Ziterdes Firewalls


I completed another project that I needed for my game War Must Be.  In the game, there are General Spells.  Among these spells is Wall of Flame.

Wall of Flame Spell Card

Luckily, I found a listing at Noble Knight Games (or possibly on their eBay site) for 6 Ziterdes Fire Walls that would serve my purposes well.  They were resin (not metal).  Ziterdes makes very high quality German hobby products, and Noble Knight games has many of them for sale.

Ziterdes Fire Walls in package 
I soaked them in dish soap and cleaned them with a toothbrush (something I learned from Chris Palmer – thank you Chris!).  I had cut several bases out of 1/8″ plywood with my scroll saw so I used these for mounting the Walls of Flame.  I also mounted two 1″ steel washers to the underside of each base for magnetic attachment in my storage boxes.  I painted the bases with Americana “Jungle Green”.


Walls of Flame mounted
Then, I used up the last of my Armory “Red” from 1996 to base coat the walls.  I had wanted to use my Armory “Scarlet” as well but that had become unusable after 20 years!


After that dried, I then applied Americana “Primary Red”, followed later by a wash with Secret Weapons Washes “Ruby”.  After that I highlighted the walls with Citadel “Wild Rider Red”.

After base coat

I thought it appropriate to use some of my German 1986 Deka-Lak “Gelb” (Yellow) for flame highlights with a drybrushing technique (after all these are a German product).  For the middle part of the flames, I used Tamiya “Orange X-6”.  Then I washed them sequentially with Secret Weapons Washes “Just Red” and “Ruby”, allowing both to dry in between.  I thought the bottom of the flames needed a deeper red, so I went back to using Americana “Simply Red” as a highlight at the lower end of the flames.

I second-guessed my use of green for the bases.  Would not all the organic material at the base of a Wall of Flame be burned? Therefore, I went with Americana “Ebony/Lamp Black”.

The 6 before varnish
Close up before varnish

For varnishing, I went with Krylon “Clear Glossy” as I wanted the walls to be as bright as possible.

Final product!
I am very happy with how these came out. They really “pop”!


I will use them as walls of flame, and also potentially as fireballs for my wizards, discharges from flame weapons and even as breaths of flames for dragons.  My Fire Breathing Salamanders will use them as well!


I am behind on my blogging as I have been a little under the weather and, ahem, I cannot sit down without pain!  So blogging is a bit challenging!  The good news (if any) is standing is fine and I have completed a few projects that I’d like to document.

I have made Spell Cards for my fantasy miniatures war game War Must Be.  Among the Spell Cards is a Mundane Spell called Buzz that enables a Wizard to summon a swarm once per game.  Hence, I needed some swarms!

24 Buzz jpeg
Spell Card for a Buzz spell


The swarms that I found on eBay are below.

1 Swarms

I don’t think that they were made unpainted but I am unsure.

In the front row, I have two grub swarms (Wizkids), and in the back row there are left to right a rat swarm (Wizkids), two monkey swarms (Wizkids), and a Reaper Vermin black widow spider swarm.  I painted the grub swarms with Citadel’s Dryad Bark and applied a wash with Citadel’s Agrax Earthshade to each.  I also applied the same wash to the others.  Each swarm got an appropriately sized washer glued to its underside so as to be easily stored in my magnetically-lined storage boxes.

In the end it is irrelevant which type of swarm is summoned as they all have similar effects in the game.


The Athelfrog’s Castle and Gurads – memories and stuff I save (and how Buck Surdu started this whole Gurads/Ducks thing)

While I was looking for the original picture that Buck just posted about (“The Final Act”), I found an original printout from the USMA computer lab (same paper with the green and white striped backing) of The Athelfrog’s Castle, by Buck Surdu.  This was the first Tunnels & Trolls game I ever played, with Buck as the GM.

I have been reading through it and laughing a lot – wishing we could go back at this oldie but goodie campaign.

The pages are perforated but still not torn apart.  I imagine Buck printed this off under the nose of the “gold coats” (the old computer lab assistants).  See back then, there were only mainframes for us to use and we had to go to the computer lab!

The old printer matrix from back then is funny to see!  But wait, here also is the debut of the Gurad!

Except from Cover – note Surdu Specific Monster 1

Here is the interesting part from the room where they appeared – read and enjoy!!

Where do Gurads Come From Daddy?



Anyways, I also found rules Buck wrote for clerics, special equipment, weapons expertise, and more for Tunnels and Trolls.  He’s still at it – now with multiple publications over the last  including Combat Patrol ™ which is a pretty cool system.  His creativity and imagination are truly great and personally inspiring – if only he was closer to Massachusetts!  Thanks for the memories Buck!

AND please check Combat Patrol™ out at http://www.bucksurdu.com/Buck_Surdu/Combat_Patrol.html – worth a look!

Exciting “War Must Be” Game on Saturday

Last Saturday I got the opportunity to GM a fantasy tabletop war game battle with Ellen Morin and Chris Smedile using my War Must Be set of rules.  One of my goals was to play test the rules, especially the crew-served weapons and the adjusted morale rules.  The other was to let Ellen and Chris play using my shortcut cards and determine if game play moved along well.

Chris had the evil attackers, consisting of several units of Orcs led by a Gnoll, two Insect Men skirmisher units, a Troll large ballista, the skeletal Nightmare Legion, and two wizards controlling large creatures respectively (a giant scorpion and a giant tarantula).  The overall HQ was the Nightmare Legion’s command group.  Their objective was a bridge at the rear of their enemy’s lines.

2a The Attackers side set up
The attacker’s view

Defending against them was a collection of Dwarves, Neanderthals, and Ents.  The Dwarves had excellent positioning of two primitive cannons (one large and one small bombard) on top of two escarpments – both with excellent fields of fire.  These veteran crews were led by the infamous “Dwarf with No Name”, armed with two black powder pistols.  These were reinforced with three Scandinavian Dwarf Skirmishers (Danes, Finns, and Swedes).  The Swedes guarded the base of the escarpment with the large bombard, while the Danish and Finnish Dwarves defended chevaux de fries in front of the flank of the small bombard’s escarpment.  A large mass of neolithically-armed Neanderthals held a gap between a swamp and a forest on the left flank.  While they held, two Ents (Redbeard and Tanbeard) recruited small trees to augment the defenders.  These two plus Waldo the Wizard were under the command of the overall force commander, Treebeard.

1a The Defenders side set up
The defender’s view
3 left flank of defenders set up
Left Flank of Defenders at set up
4 the attackers right flank from defenders view set up
The attackers left flank at set up
5 the defeders left flank from attackers view set up
Dwarven Bombards (Large on right, small on left) and supporting Scandinavian Dwarves at set up
6 the defenders right flank from attackers view set up
Neanderthals hold the gap, while Redbeard and Tanbeard recruit trees.  Treebeard and his Wizard await at set up.

This set up forced Chris to move his forces up right under the guns of the Dwarves.  The first salvo from the large bombard missed the forward unit of Insect Men skirmishers.  However, it struck the follow on unit and killed 3/4 of them.  The remaining figure, once activated, failed its morale check, and went buzzing off into cover.

7 the attacking insect men get hit by the large bombard
The second Insect Men are devastated by the large bombard

Ellen continued to hold her position while her Ents recruited trees for the fight.  Chris, realizing that he needed to bring pain onto at least one of the bombards, moved his Orc Death Head Longbow up, and made a miraculous set of rolls – killing one of the crew of the small bombard, and degrading its effectiveness at reloading and firing.  He took his best melee Orcish troops with maces and put them into column as they moved into point-blank range of the large bombard.  It looked like bowling for Orcs was about to happen.  Ellen got the card activating the large bombard – aimed, and gave the order to fire…

She rolled a misfire…

She rolled for the consequences of the misfire…

The large bombard BLEW UP, killing one crew member, severely wounding the crew chief, and putting the gun out of action for the remainder of the game.

8 the large bombard blows up while the small one takes longbow hits
Things go from bad to worse for the Dwarven Bombards


The other undamaged Insect Men fought the Swedish Dwarves, driving them back.  This allowed them to swing around the hill and hit the Dwarf with No Name.  The DWNN raised his pistols to fire…

BOTH misfired.

One jammed, and the other blew up, wounding him severely.

Meanwhile, the Neanderthals were being attacked by Kaadastral, Bringer of Plagues (a demon), and a Giant Scorpion controlled by the evil Wizard Greencape.  A large Tarantula controlled by the evil Wizard Rooney was closing in as well, but it took a fireball from the good Wizard Waldo, wounding it but not killing it.

10 on the attackers right flank the neanderthals take on a demon and a giant scorpion and here comes the nightmare legion and a tarantula
Neanderthal Melee Scrum


The Neanderthals gave a good fight, damaging the attackers, but not killing them.  After losing about a third of their number, with the Nightmare Legion closing in, they said “we’re outta here” and ran for shelter in the Ents woods (as peasants are wont to do).

111 run away! hide behind the ents!
Neanderthals seeking shelter


At this point, the game was halted as my parents arrived and we had dinner.  This was the day of the East Brookfield fireworks – so that took over and we celebrated Independence Day East Brookfield-style (a week later for cheaper but still fantastic fireworks show).

Both Ellen and Chris thought that the rules upgrades worked well, as did the shortcut cards.  Of course, Ellen did get the bad rolls, but Chris took some maneuver chances that worked out for him.  I’m not sure how it would have turned out.  While the bad guys could have shot at the Dwarves with longbow and ballista with some degree of impunity, the Ents had recruited several trees and the fight was by no means certain.

What was certain, is that it was fun!












Ral Partha/TSR AD&D 2nd Ed. Giant Scorpion (11-452)

I am still working on adding some large creatures for fantasy gaming.  These could be controlled by Wizards, or used as wildcard elements by themselves.  Another eBay find that I made was a Ral Partha Giant Scorpion (11-452) from the early 1990’s.  It had the top of the blister pack removed.  I have seen many older surviving blisters in this shape – which seems rather senseless, for if it was done to save storage space it really does not.  Of course, it makes it easier to buy these cheaper.

1 Ral Partha 11-452 Giant Scorpion ADD Monsters in package
How I got the blister package
3a  Ral Partha 11-452 Giant Scorpion ADD Monsters out of package showing 1991 TSR
Marking on Model “TSR 1991 RAL PARTHA”

I removed it from the package, and gave it a quick scrub with a toothbrush and some dishwashing soap.  After it dried, I looked at the model and tried to plan for assembly and painting.

2 Ral Partha 11-452 Giant Scorpion ADD Monsters out of package
The two pieces

I assembled the model using E6000 epoxy, and let that set up.   Then I primed the model with Krylon “Ultra-flat Black” spray paint.

4 Ral Partha 11-452 Giant Scorpion ADD Monsters 1991 TSR before gluing
The assembled model before painting

I built a 2½” hex base with 30° beveled edges for the model.  I glued #8 steel washers to its bottom, and put that base aside.

This figure was simple, but frustrating.  To make it realistic, I needed to portray it as an ambush predator with excellent camouflage.  I went through a lot of steps and colors to achieve what I wanted.

To do this, I base-coated it with a mix of Citadel “Balor Brown” and Secret Weapons Washes “Sewer Water”.  Subsequently, I applied a dry brush application of Citadel “XV-88”.  Not content with the coloring, I applied a wash of Citadel “Agrax Earthshade”, and highlighted with a dry brushing of Citadel “Dryad Bark”, and a wash with P3 “Brown Ink”.

The scorpion was not in a good position for mounting flat on a base.  The legs were not going to be easily affixed, and it looked unnatural.  I envisioned it pouncing on prey from higher ground.  I took the base that I had made and glued ¾” steel washers to the top with wood glue and let the washers dry solid.  I then took my Aves® Apoxie Sculpt to create a rock and mud mound from which the Giant Scorpion could attack prey and enemies.  I mounted the material to the base and sculpted it while mounting the Giant Scorpion to it before it hardened.  The washers really do a good job of providing a affixing surface for the sculpted Apoxie Sculpt.  I let this solidify for 24 hours.

5 Ral Partha 11-452 Giant Scorpion ADD Monsters 1991 TSR after wash & drybrush
After the initial mounting on the base


With a wet mix of Citadel “Balor Brown” and Craftsmart “Khaki” I painted the entire model and base again.  After it had dried, I drybrushed the  model with Citadel “Balor Brown”, and finished with a wash of Citadel “Agrax Earthshade”.  I then used Deka-Lack “Braun” for the stinger.  Lastly, I applied a sequential triple varnishing with Krylon “Clear Glossy”, Krylon “Clear Matte”, and Testors “Dull Coat”, allowing for complete drying between each coat.

I added a couple of painted boulders and Army Painter “Wasteland Tuft” to the base.

6 Ral Partha 11-452 Giant Scorpion ADD Monsters 1991 TSR after wash & drybrush FINAL
Giant Scorpion completed

I think that the model is up to my standards – it looks realistic and is set up for play.  Nature’s camouflage is not flashy.

I have even considered using this as a paperweight in my office, or even a ball marker on the golf course! The Apoxie Sculpt makes this a solid weighty model.

Lynn’s Got Clubs!

Happy Independence Day!

Lynn and I celebrated with a round of 9 holes at Bay Path Golf Course in East Brookfield, MA today.  We had picked her up a nice starter set of Top-Flite Women’s clubs on Sunday at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Worcester.  We hit the range, and she tried them out.  She also got a “fancy” orange towel, some purple Pinnacles, and a couple of gloves.

Today, after all the other golfers were done, we played her first round with her new clubs.  She did try golf at the couples league on Friday night by borrowing some clubs from Justyne Smith – but this was just her and I.  I am so grateful that she is giving this a tentative “go” so far.

I did want to take a picture there at the course, but I worried she’d get upset.  Golf is not easy on the beginner (or the veteran player for that matter).  She was a GREAT sport, and did her best.  We will be back out sometimes, but I don’t think that 18 holes in in the cards anytime soon for her.  Still, I truly enjoyed spending the time playing with her on her first day with the new clubs.  I love my wife!!!

Here she is afterwards barbecuing some delicious chicken breasts!

07042016 Lynn and her clubs