Terrain Talk Pt. 14 – SUPER Cheap, SUPER Simple Hedgerows

Right, this may be the absolute flat out anyone-can-do-it simplest old wargaming trick ever…

Hedges! SO easy to do, so simple , so effective…

And it would appear I have lost most of the pictures that go along with this 😦

Still, here’s where we begin – lolly stick and pan scourer:

Chop the pan scourer to about 15mm height – enough to give cover but not block LOS completely (for 20mm scale – you poor deluded fools in 28mm might want to go a bit higher) and glue to the lolly stick. We used acrylic caulk for this but PVA will do the trick too, it’ll just take a little longer. The great thing about using the lolly stick as a base? No warping!

Next, spray prime black, and drybrush dark brown – you can be quite heavy with the drybrushing, as this is really is more like a base coat than a highlight. I did have pics of this stage but I seem to have had a senior moment and deleted them….

Now it’s time for flocking – we use Jarvis scenic flocks and followed a bastardised version of Mel The Terrain Tutor’s three tone flocking technique. Dark green in the “lowlight” areas, light green highlights on the most exposed bits and then mid green over the whole thing. Paint your hedge with PVA and then sprinkle the flock accordingly.

After that, we hit them with some clump foliage to represent weeds and undergrowth and to break up the outline of the lolly stick base. Finally, sealing! There’s a LOT of flock and clump foliage on these pieces, the last thing you want is them shedding everywhere. So, we topped up an old Windolene spray bottle with a mix of PVA and water (about 10-1 water to PVA) and just went to town soaking the pieces in it. Then the next day we did it again.

And finally, the end result!

Sky Marines vs Virum Nascii amongst the Hyperian bocage!  

Pretty happy with these, although I may have overdone things with the differing flocks, I have seen some really nice pieces that just went with dark green… but oh well, they look pretty good from two feet away and that’s really what matters.

Hope that’s given you some ideas and inspiration, so stay thrifty out there and we’ll see you soon!

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Hold Back The Tide – A Hyperian Wars Battle Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With everything deployed, it was game on!

Turn 1:

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

Turn 2:

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

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

Turn 3:

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

Turn 4:

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

Turn 5:

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

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

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

Terrain Talk Pt. 13 – Lots Of Extraordinary Riveting: A Vrilfire Reactor for Hyperian Wars

Some of you may be familiar with Dakkadakka.com, one of the biggest hubs for wargaming (mainly GW, but by no means exclusively), as well as painting and modelling. Jim and I are regular visitors, and over the years have come upon many PLOGs to loot for ideas and inspiration (see here, for example).

And lo, it was on a recent trawl for ideas to pinch that we came upon the elite secret society (well, sort of) of Dakka terrain builders, the League Of Extraordinary Riveters – so named for being the detail obsessed, practically OCD modellers who will go to the extent of modelling every rivet onto their pieces.

Frankly, this rather appealed! And so when this month’s terrain competition was announced, with “food” as it’s theme, we thought, let’s have a go.

Now, every year I get a Cadbury’s Creme Egg easter egg. And every year it’s awesome, even though it does nudge me a step closer to type 2 diabetes. But every year, after I’ve gorged myself on sugar and then gone through the inevitable grinding comedown, I look at the packaging and think, “That could be…. SOMETHING”

Well, this year? It’s going to be SOMETHING.

 

It begins…
Planning (PLANNING?!?) stage….
Enter a caption
Detailing and tiling with cardboard
Boiler plate detailed with PVA blobs for rivets
More tiling, gates added – made from cardboard, three layers, woodwork patterns carved in to the door and rivets added. Cooling towers from drinking straws.
Pipework made from sprues sawn up with new toy – a razor saw!
Entire piece sprayed black and then texture paste added on top – a mix of PVA, filler, sand and water.
Base made from a handily sized hardboard square I happened to have left ovr, edges bevelled and then texture paste applied there too.
And done! Prime black, drybrush up using our Lukes APS ruins palette.. metallics done with gun metal washed with black and brown ink, skin wash added in places for a rusty vibe. Honourable mention for semicircular flywheel casings – they were peanut butter jar lids cut in half with the razor saw!
Ground primed black and drybrushed up through dark to light browns, three tone flock added
1/72 Virum Nascii ratmen shown for scale

Vallejo Skin Wash used to represent rust
Added some flock and clump foliage to represent wear and weathering
Not too shabby overall!

So no idea how we’ve placed in the end, but it’s been a good fun ride!

So until next time, stay thrifty and we’ll see you soon!

I Have Seen The Future…. and it is GRIMDARK!

As some of you know, Jim and I are basically Wyloch groupies, and have been ever since we stumbled across his series on how to craft DIY 40K vehicles, skimmers, walkers etc out of hot glue and random crap he has lying around the house. He’s basically nerd MacGyver.

Anyhoo, recently he’s been putting up some battle reports using the system formerly known as 1page40k – Grimdark Future. This is billed as a fast playing, easy to use, quick and dirty version of the 40k we all know and sort-of-love, sort-of-loathe. Rules and army lists are free to download from the One Page Rules website here. And seeing as we are drawn to free stuff like a moth to the flame of a slow burning crack pipe, we were all over this.

Jim took the Skooderia as Orc Marauders, I took the Hazzard 1977th as Human Defence Force. Long story here, but basically I feel the Leman Russ I built out of cardboard owes me some serious f*cking karma after it’s traumatic birth. OPR designer Gaetano Ferrara recommends 750pts per side to start, but because we were using smaller models we expanded up to 1000pts.

Well, it made sense at the time.

Anyway, lists:

Da Orc Marauders!
Warlord [1] 3+

(shoots at 5+)

4+ Twin Carbine (18”, A4)

, CCW (A3)

Bad Shot, Furious, Hero, Tough(3)   65pts
Orcs [10] 4+

(shoots at 5+)

5+ Carbines (18”, A2)

, CCWs (A2)

1 Rocket Launcher

(24”, A1, AP(3), Deadly(3))

1 Heavy Machinegun (36”, A3, AP(1))

Bad Shot, Furious   215pts

RT -280

Commando Orcs [5] 4+

(shoots at 5+)

5+ Pistols (12”, A1), CCWs (A2)

1 Flamethrower (12”, A6)

Bad Shot, Furious, Scout, Stealth, Strider   145pts

RT 425

Power Armor Orcs [3] 3+

(shoots at 5+)

2+ Carbines (18”, A2), Energy Fists (A3, AP(2)) Bad Shot, Furious, Slow, Tough(6)   395pts

RT 820

Truck [1] 4+ 2+ Heavy Machinegun (36”, A3, AP(1)), Crew (A1) Bad Shot, Fast, Impact(3), Tough(6), Transport(11) Battle Ram (Strider)

Red Paint Job (moves +3” on Advance and +6” on Rush/Charge actions)

180pts

RT 1000

The Human Defence Force musters!

Commander [1] 4+ 5+ Assault Rifle (24”, A1), Energy Sword (A2, AP(1)) Commander, Hero, Tough(3)  55pts

Psychic [1] 5+ 5+ Pistol (12”, A1), CCW (A2) Hero, Psychic(2), Tough(3)  50pts RT 105

Infantry Squad [5] 5+ 5+ Assault Rifles (24”, A1), CCWs (A1) –  90pts

includes Weapon Teams [3] 5+ 5+ Missile Launcher – pick one each turn: HE (48”, A1, Blast(3))AT (48”, A1, AP(3), Deadly(3)), CCWs (A1) Tough(3)   RT195

Conscripts [10] 6+ 5+ Assault Rifles (24”, A1), CCWs (A1) – – 60pts RT 255

Weapon Teams [3] 5+ 5+ Heavy Machineguns (36”, A3, AP(1)), CCWs (A1) Tough(3)  115pts RT370

Weapon Teams [3] 5+ 5+ Missile Launcher – pick one each turn: HE (48”, A1, Blast(3)) AT (48”, A1, AP(3), Deadly(3)), CCWs (A1) Tough(3) 120pts RT490

Weapon Teams [3] 5+ 5+ Laser Cannon (48”,A1,AP(4),Deadly(3)), CCWs (A1) Tough(3)  125pts RT 615

Battle Tank [1] 4+ 2+ Nova Cannon (36”, A1, AP(1), Blast(6)), Laser Cannon (48”,A1,AP(4),Deadly(3)), Crew (A1) Fast, Impact(3), Tough(12)  2x Heavy Machineguns (36”,A3,AP(1)) Storm Rifle (24”, A2)  Light Machinegun (36”, A3) 385pts RT 1000

We set up terrain with a ruined village to the east and a disused plasma generator station to the west, set objectives (one of the generators, central hill, ruined church and a ruined shop)…and GAME ON!

Human Defence Force won the roll off and force the Orcs to deploy first:

Jim’s ladz took the southern table edge, concentrating forces in the village – effectively conceding the plasma generator but with the intent of focusing on the central three and hoping to overwhelm the HDF at short range
Big Red packed with Warlord, Power Armoured Orcs and Commando Orcs with the task of seizing and holding the two village objectives. Meanwhile the other mob would head for the central objective in  the hills
HDF infantry cluster in cover opposing the main orc force – commander, infantry and conscripts along with heavy machinegun team
The HDF is ready – Hoo-AH!

And battle was joined!

Action erupts almost immediately as the Warlord, the Commando Orcs and the Power Armoured Orcs leap off their transport and straight away mix it up with the HDF heavy machinegun team – losing a PA Orc and another wounded
HDF range superiority proving effective as long as humie can keep his distance, but if the Orcs can get in close…
Boyz mob climb the hill, taking an objective and lobbing a grenade into the HDF squad
HDF missile team open up on da boyz
The General wades in to the fray
“Where dey all gone?”

 

Transport holds the objective while the Warlord makes his way through the village
Commando Orcs hold the forward ruins objective, giving supporting fire while the Power Armour Orcs advance on the conscript squad and the Command squad 
As we go into Turn 3, it’s 2 objectives to the Orcs, 1 to the HDF
HDF conscripts play cat and mouse with the VERY tough Power Armour Orcs
The General advances toward the Orc flank, a rolling firestorm…
From their perch near the plasma generator, HDF laser cannon team drop the Warlord
And as the final turn comes to a end, the General crashes into the Orc flank, taking the central objective and massacring the Commando Orcs.

End result, 2 objectives to the HDF (plasma generator and central hill) one to the Orc Marauders (ruined church, held by the transport)

Casualties – HDF lost a weapons team and some of the infantry squad, plus wounded Captain… the Orcs were pretty much down to the transport and their Power Armour elites, and even they were pretty beaten up.

So a pretty decisive victory!

Thoughts on the game? A LOT of fun. Grimdark Future is simple, fast playing and intuitive, absolutely brilliant for a quick throw down kickabout. We did wonder about the balance of point values given the pounding the Orcs took, but Jim did point out the he might just’ve sucked at playing the game.

So, a new system, and props to OPR designer Gaetano Ferrara for the effort he’s put into creating a fun and fast game that really benefits from not being supported by a major model company (more thoughts on that another day). We had a blast and next up on the list is OPR’s “Age Of Fantasy- Regiments” – we’ll let you know!

(Side note – free rules and army lists, 1/72 miniatures, scratchbuilt terrian and vehicles… could this be the cheapest wargame ever played?)

Try these yourself: onepagerules.com

Operation TYRANT- Apocalypse: Earth AAR

With the Soviet offensive of summer 1956 successful in capturing a number of Allied plasma generation facilities, UNIVAC, Majestic 12 and Supreme Allied Command Europe were all agreed to focus their immediate strategy on recapturing these vital installations before Emperor Djugashvilli could build on the momentum the Holy Soviet Army had lmanaged to create (at great cost).

It therefore came as something of a surprise when Stalin’s next move did not come across the front lines in Europe, but a massed amphibious assault on northern Scotland coming from an armada of massive transport submarines. In one of the opening moves, Lt Polikarpov would lead the infantry component of the assault task force assigned to knock out the plasma generator station powering Faslane naval base.

The Scottish campaign was notable for the complete and total inebriation of both sides – commissars would ladle out vodka liberally to the assault troops while the Scottish defended their homeland fuelled on a mix of Iron Bru and McEwan’s. Fighting was close and brutal, fuelled by borscht on the one side and deep fried Mars bars on the other. In the end, however, there could be only one victor.

Welcome to another Apocalypse: Earth megagame! We’ve been planning this for a while to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings and figured doing our own weird war retro sci-fi take on things would be our little (if slightly strange) contribution to commemorating the immense bravery shown that day.

So, without further ado, on to the battle report!

Scenario:

The Soviet force would be landing on the beach from the gigantic transport submarines they had created in secret and infiltrated up to the Scottish coast (which meant no need to scratch build landing craft), and would be landing with the intent to capture the (suspiciously familiar looking) plasma generator station that powered Faslane Naval Base – knocking that out would take down the base forcefields, allowing the next stage of the Soviet invasion.

Task Force Polikarpov, therefore brought EVERYTHING to the battle, including some new recruits to bolster the rifle squads to a full 14 men each. We were also trying something new – grouping the Soviet tanks into platoons, each consisting of two regular gun T-48s and either the Inferna or Elektra assault variant. This meant less flexibility (alternating unit activations favours multiple small units, a fact that the Atlantic Alliance is built around) but also the ability to bring down a LOT of firepower in one go. In short, playing like the slow moving iron clad firestorm the Holy Soviet Army should be!

And their opponents – well, wouldn’t you know it, Buffalo 2-7 had been so badly mauled at Skalk Point they’d been sent back to the UK for training and integrating replacements, so guess who happened to be the sector QRF again? This time the lads would also have help in the form of a League of European Nations platoon, including infantry, an anti-tank laser and some experimental vehicles on their maiden game

Deployment

Klaxons blared inside the Allied command centre.

“Contact – no, wait, multiple contacts!” called out the sonarman monitoring the sonobuoy pickets out in the bay. “Bearing 060 through 065, closing up on the beaches fast.. where the HELL did they come from?”

“One of their damned sorcerers” snarled Lt. Grant. He quickly swallowed the last bite of his bacon sandwich and thumbed the ARPANET transceiver on to the platoon network.

“Buffalo 2-7, this is Sunray. All units stand to. I say again, stand to. Prepare for amphibious assault.”

Around him the troops were already scrambling. Men checked weapons, drivers gunned engines. Grant thumbed the channel.

“Kampfgruppe Hulkenberg, this is Buffalo 2-7 Sunray, we have multiple- “

“We have them too, Lieutenant”. The clipped, precise tones of his European League counterpart cut through the static. “All units moving to prepared positions as rehearsed.”

Grant smiled grimly. “See you on the beach, Nico.”

“It’s a date. Von Hulkenberg out.”

The Allied forces rush to defend Mel Bay! Silverbug gunships anchor the flanks while the Kugelpanzers prepare a point blank defence with their (potentially) devastating laser cannons..
Grant and the Atlantic Alliance infantry cluster on the Allied right
Lt. von Hulkenberg’s platoon take the left, bolstered by Atlantic Alliance vehicles
An wall of steel welcomes the Holy Soviet Army!

Turn 1

The game opened with a salvo of 152mm shells from supporting Soviet naval firepower, smashing an Allied jeep and causing damage to the Kugelpanzer squadron, but no sooner had the ground stopped shaking from the explosions than appeared the gigantic, terrifying form of the Soviet Colossus – Stompy Uncle Joe leading his children to war!

The Holy Soviet Army storms ashore – the Colossus leads the way, incinerating one Kugelpanzer, frying another one with his lightning launcher and lobbing the third one onto an Alliance APC, destroying both! AND THEN finishes off by blowing both missile launchers off a Silverbug with his anti air machineguns – THAT’s how Stompy Uncle Joe rolls..
The Holy Soviet Army barges on to the beach, the brutal firepower of the Rampager’s twin 130mm cannons demolishing a Centurion
Siberian assault troops storm into the fray…
…before being gunned down by Rocketeers!
Soviet infantry push onto the beach, taking fearful losses
Chaos on the Allied left flank!
And just about everywhere else!
Lt. Polikarpov leads his platoon forward
Heavy weapons squad unleash hell on the defenders
Attack Drones bring down a Silverbug
Into the breach, Comrades!
The state of play at the end of turn 1 – the Soviets are ashore but heavy losses on both sides

Turn 2

Once more, the Holy Soviet Army advances into the maelstrom – after the near total demolition of the Soviet infantry in turn 1, we house ruled that any units destroyed in turn 1 could respawn as a second wave in turn 2. Very sportingly, Dan declined to apply this to his left flank tank platoon and limited just to infantry. In fairness, we hadn’t really balanced the armies too closely, it was largely gun and guesswork!
Despite being immobilised, Stompy Uncle Joe manages to grab an Allied APC that ventures too near..
Which he promptly lobs at the sole surviving Centurion, falling short but causing a very spectacular explosion…
Second wave of Soviet infantry charge forward…
A second squad of Siberian assault troops overwhelm the German infantry on the Allied left
The remaining German rifle squad gun down the exposed mutant assault troops

As the second turn ended, the Soviets were ashore with heavy losses – but at the cost of gutting the Allied formations!

Turn 3

Soviet Holy Mystic summons primordial waves of psychic energy to telekinetically lift the last functioning Allied M60A3 and drop it on the second Silverbug, destroying them both in spectacular fashion!
Soviet naval guns blast through the few remaining Atlantic Alliance infantrymen
Surviving Tesla troopers demolish another APC
Stompy Uncle Joe falls to Stinger/ TOW fire

By this time both sides were on the ropes and tottering, but the Soviets had managed to push the Allied forces off the beach, with catastrophic casualties on each side!

Turn 4

Stompy Uncle Joe may have fallen, but he’s still in the fight! Soviet Holy Mystic summons the psychic strength to lift eighty tons of steel and drop it on the sole surviving Allied vehicle..
The subsequent explosion wounds Lt. Grant and kills yet another Alliance rifleman
Allied sniper team knocks out a Tesla trooper’s generator – in response, the surviving trooper fries the sniper team!
Mac and Lt. Grant make a last gasp attack on the Soviet HQ..
But they fail to inflict any damage, and Lt. Polikarpov and his HQ gun them down without mercy!
And with that, the last gasp of Allied resistance falls… the way is open to the plasma generator station!

The pain flared across his temple. Lt. Grant struggled to consciousness to find himself looking into the darkness of a Kalashnikov assault rifle barrel. As he struggled to clear his vision, a second figure in a peaked cap wielding a pistol swam into view.

“Lt. Grant, I presume”, said a Russian voice, “I have been waiting a long time for this..”


So, a Soviet victory! At great cost – HQ, a couple of riflemen, the Mystic and his bodyguard, a Tesla trooper and sniper were literally all that were left. On the Allied side, however, we were down to a German medic armed with a pistol. So, now what for our story? Lt. Grant trying to effect a breakout from a Soviet POW camp? Some more fluff and battle reports on the Scottish Front? Let us know!

On a more serious note, no one reading this will have been unaware of the 75th anniversary of D-Day a few days ago, and certainly that was in our thoughts as we finished this quite epic game.

Dan – “That was a laugh and everything, but f**k me, can you imagine having to do it for real?”

No. No I can’t. We both agreed that neither of us could have done it. But mercifully, we haven’t had to.

So thank you Grandpa. Thank you Grandad. Thank you to all of you who summoned up the courage to do the impossible – not just on D-Day, but the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after that, for eleven more months.

Stay thrifty out there and we’ll see you again soon.

Terrain Talk Pt. 12 – Life’s A Beach…

You know what? I think this might be the most ambitious build we’ve ever tried. Grab a beer, this is going to be a big one.

Back at the start of the year, I mentioned to Dan that June 6 2019 would be the 75th anniversary of D-Day, and we figured it would be nice to do something to commemorate it beyond getting hammered and watching Saving Private Ryan, especially as we both had grandads who had served on the day itself (mine drove a DUKW in the early follow up waves, Dan’s served on a Royal Navy destroyer). As such, we both took a little inspiration from Mel The Terrain Tutor’s amazing D-Day beach landing board and decided to attempt something similar ourselves.

I mean, it’s not like Mel’s (as he explained himself in his vlog series) went way over time or budget or anything.. and he’s a pro with years of experience, proper materials, a budget, talent…. what could possibly go wrong?

STAGE 1 – PLANNING.

Now, this concept in itself is fairly novel, as up until a couple of years ago we just tended to glue junk together, hope for the best, and then lose ourselves in vicious envy of other people’s work, but this time we knew we had to have some sort of plan.

There’s no way we could do a devoted 6×4 board – don’t have the time, don’t have the talent, don’t have anywhere to store it even if we did – so we decide on a 2×4 overlay that could sit on top of the regular board. Happily, I just happened to have a pair of 2’x2′ bits of hardboard in the shed. Game on.

We roughed out a basic design – a small concave beach with rock formations either side, that would match up and be modular so we could play different scenarios – and got cracking.

STAGE 2 – BASIC MATERIALS

Hardboard base, Celotex insulation foam edging, and yes, that’s a bit of wooden shelf as a plateau. We call ourselves Skinflint for a reason, you know.
Pebbles and cat litter, foam off cuts to start making the beach. 1/72 T-34 for scale.
Caulk and filler to start building some contours
Early days, but there’s something there!
Filler and caulk added, smoothed out the straight lines

Covered with home made texture paste (PVA, sand, filler powder, paint and water mixed to taste) primed white and ready for…..

….leopard spotting! First we daub on a thin dirty yellow wash…

…then, a dark brown wash on the bits that aren’t yellow (although some overlap is fine – just make sure you leave a few bits of white…)
A couple of coats of a thin black wash
Bone drybrush works its’ magic
Such a simple technique, but so effective!
Really brings out the texture
Base colours roughed in – thinned red brown for the sandy areas, dark brown for the earth tones, craft blue for the sea… yeah I know how it looks, but…..
It ain’t staying that way Black and brown washes, as always heavily thinned with water
Sand tones overbrushed and a bone drybrush.. and oh yeah, didn’t I mention this piece has a brother? 😉
Couple of very thin washes to get the sand where we want it – unfortunately, as you can probably see, we’ve got a hairline fracture forming as this was where I’d used corrugated cardboard to add some contour and the filler had decided that now was the moment it would decide not to take… F*ck. Would have been ok, but it was a straight line and NATURE DON’T DO STRAIGHT LINES, YO.
Three tone flocking as per Mel The Terrain Tutor

Coming together now!

Between flock and bushes (lichen scraps, sprayed with PVA sealant solution and covered in several layers of flock, before being sprayed again)

Water effects added courtesy of pound shop epoxy resin thinned with acetone nail polish remover, mixed in a few drops of green and brown ink as well, and then applied with a lolly stick. We nicked this idea from Lukes APS – all hail the Squire Of The North!

Final touches were a good healthy dousing in watered down PVA sealant, followed by a coat of matt varnish. Warping was counteracted by applying PVA on the underside of the board, and – DONE!

We finish with the now obligatory Skinflint Games terrain naming ceremony – ladies and gentlemen, charge your glasses and raise a toast to (named after our main influence) Mel Bay!

So let’s wrap this up with a few White Dwarf- style beauty shots:

The Holy Soviet Army fall upon the beach head while the League Of European Nations and Atlantic Alliance forces scramble to respond

So if you’ve made it this far, thanks for sticking with us and I hope you can forgive us for being a bit quiet on the blog front this month! Steal every idea here – we did – stay thrifty and we’ll see you again soon….

Terrain Talk Pt. 11 – Showcase! Kubica Pass Redux

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

Bastard.

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

Nature doesn’t do straight lines.

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

 

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

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

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

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

A Very Bloody Valentine- Apocalypse: Earth AAR

The sun glittered on the waves, reflecting across the expanse of the North Sea. At this altitude you could smell the salt, and thanks to the backwash from the helicopter blades and manoeuvring thrusters on the Silverbugs, you could taste the spray too.

Lt. Grant looked back at his new command, a platoon of infantry jammed inside the brand new Westland Wessex transport. Spread out either side of him, as far as the eye could see, were transport helicopters and Silverbug antigrav gunships, skimming across the waves. He felt a mixture of immense pride and trepidation – Ivan wouldn’t be expecting this, but the 1st Air Cav, although an elite division on paper, was as yet untested in battle. Grant himself was fresh from West Point, a young officer with much to prove. He flicked through his briefing notes one last time – get in, destroy all the supplies you could reach and get to the extraction point before Ivan could react and summon reinforcements. The damage they did here would be crucial in stemming the tide of Holy Soviet Empire forces currently engulfing Central Europe, and rampaging across Eastern Germany.

It would work. It had to work.

The pilot tapped his helmet, held up a hand, four fingers and thumb extended. Grant nodded, and turned to his men.

“Five minutes to drop!” he yelled. “Lock and load!”

With a metallic crash, his men did so. Grant smiled – they looked ready..

With all the 40k stuff that’s been going on of late, you’d be forgiven for thinking that we’d forgotten our first love – our own universe and game system, cobbled together over the years and finally codified back in 2014. For those who aren’t familiar, Germany wins (sort of) WW1, and the result is a proto-EU (The League Of European Nations), an Atlantic Alliance bloc comprising the UK & Commonwealth along withe the USA, and a demented theocratic hellhole Holy Soviet Empire, ruled over by everyone’s favourite baddie, Emperor Josef Djugashvilli I! (aka Stalin to his mates).

January 1954 sees the Holy Soviet Army invade the West, and in the first catastrophic days the Europeans struggle to contain the Red Hordes as they mobilise their reserves. So it’s Blighty and the Yanks to the rescue, as on Valentine’s Day 1954 the joint US-UK 1st Air Cavalry division (including a few experimental vehicles) pull off a devastating raid from an unexpected quarter on a massive Soviet forward logistics base, causing severe damage to the ammunition and fuel supply chain.

We’ve been kicking around a few scenarios to try out, and this has stuck with us as a fun one to try, focusing on a single platoon trying to get in, cause havoc, and get out again before the Holy Soviet Army wakes up and flattens them! So, as Valentines Day dawns and you think you’re in trouble with the missus – well, it could be worse!

We laid out the 6 x 4 board with the objective in the middle, and let the Soviets deploy within 60cm of the objective marker with no idea yet where the attack might be coming from. Next up, they were subjected to three barrages of 155mm artillery fire, simulating the bombing runs from the lead Silverbug attack vehicles. At that point, the Atlantic Alliance forces would deploy on the table anywhere at least 50 cm from the objective, and the Soviet player would nominate which edge should be the extraction point.

The Atlantic Alliance job is to hit all the buildings around the objective marker with C4 demolition charges (setting the charge counts as a Combat Action) and extract as many forces as possible off the nominated table edge. The Soviets would be trying to stop and/or kill & capture as many of the elite cavalrymen as possible.

The Soviets had the Platoon HQ, three rifle squads (nos. 1, 2 & 3), a support squad (no. 4)reinforced with an additional Lightning Launcher, a Noble Sniper (who we both forgot about throughout the game), a squad of Siberian “Strong Men” assault troops, a section of Tesla armoured troops, the Holy Mystic and his bodyguard, an APC, the SU-152 assault gun, 4 T-48s, the Inferna and Elektra specialist tanks and the two Shock Drones – basically everything but the big superheavies!

Meanwhile Buffalo 2-7, were in lean, mean “airmobile” mode, which meant leaving the tracked vehicles behind, giving us Lt Grant and his Platoon Command Element, two rifle squads (Alfa & Bravo), a heavy weapons squad (Charlie), machinegun squad (Delta), Rocketeers (Warhawk 4-9), Dreadnaught squad, three Humvees armed with minigun, Stinger/TOW and railgun, and sniper team (Ghost 7). Also present were our ace in the hole – two Avrocar Silverbug gunships toting Stinger/TOW launchers and Avenger autocannons, along with the M85 combat support robots.

Grab yourself a beer – this is going to be a good one….

The field of battle – objective marker is dead centre, with two plasma generators, a communications centre and two supply warehouses clustered around it

The Soviets deploy for all round defence
Winter storage hasn’t been kind to everyone :-/ still, comparable quality to Forge World resin, or so I’m told….
Lt. Polikarpov and No. 4 support squad take up residence in the centre, with heavy weapons deployed to cover every avenue of approach.
The sh*t hits the fan! Allied airstrikes crash amongst the Soviets, destroying the Shock Drones, the assault gun, Elektra and wiping out a good portion of No. 1 squad!
Led by the Silverbugs, the main Allied thrust comes in from the Western table edge (now that air strikes have cleared a path)
Rocketeers enter from the south to take out the Mystic with extreme prejudice…
The defenders take cover and try to react!
Alliance Humvees streak in from the south west in a diversionary attack.
Alliance Silverbug brews up a T-48, but the treacherous Holy Mystic successfully mind controls the second ‘bug, firing on its comrade and stripping off both Stinger/ TOW launchers!
To add insult to injury, close range rifle fire from the Mystic’s bodyguard squad massacres Warhawk 4-9!
Burning vehicles and casualties litter the board
Gutter fighting as the defending Soviets take their toll on the assault forces!
Lt. Polikarpov rallies the troops for a counterattack – Za Rodina!
Large parts of the battlefield on fire, copious casualties on both sides – and it’s still only Turn 1! At the end of this turn, Dan nominated the northern table edge as the extraction point for the Alliance frces.
Dreadnought power armoured troopers clear the hill, capturing the Soviet artillery observation team, but in the end phase of the turn Soviet artillery hits hard, killing two of them
The survivors expose themselves to gun down the Siberians massing at the bottom of the hill
Surviving Soviet rifleman launches a one man attack to prevent a Delta squad trooper planting a demo charge on the western plasma generator..
Fortune favours the brave! This time, anyway…
Second Delta fireteam guns him down and dive into contact with the generator
Before one falls to Soviet fire – this is going to be HARD FOUGHT!
The still-mostly-intact No. 2 squad emerge to gun down the surviving Dreadnought troopers
The Soviets bring down a Silverbug with a Lightning Launcher
Lt. Grant leads the Allied infantry towards the buildings
The view as turn two draws to a close…
BEDLAM!!
Turn three starts with the Soviets gaining the initiative – the remains of No. 2 squad gunning down Platoon Sergeant Elias and wounding Lt. Grant!
Retribution is swift and deadly!
Turretless T-48 crushes a Delta squad member just before the first plasma reactor erupts in flames..
…like that!
Not my best camera work – with a Silverbug in amongst the Soviet infantry and wreaking havoc at close range, an immobilised Inferna rotates her turret and drenches the gunship in napalm, bringing it down in flames in the centre of the Soviet position
Lt. Polikarpov and Commissar Kuryakin lead the remains of HQ and no. 4 squad in a counterattack against Allied Platoon Command Element
The last member of Charlie squad falls
His squad may have been gunned down or crushed beneath the tracks of Soviet T-48s, but Delta’s sergeant carries on with the mission, attaching a C-4 charge to the Soviet communications centre…
…Before the remnants of No. 1 squad gun him and another rifleman down!
Who’s winning? F*CK KNOWS!!!

 

As the communications centre and supply warehouse erupt, Soviet HQ gun down Platoon Sgt Elias and RTO Smashy!
With three buildings blown, a wounded Lt. Grant realises his command is practically annihilated, with only a few infantry left – time to run!
Enraged, the Soviets open fire at the fleeing Alliance, downing the remaining rifleman!
Doc Macauliffe and a wounded Lt. Grant just make it to the extraction zone!
A scene of utter devastation!

Stumbling through the undergrowth, nursing a gunshot wound to the shoulder, Grant and Macauliffe ran for their lives. His lungs afire, Grant stumbled and fell, pain shooting through his shoulder like a lightning bolt. It was nothing to the pain he felt on the realisation that apart from the big medic, his entire command- men he’d trained with, whose lives were his responsibility – was annihilated. Destroyed. His men dead or prisoners. He dropped his M15 in the dirt, sagging to his knees.

“Go on without me, doc, I’ll only slow you down” he panted, throat raw.

The big medic looked at him. “I don’t leave my men, sir. I ain’t leaving you. We did what we came here to do – those boys knew the risk. “

The next thing Grant knew, he was across the medics shoulders, being carried a trot to the extraction point. The sound of rotor blades had never been so welcome.


 

Whichever way he looked he saw flames. Lt. Polikarpov tried not to cringe as caskets of ammunition cooked off in the blaze around him. He straightened as the pair of riflemen – all he could spare from the shattered garrison – threw him a salute.

“We are sorry, comrade Lieutenant, but the fascists made it out. We have a few personal effects they abandoned, however” – the riflemen handed over Grant’s pack for inspection. 

Polikarpov’s lips moved as he read the stencil. Grant, 2nd Lt, B-2-7 1st Air Cavalry.

“I’ll get you, you bastard” he swore silently. “I will see you again, Amerikanisch, and I will end you”


 

Conclusion:

Probably the most brutally violent four turns either if us have ever played! We agreed it was a draw – 3 out of 5 buildings blown, but Grant and Mac the only Allied survivors. Probably a bunch of things we could and should have done differently, but we got so swept up in the cinematic feel of the game, we were both running on adrenaline! Action packed and immense fun – props to Dan for also suggesting that it functioned rather well as an “origins story”, setting up the saga of Grant v Polikarpov for many years to come!

Thanks to all who stuck with us through a pretty sizeable post -hope you enjoyed t as much as we did, and if you want to get in on the fun, check us out on Wargames Vault.

Till next time, stay thrifty, see you soon!

Happy Christmas! And what’s half of 40k?

…20,000, of course! And that’s how many views I discovered we’d had when I checked our stats a few days ago – pretty amazing stuff for our geeky little blog! So this is a quick fill in post to thank all of you who keep coming pack to discover what we’ve managed to build out of cardboard and junk picked out of the recycling – all of you who like, comment and share, it’s really a wonderful feeling to think we’re connecting with people across the world. Particularly when we’ve learned so much from other posters on YouTube, TMP, Dakka Dakka and Warseer – building on their ideas and spreading the word to others. So a very merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you out there in cyberspace!

This is probably our last post of 2018 – certainly the last sober one – so what’s in store for 2019? Well, we’ve got the 2nd Ed 40k Armageddon campaign to fight, a Firefight campaign to play through– not to mention that in the war torn world of Apocalypse: Earth, the vital plasma generator complex at Skalk Point is still in the hands of the evil Holy Soviet Empire! And with Buffalo 2-7 devastated by the losses they took, it’s going to be the League Of European Nations leading the charge to retake the facility.. that’s going to be a scrap to look forward to! And let’s throw in the fact that June 6 2019 will be 75 years from D-Day – there has to be some way to commemorate that…. plus the Betrayal at Calth campaign to run… oh, and I have a project I want to try using foamboard to build a variety of vehicles for Epic… let’s see how many of these projects we can turn from ideas into actual models this coming year!

And as a teaser for our next battle report, let us present scenario #1 from the 2nd Edition mini campaign book, “First Blood”!



Marines and Gretchin deploy to fight it out in the rubble of a ruined hive world…

Stay tuned, stay thrifty, and have a fantastic Christmas! See you in 2019..

Terrain Talk Pt. 10 – Walls! Quick, Dirty and Cheap

IIIIIIIIIIT’S CHRISTMAS! 

Well, not exactly. But – IIIIIIIIIIT’s December! And as some of you may recall, we’ve been planning to celebrate the 25th anniversary of WH40K 2nd Ed by staging the Armageddon mini campaign that came in the box set. Now, we lucked out with our eBay purchase, but one thing that was demonstrably lacking was the cardboard terrain.

See, this was the first ever 40K box set (I know, right?) and GW were trying to have their base of starter players completely covered – rules, miniatures, army lists, counters and terrain – in this instance, cardstock push-fit walls to create LOS blocking ruins. We checked the campaign maps, and there were a LOT of these little buggers. 20, as far as we could tell. So if we were going to come up with our own DIY versions, they would have to be cheap, quick and easy.

The Skinflint Way.

We also decided, that since we’ve been dipping a toe into Deadzone waters, they should (at least for the most part) be compatible with 3″ squares. Fortunately, we’ve watched a LOT of Terrain Tutor videos – and we were up to the challenge!

We began with the base – lolly (popsicle to our friends across the pond) sticks. We measured these as 10mm wide, so here’s where it starts to get ingenious – we cut one piece 3″ long, mark it L for long. Cut the next piece 3″ less 10mm wide – mark it with an S for short.

Position in an L shape as follows:

Next up – foamboard. This is bog standard 5mm stuff, which we picked up off eBay in A4 sheets.

We drew 2 rectangles – one 3″ x 2″ to be marked L, one 3″-10mm x 2″ to be marked S. Next, draw a wobbly diagonal line across each square – this represents the outline of the wall. Like this:

Cut this out with an Xacto hobby knife – I used a steel ruler for the straight edges and cut the wobbly ones freehand. You’re making ruins, so no need to be too precise.

You’ve now got a long wall (L) a short wall (S). Glue the short wall over the long base and the long wall over the short base, then glue the walls together like this:

The long wall overlaps onto the long base and glues onto the short wall, creating a tough and sturdy L shape corner ruin. Don’t worry about the join – a) life’s too short, and b) we’re going to put more stuff on it.

The next step is optional, but it’s pretty quick and does help the look – bevel the edges with your knife (Health & Safety disclaimer – Knives are SHARP. Handle them carefully).

Next, we covered the ruins in texture paste – this is fantastic stuff, a home made brew of PVA, sand, powdered Polyfilla with some black craft acrylic mixed in and watered to taste. Leave this to dry – 24 hours if possible. You want it to be solid. Make sure you daub liberally over any exposed foam too, as the next step is spraying black primer which will melt any foam left uncovered.

Although I forgot to take pictures, this is also the stage at which I got some acrylic filler (aka decorator’s caulk) and pushed some cat litter into it to create rubble effects.

One can of black £1 spray paint later….

Next up, painting  – colour scheme filched entirely from Lukes APS and has served us well so far. First, duck egg blue drybrush:

Crown house paint tester pots, £1 from Wilkinson’s

Next up, drybrushed on some red splodges from cheap acrylic craft paint – yeah, I know, red???? But this is the Squire Of The North, and he’s not steered us wrong yet!

Overbrush with City Break mid grey:

Drybrush with Cloud Burst light grey:

Next up a couple of washes – thinned mix of Vallejo Black and Smokey inks, applied with a wet brush – water keeps everything moving and evenly blended. A home made dark green wash finished things off nicely, and the various layers of greys and other things give a real depth of colour.

You can switch things up a bit from this basic design too – For these last two, I added an extra floor and a couple of bits of guitar string to represent rebar rods and cabling:

Really pleased with how these came out, and although there’s scope for adding flock and dust effects I think for now these are good to go! Some last pics of them in situ, both Deadzone and 40k:


As always, stay thrifty out there, and as this is almost certainly our last post before Christmas, here’s wishing you all a very merry one!