Terrain Talk Pt. 16 – Makin’ Rocks In The Hot Sun

Carrying on from our discovery of how you can use old CDs as basing material for scatter terrain, I’ve been occupied with upcycling ALL of our trees.. this is what lockdowns are good for, folks! But to keep myself sane I decided to vary things a little and create some rocky clusters after checking out an old battle report that GW put online recently. Catching a bit of classic 90s flava and updating it to fit the look of our table – and to be fair, this is a really simple and effective build.

So, as before, take your CDs and put them in a bowl. Boil the kettle, pour the water into the bowl, leave for about ten minutes or so. This will soften the plastic enough that a normal pair of kitchen scissors will be able to cut through it – it’s a bit of an art but you’ll get the hang of it. I cut random curved lozenge shapes out of it – you don’t want to make anything too recognisable as a geometric shape like a circle or oval. It won’t look natural, it’ll distract the eye and bug you like hell.

Well, it would me.

Anyway, next step was a couple of nicely sized and shaped stones from the garden – I disinfected them (can’t be too careful these days), and glued them onto the CD base using a generic “No More Nails” knockoff (something like acrylic caulk or hot glue would probably work just as well). I pressed some cat litter into the excess glue splodges around the big rocks for some extra detail, then stippled home made texture paste (PVA, filler powder, sand, water and black paint) onto the “ground” of the piece (not the rocks themselves though).

After all that, the whole thing got primed with cheap black spray paint and the “ground” areas got a drybrush with burnt umber, brown and then a final drybrush with bone craft paints. I painted the rocks with Granite Dust house paint from a tester pot I got a few years back:

It begins…

Next up – leopard spotting! This involves daubing on first a yellow wash:

Oooerrr.. THAT doesn’t look right

Followed by a brown wash:

Ooooooooeeeeeeooooeeerrrrrrr…. that REALLY doesn’t look right!

Followed by a black wash:

Oh… OK, I see where this is going

And then a bone drybrush to bring everything together:

Oh, NOW I get this!

Finally, flock! We’re both sworn adherents of Mel The Terrain Tutor’s 3 tone flocking technique, with the addition of Jarvis JTF 1 as a cover tone and Garage Floor Dust (TM) drizzled on as a final touch. Then it was out to the shed for sealing – two coats of PVA thinned 10 parts water to 1 art glue (or thereabouts).

And finally, pics of the finished article in situ!

On it’s own..
With friends around…
And finally, in a scrap! The Hazzard People’s Front take on Da Skooderia..

And there we go folks, a nice quick, cheap, easy build! I’ve got five more stands of trees to do so I’ll be banging out some more rocks to help keep myself sane during the build process… at the very least, when this lockdown lifts we’ll have a VERY pretty to scuffle over…

Till next time, stay safe, stay thrifty, someday soon this will all be a memory…

Terrain Talk Pt. 15 – Next Gen Trees

Spurred into action by my compatriots ridiculous ingenuity! Seeing as lockdown has left me with custody of most of our gaming terrain, I thought I’d take the opportunity to “upcycle” some terrain pieces that had been bugging me for a while – the woods.

Now, these were just model trees meant for railway picked up off eBay some years ago and glued to some thick cardstock which was painted dark brown and flocked. And it looked, y’know, OK... for a while..

But cardboard warps. And monotone flock, with no ground texture.. Oh no. That doesn’t cut it any more. And after discovering a new basing material from a fellow blogger, I got to work…

The magical new basing material? CDs! Turns out that if you soak them in boiling water for 5-10 minutes or so, you can cut them with common or garden kitchen scissors – and once you’ve got your shape cut out you’ve got a perfectly stable, warp-free base. Now, this may be old news for some of you out there, but it was a revelation to me! First under the scissors, a disc of drivers for a printer that died in about 2014. I put it in a bowl, boiled the kettle, left it for five minutes, came back and got stuck in cutting bendy irregular shapes out of it.

Next up, I pulled the trees from their original cardboard bases and hot glued them in place on the CDs- this can be a bit fiddle, you need a big dob of hot glue on the CD and another generous glob on the tree, hold them in place until they set…

Trees on their new home

Once that was done, out to the shed and stipple on some home made texture paint (black craft paint, mixed with PVA, sand and filler powder).

Texture paste added

Once this was dry I sprayed the whole thing black.

With this stage done, on to painting and flocking! I started with a “wetbrush” of dark brown (specifically Folk Art 476 Asphaltum, looking at the bottle), before a drybrush with Americana Honey Brown and a further drybrush with Americana Buttermilk.

For flocking, we’re subscribed to the Terrain Tutor and his 3 tone flock system, with the added drizzle of Garage Floor Dust (TM) – the trees got painted with PVA and dunked in Jarvis clump foliage flock. So, to the pics!

The old…
The new!
And some friends…
And a blast from the past.. a DIY tree from 2009, pipe cleaners and pan scourers!

When we do finally get to share a table again, at the very least we should be able to show y’alls some good pics 😉 stay safe, stay thrifty out there, we’ll see you soon!

Zombies!

So, sitrep – things suck. We’ve passed 19,000 dead here in the UK, the NHS is running on fumes, America has projections of almost a quarter of a million dead and God alone knows what’s going to happen when Covid-19 hits the slums in places like Bangladesh or Calcutta. Here in the UK, the maxim is stay home, stay safe, protect the NHS – and regrettably it seems many people can’t even manage that. It’s a bleak and scary time.

But it’s also a time to maintain a sense of proportion. Yes, We’ve lost 19,000+ to the virus – but we regularly lose 8,000 to seasonal flu. In the US it’s estimated that 24,000- 63,000 fall to seasonal flu each year. Let’s be realistic – statistically you’ve got a 99% chance of surviving the virus should you contract it. The projected death rates are simply from the fact that we have huge populations. My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones from this, but it is NOT the end of the world. 100 years ago, Spanish flue tore through a world recovering from the butchery of World War 1, and despite having nowhere near the scientific base of knowledge we have now, the world endured and survived. We will endure and survive this too.

Dan and I are both following the rules and staying at home, and we both have a personal stake in this – Dan’s wife is a nurse, my girlfriend is an HCA (health care assistant), and we both want them home safe at the end of each shift. So I implore you (although if you’re smart enough to read this blog you’re smart enough to know this anyway) – STAY HOME. IT’S NOT LIKE THEY’RE PUTTING YOU DOWN A F*CKING COAL MINE. STAY HOME & WATCH NETFLIX… pretty sure the WW2 generation could manage this without issue!

Anyway, rant over – seeing as my other half can’t come over and my gaming buddy is under lockdown too, I decided to do movie & game night with a zombie theme.. hey, you think things suck now? Imagine that the virus reanimates it’s victims…

So with that in mind, I set up a solo version of Apocalypse Earth: Black Ops – our skirmish RPG variant on the main game rules – with the idea of an Atlantic Alliance Special Forces team moving through a derelict industrial estate to rescue a group of scientists trapped in an abandoned APC.

Special Forces team deploy bottom left hand corner – Lt. Hunt, Specialist Moss (RIP) Hill, and Stewart with him
A drone eye view of the battlefield
The team deploy in cover
Incoming!
Zombies spill from their spawning points all over the board
The team move out but Stewart takes an arm wound, caught in the open by a zombie with a pistol!
The rest of the team close up in support
They down a zombie but more approach, forcing the team to pull back!
Stewart downs a zombie but return fire stuns him
Just what you don’t need in a firefight!
Specialist Moss pitches in to help the stricken Stewart, but…
Reload? Seriously? Did no one check their weapons before they shipped out?!?
As CO, Lt. Hunt dives in to provide covering fire for his team…
Oh, f*cking seriously?!? Did NOBODY check their weapons before they left?!?
Zombies fall upon the team!
An ignominious end as the team are overrun and eaten!

Hmm. Slightly unsatisfactory experience, if I’m honest. However, I had given all the zombies guns and a fair old turn of speed, which, in addition to their numbers probably gave them an unfair advantage. After a few minutes rumination I reset to go again, but this time the zombies would have no weapons, a CCR of 0, a move allowance of 8cm, and the team’s weapons would be replaced with more advanced “pulse rifles” with a ROF of 5. Let’s give this another shot!

The team deploy into cover in the bottom right hand corner
Zombies pour forward as the team take sniping positions, keeping their distance and using their firepower
But Specialist Moss lets them get too close, felling two but three more fall on his position!
Specialist Hill moves in to support, Stewart and Hunt massacring zombies in a lethal crossfire!
Hill falls to the zombie hoard. Remembering the mission, Hunt bawls to Stewart to get moving – their mission is to rescue the civilians, not slaughter the numberless zombies….
Stewart and Hunt move efficiently across the battlefield, using fire and movement to cover each other…
Stewart falls to a massed horde of zombies catching him from a flank – there simply aren’t enough bullets! Now it’s down to Lt. Hunt..
Hunt skirts around the side of some industrial machinery, keeping his distance from the zombie horde…
Making it to the APC by the skin of his teeth! Whatever those scientists know, it better be more valuable than yet another formula for erectile dysnfunction or male pattern baldness disorders, that’s three highly trained and valuable Special Forces soldiers who’ve ended up as a zombie’s lunch!

Whew, well, that second go around was a LOT more intense and cinematic! I got bogged down in the early phases trying to gun down the zombies but that was never going to happen, their sheer numbers were always going to win out, so I should have kept moving as fast as possible, only shooting when necessary and keeping my distance. Oh well, as an Atlantic Alliance player I guess I’m too used to standing my ground and gunning down Dan’s Holy Soviet Army hordes… and once all this coronavirus hideousness is over, I’m very much looking forward to doing that again!

As always, stay safe, stay thrifty out there and we’ll see you soon (hopefully). Love to all our friends out in the blogosphere!

Apocalypse Earth: Black Ops Playtest – Sweep & Clear

For a while now we’ve been playing with the idea of “scaling” the Apocalypse: Earth setting for different games – just as back in the day GW had Epic, 40k and Necromunda for massed battles, intermediate and small scale skirmishes with different levels of detail, we’ve been toying with the idea of a 6mm mass battle version as well as an intimate, up-close-and-personal RPG (of sorts) set in the shadows of the Apocalypse: Earth universe.

To begin with, we thought we’d shift the focus from Allies v Holy Soviet Empire, and shine a light on some of the small scale behind the lines security.. Now, one of the factions that we haven’t explored too much on the tabletop are the extraterrestrials – the iconic Greys! If you’ve read the fluff, you’ll know that the main reason the Atlantic Alliance has the jump on the other sides in terms of technology is due to an alien spacecraft crashing in the deserts of Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947. Ever since then, Alliance scientists have been busily reverse engineering every aspect they can, creating the UNIVAC artificial intelligence to run the everyday infrastructure (and maybe more..) of Alliance nations, and the ARPANet instant electronic communications network, as well as the antigrav tech that powers things like the Silverbug gunships.

But although we haven’t seen the Greys in open battle yet, behind the lines it’s a different story, as elite security teams drawn from the best Allied combat units fight desperate small unit actions against alien infiltrators!

Accordingly tonight’s game pitted our gallant Alliance Special Forces team against an unknown foe, sweeping across an abandoned industrial sector..

The battlefield laid out.. SpecForce team in bottom left, with four objective markers four the team to check out and clear
The team deploy into cover
The team approach the first objective, cunningly concealed behind the two crashed cars..
Specialist Stewart trains his weapon on the objective, setting overwatch as Specialist Hill moves in to check the objective..
..we roll on the threat table, and out come two Mind Slaves with light weapons!
Clearly taken by surprise, Hill’s rounds go wild, missing completely!
Mercifully, Stewart is on overwatch, dropping a mind slave instantly. The second one attacks Hill in close combat, but the specialist has clearly recovered his composure and takes it down swiftly and brutally!
The team move cautiously toward the next objective..
..but the GM has some nasty surprises in store! We’re trying to figure out a way to simulate sod’s law in combat.. this is getting us some of the way there!
To Specialist Hill’s immense relief, Objective 2 turns out to be blank!
Hill and Moss clear Objective 4, but Objective 3 spawns a pair of mind slaves with pistols, stunning both Stewart and Hunt, and wounding Hunt’s leg into the bargain!
Thankfully Hill is on overwatch, and despite being hit with a jam, he clears the stoppage and takes down the two mind slaves with a couple of clean head shots.

And with that, the game is over! A resounding victory for the Special Forces team, but bear in mind that this is the lowest threat level, and would be an encounter that takes place at the start of a campaign. A fun, and at times pretty tense mission, looking forward to more playtesting on this!

Till next time, stay thrifty (and dry..) out there, see you soon!

2019 – A Year In Review

It’s 2020. The future is HERE. And as our hangovers recede from biblical to manageable (and we plan something BIG….) it’s time to review our 2019!

The year kicked off with a trip back to 1993 as we played through the Warhammer 40k 2nd Ed mini campaign, Marines vs greenskins in the ash wastes of Armageddon, but we did find time for a diversion to Central Europe of an alternate 1954, for a quite ludicrously violent scrap set in the early days of the Apocalypse War as Stalin’s legions flood across Central and Western Europe. As it turned out, this made for a cracking backstory for the origins of the feud between Lt. Grant and Lt. Polikarpov!

As the 40k campaign wound down, we turned our attention back to Apocalypse: Earth, with a new unit for the League of European Nations that I’d been looking forward to knocking together for a while. By this point we were firmly into springtime and the D-Day celebrations were looming large on the horizon. We both wanted to do something to commemorate it (as we both had grandparents who had participated) and as a result our most ambitious terrain build ever began! This laid the groundwork for our biggest Apocalypse: Earth game yet, as Lt. Polikarpov led a vanguard of the Holy Soviet Army in the shock 1956 invasion of Scotland!

This is definitely something we’re going to have to revisit, as Lt. Grant is currently a POW residing in a Holy Soviet internment camp somewhere on the Orkneys, so a definite game on the horizon will be the insertion of a Special Forces team to break him out, reconstitute Buffalo 2-7 and save Britain from the dastardly Soviets! Something to test our Black Ops game with, I think…

The Virum Nascii (totally not Skaven army that we went crazy and bought four boxes of in 2018) have got a good few games in this year too, in various rules systems – Hyperian Wars and Age Of Fantasy: Regiments from One Page Rules, including an epic slaughter against the Sky Marines that won the approval of none other than Gav Thorpe himself!

Speaking of One Page Rules, after watching our hobby sensei Wyloch we decided to give them a try- Grimdark Future and it’s skirmish cousin, Grimdark Future Firefight. Although we weren’t 100% converted, it’s a fun and quick system thoroughly well suited to a pickup game – no codexes, everything free, no rules bloat.. it just works! In fact, it’s managed to be everything 40k would like you to think it is, but isn’t (if that makes any sense..).. it’s also inspired a project for this year that is pretty high on the ambition scale… DIY Adeptus Mechanicus! More on this as it starts to take shape.

Oh, and speaking of ambition – THIS happened.

Counteracted by THIS. Scratchbuilding escalation in Epic scale!

So – busy year all round, really, lots of games played, lots of terrain made, lots of miniatures made and painted. On the horizon for 2020?

Well, I mentioned DIY Adeptus Mechanicus in 1/72, but I also fancy getting some reinforcements for our “legit” 40k armies – most likely in the form of Patoroch papercrafts – as well as more Epic shenanigans, the Virum Nasii to finish, and maybe, just maybe….. just maybe…. we’ll get some more of our rulesets actually put together and published!

So what about you out there in hobbyland? What goals have you got this year/ decade? Send us your comments, and stay thrifty out there!

EDIT: Forgot to mention – one slight negative, this was our first year on record where we had fewer views and visitors – 325/ 81 in 2015, 4095/ 1897 in 2016, jumping up to 18358/ 10297 in 2017 and 21124/ 11324 in 2018.. but down to 16399/ 7578 in 2019.

That said, I’m still pretty pleased as we had an absolute record number of likes and comments, so I’ll take that as a win – clearly more people have realised what we do and made the decision as to whether or not they’re into it, but the ones who do dig what we do are clearly keen! So shout out to Pete S/ SP, John@justneedsvarnish, Imperial Rebel Ork, Davekay and all the rest of you guys out there in hobbyland, keep ’em coming!

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!