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.
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.
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.
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!
All these games are board or tile based, so easy and quick set up, perfect for a quick hobby fix!
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!
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 DaSkooderia are coming to town in 2018!
Stay tuned, stay thrifty, and let’s see what we can put together without cracking open the credit card….
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:
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..
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!
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..
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?
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..
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!
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!
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”
In my case, what I had won was this:
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:
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!