Thrilling Tales Germans, not the best photo, back story to come…
After looking at my mate Scott’s blog and seeing his mines of Moria terrain, I decided to have a go at something similar with some of the polystyrene that I’ve got cluttering up the place. I found a toy skull in a pirate game in a $2 Shop, and bought it on the off chance that it could be useful. Well of course it was useful! It became the inspiration for this – the Mummy’s tomb:
The polystyrene had bark glued to the outside, and then the whole thing was brushed with a mixture of watered down polyfilla, railway ballast and some black gesso. This dried to a light grey finish. I then watered down the gesso and gave the whole thing a wash so that it turned out dark grey. Finally I gave it a drybrush of Resene interior house paint, the light grey hermitage colour.
Some old railway flock (the sawdust type) was applied and a couple of bushes of lichen, and Bob’s your uncle.
For the interior I cut up cardboard rectangles and laid them down as paving stones. I coated the polystyrene walls with A4 computer paper, in order to make sure that I didn’t get the dappled effect that straight polystyrene gives, and built a balsa sarcophagus with a Games Workshop Ork hand holding on to the lid. The colours were again Resene: Desperado for the base coat lightened with a couple of shades of Rob Roy.
And there we have it. The tomb’s primary purpose is for our Weird World War Two games (if we ever get so far as to make some rules for them), but I can see it turning up in a few Legends of the High Seas Pirate games too!
Vic Frank has assembled some thoroughly capable chaps to help in his fight against Nazi nastiness! Here are three key members of his team:
From left to right: Sgt Michael ‘Mike’ Sten, Hemi Heke (Tohunga at large), and Captain Stirling Swift.
Stirling was the top RAF pilot in the FFP (Foo fighters pursuit) squadron. But after one incident where he forced a foo to crash land into the North Sea, he went missing for a couple of months. Upon reappearing he had a rather maniacal look in his eyes, but was unable to explain his absence. After being charged he once more went out on a pursuit, but this time flew with inexplicable rage, mumbling something about probes, decency and revenge. He opened up with his cannon and screamed with glee as the strange light dipped out of the sky, only to turn and head for the stars again.
OISH heard about Stirling’s behaviour and recruited him into their unit. He is an extraordinary pilot, but a very strange and intense man with a decided grudge against foos and their contents.
Hemi Heke grew up just down the road from Vic in the Hawke’s Bay. He was always a little odd, having an aura about him that made people decidedly uneasy. He was from a family of Tohunga, or priest, and was taught to be well versed in the Occult knowledge of the Maori. Hemi was a particularly adept student, and as a teengaer Vic happened to be with him on an occasion where a magickal battle took place. This was at least one of the incidents that pushed Vic into his studies of Occultism.
During the Great War, Hemi served in the Maori pioneer battalion as a chaplain. Vic made sure that he was transferred into OISH to help him out. Not long after the war ended, Hemi returned to New Zealand, but Vic called on him occasionally for help. But now, in the 1930s, Hemi has sensed the growing evil that Nazism represents, and has eagerly rejoined Vic in his battles. Although he doesn’t carry a gun, he does not need to. Most people who look into his eyes are quite willing to run in the other direction…
Finally, Sergeant Mike Sten. A true grass roots working class Brit, Sten had already fought on the North West Frontier before being asked to join OISH (no-one ever applies for OISH – they contact you!). He had been a private soldier involved in a nasty fight with a Pathan tribe who were fostering a new Mahdi. It turned out that this Mahdi was actually a sorceror, well versed in the Dark Arts. It was Sten that turned the day in the final fight, producing a magic ring that he had nicked which trapped the soul of the evil Magician, but only after his whole company had been wiped out. Few people believed Sten’s story of survival, thinking that he had gone mad with grief, but OISH knew better. They recruited the obviously resourceful Sergeant, and found that his special talent – the ability to ‘acquire’ things – came in handy.
Above: a picture of Sgt Mike Sten. He carries a prototype sub machine gun stolen during a mission in Germany, and wears a prototype camouflage smock, found lying around in the office of some guy called Denison. Note he also wears the purple beret of OISH, and on his left shoulder you can just see the flash for OISH – a purple triangle on a white background.
Little Known Fact 1: The prototype SMG carried by Sgt Sten was used by Enfield to help design their own budget SMG, later called the ‘Sten’. Publicly this was not known, as OISH are a highly secretive organisation, and it was sheer luck that the designers’ names started with ‘S’ and ‘T’ and that the ‘EN’ from Enfield could be used to create the name Sten as a cover story.
Little Known Fact 2: The Nazi’s gave homosexuals the symbol of a pink triangle in mockery of the OISH flash. They thought it would be the ultimate insult. However, as the Colonel bats for the other team, it had no effect at all really…
So there we have it, the Alcoholic and Commie are joined by an alien abuse victim, a witch doctor and a kleptomaniac and you now know something about the colonel’s sexual orientation that you really didn’t need to!
Tune in for more background in the near future!
Victor Frank and Ivanna Legova
Victor Frank was born in the Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, in 1897. He gained a scholarship to Victoria University at the age of 16 and studied anthropology, archaeology and classics. His superior intellect saw him graduate at the age of 18, and on his birthday he enlisted as an officer in the Wellington regiment in order to serve in the Great War.
Vic saw plenty of service in the first half of 1918 and gained a reputation as a brave and capable leader of men. In his downtime he learned German and in the latter half of 1918 was moved to the staff. It was here that he was seconded to a classified section of the British Army, namely the Office for the Investigation of Strange Happenings, or OISH for short. He was introduced to a new war, the occult war, being waged in secret in the background.
Vic was put in charge of a mission to be flown into Germany and locate and destroy a laboratory in the Schwarzwald (Black Forest) that was suspected of working on new terror weapons for Germany, akin to their chemical warfare programme. The team that Vic lead into Germany uncovered a project to create automatons out of the body parts of deceased soldiers. Vic’s team put the laboratory out of commission but the scientist in charge, Dr von Kleinewanger, managed to escape.
After several more similar missions the war ended and the New Zealand troops went home. Vic decided to stay in his work with OISH, which now faced even greater threats form the godless Communists of Russia. It was well known that Imperial Russia was in possession of many objects of great occult power, some of which had been captured by Germnay (the focus of at least 2 wartime missions for Vic) but others that were unaccounted for. Vic was despatched to Russia with a highly skilled team, and was soon engaged in a number of missions to thwart the Soviet Occultists. From the Caucasus to the Siberian wastes, to Africa and South America, Vic clashed with top Soviet agents,and none more bitterly than Commissar Ivan Legov.
Legov and Vic fought some famous battles, the British usually getting the better of their counterparts, until in 1931 Stalin suspended the operations of the Soviet Secret Investiagtions Committee (SIC). Vic retired from active service and took up a post lecturing at Oxford University. Not long after the First World War ended he had begun to drink in order to cope with some of the bizarre sights he had seen. Gradually he became an alcoholic, and ran into quite a bit of trouble from being intoxicated at inappropriate times, like in the middle of lectures. Fortunately, he was still incredibly lucid even when totally drunk, and his students loved him.
In 1936 OISH received a message from their old adversary, Commissar Legov. Legov said that he had noone else to turn to, and that he needed help. It turned out that Legov was a likely target of Stalin’s purges, due to his friendship with Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevskii. Getting wind of this, Legov realised that his whole family was in danger, and was asking for help in defecting from Russia. He had turned to his old enemies and OISH was keen to gain his expertise.
With OISH short of agents due to budget restrictions, Vic was called back from retirement and asked to lead the team that would rescue Legov. Vic arrived too late to save Legov’s wife, but managed to get the Commissar and his daughter Ivanna out of Russia. But on arrival in London they were surprised by an NKVD agent and Legov was shot. Vic managed to defeat the Agent, but Legov was mortally wounded. As a last act he made peace with his old foe, and asked him to look after his teenage daughter. The only condition was that Vic had to raise her to maintain her Communist ideals. Vic soon found this was easy enough, as the 16 year old Ivanna could quote Marx and Lenin verbatim, and often fell into rants about the Capitalist Imperialist powers and their fundamental flaws. She didn’t like the decadence of the west, but she hated Stalin more, and so made up her mind to go along with the capitalist system until Stalin was removed and the world could become freely and happily Communist.
OISH now needed as much help as possible. The Occult threat had raised its head again, but this time the enemy was Nazi Germany. And the the Nazis were pouring huge resources into their Occult division. OISH was reluctant to enlist an alcoholic and a raving red into their field office, but the two ended up in a situation where they were fighting against the Nazis to recapture the Golden Fleece (a mission that Vic had already undertaken for OISH against Soviet Russia 18 years earlier). It was a stunning success. OISH were convinced. In 1937 Vic was asked to assemble a team and return to active service… after he finished his drink…