CheapHammer 40k Battle Report – First Blood!

The time has finally arrived! After an eBay accident, a few tricky builds and the final completion of a project which has been kicked around since 2015, Dan and I were finally ready to try our first proper foray into CheapHammer 40k!

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.

For this battle, Dan was adamant that he wanted to roll with the Guard, as he felt the building and painting process which had at times threatened his sanity meant he was due some serious tabletop karma, and I was more than happy to roll out the little red and green dudes.

Our scenario revolved around capturing a pair of plasma reactors 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.

The armies line up, Orks at the bottom (southern) table edge, Guard at the top (north)
Da Boyz deply in the ruins, all sneaky like, while the Dread leads the Skarboyz towards the objective
Doc Nikki Louda takes aim with lascannon as Big Red guns it’s engines
Kimi Rorkonnen leads the warbuggy flank manouevre
The Guard deploy – the Leman Russ (The General) anchors the centre with heavy weapons teams in support, while the Chimera prepares a dash forward with the Command squad
Guard infantry prepare to advance through the woods
The General surveys the battlefield..

Much to everyone’s surprise, the Guard got first turn and rolled forward!

The General leads the advance, with Squad Beauregard running close behind using the terrain for cover
Command squad deploy from the Chimera – note the psyker in the purple cloak
First blood to the Guard – a Krak missile from Squad Cletus destroys Big Red, taking out all passengers… that’s Warboss, Bigboss and Nobz Mob!!!!
..and moments later, the General’s battlecannon smashed the Dread apart!
Noticing the lascannon wielded by the Doc, the Adeptus psyker  casts Hellfire, missing his target but bathing a nearby bush in the cleansing fire of the Emperor’s wrath.
With Da Boss and Nobz fried to a crisp, Big Mek Mikael Schumorker leads his remaining ladz towards the enemy, Skarboyz to the fore!
Meanwhile, in accordance with Da Plan, Seb & Kimi begin their flanking manouevre, buggies racing through the gulleys. Blazing autocannons from Red 5 take down Squad Cletus’ lascanoon operator.
The General barrels forward into Ork lines, battle cannon, heavy bolters and lascannon wipe out five of the six Skarboyz, causing the last survivor to flee!
With Seb in Red 5 immobilised by another krak missile, it’s up to Kimi Rorkonnen and Felipe Masha to save the day! Kimi drifts the buggy while Felipe ignites the multi melta and a healthy chunk of Guard HQ is turned into steam…
The tide may be very much against the Orks by this point, but the Doc isn’t going to let the boyz go down without a fight – taking cover in a ruined building, an expert lascannon shot immobilises the Chimera
The Guard infantry element secure the plasma reactors
The surviving members of the Guard HQ squad – Lieutenant and Commissar assault Red 5. Power sword and chainsword flash as they avenge their fallen comrades!
The General’s firepower guts the Boyz mobs, with the survivors forced to flee
The righteous fury of the Commissar and Lieutenant eviscerates Kimi and Felipe and brings Red 5 to a shuddering halt
Final charge of Da Skooderia – a shot from the Doc’s lascannon goes wide and it’s up to Da (remaining) Boyz to try and take down the General in close combat

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!

So stay tuned, stay thrifty, see you soon!


2017 – A Year In Review (and plans for the year ahead..)

January is a bleak month. Christmas decorations are down, work is back and you can’t start the morning drinking Buck’s Fizz without someone frowning at you.

Particularly the passengers that get on my bus.

Anyhoo, time to think about the year just gone and the year ahead.

2017 was not a great year in terms of gaming, in that we didn’t really play that many games – but the ones we did were pretty freaking great, including the biggest ever Apocalypse Earth battle and an Epic rematch. What this year was, though, was the year our blog grew up. Seriously:

2016 – 4095 views, 1897 visitors, 6 likes

2017 – 18,358 views, 10,297 visitors, 36 likes.

Woah. Just woah. That’s quite some improvement.

And it would seem that y’all out there have a lot of love for the dastardly Holy Soviet Empire – these three posts got over 1000 views each!

While 2017 may not have been too great in terms of games and battle reports, it was pretty great for us both in terms of painting and modelling, starting with the discovery of Wyloch, then Mel The Terrain Tutor and Lukes Affordable Paint Service. Honourable mention to Duncan Rhodes from Warhammer TV for teaching us the wisdom of two thin coats rather than one thick one!

So this led to a revamped board, a complete revamp of all our scenery, a repaint job on both Apocalypse: Earth factions, a cheapskate take on the 40k Imperial GuardOrk and Space Marine factions – we’ve been busy!

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 Da Skooderia are coming to town in 2018!

How can he drive while holding an axe and a club? Because he’s Kimi-freaking-Raikkonork, that’s why!

Stay tuned, stay thrifty,  and let’s see what we can put together without cracking open the credit card….


Apocalypse: Earth Battle Report- The Battle Of Kubica Pass (Pt. 2 – FIGHT!!!!)

And thus was battle joined…

Turn 1

The Atlantic Alliance won the initiative and opted to move first.

A Silverbug gunship leapt from cover, skimming over the treetops to hover inside the ruins of the church, securing Objective 6 and sending a terrifying volley of fire at the Soviet superheavies – two Stinger/TOW  missiles rocketed towards the Colossus and a burst of deadly Rosewellium tipped shells from the Avenger cannon pattered lightly of the Rampager’s incredibly thick armour. In return, the Colossus stomped forward, lightning launcher and machineguns failing to damage the second Silverbug, who managed to blow out a sensitive knee joint with it’s Avenger cannon. The pride of the Holy Soviet Army, slumped against the ruined wall, immobilised but still very much in the fight!

Stompy Uncle Joe is immobiilsed by the Avrocar Silverbug flight

On the other side of the field, the crew of the SU-152, (their resolve hardened by a “Take Aim” Order Card) prepared to fire their first shot in anger… the massive artillery shell arced straight and true, landing square on the top armour of an M60A3 Centurion.

Which promptly exploded.

Cue much fist bumping amongst the Soviet artillery crew, reinforced when the SU rolled onto Objective 1, and cue loud swearing from the Allied side as one of their most powerful assets was demolished without firing a shot..

“Comrades- drop an M60A3 on the first shot?”

The M42 Stealth Tank and the Rocketeers manouevred their way through the woods and hills in front and below the SU-152 and it’s frantically high-fiving crew while the Soviet Artillery Observation team (who were feeling a little redundant by this point, it has to be said) followed the assault gun up the hill to consolidate Objective 1. Meanwhile, on the Soviet right flank, the Rampager ground forwards, it’s twin 140mm cannons and multiple machineguns spraying a wall of lead at the lead Silverbug but the damnable Alliance contraption bobbed and weaved in a physics defying fashion to deny the Soviet behemoth a hit.

Realising they had better get their remaining Centurions into play quickly, the central Allied MBT advanced forwards, 120mm cannon and Stinger/TOW systems entirely failing to miss the Soviet Elektra tank, but was rewarded with at least downing a Siberian.

M60A3 Centurion surveys the scene….

Elsewhere along the frontline, the Holy Mystic struggled, beads of sweat on his forehead as he desperately tried to summon forth the psychic energies around the battlefield- to no avail. Meanwhile, the Stinger/TOW equipped Humvee missed the SU-152 and the Cherno Alfa, a Soviet T-48, immobilised the Stealth Tank before it could cloak and Cherno Brava took down the railgun-equipped Humvee with a single shot!

“In Holy Soviet Empire, gun rails you!”

Rushing toward Objective 3 in the centre, the Soviet Shock Drones took position to prepare a lethal ambush for the Allied infantry, but an M113 with a 20mm cannon took down the first, also killing a rifleman from Soviet HQ in the process, while the Allied Dreadnaught squad paused on the low hill to take aim with a Stinger/TOW and with a beautiful shot brewed up Cherno Troika!

“Watch this”

Inspired by their example, Charlie Squad and support M85 ‘bot try the same on the Cherno Brava and Cherno Draka, but their missiles fall short. More range time, gentlemen (and robot)!

No. 4 (Support) Squad take position on Objective 2…
Promptly gutting Charlie squad, killing the sergeant and demolishing the support M85!

This was not without cost though, as Ghost 7 dug in on Objective 5 drew a bead and sent a 7.62mm round straight through the forehead of a Soviet heavy machine gun crewman.

The Soviet Lightning Storm Squad deploy onto the walls of the tenement block, losing two bodyguards to fireteam Delta 2
Elektra rolls forward, her lighting launcher immobilising an Avrocar Silverbug and stripping off one of it’s Stinger/TOW launchers
FInal M113 pulls into the gulley and fires on the advancing No. 3 squad – this goes VERY wide…
..Straight into the middle of No. 2 squad, in fact – killing four of their number!
At the end of turn 1, Soviets occupy objectives 1, 2 and 4, Atlantic Alliance are on 5 & 6, closing on 3

Turn 2

The Atlantic Alliance won the initiative and decided to move first. Bobbing up and down serenely in the ruined church that was objective 6, the first Silverbug gunship unleashed two volleys of fire at the Soviet Colossus – a dozen Roswellium tipped armour piercing rounds, and no less than FOUR Stinger/TOW missiles crashed into and around the massive mech…. but at the end, it still stood firm, albeit with a second knee joint blown out. So all we had accomplished was immobilising an already immobilised target. Great. And that was one of the most powerful Allied assets!

Stompy Uncle Joe was displeased. With Lightning Launcher, heavy flamethrower and heavy anti air machineguns, he did vent his wrath on the Silverbug squadron…


Two gunships destroyed and one VERY worried Atlantic Alliance commander! Did I mention one of those Silverbugs was holding Objective 6?

Meanwhile Elektra led the Soviet advance into the gulley to assault Objective 3, Lightning launcher firing wild but machine guns downing a member of Bravo 2.

Meanwhile, a humble Stinger/TOW equipped Humvee decides to get this party started…
First shot blows the SU-152 off it’s perch on Objective 1, spinning it round and immobilising it – effectively making it a 40-ton paperweight…
Second shot brews up a T-48, which explodes, killing a member of No. 4 (Support) Squad and suppressing them!
A suppressed Support Squad, you say? Rocketeers zoom up to Objective 2, claiming the entire Soviet Heavy Weapons Squad as POWs!

Elsewhere the momentum was starting to turn… The surviving Soviet Shock Drone leapt on an M113, ripping off it’s main weapon before being destroyed an M60 Centurion..

“Git yo’ claws outta mah buddy”

..which went on to slaughter five Soviet infantrymen and brew up yet another T-48!

“You know what today is? A bad day to be a T-48, fool”

Elsewhere in the centre the Soviet APC managed a lucky shot, killing a member of Charlie Two and suppressing the rest of the fireteam, whilst in return an M113 managed to kill a Soviet Lightning Storm trooper, also suppressing the Soviet elite troops.

The sole surviving T-48 crests Objective 1 and destroys the Stinger/TOW Humvee after the Allied Dreadnaught squad miss with their Stinger/TOWs
Carnage around Objective 3 – M60 blows Elektra’s turret off…
Whilst Inferna’s brutal assault saw rips the other M60 in half!
“Today’s weather forecast – fire. Lots of it.”
Rampager super heavy moves in on the Allied left flank
Charlie One demolish Inferna with another superb Stinger/TOW shot
Assault saw whirling, an M85 heroically charges the Rampager..
….scratches the paint, but that’s about it.
Soviet infantry and HQ hustle up to the gulley to support the attack on Objective 3
Immobilised, the Stealth Tank decloaks to fire at the surviving T-48.. futilely, as it would turn out..

(By this point, victory points had kind of gone out of the window – we were just enjoying the epic slugfest! The battlefield itself looked truly apocalyptic, blast markers blazing everywhere- check out this video on our Facebook page)

Turn 3

The Atlantic Alliance won the initiative and went first.

Fresh from capturing both Objective 2 and the entire No. 4 Soviet Support Squad, the Rocketeers decided to take a gamble, given the relative paucity of Holy Soviet forces  in this area of the battlefield. Jet packs roared into life and submachineguns delivered death from above as the Holy Mystic was riddled with 9mm rounds before he could summon up his supernatural powers!

No throwing tanks for you today, Ivan!

Meanwhile, a turretless but still game Elektra forced her way onto Objective 3, ramming an M113 in the process as the battle in the centre hotted up.

The M113 is flipped over and destroyed by Elektra’s attack, Allied HQ barely escaping!
Immobile, the Stealth Tank looses twin burst of rapid autocannon fire against the surviving T-48 on Objective 1, scratching the paint but that’s all..
Humvee sweeps around the gulley to attack Soviet HQ in the open, wounding Lt. Polikarpv and killing the Soviet RTO…
…Before being rammed by a reversing Soviet APC and losing it’s minigun!

To the Soviet right the Lightning Storm Squad shook off their suppression and marched doggedly forward, but it would be another turn before their lethal Lightning Launcher would be in range, whilst in the centre an M113 advanced up insupport of the Humvee and immobilised the Soviet APC with it’s .50 calibre heavy machinegun.

Further back the shamefaced bodyguards of the Soviet Mystic vent fury on the Rocketeers, filling the air with lead from their submachineguns and downing one of their number – checking morale, the Rocketeers were rewarded with Frenzy, which allowed them to instantly vault back to Objective 2!

Dreadnaught squad line up the final T-48 with a Stinger/TOW…
..and are rewarded with ANOTHER big juicy explosion!
Pushing forward in the centre, the sole surviving Siberian assault trooper hurls himself at Platoon Sgt. MacAuliffe – CCR 7 + 1 for charging, vs CCR 3…
Mac, you are one bad ass mutha***ker – Hero Save on two wounds and put the Siberian DOWN!
As the Rampager closes in, a desperate manoeuvre from an M113 crew – light autocannon, point blank, rear armour… the shots bounce harmlessly off (however side machineguns kill a Tesla trooper and suppress the squad yet again!)
However, this in turn left the vehicle exposed to the Lightning Launcher of Stompy Uncle Joe, who promptly immobilised it

Vasily the Noble Sniper drew a bead and picked off a member of fireteam Alfa 2, suppressing them, while chaos erupted in the centre as a vicious grenade battle raged between Soviet and Allied infantry:

“There’s too many!”
Lt. Polikarpov falls and Commissar Kuryakin leads the charge!

By this point we had completely forgotten about victory points and were just in it for the sheer love of the game – would the Soviets pierce the thinning Allied lines? Because if the Rampager completed it’s flanking manoeuvre, it would all be over….

Turn 4

The Atlantic Alliance won the initiative and went first.

Allied Centurion crew manoeuvre for the perfect flank shot on the Rampager – one 120mm cannon round later and it turns into a fireball!

With that, it pretty much seemed like game over for the Holy Soviet army – all their heavy weapons and armour were destroyed, but Commissar Kuryakin was not going to go down without a fight! He lead his HQ into the gulley, guns blazing and grenades flying, but to no avail…

20171019_230538 the final M113 rolls up to the rear of the surviving Soviet infantry squad. 2 light and one heavy machine gun, point blank range. Nothing to do but drop weapons and raise hands..

And with that, Dan had to concede defeat. The Lightning Storm squad (suppressed), the surviving members of the Mystic bodyguard and the immobilised form of the Colossus were all that remained, whereas most of the Allied infantry fireteams were still intact, along with the Dreadnaught squad an M113 and an M60.

It was a close one, and props once again for Dan for being a hard but fair opponent, but the Atlantic Alliance held just long enough and got just lucky enough to pull this one off. But it could so easily have gone differently….


The Holy Soviet Army:

CURSES! I’m starting to feel like the Jervis Johnson to Jim’s Andy Chambers (’90’s White Dwarf readers will know what I’m on about). I could blame the dice, but we both had good and bad luck – yes, I lost the initiative each turn, but that’s how the Soviets roll.. big and slow, but when they get you you’re in trouble!

Where did I go wrong… I think my big mistake was not holding Elektra and Inferna back (and the Shock Drones too) until my infantry were ready to close assault, if I’d have concentrated them together that would have enabled me to break through the gulley and slaughter those capitalist running dogs. Instead I let them get destroyed piecemeal going after targets of opportunity. Next time, next time… Other than that, the lads all gave a good account of themselves, particularly my SU-152, and Stompy Uncle Joe – two Silverbugs in one turn!

So, enjoy a well won victory, Jim lad – because next time it’s going to be the clenched fist of Holy Soviet fury,  infantry and tanks and Siberians and drones all in one go, let’s see how you imperialists like that!

Atlantic Alliance:

On paper, it looks like a pretty respectable victory – I still had a coherent force of infantry and vehicles to hunt down any Soviet survivors while Dan was reduced to a few scattered survivors but it could so easily have gone differently. Had we not won the initiative on the last turn, that Rampager would have got into the Alliance rear areas and caught everyone out in the open, slaughtering them. Once that was out of the game, we were safe, and when my last running M113 captured his rifle squad, that was it.

The Silverbugs were a bit of a disappointment, clearly rather more vulnerable than I’d thought they were going to be! Lightning Launchers are clearly very effective anti-air weapons, so Stompy Uncle Joe will have to be dealt with by other means in future. I also had a weird time trying to get the infantry into a place where they could accomplish something without being fried, so most of them spent the battle hiding behind the gulley. Maybe a freak of terrain placement, we’ll see what happens next time!

Meantime, we’re planning a scenario game based on Operation IRON HEART – those of you familiar with the fluff will know that this was the moment when the Atlantic Alliance entered the Great War – as the Holy Soviet Army crashed into northern Germany, the 1st (Allied) Air Cavalry Division mounted a heli- and saucer-borne attack into a large Soviet logistics base near the German coastline on February 14th, 1954.

If you want to get in on the action, pick up a copy of the rules here or click below:


Detail page of Apocalypse: Earth Miniature Wargame Rulebook
Apocalypse: Earth Miniature Wargame Rulebook



And we’ll leave you with this rather haunting shot showing the blast markers we made (thanks for the tutorial, The Terrain Tutor)!


Stay tuned, stay thrifty, we’ll see you again soon!

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 – 


(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!


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


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


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


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


Dreadnaught power armoured infantry

Rocketeer squad (Warhawk 4-9)

Stealth squad (Ghost 7)



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 – 


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…



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

40k Mashup! 8th Ed meets Rogue Trader.. in 1/72!

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

Thanks for stealing my childhood, you bastard

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.


Thrugg Bullneck – Ork Hero, flak armour, plasma pistol, bolt pistol, chainsword

Hruk – Ork Champion, flak armour, boltgun, boltpistol, knife

19 Ork Boyz – flak armour, boltgun, knife

These were organised into 4 5-ORk squads, one led by Hruk with Thrugg as an independent character.

Marines cluster in the farmhouse ruins
There’s trouble brewing…
Two squads rush to form defensive positions, while Pedro leads the third squad in a flanking manoeuvre through the orchard.
First turn’s firing – the only weapon in range is the missile launcher, area effect weapon needing 3+ to hit…  FAIL!! To hit ANYTHING!!
Ork turn 1 – led by Thrugg, the whole force advances through the scrub towards the farmhouse, apart from Hruk’s squad who peel off to deliver a flanking manoeuvre of their own – no firing as everyone is busy charging (well, advancing) forwards…
Marine firing turn 2… “Humie hates da trees, boss. Stay away from da trees”.. Crimson Fists missile launcher operator failing to cover himself in glory!
Ork turn 2 – with bolters mostly out of range, Thrugg leads a sweeping advance while Hruk’s ladz try sumfink sneaky like..
I said mostly out of range – one squad fires, downing a sentry – first blood to da Boyz! (Note – we were using Rogue Trader statlines, Toughness 3 and a 4+ save… Marines die pretty easily in this edition!
Marine turn 3 – right hand  squad moves into the outbuildings to try and thin out the green horde… 
Success! Sort of – one Ork Boy downed, as humanity’s finest finally hit something.
Even a stopped clock gives the right time twice a day… and for once the Marine missile launcher accomplishes something!
Pedro leads the left hand squad through the orchard.. 
Ork turn 3 – Thrugg leads the way, icing a Marine with his plasma pistol, while the rest of the Orks advance
Marine turn 4 – deciding caution is the better part of valour, the remaining defenders begin a tactical withdrawal
Hruk’s squad falls as the Marine flank attack led by Pedro Cantor pumps them full of bolt fire
Losses from the plasma missile prove too much for the Ork squad to take, fleeing the field (as per new 8th ed rules)
Ork turn 4 – with bolters now in range, the boyz slow to fire their weapons, taking a toll on the defenders (including missile launcher)
A Crimson Fist flees! The shame!!!
Marine turn 5 – It’s lonely in the farmhouse now… the remaining three (!) defenders prepare to sell their lives dearly…
But have no fear, Pedro Cantor is here!
Marine bolters cause more casualties, and more Orks flee the field
Ork turn 5 – Down to one last mob and Thrugg, but so close to victory, the remaining Orks wheel to face the Marine flank attack, dropping two Marines and wounding Pedro!
Taking advantage of Thrugg’s distraction, another Ork flees the field
Bellowing his defiance, Thrugg charges Pedro but super accurate overwatch fire from the Marine commander downs the Ork warboss!

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!

Surprise, Surprise!

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 😉

Armies On Parade – The (NEW) Atlantic Alliance!


A shining beacon of light in a world plunged into the darkness of war. The Atlantic Alliance fights for the noblest of causes – liberty. Sworn to defend freedom against tyranny in all its forms, the courageous soldiers, sailors and airmen sally forth from all corners of the British Commonwealth and the United States Of America to throw back the forces of totalitarianism and preserve liberty, freedom and apple pie for all!

The Atlantic Alliance is unique among the nation power blocs in that its armies are an entirely volunteer force, from the elite Special Forces commandos of the SAS and Delta Force right down to the reservist Territorial formations, the courageous men and women of the Atlantic Alliance have gathered to defend their freedoms without coercion. Their forces are highly trained, well equipped and well motivated and each soldier – whether they fight in the European, Pacific, Alaskan or Central American theatres -has the incomparable advantage of believing in the cause he or she is fighting for.

That said, because of the reluctance amongst Alliance governments to impose the draft, believing it would compromise their moral stance on defending freedom, the Atlantic Alliance almost always finds itself outnumbered in the field and must make use of every one of its training and technology advantages.

I’d like to start this blog post off with a salute to Tacobat – painter and modeller extraordinaire! Seriously, if you’re a fan of the art of miniature painting, go visit his site. Right now. I’ll wait.


Now in particular, I’d like to turn your attention to the tutorial posts, because these had a big influence in how I went about this project. Now, Tacobat is an airbrush guy, and I don’t expect to be owning one of those lovely gadgets anytime soon (Santa doesn’t seem to believe I’m good enough), but I found many of his insights very useful nonetheless. I’ve been frequenting his site, along with a few others for quite some time and started to get miniature envy…you know the feeling- “Why don’t my minis look that good?”

In our case it’s somewhat obviated by the fact that these guys are painting hundreds of pounds worth of intricately designed models whereas me and Dan just dig stuff out of the recycling and glue it together with varying levels of enthusiasm and sobriety, but still – I wanted to make good ol’ Buffalo 2-7 look goooooooooood (or at least, better).

First thing we needed was an overall pattern to keep the force looking homogenised, and I decided on a variant of the Dualtex camo pattern that I discovered on Tacobats’s site and had already had a crack at. I went with a four colour pattern – basing with Vallejo Olive Drab, then squares from tan, Burnt Umber and Black paint. I tried a new approach for the metallics, going with a silver coat which I then washed with black ink. I’ll give you a rough guide, and then it’ll be on to pretty pictures:

  1. Prime  – used cheap £1 shop spray paint for this, did the job a treat.
  2. Basecoat – Vallejo Olive Drab, thinned a little – usually went with two thinned coat.
  3. Wash – thinned black ink wash in the corners and details, outlining elements of interest. In the case of infantry I just washed the whole model.
  4. Highlight 1 – Drybrush with the original Olive Drab
  5. Highlight 2 – mix a little white into the Olive Drab and drybrush again
  6. Highlight 3 – as above, with a little more white
  7. Tan squares – tried making templates for these but wound up just doing them freehand
  8. Brown squares – as above, using Burnt Umbe
  9. Black – camo squares, plus any detailing (rifles etc)
  10. Detailing – flesh and wash, cockpit lens affects wtc.
  11. Sponge chipping – used boltgun metal equivalent for this.
  12. Texture paste – made from PVA, Burnt Umber acrylic and sand and grit from the  garage floor! Apply with a cocktail stick.
  13. Final VERY light drybrush with a white/tan blend
  14. Matt varnish

I also rebased the infantry with hole punched 20mm circular cardboard bases using a mix of sand/garage floor grit and flock, edged in Olive Drab to tie the whole force together.

So.. pictures!

The boys pose for their beauty shots….

The Silverbug in it’s initial state
After paint job

Silverbug close air support flight

M85 Autonomous Combat platforms – remodelled for more dynamic poses! Love the assault saw ‘bot…. “Gon’ f**k you up, bro!”

Airborne infantry squadron, Warhawk 4-9.. now with wings! And yellow “Air Cav” scarves, as a nod to Cap. Kilgore from “Apocalypse Now”

Dreadnaught power armoured infantry squad
Ghost 7 sniper team

Humvees – left to right, mounting minigun, laser cannon and Stinger/TOW missile launcher

HQ – left to right, Platoon Sgt “Mac” McAuliffe, Lt. Grant, Doc. Emett Brown (medic) and DJ Brookes (RTO) 
Grunts – Alfa and Bravo (rifle) squads (I mixed and matched dualtex camo with olive drab to create the idea of a battle worn force gradually absorbing new kit)
Charlie (Missile Launcher) squad
Delta (LMG) squad

APCs – these guys repainted (papercraft M113s accesorised)

M42 Mirage Stealth Tank

M60A3 Centurion platoon – now featuring the missile launchers, machine guns and targeters the rules give them!

I really like how this force has turned out, it’s recognisably close to a real world military but also “other” at the same time… and my God I’ve painted alot of squares!!! Whatever I paint next will have wiggly lines, I swear…

Stay tuned for a batrep – I wonder, what happens to the curse of the newly painted model when EVERYTHING is newly painted? I see Dan rubbing his hands together with mailicous glee…

I KNEW it!!

Well, it’s about time I wrote something, and THIS is a fascinating article.. a visit to the Games Workshop 2015 AGM written from the point of view of an investor rather than a fan (thank you to the folks at Dakka Dakka for linking this).

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.

Battle Report – Early playtesting, 2012

Battle Report – Meeting engagement

Atlantic Alliance Infantry platoon

1 x HQ squad: Lieutenant – assault rifle w/grenade launcher

Platoon sergeant – assault rifle w/grenade launcher

Radio operator – assault rifle

Medic – assault rifle

Alpha squad (rifle)

Sergeant – assault rifle
3 x Troopers – assault rifle

Bravo squad (LMG)

Sergeant – assault rifle

1 x Trooper – assault rifle
2 x Trooper – LMG

Charlie squad (LMG)

Sergeant – assault rifle
1 x Trooper – assault rife
2 x Trooper – (LMG)

All troops – helmet, body armour, hangun, knife, frag grenade, smoke grenade. All troops are Regulars with “Deploy” skill. May use fireteam formation.

Soviet Empire Infantry platoon

HQ – Lieutenant – handgun

Commissar – handgun

Platoon sergeant – assault rifle

2 x Troopers – assault rifle

3 x Infantry squads, each consisting of
1 x Sergeant – assault rifle
5 x Troopers – assault rifle
1 x Trooper – LMG

All troops – helmet, knife. All troops are Conscripts with no additional skills.


Right, with the fundamental combat mechanics of the game worked out, we’ve been trying to balance out the army lists for the first of the factions. Of course, the mighty Holy Soviet Empire of Tsar Joseph Stalin was the first on the list for development, but we would need an opponent for them to test their mettle against and decided, in a moment of Jubilee-soaked flag waving, that it would have to be the “white knight”force, the Atlantic Alliance.

Although both sides will ultimately feature terrifying superweapons of diabolical ingenuity, the true strength of any army rests in the grunts who do the actual fighting. So, to this end, we set up a “meeting engagement” between a prototype AA platoon and an equivalent force of Soviets. The scenario here is simply two patrols engaging each other and attempting to destroy or drive off its opponent. Although the game proved ultimately to be a little unbalanced, it did provide an interesting insight into the dynamic of the Apocalypse: Earth system.


The Soviets won the initiative and chose the northern edge of the battlefield to approach from, and forced the Atlantic Alliance to deploy first. One can only assume particularly sluggish junior leadership from the AA here, as normally their Initiative rating of 5 would trounce the paltry Soviet 2!

As per the rulebook, both sides alternated deploying their units beginning with the Soviets making the Atlantic Alliance troops deploy first.


Having secured the northern edge of the battlefield with what I felt was a more sheltered approach to close on the AA troops and overwhelm them. Bitter experience has taught me the folly of advancing on deployed AA infantry across open ground, but the flipside is that if you can infiltrate your squads close enough using cover to prevent too many casualties, the hammer blow of Soviet firepower can annihalate their dainty little fireteams, and the smaller Atlantic Alliance forces can ill afford the losses.

Looking at the board I conceived a variation on the basic strategy of “fix and destroy” – No. 3 squad would be deployed in the scrub and woodland on the right flank as a kind of sacrifical lamb – drawing and absorbing Allied fire whilst using the woods for cover, and hopefully inflicting one or two casualties of their own. Meanwhile, the bulk of the force (including HQ, with the Commissar providing useful morale re-rolls) would advance up the centre, using the ruined buildings and the wreck of the downed TR-1 spy plane to shelter them from Allied fire until I was able to assault en masse through the gap and unleash the bludgeoning wait of Soviet firepower on their puny capitalist infantry. Za Rodina!

Atlantic Alliance

Losing the initiative to the Soviets?? I can only assume that Command was asleep at the wheel on this one. Hopefully junior platoon leadership would prove superior. With the Soviets in the driving seat I had to adjust my plans as I saw their deployment. I decided that Bravo and Charlie squads would anchor the left and right flanks respectively, and the first order of business would be getting them into good sheltered positions from which they could deploy and let their LMGs rip into the Commies.

Meanwhile, Alpha squad would take what sheltered firing positions on the hilltop they could find, as it would be up to them and HQ to counterattack after the the machineguns had done their work and thin the Soviet numbers down. So, with a plan of action readied, let’s hope someone gets my lieutenant a very strong coffee before the fun starts..

Turn 1

The Atlantic Alliance won the initiative and moved first.

On the left flank fireteam Charlie 1 spied three Soviets in the open (from No. 3 squad) and opened up on them, downing two (including, joy of joys the Soviet LMG gunner) before diving into cover behind one of the vehicle hangars. Unfortunately for me the Soviets passed both their morale checks so my brief hope of routing the Soviet flank on the first turn was dashed.

No. 3 squad responded- I know, it’s folly to simply react to your opponent, but none of my other units were in danger of being hit again- with the survivors opening up on Charlie 1, killing the rifleman before diving into the cover of the woods. Clearly the members of Charlie squad were very close as seeing his comrade fall sent the remaining member into Frenzy! Thankfully (for me) he had no visible targets but hurtled forward into a more advantageous position from which to avenge his squadmate.
With no targets available, Bravo 1 double-timed forward to establish a deployment position in the ruins, screening the right flank.

All lines of sight to the Allies were blocked, so I double-timed No. 2 squad forward closer to the TR-1 wreck, using the hill to shelter the squad’s flank.

Still no targets, so Bravo 2 leapfrogged past their squadmates, double-timing forward into cover on the far right.

The terrain was doing an excellent job of screening my forces from Allied firepower, so I double-timed No.1 squad forward, clustering into cover around the wrecked tank.

The jockeying for position continued as Alpha 1 double-timed, taking cover behind their own wrecked tank.

Damn. Due to No. 3 squad diving for cover, I realised I was going to have to expose my HQ group on the central hilltop to maintain platoon coherency. Rookie miscalculation there! Thankfully the Lieutenant, Commissar and Platoon Sergeant all had the presence of mind to grab what cover was available.
Target acquired! Alpha 2 spotted the Soviet Lieutenant on the hilltop and open up before relocating forward into cover. Despite the Lieutenants covered position, both riflemen scored a hit, resulting in an immediate and untimely demise for the young Soviet officer. However the Commissar’s inspiring presence ensured that the line held.

Charlie 2 now acquired a target on the left flank, as No.2 squad had misjudged some lines of sight, leaving them exposed. Fire & move – one rifle, one LMG, nine dice in all. Four targets visible, one in the open, three in light cover, result….. nine misses. Take some lessons from Alpha 2, boys. Now get in those bushes and zero your sights!

In the centre, HQ identified two targets in heavy cover on the hilltop. Moving as one unit, both fireteams opened up before moving forward into cover. From twelve dice, needing an 8 to hit , result- lots of shredded bushes, but two very intact Soviets.

Turn 2

The Atlantic Alliance won the initiative and forced the Soviets to move first.

Realising my error reading the terrain, I rushed No. 2 squad into the cover of the ruined central building before the Allied machinegunners got their aim together and inflicted serious casualties.
Moving forward, Alpha 1 saw an opportunity to target two members of No.2 Squad, but their heavy cover saved them, the bullets ricocheting harmlessly off the masonry causing no casualties.
Next priority was getting HQ off the exposed hilltop, so they double-timed into the ruins, massing behind No. 2 Squad.

Alpha 2 scrambled up the reverse slope of the hill to get a shot in- they glimpsed the Soviet Platoon Sergeant in light cover but unfortunately their previous marksmanship deserted them and they failed to score a hit.

On my left flank, No.1 Squad peeked out from cover and saw Bravo 2 in the scrub and opened up. Unfortunately, only two members could see the Allied troops and their fire proved ineffective, so I used the remaining action to move the squad into cover behind the downed TR-1.

Charlie 2 deployed in position on the left- with one target to their front they opened up. With the double fire plus the deployment bonues, that gave me a monstrous eighteen dice needing only a six to hit. The Soviet sergeant was well and truly perforated but once again the stoic No.3 Squad held.

Following the “fix and destroy” plan, No. 3 squad advanced deeper into cover, firing on Charlie 2 but the Allies were dug in deep and my troops failed to hit anything.

I was beginning to get a little perturbed by the inexorable advance if the Soviets on my left flank, so Charlie 1’s remaining member opened up with his LMG, double-firing on No. 3 Squad. Another casualty, but the brave (or foolish) Soviets refused to break.

Over on my right flank, Bravo 1 and 2 caught fleeting glimpses of the Soviet No. 2 squad and HQ in heavy cover, but their combined firepower succeeded only in downing a single infantryman, and with the Commissar’s inspiring presence so close by, they held their nerve.

I split HQ into two fireteams and fanned them out to ensure platoon coherency- HQ 1 took position behind the wrecked tank, while HQ 2 ensconed themselves on the reverse slope of the hill.

Turn 3:

The Atlantic Alliance won the initiative and moved first.

Now in position on the hilltop, Alpha 2 deployed and poured fire into No. 2 Squad, without success- even with the aim bonus for deployment, the Soviets were using cover skilfully.

As I saw it now, the time had come. My troops were massed in the centre and it was time to strike. The Allies might dance around us with their tactical flexibility, but let’s see how they dealt with some good old fashioned Soviet violence!

My initial attack was somewhat underwhelming though, with no Allied troops within close assault range, the best I could do was to get No.2 squad into cover behind another wrecked tank and open up on Alpha 2 , killing one of the riflemen.

This was clearly it for the Soviets, their strike was going to fall hard on my centre, so Alpha 1 charged out of their covered positions to hurl fragmentation grenades into No.2 squad. Unfortunately, clearly these two riflemen had got very sloppy with grenade drill – one misfire and one spectacular miss turned an attack that could have wiped out No. 2 squad into an embarrassment that failed to cause a single Soviet casualty. At least they manage to find a hedge to hide behind.

I switched my attention to the right flank, hoping to tie down AA forces there and distract them from my main attack. The remaining members of the stoic No. 3 Squad hunkered down in the woods and double-fired on Charlie 1, killing the remaining LMG gunner.

That wasn’t going to put me off my stride. The central attack was where most Soviet strength was, and HQ 2 deployed in cover behind the tank wreck, firing on No. 2 squad, with no effect. Clearly, one of these Russkis had brought along his lucky rabbits foot!

With nothing looking like it was in close assault range, I brought No. 1 Squad up in support of their comrades, moving into position between the ruins and the downed TR-1 to open up on HQ 1 and Alpha 2 – HQ got off unscathed, but Alpha 2 lost its remaining member. A second fireteam wiped out!

This was getting slightly worrying, as the tactical flexibility brought about by having lots of little units instead of a few big ones is one of the key strengths of the Atlantic Alliance. The ability to deploy units is another, however, so I deployed HQ 1 on the reverse slope of the hill where they could fire into No. 1 squad. They downed one Sov, but with the Commissar nearby passed their morale check on a reroll and held firm.

I wanted to keep the weight of Soviet troops together, so rather than have HQ charge off and get itself killed, I took a chance and fired on HQ 1. This was a long shot, firing on troops deployed in heavy cover meant 9s to hit, and sure enough we got close but no cigar. HQ then moved forward into cover to occupy the ruins.

With the main Soviet axis of attack now clear, I saw that Bravo squad was going to have to be shifted if it was to play any part in the fighting. Bravo 2 advanced out of cover to get a flank shot on No. 2 Squad, killing the sergeant, whilst their squadmates in Bravo 1 double-moved forward on he far right, sweeping round to take positions enfilading the Soviet advance.

Finally, pver on the left flank, Charlie 2 deployed and pumped fire into No.3 squad, to no result. Both sides were effectively stalemated in a Mexican stand off on this side of the battlefield, while the action shifted to the centre.

Turn 4

The Atlantic Alliance won the initiative and moved first.

Realising that they were ripe to be overrun, Alpha 2 desperately hurled grenades into No. 2 squad, but amazingly from a full four grenades thrown, they only managed to kill one enemy! If they survived this, their NCO was going to be pulled up short on grenade drill. However, that looked like being quite a big “if”, as they now sat dangerously exposed…

To close assault! This ran the risk of exposing No. 2 Squad, but in counterattacking, the Alliance forces would have to expose themselves to my close range fire, whereas otherwise I could see my forces being decimated by dug in enemies.

As luck would have it, the casualty from the grenade barrage had sent No. 2 into Frenzy!, giving me +1 to CCR, plus the +1 charging bonus, and the fact that Frenzied troops don’t need to check morale…. Za Rodina!!!! My troops leapt forward, but clearly the sight was too much for the puny capitalists of Alpha 2, who promptly surrendered.

Surrender! The shame of it! Not to mention my third complete fireteam lost. Vengeance will be mine… Bravo 1 deployed into cover and opened up on the now exposed No. 2 squad gunning them down.

Hmm. This was starting to look bad. The Allies had good positions in heavy cover and were going to be difficult to hit. Although No. 3 Squad were doing a good job on the right tying down Charlie 2, the main attack didn’t have the mass to overhwelm the AA in the centre and I was going to end up feeding my units into the meat grinder. Time for a left turn – quite literally, in fact.

No. 3 squad was still in reasonable shape and not facing too much opposition, so I double moved No.1 Squad to join them. Hopefully that would leave the Allies scrambling to redeploy and react to me, and give my battered troops the chance to inflict enough casualties to chase the enemy from the field!

??? Damn, wasn’t expecting that! Having painstakingly positioned my fireteams to shred the expected Soviet assault in the centre, pretty much my entire platoon (or what remained of it) was in completely the wrong position to deal with a sudden shift to my left. All I had on that flank was Charlie 2, who opened fire from deployed covered positions on No. 1 Squad. Thankfully their aim was true and despite the heavy cover of the Soviet positions, Charlie 2 killed two of their number. However, I couldn’t quite breathe easy yet, as the casualties coupled with the proximity of the Commissar enabling rerolled morale checks ensured that the stricken squad went into a….

Frenzy! Haha! Right, Comrades, we’re still in the fight – No. 1 Squad uses its Frenzy action to get into cover and return fire (albeit ineffectually). HQ also double-moved into the ruins, everyone who’s left now massed in heavy cover.

Slippery sod – No. 1 Squad’s Frenzy bonus turn doesn’t affect the sequence of play, so the only other target open to me (Soviet HQ) was now squirreled away in heavy cover. Nothing left to do but redeploy – all units double-moved to the left flank, looking for firing positions.

Turn 5

The Atlantic Alliance won the initiative and opted to move first.

Finding themselves out of coherency with HQ, Charlie 2 checked morale and an outrageously lucky roll gave me a Frenzy! result! Fearing the rest of the platoon were dead or ahd abandoned them, Charlie 2 zeroed their weapons and unleashed a hail of fire onto the Soviets crouching in the ruins. Double firing from deployed positions with an assault rifle and light machine gun gave me 18 dice. Then as Frenzy! turns don’t affect the sequence of play I immediately activated them again, giving me a grand total of 36 dice blazing away at the Soviet HQ and No.1 Squad. The Commissar and his lackeys managed to take cover but No. 1 Squad never stood a chance, despite their heavy cover and were wiped out to a man.

It was at this point the Commissar realised that the assault had failed. With No. 1 Squad dead in the ruins around him, that left only HQ and the remains of No. 3 Squad facing an Atlantic Alliance force that now outnumbered and outgunned them, with no chance of massing enough combat power to successfully break the enemy. With heavy heart he signalled a retreat – no more sons of the Rodina would die today.

Debrief: Atlantic Alliance

Whew. Right, a very luck break at the end there, but I think by that point I would probably have won anyway, albeit with a few more losses, as the AA fireteam formation means that four squads gives me eight independent units (as opposed to the four Soviet ones) – plenty to respond to the sudden shift of attack focus. My luck with the grenades was beyond belief, and had the Soviets had them as standard equipment No.2 Squad in the cetre could have caused me some serious trouble. Overall, my plan suited the strength of the Atlantic Alliance – tactical flexibility and high initiative meant I always felt in control of proceedings.

Debrief: Soviets

Damn those capitalist running dogs! In all seriousness, I think my plan was solid but there were some sloppy errors – misjudging terrain and fields of fire left No. 2 Squad open to flank shots, weakening them before I was able to mass them for I disagreeault. I also agree with Dave that grenades would have made a difference in the centre as No. 2 Squad could have given Alpha Squad a pasting without having to expose themselves to pretty much certain destruction.
Again it showed with the Soviets, concentration of force and mass is everything, don’t get suckered in to tit-for-tat firefights, keep rolling forward until you’re close enough to get in amongst the Allies and get around their cover.
For the next game, we will be tweaking the list slightly- Soviets will get frag grenades as a 5pt upgrade and there will be an extra trooper in each squad. Lets see how the imperialists like that!