Terrain Talk Pt. 14 – SUPER Cheap, SUPER Simple Hedgerows

Right, this may be the absolute flat out anyone-can-do-it simplest old wargaming trick ever…

Hedges! SO easy to do, so simple , so effective…

And it would appear I have lost most of the pictures that go along with this 😦

Still, here’s where we begin – lolly stick and pan scourer:

Chop the pan scourer to about 15mm height – enough to give cover but not block LOS completely (for 20mm scale – you poor deluded fools in 28mm might want to go a bit higher) and glue to the lolly stick. We used acrylic caulk for this but PVA will do the trick too, it’ll just take a little longer. The great thing about using the lolly stick as a base? No warping!

Next, spray prime black, and drybrush dark brown – you can be quite heavy with the drybrushing, as this is really is more like a base coat than a highlight. I did have pics of this stage but I seem to have had a senior moment and deleted them….

Now it’s time for flocking – we use Jarvis scenic flocks and followed a bastardised version of Mel The Terrain Tutor’s three tone flocking technique. Dark green in the “lowlight” areas, light green highlights on the most exposed bits and then mid green over the whole thing. Paint your hedge with PVA and then sprinkle the flock accordingly.

After that, we hit them with some clump foliage to represent weeds and undergrowth and to break up the outline of the lolly stick base. Finally, sealing! There’s a LOT of flock and clump foliage on these pieces, the last thing you want is them shedding everywhere. So, we topped up an old Windolene spray bottle with a mix of PVA and water (about 10-1 water to PVA) and just went to town soaking the pieces in it. Then the next day we did it again.

And finally, the end result!

Sky Marines vs Virum Nascii amongst the Hyperian bocage!  

Pretty happy with these, although I may have overdone things with the differing flocks, I have seen some really nice pieces that just went with dark green… but oh well, they look pretty good from two feet away and that’s really what matters.

Hope that’s given you some ideas and inspiration, so stay thrifty out there and we’ll see you soon!

Operation TYRANT- Apocalypse: Earth AAR

With the Soviet offensive of summer 1956 successful in capturing a number of Allied plasma generation facilities, UNIVAC, Majestic 12 and Supreme Allied Command Europe were all agreed to focus their immediate strategy on recapturing these vital installations before Emperor Djugashvilli could build on the momentum the Holy Soviet Army had lmanaged to create (at great cost).

It therefore came as something of a surprise when Stalin’s next move did not come across the front lines in Europe, but a massed amphibious assault on northern Scotland coming from an armada of massive transport submarines. In one of the opening moves, Lt Polikarpov would lead the infantry component of the assault task force assigned to knock out the plasma generator station powering Faslane naval base.

The Scottish campaign was notable for the complete and total inebriation of both sides – commissars would ladle out vodka liberally to the assault troops while the Scottish defended their homeland fuelled on a mix of Iron Bru and McEwan’s. Fighting was close and brutal, fuelled by borscht on the one side and deep fried Mars bars on the other. In the end, however, there could be only one victor.

Welcome to another Apocalypse: Earth megagame! We’ve been planning this for a while to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings and figured doing our own weird war retro sci-fi take on things would be our little (if slightly strange) contribution to commemorating the immense bravery shown that day.

So, without further ado, on to the battle report!

Scenario:

The Soviet force would be landing on the beach from the gigantic transport submarines they had created in secret and infiltrated up to the Scottish coast (which meant no need to scratch build landing craft), and would be landing with the intent to capture the (suspiciously familiar looking) plasma generator station that powered Faslane Naval Base – knocking that out would take down the base forcefields, allowing the next stage of the Soviet invasion.

Task Force Polikarpov, therefore brought EVERYTHING to the battle, including some new recruits to bolster the rifle squads to a full 14 men each. We were also trying something new – grouping the Soviet tanks into platoons, each consisting of two regular gun T-48s and either the Inferna or Elektra assault variant. This meant less flexibility (alternating unit activations favours multiple small units, a fact that the Atlantic Alliance is built around) but also the ability to bring down a LOT of firepower in one go. In short, playing like the slow moving iron clad firestorm the Holy Soviet Army should be!

And their opponents – well, wouldn’t you know it, Buffalo 2-7 had been so badly mauled at Skalk Point they’d been sent back to the UK for training and integrating replacements, so guess who happened to be the sector QRF again? This time the lads would also have help in the form of a League of European Nations platoon, including infantry, an anti-tank laser and some experimental vehicles on their maiden game

Deployment

Klaxons blared inside the Allied command centre.

“Contact – no, wait, multiple contacts!” called out the sonarman monitoring the sonobuoy pickets out in the bay. “Bearing 060 through 065, closing up on the beaches fast.. where the HELL did they come from?”

“One of their damned sorcerers” snarled Lt. Grant. He quickly swallowed the last bite of his bacon sandwich and thumbed the ARPANET transceiver on to the platoon network.

“Buffalo 2-7, this is Sunray. All units stand to. I say again, stand to. Prepare for amphibious assault.”

Around him the troops were already scrambling. Men checked weapons, drivers gunned engines. Grant thumbed the channel.

“Kampfgruppe Hulkenberg, this is Buffalo 2-7 Sunray, we have multiple- “

“We have them too, Lieutenant”. The clipped, precise tones of his European League counterpart cut through the static. “All units moving to prepared positions as rehearsed.”

Grant smiled grimly. “See you on the beach, Nico.”

“It’s a date. Von Hulkenberg out.”

The Allied forces rush to defend Mel Bay! Silverbug gunships anchor the flanks while the Kugelpanzers prepare a point blank defence with their (potentially) devastating laser cannons..
Grant and the Atlantic Alliance infantry cluster on the Allied right
Lt. von Hulkenberg’s platoon take the left, bolstered by Atlantic Alliance vehicles
An wall of steel welcomes the Holy Soviet Army!

Turn 1

The game opened with a salvo of 152mm shells from supporting Soviet naval firepower, smashing an Allied jeep and causing damage to the Kugelpanzer squadron, but no sooner had the ground stopped shaking from the explosions than appeared the gigantic, terrifying form of the Soviet Colossus – Stompy Uncle Joe leading his children to war!

The Holy Soviet Army storms ashore – the Colossus leads the way, incinerating one Kugelpanzer, frying another one with his lightning launcher and lobbing the third one onto an Alliance APC, destroying both! AND THEN finishes off by blowing both missile launchers off a Silverbug with his anti air machineguns – THAT’s how Stompy Uncle Joe rolls..
The Holy Soviet Army barges on to the beach, the brutal firepower of the Rampager’s twin 130mm cannons demolishing a Centurion
Siberian assault troops storm into the fray…
…before being gunned down by Rocketeers!
Soviet infantry push onto the beach, taking fearful losses
Chaos on the Allied left flank!
And just about everywhere else!
Lt. Polikarpov leads his platoon forward
Heavy weapons squad unleash hell on the defenders
Attack Drones bring down a Silverbug
Into the breach, Comrades!
The state of play at the end of turn 1 – the Soviets are ashore but heavy losses on both sides

Turn 2

Once more, the Holy Soviet Army advances into the maelstrom – after the near total demolition of the Soviet infantry in turn 1, we house ruled that any units destroyed in turn 1 could respawn as a second wave in turn 2. Very sportingly, Dan declined to apply this to his left flank tank platoon and limited just to infantry. In fairness, we hadn’t really balanced the armies too closely, it was largely gun and guesswork!
Despite being immobilised, Stompy Uncle Joe manages to grab an Allied APC that ventures too near..
Which he promptly lobs at the sole surviving Centurion, falling short but causing a very spectacular explosion…
Second wave of Soviet infantry charge forward…
A second squad of Siberian assault troops overwhelm the German infantry on the Allied left
The remaining German rifle squad gun down the exposed mutant assault troops

As the second turn ended, the Soviets were ashore with heavy losses – but at the cost of gutting the Allied formations!

Turn 3

Soviet Holy Mystic summons primordial waves of psychic energy to telekinetically lift the last functioning Allied M60A3 and drop it on the second Silverbug, destroying them both in spectacular fashion!
Soviet naval guns blast through the few remaining Atlantic Alliance infantrymen
Surviving Tesla troopers demolish another APC
Stompy Uncle Joe falls to Stinger/ TOW fire

By this time both sides were on the ropes and tottering, but the Soviets had managed to push the Allied forces off the beach, with catastrophic casualties on each side!

Turn 4

Stompy Uncle Joe may have fallen, but he’s still in the fight! Soviet Holy Mystic summons the psychic strength to lift eighty tons of steel and drop it on the sole surviving Allied vehicle..
The subsequent explosion wounds Lt. Grant and kills yet another Alliance rifleman
Allied sniper team knocks out a Tesla trooper’s generator – in response, the surviving trooper fries the sniper team!
Mac and Lt. Grant make a last gasp attack on the Soviet HQ..
But they fail to inflict any damage, and Lt. Polikarpov and his HQ gun them down without mercy!
And with that, the last gasp of Allied resistance falls… the way is open to the plasma generator station!

The pain flared across his temple. Lt. Grant struggled to consciousness to find himself looking into the darkness of a Kalashnikov assault rifle barrel. As he struggled to clear his vision, a second figure in a peaked cap wielding a pistol swam into view.

“Lt. Grant, I presume”, said a Russian voice, “I have been waiting a long time for this..”


So, a Soviet victory! At great cost – HQ, a couple of riflemen, the Mystic and his bodyguard, a Tesla trooper and sniper were literally all that were left. On the Allied side, however, we were down to a German medic armed with a pistol. So, now what for our story? Lt. Grant trying to effect a breakout from a Soviet POW camp? Some more fluff and battle reports on the Scottish Front? Let us know!

On a more serious note, no one reading this will have been unaware of the 75th anniversary of D-Day a few days ago, and certainly that was in our thoughts as we finished this quite epic game.

Dan – “That was a laugh and everything, but f**k me, can you imagine having to do it for real?”

No. No I can’t. We both agreed that neither of us could have done it. But mercifully, we haven’t had to.

So thank you Grandpa. Thank you Grandad. Thank you to all of you who summoned up the courage to do the impossible – not just on D-Day, but the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after that, for eleven more months.

Stay thrifty out there and we’ll see you again soon.

Terrain Talk Pt. 12 – Life’s A Beach…

You know what? I think this might be the most ambitious build we’ve ever tried. Grab a beer, this is going to be a big one.

Back at the start of the year, I mentioned to Dan that June 6 2019 would be the 75th anniversary of D-Day, and we figured it would be nice to do something to commemorate it beyond getting hammered and watching Saving Private Ryan, especially as we both had grandads who had served on the day itself (mine drove a DUKW in the early follow up waves, Dan’s served on a Royal Navy destroyer). As such, we both took a little inspiration from Mel The Terrain Tutor’s amazing D-Day beach landing board and decided to attempt something similar ourselves.

I mean, it’s not like Mel’s (as he explained himself in his vlog series) went way over time or budget or anything.. and he’s a pro with years of experience, proper materials, a budget, talent…. what could possibly go wrong?

STAGE 1 – PLANNING.

Now, this concept in itself is fairly novel, as up until a couple of years ago we just tended to glue junk together, hope for the best, and then lose ourselves in vicious envy of other people’s work, but this time we knew we had to have some sort of plan.

There’s no way we could do a devoted 6×4 board – don’t have the time, don’t have the talent, don’t have anywhere to store it even if we did – so we decide on a 2×4 overlay that could sit on top of the regular board. Happily, I just happened to have a pair of 2’x2′ bits of hardboard in the shed. Game on.

We roughed out a basic design – a small concave beach with rock formations either side, that would match up and be modular so we could play different scenarios – and got cracking.

STAGE 2 – BASIC MATERIALS

Hardboard base, Celotex insulation foam edging, and yes, that’s a bit of wooden shelf as a plateau. We call ourselves Skinflint for a reason, you know.
Pebbles and cat litter, foam off cuts to start making the beach. 1/72 T-34 for scale.
Caulk and filler to start building some contours
Early days, but there’s something there!
Filler and caulk added, smoothed out the straight lines

Covered with home made texture paste (PVA, sand, filler powder, paint and water mixed to taste) primed white and ready for…..

….leopard spotting! First we daub on a thin dirty yellow wash…

…then, a dark brown wash on the bits that aren’t yellow (although some overlap is fine – just make sure you leave a few bits of white…)
A couple of coats of a thin black wash
Bone drybrush works its’ magic
Such a simple technique, but so effective!
Really brings out the texture
Base colours roughed in – thinned red brown for the sandy areas, dark brown for the earth tones, craft blue for the sea… yeah I know how it looks, but…..
It ain’t staying that way Black and brown washes, as always heavily thinned with water
Sand tones overbrushed and a bone drybrush.. and oh yeah, didn’t I mention this piece has a brother? 😉
Couple of very thin washes to get the sand where we want it – unfortunately, as you can probably see, we’ve got a hairline fracture forming as this was where I’d used corrugated cardboard to add some contour and the filler had decided that now was the moment it would decide not to take… F*ck. Would have been ok, but it was a straight line and NATURE DON’T DO STRAIGHT LINES, YO.
Three tone flocking as per Mel The Terrain Tutor

Coming together now!

Between flock and bushes (lichen scraps, sprayed with PVA sealant solution and covered in several layers of flock, before being sprayed again)

Water effects added courtesy of pound shop epoxy resin thinned with acetone nail polish remover, mixed in a few drops of green and brown ink as well, and then applied with a lolly stick. We nicked this idea from Lukes APS – all hail the Squire Of The North!

Final touches were a good healthy dousing in watered down PVA sealant, followed by a coat of matt varnish. Warping was counteracted by applying PVA on the underside of the board, and – DONE!

We finish with the now obligatory Skinflint Games terrain naming ceremony – ladies and gentlemen, charge your glasses and raise a toast to (named after our main influence) Mel Bay!

So let’s wrap this up with a few White Dwarf- style beauty shots:

The Holy Soviet Army fall upon the beach head while the League Of European Nations and Atlantic Alliance forces scramble to respond

So if you’ve made it this far, thanks for sticking with us and I hope you can forgive us for being a bit quiet on the blog front this month! Steal every idea here – we did – stay thrifty and we’ll see you again soon….

How To Play With Your Balls – rules for the League Of European Nations Kugelpanzers!

Oh, the jokes just write themselves 😉

Anyway, in the spirit of thrifty wargaming, here are some “beta test” rules for the Kugelpanzers in the last post – this is what we’ll be using in the next couple of games, let us know how you get on and please do post feedback in the comments section.

„Ocelot“ Kugelpanzer – official designation Porsche Model 9.44 Laser-Aufklärungspanzer 

Armour – 16 (all over, due to spherical nature of the tank)

Speed 22cm

Armament – 3 x laser cannons (with targeters)

Range – 100cm

R.O.F – 3

Penetration – 2D6 + 3

Instead of firing individually, the vehicle may combine all three laser cannons to produce one focused shot:

Combine the targeter bonus (so +3 to hit)

Range – 100cm

R.O.F – 1

Penetration – 4D6 + 6

The vehicle may combine fire with up to two other Ocelots within 12 cm of it, each additional vehicle doubling the penetration and adding an additional +1 to hit (maximum +4) .

Damage Roll 2D6

Front 27

Side 23

Rear 18

Top/ Bottom 14

2,5 The engine is hit and explodes, crew are killed and all within 3cm are hit as if by a frag grenade The engine is hit and explodes, crew are killed and all within 3cm are hit as if by a frag grenade The fuel tank is hit and explodes. The vehicle is destroyed and catches fire. Crew and all within 3cm are hit as if by a flamethrower The ammo compartment explodes and the vehicle is vaporised. All within 6cm are hit as if by a frag grenade
6,8 The fuel line is severed. The vehicle is immobilised and must roll a D6 each time it fires a weapon. If it fails to roll 3+, the vehicle explodes. All within 6cm are hit as is by a frag grenade and the vehicle catches fire A laser cannon is destroyed A laser cannon is destroyed The crew compartment is hit. All crew except the driver are killed. The vehicle may move but not fire.
9,11 The driver is killed. The vehicle slews 2D6 cm in a random direction. If it hits an obstacle, it crashes (penetration 2+2D6). If the vehicle survives, it is immobilised. A track is blown off. If moving, the vehicle lurches 2D6 cm in a random direction. If it hits an obstacle, it crashes (penetration 2+2D6). If the vehicle survives, it is immobilised. If the vehicle is stationary, it is immobilised. A track is blown off. If moving, the vehicle lurches 2D6 cm in a random direction. If it hits an obstacle, it crashes (penetration 2+2D6). If the vehicle survives, it is immobilised. If the vehicle is stationary, it is immobilised. A laser cannon is destroyed
12 A targeter is destroyed on the laser cannon facing the firer A targeter is destroyed on the laser cannon facing the firer A targeter is destroyed on the laser cannon facing the firer Fire control computer is damaged – the vehicle may no longer combine fire from its laser cannons

Stay thrifty out there and happy wargaming!

Balls! New tanks for the League of European Nations….

So the last time we visited 1950s Germany (1956 to be precise), the villainous Holy Soviet Empire had overrun the crucial Skalk Point plasma reactor facility – and with Buffalo 2-7 having suffered close to 100% casualties (not for the first time in their careers), it’s time for the League of European Nations to step up and take care of business!

And to do this, they’re going to need every bit of help they can get – so far, I’ve got an infantry platoon and a support laser painted up, and that’s not going to be enough to unseat Task Force Polikarpov!

So first out of the blocks, an idea I’ve been kicking around for a while – the infamous Kugelpanzer, or ball tank. These things seem to be staple of retro sci-fi, without really having a defined role, so I figured they could work as an armoured recon troop- with a bit of a twist! These things would be packing laser cannons- three each. These will be capable of rapid fire against infantry and light vehicles, but by combining their fire together they will be able to fire a single high intensity laser blast capable of obliterating even a Soviet Colossus or IS-6 Rampager!

It’s actually a bit of a challenge “feeling out” the character of this army – sandwiched between the lumbering juggernaut of the Holy Soviet Army and the elite, hi tech but short on numbers feel of the Atlantic Alliance, it’s a bit of a challenge to find where the European League should sit. So we’ve gone for a slightly ragtag, heterogenous feel – bizarre clunky specialised units that are very good at one thing, but suck at everything else. Kind of like a 1950’s Eldar to the AA’s Space Marines or HSE Guard, if you’ll allow the metaphor.

Anyway, enough waffle – on to the build!

We begin with (drumroll please)…. ping pong balls! A bag of 20 off eBay for a couple of quid. I googled “ping pong ball diameter” – seriously – and discovered that international regulations – seriously – specify 40mm. Thus reassured, I cut out 40mm x 15mm strips of thin card which I aligned as centrally as possible. These would serve as mounts for the tracks, which I cut as 5mm wide strips from IDE cables (a trick learned from master scratchbuilder Zrunelord)

You might notice the crosses sketched on the balls – this was my attempt to measure out a centre point and give myself a line to place rivets along (done with tacky glue, a fast-acting mix of PVA and isopropyl alcohol, applied with a cocktail stick)
Tracks and rivets added

After that, all that remained were the guns! 3 laser cannons per tank, one per side and a centrally mounted top one. I made these by chopping up a 1cm length of cocktail straw and then supergluing a 5mm length of drinking straw to each end, like so:

Laser cannons ready!
Hole punched thick card superglued to the hull as spacers/ weapon mount points
All done and ready for priming!

A coat of white primer and a base coat of Crafter’s Choice Fawn later, I added lines of brown and Vallejo Russian Green (irony!) to create the WW2 “Dunkelgelb” style camouflage pattern. The whole thing then gt a thinned wash of brown ink, an unthinned in wash of Vallejo Smokey Ink in the crevices, before a final drybrush with bine craft paint to catch the rivets. I applied sponge weathering using both black and gun metal, and then knocked up a texture paste from sand, PVA and dark brown paint – this got smeared around the tracks before being drybrushed with a lighter brown and blended around the tracks (in truth I think I got a bit carried away here, but oh well – northern Europe can get pretty muddy..)

Anyhow – pics!

The Kugelpanzer troop lead League infantry through a ruined urban landscape

Looking forward to getting these on the table soon – can they beat the fate of all painted models, or will they cover themselves with glory taking down Stompy Uncle Joe? Stay tuned, stay thrifty, see you soon!

A Very Bloody Valentine- Apocalypse: Earth AAR

The sun glittered on the waves, reflecting across the expanse of the North Sea. At this altitude you could smell the salt, and thanks to the backwash from the helicopter blades and manoeuvring thrusters on the Silverbugs, you could taste the spray too.

Lt. Grant looked back at his new command, a platoon of infantry jammed inside the brand new Westland Wessex transport. Spread out either side of him, as far as the eye could see, were transport helicopters and Silverbug antigrav gunships, skimming across the waves. He felt a mixture of immense pride and trepidation – Ivan wouldn’t be expecting this, but the 1st Air Cav, although an elite division on paper, was as yet untested in battle. Grant himself was fresh from West Point, a young officer with much to prove. He flicked through his briefing notes one last time – get in, destroy all the supplies you could reach and get to the extraction point before Ivan could react and summon reinforcements. The damage they did here would be crucial in stemming the tide of Holy Soviet Empire forces currently engulfing Central Europe, and rampaging across Eastern Germany.

It would work. It had to work.

The pilot tapped his helmet, held up a hand, four fingers and thumb extended. Grant nodded, and turned to his men.

“Five minutes to drop!” he yelled. “Lock and load!”

With a metallic crash, his men did so. Grant smiled – they looked ready..

With all the 40k stuff that’s been going on of late, you’d be forgiven for thinking that we’d forgotten our first love – our own universe and game system, cobbled together over the years and finally codified back in 2014. For those who aren’t familiar, Germany wins (sort of) WW1, and the result is a proto-EU (The League Of European Nations), an Atlantic Alliance bloc comprising the UK & Commonwealth along withe the USA, and a demented theocratic hellhole Holy Soviet Empire, ruled over by everyone’s favourite baddie, Emperor Josef Djugashvilli I! (aka Stalin to his mates).

January 1954 sees the Holy Soviet Army invade the West, and in the first catastrophic days the Europeans struggle to contain the Red Hordes as they mobilise their reserves. So it’s Blighty and the Yanks to the rescue, as on Valentine’s Day 1954 the joint US-UK 1st Air Cavalry division (including a few experimental vehicles) pull off a devastating raid from an unexpected quarter on a massive Soviet forward logistics base, causing severe damage to the ammunition and fuel supply chain.

We’ve been kicking around a few scenarios to try out, and this has stuck with us as a fun one to try, focusing on a single platoon trying to get in, cause havoc, and get out again before the Holy Soviet Army wakes up and flattens them! So, as Valentines Day dawns and you think you’re in trouble with the missus – well, it could be worse!

We laid out the 6 x 4 board with the objective in the middle, and let the Soviets deploy within 60cm of the objective marker with no idea yet where the attack might be coming from. Next up, they were subjected to three barrages of 155mm artillery fire, simulating the bombing runs from the lead Silverbug attack vehicles. At that point, the Atlantic Alliance forces would deploy on the table anywhere at least 50 cm from the objective, and the Soviet player would nominate which edge should be the extraction point.

The Atlantic Alliance job is to hit all the buildings around the objective marker with C4 demolition charges (setting the charge counts as a Combat Action) and extract as many forces as possible off the nominated table edge. The Soviets would be trying to stop and/or kill & capture as many of the elite cavalrymen as possible.

The Soviets had the Platoon HQ, three rifle squads (nos. 1, 2 & 3), a support squad (no. 4)reinforced with an additional Lightning Launcher, a Noble Sniper (who we both forgot about throughout the game), a squad of Siberian “Strong Men” assault troops, a section of Tesla armoured troops, the Holy Mystic and his bodyguard, an APC, the SU-152 assault gun, 4 T-48s, the Inferna and Elektra specialist tanks and the two Shock Drones – basically everything but the big superheavies!

Meanwhile Buffalo 2-7, were in lean, mean “airmobile” mode, which meant leaving the tracked vehicles behind, giving us Lt Grant and his Platoon Command Element, two rifle squads (Alfa & Bravo), a heavy weapons squad (Charlie), machinegun squad (Delta), Rocketeers (Warhawk 4-9), Dreadnaught squad, three Humvees armed with minigun, Stinger/TOW and railgun, and sniper team (Ghost 7). Also present were our ace in the hole – two Avrocar Silverbug gunships toting Stinger/TOW launchers and Avenger autocannons, along with the M85 combat support robots.

Grab yourself a beer – this is going to be a good one….

The field of battle – objective marker is dead centre, with two plasma generators, a communications centre and two supply warehouses clustered around it

The Soviets deploy for all round defence
Winter storage hasn’t been kind to everyone :-/ still, comparable quality to Forge World resin, or so I’m told….
Lt. Polikarpov and No. 4 support squad take up residence in the centre, with heavy weapons deployed to cover every avenue of approach.
The sh*t hits the fan! Allied airstrikes crash amongst the Soviets, destroying the Shock Drones, the assault gun, Elektra and wiping out a good portion of No. 1 squad!
Led by the Silverbugs, the main Allied thrust comes in from the Western table edge (now that air strikes have cleared a path)
Rocketeers enter from the south to take out the Mystic with extreme prejudice…
The defenders take cover and try to react!
Alliance Humvees streak in from the south west in a diversionary attack.
Alliance Silverbug brews up a T-48, but the treacherous Holy Mystic successfully mind controls the second ‘bug, firing on its comrade and stripping off both Stinger/ TOW launchers!
To add insult to injury, close range rifle fire from the Mystic’s bodyguard squad massacres Warhawk 4-9!
Burning vehicles and casualties litter the board
Gutter fighting as the defending Soviets take their toll on the assault forces!
Lt. Polikarpov rallies the troops for a counterattack – Za Rodina!
Large parts of the battlefield on fire, copious casualties on both sides – and it’s still only Turn 1! At the end of this turn, Dan nominated the northern table edge as the extraction point for the Alliance frces.
Dreadnought power armoured troopers clear the hill, capturing the Soviet artillery observation team, but in the end phase of the turn Soviet artillery hits hard, killing two of them
The survivors expose themselves to gun down the Siberians massing at the bottom of the hill
Surviving Soviet rifleman launches a one man attack to prevent a Delta squad trooper planting a demo charge on the western plasma generator..
Fortune favours the brave! This time, anyway…
Second Delta fireteam guns him down and dive into contact with the generator
Before one falls to Soviet fire – this is going to be HARD FOUGHT!
The still-mostly-intact No. 2 squad emerge to gun down the surviving Dreadnought troopers
The Soviets bring down a Silverbug with a Lightning Launcher
Lt. Grant leads the Allied infantry towards the buildings
The view as turn two draws to a close…
BEDLAM!!
Turn three starts with the Soviets gaining the initiative – the remains of No. 2 squad gunning down Platoon Sergeant Elias and wounding Lt. Grant!
Retribution is swift and deadly!
Turretless T-48 crushes a Delta squad member just before the first plasma reactor erupts in flames..
…like that!
Not my best camera work – with a Silverbug in amongst the Soviet infantry and wreaking havoc at close range, an immobilised Inferna rotates her turret and drenches the gunship in napalm, bringing it down in flames in the centre of the Soviet position
Lt. Polikarpov and Commissar Kuryakin lead the remains of HQ and no. 4 squad in a counterattack against Allied Platoon Command Element
The last member of Charlie squad falls
His squad may have been gunned down or crushed beneath the tracks of Soviet T-48s, but Delta’s sergeant carries on with the mission, attaching a C-4 charge to the Soviet communications centre…
…Before the remnants of No. 1 squad gun him and another rifleman down!
Who’s winning? F*CK KNOWS!!!

 

As the communications centre and supply warehouse erupt, Soviet HQ gun down Platoon Sgt Elias and RTO Smashy!
With three buildings blown, a wounded Lt. Grant realises his command is practically annihilated, with only a few infantry left – time to run!
Enraged, the Soviets open fire at the fleeing Alliance, downing the remaining rifleman!
Doc Macauliffe and a wounded Lt. Grant just make it to the extraction zone!
A scene of utter devastation!

Stumbling through the undergrowth, nursing a gunshot wound to the shoulder, Grant and Macauliffe ran for their lives. His lungs afire, Grant stumbled and fell, pain shooting through his shoulder like a lightning bolt. It was nothing to the pain he felt on the realisation that apart from the big medic, his entire command- men he’d trained with, whose lives were his responsibility – was annihilated. Destroyed. His men dead or prisoners. He dropped his M15 in the dirt, sagging to his knees.

“Go on without me, doc, I’ll only slow you down” he panted, throat raw.

The big medic looked at him. “I don’t leave my men, sir. I ain’t leaving you. We did what we came here to do – those boys knew the risk. “

The next thing Grant knew, he was across the medics shoulders, being carried a trot to the extraction point. The sound of rotor blades had never been so welcome.


 

Whichever way he looked he saw flames. Lt. Polikarpov tried not to cringe as caskets of ammunition cooked off in the blaze around him. He straightened as the pair of riflemen – all he could spare from the shattered garrison – threw him a salute.

“We are sorry, comrade Lieutenant, but the fascists made it out. We have a few personal effects they abandoned, however” – the riflemen handed over Grant’s pack for inspection. 

Polikarpov’s lips moved as he read the stencil. Grant, 2nd Lt, B-2-7 1st Air Cavalry.

“I’ll get you, you bastard” he swore silently. “I will see you again, Amerikanisch, and I will end you”


 

Conclusion:

Probably the most brutally violent four turns either if us have ever played! We agreed it was a draw – 3 out of 5 buildings blown, but Grant and Mac the only Allied survivors. Probably a bunch of things we could and should have done differently, but we got so swept up in the cinematic feel of the game, we were both running on adrenaline! Action packed and immense fun – props to Dan for also suggesting that it functioned rather well as an “origins story”, setting up the saga of Grant v Polikarpov for many years to come!

Thanks to all who stuck with us through a pretty sizeable post -hope you enjoyed t as much as we did, and if you want to get in on the fun, check us out on Wargames Vault.

Till next time, stay thrifty, see you soon!

Happy Christmas! And what’s half of 40k?

…20,000, of course! And that’s how many views I discovered we’d had when I checked our stats a few days ago – pretty amazing stuff for our geeky little blog! So this is a quick fill in post to thank all of you who keep coming pack to discover what we’ve managed to build out of cardboard and junk picked out of the recycling – all of you who like, comment and share, it’s really a wonderful feeling to think we’re connecting with people across the world. Particularly when we’ve learned so much from other posters on YouTube, TMP, Dakka Dakka and Warseer – building on their ideas and spreading the word to others. So a very merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you out there in cyberspace!

This is probably our last post of 2018 – certainly the last sober one – so what’s in store for 2019? Well, we’ve got the 2nd Ed 40k Armageddon campaign to fight, a Firefight campaign to play through– not to mention that in the war torn world of Apocalypse: Earth, the vital plasma generator complex at Skalk Point is still in the hands of the evil Holy Soviet Empire! And with Buffalo 2-7 devastated by the losses they took, it’s going to be the League Of European Nations leading the charge to retake the facility.. that’s going to be a scrap to look forward to! And let’s throw in the fact that June 6 2019 will be 75 years from D-Day – there has to be some way to commemorate that…. plus the Betrayal at Calth campaign to run… oh, and I have a project I want to try using foamboard to build a variety of vehicles for Epic… let’s see how many of these projects we can turn from ideas into actual models this coming year!

And as a teaser for our next battle report, let us present scenario #1 from the 2nd Edition mini campaign book, “First Blood”!



Marines and Gretchin deploy to fight it out in the rubble of a ruined hive world…

Stay tuned, stay thrifty, and have a fantastic Christmas! See you in 2019..

Terrain Talk Pt. 10 – Walls! Quick, Dirty and Cheap

IIIIIIIIIIT’S CHRISTMAS! 

Well, not exactly. But – IIIIIIIIIIT’s December! And as some of you may recall, we’ve been planning to celebrate the 25th anniversary of WH40K 2nd Ed by staging the Armageddon mini campaign that came in the box set. Now, we lucked out with our eBay purchase, but one thing that was demonstrably lacking was the cardboard terrain.

See, this was the first ever 40K box set (I know, right?) and GW were trying to have their base of starter players completely covered – rules, miniatures, army lists, counters and terrain – in this instance, cardstock push-fit walls to create LOS blocking ruins. We checked the campaign maps, and there were a LOT of these little buggers. 20, as far as we could tell. So if we were going to come up with our own DIY versions, they would have to be cheap, quick and easy.

The Skinflint Way.

We also decided, that since we’ve been dipping a toe into Deadzone waters, they should (at least for the most part) be compatible with 3″ squares. Fortunately, we’ve watched a LOT of Terrain Tutor videos – and we were up to the challenge!

We began with the base – lolly (popsicle to our friends across the pond) sticks. We measured these as 10mm wide, so here’s where it starts to get ingenious – we cut one piece 3″ long, mark it L for long. Cut the next piece 3″ less 10mm wide – mark it with an S for short.

Position in an L shape as follows:

Next up – foamboard. This is bog standard 5mm stuff, which we picked up off eBay in A4 sheets.

We drew 2 rectangles – one 3″ x 2″ to be marked L, one 3″-10mm x 2″ to be marked S. Next, draw a wobbly diagonal line across each square – this represents the outline of the wall. Like this:

Cut this out with an Xacto hobby knife – I used a steel ruler for the straight edges and cut the wobbly ones freehand. You’re making ruins, so no need to be too precise.

You’ve now got a long wall (L) a short wall (S). Glue the short wall over the long base and the long wall over the short base, then glue the walls together like this:

The long wall overlaps onto the long base and glues onto the short wall, creating a tough and sturdy L shape corner ruin. Don’t worry about the join – a) life’s too short, and b) we’re going to put more stuff on it.

The next step is optional, but it’s pretty quick and does help the look – bevel the edges with your knife (Health & Safety disclaimer – Knives are SHARP. Handle them carefully).

Next, we covered the ruins in texture paste – this is fantastic stuff, a home made brew of PVA, sand, powdered Polyfilla with some black craft acrylic mixed in and watered to taste. Leave this to dry – 24 hours if possible. You want it to be solid. Make sure you daub liberally over any exposed foam too, as the next step is spraying black primer which will melt any foam left uncovered.

Although I forgot to take pictures, this is also the stage at which I got some acrylic filler (aka decorator’s caulk) and pushed some cat litter into it to create rubble effects.

One can of black £1 spray paint later….

Next up, painting  – colour scheme filched entirely from Lukes APS and has served us well so far. First, duck egg blue drybrush:

Crown house paint tester pots, £1 from Wilkinson’s

Next up, drybrushed on some red splodges from cheap acrylic craft paint – yeah, I know, red???? But this is the Squire Of The North, and he’s not steered us wrong yet!

Overbrush with City Break mid grey:

Drybrush with Cloud Burst light grey:

Next up a couple of washes – thinned mix of Vallejo Black and Smokey inks, applied with a wet brush – water keeps everything moving and evenly blended. A home made dark green wash finished things off nicely, and the various layers of greys and other things give a real depth of colour.

You can switch things up a bit from this basic design too – For these last two, I added an extra floor and a couple of bits of guitar string to represent rebar rods and cabling:

Really pleased with how these came out, and although there’s scope for adding flock and dust effects I think for now these are good to go! Some last pics of them in situ, both Deadzone and 40k:


As always, stay thrifty out there, and as this is almost certainly our last post before Christmas, here’s wishing you all a very merry one!

Terrain Talk Pt. 9 – Cheap & Thrifty Scratchbuilt BIG Urban Board

I’ve been wanting to do this for AGES.

I’ve long had a vision of my miniature armies fighting their way through a ruined urban battlespace, diving and weaving their way through dense cover, shattered buildings, ruined walls.. the whole bit. Stalingrad, Berlin, Hue, Fallujah.. right up to the shattered metropolises of the 41st millenium and everything in between.

Now, we redid our regular board last summer, but I couldn’t help looking at the flip side of our chipboard shelves and imagining texturing and painting it up to model the ruined city I’d always seen in my head. But I was always worried I might not be able to match up to what I saw in my head. After mentioning it to Dan over a beer for the millionth time though, he told me to “either shit or get out of the kitchen” – which I took to mean either shut up or get on with it!

We’d built a small urban board and a Deadzone board over the last couple of months and had pretty much nailed down the building/ texturing/ painting scheme – so we had a plan. The main challenge was to ensure that it was “scale independent” – whether we were doing our favoured 20mm, making forays into 28mm, or creating apocalyptic havoc in 6mm, we wanted to be able to use the same board. So it wouldn’t – couldn’t – have too many details, but at the same time we didn’t want to just paint it grey and leave it at that. So….

And with that, battle was joined:

You can see the remains of the old artificial grass overlaid with primer, some home made texture paste (PVA, sand, filler powder, paint, water) and acrylic caulk
Acrylic caulk with cat litter embedded in it
Cardboard scored with squares to represent paving slabs or flooring tiles, texture paste, caulk and cat litter blended around it

 

Sprayed black, drybrushed with blue grey Crown house paint, then drybrushed with our usual pallette of greys 
Red! But it’s all part of the Luke’s APS approved paintscheme, and it’s served us well so far..
Drybrushed again and ready for some washes
Texture close up
Washes added – thinned and thinned again, Vallejo Skin Wash, Army Painter Green Tone, Vallejo Smokey Ink
League of European Nations patrol for scale – also added mud and flock effects
Close up of flock, mud and rubble
Blended mud effects with flock and dust

Big Urban Board

Between the multiple drybrushes, washes, flocks, dust and everything on there blending nicely, I’m really pleased with this, it looks almost exactly like what I’d visualised. The next trick is going to be building the ruins to go with it, I’m really looking forward to having a truly 3D absolutely epic battlefield for Dan to paste me on!

So, to sum up –

Step 1 – texture paste, acrylic caulk (aka flexible filler) and kitty litter, cardboard paving slabs – basically, all your texture goes down at this stage.

Step 2 – prime black. Cheap black spray paint or craft acrylic applied with a big brush.

Step 3 – drybrush blue grey, over everything. We used Crown house paint tester pots.

Step 4 – drybrush red (in certain areas) – go light here, but don’t worry, it’ll work out!

Step 5 – Greys! Drybrush up with Wilkinson City break, followed by Granite Dust and Cloud Burst in gradually lighter stages.

Step 6 – Washes – splodge on VERY watered down greens, browns and chestnut tones.

Step 7 – Mud. Stipple on the burnt umber and drybrush up with lighter browns

Step 8 – Flocking – paint on watered down PVA and daub on strategically. Then drizzle – very sparingly – flock and dust.

Step 9 – Seal. PVA and water, 1 – 10 mix. Slosh this stuff on at least three times

Step 10 – Varnish – cheap £1 matt varnish.

Done!

We also added a couple of girders and a tiled floor, done in the same way as our previous smaller board. So now, the planned 40k 2nd ed mini campaign set on Armageddon will have somewhere authentic to fight over, not green fields on a planet famed as a harsh, overdeveloped Hive World! Can’t wait 🙂

Terrain Talk Pt. 8- Cheap Scratchbuilt Urban Warfare Skirmish Board

So the dust has settled after last month’s mega-battle, and after gorging on our biggest game yet, we’ve decided to turn our attention to something a little lower key and skirmish-y.

Now, there’s a strong appeal to these types of games – low model count means easy buy in, short set up and pack down means it’s easy to get in a quick game even on when time and space are a premium, and it’s a great way to learn a ruleset without jumping in the deep end with a full combined arms force!

Clearly GW agree with us, having just released the new version of Kill Team, but we’re planning on starting with a few more free-to-download sets, not to mention our own Black Ops system (intended to be a more detailed small scale RPG/ skirmish variant on the basic Apocalypse: Earth game engine). An accidental alcohol-related eBay purchase means we’ve got ourselves a crowd of 2nd ed 40k Grots and Marines, so we figured time to make them somewhere to have a scrap!

We did actually put together a folding urban warfare table last year, built from the back of a set of shelves – roughly 3’x3′ folding, made of some sort of hardboard/ cardboard laminate – but we’ve learned a lot since then, and now it looks a bit… crap, to be honest. So we decided – time to pimp, yo.

Began with single corrugated cardboard to act as paving slabs and such – for the tile textures in the corner, I scored 20mm squares into the card, then tore off the edges to make some broken tiles. I used PVA to glue them, but in retrospect acrylic filler (caulk) would probably have been a better bet.
Began adding texture – the grey stuff is home made texture paint, made from water, black paint, filler powder, sand and PVA glueand stippled on with an old brush. The white stuff is cat litter (unused, I should add!) held on with splodges of acrylic caulk intended to look like rubble piles..
Close up of tilework and rubble

The board textured and ready for priming black

After getting the stonework and texture paste on, I made sure to seal thoroughly with a spray of diluted PVA (empty Windolene bottle, ten parts water to 1 part PVA). In fact, I actually hit this three times at roughly 4- 6 hour intervals over the day – worth it in terms of time investment to make sure the thing doesn’t end up shedding grit and cat litter all over the floor every time you get it out!

Two £1 cans of matt black car spray paint later – voila, primed!

With priming complete, the next step was painting. I used a recipe that has served me well, nicked wholeheartedly from Lukes APS. I used house paint tester pots for economy and ruggedness – hilariously, Duncan recommends using about £20 worth of Citadel model paints for this…. don’t, just don’t! – and put simply:

Overbrush grey blue

Drybrush red (lightly, and only in selected places)

Drybrush with Wilko’s City Break grey

Lighter drybrush with same brand Granite Dust

Grots patrol an urban wasteland… (more on them in another post)

Next up, I made up some very thin washes based on brown, green, black and skin/ flesh wash colours heavily watered down and daubed about the board. This gives it a rather cinematic feel which I found I liked.

Not sure how realistic this is, but it seems to work!

 

After a looking at it a few times, I decided I’d cocked up a bit with the tilework – 20mm squares just looked wrong with 1/72 – so I chopped them up into 10mm and painted a checkerboard pattern using cream and dark grey, lining the edges with thinned down Vallejo smokey ink
And then I realised how long it had taken, and settled for cream alone on the other part!

For the muds, I went with a burnt umber basecoat and gradually drybrushed up a couple of lighter browns, taking care to really work the brush into the texture to blend with the concrete.

Overall, this was a fun little build and I think t actually came out looking pretty good. It’ll suit Black Ops, and 28mm stuff like Kill Team and Necromunda. Plus, it folds away!

Next step is to scale up these techniques for the main 6’x4′ board, and a squared off 2’x2′ for Deadzone – thanks to Mantic for making the core rule book freely available as a download – and actually, none of these steps are particularly difficult, just require a bit of patience, planning and imagination. Youtube, and particularly The Terrain Tutor and Lukes APS are your friends here – good luck, stay thrifty and we’ll see you soon!