YET MOAR Hairy Japanese Bastards – Virum Nascii reinforcements!

The Totally-Not-Skaven return, and in strength! This project has been rumbling along for the last few (18 to be exact) months, gaining and losing momentum since summer 2018 when we bought – apparently – the last four boxes of these Miniknight Ratmen in existence!

We’ve covered the initial tranches of slaves and warriors, and the lads have seen combat in the Mortal Realms, as well as the world of Hyperia and wherever Age Of Fantasy is set, and have given pretty good accounts of themselves. We’ve got Plague Monks, Poison Wind Grenadiers and elites to add variety, and with the latest haul we’ve added a Seer, a Death Master and a unit each of Night Runners and Gutter Runners to provide skirmishing capabilities. Obviously we’ll have to rename them for Hyperian Wars, but they’ll do just fine for Age Of Fantasy, Age Of Sigmar and what the hell, we may even dig up good ol’ Warhammer Fantasy herself to throw down retro style!

Meanwhile, of course… pics!

 

Grey seer, converted to wield a staff rather than a blade – staff is a straightened out paper clip, and I bodged a lump of greenstuff to be some kind of armoured gauntlet.. I think the best you can say is you don’t really notice form two feet away!
Went for a pastel look – the blue grey areas were actually painted with Wilkinsons own brand Duck Egg Blue house paint! As usual, went with the strategy of start light and washing down. Actually tried zenithal highlighting – primed grey and dusted white. I get the theory, but I’m not sure I see a difference… I’ll keep trying!
Death Master! He got the sword I chopped off the Seer and replaced with a staff. 
Rat-Ninja!
They could almost be brothers.. 
Night Runner light skirmishers
Gutter Runner elite skirmishers
The new additions!

I really think Miniknight are onto a winner here, 20mm is a great scale for fantasy, enough to let detail on the models stand out, the models are dirt cheap and they look great racked up into regiments, you get more manoeuvre room on the table top -there are undead, orcs, goblins, dwarves from Caesar, Miniknight and Dark Alliance to check out and each of these races will have a place in the Hyperian Wars canon!

Still to come are conversions for the heavy weapons teams, and of course there’s some war machines on the horizon! We’ll be making a Doomwheels, and a Screaming Bell.. and basically everything over the next few (18?) months and everything will be rolling out on the tabletop in due course, so stay tuned!

Massacre at Hadley’s Hope – Hyperian Wars AAR

Well damn. The dice are just cooling down after an absolutely blistering playtest of our steampunk/ fantasy/ VSF mashup system, “Hyperian Wars” – today featuring the Sky Marines of the Grand Alliance versus the villainous Virum Nascii. And DAMN, the result was really not what we expected, but it was an absolutely corking game! So, with memories still relatively fresh and unclouded by liquor, time to dive into this evening’s battle report –

Lists:

Grand Alliance Sky Marines (all troops are skirmishers):

HQ – Commander, Mortar, Rifleman, 2x Signallers

3 Sections – 9 Marines w/ Bolt Action Rifle, Fragmentation Bombs, Bayonets

Virum Nascii:

Warlord – Hand Weapons

16 x Warriors – Hand Weapons

16 x Slaves – Hand Weapons

16 x Slaves – Bow & Arrow

5 x Poison Grenadiers (skirmishers) – Poison Grenades, Hand Weapons

10 x Stormtroopers – Hand Weapons

8 x Plague Priests – Hand Weapons

So, one side has the firepower – but the other has numbers. And speed. Who would prevail?

Deployment:

Sky Marines deploy onto the southern edge – with little in the way of missile fire, we went for best firing positions to maximise our ranged advantage
Virum Nascii deploy, concentrating on the ruined village – aiming to overwhelm one area of the Sky Marine lines before moving on. Slaves and warriors to the fore to absorb casualties, Warlord and his retinue of elite troops use them as cover to get in range and get stuck in!
The Slaves catch a glimpse of their enemy on the horizon!
The view from the Sky Marine lines – that’s a LOT of rats!

Turn 1

Sky Marine rifle fire rips through the exposed archer Slaves, killing half their number
HQ section mortar falls among archer slaves, adding to the carnage as the Virum Nascii hurtle forwards – I’d placed my weakest units at the front to absorb casualties, in true merciless villain style!

Turn 2

Sky Marines gain the initiative and gun down the remaining Slave archers
After gunning down the archers, Sky Marines suddenly find the Virum Nascii getting very, very, very close!
Mortar shell falls amongst the slave regiment
Seeing their brothers about to get overrun, No. 3 Squad open up on the Ratmen!

Turn 3

Virum Nascii were just about to hit Sky Marine positions, and things were about to get… interesting…

Sky Marines pour fire point blank into the onrushing Ratmen horde
But it’s not even close to enough – No. 2 squad are torn apart by the vicious beastmen
Mortar shell bursts upon the Ratmen warriors!
The Ratmen warriors finish off No. 2 squad with sword and claw!

The surviving Ratmen warriors achieve Frenzy and crash on into Sky Marine HQ!
The elite human infantry dispatch the Virum Nascii beasts, but at a cost, losing the signallers
Plague priests pile on to the HQ!
The Warlord and his elite bodyguard crash into No. 3 squad!
The Sky Marines put up a valiant fight, but they’re no much for the vicious Virum Nascii!

Turn 4

Plague priests overwhelm the Sky Marine HQ!
Only one Priest left standing, but HQ – and Lt. Gorman – is down!
Meanwhile, No. 1 squad cluster up in the ruins to repel the oncoming Virum Nascii!
A frenzied maelstrom of blood and claws in the ruined temple!
In the last moments of the battle, the last Sky Marine (PFC Hudson) pumps rounds into the seething mass of Ratmen – “COME GET SOME MOTHERF*CKER!”

But in the end.. it was game over, man. Game over.

Wow. Holy sh*t but that was a blast – the Sky Marines deploying, full of confidence in our ranged firepower, taking down huge numbers of Virum Nascii….. right up until the rats got into charge range and then it hit the fan and no mistake! My outnumbered squads were ripped apart in short order, and damn but the Ratmen are FAST!!

In fact, the battle played out much like a steampunk/ fantasy version of the classic movie “Aliens” – the Sky Marines inflicting huge losses on the ratmen for no loss to themselves… right up until the moment when they weren’t.. and then it became a massacre! Hence the title – fans will recognise Hadley’s Hope as the colony established on LV426.

All in all, a hell of a game, right down to PFC Hudson’s last stand in the temple! And we should add, this got the attention of none other than Black Library author himself, Gav Thorpe!

So there you have it, a Gav Thorpe- approved battle report!

Phew – we’re going to go lie down after that one, so until next time, stay thrifty out there and see you soon!

One Page Carnage – Age Of Fantasy: Regiments AAR

So the other week, after seeing numerous Wyloch battle reports, we succumbed to “monkey see, monkey do”, downloaded the rules and took them for a spin ourselves.

And there was much rejoicing.

So we figured, let’s try out some of the other rulesets – with summer evenings scratching my fantasy itch, and having recently painted up a whole sh*tload of 1/72 Ratmen (who are in NO WAY anything to do with GW Skaven, just so we’re clear)

Rules and army lists available here: onepagerules.com

Ratmen:

Warlord [1] 3+ 3+ 2x Hand Weapons (A3) +5pts Tail Knife (+1A in melee) +5ptsVenom Blade (Poison in melee) +5pts Hero, Tough(3)

Warriors [16] 5+ 5+ Hand Weapons (A1)

Slaves [16] 6+ 6+ Hand Weapons (A1)

Monks [8] 5+ 5+ Censer Flails (A1, Poison) Furious

Poison Grenadiers [5] 5+ 5+ Poison Grenades (12”, A1, Poison), Hand Weapons (A1)

Storm Troopers [10] 4+ 4+ Halberds (A1, AP(1))

Slaves [16] 6+ 6+ Slings (18”, A1)

Humans:

Captain [1] 3+ 4+ Hand Weapon (A2) Hero, Tough(3) Inspiring, on Horse – Hooves (A1), Fast

Marksmen [20] 5+ 6+ Rifles (24”, A1, AP(1)), Hand Weapons (A1)

Infantrymen [20] 5+ 5+ Halberds (A1, AP(1))

Light Cavalry [5] 5+ 5+ Hand Weapons (A1) Fast

 

Deployment:

The field of battle
Human forces line up, riflemen on the ridge covering the infantry about to advance into the ruined village
Ratmen line up opposite, slaves with “slings” on the extreme left flank
Poison grenadiers loiter in the centre, looking for targets of opportunity
Out on the far right Ratmen flank, the Slave unit is tasked with holding an uncontested objective
The two forces face off…
Who will prevail?

Turn 1

Both sides advance into the ruined village, looking to claim the densely packed objectives
Poison Grenadiers draw first blood, downing a cavalryman with a grenade
Whilst out on the Ratmen left flank, Slaves advance to seize their first objective

Turn 2

In the centre, human cavalry led by the Captain bear down on the Poison Grenadiers, killing two and forcing the others to withdraw, while the Slave unit bears down on another objective and battle is joined in the ruined village..
Human infantry engage the block of Ratmen warriors in the village streets
After driving them off, however, the Ratmen Stormtroopers pitch in!
Meanwhile the Captain leads the cavalry against the remaining Poison Grenadiers
But another cavalryman falls to their arcane lethal devices!
Archer slaves advance on the riflemen, albeit largely ineffectually – rifle fire drops four slaves and a few warriors, while infantry engage rat stormtroopers and Warlord in the village centre

Bloody gutter fighting around the ruins
After selflessly letting his bodyguard weather the melee attacks, the Ratman Warlord wades in!

By this point both sides had secured two objectives, but losses on the human side were mounting up more rapidly than the more numerous Ratmen – could superior human firepower prevail?

 Turn 3

Slaves are moving in in a pincer movement while Stormtroopers rush the human infantry from the rear
Carnage in the streets, causing the human infantry to Waver
Who quickly rally to return the favour, charging the Stormtroopers in the rear..
Riflemen pour fire into the Ratmen, retreating out of arrow range- they successfully wipe out half the Warriors, causing them to Waver

As we ended Turn 3, It was 4-1 to the Ratmen in terms of objectives secured as superior numbers were beginning to tell..

Turn 4 (Final Turn)

Between the Warriors, the Stormtroopers and the Warlord, that’s it for the human infantry!
Ratmen advance steadily, arrows falling amongst the riflemen
The Captain takes down the last Poison Grenadier, settling a rather personal feud..
And as the Slaves turn to face the cavalry remnants and the archers advance onto the ridge to take on the remaining riflemen, it’s 3 to the Ratmen, 1 contested and 1 for the humans… and that’s it!

Heavy losses all round but the vastly superior numbers of Ratmen were better placed to soak them up, and I think I really needed to focus absolutely everything on annihilating one unit at a time – rather than getting my riflemen duelling with the archers and the cavalry mixing it up with Poison Grenadiers, we should have plowed everything into hammering the central Ratmen units the infantry were facing… still, plenty of time for another game!

Once again, a really fun game from the One Page Rules folks and a great “introductory” wargame – you can play this one with the nippers (and I intend to once my youngling stops regarding dice as tasty snack treats) as well as your mates and having everything immediately accessible is a big help keeping the game flowing. I could say it’s almost too simplistic, but… the guy’s stated intent was to produce a game that could fit onto one page! It’s a cracking fun game and a great framework to houserule extra bits and pieces on if you want more depth, and there’s plenty that we’ve learned about game design and economical rules writing that will be making it’s way into our next series of releases (probably next year sometime, don’t hold your breath!).

Meanwhile we’ve got some scenery to paint for the League Of Extraordinary Riveters on Dakkadakka.com, and something pretty cool (and big.. and VERY red) on the horizon to show off… stay thrifty out there, we’ll be back soon!

Hairy Japanese Bastards

And this week we’re doing – Age Of Sigmar! It’s fair to say that this game has had a controversial reception – blowing up the Warhammer World, renaming elves, dwarves, orcs and goblins for ease of GW trademarking etc., and to the casual observer (such as we) the replacement fluff seemed pretty vague and silly, and above all unrelatable. The Warhammer World may have been a dangerous place, but it was still one where you could imagine ordinary people living, working, eating, sleeping, and using the toilet. The AoS fluff was very high fantasy myth and legend, lacking the grit that let you believe in the stories you were telling on the battlefield. Plus there were a great many silly rules in the original, no real points structure or levelling mechanics and the whole thing just felt rushed and sloppy.

At least, that’s the way it seemed to us. But that was during the Age of Kirby. As GW have changed management, they really do seem to be making an effort to engage and put out well thought out balanced games – and in the case of AoS, making the rules available for free.

FREE.

We like that word. And so – with AoS 2 now out, high time we dipped a toe in the murky AoS waters and found out what was what.

Of all the WHFB/ AoS races, I’ve always had a thing for Skaven. Giant chittering mutant rats lurking in the sewers, waiting to strike in the darkness.. like Orcs but more cunning, less brutal.. like Goblins but furry.. and then there’s all the Clan Skryre craziness..

So for me, when we got into AoS I had to take this opportunity to start up a Skaven army. But of course – GW prices. They make lovely stuff, but WOW is it expensive – can’t run a Ferrari on a Vauxhall income! (and the minor issue of all our terrain being scaled for 1/72).

So….

Step forward Caesar (or MiniKnight, there seems to be some confusion on the box) Ratmen – 1/72 fantasy absolutely-not-Skaven, 39 figures and 11 poses to a box. My first box cost me roughly a tenner, postage included – and once they arrived, I fell so head over heels I rounded up every box I could find – three more, for a shade under a tenner a piece. Result – everything I need for one formidable Skaven army for the price of three Stormfiends.

So far I’ve managed to get enough painted up to field a decent little warband, and they got their first licks in against a Freeguild patrol a few days ago – the Skaven warlord took down the Freeguild general in grand style and the wee furry chaps just had the measure of the Guard in close combat, managing to pick them off in dribs and drabs.

So, pics:

It begins – first boxfull assembled and based
Scale comparison with a 2ed 40k Gretchin

Clanrats

The first of many!
First tranche complete!
Bringing the pain to the Freeguild (or Ancien Regime, depending on your system..)

Skavenslaves:

Lighter colour scheme here reflecting the low status of the Skavenslave..
And here with bows – that is, slings..

Plague Monks:

On the bench – started with bone for the robes then washed down with green and brown inks
In action against the Freeguild / Ancien Regime fools

Stormvermin:

Seniority denoted by dark fur and black armour
“WHERE’S THE DAMN CHEESE?”

Warlord:

Our current CO

I’ve gone with the notion that seniority is denoted by darker fur, so the Skavenslaves are a lighter brown than the Clanrats, who in turn are lighter than the Plague Monks, etc. Having had a little experience painting at this scale now, I’m more than ever convinced that the right way to do it is to start light (white primer) and wash down rather than starting dark and highlighting up. This is because washes are so much thinner- at this smaller scale, layering highlights will ruin all the detail, as well as taking far longer. That said, I usually finish things off with a very light bone drybrush to catch the highlights.

For basing, I used our now standard technique of thick cardstock (20mm square), covered in PVA, dunked in a pot of Garage Floor Dust (TM), and then a sparse overlay of flock for contrast. Edge with brown, spray with matt varnish and you’re good to go!

Now, as well as being Skaven for AoS and any forays into it’s predecessor, Warhammer Fantasy, these chaps will also be appearing in our own fantasy/ steampunk setting – Hyperian Wars!

The Virum Nascii – Men Of Vermin

The shadow in the corner? The rustle in the rafters? That presence you feel lurking in the corner of your room as you go to sleep? Most of the time it’s just your imagination.

Most of the time.

But sometimes – every once in a while – it’s the Ratman. The Vermin Kin. The Virum Nascii. Many years before mankind came to Hyperia, there were some within the Stoc’d who grew weary of the prohibitions on Vril usage, on biology, on experimentation. Cast out and labelled renegade by his peers, a once noble Stoc’d biologician dug deep beyond the frontiers of his races’ realms, deep towards the core of Hyperia – deep towards the essence of pure, life giving Vril – and began to create a slave race, a race that would do his bidding without question, and eventually make him master of our world.

But life does not always abide by the rules we want it to. The common rat joined him on his journey – and the Vril wrought its magic, sought by design or not. With the biologician’s attention focused on the acquisition of precious Vril and designs of vengeance, the rats grew in intelligence and stature, until they were able to overpower him and his retinue. Now they live in the darkest corners of Hyperia, pulling the unwary down into their shadowy empire. When you meet them in combat, beware – they may not have the martial code that distinguishes us, the Eal’va, the Stoc’d or even the Orca, but they are a deadly opponent, every bit as fearful as the Terrors of the Dead

Oh yes- this is JUST THE START..

That’s it for now, but as the Hyperian Wars fluff develops you bet the Virum Nascii will be along for the ride. Check back soon, stay thrifty out there!

Oh, and a PS regarding the title – we haven’t gone all EDL on you, the reference is this:

RIP Frank Kelly

 Half Term Hijinks Pt. 1 – Hyperian Wars (1/72 Fantasy Steampunk Wargaming)

It’s the half term break here in Ye Olde England, so our little group has been able to cram in a little more game time than usual (yep, the teaching profession has its upsides..).. Our regular readers may have noticed that we’ve gone for a bit of a fantasy vibe recently, turning the Apocalypse: Earth game mechanic to new pastures.

The world of Hyperia, mankind’s new home across the stars.. colonised by refugees from a dying Earth more than twenty centuries previously, mankind has learned to abandon the crude technology of its past, embracing Vril and Magick.. mankind has learned to coexist with the native Stoc’d and Ee’la races, and help them face the Terrors that inhabit the world’s core. But as is the way of mankind, we cannot remain united for long.. now across Hyperia, different realms do battle for the precious resource of Vril.

To the West, the Grand Alliance commands a network of skyways and oceanic shipping lanes across its network of islands. Mighty skyships ply their trade amidst the islands, archipelagos and vast floating cities of a thriving economy with new inventions pushing technological barriers every day. Their elite Sky Marine Corps are the envy of every power on Hyperia. But the Alliance is built on the vital resources of liftwood and Vril, and both of these are becoming rarer by the day.

On the central continent, the realm of the Ancient Regime holds sway – their ruling families tracing their roots back to the original colonists who crashed to Hyperia on the fateful day that brought our race here. Their numbers are vast and they have a firm mastery the arts of wizardry – a Grand Army of the Ancient Regime is a fearful sight to behold, their vast columns of swordsmen, cavalry, riflemen, armour and their elite wizardy cadre represent a powerful force, but their empire is stagnating. Rituals, feudalism and a distrust of technological research has stifled new thinking and innovation.

So, our first playtest battle used the Ancien Regime and Grand Alliance armies detailed last month – no points values at this stage, and the objective was control of the central rocky gulch. Great fun was had, and I’m stunned how closely matched the forces were considering list balance was largely guesswork!

Both sides faced off with objective in central gully – superheavies (the Ironclad and the Dauntless) deployed to use cover, with the Grand Alliance planning to whittle down and counterattack their far more numerous opponents, while the Ancien Regime forces detailed their two Grenadier squadrons to take objective, while the massed musketeer regiment would cover the more open left flank pinning down any opposition, whilst finally the Cuirassier cavalry and A7V light tank would sweep around right and crash into Allied lines.

The game started with largely ineffective firing on both sides as the forces closed, jockeying for position – Allied forces shot down a few infantry while Ancien Regime grenadiers and armour stripped powerfields off the Dauntless – then Ancien sorcerer conjured a lightning storm to cripple the skycutter’s control systems. Nonetheless, the Dauntless’ missiles blew weapons off the A7V, which the enterprising driver then used as cover to support scything cavalry attack into Allied lines that wiped out No. 3 squad. Sky Marine rifle fire from no. 2 quickly shot down the Cuirassiers and close assaulted the tank, losing five of their number but immobilising the beast and therefore rendering it harmless, while No. 1 squad exchanged fire with the musketeers and HQ fired into the ranks of Grenadiers

The Dauntless shook off lightning storm and recovered to hide and ambush Ironclad, washing it in Vrilfire and denuding it off its port side Maxims, eventually immobilising it and then destroying it completely at the cost of her missiles and a damaged engine. Meanwhile, rifle and mortar fire raked the Grenadiers, whose A squadron charged the Sky Marine command group and wiped them out. In their turn, these men were blown apart with grenades and B squadron fell to one survivor.

In an astonishing move, this heroic Grenadier charged the remainder of No.2 squad who promptly surrendered and became POWs! The shame! Meanwhile the Dauntless crew finally hunted down incinerated the sorcerer who had caused them such misery. As she closed on the Musketeers, No. 1 squad charged to rescue their pals, and the Musketeer colonel turned to see a listing, smoking Dauntless hovering over his men, cannon and Vrilfire thrower at point blank range. Realising there was nothing to be gained by sacrificing his men to a horrific agonising death, the colonel raised his hands in surrender, bade his men do the same and led the survivors into captivity..

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Terrain laid out – objective in the centre
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Deployment – Grand Alliance Sky Marines in the foreground, serried ranks of the Ancien Regime in the background..
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Battle is joined! The mighty Ironclad anchors the centre while the cavalry make use of cover..
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The Dauntless weighs in..
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Wonky camera angle, sorry! Cuirassiers crash into the Sky Marine lines..
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Grenadiers assault the objective – Sky Marines are struggling at this point against sheer weight of numbers..
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Grenadiers charge and wipe out Sky Marine HQ!
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Duel of the superheavies – Ironclad vs Dauntless
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“Surrender or die!”

Result – Grand Alliance victory, by a hair’s breadth!

Lists –

Grand Alliance

Command group – KIA

3 x rifle squads 1 KIA, 1 3 survivors, 1 7 survivors

Dauntless – damaged

Ancien Regime

Sorcerer in chief – KIA

Grenadier regiment divided into A & B Squadrons – KIA

Musketeer regiment lost 13 men out of 48

Cuirassier cavalry squadron – KIA

A7V – mobility & weapon kill – effectively destroyed

Ironclad – destroyed

Altogether, awesome game! A few pointers which we’ll take into the next playtest (more varied spells, pin down exactly how power fields regenerate etc) but overall a resounding success. Props to Dan for being an always challenging and sportsmanlike opponent, and stay tuned for more Hyperian Wars!

Mega Summer Update -1/72 Wackiness!

Crikey, I blinked and I almost missed August! Well, we’ve been busy down here at Skinflint HQ, with a variety of different projects – so apologies, this might not be the most focused of posts, but there’ll be plenty of 1/72 weirdness to enjoy..

First up – terrain!

This is a tele-logistics hub for the Atlantic Alliance logistics corps – in the fluff, alien tech captured at Roswell in 1947 led to the Philadelphia Experiment a few years later, which failed in its original purpose but the side effects led to Alliance scientists mastering teleportation. However, seeing as the setting is the mid-1950s, we did’t want Star Trek-style transporters as that wouldn’t fit the story.. how could the world fall into an endless apocalyptic Second Great War if all Churchill or Eisenhower had to do was beam a bomb into the centre of the Kremlin?

So there are limits. A teleporter can’t transport live organic matter as the computers of the day don’t have the power to reassemble it, so it’s strictly limited to supplies. And you can’t just beam anything anywhere, there has to be a homing beacon set up – these beacons are known as hubs, and they are an essential part of the Allied war effort, far less vulnerable than conventional naval convoys.

So this little puppy is built from a variety of household junk – beginning with a CD spindle, and adding various bits of miscellania – the hoses you see are used guitar string cut offs -given a black undercoat, drybrushed with metallic paint and then details picked out and highlighted. It made a great objective in our last game!

Next up – Steampunk Fantasy WW1!

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These are Airfix WW1 British infantry, to double as Grand Alliance Sky Marines for our steampunk/fantasy A:E adaptation, “Hyperian Wars”. They were part of an Ebay haul from a few years back.

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Sky Marine rifle squad
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CO – moustache and sabre firmly in place!
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Command section – signaller, wiring team, mortar crew
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Casualties – these chaps may well make for good objective markers for “Black Hawk SkyCutter Down” style scenarios
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More grunts!

Continue reading Mega Summer Update -1/72 Wackiness!