Your majesty is not amused

Steampunk Victoria
Your majesty is not amused, bring me my large calibre weapon!

Since I discovered Space 1889 all those years ago, I have had a real interest and love for Victorian Science Fiction and steampunk.

In terms of gaming, I did play a few games of Space 1889, but the game I enjoyed more was Clooudships on Mars with the Martian Flyers and

I also had and managed to get a box of British Troops and Martian Warriors.

Space 1889 British Troops

I expanded my Martians with some Alternative Armies Elves

It was Space 1889 which introduced me to the books of HG Wells and The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling.

I remember reading the Difference Engine and thinking what an ideal background this would be for gaming. I wrote an article about this many years ago and published it on the website.

I really enjoyed the film, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but did think it could probably do with more Steampunk elements in there.

More recently I have been adding steampunk elements to some old west games.

However I have wanted to create some games in Victorian London in the vein of the Difference Engine, Sherlock Holmes, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

One model which I did think would be fun, was the limited edition steampunk Queen Victoria from the Giants in Miniature range available from Wargames Illustrated.

The worlds of Steampunk and Victorian Science Fiction are a fantastic setting to game within. Yet nothing seems to epitomise the Victorian era more than the Queen-Empress who gave her name to it – so what could be better than a figure that brings the fantastical and the historical into a glorious union?

Steampunk Victoria is the product of a fevered imagination and a desire to hit as many of the ‘targets’ of the genre as we can. Clockwork Monocular? Check! Steam Powered backpack? Check! Large calibre firearm? Check! Now you can field the Queen-Empress in your tabletop battles, striding forward at the head of Her Majesty’s Expeditionary Force On Mars or prowling the backstreets of London on secret missions to defeat the enemies of her Empire.

As for rules for these kinds of games, there are various sets available, for example, the obvious one would be In Her Majesty’s Name.

However my usual thinking is to utilise an existing set of rules to which I am more familiar. Great Escape Games have taken their old west rules, Dead Man’s Hands and used them for a 1920’s gangster setting, with The Chicago Way. I think that these rules could be easily converted for using in a Victorian London Steampunk setting.

I would need to think about the stats of her electro rifle.

Alongside her would be redcoats armed with steampunk weapons, again we would need to think about stats for them. Time to reflect on the rules and do some planning and thinking.

Then there is the question, who would they fight?

TARDIS

I am reminded of the (new) Doctor Who season two, second episode with Queen Victoria, Tooth and Claw, a group of warrior monks have sinister plans for the monarch, and the full moon is about to summon a creature out of legend.

Queen Victoria and the Doctor

More recently episode nine of season ten, we had the Empress of Mars.

The Doctor and Bill travel to Mars, but upon arrival, they find themselves in the middle of a conflict between the Ice Warriors and Victorian soldiers.

So we could have a range of villains fighting her majesty.

Then we could have the French.

So Victoria will have her day!

BBC Production of War of the Worlds

War of the Worlds
The BBC’s interpretation of the HG Wells 1897 classic will begin filming in spring 2018 and air later on BBC One.

Unlike more recent interpretations this will be set in the period it was published, so faithful to the Victorian era.

Since the news was announced last summer we’ve heard very little about the production. We do know that it will be three sixty minute episodes.

It’s being made by the same production company, Mammoth Screen, which made Victoria for ITV. Now I’ve watched a few episodes of that series and there are some great production values there, I was especially impressed with the CGI recreation of Victorian London.

We know now that pre-production is now underway with filming set to take place in Liverpool and Cheshire. There is also going to be filming in Surrey which is where the invasion starts in the book.

Personally I think it’s a great idea and I am really looking forward to the series when it is transmitted later in 2018.

For Queen and Country…

Warning, spoilers ahead…

I had high expectations about the Victorian Science Fiction’esque episode of Doctor Who this Saturday and to be honest I hoped I wasn’t going to be disappointed and I wasn’t.

I really enjoyed watching the episode, I thought the plot was interesting and the use of the Ice Warriors technology made this less Victorian Science Fiction and more Doctor Who, but even so, we had British Infantry in pith helmets on Mars. There were Victorian space suits as well, so still elements of Victorian Science Fiction.

The use of the Ice Warriors’ spaceship to travel to Mars and the use of its main weapon to mine for gold and gemstones was very much in the spirit of the Victorian adventurer.

The characterisation of the British soldiers was spot on, even if a little cliched in places.

The Doctor was slightly scuppered when the TARDIS mysteriously sent itself back to the future and the university and Missy!

I really enjoyed the episode and did make me think about possible gaming scenarios involving British Infantry and Ice Warriors. Lots of possibilities.

Why has ‘God save the Queen’ been scrawled on the surface of Mars?

Really looking forward to Saturday’s episode of Doctor Who, The Empress of Mars, where we see Victorian era British soldiers on Mars fighting the Ice Warriors.

‘God save the Queen’ has been scrawled on the surface of Mars. What are Victorians doing on the home of the Ice Warriors? And what will they find beneath the Martian soil?

I’ve had a fondness for Victorian Science Fiction for many years, though I was aware of HG Wells War of the Worlds and the Time Machine, what really got me interested was GDW’s Space 1889 game. I did buy some of their 25mm miniatures and played a few games.

As well as the British soldiers I also had a few of the Martians.

As you can see they don’t look like the Ice Warriors.

Since then I have expanded my awareness and interest in Victorian Science Fiction beyond Space 1889 and looked at steampunk and other sources.

I really did enjoy The Difference Engine and I published an article about gaming in that universe.

“In the mists down Knightsbridge a procession of some kind was moving steadily across the road. Ghostlike, blurred by distance and the fog, they appeared to be military gurneys, the squat treaded monsters of the Crimean war. Fog muffled a heavy chugging and the faint repeated clank of jointed iron. One after another they passed. Each gurney hauled a linked articulated caisson. These wains appeared to be canvas-shrouded cannon, with men, footsoldiers in canvas coloured drab, clustered atop the cannons like barnacles, with a sea-urchin bristle of bayonetted rifles.”

Though there have been many Doctor Who stories set in the Victorian era and the Doctor has even met H G Wells, but I can’t recall an episode of Doctor Who that had such a Victorian Science Fiction background to the episode.

I really like the idea of Victorian British soldiers, more use to fighting in the Sudan or down at the Cape fighting Martians (well Ice Warriors) on Mars. You can see they have some kind of steampunk weaponry, but I am curious about how they got there, what was their space ship like? Well all will be revealed on Saturday.

This may be just one such episode of the Doctor, but if it goes down well with the audiences then we may see more.

Why has 'God save the Queen' been scrawled on the surface of Mars?


Really looking forward to Saturday’s episode of Doctor Who, The Empress of Mars, where we see Victorian era British soldiers on Mars fighting the Ice Warriors.

‘God save the Queen’ has been scrawled on the surface of Mars. What are Victorians doing on the home of the Ice Warriors? And what will they find beneath the Martian soil?
I’ve had a fondness for Victorian Science Fiction for many years, though I was aware of HG Wells War of the Worlds and the Time Machine, what really got me interested was GDW’s Space 1889 game. I did buy some of their 25mm miniatures and played a few games.

As well as the British soldiers I also had a few of the Martians.

As you can see they don’t look like the Ice Warriors.
Since then I have expanded my awareness and interest in Victorian Science Fiction beyond Space 1889 and looked at steampunk and other sources.
I really did enjoy The Difference Engine and I published an article about gaming in that universe.

“In the mists down Knightsbridge a procession of some kind was moving steadily across the road. Ghostlike, blurred by distance and the fog, they appeared to be military gurneys, the squat treaded monsters of the Crimean war. Fog muffled a heavy chugging and the faint repeated clank of jointed iron. One after another they passed. Each gurney hauled a linked articulated caisson. These wains appeared to be canvas-shrouded cannon, with men, footsoldiers in canvas coloured drab, clustered atop the cannons like barnacles, with a sea-urchin bristle of bayonetted rifles.”

Though there have been many Doctor Who stories set in the Victorian era and the Doctor has even met H G Wells, but I can’t recall an episode of Doctor Who that had such a Victorian Science Fiction background to the episode.
I really like the idea of Victorian British soldiers, more use to fighting in the Sudan or down at the Cape fighting Martians (well Ice Warriors) on Mars. You can see they have some kind of steampunk weaponry, but I am curious about how they got there, what was their space ship like? Well all will be revealed on Saturday.

This may be just one such episode of the Doctor, but if it goes down well with the audiences then we may see more.

So what’s going on here then?

One of my limited number of purchases from the wargaming show at the Tank Museum was a blister pack of police officers from Artizan Designs Thrilling Tales range, PLP586 Long Arm of the Law.

They were in a bargain bucket and cost just £1.00 which is a lot less the list price of £8.50.

These are really nice castings, here is the manufacturers picture.

img1666

I am intending to use them in Victorian Science Fiction games.

Walking down Gaslamp Alley

One of recent purchases was a couple of Sarissa Precision buildings, Victorian brick buildings, part of their Gaslamp Alley range. I had bought the terrached house and the terraced shop. Here is the model from the Sarissa website.

Gaslamp Alley Terraced House

The Sarissa Precision models are laser cut MDF and come plain. I do quite like how the 4Ground models come pre-coloured and though I have few Sarissa Old West buildings, as these are made from wood, the plain MDF look works okay.

The Gaslamp Alley models are brick, so I originally decided when I was going to put mine together, I would paint them later. So when I read the instructions that it was suggested to paint the window frames and doors (which were etched onto card) and the walls before gluing them together, it meant I had to think quickly about how to paint the walls. The instructions did advise about doing it sparingly, my concern was that would the paint cover the eteching.

I took some Vallejo paint red brick colour and watered it down. I was quite apprehensive about the initial result, so had started with the chimney. However after it dried I was quite pleased with the final result.

Gaslamp Alley Terraced House

After the walls were dry I picked out some individual bricks with the unwatered down paint, and some varied brown paints.

Gaslamp Alley Terraced House

After this I painted all the walls. I wasn’t sure about the window frames, decided a wood effect would be okay, so I used a watered down brown paint and almost drybrushed it.

The model went together really easily, though with the way the walls fit to the floor, I wasn’t sure if I should fix the walls first and then put them in the floor. In the end I went with taking it one wall at a time, gluing it into the floor, and doing all four walls in one sitting, so that there was some movement whilst the glue was still wet.

Gaslamp Alley Terraced House

I was quite pleased with the end result.

Gaslamp Alley Terraced House

The building was much deeper than I thought it would be and also much bigger. I really like the model and am now looking forward to building the shop that I got at the same time. I am also adding the corner pub to my shopping list, and thinking I should get a bundle of the houses too, so I can have a proper street.

Steampunk Soldiers: The American Frontier

Those of you who are regular readers of the blog will know that I have been playing around with Old West figures and games, but have also been adding Steampunk elements to my games, as reflected in various articles published on the blog.

The new release from Osprey, is right up my street. Steampunk Soldiers: The American Frontier.

Steampunk Soldiers: The American Frontier

Even as the discovery and exploitation of hephaestium helped bring the Civil War to its close in 1869, the arms race it engendered resulted in a cold war just as bitter and violent as the open hostilities had been. With neither side willing to rely solely upon the talents of their scientific establishments, saboteurs, double-agents, and assassins found ample employment. Against this backdrop of suspicion and fear, thousands of Americans – Northerners and Southerners alike – headed west. Some to escape the legacies of the war, some to find their own land, some for the lure of that great undiscovered strike of hephaestium that would make them rich, and some simply to escape the law. Ahead of these pioneers stood the native tribes, behind them followed the forces of two governments, while to the north and south, foreign powers watched closely for their own opportunities. This newly unearthed collection of the works of Miles Vandercroft fills a considerable gap in our knowledge of the travels of that remarkable individual, and also provides a fascinating guide to the costume and equipment of the forces active in the great drive westwards.

It sounds like an ideal background for a steampunk version of the old west. This publication accompanies the original Steampunk Soldiers which was published in 2014.

Steampunk Soldiers

Between 1887 and 1895, the British art student Miles Vandercroft travelled around the world, sketching and painting the soldiers of the countries through which he passed. In this age of dramatic technological advancement, Vandercroft was fascinated by how the rise of steam technology at the start of the American Civil War had transformed warfare and the role of the fighting man. This volume collects all of Vandercroft’s surviving paintings, along with his associated commentary on the specific military units he encountered. It is a unique pictorial guide to the last great era of bright and colourful uniforms, as well as an important historical study of the variety of steam-powered weaponry and equipment that abounded in the days before the Great War of the Worlds.

Both of these Osprey publications follow a typical Osprey publication with text and pictures.

If you are interested in gaming steampunk then check these publications out.

Sheriff McQuaige – The Old West

Sheriff McQuaige is part of the OW11/6 Town Toughs & Staunch Defenders pack. As the Sheriff is wearing a suit, as well as carrying a shotgun, he could be used in Victorian Science Fiction scenarios. He certainly could be walking the streets of London as well as the dusty tracks of the old west.

Sheriff McQuaige – The Old West

I “flocked” the base with Citadel Sand and then gave the model a white undercoat using a Citadel Skull White spray can.

Sheriff McQuaige – The Old West

Using Chaos Black I then painted the Sheriff’s hat, shoes and shotgun.

Cemetery Sam

Cemetery Sam is part of OW11/7 The Town Vigilance Committee one of the packs of Old West miniatures from Foundry.

OW11/7 The Town Vigilance Committee

I based the model on a two pence piece. I do like this model, and I think it could also be used for Victorian Science Fiction scenarios.

Cemetery Sam

I used Citadel sand on the base, before giving the model a white undercoat. I then painted his suit and top hat with black paint.

Cemetery Sam

Cemetery Sam