For those of you uncertain as to what this is all about, basically it boils down to two Midlands drunks wondering if you can truly replicate the visual spectacle of those awesome battle reports we used to see in White Dwarf without incurring the mind blowing expense of GW’s (and others) 28mm figures – everything you see here is super cheap and cheerful 1/72 scale, both armies came in at less than £15 and all terrain is scratchbuilt from household junk.
Our scenario revolved around capturing a pair of plasmareactors located in the centre of the table, with a ruined village and woods on the eastern side and more open hilly country on the western side. I won the roll off and took the southern board edge, planning to use the cover of the ruins to shield the Boyz’ advance.
Under 2nd Ed rules, the player with the lowest Strategy Rating had to deploy first, and with the Guard’s rating being 2 to my 3, that meant Dan had to set up first along the northern edge.
He placed his Heavy Weapons teams (Squad Cletus) on the central hill with the Leman Russ, Chimera on the western side with the Command squad inside ready to leap out and secure the objective and secure it with serious short range firepower and his best close combat troops. Meantime the Russ would punch forward into the main body of the Orks and the Chimera provide supporting fire, while the two infantry squads advanced through the forest, each providing covering fire for the other.
I went for a straightforward Orkish approach – hey diddle diddle, straight up the middle! I loaded up Big Red with my elite assault units – the Warboss, the Bigboss and the Nobz – and placed it where it should have a covered approach to the objective. Warbuggies Red 5 and Red 7 would attempt a flanking manoeuvre on the west side of the table, charge round and catch humie from behind. Meanwhile, da Boyz and the Dread would move up in short order behind the Nobz and Warboss, keeping humie’s head down. Doc Nikki Louda and Mek Mikael Schumorker would provide fire support with lascannon and Kustom Blasta.
Much to everyone’s surprise, the Guard got first turn and rolled forward!
After four turns, the Guard were firmly in control of the plasma reactors, and had suffered the loss of a lascannon gunner, most of the HQ and an immobilised Chimera. I, on the other had, was down to Doc Nicky Louda and half a boyz mob – a pretty comprehensive defeat!
So most of our battle reports have ended with me pulling a narrow or Pyrrhic victory against Dan, but in this one he handed my arse to me fair and square! That said, I could point to the lucky shots that roasted ALL my elite troops and then destroyed my Dread.. but there again, a certain parable about eggs and baskets comes to mind. Maybe next time they start off on foot before boarding the transport..
Other than that, my plan can’t have been that bad as Dan had more or less the same one! Da Boyz did their best in very difficult circumstances and the Charge Of The Warbuggies went more or less as well as could be expected, Kimi and Seb getting a lick each in.
Hats off to Dan’s Guard though, that was a fair and square victory, the Leman Russ was an unstoppable linebreaker, heavy weapons teams took their toll and the infantry brought in to hold the line after the heavies had done their work. An army well researched and understood, and a battle fairly won.
Still not sold on IGOUGO, and there’s some things I’d change about the close assault mechanic, but a fun game nevertheless. AND a few things learned for “Future Force Warrior”, our sci fi sister game for “Apocalypse: Earth” – more on that to come!
Incidentally, our blast markers seem to have caused quite a stir – I would put a tutorial together, but the entire idea was something I copped from Mel, check out his original video here.
So for 2018, what’s the plan? Well, life has a way of fething up your plans as soon as you make them, so we’re not going to get too carried away… but, some resolutions all the same:
Da Skooderia WILL hit the table. 40k in 1/72 is ON, yo.
We’re going to explore the other Apocalypse: Earth factions – it’s all been about the Atlantic Alliance and the Holy Soviet Empire so far, but there’s also the League Of European Nations and the Asian Communist Federation to check out.
Escalation is surely due in Epic scale as well, I keep seeing Dan looking at yogurt pots and pictures of scratchbuilt Gargants…
We’ll also be revisiting Hyperian Wars and there’s a couple of other projects in the offing: Future Force Warrior takes Apocalypse: Earth 200 years into the future as humanity takes it first steps into the stars, and Apocalypse: Earth – Black Ops explores more detailed small scale encounters in the secret wars against the Greys, bringing an RPG element to the fractured world of the Apocalypse War. The rules will cover small scale skirmishes and role playing campaigns where your fireteam members will be able to develop, gaining new skills and equipment as they face ever darker and more sinister threats…
So, that’s what’s in the pipeline for the year ahead. However, it’s January – and that means we’re both skint. So a pact has been made – no spending money on hobby stuff for a month, we’re going to improvise and use what we’ve got… necessity being the mother of invention and all that… So let us leave you with a shot of what’s on the modelling table right now – two ancient battered Matchbox cars getting the Orky makover, because DaSkooderia are coming to town in 2018!
Stay tuned, stay thrifty, and let’s see what we can put together without cracking open the credit card….
Now, as some of you may recall, we screwed the maths up a little last time out, so we were determined that this time we were going to get things right, so army cards were checked, double checked and checked again for good measure – this time before the beers came out. For WAAAGH-BOZZHOG, Dan was able to bring out all three of his painted up Ork clans, plus the mighty Slasher that had wrought so much carnage last time out:
We rolled up a health mix of terrain, including several towns – too many, in fact for the buildings we had supplied in the box so we broke out some of the home made sci-fi terrain we made earlier on in the year (which never made the blog- might have to remedy that) to fill in the gaps. This worked out quite nicely – the Orks would be rushing to loot the vast giga-storehouses of Hazzard’s finest export moonshine, certainly a mission which would require the Redeemer’s immediate attention!
For what seems like the first time in living memory, Dan won the deployment roll off and opted for the southern table edge with a greater concentration of objectives, leaving the Redeemers slightly on the back foot – but not to worry, the Emperor’s finest would save the day and ensure that Imperial liquor cabinets would not run dry on this most festive of occasions! First to 50 Victory Points would be the winner…
Imperial Deployment & Plan
Bugger, I wanted that side! Right, never mind, a Marine is nothing if not adaptable.. looking at the terrain and bearing in mind the experience of the previous game, my rough plan was to get the Leviathan, Devastators, Warlord and Whirlwinds into position and firing as quickly as possible to whittle down the Ork numbers and counterattack with the Veterans and Terminators when the time was right. Scouts would sit on the backfield objective and protect the Whirlwinds while the Land Raiders would act as a fire brigade.
To this end, I placed the armour and the Leviathan covering the open ground on the right flank, Devastators would advance to capture objectives 2 and 3 and plaster fire into the oncoming hordes. I debated what to do with my Veterans and Terminators and eventually decided on something audacious – Veterans would charge forward onto Objective 6 and use that either to springboard an assault or pull back in a fighting retreat onto the Devastator’s guns, while the Terminators would ambush any unwary stragglers. With this rough plan in mind, the Redeemers and the PDF crew of the Leviathan finished their final weapons checks and turned to face the enemy..
Ork Deployment & Plan:
Haha, for once the dice gods favour me! Right, my basic strategy with this army was three pronged – Evil Sunz would loop around and charge in, pinning the main enemy unit in close combat, before pulling out and leaving the central column of heavier but slower moving Goffs to finish them off. Meanwhile the Bad Moons and the Slasher wold provide covering fire and if any close combat targets of opportunity presented themselves, the Slasher would take care of them. Following this, Bad Moons deployed onto the hill with orders to advance onto objective 7 and 5, while the Goffs would charge “hey diddle diddle, straight up the middle” with the intent of pulverising any Imperial unit foolish enough to stand in our way, and the Evil Sunz would secure Objectives 2 and 3. From there – we’d see what happened..
The Imperials won the initiative and forced the Orks to move first. This was somewhat intimdating as the Bad Moons and Slasher grabbed three objectives on the Ork right, while the Evil Sunz floored their throttles and hurtled toward the towering peaks of Objective 3, and the Goffs bellowed a mighty WAAAAAAGH, charging through the buildings in the centre towards the hated humiez!
The turn began with a mighty WAAAAGH and the roar of greenskin V8s as the Orks won the initiative and opted to move first. A wave of red and green engulfed the Devastators on the commanding heights of Objective 3 – hunkered down on First Fire orders, the Marines grimly zeroed their sights, waiting until they saw reds of their enemies’ eyes..
The initiative stayed with the Orks for this one, who opted to move first. The Evil Sunz assault had been a costly failure, but with unexpected good fortune on the other flank – wiping out an entire company of valuable Redeemer veterans – would we be able to refocus and redeploy to take advantage?
With the Warlord down, the Imperial left flank was reduced to a few stands of Terminators, but equally the Ork left had crumbled and the Bad Moons had taken heavy casualties to the point where they were perilously close to breaking – even at this stage, it was anyone’s game!
The Orks won the initiative and opted for a bold, aggressive strategy..
The Imperial side won the initiative and opted to go first – with the remaining Orks running wild, only an equally aggressive strategy could pull things back!
What a game! Right until the end it could have gone either way, especially after the Warlord disintegrated (as he seems wont to do every game).. and the ballsy charge of the Goffs and the Slasher almost swung it. Had the Evil Sunz assault gone better it would have been all over for the Marines, but Dan admitted to getting to unfocused, trying to capture Objective 2 as well as carry the assault. A bit more concentration of force would have enveloped the Devastators and most likely annihilated them. And what the hell was I thinking putting my entire Veteran company in the warehouse?? I may as well have left them at home!
The Goffs are a weird bunch, clumping infantry and tanks together means something very hard hitting but at the same time hard to position right, and it was only really Turn 4 when they were in position to do something significant – and by then they’d suffered enough casualties to have broken. Dan’s going to try mounting them in Battlewagons next time… ulp.
Most Valued Player for Dan was undoubtedly the Slasher, 600 pts but chewed it’s way through 1850 pts of Marines and Titan – nearly half my force! For me, I was impressed by the Leviathan, it’s long range cannon let me put the hurt on the Bad Moons from the opposite end of the table, and in the end that helped push us over the line.
So while we mourn our Veteran brethren and Warlord (and Scouts.. and Whirlwinds.. and Dan managed to kill a stand of Terminators to break them too..) the Leviathan leads a battered taskforce of Land Raiders and Devastators to secure the remaining precious stocks of Luna Luceat liquor. The Imperial Festive Season must go on!
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 DaSkooderia 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..
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.
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:
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.
Same digital camo pattern as the Chimera – but hell, there’s only two vehicles in the force so far, and it does look good…
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.
And you may have wondered (given our predilection for making our models out of cardboard and junk in order to avoid spending money) just where we got them from – they certainly look a bit slick for chopped up pizza boxes, drinking straws and IDE cables.
In fact these are snap fit plastic 1/72 model kits from a Chinese manufacturer billing themselves as “4D Models” – £8.99 from Ebay for a pack of 8, including the M42, the S-15, the T-48 (a T-55 in the real world), along with a mine clearance vehicle, an M1 and a Leopard 2 as well as a T-72 and a Type 63.
Now, it hadn’t occurred to me to do a product review until I came across this video – essentially, it’s Games Workshop’s Duncan Rhodes (the most serene man on the internet) explaining why, after spending £200 + on a toy tank from Forge world, you should have to arse about with it for several hours before you even glue the damn thing together. Now, this is not a GW hate page, I appreciate the concept of “profit margin” and I don’t begrudge it.. but if you’re going to charge £200+ for a TOY TANK the thing should go together with the absolute minimum of fuss. Joints should be clean and smooth, flash a bare minimum. You certainly should not have to spend yet more money on “Liquid Greenstuff” to fill in the gaps, and then sand them down – I’m sorry but Tamiya, Revell, Airfix.. these guys don’t have those sorts of issues and the prices are far lower. In fact, I’m writing this on a laptop that cost less than their new superheavy, and you know what, I turned it on and it just worked. I didn’t have to resolder any joints or replace any cables before I could switch it on and use it.
Anyway, rant over – Our 4D kits occupy the opposite end of the scale – dirt cheap, 20 piece (ish) kits with rubber band track assemblies.. but you know what? They pushed together – no glue needed. They paint up well – there’s a fairly decent amount of detail molded onto the bodies and wheels (check out the engine grills, the tow cables and shovels – all molded on, present and correct). The tracks fit. The turrets fit. The turrets move, the gun elevation can be adjusted. They’re light and sturdy, the scaling certainly seems correct to my enthusiastic but untrained eye – they’re never going to be winning awards from high-end detail obsessed modellers, but for a wargamer, I think they’re fantastic. They’ve been panned in the only other product review I’ve been able to find but they’ve worked very well for us.
My only criticism? You get eight different kits, eight different vehicles, vaguely linked by era, which is not so great for a wargamer. So 4D, whoever you are and wherever you are, do this one thing – let us specify what eight kits we want in a box. If I could specify a box set of T-54s or M113s, we would be snapping these up and so would a great many others. You will win many friends amongst the cost conscious and bargain seeking wargaming community.
Just over a month ago, Games Workshop – the company everyone loves to hate – rolled out the all new, super shiny new 8th edition. But this year also marks the 30th anniversary of the book that started it all – dear old Rogue Trader
Those of you who recall this mighty tome will remember the scenario included towards the end (and may even recall the cut out counters supplied to play it with – yes, I’m serious!) – the now legendary Battle At The Farm!
For those not familiar with the arcane legends of the late 1980s, the Battle At The Farm was a surprisingly in depth scenario detailing the invasion of Rynn’s World, the untimely snuffing out of all but a fragment of the Crimson Fists chapter of Space Marines, with the fifteen surviving Marines and their leader Commander Pedro Cantor running afoul of an Ork patrol led by the devious Thrugg Bullneck and his sidekick Thrugg who have hidden a cache of jewels in the ruined farmhouse that the Marines have holed up in…
Now, despite buying the Rogue Trader book in 1991, I’d never actually fought this battle, and as it turned out neither had Dan, and so with GW making 8th edition core rules available for free online, we cobbled together some DIY Marines and recruited some Orks in from Da Skooderia to make up the forces we needed. In addition, I had my first dealing with blue modelling foam to make Bultha’s Rise (the low hill featured in the Ork deployment zone) and Dan attacked foamboard with scissors, knife and glue to create the farmhouse itself – shout out to Mel The Terrain Tutor and Luke’s Affordable Paint Service for their sage advice on terrain construction and painting (If anyone’s interested in seeing how we made them, let us know in the comments).
So, the order of battle:
Pedro Cantor – Marine Major Hero, power armour, refractor field, power glove, 2 bolt pistols
14 Marines – power armour, boltgun, bolt pistol, knife
Marine – power armour, missile launcher with plasma shells, bolt pistol, knife (and as events would show, serious visual impairment)
These were organised into 3 5-man squads, each posting a sentry. Pedro Cantor was independent.
These were organised into 4 5-ORk squads, one led by Hruk with Thrugg as an independent character.
And that’s that – with both Hruk and Thrugg out of commission, the Orks have no more chance to win the game. A wounded Pedro Cantor and his five remaining Marines have carried the day – just!
All in all a thoroughly enjoyable game, but 8th still suffers from the curse of IGO UGO… however there is a pleasing element of granularity with the weapons and statlines… in any case, we’re going to refight this soon using the prototype rules from “Future Force Warrior” – Apocalypse: Earth’s sci-fi sister game and see how that stacks up. Meanwhile, props to GW for making these rules available for free and happy gaming!
Just checked the stats and discovered that our geeky little blog has passed 5,000 views just this year – 1,000 more than the whole of 2016! And given there’s a far few from foreign climes, they can’t all be Dan and me…
So this is a quick shout out to thank any/ all/ both of you who follow our seemingly unique combination of nerdiness and extreme thriftiness – peace be upon you all, and drop a comment to let us know what you’d be interested in seeing next!
Meantime, here are a few pics as a teaser for what we’ve got lined up this week to celebrate the first week of the school holidays (and Lewis Hamilton winning at Silverstone, hats off sir!) :
Yep, we’re going to be trying our hand at 40k 8th Edition, Skinflint Style! Tune in, till then, stay sharp, stay thrifty 😉
So, Jim is mired in a big painting project and has given me the keys to the blog this month – and it’s only right and proper that we give a shout out to the game we fell in love with many years ago when the world was a more innocent place.. when Donald Trump was making pizza adverts and tweeting was an activity reserved for thrushes and a mobile phone was one that you had fitted to your car..
Anyway, we caught the tail end of the Rogue Trader era and the lovable crazy amateurishness of it, and we were both sold the (by the standards of the day) shiny and slick 2nd Ed.. now many, many, many years have passed and we are now onto the 8th edition of that “bloody waste of time” as our parents described it! After coming in for much criticism in recent years, dear old Games Workshop really seem to be trying a reset, slimming down and substantially modifying the rules for 8th and best of all? They’ve got them online for free
Obviously, it’s just the sketch out version to get you going, but you know what? That’s just fine. I’d love the Dark Imperium box set, but it’s £95. £95!!! For toy soldiers!! I have a kid – this is not a luxury I can justify.
Don’t get me wring, this is not an anti-GW pricing rant – lord knows there are enough of them – but a simple objective analysis that for alot of people, £95 (or £47.50, if you’re splitting the box with a mate) is a bloody hell of a lot of money. An awful lot of people don’t have that to spare.
“Aha”, you say, “but what about the quality, the sculpts, the IP, the design etc…” – to which I say fair enough. GW stuff is pretty darn nice, and I love the fluff at 37 just as much as I did at 12, but just as I couldn’t afford it on a paper round, I can’t afford it on a warehouse job with a kid to look after. And I get the fact that they have to make a profit, or it’s game over and no 40k for anyone. I’m not questioning whether it’s a good deal – £15000 for a Ferrari Testarossa is a good deal, but since I don’t have the £15000 it’s irrelevant.
So, hats off to GW for giving me and Jim a chance to play the newest version of the game that nicked our childhoods with an entry fee of £0. If either of us win the lottery, we’ll be sure to buy a f**kload of your minis to play it with – but in the meantime, we’ll be taking the DIY route. Thanks for opening that back up to us.
Now, pass me a deodorant bottle and some plastic spoons – I’ve got a grav-attack vehicle to make….
I’d long held the suspicion that 40k largely sells on the value of it’s miniatures and it’s background far more so than the gaming experience itself – I haven’t played since 2nd Ed in the early ’90s, but always found it a bit underwhelming. Epic was a far more fun system, far less rigid and as such influenced Apocalypse: Earth’s development more.. the endless stat lines and special rules clogged 40k so much, as did the IGO – UGO system, and I wanted to create a game that was fast, furious and above all fun. I’ve never played an A:E game that didn’t write a thrill a minute story with sudden reversals of fortune and hugely cinematic twists as tactical mistakes are brutally punished and utterly unexpected events force carefully laid plans to be thrown away and new ones improvised. I can’t remember any 40k games back with school friends that did that (admittedly, the game has probably changed a LOT since my 2nd Ed days, but still..).. it was always the look, the visual aesthetic that captured me. Those gorgeous pics in White Dwarf, and my favourite factions (Orks and the Guard… never was much of an SM fan, or Eldar) always looked so tantalising. Just a shame that the game never matched the promise of the minis.
To those unfamiliar with Skinflint Games, I’m just one guy (with the help of a few friends, online and IRL) wanting to make a cheap, fun, easy to play game that engages the players imaginations and provides a rollercoaster ride of entertainment for the hour or two it takes to play. The models I’ve scaled for are cheaply available 1/72 minis from companies like Matchbox, Revell and Airfix, and my discovery of the incredible world of papercraft minis out there means the investment needed is minimal. There are no special dice, and a regular dining table is plenty of room at this scale. Therefore this is the perfect “starter” game for anyone new to the hobby, or anyone who just wants to wind down after a long day at work by playing soldiers with his mate and not worry about the latest codex or game update, or a four figure investment in figures. The spirit of AE, and of Skinflint Games is simple – just play.