Introducing… Ze Chermans! League of European Nations infantry platoon for Apocalypse: Earth

So, so far the casual observer of our Apocalypse: Earth battle reports might have thought that it was all just about the Atlantic Alliance vs the evil Holy Soviet Empire.. but that’s a long way from the truth. As anyone (both of you) who has read our fluff will know, the fateful Soviet invasion of February 1954 crashed across the German border with devastating force, catching the League Of European Nations not quite with their pant down, but certainly at half mast!

With Germany winning a Pyrrhic victory in the Great War at the Battle Of Paris in November 1914, and the League of European Nations being set up in the wake up the military coup that toppled the Kaiser two months later, it was German patterned equipment, doctrine and armaments that formed the backbone of LoEN armed forces in the early years of the war..

So with this in mind, it was high time to get the Europeans in the fight. This particular group are WW2 Germans, 30 bought for £1.50 off eBay.

Yes, you heard me right. £1.50. This is why we do 1/72.

So, I started with basing each little guy with a 20mm circular base hole punched from thick card, glued on with tacky glue (basically fast acting PVA, mixed with isopropyl alcohol), and then sprayed them white with cheap £1 car spray primer from my local Bargains 365 – The next step was to wash the whole force with Vallejo Smokey Ink, thinned down with water:

The dark brown wash gives a neat outline for harnesses, grenades and other details and blends nicely with the tan I used for the jackets

I had a rough idea of how I wanted them to look, mixing the classic field grey that we a;; associate with WW2 Wehrmacht with the three colour “Dunkelgelb” camo pattern that appeared on late war armour – this way, these guys could be fight in either Operation Barbarossa 1954 or Operaton Bagration 1944 (always thinking, y’see, always thinking)- so I went with camo jacket and field grey trousers. NCOs got camo helmets, regular grunts got stuck with feldgrau ones.

So, first stage was the combat jacket – my trusty Crafter’s Choice tan craft paint was the basecoat, thinned down quite heavily for a nice smooth finish. Translucency was mitigated by the white undercoat and Smokey Ink prewash. Next step was to add the camo stripes – Vallejo Russian Green and Americana Light Cinammon provided the green and “rotbrun” respectively.

I washed the jackets with a thinned down Vallejo Brown Ink wash and once that had dried, gave them a very light drybrush of Americana Buttermilk – this a very light cream clour, analoguous to GW’s Zandri Dust.

Once this had all dried, I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t happy with the results – something was missing. I wound up applying a very thin wash, more like a glaze really, of mixed Vallejo Brown Ink and Skin Wash.

For the trousers and grunt helmets (and the Luftwaffe liason officers’ entire uniform) I used Vallejo German Grey, thinned a little with water, which then got a very thin black wash. Highlighting would come later.

Next up, I applied some cheapflesh tone craft paint (as always, thinned), and a dab of thinned Vallejo Skin Wash to the exposed skin areas, and black to the jackboots and metal areas of of weaponry – submachine guns, rifle barrels etc. Metallic areas got Boltgun Metal (well, the craft paint equivalent) and a thin black wash.

Leather loadbearing harnesses and wooden areas like rifle butts were treated with very thin coats of Americana Asphaltum, and given a very precise (well, as precise as I could be after half a bottle of wine) Vallejo Brown Ink wash.

Finally, each model got a very light drybrush of Americana Buttermilk to tie the whole model together – I was really impressed with how well this blended with all the colours.

Basing was a cinch – painted the whole thing brown, slapped some PVA on them and dunked them in my pot of Garage Floor Grit (TM), before adding some flock and touching up the edges. And with that- DONE!

Right, so after all that – pictures!

First fireteam complete
Platoon Sergeant Dietz
Luftwaffe Liason Officer Wolff
Lt. Hulkenberg
One of these three guys will be an RTO, just need to scratch build a radio! The other two will be manning a platoon support weapon, for which I have a cunning plan…
Command section – Lt, Luftwaffe liason, RTO, Platoon Sergeant, support weapon crew
Same shot, but Lt. Hulkenburg in focus!
Rifle Squad #1
Assault Squad #1
Assault Squad #2
Rifle Squad #2
Kampfgruppe Hulkenbug on parade!
Ze Churmans in action!

I’ve organised these chaps one HQ section (6 strong), two rifle squads (7 strong) and two assault squads (5 strong – submachineguns and flamethrowers).

The idea with the League of European Nations forces is for them to be a middle ground of sorts between the highly mobile and flexible Atlantic Alliance and the slow rolling firestorm that is the Holy Soviet Army – these guys are overly specialised with pieces of equipment that are better than anyone at what they do, but equally quite fragile!

Overall, quite pleased with these guys, they’ve turned out well – and a word to the less skinflint amongst you – if you can paint 30 little guys like this at a cost of £1.50, how good is the next Astra Militarum squad you paint going to look? Something to consider…

Anyway, stay tuned for some more LoEN weirdness, stay thrifty out there and see you soon!

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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!

Conclusions:

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!

Cheaphammer 40k: Da Skooderia Pt. 4 – Scratchbuilt Killa Kan!

So it’s been half term this week in Ye Olde England, and that’s a chance to put the feet up, raid the junk bin and MAKE STUFF.

After a mere three year gestation period, Da Skooderia Ferrorki are finally starting to approach the tabletop – DIY battlewagon and warbuggies in the last instalment, and before we tackle the fiddly infantry conversions (using Caesar 1/72 fantasy orcs as our base models) it’s time to bring some firepower to the table in the form of an Orky Dreadnought!

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We begin with three bottle caps glued together to create the body. Next stop was puncturing these caps to allow insert point for the arms and legs (kebab skewers) – this was done with a screw driver and a pocket knife, although in retrospect a pin vise would be a better bet. (Health & Safety warning – if you’re doing this, be careful I managed to slash my index finger open. Not recommended, I like my index finger unslashed. )

For the hip joints, I used little pieces of scrap foamboard – as you’ll see later, this created a few problems.. if I was doing it again, I’d use greenstuff – and buried the legs and hips in it, cementing with tacky PVA based glue. You don’t want superglue or anything solvent based for foamboard, as it melts the foam. Feet were octagons cut from foamboard, and the knee joints were done by cracking the legs and soaking the cracked joint in superglue.[Thumb - 20180213_100457.jpg]

Shown here with Warboss Enzo Ferrorki for scale – base is cardstock, drew around the bottom of a wine glass and cut out

Next up, weapons! This Dread is packing a heavy bolter and a heavy flamer, along with a couple of Power Klaws – I figured it made most sense to mount the ranged weapons on the shoulders and leave the lower arms free for close combat. Obviously you shouldn’t apply too much sense and logic though – it is an Ork vehicle, after all.[Thumb - 20180213_111209.jpg]

Coming together now!

Arms are cocktail sticks using the snap & superglue technique, then little offcuts of guitar string (low E, if you’re interested) bent into a V shape and embedded in greenstuff for the wrists. I used greenstuff to attach and reinforce the joints onto the shoulders.

I chopped up cocktail sticks and a little bit of drinking straw to created the weapons, superglueing the parts together before attaching them to the shoulders using greenstuff – by this point I was feeling pretty good about the project![Thumb - 20180213_195646.jpg]

Detailing and rivets – SO MANY RIVETS – added

With the basic elements done, time for detailng! I used Google Images to get some inspiration here using a defunct watch batter for the top hatch scrap card for the teef and other bitz, card and foamboard for the engine block at the back, straw and cocktail sticks for the exhaust stacks, and because this is 40k and these are Orks – RIVETS!!! MANY MANY RIVETS!!!!

Actually, this is where being super cheapy 1/72 scale pays off, as instead of arsing around with holepunching and glueing fiddly bits of card until you’re driven to the bottle in frustration, I just use the tip of a cocktail stick to dab on little dollops of PVA. This dries nicely into a dome (ish) shape which pin washing and drybrushing picks up nicely.

Next up was priming – I used cheap white car spray paint as I wanted the red nice and vivid, and in any case I didn’t have any black – and this was where things went a bit awry. Although I covered the exposed areas of foam with PVA and paint, I clearly didn’t do it thoroughly enough as something in the spray paint reacted with the foam, causing a slight change in the gait – in short, it looks pissed as a rat.

Paint scheme is exactly the same as I used on the buggies and battlewagon, so I won’t go into that here.

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Whatchoo lookin’ at? Hic!

I went heavy with the weathering again, based with a mix of Garage Floor Dust (patent pending) and flock, finishing with a coat of matt varnish, and good to go!

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Skooderia Dreadnought
Charging the puny humies of the Hazzard 1977th Imperial Guard..

It’s a shame about the wonky gait, but the more I look at it, the more I quite like it – I imagine this guy lurching across the battlefield, piloted by a Grot drunk on both power and fungus wine! He’s certainly a big fella, probably close to his 28mm counterpart, and should provide both a visual centrepiece and some hefty punch when Da Skooderia FINALLY hit the tabletop…

Overall a fun build, and actually not too tricky. I’d like to give a shout out to Wyloch of Wyloch’s Crafting Videos whose superb series on DIY miniatures inspired this build – thanks man, we’re waiting to see what you come up with next!

Stay thrifty out there, we’ll be back next time with some teeny weeny greeny meanies as the Boyz get their turn in the spotlight.

Cheaphammer40k: Da Skooderia Pt.3 – Wheelz! Scratchbuilt Warbuggies and Battlewagon

Finally, January is behind us and we’ve made it through our month of austerity with a couple of sweet little builds under our belts it’s time to get back to a pet project that’s been languishing under the heading of “wouldn’t it be cool to do X” for quite an embarrassingly long amount of time…

Da Skooderia Ferrorki! I’ll skip the back story (link here and here), suffice it to say this is an Evil Sunz warband who picked up some Warp echoes of ancient Terran racing and liked what they saw – especially the red cars!

FerrariF1
And who could blame them – they certainly weren’t impressed by the McLaren-Honda…

And thus was the concept for the Skooderia born. Back in 2015.

Yes, I know – I’m going with the excuse that I was waiting for my painting and modelling skills to mature sufficiently..

Anyway, with the help of Caesar’s line of Fantasy Orcs and the redoubtable Sgt.’s Mess line of Cold War Small arms, we’ve knocked together a decent amount of AK-47 and FN-FAL wielding infantry, but this post is about the vehicles – two warbuggies and a battlewagon.

Big Red, Red 5, and Red 7

The battlewagon began life as an ancient Airfix self-propelled gun picked up off eBay so long ago I can’t even remember when, decorated with cardboard squares for the extra bush armour, cardboard and cocktail sticks for the front wing and corrugated card for the tail wing (I suppose technically I should update it since I built it in 2016 and the F1 regulations have changed since then, but y’know…)

The two warbuggies started life as VERY ancient die cast Matchbox hot rods – I fished them out of a box at a car boot sale a couple of years ago there was something about them that just screamed “Orky”.

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Red 7 – driven by Kimi Rorkonnen, with Felipe Masha on the multi melta!

This one started life as a Morgan roadster – I added lashings of cardboard for armour, built the multimelta and mount from kebab skewers, with a bit of greenstuff rolled and dotted with hole from a cocktail stick to make the melta barrels. Kimi and Felipe are Caesar fantasy orks, cut down to fit in the cocktail and superglued – and because I’m an idiot, I glued them in place first… won’t be doing that again!

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Red 5 (centre) driven by Sebastian Metal – if someone can come up with a better Orky take on that name, let me know!

Red 5 started life as a dragster, and the exposed V8 and Mad Max styling meant that this HAD to be a Ork vehicle! He’s mounting twin autocannons (cocktail sticks topped with drinking straw muzzle brakes) and a couple of cardboard fins.

I should mention the rivets at this point – all seven gajillion of the bastards. These were little blobs of PVA dabbed on with the point of a cocktail stick and left to dry – actually not too time-consuming and they look quite good, scaling nicely and easy to pick out with wash & drybrush techniques.

Speaking of which – painting. I undercoated with cheap white spray paint then a cheap craft red (bearing in mind the wisdom of Duncan Rhodes two thin cats being better than one thick one), and then washed with Vallejo Skin Wash, taking away the crimson edge and making it a bit more orange.

Next up wash a pin wash with Vallejo Brown Ink, wet blended with Smokey Ink for the darker bits. Dab this on all the rivets too, don’t worry, the next stage will add the highlights.

For said next stage, I took the original red, mixed it with orange and drybrushed over the whole thing. I did two or three layers, each time lightening with yellow (NOT white, you’ll end up with pink – and we’re doing Ferrari, not Force India!) up to almost pure yellow with a very light drybrush.

I did the canopy on Red 5 wet blending turquoise up with pure white, and the metallics started from a black base, dryrbushed first with gunmetal and then very light silver highlight.

Kimi and Felipe were a bit of a problem – I went with a light green thin coat for the skin, washed with Army Painter Green Tone. Two washes got me a nice rich green, and then a very careful drybrush of light green mixed with yellow brought the highlights out. With models this small, I like to use washes where possible as it’s way easier to wash down a light colour than highlight up a dark one.

Bone colours were tan, brown ink wash, drybrushed with cream and then white for the final hoghlights.

THEN weathering – sponge chipping black and metal on the exposed surfaces before drybrushing the mud on, three stages of brown.

Phew! Thanks for bearing with me through this wall of text – hope it’s helpful to some out there. Now to close with some pretty pictures:

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Big Red awaits Ork crew..
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Kimi, Seb & Felipe charge into battle!

So the goal is concept to tabletop in under three years – will we make it? Next up, building a Killa Kan out of cocktail sticks, cardboard and plastic bottletops.. tune in next time to see how we get on!

Terrain Talk Pt.4b – Plasma Reactor No. 2 (2 of 2)

It’s STILL January. And we’re STILL skint.

However, I have bent the rules of our “spend no money” austerity pledge a little and bought (gasp) some MORE superglue. Which has enabled me to rebuild the second plasma reactor and actually have the thing stay together:

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Defunct High Efficiency lightbulb, superglued into upturned bottle top onto empty Q-tip box. Detailed with drinking straw and sprue for pipework, granny grating for access ladders, bts of defunct IDE cable and leftovers from putting up a bathroom tidy – seriously, it’s amazing how much stuff you can find to use as modelling bitz!
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Note the 13 amp fuse that expired and became reborn anew!
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As before, primed grey, because… that’s all I had in the shed..
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Some sort of plug thing made it’s way on there I also added another ladder and an access hatch from card (after all, why have a ladder if it’s not going anywhere? I figured this could be maintenance.. or something..)
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Slapped on some basic colours – olive drab and blue for the plasma conduits.
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Thinned down Vallejo Olive Drab – goes on a bit blotchy but there’s plenty more layers to come!
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Washed with Army Painter Green Tone
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Daubed a home made wash in the shadow areas for depth. A mix of green and black paint, thinned down with water and a touch of detergent – it’s a crappy wash really but works for these purposes. Might look a bit blocky but we’ll be drybrushing up…

 

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Like this! Olive drab highlighted with tan and drybrushed up. Then pin wash of Vallejo Smokey Ink for weathering, followed by sponge chipping with grey, black and metallic.

For the plasma effect I went with a technique I picked up from GW’s own Duncan Rhodes – basically stippling purply-pink clouds and then layering up the lightning patterns. The metallics were a cheap craft “Boltgun Metal” style metallic, drybrushed with Vallejo Silver.

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The piece in all its glory! A couple of Guardsmen from the Hazzard 1977th shown for scale
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Enough plasma to power a million moonshine stills!

This piece went together a little better than the first, I think – bit more solid, better measured. Looking back though there are lessons to take moving forward as a modeller:

I am TOO DAMN LAZY. For a start I eyeball everything, if I’m going to make quality stuff I need to measure. The rivets (PVA drops added with a cocktail stick) – I could have taken a ruler and drawn them out and placed them in straight lines. But I didn’t, I winged it.

On top of that, I’m messy. Looking at that model I see glue residue everywhere. I’ve painted most of it up as mud, so I think I’ve got away with it, but from now on I’m getting an emery board and sanding down offcuts, glue strands, and just general mess.

Plus, there are some silly slapdash details. Those nodule things on the side of the tank are supposed to be glued to flat surfaces- glueing them to a curved one means there are gaps. I could have filled them, I didn’t bother.

These are weaknesses I’m going to work on this year, as I’m determined to improve my skills. Check out people like Dave Taylor Miniatures, Insaniak, JohnnyHell and The Blackadder on DakkaDakka.com not forgetting our regular heroes, Lukes APS, The Terrain Tutor and Wyloch – these guys can build incredible stuff by thinking ahead and taking the time to do it properly! Attention to detail – that’s the watchword for 2018, and that’s what’s going to take our builds to the next level..

Stay tuned, stay thrifty, and see you again 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!

Warbuggies
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….

 

A Green Christmas II: This Time It’s Farcical! Epic Space Marine Battle Report

Seasons greetings all! It’s becoming increasingly clear that with the onset of age, the passage of time speeds up to frankly alarming proportions. I’d swear blind that not five minutes ago Dan & I were raising a glass after a cracking game of the GW classic Space Marine (where the Redeemers Space Marine Chapter fought a valiant action against the villainous Ork hordes of Waaaagh-Bozzhog), and then I check the calendar and discover it’s actually a YEAR.

I know. Shocking. And HIGH time we remedied things.

Back in January, my Redeemers got themselves all tidied up and based, and organised into a 4000pt force and not long afterwards I got busy with the hot glue, cardboard and drinking straws and turned a piece of Christmas present packaging into a majestic Leviathan superheavy command vehicle for the Hazzard 1977th Imperial Guard regiment..

As it stands, said Leviathan is the the sole Epic scale member of the 1977th, so it would be the Redeemers going to bat again with a token measure of Guard support.. The list looked like this:

Special Cards:

Medic – 50pts

Warlord Titan – Rocket Launcher, Laser Blaster, Chainfist, Quake Cannon – 900pts

Imperial Guard Leviathan – 350pts

Company Cards:

Space Marine Veteran Company – 850pts

Space Marine Devastator Company – 1000pts

Land Raider Company – 600pts

Support Cards:

Whirlwind Detachment  – 150 pts

Terminator Detachment – 300pts

Scout Detachment – 150pts

Grand total – 4350 pts

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The Redeemers Strike Force 01
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:

Special Card:

Slasher Gargant (Snapper, Chainfist, Observation Turret) – 600 pts

Clans:

Goff clan w/ Gutrippa, Bonecruncha, 2 Lungbursta squadrons & Skullhamma Battle Fortress – 1200pts

Evil Sunz clan w/ Gobsmashas, Mekboy Dragster, Bowelburna, Spleenrippa & Nobz Warbikes – 1150pts

Bad Moon clan w/ 2 Weirdboy Battletowers, 2 Braincrusha squadrons, Squig Katapults – 1400pts

Grand Total – 4350pts. And this time we’re sure.

Terrain:

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..

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The armies deploy..
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Bad Moons hold the Ork backfield objectives and provide covering fire with the Slasher in support
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Goffs mass in the centre, Skullhamma to the fore
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Evil Sunz prepare a flanking charge

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Redeemers Veterans and Terminators, with the Medic, realising they’ve massively misjudged deployment..
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Imperial centre – Whirlwinds prepare to rain fire on the greenskins, Scouts ready to move up to secure objective 8 and protect the artillery while the Warlord gets set to stride into the fray!
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Imperial right flank – Land Raiders and Leviathan anchor the flank while the Devastators prepare to secure objectives 2 and 3
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The view from the Imperial lines… ulp!

Turn 1:

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!

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Evil Sunz deploy forwards, capturing objectives 1 and 2 and contesting 3
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The Goffs emerge from the Ork centre..
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Bad Moons roll forward onto Objective 7 to lay down covering fire
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A sea of red and green…
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Land Raiders swing out to spring the trap – but will it be enough?
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The Leviathan picks it’s targets…
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Veteran Company take a gamble and charge forward to capture Objective 6 with Terminators in support
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Devastators scale the hill to capture Objective 3
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Whirlwinds bring the pain to the Bad Moons, destroying infantry and Braincrushas
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Leviathan adds it’s Doomsday Cannon to the fray
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Why I hate ball rounds: Pt 1- Before…
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Pt. 2: After…
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Pt. 3 – Dan reminds me that I have – had – a Medic in there, giving everyone a 5+ save
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Imperial firepower pounds the Bad Moons
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The Devastators ready themselves for Orkish assault
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In the open ground in front of Objective 2, Imperial Land Raiders engage the Orks
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And in the End Phase, these two muster up vital Orky psychic energy to unleash the next turn…

Turn 2:

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..

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Evil Sunz swamp the Devastators on Objective 3
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Goffs thunder forward toward the Imperial centre
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Forging ahead, the Skullhamma plows into one of the Terminator detachment’s Land Raiders.
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Bad Moons and Slasher lay down covering fire
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Imperial artillery lays into the Goffs, felling ten stands of infantry – the boyz push on regardless!
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The Warlord turns his laser blaster on the Bad Moons, killing some unwary boyz while the Goff Nobz take down his remaining Void Shields
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Evil Sunz assault into murderous fire from the Devastators
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They steam in hard, but the Devastators still hold the hill!
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Meanwhile, the Skullhamma demolishes a Land Raider in the woods..
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..before the Terminator infantry (on advance orders) destroy it in turn. That’s what you get for messing with a man’s ride.
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At the end of Turn 2, the marines hold 5 objectives, the Orks 3 – Imperial fire has detroyed the Skullhamma and broken the Evil Sunz, who are forced to fall back, but the Veteran Company is almost entirely wiped out. So the score stands Orks 24 VPs, Imperials 38!

Turn 3: 

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?

 

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Evil Sunz fall back to regroup and rally on Objective 1
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Belly gun reloaded, the Slasher fires another lethal ball round – direct hit, straight to the plasma reactor! The Warlord erupts in a pillar of nuclear fire
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Hunkered down on first fire orders, Bad Moon Weirdboy towers lash the Redeemers, finishing iff the Veterans in the ruins and killing a couple of Devastators – it’s not over yet!
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The Imperial right flank, buttressed by the Leviathan, grinds forward, wiping out the Evil Sunz survivors and reclaiming Objective 1
Turn3End
As Turn 3 comes to a close, the destruction of the Warlord and the proximity of the Goffs in the gulley to Objective 3 has flipped things around again – Orks now lead 37 to 28!

Turn 4:

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..

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The Slasher barrels forward to destroy the few remaining vehicles of the Veteran Company and capture Objective 6
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Goffs close assault the Whirlwainds and the Scouts charged with protecting them (note the large smoking crater where once had stood a Warlord Titan…
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Goff Gutrippas against Whirlwinds – not a chance
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Scouts fight valiantly but are overwhelmed and outnumbered
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With the Imperial forces out of position, the charge of the Goffs and the Slasher has pushed the Orks up to 46 VPs, but the Goffs suffer just enough casualties to break them, putting the Imperials on 45…

Turn 5:

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!

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Land Raiders burst through onto Objective 4, laying into the remaining Bad Moons
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The remaining Scouts fall to Goff Nobz and armour, and the Orks capture Objective 8
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Imperial fire cripples the Bad Moons, finally breaking them…
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And as the Devastators recapture Objective 3, it’s all over! 59 VPs to the Marines, 46 to the Orks.

Conclusion:

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!

Happy New Year everyone, stay thrifty into 2018!

 

 

Armies On Parade! – The Hazzard 1977th Astra Militarum

Ever wondered how you can have a fully fieldable 1000pt force of Astra Militarum Imperial Guard, let’s dispense with the rebranding – for less than a tenner?

Wonder no more, my comrades in thrift.

This post represents the culmination of a project which began with a haul of toy soldiers from eBay back in 2012, continued with the realisation that here was the core of a usable Guard force for 40k in 1/72, gained further momentum after an accidental alcohol infused eBay purchase a few weeks back, survived a vehicle build process that was hexed from the start and is now ready to take the field!

Step forward the unsung guardians of the hive world of Hazzard, deep in the galactic South and home of the Redeemers chapter of Space Marines – this list is 2nd Ed codex compliant and I think represents a well balanced and pretty fluffy force that should be fun to play when our nemeses hit the table!

The list:

HQ:

Captain Aenus B. Dodge – Carapace Armour, Boltgun, Power Sword

Lieutenant Roscoe Coltrance – Laspistol, Chainsword

Guardsman – Meltagun

Guardsman – Meltagun, comm link

2 Guardsmen – Plasma Gun

Primaris Psyker Master Jesse Lee Vaughan – sword

Commissar Vance Pyle – Laspistol, Power Sword

Line:

 Squad Alfonso (Infantry):

Sergeant – Plasma Pistol, Laspistol

2 Guardsmen – Grenade Launcher, Frag & Krak grenades

7 Guardsmen – Lasgun

 Squad Beauregard (Veteran Infantry – Freedom Fighters Upgrade)

Sergeant – Laspistol, Sword

9 Guardsman – Lasgun

 Squad Cletus  – (Heavy Weapons)

1 team – Heavy Bolter

1 team – Lascannon

1 team – Missile Launcher

Armour Support:

Leman Russ MBT  (The General)

Chimera APC (The Dixie)

Total cost – 1000 pts

 

Pics, you say? Very well:

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HQ – left to right: Guardsman with meltagun, Guardsmen with plasma gun, Primaris Psyker, Captain, guardsman with meltagun and comm link
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More HQ – left to right, Captain, guardsman with meltagun and comm link, Commissar, and because I got confused, Squad Beauregard’s sergeant!
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Squad Cletus – missile launcher team
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Squad Cletus – Heavy Bolter team
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Squad Cletus – Lascannon team

Squad Alfonso

Squad Beauregard

Armour contingent – The General and The Dixie

The boys deployed in a combat zone.

 

Infantry are Airfix 1/76 “Modern US” soldiers with greenstuff conversions while the armour contingent was built with cardboard and other household junk.

Of course, now they need someone to fight, and I have assurances that once end of term test marking, Christmas shopping and present wrapping is out of the way, Da Skooderia will be showing up to put them to the test – roll on 2018!]

Meantime, happy and thrifty wargaming everyone, have a great Christmas and we’ll see you soon!

 

Cheaphammer 40k! Scratchbuilt Imperial Armour in 1/72

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 Da Skooderia 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..

Some pics:

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.

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Detail added – large rivets from 1/16″ hole puncher, smaller ones from dobs of PVA glue applied with a cocktail stick. Primed with cheap £1 grey spray primer
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My attempt at “underpainting” – prewash with black ink to enhance detail. Not sure it made any real difference in the end though..
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Basecoated with Crafter’s Choice tan (to match the infantry colour scheme). I followed the hallowed wisdom of GW’s Duncan Rhodes – “two thin coats are better than one thick coat”.
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Thin wash of Vallejo Brown Ink applied to bring out the detail, followed by a drybrush of tan paint and then another, lighter drybrush of tan mixed with white.
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Digital camouflage patterns (because I hate myself) – these are Vallejo Russian Green
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Matching the infantry, more digital camo blocks added with Burnt Umber and black craft paint

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:

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Basic turret and hull

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.

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Basecoated with the same tan as the Chimera – for some reason the paint reacted very badly with the primer, and also with the hot glue that held on the tracks.. to the point where I had to lever the damn thing off the modelling mat when I came down the next morning as the tracks had detached from the body and stuck themselves to the mat!

Same digital camo pattern as the Chimera – but hell, there’s only two vehicles in the force so far, and it does look good…

 

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Washing, drybrushing, weathering, metallics – all complete, I take it out to the shed for varnishing and look what happened! My varnish turned into spray snow! Turns out temperature (VERY cold) and failure to shake the can enough where the culprits…
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Repainted, reweathered, revarnished and ready to lay waste to the Emperor’s enemies.. as long as they’re in 1/72 scale of course..

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.

Stay thrifty out there, see you soon!

 

 

Ooops….

We’ve all been there. It’s late, beer/ wine/ cocoa in hand, money in the PayPal account, browsing eBay… you find something that looks too good to be true, you put a bid on it thinking “what the hell”, the next morning you get THAT email:

“You WON Item no XXXXXX”

Ah, crap.

In my case, what I had won was this:

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Don’t drink and eBay, kids!

So I duly paid my £10 plus postage, and a couple of days later I was blessed with the arrival of a semi complete copy of the 2nd Ed 40k box set plus the Dark Millennium expansion. Now, I’m assuming the seller held up their end of the bargain, because I can’t remember the details of what I bid on, but what I got was:

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20 Space Marines
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Not awful, but I think there’s room for improvement – will bathe them in meths and have a go myself!
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A pair of Ork’s – one mostly ‘armless…
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Lots a’ Grots!
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What to do with you little fellas…
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A TON of cards- man, we hated trees back in the day!
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100% GW, 100% tournament legal!

Now, quite what to do with this unexpected new acquisition – we’re pretty deeply committed to 20mm as our scale of choice with a load of new scenery built for that scale, so the minis may remain display only.. suppose the Grots could be some sort of Ogre race, the Marines some sort of gigantic superhuman genetically altered superwarrior (hang on…), and the templates are all gauged for 28mm.

So we pondered for the length of a beer and though “F**k it, who cares?” – we’ll use the templates and our wee 20mm minis and run some retro mini 40k for giggles. A serendipitous rummage through the loft yielded up the  2nd Ed Guard and Ork codexes from the mid 90s, tattered but unbowed, so we set about tweaking the Hazzard 1977th and Da Skooderia to be 2nd Ed legal. Results will be posted over the next couple of months, and we’re looking forward to running some retro 40k with teeny models! And let’s not forget Apocalypse: Earth’s sci-fi spinoff, where humanity takes it’s first steps into a wider galaxy…. we can call this market research!

Stay thrifty out there, we’ll see you soon 😉