Slaughter At Forge Valley – A Future Force Warrior Battle Report

So a couple of weeks back Da Skooderia and the Hazzard 1977th took to the field for some old school 2nd Ed action, and whilst it was fun and lots of stuff blew up, it does have to be said old style 40k feels a bit clunky. 8th seems to have gone some way towards streamlining but it’s still hampered by the IGOUGO turn structure, which feels much more suited to Napoleonic or fantasy regimental manoeuvring.. probably due to 40k having it’s roots in Warhammer Fantasy!

So for a while now we’ve been playing around with a re-skinned upgraded version of the Apocalypse: Earth ruleset, moved forward a couple of hundred years into the future as mankind begins it’s exploration beyond the solar system – Earth is divided between three superstates, NATO (covering the Americas, Europe and Australasia), the People’s State (former Holy Soviet Empire, Empire Of Japan, Asian Communist Federation) and the Caliphate (India, Africa, Middle East) while some rugged individualist movements out in the colonies are beginning to press for full independence from the homeworld.

But mankind is not alone in the wilderness of space. There is the vast decaying empire of what we once called the Greys, who seeded life across the galaxy millions of years ago but lost their empire in a titanic struggle with an extra galactic threat that devastated the galaxy while humanity was struggling to make fire, there are isolated pockets of rogue AI constructs bent on continuing a war fought millions of years ago, whispered rumours of extradimensional entities with powers undreamt of and of course the perennial threat of the Orca, essentially a race of overgrown bacteria who live for destruction.

Anyway- the fluff is still in its infancy, but the game engine is pretty soid, so we decided to stat up our Guard and Ork forces, which would now represent forces from the People’s State Liberation Army  and the Orca tribe infecting the world of Hazzard Prime.. we used the same table layout as last time, with the plasma reactors as the objective.

The table laid out – Orca nearest the camera, PSLA furthest edge.

As before, I took Da Skooderia and Dan rolled out the PSLA, and we both reprised our plans from the last game – Orca would pitch forward with their elite troops while the Boyz and Dreadnaught moved up in support, while Seb Metal and Kimi Rorkonnen would loop around in a flanking manoeuvre. Meanwhile the PSLA would be lead by their Russ, squads Alfonso and Beauregard moving through cover while the command element in their Chimera APC would dash forward and engage the Orca with their heavy short range firepower and squad Cletus would provide heavy fire support with missile launcher, autocannon and laser cannon.

Orca deploy using cover to shelter them..
Boyz ready for the advance
Dreadnaught keeping its head down…
PSLA infantry use the woods for cover
Squad Cletus and Russ MBT anchor the centre
Chimera APC with PSLA command element waiting for the order to charge..

The Orca won the initiative and elected to move first.

“Big Red” performs an expert Tokyo drift to pull in behind the ridge, using the terrain for cover as it delivers Warboss Enzo Ferrorki, Bigboss Dino Ferrorki and the Nobz Mob “Da Management” onto the plasma reactors
“DIS SHINY FING IS MIIIIIINE!”
Whoops, wonky camera angle – Russ MBT gets in a flank shot on the Dreadnaught, immobilising it. Seeing as the poor Dread can’t actually see anything, this renders it pretty much ineffective for the rest of the game… This chap is due some karma next game!
Big Red is immobilised by a side laser cannon shot from the Russ
…and autocannon fire downs a Nob, suppressing Da Management. The General living up to his name today!
PSLA Command team debus onto the warehouses by the plasma reactors, People’s Mystic, Captain, Lieutenant and Political Officer dive into cover while plasma rifles down a Skarboy and heat cannons set the trees by Red 7 on fire!
Kimi Rorkonnen and Felipe Masha suddenly find their field of fire obscured as the trees erupt in flame!
Red 5 sprays dirt as Seb Metal floors the throttle, bringing his Warbuggy around in a flanking manouevre
Orca infantry spray shooter fireas they hustle up towards the plasma reactors to support the Nobz, Warboss and Bigboss
On the hill behind them, Dok Nikky Louda lines up a sot with his laser cannon
Squads Alfonso and Beauregard infiltrate through the woods, while Squad Cletus drop more Nobz but lose their autocannon loader, suppressing his team mate
Seb Metal pulls Red 5 around and vapourises Squad Cletus’ laser cannon team with his twin linked autocannons
The General bulldozers his way in, gunning down Boyz right, left and centre
The Chimera guns down Skarboyz at near point blank range
Kimi and Felipe line up Red 5’s heavy heat cannon and roast the Political Officer, Lieutenant and People’s Mystic!
PSLA HQ gets it’s revenge – battle rifle, heat cannons and plasma rifles demolish Red 7, Kimi and Felipe turned into a fine green mist!
Having seen his compatriots gunned down by the Chimera, da Dok lines up a superb laser cannon shot, destroying it in a spectacular fireball!
The demise of Red 5 – caught out in the open by a sharp witted missile launcher team from Squad Cletus
Warboss and surviving Nob assault the Russ – Nob gets himself killed accomplishing precisely nothing, but the Warboss at least manges to jam the General’s turret..
Close quarter fighting around the objectives… Mystical sci fi alien tape measure making a cameo appearance in the background!
Squads Alfonso engage Da Furst Mob with concentrated laser rifle fire
While Squad Beauregard pull off a real coup, wounding and suppressing the Warboss himself!
Even with a jammed turret, the General is still a force to be reckoned with – Furst Mob is virtually wiped out
Da Dok does it again! Laser cannon fire hits the rear armour, causing a chain reaction of explosions that rips the mighty tank apart!
Da Mek bellows his defiance, raking Squad Beauregard with fire as the PSLA infantry capture the Warboss and begin to hustle him off the table..

 

Warboss Enzo Ferrorki, a prisoner of the PSLA!
Da Boyz put up a stiff fight, but as Turn 5 dawns we’re down to 4 boyz while the PSLA have almost a full platoon…
Smashed and burning armour around the objectives, it’s been a lose fought game!

So there we have it – as Turn 5 dawned, the Orca still held one objective but with only a couple of unwounded boyz against almost a full platoon of PSLA infantry it was clear what the result was going to be… the Dok marshalled his 3 remaining boyz and motioned them to slip away – after all, someone was going to have to pull of a rescue to get the Warboss back, right?

FFW is still very much a work in progress, and we’ll be developing the rules and fluff as we go, but I’m pleased to say it’s first outing was a rip roaring success, providing a game that felt much faster and more lethal than our 40k dabbling – I think we may be on to something here!

So, til next time – stay thrifty out there, we’ll be back soon!

 

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Armies (FINALLY) On Parade: Da Skooderia Ferrorki!

Drumroll please… yes, in a mere three years from initial concept to final completion! Oh yes – we get it DONE.

So, the concept for this (and indeed our entire “Cheaphammer” project) was to see if we could create the same sort of visual spectacle and entertainment of a full blown 40k game without taking out the second mortgage needed to do it with GW products. Again, this is not an anti-GW rant – if they were too expensive, they’d go bust. They’re just too expensive for us.

So what we’re doing here is using the (by comparison) ludicrously cheap 1/72 scale – plastic army guys, basically, along with scratchbuilt and converted vehicles from papercraft templates and household junk. Those of you of a certain age will remember the very first “Rogue Trader” edition of Warhammer 40,000 and it’s instruction on how to build a Space Marine Grav Attack tank from deodorant bottles and plastic spoons – that’s the legacy we’re continuing!

So having accidentally acquired a copy of the 40k 2nd edbox set on Ebay, we’ve now built a 2nd ed legal Imperial Guard force using Airfix “Modern US” troops converted with green stuff and papercraft armour, the Orks were well overdue a shot at fame and glory!

I always had a thing for the Evil Sunz clan and their obsession with all things red and fast – and what else is red and fast?

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Oh yes.

And thus was born the concept – Da Skooderia Ferrorki, a Ferrari F1- themed Evil Sunz warband!

The ladz on parade!

First, the list:

Warboss Enzo Ferrorki – ‘ Eavy Armour, Bolt Pistol, Kustom Shoota (82 pts)

Bigboss Dino Ferrorki – ‘Eavy Armour, Bolt Pistol, Chainsword, Frag Stikkbomb (46 pts)

Nobz Mob (“Da Management”) – 3  Nobz, w/ ‘Eavy Armour, Frag Stikkbomz, Boltpistol, Chainsword (78 pts)

Da Furst Mob – 5 Evil Sunz Boyz w/ Flak Armour, Boltgun, Axe, Frag Stikkbomz (15 pts each)

1 Evil Sunz Boy w/ Flak Armour, Bolt Pistol, Heavy Plasma Gun, knife (26 pts)

Da Secund Mob – 5 Evil Sunz Boyz w/ Flak Armour, Boltgun, Axe, Frag Stikkbomz (15 pts each)

1 Evil Sunz Boy w/ Flak Armour, Bolt Pistol, Heavy Bolter, knife (10 pts)

Da ‘Ard Boyz – 5 Goff Skarboyz w/ Flak Armour, Boltgun, Axe, Frag Stikkbomz (15 pts each)

1 Goff Skarboy w/ Flak Armour, Bolt Pistol, Multi-Melta (39 pts)

Mek Mikael Schumorker – Flak Armour, Bolt Pistol, Kustom Blasta, Kustom Force Field – (68 pts)

Painboy Dok Nikky Louda – Flak Armour, Bolt Pistol, Lascannon, Kustom Force Field, Doc’s Tools (76 pts)

Killa Kan – 2x Power Klaw, Heavy Flamer, Heavy Bolter (120 pts)

Battle Wagon (50 pts)

Warbuggy Red 5 – twin linked Autocannon (60 pts)

Warbuggy  Red 7 – Multi Melta (65 pts)

Now… pics!

Warboss Enzo Ferrorki!
And sidekick, Dino Ferrorki!
Nobz Mob, “Da Management”
Mek Mikael Schumorker
Dok Nikky Louda
Da Furst Mob
Da Secund Mob
Da ‘Ard Boyz
Da Wagon – note Flag Wava with Prancing Ork banner.. he has no effect in game, but I loved the model!
Da Kan – details on the build can be found here
Warbuggy Red 5, driven by Sebastian Metal – details on the build can be found here
Warbuggy Red 7, driven by Kimi Rorkonnen and Felipe Masha – details on the build can be found here
Enzo leads the Boyz into battle!
The Red Horde

So there we go – been a fun project, despite a few setbacks, and now they’re ready to roll I’m pretty proud of them. The infantry are Caesar Miniatures Fantasy Orcs, which are great little miniatures, well made and a joy to paint. They do a number of fantasy lines which we’ll definitely be investigating for our “Hyperian Wars” games. Weapons are from Sgts Mess, any other conversions/ butchery are down to greenstuff.

We’ve also learned alot about painting figures this small – namely, prime white and wash down rather than highlight up, as thinner washes don’t cover up detail. If anyone’s interested in how we did the boyz, let us know in the comments.

Now, we have the armies, we have the board, we have the terrain.. now all we need to do is (ahem) learn how to play the game…. See you soon with a battle report!

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!

 

 

 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!

The Battle Of The Kessenburg Hub

Following the Roswell UFO crash of 1947, ARPA worked feverishly to engineer new technologies based on their discoveries.Not all their experiments would prove successful, however, and the 1949 Philadelphia Experiment – originally conceived as a means to “cloak” a ship – was a horrific failure. An offshoot of the program carried on developing the principles of teleportation that had been inadvertently discovered, and although a couple of early catastrophic failures in testing proved that organic living tissue could not use these machines, they were fine for inanimate objects and machines. At a stroke, the Atlantic Alliance’s logistics corps was revolutionised, and each theatre of the Apocalypse War is equipped with tele-logistics nodes such as this one in the town of Kessenburg, central Germany. 

The original installation fell victim to an artillery and psychic bombardment from Holy Soviet Empire forces on a sector wide offensive, and Allied X Corps Command ordered a rescue detachment to the area to prevent the Soviets capturing the node and it’s advanced technology.

Victory conditions – to control the node, the player must have unsuppressed troops within 5cm of the outer edge and no unsuppressed enemy forces within the same distance.Your objective is to control the node for three uninterrupted turns allowing the auto evacuation mechanism time to lock on to the nearest homing signal and teleport to safety.

So, following the trip to Warhammer World last week, I was raring to go and get a game in, and on Sunday evening Dan rolled up with a crate of Carling in one hand and his Holy Soviet Army in the other – game on!

I had a few new toys to try out, so we cranked up the fire support allowance for Dan, and we both tried out the new Command Cards idea – basically, to make your CO and XO extra valuable, they can force extra actions, prioritise fire support, benefit morale etc. As it turned out, neither that or Fortunes Of War had any impact on things but it was a great game nonetheless!

 

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The table laid out – you can see the tele-logistics node in the centre

Thankfully my command team had had their coffee so the Atlantic Alliance won for deployment:

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Plucky little Buffalo 2-7 on the left, the massed Holy Soviet hordes on the right
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Swanky new APCs make their debut, with M85 combat ‘bots in support – my infantry were deployed in the APCs, going for a “cavalry” feel today!
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Allied right flank, Dreadnaught power armour troops (who would prove rather useless..) my Rocketeers (good ol’ Warhawk 4-9) and the armour complement of three M60A3 Centurions
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Dan’s Holy Mystic and bodyguard – I was determined to terminate with extreme prejudice after his telekinetic tank-lobbing exploits of late..
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The Red Hordes! Notice the big scary Rampager superheavy amongst the T-48 tank platoon

The game started with both sides jostling for position and few shots being fired. My infantry deployed straight from their APCs onto the objective, securing it in Turn 1 – I noticed Dan hadn’t put his assault troops in the Soviet APC, as last two games, it’s been hit before it could be activated and his badass Siberian psychopaths have been barbecued..

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Turn 1 – Fireteam Charlie 1 take down said scary Rampager with a Stinger/TOW! They never normally hit ANYTHING until Turn 3!
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Turn 2 -The Humvee makes a sally forth with its minigun but is swamped by the Soviet infantry platoon
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Turn 2 – The Soviet Beastmen hop out of their APC and slaughter Delta squad!

Turn 2 was where it all hit the fan, the Soviet assault got its momentum and my right flank was a mass of blazing armour! However a lucky shot from a machinegunner had taken down the Soviet RTO which meant no fire support calls – lucky for me, as I was losing infantry hand over fist.. and I didn’t have many to begin with!

Unfortunately (depending on your point of view) they couldn’t quite carry the momentum – the Beastmen slaughtered Delta Squad but were blown to pieces by the heavy machineguns and cannon on the APCs.

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Turn 3 – His HQ wiped out, Polikarpov leads the remainder of his platoon in a furious vodka-induced charge, challenging my remaining Command Element member to single combat..
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..and winning! Platoon Sgt’ McAuliffe’s credentials as a hardass are somewhat dented..
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But it just wasn’t enough, with the Soviets reduced to an Artillery Observation Team, a useless Sniper and half the Heavy Weapons Squad…
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Smashed and burning armour litters the table –  a good game!
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Soviet survivors decide enough is enough

So there we have it – Alliance victory, although only just, I literally had about three infantry left, plus the ‘bots and one operational APC. Had Dan been able to successfully call fire support, we’d have had it. Damn it was fun though! And the Charge of Lt. Polikarpov – Dan, you paint a medal on that guy!

A couple of thoughts – the Tesla troopers actually got some licks in and fried a pair of tanks, but my Dreadnaughts couldn’t do a damn thing – I think we’ll up the minigun penetration just a touch so they at least have a slim chance. The BEastmen need to be tougher too, I suggest scrap the 6+ save and go for an armour rating maybe 9, plus some kind of resurrection rule – fits the fluff better.

Anyway, more new toys to come, plus our fantasy setting – “Hyperian Wars” – stay tuned!

Here come the (Armoured) Cavalry!

I’ve always had a soft spot for the M113 – lurching, unwieldy aluminium deathtrap that the thing almost certainly was! And given the nature of the Atlantic Alliance force as having late 60’s/ early 70’s level tech in a mid-1950’s World War scenario (thank you, Roswell), it was inevitable that sooner or later I’d have to get myself a few…

A bit of Google Fu later (papercraftsquare.com) and I had me a rather nice M113 papercraft template which I printed out straight onto cardstock. Now, I did botch the first one a bit – leading to a low slung “sports APC” look, but the addition of spacers covered by some armoured skirts seemed to do the trick, and had the bonus of giving it a more “sci-fi” look.

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I’ve gone for the “ACAV” Vietnam-style look and I think it fits rather well – each mounts a heavy weapon in the forward turret and a light machinegun in the flank turrets. Eagle eyed observes will note this is missing on two of the machines – I need to do another Sgts Mess order…

From left to right – mounting Mk 19 grenade launcher, M2 .50 calibre heavy machine gun and 20mm autocannon – lots of yummy firepower to back up the dismounts!

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Like these guys!

Some of you might notice a bit of a change in painting style – I’d gone for a heavily weathered BAOR type look previously, but after checking out this guy’s blog I just had to try my hand at some digital camo! It’s based on the 1970s DualTex scheme, and it’s just the kind of thing I can imagine UNIVAC coming up with – a kind of primitive-retro sci-fi idea, perfect for Apocalypse: Earth!

I also rather liked his way of doing headlights – so in my own cackhanded way, I copied that, too…DSCN1784

Shiny shiny.

Looking forward to getting these guys on the tabletop and deploying Buffalo 2-7 as an armoured cavalry force!

Thoughts on #TheBigGame

So we rolled out with everything a couple of weeks back, testing out the new Rampager, Elektra, Inferna and Siberian units on the Holy Soviet Empire side, and letting the Atlantic Alliance give their M85 Autonomous Combat Platforms and M60A3 Centurion squadron a maiden airing. The full after action report will be published in our new (free, digital, available for download here and Wargames Vault)) magazine just as soon as we can get it all written up, photographed and DTP’d, but meantime there are a few fine tuning details we can take away from what was a hard fought, close run and hugely fun game!

Dan, your snipers are way too expensive.L’il ol’ Vasily accomplished precisely squat despite being twice the cost of a rifle squad! Yes he’s hard to hit, but what’s the point of he just sits there? I suggest we halve his points cost and give him an “Infiltrate” skill to ensure he can deploy somewhere he can get shooting straight away. For fairness, we should give my Ghost 7 team the same skill, of course!

Spotting for indirect fire – let’s clear this up. For off table support, I think we can let that be targeted anywhere (“Sir, Zaplinsky reports enemy tanks on the ridgeline!”) but for on-table indirect fire such as mortars,someone in the squad needs to be able to see the target (“Rogers, shift your fire, 10 meters bearing five two!”). Although it pains me to say it after what happened to my HQ, “speculative fire” actually does make sense – “Drop a few rounds behind those bunkers, Corporal, lets flush out anything that might be hiding” – so after much soul searching I’m turned around on this one.

Objectives – For all  the fun, the game still turned into a bit of a kill-point-slug-fest by the end. I suggest making each objective 45 vps rather than 40. It still means a bit of a scuffle in smaller games (you can’t win a 500pt match without some shots being fired) but it does encourage more manueuvre. As we saw, you can’t really capture all 4 objectives in a 2000pt game anyway unless the other guy collapses so there’ll still be plenty of carnage!

This is actually a positive but I loved the way the tank fights played out! LOTS of maneuvering to get a better shot through weaker armour, the open spaces on the table east edge were a whirling knife fight between my M60s and Dan’s T-48 and Rampager!

Thoughts, gentlemen?

 

Miniature Neutrality

So courtesy of dakkadakka.com I stumbled across what looks to be a very promising Kickstarter skirmish game, “This Is Not A Test”. I checked out the blog and the first entry was about being “miniature neutral” – how you can use any type of miniature to play the game. Very laudable, and it got me thinking.

I designed Apocalypse: Earth with the intent of creating a fun, fast paced game which would be simple to learn but difficult to master, and to keep the associated costs down by using 1/72 scale plastic soldiers. Latterly our gaming and development group has stumbled across the medium of papercraft, which has enabled us to field a raft of vehicles built at practically no cost.

The connection? A:E does not feature prescriptive miniatures, and we positively encourage conversions and creations through the player’s own ingenuity. There is a whole planet, tearing itself apart through a bloody conflict involving many strange and unnatural technologies!

That said, being set in an alternate 1950s allows the base of WW2 tech – helpfully, the most well catered for time period of all! To give you an idea of what’s in our studio armies – the Holy Soviet Empire are represented by WW2 Red Army, with the T-48 workhorse a conversion of a T-54 papercraft, the League Of European Nations represented by WW2 Germans (Cougar MBT is a converted King Tiger papercraft). The Atlantic Alliance have received a tech level boost from the Roswell crash so I’ve used Vietnam War US infantry to represent them, but the background is flexible enough to conceivably include WW2 US, WW2 Brits, 1970s/80s/ Present day Brits, and their workhorse MBT is the M60A3 Centurion – armour enthusiasts will recognise a portmanteau of two iconic cold war tanks.

Taking things to the extreme, the Holy Soviet Empire has it’s elite, genetically modified “Strong Men” Siberian assault troops – represented in the game by Caesar fantasy Orcs, while the Atlantic Alliance elite Dreadnaught squad are US Vietnam infantry converted with greenstuff and cardboard… I look forward to seeing what more skilled modellers than me can achieve!