of some new found compassion in Nemo, Fogg does make it back to London on time to win his wager.

But what if Fogg was actually a spy and took in more than we first realized. Now the English government knows with out a doubt that the creature that has been raising so much havoc on the high seas is not a sea monster, but a manmade vessel. Why not endeavor to create your own. It may be the only way to catch the wily Captain Nemo at his game.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Situation Dice Rolls

Given two six-sided dice and wanting to provide as many different situations for my pirates Move, Shoot, or Explore actions I figured all the dice roll possibilities for these two dice.

Dice Roll Situation
1 + 1 2
1 + 2 3
1 + 3 13
2 + 2 4
2 + 3 5
3 + 3 6
4 + 1 14
4 + 2 15
4 + 3 7
4 + 4 8
5 + 1 20
5 + 3 22
5 + 2 16
5 + 4 9
5 + 5 10
6 + 1 21
6 + 2 17
6 + 3 18
6 + 4 19
6 + 5 11
6 + 6 12

Monday, March 17, 2014

Pirates at Oceans Edge-Flotilla #2

You might notice one duplicate here, that is one Black Mongoose, a pirate ship. It seems these ships become more beautiful and fabulous with each release. I have one more set to photo and record and that will probably be it with the purchase of these pirates’ ships. I do have so much work to do in accumulating and formulating a descent set of rules for these ships.

Name of Ship:

Ghost Walker

Nation: America
Point Cost: 15
Masts:  3
Cargo Capacity: 4
Basic Movement: L
Cannon: L2, L2, and a L2
Keyword/ Abilities:         Windcatcher. Once per turn one crew or ship with a S of this ship cannot use its ability that turn.

Name of Ship:

Black Mongoose

Nation: Pirates  
Point Cost: 10
Masts:  3
Cargo Capacity: 3
Basic Movement: S + S
Cannon: L3, L3,and a L3
Keyword/ Abilities:         This ship gets a 1+ to her cannon rolls against English ships.

Name of Ship: HMS Concorde
Nation: England
Point Cost: 14
Masts:  3
Cargo Capacity: 3
Basic Movement: S + S
Cannon: L3, L2, and L3
Keyword/ Abilities:         After this ships resolves a shoot action, she may move as a free action.

Name of Ship: La Serpiente
Nation: Spain
Point Cost: 9
Masts:  2
Cargo Capacity: 2
Basic Movement: L
Cannon: S2, and a S2
Keyword/ Abilities:         This ship gets a +1 to her boarding rolls. She also gets a +2 if he opponent is a sea monster.

Name of Ship: Maxman Brigitte
Nation: Cursed 
Point Cost: 12
Masts:  4
Cargo Capacity: 5
Basic Movement: S
Cannon: S5, S4, S4, and a S5
Keyword/ Abilities:         Once per turn if this ship is touching another ship, it must reveal all face down treausre. This ship may take as much unique treasure from that ship as she can carry.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Works of Michael Crichton I Have Either Read or Have Seen

Michael Crichton has always been one of my favorite authors. The following are works of Michael Crichton I have read or seen.
Year Title Notes
1969 The Andromeda Strain This title is one of many of Crichton’s work that was adapted for the cinema. This movie was full of suspense and drama.  The plot takes place in the present and depicts a situation where some organism finds its way to some small town out in the desert and most of people die because of their blood congealing in to granules. Two people survive; a wino and infant.
1975 The Great Train Robbery I believe I saw the movie first and then read the book. I have found that the books are usually better than the movie, but in this case, I feel the movie was better than the book.  This story takes place in Victorian England and tells of a daring train robbery. Seeing the characters in person and viewing scenes from the Victorian era was delightful.
1980 Congo I saw the movie first and then I read the book. This is another case where the movie seemed better than the book. Very suspenseful.  ”The novel centers on an expedition searching for diamonds and investigating the mysterious deaths of a previous expedition in the dense rain forest of Congo.” It seems that there are descendents of apes originally trained by the servants of King Solomon to protect the diamonds from being found.
1990       Jurassic Park I read this book and I have seen the movie. In this case the movie was better in that it allowed you to see all those wonderful creatures and added a dramatization that only a movie could bring you.
1995 The Lost World  I wouldn’t mind seeing the movie; however, having seen Jurassic Park and having become more acquainted with these the creatures, the book was very enjoyable and full of suspense.
1999 Timeline I don’t know whether this title was ever made into a movie, but the book was a good read. It features a plot that takes place in medieval England. A history professor gets warped to the past and his graduate students go back in time to rescue him. Very interesting plot; one of the grad-student becomes infatuated with one of ladies of this age and decides to stay behind. Everyone delightedly reads about his exploits in the redefined history books.

Friday, March 14, 2014

New Terrain Pieces Offered in Pirates at Oceans Edge

Whirlpools have been added to the list of terrain pieces available in Whizkids pirate’s game. When any part of a ship or sea monster touches a whirlpool, you must roll one die. If you roll 4-6, you may choose to eliminate one of the following: a mast (or segment), a treasure piece, or one crew member from your ship. The treasure and or crew member are to be removed from the game.

The trouble with these terrain pieces is that since there is a repercussion when landing on the terrain pieces why would you steer toward one. There must be a way to effectively make use of these terrain pieces. One idea that I have thought of is use situation cards that would require the card holder to turn their ship five or ten degrees to the left or right. If a terrain piece is within their altered path the ship would have to run into it.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Donjon Online Dungeon Generators

Generated pub with a set of attributes.

The Donjon site offers some unique online generators. These online apps allow you to choose different options and will generate maps, names for your characters, dungeons, cities, villages, treasures, adventures, ETC.

The categories that are available are:

  • Fantasy
  • AD&D
  • d20/Fantasy
  • Microlite20
  • Pathfinder
  • D&D 4e
  • Weird Fiction
  • Science Fiction

There so many different generators here that can be used to produce all types of places, things, and scenarios for your RPG’s, fantasy war games, or your own adventures.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Odds and Ends #6-Pirates of the Spanish Main

How to Talk Like a Pirate

The “How to Talk Like a Pirate from Sea Life - Guide for Pirates & Sailors (Pirate Dictionary, Ship Terminology, Sea Monsters, Crewmates)”, page has a list of pirate lingo that will have you speaking like a pirate in no time.

Pirates of the Spanish Main Comics

The site offers many old comics and it is a shame that the author did not continue to make posts. There is a series of comic books, which are titled Spanish Main Pirates that can be found here. If you scroll down a bit you will find a continuation of this comic series and also two other comics with different titles that have been labeled pirate.

Reefs, Wrecks, and Rascals-The Pirate Legacy of the Spanish Main

The Miami Dade public library has several pages dealing with Pirates of the Spanish Main. The Lore and Legend: Visions of the Past page features summaries on several texts dealing with Pirates of the Spanish Main. Texts include poems, books, and pamphlets and other manuscripts.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Pirates of the …, Nations and New Game Features

I have eluded to some of the nation’s or factions participating in this constructible strategy game, but wanted to detail the nations or factions  participating in this game for the four editions I process materials for.  

Pirates at Oceans Edges (Tenth Edition), was released in 2007.

Nations & Factions: America, England, France, Pirates, Spain, Mercenary
New Game Features: Catamaran, Sea Dragon, Titan, and Windcatcher are new keywords
Whirlpools are a new terrain type

Pirates of Mysterious Islands (Eighth Edition), was released in 2006.

Nations & Factions: America, Cursed, England, France, Pirates, Spain
New Game Features: Ex-patriot, Mercenary, and Submarine are new keywords
Mysterious Islands were introduced

Pirates of Davey Jones Curse (Seventh Edition), was released in 2006.

Nations & Factions: America, England, France, Pirates, Spain, Barbary Corsair, Jade Rebellion, Cursed
New Game Features: Black Mark and Sea Monsters are new keywords

Pirates of the Spanish Main (First Edition) was released in 2004.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Edgar Rice Burroughs Official Website

The other day while researching one of Edgar Rice Burroughs novels I stumbled upon his official website. I have read a few of Burroughs’s work. I have read his Caspak series starting off with his The Land the Time Forgot a science fiction thriller and his War Chief a western about an Apache war chief. All the texts have been good reading.

Burroughs, a prolific writer, has written science fiction, adventures, romance, and westerns. His titles run the gamut of Tarzan, The Moon Maid, and Beyond the Farthest Star to name just a few.

The site summarizes many of his titles, offers a few video clips, and the chance to purchase official merchandise such as shirts, hats and other sundries.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

My Pirates at Oceans Edge Special Edition Cards

In an earlier post I made mention of how normal cards containing the game materials measure 2.5 x 3.5 inches and how the Pirates at Oceans Edge special edition contained one card that measured 3.5 x 5 inches.
According to the packaging, the larger cards allow for larger ships and sea monsters. I have purchased three packs that contain these special edition cards and have three large cards that I want to feature here.

Ghost Walker

The Ghost Walker is a Wind Catcher, an experimental ship created by the top minds in the navel department. With its unique system of sails, it was created to keep watch on friends and foes so the top brass would be prepared for all future operations. Once per turn, one crew member or ship within a S of this ship cannot use their ability that turn.

HMS Hermes

The HMS Hermes is catamaran that gets to ignore terrain pieces like whirlpools, fog banks, reefs, or Sargresso Seas. This ship and her crew are tasked with scouting islands to look for pirate havens, and possible staging points and trading posts.


Shal-Bala, a sea dragon and has ties with the infamous Captain Davy Jones. It is hard to tell whether Shal-Bala is Jones pet or a partaker in Jones demented paths of destruction. Since Shal-Bala is a winged creature, she has unlimited access to anywhere on the board, whether it be land or sea.
Shal-Bala is feared by all. Only a few have lived to tell their stories about their encounters with Shal-Bala. Many who have lived to tell their stories have given up the sea and have retired to a monastery and do vespers.

Age of Sail Ships

I recently came across an interesting post on “Bob's Miniature Wargaming Blog” titled Age of Sail Ships, which includes several images of ships and the infamous Shal-Bala, a she sea dragon from the Pirates of the Spanish Main fame. The author didn’t have too much to say, but did offer a few images of craft I have not encountered.

If you click on the authors navel labeled link you will find some resources that might be of some interest to navel war-gamer. You will find many interesting battle reports, and other information on other navel war games.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Zeus is Loose

Imagine a 10 masted ship that will outgun any other ship on the board. The Zeus was a special edition ship once offered by Whizkids. This offer was included in the packaging of their Pirates on Oceans Edge constructible game pieces. To claim you had to send in 12 game pack wrappers and receipts from a non-online retailer. Too bad this ship is out of print.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Four More Sources of Maps of Middle Earth from Google Maps

Middle Earth on Google Maps

Google has collected four maps of Middle Earth and this featuring these on their Google Maps Mania page. Maps Mania tracks websites, mashups, and tools being influenced by Google Maps. One of these maps has already been mentioned in an earlier post.

  1. The first Middle Earth Map mentioned is an interactive and includes a nifty little feature to change the map labels from English to Elvish.
  2. The next map the La Tierra Media is in Spanish and includes includes a sidebar with links to zoom and pan the map to locations in Middle-Earth on the map.
  3. The next map mentioned includes a handy sidebar with links to find locations on the map.
  4. The last map, like I previously mentioned, was already mentioned in an earlier post. This map is highly interactive map that allows you interface with many of the occupants and locations in Middle Earth.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Pirates at Oceans Edge-Flotilla #1

This is my set of Pirates on Oceans Edge ships. I received two to more sets of these special edition offerings and will be making additional posts on these game pieces.

Name of Ship: HMS Hermes
Nation: England
Point Cost: 11
Masts:  2
Cargo Capacity: 3
Basic Movement: L + S
Cannon: S3 and S3
Keyword/ Abilities:         Catamaran: This ship ignores terrain pieces like Fog Banks, Reefs, Sargasso Sea, and Whirlpools.

This ship has a second second smaller hull. When hit, the controller rolls a die; on a roll of 5 or six, the roll reverses the hit. However, if hit, the catamaran will lose its smaller hull before it loses its masts.

The catamaran cannot be pinned or boarded as long as she has her second hull. Catamarans cannot be rammed.

Name of Ship: Salte El Tiburon
Nation: Spain    
Point Cost: 12
Masts:  4
Cargo Capacity: 3
Basic Movement: S
Cannon: S3, L3, L3, and a S3
Keyword/ Abilities:         Schooner: Crew of any nationality may use their abilities on this ship. A Schooner can rotate her stern in any direction after she completes a move action.

Name of Ship: Black Mongoose
Nation: Pirates
Point Cost: 10
Masts:  3
Cargo Capacity: 3
Basic Movement: S + S
Cannon: L3, L3, and L3
Keyword/ Abilities:         This ship gets a +1 added to her cannon rolls when firing on an English ships.

Name of Ship: USS Atlanta       
Nation: America
Point Cost: 11
Masts:  3
Cargo Capacity: 4
Basic Movement: L
Cannon: S2, L3, and L4
Keyword/ Abilities:         When touching a Pirate ship, this ship may load as much that ship’s treasure as she can carry.

Name of Ship: Maxehebel
Nation: Cursed 
Point Cost: 15
Masts:  4
Cargo Capacity: 0
Basic Movement: L
Cannon: L2, S2, S2, S3
Keyword/ Abilities:         Sea Monster: After this sea monster resolves a shoot action it may move as a free action.

The sea monsters segments take the place of masts. These masts will be removed on successful hits.

A sea monster movement it measured from the white dot on its base or from its base nearest the tentacles.

Words in bold are the ships keywords.

The Real-Life War Planes that Inspired the Millennium Falcon

Even with all its quirks the Millennium Falcon was one awesome spacecraft, the Millennium Falcon actually got it start back in later part of the twentieth century. A lot of the inspiration for the Falcon came to us from the Flying Fortress, a WWII bomber. As the following article mentions that George Lucas used WWII footage of dog fights for inspiration when creating scenes for Star Wars and pictures of Flying Fortress for the creation of a model of the Millennium Falcon.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

20mm Goodness 2

Tweets are in reverse chronological order:

:: It looks I might have another snow day, which might be a good time to get some painting accomplished.

:: My Splintered Light Minis are languishing down on my workbench and are crying out “Paint Me, Paint Me”.

:: I haven’t had any desire to paint lately. I have know motivation for much of anything lately.

:: Haven’t gotten around to any painting lately, perhaps I will have sometime on Thursday.

:: Over the weekend I did get to do painting of shields. The shields have designs that will look good with some contrasting colors.