Hmm…. I think I may have been in lockdown too long…
Anyway, followers of this blog can’t fail to have noticed Dan’sexperimentswith granny grating, and I think I’m probably the biggest fan of all – I’d already picked up a sheet of the stuff to see what I could use it for, and it wound up helping to detail our DIY Space Fleet ships and my WW2 Sci Fi trooper (must make him some friends…) and it was only a matter of time before I succumbed to the temptation to copy Dan’s idea (well, not Dan’s, this guys’ – but you get the drift).
We’ve floated the idea of an “Epic Scale” take on the Apocalypse: Earth system for a while, and I figured let’s just make some figures to test it…. what theme shall I base them around…
I should add, there is no real logic to this, it’s not like we’re planning to buy the franchise off Fantasy Flight Games – I just like Star Wars (yes, even the new ones… and even Phantom Menace!), and I like Epic. So these little fellas will serve as test beds for Apocalypse: Earth Armageddon rules and look ADORABLE while doing so! Further inspiration was gained by finding one of my old favourite RTS PC games on Steam for the princely some of £2.99 back in February:
I decided to set up two identical forces – Imperial and Rebel, each with a company of infantry (3 platoons of 6 stands each, with two command stands), a hero and two scout bikes. I also stumbled across this old relic from the 90s:
I got this waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back when as a kid and never really understood the rules, but a cursory flick through it shows some interesting concepts involving reactions and fatigue that should be fun to play through.
So, what did I make? Come and see!
I love these little guys – yes, up close and personal they don’t look much, but from two feet away the illusion is complete and I absolutely love the sense of having effectively got something for nothing.
I’ve just finished doing the Rebel force and they’ll be featured soon, as soon as I can pull myself away from Teeny Darth Vader and Teeny Luke Skywalker re-enacting all those classic scenes from the films.. and of course it’s not too long before we can think about actual in-person, face-to-face gaming once again (fingers and toes crossed)… until then, stay safe, stay sane, stay thrifty!
After taking what seemed like a decade to finish the last Devastator squad for my retro Blood Angels project, I fancied a quick fix – get a project done, get the dopamine high and then move on to the next. So, the obvious thing was a big block of 30 Orcs (Caesar Miniatures 1/72 Fantasy Orcs), right?
Well, yeah. I mean I bought these things on a whim, for a steal, and almost forgotten about them over the last couple of months. But now – well, my fellow Brits, we have something to look forward to.. freedom by June 21st! Assuming COVID cooperates… That said, my other half is NHS and I can definitely say that her morale has been improving greatly over the past couple of weeks, which I’m taking as a good sign. I think it’s safe to say that one way or another we’ll be getting some games in come the summer.
So with that in mind, let’s get these greenskins together!
Here are the meat and potatoes of the army, a big block of 30 Orcs arranged 6×5 on 20mm cardboard bases, with their own movement tray. Primed white, Goblin Green for the skin washed with Army Painter Green Tone. Reds were Vallejo Hot Orange washed with red ink, and then the whole lot got a yellow drybrush. The browns were craft bone and Vallejo Filthy Brown and Vallejo Mithril Silver for the metallics which then all got a wash with Vallejo Smokey Ink.
I painted the bases dark chocolate brown, then gave them a coat of PVA and dunked them in sand, an extra coat and then flock (Jarvis medium green) and repainted the edges with chocolate again.
So that was the how, these are the results:
So there we go, that’s 71 figures for my Orc army so far, a fair bit done! I’ll head back to the 90’s Blood Angels next, I think, got a hankering to build some vehicles….. Lots of cardboard hanging around the house going “Build with me”… so let’s see what happens next.
Meanwhile, stay safe, stay sane, stay thrifty, 114 to go til freedom!
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!
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!
We laid the table thick with sci fi/ industrial scatter scenery and put the DIY Ork Dread in the centre as a downed objective of sorts. Using the forces detailed in the first scenario in the Firefight rulebook, Jim took three Levy troopers and a Crusader NCO (FF equivalent of three Guardsmen with a Space Marine NCO- budgetary restrictions meant these would be represented by our Deathwatch Space Marines) and I took the Shia Khan forces – two Infiltrators with Eggtimer rifles (represented by Orks), two Goblins with Eggtimers (Gretchin with red tipped autoguns) and two Goblins with Popcorn pistols (Gretchin with regular painted autoguns).
After a slow couple of first turns with both sides manoeuvring through cover, the action exploded at point blank range and was absolutely lethal! Once you wrap your head around it the concept of the Action Dice and Dodges is really fun and innovative – armour doesn’t play a part (as far as we can tell), the Crusader has power armour but this doesn’t seem to have any bearing, but I guess the designers figured that nothing is going to stop a .50 calibre explosive bullet at a range of a few feet..
Firefight contains a campaign system and I think we’ll definitely be revisiting this, whether “open” or using the tiles provided.
Next on the list to try – Grimdark Future Firefight! Till then, stay thrifty out there and we’ll see you soon.
Right, this may be the absolute flat out anyone-can-do-it simplest old wargaming trick ever…
Hedges! SO easy to do, so simple , so effective…
And it would appear I have lost most of the pictures that go along with this 😦
Still, here’s where we begin – lolly stick and pan scourer:
Chop the pan scourer to about 15mm height – enough to give cover but not block LOS completely (for 20mm scale – you poor deluded fools in 28mm might want to go a bit higher) and glue to the lolly stick. We used acrylic caulk for this but PVA will do the trick too, it’ll just take a little longer. The great thing about using the lolly stick as a base? No warping!
Next, spray prime black, and drybrush dark brown – you can be quite heavy with the drybrushing, as this is really is more like a base coat than a highlight. I did have pics of this stage but I seem to have had a senior moment and deleted them….
Now it’s time for flocking – we use Jarvis scenic flocks and followed a bastardised version of Mel The Terrain Tutor’s three tone flocking technique. Dark green in the “lowlight” areas, light green highlights on the most exposed bits and then mid green over the whole thing. Paint your hedge with PVA and then sprinkle the flock accordingly.
After that, we hit them with some clump foliage to represent weeds and undergrowth and to break up the outline of the lolly stick base. Finally, sealing! There’s a LOT of flock and clump foliage on these pieces, the last thing you want is them shedding everywhere. So, we topped up an old Windolene spray bottle with a mix of PVA and water (about 10-1 water to PVA) and just went to town soaking the pieces in it. Then the next day we did it again.
And finally, the end result!
Pretty happy with these, although I may have overdone things with the differing flocks, I have seen some really nice pieces that just went with dark green… but oh well, they look pretty good from two feet away and that’s really what matters.
Hope that’s given you some ideas and inspiration, so stay thrifty out there and we’ll see you soon!
Anyhoo, recently he’s been putting up some battle reports using the system formerly known as 1page40k – Grimdark Future. This is billed as a fast playing, easy to use, quick and dirty version of the 40k we all know and sort-of-love, sort-of-loathe. Rules and army lists are free to download from the One Page Rules website here. And seeing as we are drawn to free stuff like a moth to the flame of a slow burning crack pipe, we were all over this.
We set up terrain with a ruined village to the east and a disused plasma generator station to the west, set objectives (one of the generators, central hill, ruined church and a ruined shop)…and GAME ON!
Human Defence Force won the roll off and force the Orcs to deploy first:
And battle was joined!
End result, 2 objectives to the HDF (plasma generator and central hill) one to the Orc Marauders (ruined church, held by the transport)
Casualties – HDF lost a weapons team and some of the infantry squad, plus wounded Captain… the Orcs were pretty much down to the transport and their Power Armour elites, and even they were pretty beaten up.
So a pretty decisive victory!
Thoughts on the game? A LOT of fun. Grimdark Future is simple, fast playing and intuitive, absolutely brilliant for a quick throw down kickabout. We did wonder about the balance of point values given the pounding the Orcs took, but Jim did point out the he might just’ve sucked at playing the game.
So, a new system, and props to OPR designer Gaetano Ferrara for the effort he’s put into creating a fun and fast game that really benefits from not being supported by a major model company (more thoughts on that another day). We had a blast and next up on the list is OPR’s “Age Of Fantasy- Regiments” – we’ll let you know!
(Side note – free rules and army lists, 1/72 miniatures, scratchbuilt terrian and vehicles… could this be the cheapest wargame ever played?)
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!
The sun glittered on the waves, reflecting across the expanse of the North Sea. At this altitude you could smell the salt, and thanks to the backwash from the helicopter blades and manoeuvring thrusters on the Silverbugs, you could taste the spray too.
Lt. Grant looked back at his new command, a platoon of infantry jammed inside the brand new Westland Wessex transport. Spread out either side of him, as far as the eye could see, were transport helicopters and Silverbug antigrav gunships, skimming across the waves. He felt a mixture of immense pride and trepidation – Ivan wouldn’t be expecting this, but the 1st Air Cav, although an elite division on paper, was as yet untested in battle. Grant himself was fresh from West Point, a young officer with much to prove. He flicked through his briefing notes one last time – get in, destroy all the supplies you could reach and get to the extraction point before Ivan could react and summon reinforcements. The damage they did here would be crucial in stemming the tide of Holy Soviet Empire forces currently engulfing Central Europe, and rampaging across Eastern Germany.
It would work. It had to work.
The pilot tapped his helmet, held up a hand, four fingers and thumb extended. Grant nodded, and turned to his men.
“Five minutes to drop!” he yelled. “Lock and load!”
With a metallic crash, his men did so. Grant smiled – they looked ready..
With all the 40k stuff that’s been going on of late, you’d be forgiven for thinking that we’d forgotten our first love – our own universe and game system, cobbled together over the years and finally codified back in 2014. For those who aren’t familiar, Germany wins (sort of) WW1, and the result is a proto-EU (The League Of European Nations), an Atlantic Alliance bloc comprising the UK & Commonwealth along withe the USA, and a demented theocratic hellhole Holy Soviet Empire, ruled over by everyone’s favourite baddie, Emperor Josef Djugashvilli I! (aka Stalin to his mates).
January 1954 sees the Holy Soviet Army invade the West, and in the first catastrophic days the Europeans struggle to contain the Red Hordes as they mobilise their reserves. So it’s Blighty and the Yanks to the rescue, as on Valentine’s Day 1954 the joint US-UK 1st Air Cavalry division (including a few experimental vehicles) pull off a devastating raid from an unexpected quarter on a massive Soviet forward logistics base, causing severe damage to the ammunition and fuel supply chain.
We’ve been kicking around a few scenarios to try out, and this has stuck with us as a fun one to try, focusing on a single platoon trying to get in, cause havoc, and get out again before the Holy Soviet Army wakes up and flattens them! So, as Valentines Day dawns and you think you’re in trouble with the missus – well, it could be worse!
We laid out the 6 x 4 board with the objective in the middle, and let the Soviets deploy within 60cm of the objective marker with no idea yet where the attack might be coming from. Next up, they were subjected to three barrages of 155mm artillery fire, simulating the bombing runs from the lead Silverbug attack vehicles. At that point, the Atlantic Alliance forces would deploy on the table anywhere at least 50 cm from the objective, and the Soviet player would nominate which edge should be the extraction point.
The Atlantic Alliance job is to hit all the buildings around the objective marker with C4 demolition charges (setting the charge counts as a Combat Action) and extract as many forces as possible off the nominated table edge. The Soviets would be trying to stop and/or kill & capture as many of the elite cavalrymen as possible.
The Soviets had the Platoon HQ, three rifle squads (nos. 1, 2 & 3), a support squad (no. 4)reinforced with an additional Lightning Launcher, a Noble Sniper (who we both forgot about throughout the game), a squad of Siberian “Strong Men” assault troops, a section of Tesla armoured troops, the Holy Mystic and his bodyguard, an APC, the SU-152 assault gun, 4 T-48s, the Inferna and Elektra specialist tanks and the two Shock Drones – basically everything but the big superheavies!
Meanwhile Buffalo 2-7, were in lean, mean “airmobile” mode, which meant leaving the tracked vehicles behind, giving us Lt Grant and his Platoon Command Element, two rifle squads (Alfa & Bravo), a heavy weapons squad (Charlie), machinegun squad (Delta), Rocketeers (Warhawk 4-9), Dreadnaught squad, three Humvees armed with minigun, Stinger/TOW and railgun, and sniper team (Ghost 7). Also present were our ace in the hole – two Avrocar Silverbug gunships toting Stinger/TOW launchers and Avenger autocannons, along with the M85 combat support robots.
Grab yourself a beer – this is going to be a good one….
Stumbling through the undergrowth, nursing a gunshot wound to the shoulder, Grant and Macauliffe ran for their lives. His lungs afire, Grant stumbled and fell, pain shooting through his shoulder like a lightning bolt. It was nothing to the pain he felt on the realisation that apart from the big medic, his entire command- men he’d trained with, whose lives were his responsibility – was annihilated. Destroyed. His men dead or prisoners. He dropped his M15 in the dirt, sagging to his knees.
“Go on without me, doc, I’ll only slow you down” he panted, throat raw.
The big medic looked at him. “I don’t leave my men, sir. I ain’t leaving you. We did what we came here to do – those boys knew the risk. “
The next thing Grant knew, he was across the medics shoulders, being carried a trot to the extraction point. The sound of rotor blades had never been so welcome.
Whichever way he looked he saw flames. Lt. Polikarpov tried not to cringe as caskets of ammunition cooked off in the blaze around him. He straightened as the pair of riflemen – all he could spare from the shattered garrison – threw him a salute.
“We are sorry, comrade Lieutenant, but the fascists made it out. We have a few personal effects they abandoned, however” – the riflemen handed over Grant’s pack for inspection.
Polikarpov’s lips moved as he read the stencil. Grant, 2nd Lt, B-2-7 1st Air Cavalry.
“I’ll get you, you bastard” he swore silently. “I will see you again, Amerikanisch, and I will end you”
Probably the mostbrutally violent four turns either if us have ever played! We agreed it was a draw – 3 out of 5 buildings blown, but Grant and Mac the only Allied survivors. Probably a bunch of things we could and should have done differently, but we got so swept up in the cinematic feel of the game, we were both running on adrenaline! Action packed and immense fun – props to Dan for also suggesting that it functioned rather well as an “origins story”, setting up the saga of Grant v Polikarpov for many years to come!
Thanks to all who stuck with us through a pretty sizeable post -hope you enjoyed t as much as we did, and if you want to get in on the fun, check us out on Wargames Vault.
Honestly, if I hear the words “edge highlighting” coming from Dan one more time…. 😉 While my comrade in arms readies the remainder of his Deathwatch Space Marines for our showdown climax game, I’ve been looking at getting my ladz something a bit heavier – now, the original 2nd Ed boxed game (and our inadvertant eBay purchase) included this little fella:
But it wouldn’t be right to rock up to our final battle with a bit of cardboard with a picture on it, so I did a bit of digging and found the genius Eli Patoroch’s Facebook group, and amongst the many amazing papercraft template kits, sure enough there was an Ork dreadnought – printed out onto card stock and off I went!
I finished the lenses yellow, green ink wash, and gem highlighting technique building up to pure white. The “tusks” were undercoated white, then layered with tan, building up to bone, and a light brown ink wash. Basing was the same as the rest of the force – home made texture paste painted brown and drybrushed up, a smattering of flock added and then a spray of matt varnish… and done! All for a grand total cost of somewhere around £1- not too shabby!
Of course, if you want to do things properly, you want a real GW model – they ain’t cheap, but they are lovely. However, if you can’t afford £31 for something that has no practical application (despite being, as I mentioned, extremely pretty) – this isn’t a bad way to go. And there’s always a nice feeling about creating something from nothing, isn’t there?
Stay tuned, stay thrifty, we’ll see you again soon!