Steampunk Heavy Artillery

I was browsing the Forge World web store when I found the Mechanicum Krios Battle Tank.

Mechanicum Krios Battle Tank

The more I looked at it, the more I thought that this would make a wonderful steampunk or Victorian Science Fiction heavy artillery piece. You could quite easily imagine a British artillery crew preparing to fire this on the surface of Mars. You would need to replace the Mechnicum crew and the icon on the back of the tank, but not a huge amount of work.

Only downside, it is £81.

Steampunk Soldiers

Steampunk Soldiers

Really like the idea and concept of this recent publication by Osprey, Steampunk Soldiers, covers a world which might have been.

Steampunk Soldiers 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.

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.

The book is full of full colour pages, as with many Osprey publications and I really love the back story of how and why the book was published.

Steampunk Soldiers

As one of the reviewers says:

When Samantha Callaghan approached Osprey with her great-great uncle, Miles Vandercroft’s collection of paintings and notes she didn’t really know what she had on her hands, but the publishers were soon to realise that they had a potential hit on their hands, or so the introduction leads us to believe.

If you like Osprey books and like Steampunk then you are going to probably like this book.

Order Steampunk Soldiers from Amazon

Steampunk Old West: Winan’s Steam Gun

This is a series of blog articles, updating and based on my original article on Steampunk Old West. I will be posting a few blog articles on my experiences and thoughts on taking the old west and adding a dash of victorian science fiction. I have painted and have been painting up some Foundry Old West figures for use with the Legends of the Old West Warhammer Historical rules. I liked the concept of a traditional Old West game, however the film Cowboys and Aliens got me thinking about “different” old west backgrounds. I did first start thinking about adding Victorian Science Fiction or Steampunk elements to the games.

Sometimes reality provides the inspiration for ideas for Steampunk Old West. The American Civil War though well known for cavalry, muskets and cannons, as with many other wars, there were lots of ideas and experimental weapons.

One of the more unusual ideas was the Winan’s steam gun. Built by Ohio inventors William Joslin and Charles Dickinson, this huge automatic weapon sat on an armored train carriage and used steam to fire bullets at 200 rounds a minute.

Steampunk Old West: Winan’s steam gun

The press at the time hailed it as a super weapon, but it was never used in an actual combat situation.

Charles Dickinson was on his way to Harper’s Ferry in 1861 in an attempt to sell his new steam gun to the Confederacy, when he encountered Union troops, and they confiscated the steam gun. The Union moved it around for a while, then the steam gun defended the Thomas Viaduct for the remainder of the Civil War after capture. After the war it was scrapped.The Union Army never attempted to deploy the steam gun on the field of battle, which suggests the steam gun probably failed to live up to its deadly reputation.

Steampunk Old West: Winan’s steam gun

On the gaming table, especially in a Steampunk Old West setting, the Winan’s steam gun may have been more successful than in reality, and more of them were made and deployed. Though not as powerful as gunpowder weapons, the fact it relied on steam and did not need gunpowder, would make it a cheaper weapon to deploy and logistically easier to use on the field.

You could use the Winan’s steam gun as an objective to be captured in a raid on the mine which the steam gun in guarding.

The army are transporting a battery of Winan’s steam guns across to the West coast when their steam train breaks down, they are then attacked by outlaws who see the broken down train as loot to be plundered.

A town in the old west is about to be attacked by outlaws supported by a steam tank, their only defence is a Winan’s steam gun.

Reality sometimes can provide real inspiration for science fiction games, especially those set in a steampunk era.

Steampunk Old West: Time Travel

Old West

This is a series of blog articles, updating and based on my original article on Steampunk Old West. I will be posting a few blog articles over the next week or so on my experiences and thoughts on taking the old west and adding a dash of victorian science fiction. I have painted and have been painting up some Foundry Old West figures for use with the Legends of the Old West Warhammer Historical rules. I liked the concept of a traditional Old West game, however the film Cowboys and Aliens got me thinking about “different” old west backgrounds. I did first start thinking about adding Victorian Science Fiction or Steampunk elements to the games.
As well as aliens, and steampunk tech, another thing that could be added to the mix is time travel.

One inspiration for this was Harry Turtledove’s Guns of the South, in which South Africans travel in time and arm the Confederate South with the AK47. Adding 20th Century weaponry to the 19th Century can make for some interesting scenarios and games. The key really is to keep the weapons to a minimum, otherwise you no longer have an old west game, it’s just a moderns game but with cowboys!

Another idea would be to put some modern day soldiers in the old west. Though having the advantage of modern weapons, the journey back in time would be confusing and the modern day soldiers would be hesitant and unsure.

Another variation would be to follow a Star Trek style scenario have have future humans travel back in time to the old west. They could be armed with phaser style weaponry.

Star Trek: The Next Generation had a few old west holodeck adventures and that could be another mechanism for having games with cowboys and future tech. For example the Borg invade the Enterprise holodeck and the Star Fleet personnel need to team up with cowboy holograms to defeat them.

“Spectre of the Gun” (originally titled “The Last Gunfight”) is an episode from the third season of the original science fiction television series Star Trek that was first broadcast on October 25, 1968. In this episode, having been found trespassors into Melkotian space, Captain Kirk and his companions are sent to die in a psychic illusion that takes the form of the town of Tombstone, Arizona, on Earth on the historic date October 26, 1881.

A Town Called Mercy

Of course if we are talking about Time Travel then we mustn’t forget the Doctor. Across his many generations he has travelled to the Old West, including the recent episode, A Town Called Mercy. This episode saw the Doctor, Rory and Amy visiting the American Frontier, or “Wild West”, where they encounter a town which is cut off from the rest of the frontier until they hand over Kahler-Jex, an alien doctor, to a cyborg called the Gunslinger. However, the Gunslinger is a product of experiments by Jex to win a civil war on his planet, and the Doctor is unsure of what is the right thing to do.

The first Doctor also visited the wild west in The Gunfighters, where he interacted with the main protagonists in the gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

I already have a few Doctor Who miniatures that are on my workbench.

Steampunk Old West: Steam Tanks

Steam Tank

This is a series of blog articles, updating and based on my original article on Steampunk Old West. I will be posting a few blog articles over the next week or so on my experiences and thoughts on taking the old west and adding a dash of victorian science fiction. I have painted and have been painting up some Foundry Old West figures for use with the Legends of the Old West Warhammer Historical rules. I liked the concept of a traditional Old West game, however the film Cowboys and Aliens got me thinking about “different” old west backgrounds. I did first start thinking about adding Victorian Science Fiction or Steampunk elements to the games. Taking aspects such as steam tanks, electric rifles, and aether flyers and adding them to the old west.

In this post I will be discussing steam tanks, these are powerful armoured vehicles driven by steam engines. In our world, tanks came about because of the need to break trench warfare, and these tanks were driven by petrol engines. In a steampunk world, or in the world of victorian science fiction, the tank arrives much earlier, however no petrol engines here, they are driven by steam.

Whilst looking for scenery for Flames of War I did come across some really nice looking Victorian SF tanks from Ironclad Miniatures.

Okay so we can’t really use the name “tank” as that was merely a cover name used by the British in World War One to describe their new armoured fighting vehicles. However we now know what a tank is, and these look like tanks, just in the old west they wouldn’t have called them tanks. I am going to call them tanks even if the inhabitants of the old west wouldn’t have!

Two of the range strike me as ideal models for a Steampunk Old West setting. The first model is the Medium Tank is tracked steam tank with a single large turret. The second is the Armoured Steam Carriage, it can be built with either a Nordenfelt or Gatling machine gun.

Both of these look very steampunk and painted in desert colours would fit nicely into an old west setting. There are other models in the range that would probably also work just as well, but these two are the ones I I think work best.

I bought the Medium tank. This is a really nice model, that goes together very easily. I was pleased with the paintjob and how it turned out. I do feel I have managed to capture very much an Old West Steam Tank, one that would look right at home trundling down Main Street or for supporting an attack on a gold mine.

Medium Tank

You can see the workbench feature on this model here.

So what about rules for the steam tanks.

Well The Old West rules are from Warhammer Historical and are based around Warhammer, to me it would probably work to use the tank rules from Warhammer Historical’s World War One rules, The Great War. Sadly these rules are no longer available with the demise of Warhammer Historical. An alternative could be The Rules with no Name.

The weapons though in The Old West wouldn’t hurt these tanks (well except the nitro) so if these tanks were to be used then we would need some extra weapons added. Again the rules from The Great War allow for the use of artillery and gatling guns.

As this is steampunk, you could add some anti-tank weapon systems, like the bazooka, these could be steampunk rockets. Powerful explosive devices, powered by steam. Another steampunk weapons could be electric rifles

The Old West is circa 1882 and the Gatling Gun was patented in 1862. Of course in a steampunk setting you can allow for the rapid advance of weapons as well as the introduction of tanks. For example the French 75mm field gun was in our world adopted in 1898, well we could bring that forward, couldn’t we? Anyhow a variety of artillery was used in the American Civil War and that could be used for a steampunk old west game for fighting against steam tanks.

Adding steam tanks to an Old West game, certainly makes for a different game, and even if you don’t want to use tanks, you could use one as an objective.

Steampunk Old West

Victorian Science Fiction Steam Tank

This will be a series of updated blog articles, based on my original article on Steampunk Old West.

I have painted and have been painting up some Foundry Old West figures for use with the Legends of the Old West Warhammer Historical rules. These are classic 25mm figures, most of which are still available to get. My original plan was to play some games using these rules in a traditional old west style environment. The sort of place that you see in old cowboy films. I have now had a few games using my figures. I also managed to get some buildings and you can see them here.

Old West Buildings

These were fun games, quick and I liked the campaign style, which means you don’t just play with a one game mentality, you think much more of the long term impact. This means that you don’t go in with all guns blazing, you take your time, make sure every shot counts and don’t get shot!

I liked the concept of a traditional Old West game, however the film Cowboys and Aliens got me thinking about “different” old west backgrounds. I did first start thinking about adding Victorian Science Fiction or Steampunk elements to the games. Taking aspects such as steam tanks, electric rifles, and aether flyers and adding them to the old west.

I also remembered Wild Wild West, the steampunk action comedy. Now to be honest I loved the idea behind the film, steampunk in a cowboy setting, however the film itself was a bit of a disappointment. Forgetting the film it still is a really fun background. One day I wouldn’t mind seeing the original television series, however it looks like it is only available on DVD in the USA.

I will be posting a few blog articles over the next week or so on my experiences and thoughts on taking the old west and adding a dash of victorian science fiction.

Steampunk Tanks

I have been looking at the forthcoming releases for the Dystopian Legions and quite like the look of the Britannic and Prussian steam powered tankettes.

Dystopian Legions - Prussian Empire: Kettenkarre Tankette

Dystopian Legions - Kingdom of Britannia: Basset Tankette

These I think would work well in my Steampunk Old West setting. They seem to fit in well with the Ironclad Miniatures Tunneller and Steam Tank.

I do like the concept of Dystopian Legions, and probably will get the rules, but I think I might actually use the Old West rules instead using aspects of the Dystopian Legions background and miniatures.

Steampunk Old West

I have been painting up some Foundry Old West figures for use with the Legends of the Old West Warhammer Historical rules.

My original plan (and still is) is to play some games using these rules in a traditional old west style environment. The sort of place that you see in old cowboy films. I do need to get some buildings and there are quite a few suppliers out there that do these.

However the recent trailer for Cowboys and Aliens got me thinking about “different” old west backgrounds. Obviously adding aliens into the mix is pretty simple, though I might wait until I have seen the film before venturing down that road (and yes I know I need to paint the figures too….).

I also remembered Wild Wild West, the steampunk action comedy. Now to be honest I loved the idea behind the film, steampunk in a cowboy setting, however the film itself was a bit of a disappointment. Forgetting the film it still is a really fun background. One day I wouldn’t mind seeing the original television series, however it looks like it is only available on DVD in the USA.

Whilst looking for scenery for Flames of War I did come across some really nice looking Victorian SF tanks from Ironclad Miniatures.

Okay so we can’t really use the name “tank” as that was merely a cover name used by the British in World War One to describe their new armoured fighting vehicles. However we now know what a tank is, and these look like tanks, just in the old west they wouldn’t have called them tanks. I am going to call them tanks even if the inhabitants of the old west wouldn’t have!
Two of the range strike me as ideal models for a Steampunk Old West setting.

The first model is the Medium Tank is tracked steam tank with a single large turret.

The second is the Armoured Steam Carriage, it can be built with either a Nordenfelt or Gatling machine gun.

Both of these look very steampunk and painted in desert colours would fit nicely into an old west setting.

There are other models in the range that would probably also work just as well, but these two are the ones I like.

So what about rules?

Well The Old West rules are from Warhammer Historical and are based around Warhammer, to me it would probably work to use the tank rules from Warhammer Historical’s World War One rules, The Great War.

The weapons though in The Old West wouldn’t hurt these tanks (well except the nitro) so if these tanks were to be used then we would need some extra weapons added. Again the rules from The Great War allow for the use of artillery and gatling guns.

The Old West is circa 1882 and the Gatling Gun was patented in 1862. Of course in a steampunk setting you can allow for the rapid advance of weapons as well as the introduction of tanks. For example the French 75mm field gun was in our world adopted in 1898, well we could bring that forward, couldn’t we? Anyhow a variety of artillery was used in the American Civil War and that could be used for a steampunk old west game for fighting against steam tanks.

So before going down this road, I think I need to paint up some more of my Old West miniatures, however I do have a couple of the Dixon’s cowboys that are painted up that I could use.

Lots to think about…