I think we may be in danger of starting Yet Another Skinflint Tradition here… over the last couple of years, regular viewers will have seen me appropriate the granny grating techniques that Dan picked up to scratchbuild some Epic scale Star Wars armies, in a somewhat ambitious attempt to recreate one of my favourite old RTS games, “Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds” on the tabletop. It’s also served as an incubator for our “epic scale” version of the Apocalypse: Earth rules, nd believe it or not these are actually in a pretty good state, albeit existing as stapled together Post-It notes and scattered pages of A4 paper!
This time I wanted to add an aerial dimension – so what else but a flight of TIE fighters for the Empire and X-Wings for the Alliance? And if you’re going to have air, you need anti-air assets, so that meant infantry packing SAMs.. and while I’ve got the granny grating out, why not add infantry packing personal mortars able to provide indirect fire support? Well, it would be rude not to, right? In fairness, I’ve no idea if this is “canon”, but Star Wars lore seems infinitely malleable depending on who owns the IP – and let’s not forget George Lucas was making it all up as he went along anyway – so I decided to stick by SWGBs template!
Right, enough talk, let us get to business – I won’t go into the infantry because it’s pretty much the standard drill now, granny grating & hot glue, granny grating lengths cut to represent SAM launchers and mortar barrels and bipods, 20mm wine box cardboard for basing, you can read all about that in innumerable posts on this blog… and, well, I clearly forgot to take any pictures. Whoops.
But the interesting stuff is here – the ships! X Wings first:
Tune in next time to see how the battle went down, and stay thrifty out there!
It’s almost lunchtime, so I guess that’s time for a new edition of Warhammer 40,000 then…
Honestly, it doesn’t seem but five minutes since 9th rolled up but that’s age for you, and while we’re honestly quite jazzed for 10th – the free data cards and rules, and the apparent abandonment of Codexes as a “must have” mean we might conceivably be looking at the first genuinely playable free edition of 40k – we all know that whatever the speculation about the contents of the box set, it’s going to COST.
It’s also a racing certainty that whatever the rules rewrites, it’s still going to be hamstrung by the phased IGOUGO turn system, and then a lashing of special rules to negate the inherent clunkiness of said system. We’ve written before about the design constraints that 40k appears to be under, and the reason why they can’t simply scrap it and move to something more elegant and free-flowing (our opinion, of course- YMMV).
But what if they could? One of the best systems I ever played as a nipper was an unassuming small unit skirmish set that came with an A5 dot-matrix printed rulebook and about a dozen miniatures in a nondescript cardboard box, set in a cyberpunk future of the early 21st century – I know, you have to smile, right? That said, they don’t mention COVID or Twitter…
I’ve been racking my brains for months on and off trying to remember what it was called – little did I know Jim had got his considerable Google Fu on the case, and so for my birthday rocked up with this:
Combat Zone from EM4 miniatures! He reckoned he was 90% sure this what I’d meant and after having played a couple of quick pickup games to figure the rules out, he’s nailed it, this feels every bit as fast and fun as I remember from circa 1993!
So much so that I was inspired to do (drumroll please) an “unboxing” video, as these seem to be all the rage on YouTube- hopefully I can figure a way to post it here…
So, onto the game itself- players alternate model (not unit) activation (although overwatch is a tactic you can use), and each model has a set number of Action Points that they can spend doing various things – the better your troops, the more action points they get. The instructions on firing are a little convoluted, but a couple of read throughs and you’ll be good to go.
Interestingly, the focus is on individual models for things like Panic reactions – a model only panics if they get hit, but are apparently fine seeing their friends gunned down all around them.. which I suppose matches the tone of 80s action films.
Like any system, it’s a bit clunk initially but by our third game just pushing the models around the kitchen table using books and salt shakers for terrain we were getting right into it – now with the models assembled and ready for priming, you can expect a few battle reports as we play through the campaign in the box.
If you’re in the mood for a quick blast of sci-fi skirmish.. and arguably what Necromunda should have been.. I thoroughly recommend throwing the £25 or so down to get this box set, you’ll enjoy it. And I’m pretty certain you could stat up basically any 40k army for this, and if you really wanted to the models in the box would make a fair set up for Necromunda itself at a fraction of the price!
Ebay should come with a health warning. “Based on your previous purchases, you may like…” it simpered innocently at me. And before I knew it I’d snapped another 10 Genestealers for a project that was an accident in the first damn place.
Still, it WAS a good deal – £4.95 including postage for what turned out to be 10 minis, all in more or less good shape.. and after a little bit of selfless internet research, I discovered that Andy Champers (praise be upon him) had in fact written a Genestealer Cult army list as well as a Tyranid Invasion Force for the 2nd Ed Tyranid Codex, and you can download it FREE (and I believe legally) here. I got my copy and have yet to be held to ransom by Russian gangsters… (touches wood just in case).
This is just a quickie post as there really is nothing new here, I painted these lads in exactly the same way I did the previous two waves, but we’re up to 24 models now which is a fairly decent horde (and I’ve probably given the game away for my next plans for them…)
I’m actually quite chuffed with these, for an accidental maintaining-sanity-during-COVID project they’ve come out OK and are forming into a nice little army.. of course, in Skinflint style these lads will be pulling extra duty, not just for 40k (and if all the rumours surrounding 10th edition having free rules and datasheets and no codexes are to be believed, then HELL YES we’ll be all over that!), but also different flavours of Space Crusade and another Space based GW classic.. plus of course a ’90s classic rule set that was rather overlooked back in the day that we’ve been trying like hell to figure out..
..and maybe these lads will crop up in the junglesof Armageddon too? I mean, you never really know what’s lurking out there…
Stay safe and thrifty out there, and keep watching the skies!
As the frosts of winter begin to recede and the rain gets steadily warmer, it’s time to warm up the shed once for more for some 2nd Ed 40k!
Recent terrain builds have all been of a certain retro theme and that’s been no coincidence, as we’ve been planning the next scenario in our vaguely narrative 2nd Ed 40k campaign featuring the 1991 Blood Angels against the miscellany of Da Black Ork Cav, and in their previous outing my red lads took an absolute kicking and were for the most part unable to hit the side of a barn door before their morale broke. This left Captain Tycho largely unsupported as he attempted to salvage Chapter honours by barrelling into the Warboss and his command section in a last ditch effort to deny them their objective.. and despite dishing out a beating to the various greenskin oiks around him, ultimately fell to a barrage of choppas.
Of course, Space Marines don’t die easy, and we figured it would be much more thematic for a second game if his 2ic, the Lieutenant, led a rescue party on the Black Ork Cav HQ building Jim put together some weeks back. This time, the Marine objective would be to reach the building (presumably Cap. T’s power armour has some sort of emergency distress beacon on it), while the Orks would be attempting to kill, break, or otherwise prevent them – so not quite true to the 2nd Ed Mission Cards, but should be fun.
Right, so that’s Captain T rescued then. and the survivors of Da Cav legging it over the horizon.. a Dread, half the Gretchin, a Battlewagon and most of a Boyz Mob.. along with Da Snipa… so what shall we do for the next scenario? Jim has an idea for a “chase” scenario – stay tuned, and most importantly stay thrifty!
It’s been said before on this blog, but it deserves saying again – the people that make up our little hobby, that create the community and each add their own touch to it.. can be absolute and total legends.
We’ve seen it before with Whittlesey40k – we got in touch to ask if he’d mind if we linked the 1991 Blood Angels pics he had on his blog, and not only was he fine with it but got in touch a few days later to offer us some decal sheets, free of charge!
And so it was that at the very start of 2023 that Roger from Rantings From Under The Wargames Table who we’ve been following for a while got in touch to offer “a few bits and pieces” that he happened to have lying around and wondered what we might be able to do with them…
Sure enough, a couple of weeks later, a package arrived in the post.. with a couple of little ziploc bags…
And a HUGE amount of plastic bitz!
And then there are the bitz – HUGE resource for conversion here, particularly for anything with a Chaos-y kind of vibe.. Certainly enough to keep us going for the foreseeable!
So this is something of a short fill in post before a biggie in a couple of weeks’ time, with the intent of saying a huge THANK YOU to Roger, and to thoroughly recommend go check out Ranting From Under The Wargames Table, you won’t regret it!
Before we start, allow me to apologise – I’m full of Christmas Lurgi, and therefore, whisky. For it heals ALL – well, I hope it does, at least.
It has been quite the year, and for all the wrong reasons – after the grinding misery of COVID and the shortages and disruptions that followed (and Lewis Hamilton being ROBBED, but that’s another story), it looked like this might finally be the year when the 20’s righted themselves and got going properly. And for a brief window of time that looked like it might happen.
And then… yeah, we all know what happened. A lunatic septagenarian with delusions of grandeur decides to try and resurrect his empire… and back we go into permacrisis. I wrote a brief but impassioned – some might reasonably say hysterical – analysis early on but I’m not going to apologise for that. If you’re of a similar vintage to Dan & I, then the world was always divided into NATO vs Warsaw Pact.. and on Feb 24 2022, it looked like the Warsaw Pact was rolling West. Like most people I fell into the trap of over estimating the Russians and underestimating the Ukrainians. That first weekend, watching the Ukrainian authorities handing out rifles to untrained civilians to defend Kyiv, the monstrous Russian column rolling in from the north… you just wanted to weep.
But we were wrong, weren’t we? The Battle Of Kyiv never happened. That monstrous Russian armoured column ran out of fuel and food. The Russians proved themselves to be staggeringly incompetent whilst the Ukrainians have proved themselves staggeringly resilient, brave and ingenious and have managed to inflict stunning reverses onto what we all believed was a peer threat to the US.. I’ve said it several times but I think NATO should be applying to join Ukraine rather than the other way around.
But this is not an analysis of the war. There’s enough of that out there, much of it done by those far more studied than I – and let’s not forget, it’s not over yet. I have a nasty suspicion, for example, that Ukrainian casualties are probably far worse than we’re comfortable thinking about… anyway, suffice it to say that’s why you haven’t seen too much of Lt. Grant and Lt. Polikarpov this year – it’s no fun playing the cartoonishly evil Soviet villain when there’s a real one killing real people near where you went on holiday back in 2013.
So, with our own game on the back burner, what did we get done?
Well, quite a bit, actually. A LOT of red paint applied on Dan’s side of things as the 1991 Blood Angels got a motor pool, some characters and – after a hiatus when my esteemed colleague discovered that freehand painting (if you have never done any of it before) is actually quite tricky – actually got their first game in! And in response, I bashed together all the Ork bits I had to hand and came up with an OPFOR – Da Black Ork Cav! There’s a lot still to do but it’s looking good so far.
I also managed to get my Levy platoon sorted for Firefight and the lads got their first game in, which is something we’ll be picking up again in the next few weeks, but my pet project for the year was (of course) Epic Squats! Evidently GW agreed with me as the Leagues Of Votann are the new big thing in 40k.. but my project is a lot more old school, based on the Squat force Commissar Yarrick fought with in the original Battle Of Golgotha (I’ve even done some themed terrain..)! So far the infantry complement is done, as is the Grand Battery, and although I haven’t tackled the Guild Biker force yet I’ve got some ideas on that… granny grating and greenstuff, is there anything they can’t do? 😉 And you may have seen my recent post in which a defunct asthma inhaler, with the help of some foamboard and various other bits and pieces, became a fully equipped Colossus! Which as we speak is out in the shed helping to shore up the defences of the world of Hazzard against the rampaging Ork hordes of Waagh-Bozzhog.. yep, we’re doing an Epic Rematch, so stay tuned for that!
So, we made it out of 2022, what of ’23? Dan has sworn faithfully to finish up the Blood Angels – and in fairness, he’s got the infantry complement complete – and we’ve got the next instalment of the Armageddon Diaries as the Marines can’t leave their gallant Captain Tycho in the villainous hands of Da Black Ork Cav.. for me, it’s building the aforementioned Cav up to full strength and getting the Squats into a more cohesive force.
And hopefully, this could be the year where history just stops happening for a bit – no more war, no more pandemics, no more upheaval. I think we can all raise a glass to that. Let’s end things with a couple of shots of the Epic game currently raging out in the shed:
And so it has come to pass…. I have procrastinated as long as humanly possible after the MASSIVE disappointment of the Command Group – where, astonishingly, my never-before-practiced freehand skills proved to be abysmal – but after the lads got (spoiler) a kicking in their first outing, it was clear that some armour was necessary before we attempt to rescue Captain Tycho from Da Black Ork Cav’s lair…
Now, in fairness, I do actually havesome armour, but according to the laws of 2nd Ed 40K I’m not allowed to use them unless I have a Techmarine in the force… and according to the list in White Dwarf 139, I should have 5. So.. I scraped around the remaining bits from my 2020 eBay haul and put together 5 monopose “I LOVE MY BOLTER” models.
Except, of course, they don’t get bolters, they get.. some sort of weird, gothic, super high tech wrenches and spanners. Of which I had none. But what I did have was a lot of sprue – so, I chopped some suitably byzantine looking shapes (also converted one flamer to an oxyacetalene welder with a bit of paperclip) and using blobs of greenstuff, sculpted some hands on to them. Now, these aren’t going to win any prizes – so don’t go looking TOO closely. That said, they are roughly the right size, with the right number of fingers on them, so yeah, I’ll take that. Techmarines tend to have some sort of bionic gubbins around the eyes too, so each of these lads got a little blob of greenstuff shaped and prodded into something that looks like a bionic eye if you squint a bit.
Painting was the usual – white prime, Vallejo Hot Orange, Red Ink and drybrush – the main difference was painting the left kneepad with bone to facilitate a yellow with black hazard stripes.
Pics, you say? Very well….
Mmm. Close up they do still look like a three year old painted them with crayon, but you’ll have to trust me when I say that from two feet away they’re actually not bad. Apologies for the background – the game table is in use (stay tuned) and the good lady has commandeered the table in preparation for New Year’s Eve feast and was (direct quote) “buggered if she’s going to move it all around for your toy soldiers”.
Which is fair enough. The Emperor knows and sees all, but it’s Cath who does the cooking.
And with that, allow Jim & I to wish you all out there a very happy 2023 – let’s hope that at some point, this decade gets its sh*t together and that sanity returns to the world at large.. and in the meantime, let’s make the most of socially acceptable daytime drinking!
Stay safe, stay thrifty, a happy (and peaceful) New Year
Still, I wanted to do Epic Squats this year, and DAMN IT, I am going to do Epic Squats!
Now, I’d already got the infantry contingent and a Grand Battery sorted, and my plan was next to tackle the Guild Bikers, but…
Now, if like me, Grandfather Nurgle has blessed you with asthma from an early age, you’re either dead or you’ve amassed a fair collection of these:
I’ve got a fair few of these dead inhalers floating around my Box Of Interestingly Shaped Crap, and looking at them from different angles I’ve had a few ideas for things they could be… but then I saw this pic:
And something just clicked…
Primed white & preshaded with thinned Vallejo Smokey Ink, but pics have apparently been eaten by my phone.. so you’ll have to make do with these!
So there we go, there is an upside to asthma after all – even if it is a slightly niche one! Hopefully we can get these lads into action before long, and as students of Squat lore will be aware, this chassis was also used for the Leviathan and Cyclops Titan-killer… so watch this space! And of course, I still have to figure out how to make a Gyrocopter…
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 yearpainting a wholeload 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…
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.
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!
Some of you may remember these lads from the dim and distant World That Was – pre-pandemic, pre-war – and although I scraped together enough models to fight the scenariosin the 2nd Edbattle booklet, I just… left them there. In order to make a fully legit 2nd Ed force. They were going to need the most dreaded phrase in wargaming parlance – “rounding out”.
Happily, I still had a few Orks left over from filling out the ranks of the Boyz (as well as a random Grot), a copy of the 2nd Ed Ork Codex from 1994 as a PDF from what I assume is a legal source.. and of course hope (Sorry, wrong franchise).
I planned out a list with the intent of making an “armoured cavalry” themed force of mercenaries using the scratch built Ork tanks that WD 136 came with cardboard templates for – cool quirky things that would make their way into Epic like the Gobsmasha, the Lungbursta, the Braincrusha and the Bonecrusha or Bonebreaka.. only to find that these no longer had rules in 2nd Ed. So after some wailing and gnashing of teeth, I came up with another plan – although the original paint scheme left these guys as largely clan-agnostic, most of the ladz had camo trousers of some description, meaning I could legitimately run them as Blood Axes… and that meant access to Imperial hardware.
So, a Gobsmasha could be an Orky take on a Vindicator? Scans Marine & Guard codex…nope, Vindicators didn’t have rules back then. However, the Leman Russ was new to the Guard back then, and there’s no reason why a Blood Axe Mek shouldn’t have looked at that great mountain of dakka and thought “Hmm…”… so I figured I could pretty reasonably knock together a Lungbursta hull, slap a couple of sponsons on it, and hey presto – Orky Leman Russ.
I came up with a battle roster suiting the kit I had to hand – 20 odd Orks, 41 Gretchin.. keeping to the theme of austerity (Orksterity?) I figured the rest would be vehicles and Dreads because I could scratch build them virtually for free – hell, I’d already done a Dread.
So here is the roster:
2 x Mobs 10 Boyz (bolt pistol, flak armour, axe) – 120 pts each
Nuvver Dread – Heavy Bolter, Missile Launcher – 145 (249)
Yet Anuuvver Dread – Heavy Bolter, Heavy Flamer – 120 (369)
2x Warbuggy – Multi Melta – 130 (499)
3rd 500 pt block
2 Leman Russ Demolisher w/Heavy Plasma Guns in sponsons – 250 each – 1999
As you can see, a fair bit to do! Currently I’m painting the remaining infantry and building a retro-style battlewagon:
Now let’s finish off with a few beauty shots – there’s a fair bit to do to get these up to the magic 2000pts (let alone the hefty force of Marines Dan’s Blood Angels will add up to) but I rather like this idea of a renegade Ork mercenary force with a lot of dakka for hire.. an elite cadre of Orks with the Gretchin “hired help” pressed into services as supporting fire/ meat shields.. Look out for a battle report in the near future as we get the gaming shed ready for some 2nd Ed retro goodness!
And by my calculations I’ve got enough scraped together to field a legit 1000pt army (just need the banners) to go up against Dan’s boys in red for a proper legit retro 2nd Ed scrap – so Dan, is Captain Tycho ready to get his pretty face messed up again? Let’s do this!
As always, stay thrifty and we’ll see you again soon!