Hold Back The Tide – A Hyperian Wars Battle Report

The mood was tense. The grenadiers and riflemen were trading rumours amongst themselves – an unstoppable horde of Virum Nascii, hundreds strong, which had overrun the outlying colony of Hadley’s Hope in the northern disputed territories, slaughtering the Sky Marines sent to interdict them.

Amongst the crew of the steam tank “McDaggett’s Fury“, however, such sentiments were notable for their absence. 

“Sky Marines” scoffed commander Boddicker, “probably tried to buy them off.”

He patted the gunsights on the Fury’s main cannon. “Firepower! And lots of it! That’s all those beasts can be expected to understand. Franz? Louis? Are your rifles zeroed?”

The two foregunners saluted in eerie synchronicity. “Sir! Yes, sir –  optimised to peak accuracy, ammo feeds and repeater mechanisms cleared and double checked”

“Good work” Boddicker nodded approvingly “Signal Colonel Murphy that the Fury stands ready”

Atop his horse, surveying his assembled forces, Witch-Colonel Alecius Murphy had already sensed the build up of adrenaline and arrogance within the steam tank- it’s very presence evidence of how seriously the Ancien Regime province command took the Virum Nascii threat. Sky Marines didn’t die easily – he knew that all too well. Underestimating his foe was not a mistake Murphy intended to make again. 

He surveyed his assembled forces – lines of riflemen in their dark blue coats and peaked caps, columns of grenadiers imposing with their shakos and bayonets, a regiment of the illustrious cuirassier cavalry, the line anchored by the imposing iron beast that was the McDaggett’s Fury

The Virum Nascii had plagued this province in recent months, and the slaughter of a Sky Marine force at the nearby colony of Hadley’s Hope had proven that these beasts were present in force, and not to be underestimated. Murphy cast his precognitive vision forth and in his minds eye sensed the presence of a huge horde of the ratmen, heading his way.

“We make our stand here” he announced, “prepare firing positions and make ready to receive the enemy”

He gritted his teeth. It would be enough. It had to be enough.

Welcome back to another Hyperian Wars battle report – and this one should be a doozy…

After the slaughter of the Sky Marines in the last battle, this time it’s the turn of the other major human faction (so far… fluff still very much WIP), the Ancien Regime to face the vile ratmen! Some of you may remember these lads from way back in the early days of the blog, and in fact the first ever Hyperian Wars battle back in 2016. The Grand Alliance and the Ancien Regime are prone to the odd clash now and again, but petty squabbles are invariably pushed aside when the unhuman terrors such as the Virum Nascii are on the rampage. Lord Ratticus’ hordes have been boosted by some frenetic painting, while in response I’ve given the humans some much needed firepower with our repainted steam tank, and with these new toys ready it was off to the shed to commence battle!

We set objectives (Vrilfire reactor,  hilltop ruins, hilltop to the northern edge of the table and ruined temple at the top left of the picture)   rolled deployment and got diagonal facings – Virum Nascii won the roll off and made the Ancien Regime set up first.. appropriately sneaky for the vile ratmen..
Ancien Regime lines – Colonel Murphy commanding two regiments of riflemen each about twenty strong, two sixteen strong regiments of grenadiers, a ten man cavalry squadron and the steam tank…
..facing a LOT of rats! Lord Ratticus, emboldened by his previous victory now commands two 16 strong regiments of warriors, two similarly sized regiments of slave archers, a 24 strong regiment of slaves with hand weapons, plus a section of poison wind grenadiers, 8 plague priests, a bodyguard of 6 vermin stormtroopers…
… and a small section of 5 assassins, here sneakily infiltrated forwards into cover.

With everything deployed, it was game on!

Turn 1:

To the surprise of absolutely no one, the Virum Nascii charge forward!
Cavalry crash into the slave regiment…
…shattering their fragile morale and causing the survivors to disappear!
Poison wind grenadiers join the party, taking chunks out of the human forces
Lord Ratticus gets stuck in…
Felling his foe! By the end of turn 1, each side has two objectives – the Ancien Regime have lost their cavalry regiment, the Virum Nascii have lost the slave regiment, two warriors and a poison wind grenadier…

Turn 2:

Poison wind grenadiers take down McDagget’s Fury!
Assassins pile into the riflemen..
Grenadiers march to confront the warriors!
Assassins take their toll on the grenadiers

But it’s not all one sided….
Meanwhile the grenadiers on the northern table edge duel it out with the slave archer regiments..
Carnage wherever you look!

Turn 3:

Ratticus and his Stormtrooper bodyguard fall to the guns of the grenadiers
Virum Nascii assault begins to stall in open ground
Poison wind grenadier takes on the riflemen
Plague priests pile in to the riflemen in the centre

Turn 4:

Ratmen warriors make a charge towards the riflemen in the woods
In bloody fighting, the riflemen bring down the plague priests
Without Ratticus’ command bonus, this regiment of warriors natural cowardice takes over..
The final poison wind grenadier falls
Grenadiers finish off the slave archer regiment

Turn 5:

Warrior regiment finds it’s nerve again but is decimated by the riflemen on the hill 
Grenadiers bring down the final archer slave before beginning to advance into the ruined village
As turn 5 ends it’s two objectives apiece, but four damaged infantry regiments plus Colonel Murphy are facing half a warrior regiment and an archer slave regiment.. without Lord Ratticus’ presence holding them together the Virum Nascii realise the situation is unwinnable and flee the field. Humanity holds this day!

Well, that was a blast and right up to turn 4 it could have gone either way – Colonel Murohy may have failed to successfully cast a single spell but his presence definitely helped the riflemen in the centre beat off the ratmen assault. I think the main issue the Virum Nascii had was failure to concentrate force in one area – had they focused on one single area of the human lines they could have overwhelmed them and rolled up the line piecemeal, but poor coordination let their regiments get picked off one at a time, and when Ratticus went down their naturally poor morale really started to count against them…

Still, the story isn’t over, we’ve got more Hyperian Wars coming as the escalation continues – more troops, characters and war machines for the Virum Nascii, and the same for the human factions! Stay tuned, stay thrifty, we’ll see you soon

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Hyperian Wars: Escalation! A7V Steampunk conversion

Dan and I have been busily working our way through the four – FOUR – boxes of Miniknight Ratmen we wound up buying last year, and don’t y’all be fretting as there’s a big update coming on them. But in the meantime, we’re planning a sequel to the last Hyperian Wars battle report – after a taut pitched battle against the Sky Marines of the Grand Alliance, the Virum Nascii are going up against the massed armies of the Ancien Regime.. and with Dan in the hot seat for the little furry guys, I found myself flying the flag for humanity…

Enter the first ever papercraft either of us made, way back in 2015….

dscn1810

Yeah, not great. But the Ancien Regime are going to need every bit of firepower they can get on Friday, because those rats are lethal. So a few nights ago I decided to attempt an upgrade:

Took the original ( a papercraft download from “Landships II” of a 1/72 A7V) – added the rubber holder from the end of a pencil for the main gun, green stuff and guitar string cut offs for the repeater rifles in the nose, drinking straws for the exhausts
Crosses from a foamboard castle kit that Dan’s kid got for Christmas, rivets are dobs of PVA glue added with a bent paperclip

Then came the repaint – grey basecoat, washed with thinned black ink, pin wash pf smokey ink , red and yellow for the detailing, silver washed with blank ink for the metallics. Spot of sponge chipping with craft black paint and drybrushed earth tones for mud, banners drawn out, painted freehand and then wrapped around a paperclip rolled straight (ish) with a rolling pin. And the result…

Oh yeah, and brass painted with craft paint and washed with brown ink, tracks added with cut up IDE cables. Pictured here in situ with some Ancien Regime troops on patrol!

Massacre at Hadley’s Hope – Hyperian Wars AAR

Well damn. The dice are just cooling down after an absolutely blistering playtest of our steampunk/ fantasy/ VSF mashup system, “Hyperian Wars” – today featuring the Sky Marines of the Grand Alliance versus the villainous Virum Nascii. And DAMN, the result was really not what we expected, but it was an absolutely corking game! So, with memories still relatively fresh and unclouded by liquor, time to dive into this evening’s battle report –

Lists:

Grand Alliance Sky Marines (all troops are skirmishers):

HQ – Commander, Mortar, Rifleman, 2x Signallers

3 Sections – 9 Marines w/ Bolt Action Rifle, Fragmentation Bombs, Bayonets

Virum Nascii:

Warlord – Hand Weapons

16 x Warriors – Hand Weapons

16 x Slaves – Hand Weapons

16 x Slaves – Bow & Arrow

5 x Poison Grenadiers (skirmishers) – Poison Grenades, Hand Weapons

10 x Stormtroopers – Hand Weapons

8 x Plague Priests – Hand Weapons

So, one side has the firepower – but the other has numbers. And speed. Who would prevail?

Deployment:

Sky Marines deploy onto the southern edge – with little in the way of missile fire, we went for best firing positions to maximise our ranged advantage
Virum Nascii deploy, concentrating on the ruined village – aiming to overwhelm one area of the Sky Marine lines before moving on. Slaves and warriors to the fore to absorb casualties, Warlord and his retinue of elite troops use them as cover to get in range and get stuck in!
The Slaves catch a glimpse of their enemy on the horizon!
The view from the Sky Marine lines – that’s a LOT of rats!

Turn 1

Sky Marine rifle fire rips through the exposed archer Slaves, killing half their number
HQ section mortar falls among archer slaves, adding to the carnage as the Virum Nascii hurtle forwards – I’d placed my weakest units at the front to absorb casualties, in true merciless villain style!

Turn 2

Sky Marines gain the initiative and gun down the remaining Slave archers
After gunning down the archers, Sky Marines suddenly find the Virum Nascii getting very, very, very close!
Mortar shell falls amongst the slave regiment
Seeing their brothers about to get overrun, No. 3 Squad open up on the Ratmen!

Turn 3

Virum Nascii were just about to hit Sky Marine positions, and things were about to get… interesting…

Sky Marines pour fire point blank into the onrushing Ratmen horde
But it’s not even close to enough – No. 2 squad are torn apart by the vicious beastmen
Mortar shell bursts upon the Ratmen warriors!
The Ratmen warriors finish off No. 2 squad with sword and claw!

The surviving Ratmen warriors achieve Frenzy and crash on into Sky Marine HQ!
The elite human infantry dispatch the Virum Nascii beasts, but at a cost, losing the signallers
Plague priests pile on to the HQ!
The Warlord and his elite bodyguard crash into No. 3 squad!
The Sky Marines put up a valiant fight, but they’re no much for the vicious Virum Nascii!

Turn 4

Plague priests overwhelm the Sky Marine HQ!
Only one Priest left standing, but HQ – and Lt. Gorman – is down!
Meanwhile, No. 1 squad cluster up in the ruins to repel the oncoming Virum Nascii!
A frenzied maelstrom of blood and claws in the ruined temple!
In the last moments of the battle, the last Sky Marine (PFC Hudson) pumps rounds into the seething mass of Ratmen – “COME GET SOME MOTHERF*CKER!”

But in the end.. it was game over, man. Game over.

Wow. Holy sh*t but that was a blast – the Sky Marines deploying, full of confidence in our ranged firepower, taking down huge numbers of Virum Nascii….. right up until the rats got into charge range and then it hit the fan and no mistake! My outnumbered squads were ripped apart in short order, and damn but the Ratmen are FAST!!

In fact, the battle played out much like a steampunk/ fantasy version of the classic movie “Aliens” – the Sky Marines inflicting huge losses on the ratmen for no loss to themselves… right up until the moment when they weren’t.. and then it became a massacre! Hence the title – fans will recognise Hadley’s Hope as the colony established on LV426.

All in all, a hell of a game, right down to PFC Hudson’s last stand in the temple! And we should add, this got the attention of none other than Black Library author himself, Gav Thorpe!

So there you have it, a Gav Thorpe- approved battle report!

Phew – we’re going to go lie down after that one, so until next time, stay thrifty out there and 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 managed 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.

MOAR Hairy Japanese Bastards

(If you’re not as big a Father Ted fan as us, this is the reference – we love you, Japanese people )

Don’t know what it is about summer, but I always find myself drawn to fantasy stuff – suppose it’s because the evenings are lighter, the shed is warmer… and I’m drawn to a simpler time of Goblin Green bases drawn in massed ranks, swords and spears raised to beat the absolute crap out of each other.

It was about this time last year when I began my love affair with the 1/72 Skaven – ahem, Ratmen, or Virum Nascii for Hyperian Wars – from Caesar or Minikight miniatures (as the packaging is somewhat ambiguous), and I painted up the first of the four boxes I’d bought quite happily. After kicking a little Freeguild and Ancien Regime ass over the summer 2018, these were duly forgotten about as new shiny things grabbed our attention…

But even gamer ADHD runs its course, and it wasn’t long before I remembered my plans for cheapy fantasy hordes, and set about adding a second tranche to the litte whiskery fellas:

The Warlord, his army at his back
A mighty horde!
Poison wind globadiers
Warlord Ratticus McStilton III!
Elites – Warlord, Stomrvermin, Poison wind globadiers
Stormvermin

 

The horde advances!

So yeah, fill in post today – but you’re going to love what’s coming next… 😉 Stay thrifty out there my brothers and sisters, we will see you 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….

Terrain Talk Pt. 11 – Showcase! Kubica Pass Redux

Right, I’m writing this because Dan a) can’t be bothered and b) is clearly a ludicrously talented terrain builder.

Bastard.

Anyway, a bit of background – back in 2016, we came across an eye opening article on DakkaDakka.com by the magnificently talented 3T studios, detailing how to make “Dynamic, Craggy Hills“. We both were struck by the incredibly cinematic beauty of their work and resolved that our stuff would look like that.. one day.. so I sawed off a hardboard rectangle to serve as base, piled paper mache, and chunks of packing polystyrene on board, along with some pebbles and twigs, coated the lot with PVA and and before painting up and flocking. The result was… ok, I suppose, but it was only a few months later when I realised what was bugging me about it – the base.

Nature doesn’t do straight lines.

So Dan scooped up my baby, took it over to his shed with promises of a more organic shaped MDF base, and a few days later produced this:

 

Bastard. Leopard spotting, cat litter, 3 tone flocking, clump foliage… BASTARD!!!
Curved MDF baseboard… stonework… BASTARD!!!!!
Pictured here with a League of European Nations armoured reconnaissance patrol..
Infantry, support laser and Kugelpanzers
Log and more stonework… BASTARD!!!!
BASTARD!!!!!!!!!!!!

So there we are, proof positive that Dan is a frankly phenomenal terrain builder and kept that pretty bloody quiet! I’m intrigued to see what he comes up with next…

And if you’re wondering why the name – Robert Kubica, one of our motorsport heroes. His return to F1 might not have been the most successful so far, but we’re rooting for you (and Williams) – and if you want an inspirational story, his is up there… tagged as an F1 star of the future, loses most of an arm in horrific crash, 8 years later makes it back to the top of racing.. tiene cojones, Bobby K. So this terrain piece is for you!

Till next time, stay thrifty and we’ll see you 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!

Cheaphammer 40k FINALE! – the 2nd Ed Revival Project : Battle For The Bridge

And lo, it has come to pass – ALL DA LADZ against Dan’s thin red (well, black) line of Space Marines in the climactic game from the 1993 2nd Ed box set Battle For Armageddon mini campaign.

On the Marine side – two tactical squads of Space Marines, each comprising a Sergeant with bolt pistol and chainsword, a Marine with a missile launcher, a Marine with flamer, and 7 Marines with bolters. For the Orks, it was the Dread, twenty Boyz armed with bolt pistols, axes and stikkbomz and no fewer than FORTY Gretchin, all armed with autoguns – quite the horde!

Forces were organised as follows:

Marines (all Space Marines have Mk7 power armour, bolt pistol, frag and krak grenades):

Squad Raphael (red shoulder pads):

Sergeant Raphael – bolt pistol, chainsword

3 Space Marines – boltgun

1 Space Marine – flamer

Squad Mephisto (blue shoulder pads):

Brother Mephisto – bolt pistol, chainsword

3 Space Marines – boltgun

1 Space Marine – Missile launcher (targeter, frag and krak grenades)

Squad Lazarus (grey shoulder pads):

Sergeant Lazarus – bolt pistol, chainsword

3 Space Marines – boltgun

1 Space Marine – flamer

Squad Cleon (cream shoulder pads):

Brother Cleon – boltgun

3 Space Marines – boltgun

1 Space Marine – Missile launcher (targeter, frag and krak grenades)

MarinesDone

Orks (All Orks and Gretchin wear flak armour):

Da Krusher – Ork Dreadnought armed with two power klaws, heavy bolter and lascannon.

Grugnat’s Mob – ten Orks armed with bolt pistols, axes and frag stikkbomz.

Snikbog’s Mob – ten Orks armed with bolt pistols, axes and frag stikkbomz.

Grit’s Mob – ten Gretchin armed with autoguns.

Grot’s Mob – ten Gretchin armed with autoguns.

Scumbo’s Mob – ten Gretchin armed with autoguns.

Fergit’s Mob – ten Gretchin armed with autoguns.

OrkzOnParade

The Marines got points for wiping out as many Greenskin mobs as possible, while the Orks got a 5 point bonus for getting a mob of six models or the Dread into the Marine deployment zone. Game length was four turns.

Turn 1

To everyone’s surprise, the Orks won the first turn and barrelled forward, Gretchin screening the boyz who were hugging the available cover until they could get within bolt pistol range.

Gretchin fire patters ineffectively off Marine power armour..
..meanwhile, Da Krusher’s lascannon stabs out and downs a marine from Squad Lazarus
Marines hunker down and fire wherever possible, bolters and frag missiles downing an Ork and 7 Grots

And with a Leadership of only 5, it should be no surprise that Scumbo’s Mob break and run for it

Turn 2

This time probability reasserted itself and the Marines scored first turn.

Squads Lazarus and Raphael venture out into the open, hoping to close the range and bring their flamers into play
Krak missile from Squad Mephisto smashes into Da Krusha, sending it out of control – it promptly barrels into the nearest unit, the Gretchin of Grot’s Mob!
Marine fire take its toll on the Greenskin horde…
But humie isn’t having it all his own way! Da Boyz close the range to the exposed Marine combat squads, and three of humanity’s finest fall to bolt pistol fire.

Turn 3

Once again, the Marines won the first turn and the missile launcher teams desperately pumped bolter fire and frag missiles into the oncoming greenskins, while the flamer teams attempted to manouevre in to use their devastating short range weapons to better effect..

Marines pump fire into the oncoming horde, but will it be enough?
Seeing Da Krusha out of control, missile launcher teams focus on thinning out the greenskins with frag missiles.. this proves to be a mistake, as the pilot promptly has a change of heart, wheels around and barrels into the Marine lines, vapourising a brother with its’ lascannon.
“It’s too much!” Gretchin take shelter in a ruin after losing seven of their squad to Marine fire

Turn 4

First turn passed back to the Orks and the boyz burst from behind the screen of Grots to engage the Marines at point blank range!

“WAAAAARRRGH!”  Boyz charge forward, gunning down Squad Lazarus in a hail of bolt pistol fire
It gets up close and personal in the games’ closing moments..
Gretchin blaze away with their autoguns as da boyz get stuck in! Meanwhile, Da Krusha savages Squad Mephisto

 

The weight of fire batters through the Marine power armour..

 

Squad Mephisto marines fall to assault saw and power klaw!

 

Greenskins rampage across the battlefield, overwhelming the remaining Marines!

At the end of the turn, we totted up the points – Orks 4, Marines 1 – a solid win for the Greenskins!

Dan owned up to a lack of concentrating fire on single mobs, as he caused a solid amount of casualties but not actually wiping out or seriously damaging complete units. I did get pretty lucky with Da Krusha’s lunatic rampage not just taking down three Marines from Squad Mephisto but also taking him squarely into the Marine deployment zone! However if Dan’s flamer teams could have gotten in range, or if he’d finished off Da Krusha with a couple of extra krak missiles, things could easily have gone the other way..

So if you’re keeping score, that’s 2-1 to the Orks, so a Greenskin victory in this mini campaign! Props to Dan for a brilliant job on his Marines (whatever he may claim to the contrary) and being a gentlemanly and sporting (if perennially unlucky) opponent.

This project has been a blast, but it doesn’t have to end here – we’re toying with adding a few bits to make these forces 8th ed legal, and just maybe to take them on a pilgrimage to Warhammer World itself, for a game on the hallowed tables themselves! A great way touch base with the roots of what got us into this hobby in the first place.

Till next time, stay thrifty out there, yo 😉