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

So, hands up who remembers this?

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

 

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

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

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

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

Hmm. We should mark this occasion.

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

Or  Warhammer 40000 Compilations.

Or Warhammer 40000 Compendiums.

Or Warhammer 40000 Battle Manuals.

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

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

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

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Terrain Talk Pt. 7 – Nutritious, Delicious, (& CHEAP) Sci Fi Buildings

It’s a nice feeling when you can wrap up a project pretty quickly and simply – or, as a wise man once said, “I love it when a plan comes together”!

In this instance, this has come together in a little over a week, and I think you’ll like the result. So sit back, grab a beer, and then go and hunt through your recycling bin!

It all started a couple of weeks back when I picked up a punnet of blueberries for the youngling (his favourite fruit – for now, at least), and after he’d scoffed his way through it, as I was about to throw it in the recycling, I looked at it and thought hmmmmm…. I can do something with this!

Right – blueberry punnet. Left – yoghurt pot lid.. Crosses? They’re all about calibration!

As you can see in the above photo, I’m trying to improve my modelling skills by not simply half assing everything! I measured the interior depression on the blueberry punnet case and drew a centrepoint, then measure the yoghurt pot lid and did the same thing. Gel superglue bonded the two, hopefully irrevocably!

Dead centre!
Look what I found – ping pong ball and bottle cap..
Of course! A radar dish!
Dressed with bits from my Pot of Interestingly Shaped Crap – two wooden caps from Cholula hot sauce bottles, a toothpaste tube cap and something that was once part of a toddler bubble blowing kit..
Added some access hatches, door frames and steps (all cereal packet cardboard)
Primed white with some cheap £1 spray paint (seems there was a run on black in my local pound shops..)
Basecoated with Vallejo US Olive Drab – looks a bit streaky, but remember, two thin coats are better than one thick one (praise be unto thee, Duncan Rhodes)
As you probably noticed, there are some holes in the original blueberry container. So, I glued some nylon tulle (left over from the Skalk Point mega-build) to some card – having measured the gaps, I worked out I would need 8 strips, each 1cm by 1.5. So I cut a strip of card cm by 1.5cm, glued the tulle to it. This would then get painted black ad drybrushed silver to represent ventilation ducts.

Painting involved a layer of Vallejo US Olive Drab,  a wash with thin Smokey Ink, a pin wash with a mix of Black and Smokey inks (thinned, with the target area prewetted as per Mel The Terrain Tutor’s advice), before overbrushing with Olive Drab and drybrushing with the same olive drab lightened with a small amount of bone (avoid white for this, it can make for a “chalky” finish).

Weathering was sponge chipping using black, grey and metallics, and I followed Google Images for guidelines on how to paint a NATO communications bunker to get the grey radar dish idea. This was Vallejo German grey lightened with bone craft paint.

I added some detailing and hazard stripes, then based with a mix of Garage Floor Dust (TM) and green flock. So, pics:

All in all a fun build – a nice centrepiece, and a nice way to thin out my Box of Interestingly Shaped Crap! Still need to get better at hazard straps and lenses, but on the whole quite pleased – it should make a nice centrepiece in our upcoming Apocalypse: Earth game, along with Skalk Point and Bose Cliffs!

As always, stay thrifty out there and we’ll see you soon 😉

Terrain Talk Pt. 6 – Next Gen Hills!

One of the great things about this hobby, especially with the rise of the internet and YouTube, is that you never, ever stop learning new tricks. Certainly, our last terrain post, dedicated to master terrain builder and all round good egg Dakka Dakka user Skalk Bloodaxe, taught us that!

And courtesy of our internet mentors at Luke’s APS and Mel The Terrain TutorBoseClifffSitu2, we’ve learned a few new things since our last round of terrain building. Last year, we bought a big square of insulation foam and 3mm MDF with the intent of revolutionising our collection of hills, and in true SFG style we’ve managed to make….

One.

The problem we’ve had is gradient – trying to get the height/ width ratio with such a thick block of foam is really tricky, so we’ve ended up settling for a big LoS blocker, and as a salute to Luke of Luke’s APS fame, we heretofor dub this “Fellowes’ Peak”. The real issue is having bought to thick of a sheet of foam. Too thick a sheet = too much height = too steep slopes to get up.

That said, it was a pretty fun build. Want to see how we did it?

Step 1: Cut out a piece of insulation foam, hack some chunks out of it with a DIY knife and glue it to a piece of MDF. I tried using a jigsaw but 3mm MDF didn’t respond too well to it – wound up using a DIY knife, scoring the material before cutting through it. Notice the little alcove carved in the left hand corner.

Step 2: Adding texture! Tacky glue and “Hard As Nails” glue used to attach pieces of masonry and bark shippings to what will become the rock facings.

Step 3: Filler! Using a spatula and fingers, we start to create the hill contours.

Step 4: Dressed with cat litter, painted with texture paste (mixed from PVA, sand, filler pwder and water) and undercoated white – yes, white! Stay with me…

Step 5.1: We begin the leopard spotting! Start with washing a dirty yellow, mixed from yellow, brown, and black craft paints, thinned down with LOTS of water

Step 5.2: Dabbed on some brown wash, plenty of overlaps

Step 5.3: Black wash chucked over the entire thing, and black paint to undercoat where there will be earth tones and flock. You can start to see the effect coming together now!

Step 6: With the wash dried, a light bone drybrush pulls it all together and adds highlights.

Step 7: Flocking! I used Mel The Terrain Tutor’s 3-tone flocking method for this, mixing three grades of Jarvis JTF flocks – lowlights, highlights, then midtones

Step 8: Sealed with a spray mix of PVA and water, and then hit with a coat of matt varnish. Then place in situ and enjoy!

And thus was Fellowes Peak born!

A week or so later, I got the itch to do another big piece – I’d always fancied a big corner piece to add drama to the table, and it occurred to me that a big cliff or rocky bluff would be the perfect way to utilise the height that the thick foam gave me. And so, using the exact same methods, over the following week Bose Cliff was created:

The thing that’s been really great about these pieces is how easy the new techniques have made things – I always hated the PVA/ sand stage, it took forever and inevitably made a huge mess. Texture paste is a far better bet, especially when you’re going to be flocking on top of it anyway. As for leopard spotting instead of the traditional grey drybrushing – well, I’m not sure we’re there yet with the paint ratios, but it’s looking pretty fly!

Bose Cliff in situ

I’d also like to take a moment to thank Mel the Terrain Tutor for his video on the three T’s of terrain design – I built this having measured the capacity of my cupboard and also the footprint of Skalk Point, our power substation from the other month, as we’re planning these to be the centrepiece of our big Apocalypse: Earth Summer Smackdown game, just a few short weeks away!

In the meantime, I hope these provide you with some inspiration – good luck and good hobbying, stay thrifty and we’ll check in soon!

Terrain Talk Pt.5 – INSANE MEGABUILD! Power Substation Skalk Point

Feels like we’ve been a bit quiet on the blog front this month, but the truth is – we’ve been glueing stuff together like Chinese children in the better class of sweatshop (i.e. busily, but not necessarily in fear of our lives…).

It all started with this thread on Dakka Dakka, by a user named Skalk Bloodaxe. Browsing through his log of work, we started with a fairly “meh” attitude, but by page 20 both Dan and I were slack jawed with awe and busily scribbling notes. And so it was that we were inspired to raid my draw of Interestingly Shaped Crap to try and build a genuinely spectacular centrepiece for our games.

After the success of our earlier plasma reactor attempts utilising low energy light bulbs, we figured we’d take the idea a little bit further – what about a whole plasma generator substation? Featuring reactors, coolant coils, storage tanks and whatnot.

Reactor No. 1 takes shape – oversized IKEA lightbub, bottlecap, pizza slice holder, laundry powder cup. THIS is why you never throw stuff away!
Asthma inhaler spacer – six years old and never been used, Jim’s willing to tempt fate.. and it does look like a storage tank! Ladder is granny grating, you may also spy the lid from a bottle of Tabasco sauce (mmmm, Tabasco…)
The final layout! Cookie packaging, dogfood scoop, vitamin tank, three defunct inhaler mechanisms, detailed with kebab skewers and granny grating… plus dead car headlight bulb and some form of speaker surround sound mount that has sat unused for the last seven years..
Different angle – we took time measuring to ensure that 20mm bases could move between the obstacles.. actually thinking before we glue stuff!

I cut a slice of roughly square MDF and after glueing everything down with superglue we mixed a texture paste of PVA, filler and a little bit of sand and stippled it down around the terrain parts for an asphalt effect. With that it was time for priming!

Rocking some ultra cheap pound shop grey spray primer!

Next up – painting. Now, experienced, talented modellers will think about a paint scheme ahead of time and in many cases paint individual pieces ahead of time to ensure a clean finish and coverage, before glueing them in place. We are neither of these, so we glued it all down, primed it, and then realised how difficult it was going to be to get to almost everything we needed to paint.

This is why the blog’s been so quiet this month – we’ve been too busy angling our brushes into impossible patterns and swearing through gritted teeth…

Anyway – I’ll spare you the frustration, suffice it to say we went with an all-purpose olive drab finish for most of the complex using Vallejo Russian Green (figuring this would work well across both 1950s Europe, 23rd century sci fi and the grim darkess of the 41st millenium) – this got a wash with Army Painter Green Tone, and a pin wash with my own homebrew dark green wash, before drybrushing back up with Russian Green, mixed in with Crafters Choice tan to lighten back up. If memory serves, we did three drybrush layers.

Next was the main storage tank, and we’d agreed we wanted this yellow. Unfortunately, we’re both muppets and had primed it grey.

Sigh.

So at first, we needed to undercoat it white or the paint was never going to work. We duly managed to work a white undercoat, and then prewashed with Vallejo Skin Wash, and the yellow (cheap stuff from The Works) actually layered up quite nicely over it. We mixed in a little white and drybrushed lightly over the top. You need to be very gentle here, modulating colours subtly is essential. Vallejo Skin Wash came out again for a thin wash into the crevices to create depth.

Main storage tank on the top left – access wheel added from a left over Caesar Orc shield.

Next up, the three smaller storage tanks in white – white’s a weird colour to paint, it doesn’t look right just painted on. So after painting we washed (with Vallejo Smokey Ink), drybrushed, washed and drybrushed again.. before sponge chipping – hopefully the feel conveyed is one of well used but maintained equipment.

Looking battered, but still safely operational!

After that came the plasma coils – this part was from a piece of packaging from some M&S cookies, and yummy as they were, the packaging might actually serve to be the best bit! These got the Russian Green treatment, followed by layering up white, and then a glaze technique using very light – almost turquoise – blue.. and then layered up with thinned down white paint up to a central point. Not sure I did as good a job as Duncan, but it looks OK from two feet away!

Plasma coils glow in the heart of the complex!

And then we get to the fun part – painting the reactors themselves! I nicked this wholesale from this technique on Warhammer TV, so I’ll let Duncan’s soothing voice talk you through it.. although to break it down for those of you without YouTube access, it’s basically blue paint, stippled with lighter blue, purple and pink patches, with lightning flashes done using thinned white paint. Simple enough, but looks the balls. Although with the sheer amount of surface area we had to paint.. it took a while.

Taking shape now!

With this all done, the next step was the asphalt – the paste had settled nicely and given a good texture, but this time rather than paint black and drybrush up, we decided to employ a variant on the “leopard spotting” technique Dan picked up from this Luke’s APS video – essentially, dark washes in three separate shades (black, brown and black/brown mix) that overlap each other. These then get drybrushed up with tan and bone colouring to unify it all together – actually really pleased with this one!

Finally, the nemesis – we needed to build wire perimeter fences. We checked out this video from master builder Luke Towan, but while he makes it look easy.. it really wasn’t.

You may notice Luke uses solder and/ or styrene rod to build his fences.. we didn’t have any of that. What we did have were a bunch of kebab skewers, and a couple of quid from Ebay bought is all the nylon tulle (mesh) we were ever likely to need. Gel superglue and greenstuff did the joinery and we used the grid on the modelling mat to line it all up at right angles, but still this was fiddly and frustrating. Nylon tulle does not respond well to superglue or cutting.. but we persevered and made it! The fences then got a blast of cheap £1 silver spray paint and a couple of Vallejo Smokey Ink washes, and then we drilled through the MDF to create holes to plug the fences into. Very important that they be removable – they may be impassable to infantry, but crash a T-48 into a wire fence and the fence loses!

All done – for now! League Of European Nations trooper for scale




In situ as the Hazzard 1977th Imperial Guard defend from Da Skooderia!

Overall, I’m giving this build a 7/10 – we measured, we thought, we planned, but we were still stupid in many ways, still plenty of wonky bits, but definitely a step up from our previous efforts! Lots more to learn about terrain building but that’s the joy of this hobby, you can always improve as long as you’re willing to!

We’ll come back to Skalk Point in time, as there’s plenty to add – little details here and there, industrial warning notices, a gate house, maybe a walkway or two… but for now, for the sake of our collective sanity, it’s time to turn our attention elsewhere and play a game or two!

Stay thrifty out there, thanks for staying with us through a lean month! See you soon 😉20180330_222815FPQ8CEQ - Imgur

Terrain Talk Pt.4b – Plasma Reactor No. 2 (2 of 2)

It’s STILL January. And we’re STILL skint.

However, I have bent the rules of our “spend no money” austerity pledge a little and bought (gasp) some MORE superglue. Which has enabled me to rebuild the second plasma reactor and actually have the thing stay together:

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Defunct High Efficiency lightbulb, superglued into upturned bottle top onto empty Q-tip box. Detailed with drinking straw and sprue for pipework, granny grating for access ladders, bts of defunct IDE cable and leftovers from putting up a bathroom tidy – seriously, it’s amazing how much stuff you can find to use as modelling bitz!
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Note the 13 amp fuse that expired and became reborn anew!
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As before, primed grey, because… that’s all I had in the shed..
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Some sort of plug thing made it’s way on there I also added another ladder and an access hatch from card (after all, why have a ladder if it’s not going anywhere? I figured this could be maintenance.. or something..)
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Slapped on some basic colours – olive drab and blue for the plasma conduits.
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Thinned down Vallejo Olive Drab – goes on a bit blotchy but there’s plenty more layers to come!
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Washed with Army Painter Green Tone
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Daubed a home made wash in the shadow areas for depth. A mix of green and black paint, thinned down with water and a touch of detergent – it’s a crappy wash really but works for these purposes. Might look a bit blocky but we’ll be drybrushing up…

 

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Like this! Olive drab highlighted with tan and drybrushed up. Then pin wash of Vallejo Smokey Ink for weathering, followed by sponge chipping with grey, black and metallic.

For the plasma effect I went with a technique I picked up from GW’s own Duncan Rhodes – basically stippling purply-pink clouds and then layering up the lightning patterns. The metallics were a cheap craft “Boltgun Metal” style metallic, drybrushed with Vallejo Silver.

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The piece in all its glory! A couple of Guardsmen from the Hazzard 1977th shown for scale
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Enough plasma to power a million moonshine stills!

This piece went together a little better than the first, I think – bit more solid, better measured. Looking back though there are lessons to take moving forward as a modeller:

I am TOO DAMN LAZY. For a start I eyeball everything, if I’m going to make quality stuff I need to measure. The rivets (PVA drops added with a cocktail stick) – I could have taken a ruler and drawn them out and placed them in straight lines. But I didn’t, I winged it.

On top of that, I’m messy. Looking at that model I see glue residue everywhere. I’ve painted most of it up as mud, so I think I’ve got away with it, but from now on I’m getting an emery board and sanding down offcuts, glue strands, and just general mess.

Plus, there are some silly slapdash details. Those nodule things on the side of the tank are supposed to be glued to flat surfaces- glueing them to a curved one means there are gaps. I could have filled them, I didn’t bother.

These are weaknesses I’m going to work on this year, as I’m determined to improve my skills. Check out people like Dave Taylor Miniatures, Insaniak, JohnnyHell and The Blackadder on DakkaDakka.com not forgetting our regular heroes, Lukes APS, The Terrain Tutor and Wyloch – these guys can build incredible stuff by thinking ahead and taking the time to do it properly! Attention to detail – that’s the watchword for 2018, and that’s what’s going to take our builds to the next level..

Stay tuned, stay thrifty, and see you again soon!

 

 

 

Cheaphammer 40k! Scratchbuilt Imperial Armour in 1/72

Want to do 40k on the ultra-cheap? Step this way good sir & madam..

So, as some of you may be aware, recently we accidentally picked up a copy of 40k 2nd Edition in pretty usable condition, and along with knackered old copies of the mid ’90s codexes found in the loft we’ve been busy making both Da Skooderia and the Hazzard 1977th PDF into codex compliant forces. In both cases, this has necessitated a fair old bit of reorganisation, and in the case if the gallant PDF, some armour – in the shape of the trusty Imperial stalwarts, the Chimera and the Leman Russ!

Now, as is well documented, we use 1/72 (aka 20mm) as our mainstay scale, as the stuff looks good and is insanely cheap compared to the more popular 28mm, and also provides for a (slightly) bigger and more flexible battlefield. So even if we could afford the GW kits, they wouldn’t scale – what to do.. enter the noble craft of Paperhammer!

Some of you will be familiar with the incredible wealth of talent that is on offer from paper model designers like Eli Patoroch (and if you’re not, blogs like this are a great way to pique your interest), and both of these models began life as his templates, scaled back to 66% (GW is more or less 1/48 scale, 48 is 2/3 of 72, 2/3 is near as dammit 66%). In the case of the Chimera, it was a pretty straightforward build, but the Russ? Man, someone put a hex on that thing from the get go..

Some pics:

The Chimera – basic template build, with IDE cables for tracks and a hunk of sprue for the turret multilaser. I used a split pin through the turret base to attach it to the top of the hull, then built the turret around that. As you can see, one or two mistakes where edges didn’t quite line up – a little green stuff around the edges helped with that.

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Detail added – large rivets from 1/16″ hole puncher, smaller ones from dobs of PVA glue applied with a cocktail stick. Primed with cheap £1 grey spray primer
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My attempt at “underpainting” – prewash with black ink to enhance detail. Not sure it made any real difference in the end though..
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Basecoated with Crafter’s Choice tan (to match the infantry colour scheme). I followed the hallowed wisdom of GW’s Duncan Rhodes – “two thin coats are better than one thick coat”.
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Thin wash of Vallejo Brown Ink applied to bring out the detail, followed by a drybrush of tan paint and then another, lighter drybrush of tan mixed with white.
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Digital camouflage patterns (because I hate myself) – these are Vallejo Russian Green
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Matching the infantry, more digital camo blocks added with Burnt Umber and black craft paint

Shown here with an infantryman for scale.

Finally, weathering applied, including drybrushed mud and heavy black sponge chipping, and varnished.

Now to the Leman Russ – this build threw up considerably more issues:

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Basic turret and hull

Rivets added courtesy of PVA and hole punch once again, cannons and exhaust stacks a misture of drinking straws and cocktail sticks, chopped IDE cables for tracks… and this was where things first started to go awry – I wanted the sponson mounted lascannons to move, so I built the sponsons independently, then glued the small drinking straw (lascannon) to a larger diameter one placed inside the sponson, allowing them to move. The left hand one cooperated – the right hand one absolutely would not. I tried tacky glue, superglue, caulk, No More Nails, plastic glue, even greenstuff – eventually I had to wedge the bastard in there and coat it with superglue, so unfortunately this particular Russ has a slight manufacturing defect. There were also a few problems with the template – this was more sophisticated than the Chimera, and unfortunately when I shrank it.. I also shrank the instructions. So a fair few bits had to be scratchbuilt and guessed at.

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Basecoated with the same tan as the Chimera – for some reason the paint reacted very badly with the primer, and also with the hot glue that held on the tracks.. to the point where I had to lever the damn thing off the modelling mat when I came down the next morning as the tracks had detached from the body and stuck themselves to the mat!

Same digital camo pattern as the Chimera – but hell, there’s only two vehicles in the force so far, and it does look good…

 

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Washing, drybrushing, weathering, metallics – all complete, I take it out to the shed for varnishing and look what happened! My varnish turned into spray snow! Turns out temperature (VERY cold) and failure to shake the can enough where the culprits…
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Repainted, reweathered, revarnished and ready to lay waste to the Emperor’s enemies.. as long as they’re in 1/72 scale of course..

So as you can see, it took a while, and my Russ is owed some SERIOUS tabletop karma to make up for it’s difficult start in life! I’ll be doing a full Armies on Parade when the rest of the force is ready to roll, in the meantime (despite a few cockups), I’m quite proud of these two, and for all the issues I had building them it seems the build was no more difficult than your average Forge World kit..

If you haven’t tried Paperhamer, I thoroughly recommend it – obviously you want the real GW kit to do it properly, but as stand ins, proxies, units to try out before splashing the cash – there’s a huge amount of satisfaction to be had in cobbling something out of nothing.

Stay thrifty out there, see you soon!

 

 

Apocalypse: Earth Battle Report- The Battle Of Kubica Pass (Pt. 2 – FIGHT!!!!)

And thus was battle joined…

Turn 1

The Atlantic Alliance won the initiative and opted to move first.

A Silverbug gunship leapt from cover, skimming over the treetops to hover inside the ruins of the church, securing Objective 6 and sending a terrifying volley of fire at the Soviet superheavies – two Stinger/TOW  missiles rocketed towards the Colossus and a burst of deadly Rosewellium tipped shells from the Avenger cannon pattered lightly of the Rampager’s incredibly thick armour. In return, the Colossus stomped forward, lightning launcher and machineguns failing to damage the second Silverbug, who managed to blow out a sensitive knee joint with it’s Avenger cannon. The pride of the Holy Soviet Army, slumped against the ruined wall, immobilised but still very much in the fight!

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Stompy Uncle Joe is immobiilsed by the Avrocar Silverbug flight

On the other side of the field, the crew of the SU-152, (their resolve hardened by a “Take Aim” Order Card) prepared to fire their first shot in anger… the massive artillery shell arced straight and true, landing square on the top armour of an M60A3 Centurion.

Which promptly exploded.

Cue much fist bumping amongst the Soviet artillery crew, reinforced when the SU rolled onto Objective 1, and cue loud swearing from the Allied side as one of their most powerful assets was demolished without firing a shot..

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“Comrades- drop an M60A3 on the first shot?”
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“YES WE CAN”

The M42 Stealth Tank and the Rocketeers manouevred their way through the woods and hills in front and below the SU-152 and it’s frantically high-fiving crew while the Soviet Artillery Observation team (who were feeling a little redundant by this point, it has to be said) followed the assault gun up the hill to consolidate Objective 1. Meanwhile, on the Soviet right flank, the Rampager ground forwards, it’s twin 140mm cannons and multiple machineguns spraying a wall of lead at the lead Silverbug but the damnable Alliance contraption bobbed and weaved in a physics defying fashion to deny the Soviet behemoth a hit.

Realising they had better get their remaining Centurions into play quickly, the central Allied MBT advanced forwards, 120mm cannon and Stinger/TOW systems entirely failing to miss the Soviet Elektra tank, but was rewarded with at least downing a Siberian.

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M60A3 Centurion surveys the scene….
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“PHIIIIIIIIIIL!!!!”

Elsewhere along the frontline, the Holy Mystic struggled, beads of sweat on his forehead as he desperately tried to summon forth the psychic energies around the battlefield- to no avail. Meanwhile, the Stinger/TOW equipped Humvee missed the SU-152 and the Cherno Alfa, a Soviet T-48, immobilised the Stealth Tank before it could cloak and Cherno Brava took down the railgun-equipped Humvee with a single shot!

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“In Holy Soviet Empire, gun rails you!”

Rushing toward Objective 3 in the centre, the Soviet Shock Drones took position to prepare a lethal ambush for the Allied infantry, but an M113 with a 20mm cannon took down the first, also killing a rifleman from Soviet HQ in the process, while the Allied Dreadnaught squad paused on the low hill to take aim with a Stinger/TOW and with a beautiful shot brewed up Cherno Troika!

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“Watch this”
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“OH YEAH”

Inspired by their example, Charlie Squad and support M85 ‘bot try the same on the Cherno Brava and Cherno Draka, but their missiles fall short. More range time, gentlemen (and robot)!

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No. 4 (Support) Squad take position on Objective 2…
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Promptly gutting Charlie squad, killing the sergeant and demolishing the support M85!

This was not without cost though, as Ghost 7 dug in on Objective 5 drew a bead and sent a 7.62mm round straight through the forehead of a Soviet heavy machine gun crewman.

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The Soviet Lightning Storm Squad deploy onto the walls of the tenement block, losing two bodyguards to fireteam Delta 2
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Elektra rolls forward, her lighting launcher immobilising an Avrocar Silverbug and stripping off one of it’s Stinger/TOW launchers
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FInal M113 pulls into the gulley and fires on the advancing No. 3 squad – this goes VERY wide…
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..Straight into the middle of No. 2 squad, in fact – killing four of their number!
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At the end of turn 1, Soviets occupy objectives 1, 2 and 4, Atlantic Alliance are on 5 & 6, closing on 3

Turn 2

The Atlantic Alliance won the initiative and decided to move first. Bobbing up and down serenely in the ruined church that was objective 6, the first Silverbug gunship unleashed two volleys of fire at the Soviet Colossus – a dozen Roswellium tipped armour piercing rounds, and no less than FOUR Stinger/TOW missiles crashed into and around the massive mech…. but at the end, it still stood firm, albeit with a second knee joint blown out. So all we had accomplished was immobilising an already immobilised target. Great. And that was one of the most powerful Allied assets!

Stompy Uncle Joe was displeased. With Lightning Launcher, heavy flamethrower and heavy anti air machineguns, he did vent his wrath on the Silverbug squadron…

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F*CK YOU.
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AND YOU.

Two gunships destroyed and one VERY worried Atlantic Alliance commander! Did I mention one of those Silverbugs was holding Objective 6?

Meanwhile Elektra led the Soviet advance into the gulley to assault Objective 3, Lightning launcher firing wild but machine guns downing a member of Bravo 2.

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Meanwhile, a humble Stinger/TOW equipped Humvee decides to get this party started…
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First shot blows the SU-152 off it’s perch on Objective 1, spinning it round and immobilising it – effectively making it a 40-ton paperweight…
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Second shot brews up a T-48, which explodes, killing a member of No. 4 (Support) Squad and suppressing them!
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A suppressed Support Squad, you say? Rocketeers zoom up to Objective 2, claiming the entire Soviet Heavy Weapons Squad as POWs!

Elsewhere the momentum was starting to turn… The surviving Soviet Shock Drone leapt on an M113, ripping off it’s main weapon before being destroyed an M60 Centurion..

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“Git yo’ claws outta mah buddy”

..which went on to slaughter five Soviet infantrymen and brew up yet another T-48!

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BOOM!
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“You know what today is? A bad day to be a T-48, fool”

Elsewhere in the centre the Soviet APC managed a lucky shot, killing a member of Charlie Two and suppressing the rest of the fireteam, whilst in return an M113 managed to kill a Soviet Lightning Storm trooper, also suppressing the Soviet elite troops.

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The sole surviving T-48 crests Objective 1 and destroys the Stinger/TOW Humvee after the Allied Dreadnaught squad miss with their Stinger/TOWs
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Carnage around Objective 3 – M60 blows Elektra’s turret off…
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Whilst Inferna’s brutal assault saw rips the other M60 in half!
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“Today’s weather forecast – fire. Lots of it.”
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Rampager super heavy moves in on the Allied left flank
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Charlie One demolish Inferna with another superb Stinger/TOW shot
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Assault saw whirling, an M85 heroically charges the Rampager..
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….scratches the paint, but that’s about it.
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Soviet infantry and HQ hustle up to the gulley to support the attack on Objective 3
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Immobilised, the Stealth Tank decloaks to fire at the surviving T-48.. futilely, as it would turn out..

(By this point, victory points had kind of gone out of the window – we were just enjoying the epic slugfest! The battlefield itself looked truly apocalyptic, blast markers blazing everywhere- check out this video on our Facebook page)

Turn 3

The Atlantic Alliance won the initiative and went first.

Fresh from capturing both Objective 2 and the entire No. 4 Soviet Support Squad, the Rocketeers decided to take a gamble, given the relative paucity of Holy Soviet forces  in this area of the battlefield. Jet packs roared into life and submachineguns delivered death from above as the Holy Mystic was riddled with 9mm rounds before he could summon up his supernatural powers!

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No throwing tanks for you today, Ivan!

Meanwhile, a turretless but still game Elektra forced her way onto Objective 3, ramming an M113 in the process as the battle in the centre hotted up.

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The M113 is flipped over and destroyed by Elektra’s attack, Allied HQ barely escaping!
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Immobile, the Stealth Tank looses twin burst of rapid autocannon fire against the surviving T-48 on Objective 1, scratching the paint but that’s all..
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Humvee sweeps around the gulley to attack Soviet HQ in the open, wounding Lt. Polikarpv and killing the Soviet RTO…
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…Before being rammed by a reversing Soviet APC and losing it’s minigun!

To the Soviet right the Lightning Storm Squad shook off their suppression and marched doggedly forward, but it would be another turn before their lethal Lightning Launcher would be in range, whilst in the centre an M113 advanced up insupport of the Humvee and immobilised the Soviet APC with it’s .50 calibre heavy machinegun.

Further back the shamefaced bodyguards of the Soviet Mystic vent fury on the Rocketeers, filling the air with lead from their submachineguns and downing one of their number – checking morale, the Rocketeers were rewarded with Frenzy, which allowed them to instantly vault back to Objective 2!

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Dreadnaught squad line up the final T-48 with a Stinger/TOW…
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..and are rewarded with ANOTHER big juicy explosion!
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Pushing forward in the centre, the sole surviving Siberian assault trooper hurls himself at Platoon Sgt. MacAuliffe – CCR 7 + 1 for charging, vs CCR 3…
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Mac, you are one bad ass mutha***ker – Hero Save on two wounds and put the Siberian DOWN!
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As the Rampager closes in, a desperate manoeuvre from an M113 crew – light autocannon, point blank, rear armour… the shots bounce harmlessly off (however side machineguns kill a Tesla trooper and suppress the squad yet again!)
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However, this in turn left the vehicle exposed to the Lightning Launcher of Stompy Uncle Joe, who promptly immobilised it

Vasily the Noble Sniper drew a bead and picked off a member of fireteam Alfa 2, suppressing them, while chaos erupted in the centre as a vicious grenade battle raged between Soviet and Allied infantry:

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“There’s too many!”
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Lt. Polikarpov falls and Commissar Kuryakin leads the charge!
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ZA RODINA!!!

By this point we had completely forgotten about victory points and were just in it for the sheer love of the game – would the Soviets pierce the thinning Allied lines? Because if the Rampager completed it’s flanking manoeuvre, it would all be over….

Turn 4

The Atlantic Alliance won the initiative and went first.

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Allied Centurion crew manoeuvre for the perfect flank shot on the Rampager – one 120mm cannon round later and it turns into a fireball!

With that, it pretty much seemed like game over for the Holy Soviet army – all their heavy weapons and armour were destroyed, but Commissar Kuryakin was not going to go down without a fight! He lead his HQ into the gulley, guns blazing and grenades flying, but to no avail…

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..as the final M113 rolls up to the rear of the surviving Soviet infantry squad. 2 light and one heavy machine gun, point blank range. Nothing to do but drop weapons and raise hands..

And with that, Dan had to concede defeat. The Lightning Storm squad (suppressed), the surviving members of the Mystic bodyguard and the immobilised form of the Colossus were all that remained, whereas most of the Allied infantry fireteams were still intact, along with the Dreadnaught squad an M113 and an M60.

It was a close one, and props once again for Dan for being a hard but fair opponent, but the Atlantic Alliance held just long enough and got just lucky enough to pull this one off. But it could so easily have gone differently….

Conclusions:

The Holy Soviet Army:

CURSES! I’m starting to feel like the Jervis Johnson to Jim’s Andy Chambers (’90’s White Dwarf readers will know what I’m on about). I could blame the dice, but we both had good and bad luck – yes, I lost the initiative each turn, but that’s how the Soviets roll.. big and slow, but when they get you you’re in trouble!

Where did I go wrong… I think my big mistake was not holding Elektra and Inferna back (and the Shock Drones too) until my infantry were ready to close assault, if I’d have concentrated them together that would have enabled me to break through the gulley and slaughter those capitalist running dogs. Instead I let them get destroyed piecemeal going after targets of opportunity. Next time, next time… Other than that, the lads all gave a good account of themselves, particularly my SU-152, and Stompy Uncle Joe – two Silverbugs in one turn!

So, enjoy a well won victory, Jim lad – because next time it’s going to be the clenched fist of Holy Soviet fury,  infantry and tanks and Siberians and drones all in one go, let’s see how you imperialists like that!

Atlantic Alliance:

On paper, it looks like a pretty respectable victory – I still had a coherent force of infantry and vehicles to hunt down any Soviet survivors while Dan was reduced to a few scattered survivors but it could so easily have gone differently. Had we not won the initiative on the last turn, that Rampager would have got into the Alliance rear areas and caught everyone out in the open, slaughtering them. Once that was out of the game, we were safe, and when my last running M113 captured his rifle squad, that was it.

The Silverbugs were a bit of a disappointment, clearly rather more vulnerable than I’d thought they were going to be! Lightning Launchers are clearly very effective anti-air weapons, so Stompy Uncle Joe will have to be dealt with by other means in future. I also had a weird time trying to get the infantry into a place where they could accomplish something without being fried, so most of them spent the battle hiding behind the gulley. Maybe a freak of terrain placement, we’ll see what happens next time!

Meantime, we’re planning a scenario game based on Operation IRON HEART – those of you familiar with the fluff will know that this was the moment when the Atlantic Alliance entered the Great War – as the Holy Soviet Army crashed into northern Germany, the 1st (Allied) Air Cavalry Division mounted a heli- and saucer-borne attack into a large Soviet logistics base near the German coastline on February 14th, 1954.

If you want to get in on the action, pick up a copy of the rules here or click below:

 

Detail page of Apocalypse: Earth Miniature Wargame Rulebook
Apocalypse: Earth Miniature Wargame Rulebook
£5.99

 

 

And we’ll leave you with this rather haunting shot showing the blast markers we made (thanks for the tutorial, The Terrain Tutor)!

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Stay tuned, stay thrifty, we’ll see you again soon!

Armies On Parade – the (NEW) Holy Soviet Army

Right, then, here we go! So, after Jim’s revamp of his decadent capitalist lackeys, I decided my righteous warriors of the proletariat needed a bit of a sprucing up. Rebased the infantry and tarted up the tanks, along with some new mechs and toys.

So, here they are – Task Force Polikarpov:

Rampager super heavy tank with twin 140mm cannons (scratchbuild)

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Mecha – Kolossus super heavy (Stompy Uncle Joe) and Shock Drones , all scratchbuilds

Armour platoon – four T-48s, three scratchbuilds and one T-54 from 4D models.. see if you can spot which is which!

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Heavy transport – BTR – 152 APC (scracthbuild papercraft from Landships II)

T-48 Inferna variant mounting heavy flamethrower and assault saw! (scratchbuild)

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Elektra – T-48 chassis and turret swapping 100mm cannon for Tesla Lightning Launcher (scratchbuild)
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Artillery support – SU-152 assault gun (4D miniatures kit)
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Strong Men (Sil’nyye muzhchiny) Siberian Close Assault Squad. Note the shotgun carried by the sergeant. (Conversions from Caesar miniatures)

Lightning Storm (Ataka grozy) Attack Squad – power armour infantry with Tesla Lightning Launchers (greenstuff conversions)

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Holy Mystic and bodyguard
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HQ – Lt. Polikarpov, Comissar Kuryakin, RTO, standard bearer and riflemen
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Grunts! No. 1 (Rifle) squad
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No. 2 (Rifle) squad
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No. 3 (Rifle) squad with flamethrower
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Artillery Observation Team

No. 4 (Heavy Weapons) squad – reinforced with Lightning Launcher team

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Noble Sniper Vasily Zaitsev

…..and some shots of the entire force in parade ground formation! I’ve detailed the armour painting scheme in a previous post, and the infantry scheme in another one.

Command  –

Platoon Headquarters : Lt, Commissar, RTO, Standard Bearer, 3 x Riflemen

Line

Rifle Squad (No. 1)

Rifle Squad (No. 2)

Rifle Squad (No. 3) – Flamethrower replaces Light Machine Gun

Heavy Weapon Squad (No. 4) – reinforced with Lightning Launcher

Support

Strong Men (Sil’nyye muzhchiny) Close Assault Squad

Lightning Storm (Ataka grozy) Attack Squad

Artillery Observation Team

Special –

Noble Sniper (Blagorodnyy Snayper)

Holy Mystic (Svyataya Misticheskaya) & Entourage

Vehicles

T-48 Platoon (4 x T-48 including 1 command tank)

SU-152 Assault Gun

IS-6 Rampager

“Inferna” variant T-48

“Elektra” variant T-48

Kolossus Super Heavy Mech

Shock Drone section (2x Shock Drones)

 

Overall, this force represents the slow, impregnable, shockingly violent rolling firestorm that the Holy Soviet Army should be in Apocalypse: Earth – a crushing hammer blow instead of the rapier pin pricks of the Atlantic Alliance nemesis! Always fun to roll these guys out, and this time, this time, Jim – I’ll ‘ave yer!!

Cheap ‘n’ Simple Scratchbuild – Holy Soviet Empire Shock Drones DIY Miniatures

How do – Dan here again. After Jim’s revamp of his decadent Western capitalist imperialist helots (which included a reinforcement with a dastardly M42 Stealth Tank and a close air support flight of Avrocar flying saucer tankbusters), I’ve had to up the game for my Holy Soviet Army in the hope of Lt. Polikarpov finally getting a victory for the workers.

This started with the BEHEMOTH mech I showed you last time, but seeing as we got such a positive response I thought I’d share these little critters with you – a pair of Shock Drones. Now, these are inspired by and similar to (but definitely not the same as) the notorious Terror Drones from Red Alert 2, and function in a similar way – basically fast moving close combat killers with limited AI and rigged to self-destruct when they hit Allied lines!

So – the build. For materials, you’ll need a few wee tiny offcuts of foamboard, some cocktail sticks, some glue that isn’t superglue, some glue that is superglue, some bits of sprue, some wee little bits of cardboard, and some disused guitar strings or bits of wire.

Step 1:

Foamboard. Take a rectangle of foamboard, 20mm x 15mm, and trim it at the edges. Count 5mm in each side and trim off. This gives you an octagonal shape which is the main body of the droid.

Step 2:

Glue a bit of sprue on top. Two if you’re really enthusiastic. These are the sensor superstructures on top of the droid.

Step 3:

Legs. You’ll need two cocktail sticks. Chop them in half, and then score each half a stick in the middle. Break the stick along that line but leave it in one piece and bend it at an angle. You then soak it with superglue to stiffen that joint. It will harden and actually be more solid than you might expect. Then you cut a V-shaped piece of cardboard, score it along the middle and fold it, and glue those to the “shins” of the legs (it doesn’t matter which way round you do it, but I had the sharp bits of the cocktail sticks as the feet). The other end of the cocktail stick gets dunked in glue (NOT SUPERGLUE – that will melt the foam) and pushed into the foam on the edges.

Tell you what, here’s a picture:

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Step 4: Attack cables

Guitar strings (or wire) wound up around a screwdriver, dunked in glue and pushed into the foam.

Step 5: Painting

This is exactly the same as the paint scheme for Stompy Uncle Joe, with one MAJOR difference – DON’T USE SPRAY PAINT! Spray paint has a chemical in it that melts foam. Your model is largely made from foam.

Some close ups of the finished articles:

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This is a dead easy build, and the little fellas actually do look quite nice in situ:

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Seen here about to rip apart an M60A3 Centurion..

They’ll certainly be a valuable addition to the rolling firestorm that is the Holy Soviet Army, skittering ahead to attack whatever enemy unit registers on their crude but effective sensor arrays. They also represent a potent, if somewhat unconventional anti-tank capability – admittedly the Holy Soviet Army likes to deal with tanks by using LOTS MORE TANKS (and occasionally the Holy Mystic to chuck them about).

We’re going with Armour Rating 12, Speed 24cm, CCR8 but no ranged weapons. A rugged Soviet construction method means the first hit penetrating the armour won’t destroy them, just halve their stats – the second takes them down, and when they go, they explode like a frag grenade!

And of course, there’s no way they could get hacked and go haywire. Is there, Jim?

Stompy Uncle Joe! Superheavy Soviet Mecha

Dan here – I wasn’t going to do a post on this (going to wait to the Grand Unveiling of my new look Holy Soviet Army) but Jim saw it and I thought he was going to shit out a lung – he convinced me it deserved a blog post in it’s own right.

So I began with a Steam Mech papercraft template that I downloaded from http://www.toposolitario.com a couple of years ago (although sadly it doesn’t seem to be there anymore). I built up the main sections of the hull and legs and wound up with this:

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As you can see, I’ve added a few bits – rivets are cardboard using a 1/8″ hole puncher like this which as an essential in doing this kind of stuff. I cut out a couple of bits of cereal box card for extra plating, around the feet, built a Lightning Launcher from card, greenstuff and cocktail stick and one of those ring pull inserts you get in milk cartons and sauce bottles became the anti aircraft radar dish and gun mount.

In these you can see the powerfist/flamethrower arm built from drinking straws, a piece of scrap foamboard for the fist with the fingers built from cocktail sticks chopped down to 1cm ish lengths, snapped in half and the break sealed with superglue. I’ve also added more armour plate, hatches, and HUNDREDS OF BLOODY RIVETS.

Primed with £1 black spray paint and based with Vallejo Russian Green.

Washed with Army Painter Green Tone.

From there, I drybrushed with Russian Green which I lightened with tan craft paint, then a pin wash of Vallejo Brown ink around the hatches and the HUNDREDS OF BLOODY RIVETS, before weathering . This was sponge chipping, first black and then Vallejo German Grey, and I went HEAVY on this, I like a grungy look for my forces. Then I gave the legs, arms etc a drybrush of Burnt Umber dark brown, which I highlighted with a final drybrush of a mid brown tone.

 

Stompy Uncle Joe leading the Holy Soviet Army to inevitable victory! Za Rodina!

Side note – the template was designed with 28mm in mind, I believe – in 1/72 it’s MASSIVE, we’re talking Imperial Knight size. Jim lad, prepare to be crushed beneath Emperor Stalin’s iron fist!