Apocalypse: Earth Battle Report :The Battle Of Kubica Pass (Pt. 1: Deployment & Strategy)

Buffalo 2-7 patrolled into the deep dark wood.

They deployed into cover and the cover was good.

Up on point was stealth sniper team Ghost 7.

They counted Soviet tanks, all the way up to 11.

But then something mighty shook the ground below –

Oh Help! Oh No! It’s Stompy Uncle Joe!

Stompy Uncle Joe? Who’s Stompy Uncle Joe?

Stompy Uncle Joe? Why, didn’t you know?

He’s fifty feet tall, with a terrible roar

And a terrible flamethrower on his terrible claw

He can fire lightning into the air – his antiaircraft machine guns have our Rocketeers scared!

Where his he headed? He’s on our left flank – 

AND HIS FAVOURITE FOOD IS CENTURION TANK!!!!!

(thank you Julia Donaldson)

It’s time.

New board. New terrain. New and improved armies. After a summer of repainting and terrain building, Dan and I are champing at the bit to get this game underway and try out all our new toys, and this is going to be a BIG post. So big, in fact, we’ve decided to split it into two parts. This week, we’ll cover the army lists, deployment and strategies, and once the dust has settled and the empties cleared away, we’ll take a look at how the battle unfolded.

We decided to flip the narrative for once – the Atlantic Alliance would be the attacking party, striking deep into formerly Polish territory to try and secure the strategically vital village of Kubica Pass (yes, named for the racing driver.. we’re both rooting for you and hope to see you back on the F1 grid in 2018!) while the Holy Soviet Army would be trying to hold them back and protect this newly acquired slice of Motherland.

There were six objectives on the board, each worth 30VPs each – the central gulley and various hills and buildings around the battlefield. We reckoned each force chimed in at roughly 3000 points, so it should give us a good balance of manoeuvre and flat out slaughter!

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The board (Soviets nearest the bottom) – objective 1 just out of shot extreme left Soviet flank, objective 2 the rocky hill next to it, objective 3 the central gulley, objective 4 the ruined department store to it’s right, objective 5 the hill near the Allies, objective 6 the ruined church

Army Lists:

Holy Soviet Army – Task Force Polikarpov, 63rd Guards Tank Division

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)

 

Atlantic Alliance – Buffalo 2-7, VII Corps

Command  –

Platoon Headquarters : Lt, Platoon Sergeant, RTO, Medic

Line (each squad split into 2-man fireteams)

Rifle Squad (Alfa)

Rifle Squad (Bravo) + M85 support bot w/ assault saw, flamethrower

Missile Squad (Charlie) + M85 support ‘bot w/ Stinger/TOW launcher

Light Machinegun Squad (Delta) + M85 support ‘bot w/ LMG & HMG

Support

Dreadnaught power armoured infantry

Rocketeer squad (Warhawk 4-9)

Stealth squad (Ghost 7)

 

Vehicles

M60A3 Platoon (3 x M60A3 including 1 command tank)

M42 Stealth Tank

Humvee – Minigun

Humvee – Railgun, targeter

Humvee – Stinger/TOW launcher

M113 – HMG, 2x LMG

M113 – Light Autocannon, 2x LMG

M113 – Automatic Grenade Launcher, 2 x LMG

Avrocar squadron – 2 x Avrocar Silverbugs w/ 2x Stinger/TOW launchers, targeter and Avenger cannon

Pregame – 

Soviets:

Trying to read the terrain to best advantage, I stuck the SU-152 on the far left with the Artillery Observation team, with the intent of capturing and securing Objective 1, which looked safe enough and would also function well as a firebase with cover and plenty of views over the battlefield. Over on the right, I anchored the superheavies – the IS-6 Rampager and Stompy Uncle Joe, the Colossus, as they could command the open ground and the layout of the village streets gave the Rampager crew a nice field of fire for their twin 140mm cannons…

Objective 2 looked within reach and would provide a nice firebase, so I earmarked No. 4 (Support) squad to take that, and they would be led over the top by the T-48 platoon as I suspected we  might see some allied vehicle activity in that area of the table. Once it was secure, No. 4 squad could sit on 30 VPs of territory, sweep the board with heavy machinegun fire and lightning blasts, as well as dropping mortars wherever we felt like.

Objective 5 looked safely in the Allied zone so I decided to focus on 3 and 4 – this would be the main body of the infantry assault who would use the buildings for cover and get close enough to flush out any deployed Allied infantry with Molotov cocktails and vodka fuelled violence! I deployed the Siberians, Elektra and Inferna to support the HQ and squads 1, 2 & 3 in the centre. This would be my hammer blow, and the Shock Drones went with them to soften up anything foolish enough to get in their way.

By this point I was running out of space in my deployment zone! Vasily the sniper took up position in the ruined tenement block and the Lightnng Storm squad took Uncle Joe’s back as these slow moving but rugged troops would cause carnage when they got in range.. finally, the Holy Mystic and his bodyguard found themselves a nice little ruined shop to take refuge in and plot their evil deeds…

The stage was set. Za Rodina!

Atlantic Alliance:

I found myself with a bit of a mental block trying to form a plan, so I decided to deploy my most powerful assets first and build around them. First up was the flight of Avrocar Silverbug gunships – these chaps packed a pair of Stinger/TOW launchers each as well as a potent rapid fire Avenger cannon (essentially an A-10 in B-movie sci-fi clothing). I stuck them out on the far left where I could see the opportunity to pull off a flanking manouevre and quickly secure Objective 6.

The Stealth Tank simply HAD to go in the woods where he would best be able to utilise his ability to transform into a tree, so that solved that conundrum, and I decided that since that looked like a good area of tank country, most of my anti-tank units would go there – Charlie Squad, two of the Humvees and the Dreadnaughts all took position.

The Rocketeers would be a mobile fire brigade, so I kept them fairly central with the intent of having them close up and slaughter vulnerable Soviet infantry, and hopefully the Mystic, and the main grunt of the armour went where I figured the Soviet armour wouldn’t be – the Holy Soviet Empire has little conventional antitank capability, preferring to drown the enemy in T-48s and if that fails get their Mystic to start chucking tanks around like tennis balls. This meand that if you catch them out, they have no answer to the powerful Allied main battle tank. So, 3 M60A3s and 3 M113s formed the central punch, supported by Alfa, Bravo and Delta squads, as well as platoon HQ in order to ensure unit coherency. We would punch through the gulley and secure Objective 3, maybe 4 too. Ghost 7 deployed forward onto Objective 5, the craggy hilltop giving a fine view of the battlefield.

That was the plan. Now to see if the enemy would co operate…

 

 

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Soviet right flank – superheavies take position amongst the ruins
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Left to right in the Soviet centre – Siberians (behind the building), Elektra, Inferna, rifle squads, BTR -152 APC
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T-48 platoon and No. 4 Squad ready to take Objective 2
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SU-152 surveys the scene – it’s first deployment, the crew rueing the fate of all newly painted models…
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The Red Horde!
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Allied right flank – M42 Stealth Tank, Dreadnaught Squad, anti-tank missile and railgun equipped Humvees, Rocketeers and M85 combat support ‘bot
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Air Cav! Rocketeers at the ready
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The Allied centre, deployed in the woods behind Objective 3 – M60A3 Centurions, M113s, grunts and ‘bots
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Charlie squad survey the target rich environment
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Allied left flank – Avrocar Silverbug gunships anchor the far left, then Alfa and Bravo squads with associated support ‘bot
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Silverbug gunship flight.. How will these lads fare in their first battle?
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Noble Sniper Vasily takes position on the tenement block
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His opposite number, Ghost 7, deploy forward onto Objective 5
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Siberian Strong Men lick their lips at the scent of so much decadent capitalist blood to spill.. but will they make it to the fight this time?

Next time out – battle is joined! How will all our new toys acquit themselves? Stay tuned, stay thrifty, see you soon 😉

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Terrain Talk! Pt.1 – Ruins

Credit where it’s due – pretty much everything I’ve used here, I learned from Mel The Terrain Tutor and Luke Fellowes of Lukes Affordable Paint Service. If you’re interested in building better terrain, these two gentlemen are an invaluable resource and I urge you to check them out without delay!

So recently, inspired by the release of the new edition of 40k and the 30th anniversary of the original game, Dan & I staged the classic “Battle At The Farm” scenario with DIY minis and some specially built terrain constructed using the techniques we learned from watching the two aforementioned YouTube channels. Our first attempts using polystyrene and foamboard in place of our previous stalwarts of cardboard and paper mache yielded up these:

 

Bultha’s Rise

 

The Farm

Pleasantly surprised, to be truthful. Of course, the problem when you have a nice shiny (figuratively – I seal with a matt finish, yo) new terrain piece is that it makes your other pieces look a bit crap by comparison

So being Skinflint to the core, we decided rather than buy a load of new stuff, we’d just revisit the stuff we had and try and get it looking better. Step 1 was ruined buildings, so I’ll walk you through the “upcycling” process.

  1. – The Original Piece

This is a ruined building made from the carcass of a wine box  (the dispenser nozzle went to make the Vrilfire thrower in the ASV Dauntless, by the way) – basic cardboard frame with a bit of paper mache added to make a crater edge, suggesting a building hit by an artillery strike. Not terrible I suppose, but certainly nothing to show off. So, inspired by The Terrain Tutor’s “Ruined Buildings” series and the stunning work of 3T Studios, I set off to make some improvements.

2. – Basing and Texturing

‘The original piece was mounted on cardboard that had inevitably warped over time, so my first step was to saw off an appropriately sized MDF square (wear a dust mask for this, MDF dust is NOT something you want to inhale – especially if Papa Nurgle has blessed you with asthma, like he has me..). This got bevelled with a DIY knife to create a slope rather than a sharp step, and I sanded it down to smooth the edges.

Next up, I glued the piece down onto the base using regular PVA, weighted it down with various bits and pieces, and when the glue had dried I scooped filler (spackle, if you’re in the US) and used it to smooth out any gaps between cardboard and MDF base. I then started making the piece a bit more interesting – extra walls from foamboard off cuts, a bit of sprue as a fallen girder, filler sculpted into crater adges – and then went to my go-to rubble material – cat litter! I dosed this in generous quantities, puddles of PVA glue in the corners and pushed into the filler too. Check some pictures of ruined buildings in places like Stalingrad to get a feel for where rubble is likely to build up.

I also used cocktail sticks pushed into the filler in the walls to represent rebar rods, and some chopped up guitar strings to represent torn and broken cabling (cheers Mel!).

3. – Painting

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Spray black with cheap £1 matt black car spray paint.

Using a combination of stippling, overbrushing, and drybrushing, I worked up three layers of grey – all cheap emulsion sample pots from Wilkinsons, I used City Break for the base tone, then drybrushed Granite Dust and Cloud Burst for the final highlight (pallet recommended by Lukes Affordable Painting Service, I believe)

Next up came earth tones – a series of browns, cheap acrylic craft paint gradually lightened. I actually chose my paints by watching a 3T studios video tutorial and ordering the exact same ones off Ebay! Who says you have to be original?

4. – Flocking and Detailing

Next up, I put flock all around the edges of the piece to ensure it blends with the board and in the corners and basically anywhere i figured grass might realistically grow. I used Jarvis flock, JTF 2 as my mid tone, JTF 1 as my highlight and JTF3 for the dark mossy corners (again, credit to the Terrain Tutor there)

5. – Finishing Up

Final touches! Coarser flock to represent bushes and my secret ingredient – dust from the garage floor! Sprayed the flock with PVA and drizzled it strategically, before spraying another layer of PVA to seal the piece, then finally hit it with a spray of gloss and then matt varnish to ensure durability.

And there we have it! One ruined building – over the past couple of weeks we’ve gone through our ruined pieces and performed the same process, and the result is a rather impressive looking ruined village, hopefully able to represent anything from the Northern German plains of the 1950s, to the world of Hyperia, to any number of 23rd century human colonies, to the grim darkness of the 41st millenium!

So, til next time, stay tuned, stay thrifty, and we’ll continue the terrain odyssey…