Halloween 2022 Zombie Game – The Battle Of Yonkers

It can’t have escaped anyone’s notice that our pet game “Apocalypse: Earth” has been conspicuous by it’s absence so far this year. There’s a fairly straightforward reason for that – the setting is based around a rampaging Soviet Empire under a genocidal lunatic trying to enslave the world and this year that hasn’t really been escapist fantasy, it’s just been.. well, the news. And as such, neither Dan or myself have really felt in the mood for it.

But after spending a month last year painting a whole load of zombies for a specially themed Halloween game, we both rather fancied the idea of breaking out the Atlantic Alliance to fight out a scenario based on the Battle of Yonkers from the brilliant novel (and passable film) World War Z.. if you haven’t read the book – well, you definitely should… if you haven’t seen the film – well, it’ll be on telly again before long, there’s no rush!

Basically the Battle Of Yonkers saw the US military making a concerted stand at the town of Yonkers, NY against a crowd of zombies numbering in the millions. There’s some fascinating descriptions of the effects of MLRS and artillery against the undead, as well as the Land Warrior system (which correct me if I’m wrong, never did make it into service in real life) and the famed “Silver Bullet” tungsten / depleted uranium armour piercing shells.. if you haven’t read it, I won’t spoil it but let’s just say it doesn’t go too well for humanity… the US Army being a finely honed instrument of warfare honed for a completely different war than it found itself fighting.

With this in mind we set up a half urban, half rural board with a bunch of woods on the rural side and ruins on the urban side to represent Yonkers city limits, and put our big group of trusty Airfix civilians (who seem to be forever getting caught up in this sort of thing) in the middle, and with a randomly rolled up mob of zombies either side, homing in menacingly…

Civilians approach Atlantic Alliance lines with shambling hordes closing in from both sides…

We were winging the rules as we went, but the basic idea was that each zombie mob would get reinforced by (Turn Number)xD6 zombies each turn.. and behind the Alliance lines were four spawning points that would spawn (Turn Number-1)x D6 zombies each turn.. trust me, it was simpler than it sounded! At the far side of the table was a waiting APC to shuttle out the survivors.

Buffalo 2-7’s infantry component take up station on the city limits
A crowd of civilians rush toward them, hoping for sanctuary from the undead..
Lt. Grant leads his men forward to link up and clear out the zombie mobs approaching from the flanks
Behind you! Bravo Squad wheel around to discover zombies shambling towards them.. Keeping the rear areas secure would prove to be a major tactical problem for the Alliance in this battle
On the other side of the street, Alfa Squad are dealing with their own problems..
Grant ushers the civilians under his wing
Allied rifle squads sweep the rear areas clean of undead
Allied troops gun down approaching zombies, holding them off to allow the civilians to escape inside the city limits
Out of the frying pan…
It’s a trap! Zombies boil from their spawning points, getting up close and personal with the civilians and soldiers..
Undead to the left of them, undead to the right of them… it’s getting sticky for the Allied troops!
And still they come!
Beset by crowds of zombies from all sides, the undead get in amongst the living…
Lt. Grant falls! We ruled a 50/50 chance of a living model being reanimated as a zombie.. which he duly was!
With Platoon Sgt McAuliffe now in command, the troops blaze away at the encroaching hores of zombies but the sheer numbers are just too much…
Another zombie mob appears, interposing itself between the civilians and their escape route – Alfa Squad rush to take them down!
In desperation, Alfa Squad cut loose the frag grenades despite danger proximity to the civilians – they cut a swathe through the zombies, but at the cost of two civvies!
HUGE numbers of zombies now on the table, homing in on Allied forces from all sides and blocking escape routes!
Alfa Squad are surprised and eaten!
It’s looking grim…
“RUN! DON’T LOOK BACK!” McAuliffe screams as his surviving men turn to face the oncoming horde, desperate to hold just a little longer…
Last stand… Mac & the boys knuckle up to sell their lives dearly
“It’s been an honour, gentlemen…” Mac & the remnants of 2-7 lock & load, ready for the final act
The boys give it their all but vanish under a horde of flesh-eating ghouls.. the last civilian catches Mac’s eye as he boards the APC, just to see the sergeant mouth the words “Remember us…”

Well that was a belter! Took a little time to get going but the gradual ramping up of zombie numbers turned what initially looked like a walk in the park for the Alliance into a lethal and cinematic last stand where once again, Buffalo 2-7 died gloriously to a man in defence of freedom! Great fun and hiding out in the gaming shed kept us safe from the attentions of wandering trick or treaters.. bah humbug! X-D

So, what next? What zombie-themed scenario could we investigate for Halloween next year? There’s almost a year to figure something out… drop us a comment and we’ll see you soon!

More Hyperian Wars Escalation – The Dauntless Redux!

We live in an increasingly turbulent world. Our cousin races – the Ee’la, the Stoc’d – withdraw into themselves, thinking only of their own interests. The Beasts – Orca, Grub, Virum Nascii, Lacerats – their numbers grow by the day, encroaching onto those territories claimed by Man. The Dead pour from the dark places.. and even while all this takes place, still we turn on each other.

Our Sky Marines perform above and beyond the call of duty but in the face of peer and near-peer competitors it is vital that we shore up our technological to maintain overmatch in the face of these perils. And so we are proud to unveil a new generation of Skycutters to ensure that our forces go into battle equipped the very best in firepower and protection from perils both physical and enchanted. To this end, we present our latest and best battlefield weapon – the Allied Sky Vessel “Dauntless”

Her power fields and wards will provide unmatched protection against conventional and magickal attacks, whilst a Vrilfire cannon can cut a swathe through enemy warriors. Vril-tipped missiles equipped with Artificial Cognisance can bring down threats up to and including the largest dragons employed by the Beast races, whilst reinforced liftwood levitation engines ensure maximal mobility. Noospheric networking allows the Dauntless class to network with lesser constructs such as the Whippet, as well as with platoon command sections and Masters Of Artificials on the ground
The Dauntless combines speed, protection and lethality into one construct, ensuring our society has nothing to fear from the Dead, the Beasts, or any other threat that the world of Hyperia may choose to throw against us
She can be seen here flying the colours of the 301st Skyborne, a tried and tested formation who have defended the Grand Alliance against many foes
Live fire combat testing proved the efficacy of the design, the Skyborne being highly appreciated of her concentrated firepower

Yep, I got into the recycling again…

Actually, I’ve been meaning to do this for AGES. Ever since I saw this:

This is the lid of a bottle of laundry detergent. And looked at the right way… it has an air of steampunk, Adeptus Mechanicus-style menace, doesn’t it? And given that the previous incarnation of the Dauntless was basically a toilet roll tube with pretensions, I’d long wondered if I couldn’t do something a bit better.
Filled the body with caulk and popped a ping pong ball in there to be the liftwood core
Some EPVC (I think) from an eBay purchase provided the wings – you’ll have seen the same stuff used here as base.
Bevelled the wings and glued them on using a mix of quick dry PVA, caulk and superglue.
Jet thrusters from a pair of now-dead biros
Chin cannon (thinking steampunk/ fantasy A-10 here, so something analogous to the iconic “Avenger” cannon) – this was made from a mysterious leftover part from an IKEA bookcase!
Missiles added for those hard to reach targets! These are rawl plugs, attached to the wings with the same mix of PVA and superglue
Something this big needs a base equal to the challenge! Pretty sure 2005 virus protection isn’t much use in 2022, so this CD will do, with a Tactical Rock added to cover the hole
Cardboard added for armour plating and rivets daubed on as blobs of PVA with a cocktail stick, and then we bring the primer! White, to match the Whippet
Cat litter added to the base for scenic effect
Primed and ready for painting…
And done! Painting was the same as the Whippet, and the basing mostly used the same idea – I did a little bot of leopard spotting on the rocks before drybrushing them with cream and using the tried and trusty mix of PVA and superglue to attach the ping pong ball liftwood core.. Thumb added for scale!

So there we go – I’m really, really chuffed with this build, it came together really well and I think it looks the part too… full of menace, hovering across the battlefield dispensing Vrilfire death to the enemies of the Grand Alliance… let’s see what those filthy Greenskin savages, rat abominations or misguided religious zealots can come up with to match her!

Stay thrifty out there and see you soon – we’ve just noticed that it is (drumroll please) Orctober!!! So no prizes for guessing the next few posts themes…

Another Hole In The Head Pt. 7 …Characters! Flags! (and a battle report!)

Let’s. Get. This. DONE.

With the Last Regiment finally finished, the end of this project is tantalisingly close… so let’s keep on!

I’d separated out the remaining figures into five “Boss” figures – one of which would be promoted to Warchief Ghazrag The Bloody himself – and ten “Shamans” (one of which played Ghaz in the battle reports). This meant there was going to be a SERIOUS amount of of Orca magic going on.. which was fair enough, it’s not like they get much in the way of heavy weapons or missile troops…

So, I based all the remaining models on 20mm washers using a mix of superglue and quick dry PVA, primed them white and then gave them a thinned black pre-wash to help pick out the detail as the eyes aren’t what they were… you might notice a little bit of greenstuff conversion work to make the figures less uniform, including the odd arm bent up or down, as well as a greenstuff cape on Ghaz himself to give him a bit of extra presence. The jester’s hat on one of the shamans was another greenstuff effort, a tip of the hat to the classic old GW Ork Weirdboy from the 90s, and in case it’s not clear, the stuff coming out from the shaman’s outstretched hands is magic, not an oversized novelty foam finger.

Next up, flags. Having failed spectacularly with my freehand attempts with the Blood Angels, I decided to take a different tack – a Google Image search for “Warhammer Fantasy Orc Banners” got me this:

So much easier when someone else has done the drawing for you..

The paint schemes were the same as the previous regiments, and I extended that to the banners – mostly red (Vallejo Hot Orange washed with Red Ink), craft bone paint and Vallejo German Grey for black / dark grey bits.

For banner poles I snipped some black paper clips in half, arranged them in reasonably convincing poses and superglued them in place.. and now the big reveal!

Warchief Ghazrag The Bloody, seen here at the head of his horde doing his best John Travolta impression… you can tell by the way he holds his axe, he’s a woman’s Orc, no time to talk…
Orca Boss at the head of regiment of Boyz, now all flagged up and ready to rock
Ghaz and his Shamans at the head of his regiment of bodyguards
Head shaman rocking VERY fly hat
Dey’s over dere, GET EM!!!!!
The Mighty Horde!!

Now admittedly, Orca strategy is largely:


But it’ll still be nice to have all these Bosses to help keep the assault rolling forward

But before all that, Warchief Ghazrag had the small matter of an Ancien Regime force to match wits with in his quest for ever-holier stones…

The battle lines are drawn…
The Ancien Regime forces deploy with their flank anchored by the Steam Tank
Ghaz leads the boys in a pincer movement around the ruined church (or at least that’s the plan)
Supported by the Arrer Boyz, the Orca pile forward – Ghaz attempts to lead his bodyguard forward in the centre but is defeated by the terrain..
Watching the Orca thunder toward the Ancien Regime lines, the Steam Tank takes cover for a flanking shot
Ancien Regime Grenadiers fall victim to Orca Arrer Boyz but the line holds… “Let them come on, lads!”
Caught in the open, the Orca Warriors fall to the Steam Tank’s firepower!
Rifle regiment receive the first of many Orca charges!
Despite massive losses, the Rifle regiment holds, buying time for the Cuirassier cavalry to counter attack with a devastating flank charge
Grenadiers join the party, pushing home the counter-attack
Meanwhile, the “elite” Black Orcs are hit with rifle fire from the regiment positioned on the cliff, and straightaway fluff their morale check..
Not to be deterred, however, Ghazrag and his bodyguard are closing in on their objective!
Grenadiers and Cuirassiers make short work of the Savage Orcs
Making a last gasp dive for the objective after Witch-Colonel Murphy manages to teleport him down the hill, Ghaz is felled by rifle fire as the remaining riflemen burn through their remaining command points in desperation… the last bullet hits home, felling the Warchief!

Bugger, I cocked that up royally – I tried to keep the regiments together and failed abysmally, leaving them to hit the Ancien Regime lines piecemeal.. hopefully my new cadre of Shamans and bosses will inject some flexibility to round out the army..

There’s still a couple of war machines to build, plus I’ve got a couple of conversions up my sleeve.. and then maybe make some giant spiders.. and this is why projects never really get finished! The Curse Of The Wargamer strikes again…

Stay safe and thrifty out there, we’ll be back again soon

The Fawcett-Fairchild FV1066 “Whippet” Quadrupedal Ambulatory Weapons Platform

As tensions across the world of Hyperia escalate, the Grand Alliance coalition of willing floating cities and aero-states are finding it necessary to deploy Sky Marine task forces with increasing regularity. As by necessity these task forces are small in terms of numbers, despite their high quality training and equipment they are vulnerable to near-peer competitors able to deploy overwhelming numbers. To this end, the Alliance military-industrial complex have been tasked with developing easily deployable “force multipliers”. The Fawcett-Fairchild “Whippet” class Quadrupedal Ambulatory Weapons Platform is such a device, crewed by a single Sky Marine, Vril-enabled Artificial Cognisance enabling it to track multiple targets, prioritise them and engage with twin belt-fed 1-inch canons – all the while networking with “senior” constructs such as the Dauntless-class Skycutter.”

You know that feeling when you see a piece of junk that you’re about to throw out and all of a sudden a voice in your head says “Keep me… I am destined to be more than this..”…

Yes, it’s a junk build. Missed these, haven’t you? 😉

So it was with a simple plastic cap off a bottle of guitar string cleaner – there was just something about the proportions that I thought looked right in 1/72… coupled with the fact that Dan had mentioned a new RTS called Iron Harvest that he reckoned I might get a kick out of…

OK, failed to take any pics of the build process, it seems. So – I began with the clear plastic spray top that forms the body of the mech. Next, I bored some holes in it and used cocktail sticks, snapped in half at the “knee” joints and sealed with superglue to form the legs. A mix of superglue and quick dry PVA did wonders to fix the legs in place to the body.

Next up, the cannons – two more cocktail sticks with sort of grippy bits on them (look at the pic, I don’t know how best to describe them!) – these got the superglue/ PVA treatment straight to the body. This works really well – PVA gives a flexible, sturdy bond but it takes time to dry, whereas superglue is quick drying but brittle. Mixing them seems to do wonders, and there doesn’t seem to be any side effects like Mel The Terrain Tutor describes from mixing superglue and hot glue.

The ammo belts you see feeding the cannons are cut from IDE cable (credit to Zrunelord from TMP there), chopped about 5mm by 10mm and given the magic glue mix, and the shiny thing on top is a defunct watch battery – gives the thing a nice bit of weight.

On the top you can see a chopped down superglue cap, and a couple of thin pieces of card glued to the front for armour plating, and just out of shot are a couple of drinking straws trimmed to represent exhausts:

Old brush bristle got repurposed as an aerial, and the rivets are our classic method of PVA blobs dabbed on with a cocktail stick
Finally I drew round a paint pot on a piece of corrugated card for the base. And with that, time for priming!
White, as was the style of the time..
Prewash with thinned black paint & Vallejo Smokey Ink mix

And once again, I forgot to take pics of the painting process, so here we are with some finished beauty shots:

Basecoat of Vallejo Russian Green, washed with Arm Pinter Green Tone and then thinned Vallejo Brown Ink with a pin wash of Vallejo Smokey Ink.. then drybrushed back with Russian Green, and mixed with craft tan to lighten it. Weathering was Vallejo Skin Wash streaked on to simulate rainwater and then sponge chipping with craft black and Vallejo Mithril silver for where bare metal pokes through (not too much, Sky Marines undertake regular maintenance of their armoury). The brass ammo belts were Mithril Silver washed with Skin Wash, and the base painted with chocolate brown before covered with dry soil, sand and Jarvis flock before varnish
Seen here about to kick some greenskin ass.. “They are to our right, left and centre.. they can’t get away now!”

Stay thrifty out there, and if you’re so inclined you can now follow us on Instagram! Just search “@skinflintgames” – see you in the next one

Another Hole In The Head Pt. 6 – The Last Regiment!

Yes, I’m still avoiding the Marines… but bear with me, I’m almost at the finish line with this project – and when the end is in sight, it seems perverse to switch focus to something else.

So having finished up the “Orcs Of Colour”, that left me with just a single regiment of 30 Orca Warriors left to do.. then there are the shamans, of course, plus I reckon I could probably knock together a couple of stone throwers.. and I have an idea for a “superheavy”…

Anyway, point is, I can see an end to this project, so I took a deep breath and dove straight into the final regiment. Based on 20mm squares of wine box cardboard, white primer, prewash with thinned down black ink – it’s a poor man’s zenithal primer, plus it helps my Mr Magoo eyes pick out what detail is what.. in addition to covering up any gaps that might otherwise be left a glaring white.

Other than that it’s the usual scheme – Army Painter Goblin Green skin washed with Army Painter Green Tone, red bits are Vallejo Hot Orange washed with Red Ink with a unifying drybrush of yellow… The metallics are Vallejo Mithril Silver washed with Smokey Ink for a rusty effect as Orcs of any universe are not known for their weapons maintenance.

So, pics:

As you can see, I gave them a flag – Google Image search for “Orc & Goblin Banners”, printed it out and painted it up… Damn sight easier than trying to do freehand and this may yet be the way forward with the Blood Angels
These pics don’t seem to have come out too well.. guess my phone is unused to the amount of sunlight we’ve been having..
Flags & banners make a huge difference to the spectacle – of course, now I have to go back and give the other regiments a flag each..
The ladz on parade
Warchief Ghazrag The Bloody leads his mighty horde

Regular readers will have noticed the progress of Warchief Ghazrag The Bloody across the world of Hyperia in pursuit of capturing some holy stones…

(had to do it)

So far they’ve battered both Ratticus McStilton III’s Virum Nascii and the Sky Marines of the Grand Alliance, so next up will be a face off against the Ancien Regime now the gaming shed is back in business… Can we make it three in a row? Let’s see!

Stay thrifty out there, we’ll be back soon

Another Hole In The Head Pt. 5 (And A Battle Report!)

It’s the summertime and the weather is fine, and I’ve been out in the garden knocking back wine…

Time to step away from the Blood Angels for a bit – I’ve lost confidence in my eye for detail (nothing to do with ay criticism, by the way – all the comments I’ve had have been positive, in fact far more positive than I deserve), and I think I need to do a fair bit of freehand practice to get my skills up to snuff before having another go at my command figures. So it makes sense to go to a smaller scale, right?

Well… yeah, actually. See, the issue I had with the BAs was with the smooth surfaces and details like the campaign badges and banners (which also highlighted the downsides to painting with housepaints rather than model paints in some instances… X-D) . The details that are picked out for you on the sculpts – pipes, aquilas etc – I wasn’t too bad with. And with my Orcs, there’s plenty of those. This lets washes and drybrushing take care of the heavy lifting – plus any mistakes you can hide within a regiment of 30, right?

So here we are – a regiment of 30 Black Orcs (Orcs of Colour?):

These lads are the heavy hitters, the elite of the orc infantry, and 30 of them is a big solid linebreaker whether you’re playing Warhammer Fantasy, Kings Of War or Hyperian Wars
Paint scheme was basically the same as the other ladz, but a black wash dulled down the skin tones.
I gave myself a hand by priming these white and then prewashing with thinned Smokey Ink to get to the parts other painting layers can’t reach….
Warchief Gazhrag The Bloody leads his army
A mighty horde!
Fancy seeing this lot coming at you?

So that’s Gazh the Warchief, a regiment of 16 Archers, 2 regiments of 30 Orcs each, a regiment of 25 Savage Orcs and now the Black Orcs – one more regiment to go and then we’re on to the Shamans, and I’ve got a few ideas for support units…

And then, to battle!

Having already kicked the arse of Ratticus McStilton and his Virum Nascii, da boyz fancied a taste of ‘oomie flesh….

Lt. Carruthers’ Sky Marine platoon deploys to the left, with support from an Artificial, Gazhrag’s boyz to the right. The objective is the sacred stones in the middle of the ruined temple… wonder what the Orc Warlord might be wanting with all these stones?
Sky Marines deploy forward with command section and mortar anchored on the low hill in the centre
And there’s the OPFOR…
The ladz barrel forward
No. 3 Squad takes casualties from surprisingly effective Orc archery
Nos. 1 & 2 squads hold the hill overlooking the temple, but it looks like they’re getting company soon
Black Orcs crash into the Sky Marines on the hill
Sky Marines retreat in good order despite taking savage losses, but the Orc regiment following the Black Orcs catch them in the open
Sky Marines fight bravely, but 30 Orcs are 30 Orcs
Command section let fly with rifles and mortar, Jim running down all his Command Points to hammer these ladz before they massacre his troops up close and personal. The “1” you can see is the regiment failing it’s morale check – being within 12cm of unsuppressed enemy troops they are captured (or cut down by quickfire .303 rounds and bayonets)
Next turn Jim won the initiative and turned the attention of the command section onto the Black Orcs – concentrated casualties in the regiment’s rear quickly caused them to become suppressed and surrender too!
However, the command section can’t face two ways at once and the second prong of the Orc attack strikes
Two survivors are all that’s left of No. 3 squad!
Surviving Sky Marines consolidate on the low hill for a last stand

But to no avail, as the Orcs crash into them from both sides!

“Those creatures are tremendous in stature!”
“Wait until you see the reds of their eyes, lads”

And so Gazhrag The Bloody scored another victory, albeit having lost half his archers, his elite Black Orcs and a regiment of regular Orcs in the process… and we ironed out a few more kinks in the Hyperian Wars ruleset, hopefully bringing the publication date to three days before the heat death of the universe.

Stay thrifty out there – Jim’s got something he’s really excited to tell you all about… 😉

A Clash Of Evil – Hyperian Wars Battle Report

It’s customary in many a fantasy trope to regard humanity as besieged on all sides by innumerable hordes of vile creatures, united as one in their desire for destruction – but on the world of Hyperia, this ain’t necessarily so! As it turns out, be they human, elf, dwarf, or Baddie (TM) – pretty much everyone hates everyone else in roughly equal measure.

And so to today’s battle report, which pits Dan’s Orcathe followers of Warchief Ghazhrag The Bloody – against the Virum Nascii ratman horde of Ratticus McStilton III!

As some of you may be aware, we did a fair few HW games in 2019 and the ratmen kicked some ass and took some names… but then The Great Plague struck and gaming (and thus rule development) all went down the pan. Now, mercifully, we’ve just got potential WW3 to worry about, and until someone invents a facemask that can stop a Satan II ICBM warhead… well, we might as well stop worrying, crack open a bottle and play soldiers.

Dan brought everything he’d got finished, including a commander I hadn’t seen before (!), and because our Virum Nascii horde vastly outnumbers… everything, really, I decided to stick to the basics – warriors, slaves, archers, Plague Priests, Stormtroopers and Warlord. All the special weapons stuff would stay home for now. This was a rough estimate in points values, but also so I could beat him without fear of emotional blackmail – the Orca are tough – thick, but tough – and hit hard in big blocks but have little missile weaponry and no magic (yet).

Rules, for those interested:

Orcs:

Orc Warrior:

SpeedShooting SkillCCRInitiativeArmourHit PointMoraleNotes
1264292RegularDefault: Advance (Assault)
WeaponRate Of FireClose RangePenetrationDamage
Hand Weapons1Melee8+D61

Orc Archer

SpeedShooting SkillCCRInitiativeArmourHit PointMoraleNotes
1253292RegularDefault: Advance (Assault)
WeaponRate Of FireClose RangePenetrationDamage
Bow160cm7+D61

Savage Orc

SpeedShooting SkillCCRInitiativeArmourHit PointMoraleNotes
1264282EliteDefault: Advance (Assault)
WeaponRate Of FireClose RangePenetrationDamage
Hand Weapons1Melee8+D61

Orc General

SpeedShooting SkillCCRInitiativeArmourHit PointMoraleNotes
12563124EliteDefault: Advance (Assault)
WeaponRate Of FireClose RangePenetrationDamage
Hand Weapons1Melee8+D62

Orc Shaman

SpeedShooting SkillCCRInitiativeArmourHit PointMoraleNotes
12553103EliteDefault: Advance (Assault)
WeaponRate Of FireClose RangePenetrationDamage
Hand Weapons1Melee8+D62

Filth (4+): Target friendly unit within 12” gets Poison in melee next time it fights.

Cracks (4+): Target enemy unit within 12” takes 2 automatic hits with AP(2).

Sickness (5+): Target enemy unit within 18” gets -1 to hit next time it shoots.

Lightning (5+): Target enemy unit within 12” takes 1 hit with AP(4) and Deadly(3).

Frenzy (6+): Target friendly unit within 12” may immediately move by up to 6”.

Pestilence (6+): Target enemy unit within 6” takes 1 automatic hit per model.

Virum Nascii

Warrior

SpeedShooting SkillCCRInitiativeArmourHit PointMoraleNotes
1863361PoorDefault – Hold

Slaves

SpeedShooting SkillCCRInitiativeArmourHit PointMoraleNotes
1872361UntrainedDefault – Panic
WeaponRate Of FireClose RangePenetrationDamage
Bow150cm6+D61
WeaponRate Of FireClose RangePenetrationDamage
Hand Weapons1Melee6+D61

Poison Grenadiers

SpeedShooting SkillCCRInitiativeArmourHit PointMoraleNotes
1863361RegularDefault: Advance (ranged)
WeaponRate Of FireClose RangePenetrationDamage
Poison Grenade112+D68+D63 (Blast 3cm)

Stormtroopers

SpeedShooting SkillCCRInitiativeArmourHit PointMoraleNotes
1864361RegularDefault: Advance (Assault)
WeaponRate Of FireClose RangePenetrationDamage
Hand Weapons1Melee8+D61

Assassins

SpeedShooting SkillCCRInitiativeArmourHit PointMoraleNotes
2063461RegularDefault: Advance (Assault)
WeaponRate Of FireClose RangePenetrationDamage
Hand Weapons1Melee8+D61

Warlord

SpeedShooting SkillCCRInitiativeArmourHit PointMoraleNotes
1854492VeteranHero
WeaponRate Of FireClose RangePenetrationDamage
Hand Weapons3Melee7+D61

Plague Priests

SpeedShooting SkillCCRInitiativeArmourHit PointMoraleNotes
1863371RegularDefault: Advance (Assault)
WeaponRate Of FireClose RangePenetrationDamage
Hand Weapons1Melee7+D62

Weapons Teams

SpeedShooting SkillCCRInitiativeArmourHit PointMoraleNotes
1853471RegularIndependent, Default: Hold (Ranged)
WeaponRate Of FireClose RangePenetrationDamage
Vrilrifle148cm20+2D62
Ratling Gun636cm7+D61
Vrilfire Thrower1Template12+D62
Vrilgrinder DrillN/AN/AN/ASets up Ambush*

*Ambush – This unit begins in reserve. When it is placed, it may pop up anywhere more than 18cm from an enemy unit. Any friendly Virum Nascii units not already deployed may follow through the tunnel and pop and deploy with a unit facing touching the tunnel mouth in the case of a regiment or in the case of an individual character.

Master Of Engineers:

SpeedShooting SkillCCRInitiativeArmourHit PointMoraleNotes
1843492VeteranHero
WeaponRate Of FireClose RangePenetrationDamage
Vrilfire Pistol324cm12+D62

Dan brought the Orca general, two regiments of 30 Warriors each, a regiment of 25 Savage Orcs and 16 Archers – I brought the Virum Nascii Warlord, a regiment of 32 Slave archers, 2 regiments of 16 warriors each, 28 Slaves, 6 Stormtroopers and 16 Plague Priests.

We decided on a specific objective – controlling the sacred stones within a ruined temple. To win, a player would have to have an unshaken (unsuppressed) unit within half a move distance, so 9cm for the VN, 6cm for the slower Orcs. To war!

The objective – some holy stones within a ruined. “Why’s dey ‘oly boss?” “Cause dey’s full of ‘oles, don’t ask stoopid questions”

Virum Nascii win the deployment roll off, choosing their table edge and forcing the Orca to deploy first.
Hordes of chittering Virum Nascii swarm forth! Using a new deployment rule to simulate the increased flexibility of faster armies, basically everyone can deploy a double move forward onto the board – meant 24cm for the Orca, 36cm for the Ratmen.
Both side close for battle – Virum Nascii archers attempt to provide covering fire… this is comically ineffective

Orca attempt a flanking manouevre

Cunning Virum Nascii warlord uses his slaves as bait to try and lure the Orca into doing something rash…
Orca flanking manoeuvre hurtles ponderously toward Ratmen lines…
Plague Priests ambush a unit of Orca warriors, catching them in the flank

Ratmen warriors ambush a unit of Orca warriors in the rear, causing them to rout!

Orca archers provide counterbattery fire, covering the advance of the Savage/ Feral (choose your poison) Orca – this is somewhat more effective than their Virum Nascii counterparts….
…causing both the slave warriors and slave archers to rout! Warlord Ratticus does his best to rally the troops…
With the Orca flank threat successfully dealt with, the Ratmen encircle the temple ruins…

First Ratmen Warrior unit sent in is duly demolished by superior Savage Orca numbers and strength…

But then (while the slaves are rallying) a second regiment of Virum Nascii Warriors attacks the Savage Orca from behind, routing them!
…Plague Priests catch the fleeing Orca and annihilate them!
Ratmen attempt to press home the attack in the temple, but the Orca are too strong and too many!
Arrow fire routs the Slave archers… again…
Lord Ratticus send in his finest, the Plague Priests – will they get the job done?
At the height of the battle, Warlord Ratticus charges Ghazrag The Bloody!
…and he is no match for his greenskin adversary!
Seeing their warlord fall, the slave archers leg it as the Plague priests start to struggle, with the Stormtroopers looking for an opening..

The slaves rally…

..but the Plague Priests die to a rat to a crushing assault from Orca archers and Warriors!

With just the 6 Stormtroopers and 20 odd largely ineffectual Slave archers against 16 much more effective Orca archers and a block of 20 Warriors, as well as Ghazrag himself, the surviving Virum Nascii realised they had no chance to take the objective and conceded the game. Victory to the Orca!

Although this was by no means a strictly competitive game – we were tweaking the rules on the fly and working out mechanics as we went – it was still really fun and pretty cinematic watching two VERY different flavours of Baddie go against each other! There are still more Orca to come and lots of special units for the Ratmen too so expect another faceoff in the near future… and of course what happens when these meet the Sky Marines of the Grand Alliance or the massed ranks of the Ancien Regime?

Stay tuned for more fantasy wackiness as we get into summer, and who knows, we may even get these rules out and published before the heat death of the universe…..

Stay safe and thrifty out there, slava ukrainia!

Alternative Alternative Armies – The Valiant 44th Free Companies Levy

We’ve all been there. It happened with Da Skooderia. It happened with the Virum Nascii. That idea, the initial rush of enthusiasm… and then nothing.

Such it was with this guy – a Valiant Miniatures “1/72” German converted with cardboard, greenstuff and the now infamous granny grating into a sci-fi trooper with an unfeasibly big gun. I was pleased with the results, and resolved to make him some friends.

And then I did nothing about it. For a year.. or close to it.

But then the other week I got to thinking, “I could just go for a bit of Firefight…” – Dan offered the use of his gloriously retro Blood Angels to play the part of the Crusaders (humanity’s power armoured elites), I ordered up a load of bases from eBay and we were rolling once more!

Greenstuff for face coverings (COVID security) and kneepads – we’ll assume all troops are fully vaccinated too!
Granny grating to turn those Mausers and StG 44s into something suitably futuristic and sci fi! Cardboard cut to fit body armour plates – yeah, won’t be winning any awards on that anytime soon..
Voila, a platoon of the Free Companies’ finest!
Groundwork – I knocked up a texture paste of filler powder, PVA and some crud off the garage floor, then when that was dry sprinkled yet more garage floor crud (sawdust, cat litter, gravel chips) on them, lots of lovely texture, all for free! And crucially these days, I know to do this pre-priming…
Primed white and hit with base colours – the tan is just a craft paint, the body armour is Vallejo Russian green (a colour we’re seeing a worryingly large amount of in real life at the time of writing..)
The Valiant 44th (because that’s the number of the TRUE F1 World Champion!) on patrol!
Support weapon – triple barrelled gatling/multilaser/heavy blaster thing
Lieutenant, aka “Lute” or “first pip” (according to the rulebook fluff)
The lads in action during their training missions – close assault here….
Using heavy weapons to clear a roadblock
House clearance led by Crusader NCO (who promptly got himself killed.. meaning the Levy NCO had to practice taking command… yeah, sounds like a plausible training mission!

The first mission of the rulebook campaign saw the Crusader NCO taking the squad out on a patrol, clearing a building. This saw them first ambushed by a Goblin patrol in the garden in front of the house:

Off we go, out on patrol…
Ambushed by Shia Khan Goblins!
A brief scuffle sees the Goblins cut down almost to a man, the survivor flees into the house..
Preparing to assault, but there’s a second Goblin patrol in ambush!
Fast & furious action sees the Goblins annihilated, but it’s a close run thing!
Sniper, booby trap and radpit traps all fail to slow our lads down, and here we see a celebratory picture of the lads completing their first patrol!

We’re getting the hang of “Firefight” now, and it’s a really fun game – even though the lads emerged unscathed, gunning down the opposition, it was a much closer run thing than the result might show! If you’ve never investigated this unsung 90s classic, I thoroughly advise you to do so – low model count, fast paced rules, neat campaign system.. perfect for a Friday night in when the weather is vicious!

The Levy platoon is 18 strong which leaves me 40+ Valiant models to do something with… and I have me an idea… watch this space!

Stay thrifty out there and see you soon!

That Was Another Year That Was – The Great 2021 Hobby Retrospective

Well, we survived a second year of The Great Plague. As the hangovers and queues for booster shots and lateral flow tests subside for another year, let’s take a little look at what we’ve done hobbywise…

Here in the UK, we kicked off the year with a third and (so far) final lockdown – and when the weather is freezing and dark and Nurgle’s apostles are rampant across the world, it’s always tempting to hunker down with some nostalgic reminders of a happier time. Which is exactly what we did – my pet project, while Dan rolled on with his, was the creation of a DIY Space Fleet set, the short lived 1991 precursor to Battlefleet Gothic. And seeing as this project involved squares, it was perfectly suited to lockdown remote gaming.

Speaking of my compatriot, Dan’s 1991 Blood Angels and the “quick fix” (where have we heard that before..) 20mm fantasy Orc horde have been trundling along merrily this year even if they haven’t quite met with completion – and when summer rolled around, bringing with it Freedom Day and crushing disappointment as we nearly nearly nearly won the Euros, we put on our BIGGEST GAME EVER, in which said greenskins would play a pivotal role… And Dan has sworn faithfully that he will undertake no new projects until these are done, meaning he’s got some serious papercrafting to do -I might help out a bit there, as he’s got 3 Rhinos, a Thudd Gun, a Land Raider and a Land Speeder to make and I vividly remember 2017’s Leman Russ build taking quite the toll on his sanity.

For myself, I managed to get my Accidental Tyranids (Hive Fleet Imprudens) finished, and now Dan’s got his 1991 style Terminators completed I can see some Space Hulk on the horizon (perhaps with this kind of scenery…), particularly if the Omicron variant dooms us all to another lockdown.. I also knocked up a test figure converted from Valiant Miniature’s oversized 1/72 WW2 infantry, with the intent of knocking together a Levy force for Firefight and using the rest as Brood Brothers to augment my Hive Fleet Imprudens ‘Nids. To date I have produced precisely 1 figure, but that said I have been busy writing rules… not going to raise anyone’s expectations too much on that topic as these things take SO LONG to come to fruition in reality.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our addiction to granny grating. Dan got the ball rolling in 2020 building his Imperial Guard army for Epic, and that rolled out in 2021 into mini Kings Of War and teeny weeny Star Wars forces that saw action toward the end of the year using the classic early 90s ruleset “Hellfire”.. and the air was thick with “I AM YOUR FATHER” “THAT’S NOT TRUE, THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE” squeaked out in Chipmunk voices.

We’re SO cool.

Honourable mention goes to Dan’s terrain cloth, built using the techniques shown on Mel The Terrain Tutor’s video (and wherever you are Mel, we wish you well and hope to see you again soon- stay safe brother) – and seeing as we’ve got loads of the dust sheet left, we’re planning a desert cloth, a snow cloth, and also a proper retro single colour flock as shown in the early 90’s White Dwarf battle reports, so stay tuned on that. Oh, and of course our brief fixation with zombiesTHAT was quite the game!

For our blog, this was another good year statistically – 18,221 views up from 18,065 in 2020, although visitors were down to 7343 from 8265 in 2020.. Likes were way up though, 245 from 171, and comments 186 from 150, all time bests on both fronts. Comments are a bit of an iffy metric to judge on, as WordPress counts all the comments we make too, but the “likes” are encouraging – definitely a sign that although we may be getting less “passing trade”, we have a solid base of folks that know what we do and enjoy/ have forgiven us for it.

So, for 2022? As stated, Dan has vowed not to embark on any more projects until he’s finished his Marines and Orcs, and I know he has some more units planned for the DIY Guard. My goals are writing, testing and God forbid actually self-publishing some rules.. also my aforementioned Levy platoon and Brood Brothers… also, I quite fancy rounding out my 2nd Ed 40k Orks into a legit army.. but granny grating has called to me with it’s siren song and whispered to me of…. well, let me leave this here:

So, how about y’alls out there in the blogosphere? What are your goals for 2022?

Stay safe, sane and thrifty out there, may your booster jabs be side effect free and may you forever test negative….

The Great Halloween Zombie Game Battle Report

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It was unnaturally dark. Even for a man like Lt. Hunt, who had made the darkness his friend during many long years of special operations, it was unsettling. He turned to his team – all highly trained operatives, all experienced… all scared.

“OK. Whatever this is – whether it’s a virus like they say, or whether it really is the dead coming back.. right now it doesn’t make any difference. There’s a team of scientists stranded in the compound, half a click southwest. We need to get in there, break them out, and escort them to the egress point another half a click along the same axis where there’s a transport chopper waiting.”

He exhaled hard.

“As well as the obvious hazards, it’s probably safe to assume that Ivan has wind of them too. There’s no official intel, but don’t be surprised if there’s a Soviet patrol out there. Heads on a swivel – don’t let those things get up close, don’t let them bite you.. head shots, controlled bursts. Don’t burn through your ammo. Remember these things are slow, but there’s likely a lot of them. No full auto.

Moss, take point. Hill you’re with him. Clark, with me. Keep tight, keep moving. Let’s roll.”

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The wind whipped dust into Sgt. Kaminsky’s eyes. He shielded them with his hand as he took a roster of his squad. Thirteen conscripts, two of them toting light machine guns. Enough firepower to deal with whatever they were likely to come across, surely – although these… things.. whatever they were – seemed uncomfortably numerous.

His troops – all scared, all conscripts, some as young as 14 – gripped their Kalashnikovs and took what shelter they could from the howling wind.

“This is a chance to gain the upper hand in this wat, Comrades. A chance to shorten this war and get us home to our families. Those kulaks in the compound have information vital to the enemy war effort and we MUST capture them, we cannot let them fall into the maw of these beasts”.

He signalled a heading. “That way. Capture the kulaks and two kilometres, hand them over to NKVD. Maybe we get off the line for a few days. On me, comrades,”

The table laid out – compound with besieged scientists in the middle of the board and zombie spawning points two per table quarters
Skalk Point generator station with scientists sheltering from zombies
Allied special forces team deploy on the northeast corner, evac point on the southwest
Holy Soviet Army rifle squad deploys at the southeast corner, evac point on the northwest
Zombies boil from their spawning points! Note the wrecked Soviet armour – purely scenic in this game, just there for atmosphere
Allied Special Forces lead off, methodically gunning down zombies as they advance cautiously – but return fire (yes, we give our zombies guns – they’re just not great with them) comes within a whisker of downing Specialist Moss! Happily his body armour saved the day – remember the SF team only has four models…
The Soviets form a gunline and massacre the horde of zombies shambling toward them
Meanwhile the Allied SF team take advantage of briefly clear streets to dash toward the compound and the stranded civilians
Another horde of zombies approach the Soviets squad from the flank
The zombie reaction roll obliges them to fire on the Soviets – downing two riflemen, but killing three of their own in the process!
The Allied SF team reach the compound!
Meanwhile the Soviets are bogged down by hordes of the undead!
Allied SF team gun down the approaching zombies and begin leading the civilians to safety…
Zombies fall under the SF team’s battle rifles but a couple of unwary civilians fall to zombie gunfire..
Holy Soviet Army squad hold in place, grimly massacring horde after horde of ghouls
“Go! Move, we’ll hold them off…” screamed Lt. Hunt – and then Dan pointed out that they were heading the wrong way! Cue much innovative swearing from myself… that was a pretty basic error!
More zombies fall under the Russian guns but the squad is falling way behind the Allied SF team…
Specialist Moss falls to zombie guns during a valiant rearguard action!
Changing direction – now that Dan had reminded me where my exfiltration point actually was – my civilians start to fall to zombie gunfire!
… and having reminded me where my exfil point was, Dan starts moving his squad to a blocking position…
SF and Holy Soviet survivors face off against each other…
“It is over for you, English. Hand over the civilians and come with us”
Needless to say, the SF team refuse – but 10 assault rifles at close range turn them to a boody pulp!

So there we have it – a tale of horror, heroism and ultimately betrayal! In fairness to Dan, a) I forgot where my evacuation point was, which was pretty basic, and b) we had basically designed the scenario so that exactly such a twist was possible, also c) the SF team’s strength was mobility and training whilst the Holy Soviet Army was it’s usual slow moving firestorm self, so both sides really played to their strengths.

Most importantly, however, it was hugely entertaining and cinematic- hate to say it, but we definitely need more zombies for next year though!

Stay safe an sane out there, and we’ll see you again soon – if you want to have a crack yourselves, our rules are available here on Wargames Vault .