CheapHammer 40k -The 2nd Ed Revival Project! Pt. 1 The Plan

So, hands up who remembers this?

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As it happens, we don’t either – don’t drink and eBay, kids! So, we were wondering what we should do with this haul – loads of Grots, a full complement of 20 Marines, and a couple of Orks in various states of repair… not to mention the cardboard cutout Dreadnaught, plus the very brightly coloured Codex Imperialis and campaign book.

 

In the grim darkness of the far future, there are only bold primary colours

Now, this raises an interesting, almost paradoxical conundrum – because we can’t afford proper 40k minis, we’d got sunk deep into 20mm (aka 1/72 or 1/76 or HO) gaming, meaning all our terrain was designed and sized for this. So getting our hands on actual 40k minis kind of threw the plans out a bit. As discussed before, we planned on using them as proxies for OOP systems like Firefight, Space Crusade etc (not to mention freely downloadable ones like Deadzone), but with all this… stuff… it was more or less a given that at some point we’d end up giving 40k a try again, and we’ve had a couple of little skirmishes with our new skirmish board.

And yeah, compared to modern systems, this old girl is a bit clunky. But we got to thinking – both me and Dan got into 40k in 1991 (albeit independently of each other and hundreds of miles apart) and by then the 1st edition Rogue Trader had evolved massively from it’s origins as an almost unplayable (in practical terms) RPG/ skirmish game and was heading towards the slick and shiny and GLORIOUSLY colourful subsequent editions. Dan and I both remember getting the 40k box set – and be aware, a 40k box set was a brand new thing back then, never been done before! – for Christmas 1993, and working our way through the mini campaign missions given in the book. If you’re unfamiliar, this set focused heavily on the 2nd War For Armageddon, and featured a three (four?) mission campaign of Blood Angels vs Orks.

Then Dan reminded me that 1993 was 25 years ago exactly.

Hmm. We should mark this occasion.

We did something similar last year, commemorating 30 years of 40k by playing The Battle At The Farm from Rogue Trader using 8th Edition rules, and had a blast, but we figured, you know what? 2nd Ed was our edition. Goblin Green bases, primary colours – the grim darkness of the far future had never looked so appealing. Army lists existed from the drop, rather than being gradually added over six years of White Dwarf articles.

Or  Warhammer 40000 Compilations.

Or Warhammer 40000 Compendiums.

Or Warhammer 40000 Battle Manuals.

You have to figure by this point, the game had evolved quite away from it’s origins, and was badly in need of a rewrite! And so it was…

You bought wargear with cards rather than having a 15 % chance of having it. The thing had been tested, and many mechanics from 2nd Ed actually form the backbone of 40k as we know it now, love it or loathe it. We may not have had Tau or Necrons, but we had Squats, dammit! (at least for a while..) And so begins our new project for the remains of 2018 – painting up the contents of our unwitting haul to replicate those halcyon days gone by – we began with the Marines, and Dan has a load of Grots ready for the camera – then there’s the scenery to make… lots of ruins (which we’ll make 3″ by 3″ to also be Deadzone compatible – muy Skinflint).. plus we have found a very cool papercraft of an Ork Deff Dread… And then come Christmas, we’ll run the whole campaign!

So, here’s raising a glass to our “origin story” within the hobby – we may not be the seasoned grognards in at the birth of it all with Rogue Trader, but we were there for 40k to find it’s feet and become what it is today. And for all it’s (many many ) faults-  it will always have a place in our hearts.

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CheapHammer 40k – the 2nd Ed Revival Project! Pt. 2 – Deathwatch

WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS ACTUAL CITADEL MINIATURES.

I KNOW :-O

So, some of you may remember these guys from an earlier post:

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..and our wondering exactly what the hell we were going to do with them, being as we’re pretty heavily committed to our beloved uber-cheap and thrifty 1/72 figures.

You may also remember our dabbling in the Horus Heresy game “Betrayal At Calth”, which we picked up sans miniatures for £4.99.

And I think you can start to see where this is going.

Thing is, over the years GW have published a great many games set in the 40k universe – Space Hulk, Space Crusade, Advanced Space Crusade as well as the current generation (Betrayal at Calth, Burning Of Prospero, Deathwatch Overkill) – all cracking good fun, easy and quick to set up and crucially, with a very low model count. 20 Marines and a big crowd of Grots to play the bad guys is plenty for these types of games (not to mention the nostalgia factor of those 2nd ed sculpts.. opening that box was Christmas ’93 all over again!), and as we discovered with the Calth box set, many players by them for the minis and disregard everything else. As for the older games, rules, tokens etc can all be found online and downloaded for free (often there are fan remakes to be found too – check out this one).

As a side note, I’m also hoping to track down a copy of Alternative Armies’ Firefight rules from 1991 – that was a brilliant game, fast paced and utterly addictive!

If you like sci-fi skirmish games, you need to try this game.

All these games are board or tile based, so easy and quick set up, perfect for a quick hobby fix!

(edit – add Mantic’s Deadzone 2.0 to that list – just downloaded the rules from their site and very much looking forward to trying it out!)

So, onto painting them – I figured the Marines should be Deathwatch, as that seems to fit with the fluff of small scale alien (or heretic) -hunting skirmishes in narrow streets, cramped arcologies or abandoned spacecraft, so I stripped them using meths, primed with black spray paint, popped a beer and watched Duncan’s excellent Deathwatch painting tutorial video, and had at it!

I did deviate slightly from the Duncan’s template – black acrylic basecoat (cheap £1 store black), light drybrush with Vallejo German Grey, then took a deep breath and tried some edge highlighting, having mixed the grey with some bone and a little blue, and was pleasantly surprised with the results! I’ve seen edge highlighting look pretty cack handed and splodgy (particularly when I’ve done it), but I think the trick to it is ensuring your paint is thin and you create a smooth colour graduation. Clearly all that time painting weeny 1/72 figures has helped get my eye in as these chaps came out better than anything I painted back in the 90s! Metallics were Vallejo silver, washed with thin black ink, skulls were bone washed with thinned brown ink and the red was a cheap £1 acrylic that I layered up with some yellow to create highlights. Flesh was craft paint skin tone washed first with Vallejo skin wash and then thinned brown wash.

For basing, I was briefly tempted to go full retro – PVA, sand, Goblin Green, remember that? – but instead took things a little further. I put a bit of home made texture paste (sand, PVA, filler powder, water) on the base before the priming stage and after I’d painted the model, painted this dark brown and drybrushed up with a couple of layers of lighter browns. Then dabbed on a bit of PVA and drizzled on some flock, than another dab and drizzled on some Garage Floor Dust (TM) which is one of the best basing materials I’ve ever discovered, despite it’s humble origins!

Finally I edged the base in black as I wanted a cinematic look (and brown just looked weird) and done! So the first group are complete, and (deep breath) – here are the pics!

Bargain At Calth (or – 30k for under £5? YES WE CAN!)

How do, Dan here again – getting the hang of this typing malarkey. Jim’s given me the keys to the blog as long as I promise no naked belly dancing pictures.

I promise nothing.

Since we started dipping our toe back into 40k and it’s boutique cousin, 30k (aka the Horus Heresy) a while back, we’ve been hearing the name “Betrayal at Calth” bandied about with much excitement about the variety and quality of the miniatures included in it. The consensus seems to be that it’s an excellent starter set for anyone planning a 30k Space Marine army, containing 30 Marines in Mk 4 power armour, a Chaplain, a Terminator Captain and 5 Cataphractii Terminators, plus a Contemptor Dreadnought – yours for just £95.

Hmm.

£95.

Hmm.

That kind of goes against our cheap ‘n’ cheerful, DIY ethos. But as it turns out, Betrayal At Calth is in fact a board game with miniatures – in intent, at least. To 99% of the internet, it’s miniatures with some dice and bits of cardboard cluttering the box up.

However, this can work to our advantage – a little bit of eBay reconnaissance shows that there seems to be a cottage industry in buying BaC boxes, stripping out the minis and selling them on.. but that leaves the game pieces for sale at absolutely knockdown prices.

And thus it was that we discovered a seller offering the complete BaC kit sans minis for £4.99. Yes, you read that right. Well, we’ve sold a couple of copies of Apocalypse: Earth over at Wargame Vault, so we cashed in and went for it. A few days later, and lookie lookie what turns up in the post:

Shiny shiny.

Typical GW, even the box is laaaaaaarvely, loads of artwork and pics of beautifully painted minis adorning the side – a nice throw back to the days of the 90s classic Space Crusade.

Rulebook, board segments, cards, dice and tokens
Beautifully illustrated rulebook, replete with plenty of fluff, gorgeous artwork and photos. 

The rulebook contains some in depth fluff on the battle of Calth and the Heresy (Spoiler alert – Word Bearers are BAD GUYS) which give plenty of atmosphere, as well as containing the rules and six scenarios to play through. My only criticism here is the rules are somewhat unclearly expressed – the Critical Hit rules weren’t clear until we watched a Warhammer TV playthrough of the game, and it was only then we realised about rubble hexes giving cover. This is in the rulebook, just not where you expect it to be. Props to GW for including a handy reference chart on the back page, though, good thinking!

 

The board

The board itself is a hex board, four interlocking sections that are double sided and depict the ruined arcologies of the once verdant world of Calth. These can be rearranged to create all manner of different floorplans with red bordered hexes representing blocked terrain and dotted line bordered hexes representing rubble – slowing movement but conferring a cover bonus.

Dice – contain Hit, Critical Hit and Shield symbols

There are also a deck of cards giving reference stats for all the units

Gameplay wise, it’s pretty straightforward, every unit has a Bulk rating (how many can fit in a hex), Melee and Shoot ratings all allowing different numbers of dice to be rolled.

But straightforward doesn’t mean bad. In fact, this is a really fun game, fast paced and cinematic with the Command Cards adding an extra dimension (a special mention is the Word Bearers’ “Would You Fire On Your Brother?” – sneaky… very sneaky..). It seems to be pretty well balanced as well, we’re pretty much even on victories through the first three scenarios. Alternating activation and the tactical point system makes it much more flexible than 40k/ 30k and has produced some great moments.

In terms of replay value, although there are only six scenarios included in the book, there’s plenty of variation to be had in terms of weapon loadouts etc. There’s also a lot to be said for the “board game” nature of BaC – quick set up and pack down, missions play through in 30-45 minutes meaning there’s plenty of opportunities for replay, campaigns etc.

Now..the million dollar question – is it worth the money? £95 is a LOT of money.. but if you’re coming at it from the perspective of a 30k player looking to start an army (or armies) it probably is – certainly, by comparison to most GW starter sets, it’s a bargain. However, we’re not really arsed about that, we’re thinking about the £4.99 we paid for the game itself, and the answer is a resounding YES. BaC is fun, fast, and a great laugh. Not only that, but it’s given us some ideas…. Originally we were planning to play this with flats or tokens, but then we remembered these guys.

I’d thoroughly recommend this approach to anyone with an existing 40k or 30k collection, as GW have a few tidy looking games out at the moment which plenty of people seem to buy purely to asset strip the miniatures from – Burning Of Prospero and Deathwatch Overkill look particularly interesting, not to mention all the long out of print stuff floating around the net in PDF form. And not just GW – there’s a fantastic game I remember playing as a kid called FireFight which was tile/ boardgame style – I’ll get my Google Fu on the case!

So, in the meantime – Space Marines and greenskins are going to get a repaint, and not only that, but we can investigate a whole host of other classic GW (and others) boxed games – look forward to DIY Space Crusade, Space Hulk, Advanced Space Crusade and a whole bunch more!

Stay thrifty out there, we’ll see you soon!

 

 

2017 – A Year In Review (and plans for the year ahead..)

January is a bleak month. Christmas decorations are down, work is back and you can’t start the morning drinking Buck’s Fizz without someone frowning at you.

Particularly the passengers that get on my bus.

Anyhoo, time to think about the year just gone and the year ahead.

2017 was not a great year in terms of gaming, in that we didn’t really play that many games – but the ones we did were pretty freaking great, including the biggest ever Apocalypse Earth battle and an Epic rematch. What this year was, though, was the year our blog grew up. Seriously:

2016 – 4095 views, 1897 visitors, 6 likes

2017 – 18,358 views, 10,297 visitors, 36 likes.

Woah. Just woah. That’s quite some improvement.

And it would seem that y’all out there have a lot of love for the dastardly Holy Soviet Empire – these three posts got over 1000 views each!

While 2017 may not have been too great in terms of games and battle reports, it was pretty great for us both in terms of painting and modelling, starting with the discovery of Wyloch, then Mel The Terrain Tutor and Lukes Affordable Paint Service. Honourable mention to Duncan Rhodes from Warhammer TV for teaching us the wisdom of two thin coats rather than one thick one!

So this led to a revamped board, a complete revamp of all our scenery, a repaint job on both Apocalypse: Earth factions, a cheapskate take on the 40k Imperial GuardOrk and Space Marine factions – we’ve been busy!

Incidentally, our blast markers seem to have caused quite a stir – I would put a tutorial together, but the entire idea was something I copped from Mel, check out his original video here.

So for 2018, what’s the plan? Well, life has a way of fething up your plans as soon as you make them, so we’re not going to get too carried away… but, some resolutions all the same:

Da Skooderia WILL hit the table. 40k in 1/72 is ON, yo.

We’re going to explore the other Apocalypse: Earth factions – it’s all been about the Atlantic Alliance and the Holy Soviet Empire so far, but there’s also the League Of European Nations and the Asian Communist Federation to check out.

Escalation is surely due in Epic scale as well, I keep seeing Dan looking at yogurt pots and  pictures of scratchbuilt Gargants…

We’ll also be revisiting Hyperian Wars and there’s a couple of other projects in the offing: Future Force Warrior takes Apocalypse: Earth 200 years into the future as humanity takes it first steps into the stars, and Apocalypse: Earth – Black Ops explores more detailed small scale encounters in the secret wars against the Greys, bringing an RPG element to the fractured world of the Apocalypse War. The rules will cover small scale skirmishes and role playing campaigns where your fireteam members will be able to develop, gaining new skills and equipment as they face ever darker and more sinister threats…

So, that’s what’s in the pipeline for the year ahead. However, it’s January – and that means we’re both skint. So a pact has been made – no spending money on hobby stuff for a month, we’re going to improvise and use what we’ve got… necessity being the mother of invention and all that… So let us leave you with a shot of what’s on the modelling table right now – two ancient battered Matchbox cars getting the Orky makover, because Da Skooderia are coming to town in 2018!

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How can he drive while holding an axe and a club? Because he’s Kimi-freaking-Raikkonork, that’s why!

Stay tuned, stay thrifty,  and let’s see what we can put together without cracking open the credit card….

 

A Green Christmas II: This Time It’s Farcical! Epic Space Marine Battle Report

Seasons greetings all! It’s becoming increasingly clear that with the onset of age, the passage of time speeds up to frankly alarming proportions. I’d swear blind that not five minutes ago Dan & I were raising a glass after a cracking game of the GW classic Space Marine (where the Redeemers Space Marine Chapter fought a valiant action against the villainous Ork hordes of Waaaagh-Bozzhog), and then I check the calendar and discover it’s actually a YEAR.

I know. Shocking. And HIGH time we remedied things.

Back in January, my Redeemers got themselves all tidied up and based, and organised into a 4000pt force and not long afterwards I got busy with the hot glue, cardboard and drinking straws and turned a piece of Christmas present packaging into a majestic Leviathan superheavy command vehicle for the Hazzard 1977th Imperial Guard regiment..

As it stands, said Leviathan is the the sole Epic scale member of the 1977th, so it would be the Redeemers going to bat again with a token measure of Guard support.. The list looked like this:

Special Cards:

Medic – 50pts

Warlord Titan – Rocket Launcher, Laser Blaster, Chainfist, Quake Cannon – 900pts

Imperial Guard Leviathan – 350pts

Company Cards:

Space Marine Veteran Company – 850pts

Space Marine Devastator Company – 1000pts

Land Raider Company – 600pts

Support Cards:

Whirlwind Detachment  – 150 pts

Terminator Detachment – 300pts

Scout Detachment – 150pts

Grand total – 4350 pts

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The Redeemers Strike Force 01
Now, as some of you may recall, we screwed the maths up a little last time out, so we were determined that this time we were going to get things right, so army cards were checked, double checked and checked again for good measure – this time before the beers came out. For WAAAGH-BOZZHOG, Dan was able to bring out all three of his painted up Ork clans, plus the mighty Slasher that had wrought so much carnage last time out:

Special Card:

Slasher Gargant (Snapper, Chainfist, Observation Turret) – 600 pts

Clans:

Goff clan w/ Gutrippa, Bonecruncha, 2 Lungbursta squadrons & Skullhamma Battle Fortress – 1200pts

Evil Sunz clan w/ Gobsmashas, Mekboy Dragster, Bowelburna, Spleenrippa & Nobz Warbikes – 1150pts

Bad Moon clan w/ 2 Weirdboy Battletowers, 2 Braincrusha squadrons, Squig Katapults – 1400pts

Grand Total – 4350pts. And this time we’re sure.

Terrain:

We rolled up a health mix of terrain, including several towns – too many, in fact for the buildings we had supplied in the box so we broke out some of the home made sci-fi terrain we made earlier on in the year (which never made the blog- might have to remedy that) to fill in the gaps. This worked out quite nicely – the Orks would be rushing to loot the vast giga-storehouses of Hazzard’s finest export moonshine, certainly a mission which would require the Redeemer’s immediate attention!

For what seems like the first time in living memory, Dan won the deployment roll off and opted for the southern table edge with a greater concentration of objectives, leaving the Redeemers slightly on the back foot – but not to worry, the Emperor’s finest would save the day and ensure that Imperial liquor cabinets would not run dry on this most festive of occasions! First to 50 Victory Points would be the winner…

Imperial Deployment & Plan

Bugger, I wanted that side! Right, never mind, a Marine is nothing if not adaptable.. looking at the terrain and bearing in mind the experience of the previous game, my rough plan was to get the Leviathan, Devastators, Warlord and Whirlwinds into position and firing as quickly as possible to whittle down the Ork numbers and counterattack with the Veterans and Terminators when the time was right. Scouts would sit on the backfield objective and protect the Whirlwinds while the Land Raiders would act as a fire brigade.

To this end, I placed the armour and the Leviathan covering the open ground on the right flank, Devastators would advance to capture objectives 2 and 3 and plaster fire into the oncoming hordes. I debated what to do with my Veterans and Terminators and eventually decided on something audacious – Veterans would charge forward onto Objective 6 and use that either to springboard an assault or pull back in a fighting retreat onto the Devastator’s guns, while the Terminators would ambush any unwary stragglers. With this rough plan in mind, the Redeemers and the PDF crew of the Leviathan finished their final weapons checks and turned to face the enemy..

Ork Deployment & Plan:

Haha, for once the dice gods favour me! Right, my basic strategy with this army was three pronged – Evil Sunz would loop around and charge in, pinning the main enemy unit in close combat, before pulling out and leaving the central column of heavier but slower moving Goffs to finish them off. Meanwhile the Bad Moons and the Slasher wold provide covering fire and if any close combat targets of opportunity presented themselves, the Slasher would take care of them. Following this, Bad Moons deployed onto the hill with orders to advance onto objective 7 and 5, while the Goffs would charge “hey diddle diddle, straight up the middle” with the intent of pulverising any Imperial unit foolish enough to stand in our way, and the Evil Sunz would secure Objectives 2 and 3. From there – we’d see what happened..

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The armies deploy..
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Bad Moons hold the Ork backfield objectives and provide covering fire with the Slasher in support
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Goffs mass in the centre, Skullhamma to the fore
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Evil Sunz prepare a flanking charge

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Redeemers Veterans and Terminators, with the Medic, realising they’ve massively misjudged deployment..
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Imperial centre – Whirlwinds prepare to rain fire on the greenskins, Scouts ready to move up to secure objective 8 and protect the artillery while the Warlord gets set to stride into the fray!
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Imperial right flank – Land Raiders and Leviathan anchor the flank while the Devastators prepare to secure objectives 2 and 3
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The view from the Imperial lines… ulp!

Turn 1:

The Imperials won the initiative and forced the Orks to move first. This was somewhat intimdating as the Bad Moons and Slasher grabbed three objectives on the Ork right, while the Evil Sunz floored their throttles and hurtled toward the towering peaks of Objective 3, and the Goffs bellowed a mighty WAAAAAAGH, charging through the buildings in the centre towards the hated humiez!

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Evil Sunz deploy forwards, capturing objectives 1 and 2 and contesting 3
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The Goffs emerge from the Ork centre..
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Bad Moons roll forward onto Objective 7 to lay down covering fire
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A sea of red and green…
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Land Raiders swing out to spring the trap – but will it be enough?
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The Leviathan picks it’s targets…
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Veteran Company take a gamble and charge forward to capture Objective 6 with Terminators in support
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Devastators scale the hill to capture Objective 3
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Whirlwinds bring the pain to the Bad Moons, destroying infantry and Braincrushas
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Leviathan adds it’s Doomsday Cannon to the fray
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Why I hate ball rounds: Pt 1- Before…
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Pt. 2: After…
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Pt. 3 – Dan reminds me that I have – had – a Medic in there, giving everyone a 5+ save
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Imperial firepower pounds the Bad Moons
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The Devastators ready themselves for Orkish assault
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In the open ground in front of Objective 2, Imperial Land Raiders engage the Orks
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And in the End Phase, these two muster up vital Orky psychic energy to unleash the next turn…

Turn 2:

The turn began with a mighty WAAAAGH and the roar of greenskin V8s as the Orks won the initiative and opted to move first. A wave of red and green engulfed the Devastators on the commanding heights of Objective 3 – hunkered down on First Fire orders, the Marines grimly zeroed their sights, waiting until they saw reds of their enemies’ eyes..

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Evil Sunz swamp the Devastators on Objective 3
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Goffs thunder forward toward the Imperial centre
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Forging ahead, the Skullhamma plows into one of the Terminator detachment’s Land Raiders.
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Bad Moons and Slasher lay down covering fire
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Imperial artillery lays into the Goffs, felling ten stands of infantry – the boyz push on regardless!
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The Warlord turns his laser blaster on the Bad Moons, killing some unwary boyz while the Goff Nobz take down his remaining Void Shields
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Evil Sunz assault into murderous fire from the Devastators
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They steam in hard, but the Devastators still hold the hill!
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Meanwhile, the Skullhamma demolishes a Land Raider in the woods..
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..before the Terminator infantry (on advance orders) destroy it in turn. That’s what you get for messing with a man’s ride.
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At the end of Turn 2, the marines hold 5 objectives, the Orks 3 – Imperial fire has detroyed the Skullhamma and broken the Evil Sunz, who are forced to fall back, but the Veteran Company is almost entirely wiped out. So the score stands Orks 24 VPs, Imperials 38!

Turn 3: 

The initiative stayed with the Orks for this one, who opted to move first. The Evil Sunz assault had been a costly failure, but with unexpected good fortune on the other flank – wiping out an entire company of valuable Redeemer veterans – would we be able to refocus and redeploy to take advantage?

 

Turn3EvilSunzregroup
Evil Sunz fall back to regroup and rally on Objective 1
Turn3WarlordDies
Belly gun reloaded, the Slasher fires another lethal ball round – direct hit, straight to the plasma reactor! The Warlord erupts in a pillar of nuclear fire
Turn3BadMoonWeirdboys
Hunkered down on first fire orders, Bad Moon Weirdboy towers lash the Redeemers, finishing iff the Veterans in the ruins and killing a couple of Devastators – it’s not over yet!
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The Imperial right flank, buttressed by the Leviathan, grinds forward, wiping out the Evil Sunz survivors and reclaiming Objective 1
Turn3End
As Turn 3 comes to a close, the destruction of the Warlord and the proximity of the Goffs in the gulley to Objective 3 has flipped things around again – Orks now lead 37 to 28!

Turn 4:

With the Warlord down, the Imperial left flank was reduced to a few stands of Terminators, but equally the Ork left had crumbled and the Bad Moons had taken heavy casualties to the point where they were perilously close to breaking – even at this stage, it was anyone’s game!

The Orks won the initiative and opted for a bold, aggressive strategy..

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The Slasher barrels forward to destroy the few remaining vehicles of the Veteran Company and capture Objective 6
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Goffs close assault the Whirlwainds and the Scouts charged with protecting them (note the large smoking crater where once had stood a Warlord Titan…
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Goff Gutrippas against Whirlwinds – not a chance
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Scouts fight valiantly but are overwhelmed and outnumbered
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With the Imperial forces out of position, the charge of the Goffs and the Slasher has pushed the Orks up to 46 VPs, but the Goffs suffer just enough casualties to break them, putting the Imperials on 45…

Turn 5:

The Imperial side won the initiative and opted to go first – with the remaining Orks running wild, only an equally aggressive strategy could pull things back!

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Land Raiders burst through onto Objective 4, laying into the remaining Bad Moons
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The remaining Scouts fall to Goff Nobz and armour, and the Orks capture Objective 8
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Imperial fire cripples the Bad Moons, finally breaking them…
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And as the Devastators recapture Objective 3, it’s all over! 59 VPs to the Marines, 46 to the Orks.

Conclusion:

What a game! Right until the end it could have gone either way, especially after the Warlord disintegrated (as he seems wont to do every game).. and the ballsy charge of the Goffs and the Slasher almost swung it. Had the Evil Sunz assault gone better it would have been all over for the Marines, but Dan admitted to getting to unfocused, trying to capture Objective 2 as well as carry the assault. A bit more concentration of force would have enveloped the Devastators and most likely annihilated them. And what the hell was I thinking putting my entire Veteran company in the warehouse?? I may as well have left them at home!

The Goffs are a weird bunch, clumping infantry and tanks together means something very hard hitting but at the same time hard to position right, and it was only really Turn 4 when they were in position to do something significant – and by then they’d suffered enough casualties to have broken. Dan’s going to try mounting them in Battlewagons next time… ulp.

Most Valued Player for Dan was undoubtedly the Slasher, 600 pts but chewed it’s way through 1850 pts of Marines and Titan – nearly half my force! For me, I was impressed by the Leviathan, it’s long range cannon let me put the hurt on the Bad Moons from the opposite end of the table, and in the end that helped push us over the line.

So while we mourn our Veteran brethren and Warlord (and Scouts.. and Whirlwinds.. and Dan managed to kill a stand of Terminators to break them too..) the Leviathan leads a battered taskforce of Land Raiders and Devastators to secure the remaining precious stocks of Luna Luceat liquor. The Imperial Festive Season must go on!

Happy New Year everyone, stay thrifty into 2018!

 

 

Ooops….

We’ve all been there. It’s late, beer/ wine/ cocoa in hand, money in the PayPal account, browsing eBay… you find something that looks too good to be true, you put a bid on it thinking “what the hell”, the next morning you get THAT email:

“You WON Item no XXXXXX”

Ah, crap.

In my case, what I had won was this:

20171109_205218
Don’t drink and eBay, kids!

So I duly paid my £10 plus postage, and a couple of days later I was blessed with the arrival of a semi complete copy of the 2nd Ed 40k box set plus the Dark Millennium expansion. Now, I’m assuming the seller held up their end of the bargain, because I can’t remember the details of what I bid on, but what I got was:

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20 Space Marines
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Not awful, but I think there’s room for improvement – will bathe them in meths and have a go myself!
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A pair of Ork’s – one mostly ‘armless…
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Lots a’ Grots!
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What to do with you little fellas…
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A TON of cards- man, we hated trees back in the day!
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100% GW, 100% tournament legal!

Now, quite what to do with this unexpected new acquisition – we’re pretty deeply committed to 20mm as our scale of choice with a load of new scenery built for that scale, so the minis may remain display only.. suppose the Grots could be some sort of Ogre race, the Marines some sort of gigantic superhuman genetically altered superwarrior (hang on…), and the templates are all gauged for 28mm.

So we pondered for the length of a beer and though “F**k it, who cares?” – we’ll use the templates and our wee 20mm minis and run some retro mini 40k for giggles. A serendipitous rummage through the loft yielded up the  2nd Ed Guard and Ork codexes from the mid 90s, tattered but unbowed, so we set about tweaking the Hazzard 1977th and Da Skooderia to be 2nd Ed legal. Results will be posted over the next couple of months, and we’re looking forward to running some retro 40k with teeny models! And let’s not forget Apocalypse: Earth’s sci-fi spinoff, where humanity takes it’s first steps into a wider galaxy…. we can call this market research!

Stay thrifty out there, we’ll see you soon 😉

40k Mashup! 8th Ed meets Rogue Trader.. in 1/72!

Just over a month ago, Games Workshop – the company everyone loves to hate – rolled out the all new, super shiny new 8th edition. But this year also marks the 30th anniversary of the book that started it all – dear old Rogue Trader

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Thanks for stealing my childhood, you bastard

Those of you who recall this mighty tome will remember the scenario included towards the end (and may even recall the cut out counters supplied to play it with – yes, I’m serious!) – the now legendary Battle At The Farm!

For those not familiar with the arcane legends of the late 1980s, the Battle At The Farm was a surprisingly in depth scenario detailing the invasion of Rynn’s World, the untimely snuffing out of all but a fragment of the Crimson Fists chapter of Space Marines, with the fifteen surviving Marines and their leader Commander Pedro Cantor running afoul of an Ork patrol led by the devious Thrugg Bullneck and his sidekick Thrugg who have hidden a cache of jewels in the ruined farmhouse that the Marines have holed up in…

Now, despite buying the Rogue Trader book in 1991, I’d never actually fought this battle, and as it turned out neither had Dan, and so with GW making 8th edition core rules available for free online, we cobbled together some DIY Marines and recruited some Orks in from Da Skooderia to make up the forces we needed. In addition, I had my first dealing with blue modelling foam to make Bultha’s Rise (the low hill featured in the Ork deployment zone) and Dan attacked foamboard with scissors, knife and glue to create the farmhouse itself – shout out to Mel The Terrain Tutor and Luke’s Affordable Paint Service for their sage advice on terrain construction and painting (If anyone’s interested in seeing how we made them, let us know in the comments).

So, the order of battle:

Marines: 

Pedro Cantor – Marine Major Hero, power armour, refractor field, power glove, 2 bolt pistols

14 Marines – power armour, boltgun, bolt pistol, knife

Marine – power armour, missile launcher with plasma shells, bolt pistol, knife (and as events would show, serious visual impairment)

These were organised into 3 5-man squads, each posting a sentry. Pedro Cantor was  independent.

Orks:

Thrugg Bullneck – Ork Hero, flak armour, plasma pistol, bolt pistol, chainsword

Hruk – Ork Champion, flak armour, boltgun, boltpistol, knife

19 Ork Boyz – flak armour, boltgun, knife

These were organised into 4 5-ORk squads, one led by Hruk with Thrugg as an independent character.

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Marines cluster in the farmhouse ruins
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There’s trouble brewing…
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Two squads rush to form defensive positions, while Pedro leads the third squad in a flanking manoeuvre through the orchard.
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First turn’s firing – the only weapon in range is the missile launcher, area effect weapon needing 3+ to hit…  FAIL!! To hit ANYTHING!!
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Ork turn 1 – led by Thrugg, the whole force advances through the scrub towards the farmhouse, apart from Hruk’s squad who peel off to deliver a flanking manoeuvre of their own – no firing as everyone is busy charging (well, advancing) forwards…
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Marine firing turn 2… “Humie hates da trees, boss. Stay away from da trees”.. Crimson Fists missile launcher operator failing to cover himself in glory!
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Inside the farmhouse.. “HE’S RIGHT F**KING THERE! WHAT’S YOUR MAJOR MALFUNCTION MARINE?!?”
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Ork turn 2 – with bolters mostly out of range, Thrugg leads a sweeping advance while Hruk’s ladz try sumfink sneaky like..
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I said mostly out of range – one squad fires, downing a sentry – first blood to da Boyz! (Note – we were using Rogue Trader statlines, Toughness 3 and a 4+ save… Marines die pretty easily in this edition!
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Marine turn 3 – right hand  squad moves into the outbuildings to try and thin out the green horde… 
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Success! Sort of – one Ork Boy downed, as humanity’s finest finally hit something.
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Even a stopped clock gives the right time twice a day… and for once the Marine missile launcher accomplishes something!
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Pedro leads the left hand squad through the orchard.. 
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Ork turn 3 – Thrugg leads the way, icing a Marine with his plasma pistol, while the rest of the Orks advance
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Marine turn 4 – deciding caution is the better part of valour, the remaining defenders begin a tactical withdrawal
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Hruk’s squad falls as the Marine flank attack led by Pedro Cantor pumps them full of bolt fire
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Losses from the plasma missile prove too much for the Ork squad to take, fleeing the field (as per new 8th ed rules)
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Ork turn 4 – with bolters now in range, the boyz slow to fire their weapons, taking a toll on the defenders (including missile launcher)
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A Crimson Fist flees! The shame!!!
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Marine turn 5 – It’s lonely in the farmhouse now… the remaining three (!) defenders prepare to sell their lives dearly…
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But have no fear, Pedro Cantor is here!
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Marine bolters cause more casualties, and more Orks flee the field
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Ork turn 5 – Down to one last mob and Thrugg, but so close to victory, the remaining Orks wheel to face the Marine flank attack, dropping two Marines and wounding Pedro!
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Taking advantage of Thrugg’s distraction, another Ork flees the field
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Bellowing his defiance, Thrugg charges Pedro but super accurate overwatch fire from the Marine commander downs the Ork warboss!

And that’s that – with both Hruk and Thrugg out of commission, the Orks have no more chance to win the game. A wounded Pedro Cantor and his five remaining Marines have carried the day – just!

All in all a thoroughly enjoyable game, but 8th still suffers from the curse of IGO UGO… however there is a pleasing element of granularity with the weapons and statlines… in any case, we’re going to refight this soon using the prototype rules from “Future Force Warrior” – Apocalypse: Earth’s sci-fi sister game and see how that stacks up. Meanwhile, props to GW for making these rules available for free and happy gaming!

Surprise, Surprise!

Just checked the stats and discovered that our geeky little blog has passed 5,000 views just this year – 1,000 more than the whole of 2016! And given there’s a far few from foreign climes, they can’t all be Dan and me…

So this is a quick shout out to thank any/ all/ both of you who follow our seemingly unique combination of nerdiness and extreme thriftiness – peace be upon you all, and drop a comment to let us know what you’d be interested in seeing next!

Meantime, here are a few pics as a teaser for what we’ve got lined up this week to celebrate the first week of the school holidays (and Lewis Hamilton winning at Silverstone, hats off sir!) :

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Yep, we’re going to be trying our hand at 40k 8th Edition, Skinflint Style! Tune in, till then, stay sharp, stay thrifty 😉

An Epic Scratchbuild

So after their rather Pyrrhic victory over the forces of Waagh-Bozzhog, the Redeemers chapter of the Space Marines is in rather poor shape – much geneseed was spilled that day, a Titan lost to the greenskin fiends, and very little of the strike force survived intact.

Reinforcements would start trickling in directly, but in the meantime it would fall to the Imperial Guard (sorry, Astra Militarum) to defend their homeworld! Responsibility for this sector of the northwestern continent fell to the brave men and women of the Hazzard 1977th and their commanding officer, Colonel Roboute Erasmus Leigh, and first to the muster station was his mighty regimental command vehicle, the Leviathan- class super heavy named in his honour!

Scratchbuilding in 6mm? surely that way madness lies?

Well, maybe. But starting with a big ol’ superheavy vehicle like the Leviathan gives you a bit more space to work in. So- this all began with my two year old son getting a fire truck for Christmas. As I was disposing of the packaging I noticed a couple of pieces that formed a sort of cathedral shape, which started to fire my imagination..

 

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The origins
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Adding track sections – these are made from layered corrugated card, with tread guards cut from cereal box cardboard and tracks built from a redundant IDE cable

Adding track sections – these are made from layered corrugated card, with tread guards cut from cereal box cardboard and tracks built from redundant IDE cable.

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Cardstock command centre superstructure – sloped armour, AdMech, y’all heard about this? -with rear troop transport compartment, 160 brave Hazzard guardsmen lunching within..
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Main gun – thin drinking straw and modelling foam mount, wrapped some paper to reinforce the barrel
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Dualtex (kinda) camo scheme

And the finished article! Basecoated in black, then a “wetbrush” of Vallejo Russian green, lightened for a couple more drybrush coats. Tan, Burnt Umber and black square and block shapes over the top, then painted the glass in the bridge with the “gem” technique I picked up from the master painter Tacobat – check his blog out, some awesome stuff there!

Did my best to paint the Aquila on the front glacis plate – next time I’m drawing the bugger out, painting it, THEN glueing it to the model!!!! Still, looks OK for the tabletop, I think. Added campaign badges and tactical numbers and gave the whole thing a unifying black wash (added some muddy weathering since these pics were taken) and gave the whole thing a spray of matt sealant to ensure the paint stays where it should!

I plan to add some more Imperial Guard allies as I think the Space Marines are massively overrepresented on the tabletop, so it seems much more plausible that the Marines will be the tip of the spear but the brunt of the fighting will fall to the brave men and women of the Hazzard Planetary Defence Force… and I’m itching to try and scratchbuild the stuff I could never afford as a kid!

Stay tuned, stay thrifty, see you next time 😉

Epic New Year!

So 2017 has landed with a crash as the orange reality TV star who clearly believes himself to be the God-Emperor of Mankind has ascended his first throne.. so while the world waits apprehensively for his Unification Wars to begin, let’s cheer ourselves up by looking at some toy soldiers!

Last month Dan and I celebrated the festive season by pulling out one of our old favourites, the classic 2nd Edition Space Marine- and brilliant fun was had by all, lots of things blew up and were reduced to rubble as the hive world of Hazzard dealt with an Orkish incursion.

Dan’s Orks looked fantastic but my marines looked a bit tatty by comparison, so I’ve spent the last couple of week tidying them up, rebasing the infantry and Warlord and generally trying to organise them.

So, in order to redress the balance of forces (Dan scored a lucky haul on Ebay and has WAAAY more models than I do… plus his unsettling talk of building a Great Gargant Mob out of cardboard..) I’ve composed a list to maximise points values so we can play the biggest games possible.

So currently we have:

Special Cards:

Medic (or Chaplain or Commander, depending on how I’m feeling) – 50pts

Warlord Titan – Rocket Launcher, Laser Blaster, Chainfist, Quake Cannon – 900pts

Company Cards:

Space Marine Veteran Company – 850pts (excellent tactical troops, able to go toe-to-toe with Orks in close assault too)

Space Marine Devastator Company – 1000pts (Lots of long range firepower, a must dealing with an Ork horde)

Land Raider Company – 600pts (tough, versatile tanks)

Support Cards:

Whirlwind Detachment  – 150 pts (currently unconverted Rhios, as I may try these out as Vindicators and/ or Predators or Razorbacks too.. but right now I likes me some artillery)

Terminator Detachment – 300pts (can tear through infantry like a hot knife through butter, plus valuable anti-armour firepower from the transport Land Raiders)

Scout Detachment – 150pts (can sit on valuable backfield objectives, protect Whirlwinds etc)

Grand total – 4000pts exactly.

What’s that, you say? Pics? Very well:

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Medic

Warlord Titan

Veterans of 1st Company (denoted by black shoulder pads)

Devastators of 4th Company

Land Raider Company

Terminator Detachment (We’ve got a big 1st Company)

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10th Company Scouts – as denoted by white shoulder pads

Whirlwind detachment (with missile launchers, erm, removed for maintenance rituals..)

Group Shot – Strike Force 01 of the Redeemers’ Space Marine chapter!

A little on chapter fluff and paint scheme – these chaps are based on the Hive World of Hazzard, located deep in the galactic South.. something of a backwater for most Imperial authorities and have developed a free wheeling, relaxed attitude to dealing with their populace. They are a Tenth Founding chapter, allegedly based on Space Wolf DNA, and their natural characteristics have integrated well with Hazzard society which promotes a strong, evangelical faith in the Imperial Cult. However, this does not dampen their martial spirit or prowess – on hearing of the Ork invason of WAAAAGH-BOZZHOG, Chapter Master Jacob E. Lee was heard to pronounce “Them Orks are tough sons o’bitches… but my Redeemers are tough sons o’bitches too. And my Redeemers can shoot straight.”

Paint scheme wise, I went with an American Civil War inspired scheme, largely grey but with orange and blues thrown in too. Each company is divided into three detachments, denoted by orange, blue or grey detailing. Terminators are in black and Veterans are marked by black pauldrons while Scouts wear white. White detailing marks out HQ vehicles and stands.

Painting process was pretty simple – white undercoat, base coat of Vallejo grey, thin black ink wash, drybrush with grey and a lighter grey, detailing – pauldrons and black bolters – before a very light ochre drybrush for weathering, followed by basing first with sand, then a few dabs of flock and edging with Burnt Umber craft paint. Then a good spray of matt sealant to keep them from wearing. I doubt I’ll be in the running for any Golden Demon awards, but they look pretty good from a distance and I’ve been amazed how much difference the basing makes! Dan’s looking enviously and is waiting to nick the technique himself…

Hope you enjoy  the pics and we can’t wait to get stuck in to another battle with this classic ruleset. See y’all soon!