So, sitrep – things suck. We’ve passed 19,000 dead here in the UK, the NHS is running on fumes, America has projections of almost a quarter of a million dead and God alone knows what’s going to happen when Covid-19 hits the slums in places like Bangladesh or Calcutta. Here in the UK, the maxim is stay home, stay safe, protect the NHS – and regrettably it seems many people can’t even manage that. It’s a bleak and scary time.
But it’s also a time to maintain a sense of proportion. Yes, We’ve lost 19,000+ to the virus – but we regularly lose 8,000 to seasonal flu. In the US it’s estimated that 24,000- 63,000 fall to seasonal flu each year. Let’s be realistic – statistically you’ve got a 99% chance of surviving the virus should you contract it. The projected death rates are simply from the fact that we have huge populations. My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones from this, but it is NOT the end of the world. 100 years ago, Spanish flue tore through a world recovering from the butchery of World War 1, and despite having nowhere near the scientific base of knowledge we have now, the world endured and survived. We will endure and survive this too.
Dan and I are both following the rules and staying at home, and we both have a personal stake in this – Dan’s wife is a nurse, my girlfriend is an HCA (health care assistant), and we both want them home safe at the end of each shift. So I implore you (although if you’re smart enough to read this blog you’re smart enough to know this anyway) – STAY HOME. IT’S NOT LIKE THEY’RE PUTTING YOU DOWN A F*CKING COAL MINE. STAY HOME & WATCH NETFLIX… pretty sure the WW2 generation could manage this without issue!
Anyway, rant over – seeing as my other half can’t come over and my gaming buddy is under lockdown too, I decided to do movie & game night with a zombie theme.. hey, you think things suck now? Imagine that the virus reanimates it’s victims…
So with that in mind, I set up a solo version of Apocalypse Earth: Black Ops – our skirmish RPG variant on the main game rules – with the idea of an Atlantic Alliance Special Forces team moving through a derelict industrial estate to rescue a group of scientists trapped in an abandoned APC.
Hmm. Slightly unsatisfactory experience, if I’m honest. However, I had given all the zombies guns and a fair old turn of speed, which, in addition to their numbers probably gave them an unfair advantage. After a few minutes rumination I reset to go again, but this time the zombies would have no weapons, a CCR of 0, a move allowance of 8cm, and the team’s weapons would be replaced with more advanced “pulse rifles” with a ROF of 5. Let’s give this another shot!
Whew, well, that second go around was a LOT more intense and cinematic! I got bogged down in the early phases trying to gun down the zombies but that was never going to happen, their sheer numbers were always going to win out, so I should have kept moving as fast as possible, only shooting when necessary and keeping my distance. Oh well, as an Atlantic Alliance player I guess I’m too used to standing my ground and gunning down Dan’s Holy Soviet Army hordes… and once all this coronavirus hideousness is over, I’m very much looking forward to doing that again!
As always, stay safe, stay thrifty out there and we’ll see you soon (hopefully). Love to all our friends out in the blogosphere!
A quarter of the world is on lockdown (as of Thursday – probably more now). Try and wrap your head around that – a quarter of the world. We are living in unprecedented, historic times as coronavirus wreaks its’ havoc across the globe. Indeed, as I write this the UK is locked down, all non-essential travel forbidden.
Which kind of rules out our regular games night. Pretty certain going to play soldiers and drink beer with your mate doesn’t count as essential travel. So this has left me picking through the pile of toy soldiers we acquired in an eBay haul waaaaaaay back in 2012, with an idea in mind.
I’ve long fancied doing a “renegade” army, Chaos but without featuring Chaos Space Marines (as to my mind, they should be as rare as Loyalist marines) – just as the vast bulk of the Imperium’s battles are fought by the Guard, surely the vast bulk of Chaos forces will be cultists? But all the Codex stuff leans heavily on Traitor Astartes or full on Daemons.. not what I was looking for.
However, the good folks at One Page Rules have got you covered! Their Renegade Guerilla force – I believe it’s based on the Rebels from Star Wars, but it looks like a pretty good fit. We dig their Grimdark Future game, having had a couple of good scraps last year (plus it includes solo rules for when you’re missing your gaming buddy). Plus I liked the idea of a Chaos cult not really understanding that that’s what they are – having been educated in the Siege of Vraks by the excellent Arch Warhammer (a great listen while you’re cleaning, painting, decorating etc) – the rebels initially had no idea they were fighting for Chaos, initially believing they were the true loyalists… and that fits into a vague idea of the Star Wars and 40k universes being the same thing from different perspectives, Star Wars rebels thinking they’re noble freedom fighters against the repressive Galactic Empire, the Galactic Empire knowing that repression and stringent restrictions are the only way to fight Chaos/ The Force….
…or indeed coronavirus…
So I planned my list. I’ll show the infantry when they’re done, but let’s start off with the armoured component of the force – a Creighton-pattern light assault vehicle, a design native to the world of Hazzard Prime.
I’ll be showing the infantry soon, and then it’ll be nice to have another faction to scuffle on Hazzard Prime – plus these guys will probably count as “baddies” (whether they agree with it or not) which will provide a nice bit of balance when we next do a REALLY BIG GAME – and we will… things might seem grim now, but it’s not forever.
Till next time, stay home, stay safe, wash your hands and don’t do anything stupid. If you’re NHS and reading this, then thank f*ck for you and may any and every deity protect you going about your duties. The world will turn soon enough, hang in there folks.
For a while now we’ve been playing with the idea of “scaling” the Apocalypse: Earth setting for different games – just as back in the day GW had Epic, 40k and Necromunda for massed battles, intermediate and small scale skirmishes with different levels of detail, we’ve been toying with the idea of a 6mm mass battle version as well as an intimate, up-close-and-personal RPG (of sorts) set in the shadows of the Apocalypse: Earth universe.
To begin with, we thought we’d shift the focus from Allies v Holy Soviet Empire, and shine a light on some of the small scale behind the lines security.. Now, one of the factions that we haven’t explored too much on the tabletop are the extraterrestrials – the iconic Greys! If you’ve read the fluff, you’ll know that the main reason the Atlantic Alliance has the jump on the other sides in terms of technology is due to an alien spacecraft crashing in the deserts of Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947. Ever since then, Alliance scientists have been busily reverse engineering every aspect they can, creating the UNIVAC artificial intelligence to run the everyday infrastructure (and maybe more..) of Alliance nations, and the ARPANet instant electronic communications network, as well as the antigrav tech that powers things like the Silverbug gunships.
But although we haven’t seen the Greys in open battle yet, behind the lines it’s a different story, as elite security teams drawn from the best Allied combat units fight desperate small unit actions against alien infiltrators!
Accordingly tonight’s game pitted our gallant Alliance Special Forces team against an unknown foe, sweeping across an abandoned industrial sector..
And with that, the game is over! A resounding victory for the Special Forces team, but bear in mind that this is the lowest threat level, and would be an encounter that takes place at the start of a campaign. A fun, and at times pretty tense mission, looking forward to more playtesting on this!
Till next time, stay thrifty (and dry..) out there, see you soon!
His brush quivered in exhausted fingers that functioned on little more than adrenaline. The final wash. The final drybrush. The final details and basing. After countless hours, the endless had ended. The numberless hordes of miniatures were painted.
He felt a strange lightness- trepidation almost. For what, now, was his purpose?
He paused, trying to remember a life before this. Visions of sunlit uplands and glorious blue skies fuzzed into an imagination too long neglected, sacrificed to the demands of such a project.
As abruptly as it came, the fear left him.
You are free
“I am free” he whispered, not daring to believe it.
“I am free” he whispered again.
“I am free” he said, more confident now.
He drew a deep breath and threw his face to the heavens.
“I AM FR-“
And with that final roar, his heart beat its’ last.
Yes, it’s happened- these are THE LAST RATMEN! Finishing a project begun in something like the 4th century BC, this is a good feeling – four boxes of Miniknight Ratmen (available here, from the looks of it) bought with the intention of creating a proper old-school Warhammer Fantasy Battle Skaven army.. just a bit smaller. These fellas clock in at 1/72 or 20mm, so about 4/5 the size of a GW miniature… but a lot less than 4/5 of the price. This whole horde came in at under £40.
Anyway, this last tranche had been waiting in the “to do” pile for some considerable length of time as I wasn’t entirely sure what to do with them. I knew I wanted to include as many of the bonkers Clan Skyre special weapons as I possibly could, and thankfully the Age Of Sigmar reboot hadn’t changed them much, so I modelled a pair of each of the Warplock Jezzail, Ratling Gun, Warpfire Thrower and Warp-Grinder Drill teams. Now you’ve already seen the first three, but I got started on the Warp Grinder operators…
..and was just about to pat myself on the back and have a VERY large glass of wine to celebrate finishing the behemoth of a project, when a cursory rummage revealed these two f*ckers that had been hiding!
Made worse by the fact that I’d run out of grey and white primer, so these little fellas got a spray of black, followed by a basecoat of bone craft paint… this actually worked surprisingly well, so I’m a little turned around on black primer! I then basecoated tan, washed the models with Vallejo Smokey Ink (talent in a bottle) and drybrushed back up with the original bone. After that, I blocked in the flesh tones and details. Vallejo skin wash brought everything to life and the craft acrylic I used for the red was already pretty translucent so responded to the underpainting pretty well. I wonder if I’ve perhaps stumbled on to a secret formula for cheap Contrast paints here! Anyway, here are the results:
We’ll be using these for Sigmar, old style WHFB, Age Of Fantasy:Regiments, and as the Virum Nascii for Hyperian Wars – and these lads have been smacking DOWN in our HW mini campaign last summer!
Right, if you’ve made it this far congratulations on reading a post about how I painted TWO tiny model soldiers X-) and here’s a group shot of Lord Ratticus’ mighty horde:
Of course, no wargaming/ modelling project is ever truly done… I’d like to add flags and battle standards to these guys, as well as my planned DIY Doomwheel, Plague Catapult etc, but for now I’m drawing a line under these guys and calling it done B-) Of course, in the event I have to self-isolate, I’ll at least have something to do!
Till next time, stay tuned and thrifty! (and try not to cough on each other…)
After Endless January, it seems like February has been swallowed almost entirely by 1:1 scale, also known as Real Life, problems. First car – and trust me, there are not enough swears in the world to cover my feelings toward that f*cking thing at the moment – then nature – Storms Ciaran and Dennis have been wreaking havoc and even here in dear old Leicestershire, we’ve not been immune. Although it’s nothing to what some people have been suffering in places like Wales, it was a bit disconcerting to see a lake forming on my kitchen floor, while Dan suffered tiles blown off and a leaking roof. Clearly, more offerings to the sun god Ra are in order.
So that’s why we’ve been a bit quiet.
But in between the mayhem, we’ve still managed to slip in a bit of hobby time… and after the Virum Nascii were slaughtered ignominiously in their last outing, we decided a bit of exra firepwoer was in order. So with the last few models from the four boxes of Miniknight Ratmen we bought in a fit of madness back in 2018, we’ve been busily converting to create special weapon teams inspired by and similar to (but definitely not the same as) the Clan Skyre teams from Warhammer Fantasy/ Age Of Sigmar.
Unbelievably, however, we’re still not done! There are still two guys awaiting conversion to a drill team, and after that there are the war machines! Currently there’s a prototype Doomwheel lurking in the cupboard made from two peanut butter jar lids… so if the real world could leave us alone for the next few weeks, maybe we can label this project as “DONE” – inasmuch as any gaming project ever is!
Anyway, stay thrifty out there, and our thoughts go out to anyone who’s taken a real hit from the weather these last few weeks.. See you soon!
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?
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)
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!
Don’t know what it is about summer, but I always find myself drawn to fantasy stuff – suppose it’s because the evenings are lighter, the shed is warmer… and I’m drawn to a simpler time of Goblin Green bases drawn in massed ranks, swords and spears raised to beat the absolute crap out of each other.
It was about this time last year when I began my love affair with the 1/72 Skaven – ahem, Ratmen, or Virum Nascii for Hyperian Wars – from Caesar or Minikight miniatures (as the packaging is somewhat ambiguous), and I painted up the first of the four boxes I’d bought quite happily. After kicking a little Freeguild and Ancien Regime ass over the summer 2018, these were duly forgotten about as new shiny things grabbed our attention…
But even gamer ADHD runs its course, and it wasn’t long before I remembered my plans for cheapy fantasy hordes, and set about adding a second tranche to the litte whiskery fellas:
So yeah, fill in post today – but you’re going to love what’s coming next… 😉 Stay thrifty out there my brothers and sisters, we will see you soon!
So first out of the blocks, an idea I’ve been kicking around for a while – the infamous Kugelpanzer, or ball tank. These things seem to be staple of retro sci-fi, without really having a defined role, so I figured they could work as an armoured recon troop- with a bit of a twist! These things would be packing laser cannons- three each. These will be capable of rapid fire against infantry and light vehicles, but by combining their fire together they will be able to fire a single high intensity laser blast capable of obliterating even a Soviet Colossus or IS-6 Rampager!
It’s actually a bit of a challenge “feeling out” the character of this army – sandwiched between the lumbering juggernaut of the Holy Soviet Army and the elite, hi tech but short on numbers feel of the Atlantic Alliance, it’s a bit of a challenge to find where the European League should sit. So we’ve gone for a slightly ragtag, heterogenous feel – bizarre clunky specialised units that are very good at one thing, but suck at everything else. Kind of like a 1950’s Eldar to the AA’s Space Marines or HSE Guard, if you’ll allow the metaphor.
Anyway, enough waffle – on to the build!
We begin with (drumroll please)…. ping pong balls! A bag of 20 off eBay for a couple of quid. I googled “ping pong ball diameter” – seriously – and discovered that international regulations – seriously – specify 40mm. Thus reassured, I cut out 40mm x 15mm strips of thin card which I aligned as centrally as possible. These would serve as mounts for the tracks, which I cut as 5mm wide strips from IDE cables (a trick learned from master scratchbuilder Zrunelord)
After that, all that remained were the guns! 3 laser cannons per tank, one per side and a centrally mounted top one. I made these by chopping up a 1cm length of cocktail straw and then supergluing a 5mm length of drinking straw to each end, like so:
A coat of white primer and a base coat of Crafter’s Choice Fawn later, I added lines of brown and Vallejo Russian Green (irony!) to create the WW2 “Dunkelgelb” style camouflage pattern. The whole thing then gt a thinned wash of brown ink, an unthinned in wash of Vallejo Smokey Ink in the crevices, before a final drybrush with bine craft paint to catch the rivets. I applied sponge weathering using both black and gun metal, and then knocked up a texture paste from sand, PVA and dark brown paint – this got smeared around the tracks before being drybrushed with a lighter brown and blended around the tracks (in truth I think I got a bit carried away here, but oh well – northern Europe can get pretty muddy..)
Anyhow – pics!
Looking forward to getting these on the table soon – can they beat the fate of all painted models, or will they cover themselves with glory taking down Stompy Uncle Joe? Stay tuned, stay thrifty, see you soon!
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 plasmareactors as the objective.
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.
The Orca won the initiative and elected to move first.
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!
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!
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)
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, wehavetheterrain.. now all we need to do is (ahem) learn how to play the game…. See you soon with a battle report!