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:

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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 😉

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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!

I’m Dreaming of A Green Xmas… Epic Space Marine Battle Report

The hive world of Hazzard, deep in the galactic south. A friendly and hospitable place, kept prosperous by it’s trade in lethally potent liquor to keep Imperial citizens in a state of blissful stupor.. and home to the Redeemers chapter of the Space Marines.

In the depths of winter, the world celebrates Emperor’s Mass – an ancient custom venerating the day that The Emperor (referred to in ancient Terran texts as Jesus, Santa Claus and Charlie Sheen) was born. Legend has it that on the Eve of this holy day, angels of the Imperium bestow gifts on every pious boy and girl…

But this year something wicked and evil grins on the horizon – licking it’s lips at juicy prey. The vanguard of a mighty Ork invasion force, WAAAGH-BOZZHOG, has made planetfall and an elite Redeemers strike force rushes to meet it…

2950 pts:

Space Marines:

Devastator Company – 1000 pts

Land Raider Company – 600pts

Special Card: Warlord Titan (Rocket Launcher, Laser Blaster, Chainfist, Quake Cannon) – 900 pts

Support Card: Terminator Detachment – 300pts

Support Card: Whirlwind Detachment – 150pts

Orks:

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

Goff clan w/ Gutrippa, Bonecruncha, Lungbursta & Skullhamma Battle Fortress – 1100pts

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

(yep, straight away – in retrospect neither of us can drink, wargame and add up!)

Deplyoment:

Marines

I won the deployment roll and decided for the southern edge – that allowed me to deploy the Whirlwinds straight into the ruins of the Emperor Ascendant and onto objective 3. A task group comprising the Terminators and Land Raider company would take and hold the Astropath tower (objective 8). Two detachments of the Devastator company would deploy into the town front and centre, securing objective 2, while HQ and the third (Blue) detachment would rush forward and secure objective 4. The Warlord would deploy in between with the idea of supporting both groups and capturing the relay station (objective 1)

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Marine deployment along the southern edge, viewed from the western end.

Orks

Stuck with the northern table edge, I had slimmer pickings, so I decided to abide by the great Orky concept of concentration of force! Seeing as I had basically three manoeuvre units – the Sunz, the Goffs and the Slasher I kept things simple, massing my force on the western side of the table.

With their huge speed, the Evil Sunz would loop round the town and charge the astropath tower (objective 8), while the Slasher and the Goffs would pound up the middle, capturing objectives 1, 6 and 7 in the process and then administering the coup de grace to whatever Imperial forces were  unlucky enough to survive the Sunz onslaught!

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Ork deployment – Evil Sunz, Slasher, Goffs

Turn 1

Orks won the initiative, surging forward like a green tode. The Evil Sunz gunned their engines and raced forward, a motley collection vehicles enveloping the town in a flanking movement and making for the Astropath tower, while the Goffs uttered an almighty WAAAAGH and hurtled forward waving bolt pistols and knives in a furious onslaught. The Slasher moved forward in a somewhat more considered fashion, positioning itself strategically to cover objectives 6 & 7.

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The green tide rushes forward!

On the southern edge, Land Raiders gunned their engines and rolled forward to secure objective 8. Hulking Terminators leapt from the transports into cover while their Devastator brethren deployed in perfect formation from their Rhino transports to grab objectives 2 and 4.

 

Meanwhile, the Warlord lumbered into position between the two task groups

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Ineffectual firing from both sides took out a few Evil Sunz battlewagons and the Mekboy Dragster, but nowhere near enough to make a dent. The Imperials hunkered down for the inevitable onslaught next turn..

 

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Dispositions at the end of Turn 1 – Orks 15VPs, Marines 20VPs

Turn 2

Marines won the initiative and with pretty much the entire force on First Fire orders, we hunkered down and let the green tide come on..

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Evil Sunz orks envelope the task force guarding the Astropath tower (objective 8)
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First Fire defensive fire orders take a toll on the onrushing orks, but it’s not nearly enough..

For the most part, turn 2 concentrated on the Ork rush, Evil Sunz orks engulfing objective 8 causing heavy casualties to the Land Raiders and Terminators. Elsewhere, the Devastators picked off a couple of Goff lead tanks, the Whirlwinds stripped a power field off the Slasher and the Warlord and Slasher engaged in a fairly ineffective exchange of fire.

At the end of Turn 2, Orks lead 24VPs to 21.

Turn 3

We issued orders before checking initiative, having possibly gone A Beer Too Far – I banked on getting initiative and managing an orderly withdrawal, inflicting casualties on the Evil Sunz and luring the Goffs onto the guns of the Devastators and Warlord. Objectove 8 would fall, but we would regain it later.

That was the plan.

Then Dan won the initiative.

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Evil Sunz slaughter the Land Raiders and Terminators in close combat

The Slasher, on First Fire orders, pivoted and fired a ball round into the Devastator detachment holding objective 2:

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Before..
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After.

As their infantry engulfed the defenders on the Astropath tower, the Evil Sunz battlewagons charged the Warlord!

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Hoping for a miracle…
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….nope.
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The Imperial left flank comes to a sticky end

The Orks now held Objectives 1, 6, 7 & 8, as well as breaking the Terminators and the Land Raiders, putting them on 29VPs, but incredibly, the Devastators and the Warlord had caused enough damage to the Goffs to break them and the defenders of objective 8 had sold their lives dearly enough to break the Evil Sunz.. the Marines were on 39! 1 more and it would be an Imperial victory!

Turn 4:

Things were going to the wire this turn. A sole surviving Rhino sped off from the ruins of objective 2 to claim the empty objective 5 while the Orks were forced to swing their offensive to the left. The shattered remains of the Goffs moved to close assault the Warlord while the Evil Sunz regrouped and gave fire support and the Slasher loosed another ball round at the Devastators on objective 4.

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Surviving Devastator Rhino from Blue Group takes Objective 5
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Whirling melee as entire surviving Goff clan assault the Warlord
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Another ball round, another building gone, and the Devastators are one casualty away from breaking..
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After massacring the Goff infantry, a Nobz stand gets lucky – they penetrate the reactor and the Warlord explodes, wiping out everything around it..
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Apart from these guys, who dust themselves off, ready to head back to camp for a squig vindaloo and a fungus ale

Amazingly enough, however, my quick thinking Rhino crew had saved the day, taking me up to 44 VPs – despite the enormous casualties he’d inflicted, gutting my force, Dan could only muster up 37. An Imperial victory!

But to the sole surviving Devastator detachment and Whirlwind battery, as they faced the remains of two ork clans and an undamaged Slasher, I’m sure it didn’t feel that way…

A great game all round, kudos to Dan for playing Orks like they were meant to be played and damn near pulling off a win despite our poor maths! After a brief reflection and a deep resonant belch, Dan declared he accepted the result but felt he’d earned a moral victory, and frankly, I have to agree with him. The pride of Hazzard was well and truly mauled, with only three Whirlwinds, four Rhinos and seven infantry stands remaining against four stands of Nobz, five of boyz and a fully functioning Slasher. The Redeemer’s PR department have their work cut on this one!

Tune in again soon for more of our Epic tomfoolery, and here’s wishing you all a very happy Christmas and New Year!