Apocalypse Earth: Black Ops Playtest – Sweep & Clear

For a while now we’ve been playing with the idea of “scaling” the Apocalypse: Earth setting for different games – just as back in the day GW had Epic, 40k and Necromunda for massed battles, intermediate and small scale skirmishes with different levels of detail, we’ve been toying with the idea of a 6mm mass battle version as well as an intimate, up-close-and-personal RPG (of sorts) set in the shadows of the Apocalypse: Earth universe.

To begin with, we thought we’d shift the focus from Allies v Holy Soviet Empire, and shine a light on some of the small scale behind the lines security.. Now, one of the factions that we haven’t explored too much on the tabletop are the extraterrestrials – the iconic Greys! If you’ve read the fluff, you’ll know that the main reason the Atlantic Alliance has the jump on the other sides in terms of technology is due to an alien spacecraft crashing in the deserts of Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947. Ever since then, Alliance scientists have been busily reverse engineering every aspect they can, creating the UNIVAC artificial intelligence to run the everyday infrastructure (and maybe more..) of Alliance nations, and the ARPANet instant electronic communications network, as well as the antigrav tech that powers things like the Silverbug gunships.

But although we haven’t seen the Greys in open battle yet, behind the lines it’s a different story, as elite security teams drawn from the best Allied combat units fight desperate small unit actions against alien infiltrators!

Accordingly tonight’s game pitted our gallant Alliance Special Forces team against an unknown foe, sweeping across an abandoned industrial sector..

The battlefield laid out.. SpecForce team in bottom left, with four objective markers four the team to check out and clear
The team deploy into cover
The team approach the first objective, cunningly concealed behind the two crashed cars..
Specialist Stewart trains his weapon on the objective, setting overwatch as Specialist Hill moves in to check the objective..
..we roll on the threat table, and out come two Mind Slaves with light weapons!
Clearly taken by surprise, Hill’s rounds go wild, missing completely!
Mercifully, Stewart is on overwatch, dropping a mind slave instantly. The second one attacks Hill in close combat, but the specialist has clearly recovered his composure and takes it down swiftly and brutally!
The team move cautiously toward the next objective..
..but the GM has some nasty surprises in store! We’re trying to figure out a way to simulate sod’s law in combat.. this is getting us some of the way there!
To Specialist Hill’s immense relief, Objective 2 turns out to be blank!
Hill and Moss clear Objective 4, but Objective 3 spawns a pair of mind slaves with pistols, stunning both Stewart and Hunt, and wounding Hunt’s leg into the bargain!
Thankfully Hill is on overwatch, and despite being hit with a jam, he clears the stoppage and takes down the two mind slaves with a couple of clean head shots.

And with that, the game is over! A resounding victory for the Special Forces team, but bear in mind that this is the lowest threat level, and would be an encounter that takes place at the start of a campaign. A fun, and at times pretty tense mission, looking forward to more playtesting on this!

Till next time, stay thrifty (and dry..) out there, see you soon!

And Still They Come.. Hairy Japanese Bastards Pt. 3,147,923

So yeah, we’re not dead.

After Endless January, it seems like February has been swallowed almost entirely by 1:1 scale, also known as Real Life, problems. First car – and trust me, there are not enough swears in the world to cover my feelings toward that f*cking thing at the moment – then nature – Storms Ciaran and Dennis have been wreaking havoc and even here in dear old Leicestershire, we’ve not been immune. Although it’s nothing to what some people have been suffering in places like Wales, it was a bit disconcerting to see a lake forming on my kitchen floor, while Dan suffered tiles blown off and a leaking roof. Clearly, more offerings to the sun god Ra are in order.

So that’s why we’ve been a bit quiet.

But in between the mayhem, we’ve still managed to slip in a bit of hobby time… and after the Virum Nascii were slaughtered ignominiously in their last outing, we decided a bit of exra firepwoer was in order. So with the last few models from the four boxes of Miniknight Ratmen we bought in a fit of madness back in 2018, we’ve been busily converting to create special weapon teams inspired by and similar to (but definitely not the same as) the Clan Skyre teams from Warhammer Fantasy/ Age Of Sigmar.

Basic tools of the trade – cocktail sticks, guitar strings, drinking straws, greenstuff and sprue bits
Basic colours applied after priming.. priming was a mix of grey and white sprays as we were scraping the barrel in terms of materials… followed by a thin black wash and a white drybrush – our attempt at underpainting! To be fair, it actually kind of worked this time – as always, we use a mix of cheap art shop acrylics thinned with water and some Windsor & Newton acrylic medium, and for special occasions the odd Vallejo colour. Washes are Vallejo inks and Army Painter Green Tone, thinned as before. It seems to work picking out small details on these wee little 20mm fellas.
Jezzail / Vrilrifle (depending on your chosen ruleset) – the rifle carriers originally armed with halberd, a bit of greenstuff and a guitar string as well as a triangular shield. I modelled an eyepiece with greenstuff onto the spotter.
Ratling gun teams – same halberd model, this time encased in a drinking straw. Filled in the end with greenstuff and poked a wee bit of guitar string in there. I was hoping to get six in there for the “Gatling” look, but, nah, not happening. So this is more like a rat/ Maxim look. Ammo belts are chopped up IDE cables – originally got the idea from Zrunelord on TMP to use them as tank tracks, but I think they do OK here too. I’m happier with the loader on the right as I thought to bend his around a pencil!
Warpfire/ Vrilfire (again, depending on your rules) thrower teams – these were built the same way as the Ratling gunners, but I left the barrels on the straws open. Added fuel tanks on the backs made from bits of sprue, and added a feeder hose made from a guitar string and bodged in place with greenstuff.
Master of Engineers! Well, that’s his title for now – this chap got his arm cut off and reposed, a mask added with greenstuff and is sporting an ancient mystic Vrilfire pistol that looks awfully like a Sten gun….
The lads on parade!

Unbelievably, however, we’re still not done! There are still two guys awaiting conversion to a drill team, and after that there are the war machines! Currently there’s a prototype Doomwheel lurking in the cupboard made from two peanut butter jar lids… so if the real world could leave us alone for the next few weeks, maybe we can label this project as “DONE” – inasmuch as any gaming project ever is!

Anyway, stay thrifty out there, and our thoughts go out to anyone who’s taken a real hit from the weather these last few weeks.. See you soon!

2019 – A Year In Review

It’s 2020. The future is HERE. And as our hangovers recede from biblical to manageable (and we plan something BIG….) it’s time to review our 2019!

The year kicked off with a trip back to 1993 as we played through the Warhammer 40k 2nd Ed mini campaign, Marines vs greenskins in the ash wastes of Armageddon, but we did find time for a diversion to Central Europe of an alternate 1954, for a quite ludicrously violent scrap set in the early days of the Apocalypse War as Stalin’s legions flood across Central and Western Europe. As it turned out, this made for a cracking backstory for the origins of the feud between Lt. Grant and Lt. Polikarpov!

As the 40k campaign wound down, we turned our attention back to Apocalypse: Earth, with a new unit for the League of European Nations that I’d been looking forward to knocking together for a while. By this point we were firmly into springtime and the D-Day celebrations were looming large on the horizon. We both wanted to do something to commemorate it (as we both had grandparents who had participated) and as a result our most ambitious terrain build ever began! This laid the groundwork for our biggest Apocalypse: Earth game yet, as Lt. Polikarpov led a vanguard of the Holy Soviet Army in the shock 1956 invasion of Scotland!

This is definitely something we’re going to have to revisit, as Lt. Grant is currently a POW residing in a Holy Soviet internment camp somewhere on the Orkneys, so a definite game on the horizon will be the insertion of a Special Forces team to break him out, reconstitute Buffalo 2-7 and save Britain from the dastardly Soviets! Something to test our Black Ops game with, I think…

The Virum Nascii (totally not Skaven army that we went crazy and bought four boxes of in 2018) have got a good few games in this year too, in various rules systems – Hyperian Wars and Age Of Fantasy: Regiments from One Page Rules, including an epic slaughter against the Sky Marines that won the approval of none other than Gav Thorpe himself!

Speaking of One Page Rules, after watching our hobby sensei Wyloch we decided to give them a try- Grimdark Future and it’s skirmish cousin, Grimdark Future Firefight. Although we weren’t 100% converted, it’s a fun and quick system thoroughly well suited to a pickup game – no codexes, everything free, no rules bloat.. it just works! In fact, it’s managed to be everything 40k would like you to think it is, but isn’t (if that makes any sense..).. it’s also inspired a project for this year that is pretty high on the ambition scale… DIY Adeptus Mechanicus! More on this as it starts to take shape.

Oh, and speaking of ambition – THIS happened.

Counteracted by THIS. Scratchbuilding escalation in Epic scale!

So – busy year all round, really, lots of games played, lots of terrain made, lots of miniatures made and painted. On the horizon for 2020?

Well, I mentioned DIY Adeptus Mechanicus in 1/72, but I also fancy getting some reinforcements for our “legit” 40k armies – most likely in the form of Patoroch papercrafts – as well as more Epic shenanigans, the Virum Nasii to finish, and maybe, just maybe….. just maybe…. we’ll get some more of our rulesets actually put together and published!

So what about you out there in hobbyland? What goals have you got this year/ decade? Send us your comments, and stay thrifty out there!

EDIT: Forgot to mention – one slight negative, this was our first year on record where we had fewer views and visitors – 325/ 81 in 2015, 4095/ 1897 in 2016, jumping up to 18358/ 10297 in 2017 and 21124/ 11324 in 2018.. but down to 16399/ 7578 in 2019.

That said, I’m still pretty pleased as we had an absolute record number of likes and comments, so I’ll take that as a win – clearly more people have realised what we do and made the decision as to whether or not they’re into it, but the ones who do dig what we do are clearly keen! So shout out to Pete S/ SP, John@justneedsvarnish, Imperial Rebel Ork, Davekay and all the rest of you guys out there in hobbyland, keep ’em coming!

Another Epic Scratchbuild! DIY Great Gargant

Yeah, so the other day we were meant to be working on our entry for the DakkaDakka League Of Extraordinary Riveters terrain competition… and then something went wrong..

(by the way – if you’re reading this, Wyloch, then this is for YOU! 😉 )

Must.. glue.. things…

Must.. glue..more.. things.. yoghurt pot, bottle caps, glue lid, cardboard

Armour plating complete

“Eyes” done with green stuff, rivets done with fast drying PVA applied with a cocktail stick

Chainsword and gatling cannon added

More rivets….

Feet! Actually carved from foamboard and then wrapped in cardboard… then more rivets added

Primed! Now it’s looking like a model…

Attempt at zenithal highlighting… yeah….

And prewash with Vallejo black ink – didn’t quite go to plan…

…..aaaand who wants to see it in red?

Red basecoat, smokey ink pin was – white undercoat for the yellow areas, which then got a thin wash of Vallejo Skin Wash.. weathering was sponge chipping, first black and then boltgun metal

Side view

Pipework on the rear, courtesy of some sprue offcuts 

Chainsaw arm reinforced with more sprue offcuts

Hmm… what could make a Warlord princeps think “oh, sh*t” 

Yeah, I’m going to have to go and build my Imperator after all

Hmm… something of a scale issue…

But there again, weren’t gargants and titans always undersized? I’m sure we’ll figure something out..

We’ve really got the bug for scratchbuilding Epic stuff now, so stay tuned for more! Till next time, keep hoarding that recycling….

Balls! New tanks for the League of European Nations….

So the last time we visited 1950s Germany (1956 to be precise), the villainous Holy Soviet Empire had overrun the crucial Skalk Point plasma reactor facility – and with Buffalo 2-7 having suffered close to 100% casualties (not for the first time in their careers), it’s time for the League of European Nations to step up and take care of business!

And to do this, they’re going to need every bit of help they can get – so far, I’ve got an infantry platoon and a support laser painted up, and that’s not going to be enough to unseat Task Force Polikarpov!

So first out of the blocks, an idea I’ve been kicking around for a while – the infamous Kugelpanzer, or ball tank. These things seem to be staple of retro sci-fi, without really having a defined role, so I figured they could work as an armoured recon troop- with a bit of a twist! These things would be packing laser cannons- three each. These will be capable of rapid fire against infantry and light vehicles, but by combining their fire together they will be able to fire a single high intensity laser blast capable of obliterating even a Soviet Colossus or IS-6 Rampager!

It’s actually a bit of a challenge “feeling out” the character of this army – sandwiched between the lumbering juggernaut of the Holy Soviet Army and the elite, hi tech but short on numbers feel of the Atlantic Alliance, it’s a bit of a challenge to find where the European League should sit. So we’ve gone for a slightly ragtag, heterogenous feel – bizarre clunky specialised units that are very good at one thing, but suck at everything else. Kind of like a 1950’s Eldar to the AA’s Space Marines or HSE Guard, if you’ll allow the metaphor.

Anyway, enough waffle – on to the build!

We begin with (drumroll please)…. ping pong balls! A bag of 20 off eBay for a couple of quid. I googled “ping pong ball diameter” – seriously – and discovered that international regulations – seriously – specify 40mm. Thus reassured, I cut out 40mm x 15mm strips of thin card which I aligned as centrally as possible. These would serve as mounts for the tracks, which I cut as 5mm wide strips from IDE cables (a trick learned from master scratchbuilder Zrunelord)

You might notice the crosses sketched on the balls – this was my attempt to measure out a centre point and give myself a line to place rivets along (done with tacky glue, a fast-acting mix of PVA and isopropyl alcohol, applied with a cocktail stick)

Tracks and rivets added

After that, all that remained were the guns! 3 laser cannons per tank, one per side and a centrally mounted top one. I made these by chopping up a 1cm length of cocktail straw and then supergluing a 5mm length of drinking straw to each end, like so:

Laser cannons ready!

Hole punched thick card superglued to the hull as spacers/ weapon mount points

All done and ready for priming!

A coat of white primer and a base coat of Crafter’s Choice Fawn later, I added lines of brown and Vallejo Russian Green (irony!) to create the WW2 “Dunkelgelb” style camouflage pattern. The whole thing then gt a thinned wash of brown ink, an unthinned in wash of Vallejo Smokey Ink in the crevices, before a final drybrush with bine craft paint to catch the rivets. I applied sponge weathering using both black and gun metal, and then knocked up a texture paste from sand, PVA and dark brown paint – this got smeared around the tracks before being drybrushed with a lighter brown and blended around the tracks (in truth I think I got a bit carried away here, but oh well – northern Europe can get pretty muddy..)

Anyhow – pics!

The Kugelpanzer troop lead League infantry through a ruined urban landscape

Looking forward to getting these on the table soon – can they beat the fate of all painted models, or will they cover themselves with glory taking down Stompy Uncle Joe? Stay tuned, stay thrifty, see you soon!

CheapHammer 40k: The 2nd Ed Revival Project Pt. 5 – DIY Dreadnought

Honestly, if I hear the words “edge highlighting” coming from Dan one more time…. 😉 While my comrade in arms readies the remainder of his Deathwatch Space Marines for our showdown climax game, I’ve been looking at getting my ladz something a bit heavier – now, the original 2nd Ed boxed game (and our inadvertant eBay purchase) included this little fella:

20171109_210215
100% GW, 100% tournament legal!

But it wouldn’t be right to rock up to our final battle with a bit of cardboard with a picture on it, so I did a bit of digging and found the genius Eli Patoroch’s Facebook group, and amongst the many amazing papercraft template kits, sure enough there was an Ork dreadnought – printed out onto card stock and off I went!

Built up the body from template cardboard parts – after some deliberation, opted to build the legs from foamboard and glue the cardboard over the top for solidity and stability. Base made from two layers of thick card – I drew around the base a redundant Christmas decoration to get the circle right…

Buzz saw arm cut out and constructed

Close combat arms added – reinforced with chopped up cocktail sticks for pistons, the cylinders in the Patoroch template were too fiddly for my clumsy fingers!

Gunz! Some bitz from the template, some cocktail stick, some chopped down drinking straws – all equates to one lascannon and one heavy bolter

After “riveting” – done by applying dabs of PVA with a bent paperclip – it was out to the shed for a white undercoat

Followed by a light pre wash with Vallejo Smokey Ink (aka “bottled talent”)

Two thin coats (the Duncan Rhodes way) of cheap red craft paint

And a thin Smokey Ink wash, followed by a pin wash of mixed Smokey and Brown inks – those rivets really popping now!

Highlighted with a drybrush of the original craft red, then further drybrushing with red mixed with yellow, and then pure yellow

Metallics – Vallejo silver (lost my gun metal craft pot :-/ )

Washed with thinned black ink mixed with Vallejo Smokey ink. Viewer lenses undercoated whte.

 

Slightly blurry action shot…

Let loose wiv da ladz!

I finished the lenses yellow, green ink wash, and gem highlighting technique building up to pure white. The “tusks” were undercoated white, then layered with tan, building up to bone, and a light brown ink wash. Basing was the same as the rest of the force – home made texture paste painted brown and drybrushed up, a smattering of flock added and then a spray of matt varnish… and done! All for a grand total cost of somewhere around £1- not too shabby!

Of course, if you want to do things properly, you want a real GW model – they ain’t cheap, but they are lovely. However, if you can’t afford £31 for something that has no practical application (despite being, as I mentioned, extremely pretty) – this isn’t a bad way to go. And there’s always a nice feeling about creating something from nothing, isn’t there?

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

CheapHammer40K – The 2nd Ed Revival Project: Game 2 – High Ground

The dust of broken glass ground underfoot, and the smoke of a million corpse-fires fouled the air. Boss Bludguzzla WarBastard IV took to his feet and breathed deeply of the Armageddon stench. Beautiful.

He belched, cocked a leg and let go an insouciant, musical fart. “I luvz da smell of roastin’ humiez in da morning”.

Turning to the motley assortment of Orks gathered in the shell crater before him, he waved a hand toward the biggest ruin on the horizon.

“Dat’s where they are, ladz! Sneaky gitz holed up in dat temple wiv a missile launcher. We’s got to splat dem so we can bring da Dread around and get da boyz ready to kick some proper humie arse. Cumlicka!” 

One of the larger Orks cocked an ear. 

“You takes your ladz up da front. Keep shootin’, keep their heads down. Ratbollock!”

A second oversized Ork shuffled to attention,

“You ladz folla mine, we’s going to get round da side of ’em, chuck da stikkbomz, and go feth ’em up, up close and personal like”

WarBastard jammed a magazine into his bolt pistol.

“Dat concludes da breefin’. Let’s go feth it up! WAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!!!!!”

“WAAAAAAAAAAARGGGGHHH” rose from more throats than an Ork could count (somewhere between 8 and 20) – and the Boyz rolled to war once again…

Welcome to Mission 2 from the 2nd Edition Scenario Booklet – High Ground! After a close fought first round (no spoilers here), and some frenzied painting on my part after a a couple of lucky eBay wins fleshed out my Ork forces to full strength, Dan and I warmed up the shed and got busy deploying Ork and Marine alike for the next round.

The two sides deploy

View from the Marine position in the ruined Shrine Of The Emperor Triumphant – frag missiles at the ready, it’s a target rich environment!

Da Boyz cluster in the ruins, making use of what cover they can find

Turn 1 kicked off with the Marines gaining the initiative – no point in breaking cover yet, and no one in range, so they elected to hunker down and blast a frag missile into the densely packed boyz mobs facing them..

Lacking the artillery dice from the early 90s, we agreed that “1” would equal a misfire, so…..

……yeah. Misfire, exploding both launcher and Marine. Cue some innovative swearing from Dan.

The Orks dash forward, using the ruins to shield them from Marine fire

Well, partially.

Orks charge toward Marine lines – a few fall, but will it be enough?

“Dere day are ladz!” It’s not all one sided – a Marine falls to Ork bolt pistol fire

“Squad Broken” – 25% losses in one turn, the Marines fail their morale check!

But Marines don’t run – although shaken, they stay in the fight, and return the favour, breaking an Ork mob with bolter fire

While Boss Cumlicka and his boyz died to an Ork taking the Marines on in place, Bludguzzla and Ratbollock led their boyz in a kunnin’ flanking manouvre, hurling frag stikkbomz onto the hated humiez

Frontal assault is always a bad idea

“FIRE IN DA HOLE!” Stikkbomz take down another Marine

Sergeant Taddeus leads his remaining Marine out to counterattack the Ork assault with bolter and chainsword!

Taddeus and his brother stand against many times their own number of boyz (by this point it was already past turn 4 and an Ork victory, but we were enjoying ourselves too much!)

 

Bellowing his war cry, Sgt. Taddeus barrels into the Ork horde..

And falls a hero, dead Orks on every side!

And there we are, and Ork victory, but what a game! Right from the off the Marines were on the back foot, their most potent weapon blowing itself up – but what says 40k more than the last stand of Marine Sergeant Taddeus, surrounded by Ork corpses? Brilliant fun, despite 40ks inherent limitations, very cinematic – the game really wrote it’s own story, and isn’t that exactly why we play these things?

Next up, a truly epic battle as 20 marines face a dreadnought, 20 Orks and 40 Gretchin as our campaign reaches its conclusion! Stay tuned, stay thrifty, we’ll see you soon 😉

Terrain Talk Pt. 8- Cheap Scratchbuilt Urban Warfare Skirmish Board

So the dust has settled after last month’s mega-battle, and after gorging on our biggest game yet, we’ve decided to turn our attention to something a little lower key and skirmish-y.

Now, there’s a strong appeal to these types of games – low model count means easy buy in, short set up and pack down means it’s easy to get in a quick game even on when time and space are a premium, and it’s a great way to learn a ruleset without jumping in the deep end with a full combined arms force!

Clearly GW agree with us, having just released the new version of Kill Team, but we’re planning on starting with a few more free-to-download sets, not to mention our own Black Ops system (intended to be a more detailed small scale RPG/ skirmish variant on the basic Apocalypse: Earth game engine). An accidental alcohol-related eBay purchase means we’ve got ourselves a crowd of 2nd ed 40k Grots and Marines, so we figured time to make them somewhere to have a scrap!

We did actually put together a folding urban warfare table last year, built from the back of a set of shelves – roughly 3’x3′ folding, made of some sort of hardboard/ cardboard laminate – but we’ve learned a lot since then, and now it looks a bit… crap, to be honest. So we decided – time to pimp, yo.

Began with single corrugated cardboard to act as paving slabs and such – for the tile textures in the corner, I scored 20mm squares into the card, then tore off the edges to make some broken tiles. I used PVA to glue them, but in retrospect acrylic filler (caulk) would probably have been a better bet.

Began adding texture – the grey stuff is home made texture paint, made from water, black paint, filler powder, sand and PVA glueand stippled on with an old brush. The white stuff is cat litter (unused, I should add!) held on with splodges of acrylic caulk intended to look like rubble piles..

Close up of tilework and rubble

The board textured and ready for priming black

After getting the stonework and texture paste on, I made sure to seal thoroughly with a spray of diluted PVA (empty Windolene bottle, ten parts water to 1 part PVA). In fact, I actually hit this three times at roughly 4- 6 hour intervals over the day – worth it in terms of time investment to make sure the thing doesn’t end up shedding grit and cat litter all over the floor every time you get it out!

Two £1 cans of matt black car spray paint later – voila, primed!

With priming complete, the next step was painting. I used a recipe that has served me well, nicked wholeheartedly from Lukes APS. I used house paint tester pots for economy and ruggedness – hilariously, Duncan recommends using about £20 worth of Citadel model paints for this…. don’t, just don’t! – and put simply:

Overbrush grey blue

Drybrush red (lightly, and only in selected places)

Drybrush with Wilko’s City Break grey

Lighter drybrush with same brand Granite Dust

Grots patrol an urban wasteland… (more on them in another post)

Next up, I made up some very thin washes based on brown, green, black and skin/ flesh wash colours heavily watered down and daubed about the board. This gives it a rather cinematic feel which I found I liked.

Not sure how realistic this is, but it seems to work!

 

After a looking at it a few times, I decided I’d cocked up a bit with the tilework – 20mm squares just looked wrong with 1/72 – so I chopped them up into 10mm and painted a checkerboard pattern using cream and dark grey, lining the edges with thinned down Vallejo smokey ink

And then I realised how long it had taken, and settled for cream alone on the other part!

For the muds, I went with a burnt umber basecoat and gradually drybrushed up a couple of lighter browns, taking care to really work the brush into the texture to blend with the concrete.

Overall, this was a fun little build and I think t actually came out looking pretty good. It’ll suit Black Ops, and 28mm stuff like Kill Team and Necromunda. Plus, it folds away!

Next step is to scale up these techniques for the main 6’x4′ board, and a squared off 2’x2′ for Deadzone – thanks to Mantic for making the core rule book freely available as a download – and actually, none of these steps are particularly difficult, just require a bit of patience, planning and imagination. Youtube, and particularly The Terrain Tutor and Lukes APS are your friends here – good luck, stay thrifty and we’ll see you soon!

CheapHammer 40k – the 2nd Ed Revival Project! Pt. 2 – Deathwatch

WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS ACTUAL CITADEL MINIATURES.

I KNOW :-O

So, some of you may remember these guys from an earlier post:

20171109_205617

..and our wondering exactly what the hell we were going to do with them, being as we’re pretty heavily committed to our beloved uber-cheap and thrifty 1/72 figures.

You may also remember our dabbling in the Horus Heresy game “Betrayal At Calth”, which we picked up sans miniatures for £4.99.

And I think you can start to see where this is going.

Thing is, over the years GW have published a great many games set in the 40k universe – Space Hulk, Space Crusade, Advanced Space Crusade as well as the current generation (Betrayal at Calth, Burning Of Prospero, Deathwatch Overkill) – all cracking good fun, easy and quick to set up and crucially, with a very low model count. 20 Marines and a big crowd of Grots to play the bad guys is plenty for these types of games (not to mention the nostalgia factor of those 2nd ed sculpts.. opening that box was Christmas ’93 all over again!), and as we discovered with the Calth box set, many players by them for the minis and disregard everything else. As for the older games, rules, tokens etc can all be found online and downloaded for free (often there are fan remakes to be found too – check out this one).

As a side note, I’m also hoping to track down a copy of Alternative Armies’ Firefight rules from 1991 – that was a brilliant game, fast paced and utterly addictive!

If you like sci-fi skirmish games, you need to try this game.

All these games are board or tile based, so easy and quick set up, perfect for a quick hobby fix!

(edit – add Mantic’s Deadzone 2.0 to that list – just downloaded the rules from their site and very much looking forward to trying it out!)

So, onto painting them – I figured the Marines should be Deathwatch, as that seems to fit with the fluff of small scale alien (or heretic) -hunting skirmishes in narrow streets, cramped arcologies or abandoned spacecraft, so I stripped them using meths, primed with black spray paint, popped a beer and watched Duncan’s excellent Deathwatch painting tutorial video, and had at it!

I did deviate slightly from the Duncan’s template – black acrylic basecoat (cheap £1 store black), light drybrush with Vallejo German Grey, then took a deep breath and tried some edge highlighting, having mixed the grey with some bone and a little blue, and was pleasantly surprised with the results! I’ve seen edge highlighting look pretty cack handed and splodgy (particularly when I’ve done it), but I think the trick to it is ensuring your paint is thin and you create a smooth colour graduation. Clearly all that time painting weeny 1/72 figures has helped get my eye in as these chaps came out better than anything I painted back in the 90s! Metallics were Vallejo silver, washed with thin black ink, skulls were bone washed with thinned brown ink and the red was a cheap £1 acrylic that I layered up with some yellow to create highlights. Flesh was craft paint skin tone washed first with Vallejo skin wash and then thinned brown wash.

For basing, I was briefly tempted to go full retro – PVA, sand, Goblin Green, remember that? – but instead took things a little further. I put a bit of home made texture paste (sand, PVA, filler powder, water) on the base before the priming stage and after I’d painted the model, painted this dark brown and drybrushed up with a couple of layers of lighter browns. Then dabbed on a bit of PVA and drizzled on some flock, than another dab and drizzled on some Garage Floor Dust (TM) which is one of the best basing materials I’ve ever discovered, despite it’s humble origins!

Finally I edged the base in black as I wanted a cinematic look (and brown just looked weird) and done! So the first group are complete, and (deep breath) – here are the pics!

Terrain Talk Pt. 7 – Nutritious, Delicious, (& CHEAP) Sci Fi Buildings

It’s a nice feeling when you can wrap up a project pretty quickly and simply – or, as a wise man once said, “I love it when a plan comes together”!

In this instance, this has come together in a little over a week, and I think you’ll like the result. So sit back, grab a beer, and then go and hunt through your recycling bin!

It all started a couple of weeks back when I picked up a punnet of blueberries for the youngling (his favourite fruit – for now, at least), and after he’d scoffed his way through it, as I was about to throw it in the recycling, I looked at it and thought hmmmmm…. I can do something with this!

Right – blueberry punnet. Left – yoghurt pot lid.. Crosses? They’re all about calibration!

As you can see in the above photo, I’m trying to improve my modelling skills by not simply half assing everything! I measured the interior depression on the blueberry punnet case and drew a centrepoint, then measure the yoghurt pot lid and did the same thing. Gel superglue bonded the two, hopefully irrevocably!

Dead centre!

Look what I found – ping pong ball and bottle cap..

Of course! A radar dish!

Dressed with bits from my Pot of Interestingly Shaped Crap – two wooden caps from Cholula hot sauce bottles, a toothpaste tube cap and something that was once part of a toddler bubble blowing kit..

Added some access hatches, door frames and steps (all cereal packet cardboard)

Primed white with some cheap £1 spray paint (seems there was a run on black in my local pound shops..)

Basecoated with Vallejo US Olive Drab – looks a bit streaky, but remember, two thin coats are better than one thick one (praise be unto thee, Duncan Rhodes)

As you probably noticed, there are some holes in the original blueberry container. So, I glued some nylon tulle (left over from the Skalk Point mega-build) to some card – having measured the gaps, I worked out I would need 8 strips, each 1cm by 1.5. So I cut a strip of card cm by 1.5cm, glued the tulle to it. This would then get painted black ad drybrushed silver to represent ventilation ducts.

Painting involved a layer of Vallejo US Olive Drab,  a wash with thin Smokey Ink, a pin wash with a mix of Black and Smokey inks (thinned, with the target area prewetted as per Mel The Terrain Tutor’s advice), before overbrushing with Olive Drab and drybrushing with the same olive drab lightened with a small amount of bone (avoid white for this, it can make for a “chalky” finish).

Weathering was sponge chipping using black, grey and metallics, and I followed Google Images for guidelines on how to paint a NATO communications bunker to get the grey radar dish idea. This was Vallejo German grey lightened with bone craft paint.

I added some detailing and hazard stripes, then based with a mix of Garage Floor Dust (TM) and green flock. So, pics:

All in all a fun build – a nice centrepiece, and a nice way to thin out my Box of Interestingly Shaped Crap! Still need to get better at hazard straps and lenses, but on the whole quite pleased – it should make a nice centrepiece in our upcoming Apocalypse: Earth game, along with Skalk Point and Bose Cliffs!

As always, stay thrifty out there and we’ll see you soon 😉