Many years ago, a budding teenage me was snooping about the dusty corners of that wonderful den of geekery, “Another World”, when I should chance to happen upon a book. Something about it caught my eye, and a quick flick through hooked me in completely. I stumped up my £10 (or whatever it was) and off I went with a book that would bring me many, many happy hours of nerd bliss.
This was the book:
Firefight, by Alternative Armies.
Now, I’d seen a few AA “Levy” series minis in blister packs and bought a few to use as 40k Imperial Guard renegades/ Chaos cultists/ Genestealer cultists/ PDF, because they caught a pretty cool aesthetic with the visored helmets, flak armour and Space-Kalashnikov rifles, and the Crusader series had appealed to me as Space Marine proxies,so curiosity got the better of me and I thought what the hell.
I remember being significantly underwhelmed flicking through my new purchase on the bus ride home – the full colour cover giving way to a black-and-pamphlet with pencil artwork, fluff that was… well, meh, really, they’d gone for the same Dark Ages In Space feel as 40k, but with a lot less grim dark and a lot less imagination (in fairness, though – GW are the fluffmeisters, you aren’t going to win going head to head with them there). On the human side you’ve got the Levy – basically Imperial Guardsmen, with the elite rising through the ranks to become Crusaders, power armoured elite troopers whose own elites include Templars and Hospitallers. On the alien side, you have the Shia Khan…
These are sort of an Ork/ Eldar hybrid race, faster but weaker than humans with their basic troops known as Goblins (wielding weapons codenamed “Popcorn” and “Eggtimer” by the human forces.. a shout out to the NATO names for Warsaw Pact weapons during the Cold War, perhaps?)
The game included some thin cardboard terrain tiles and tokens, a long way from GW quality cardstock, a few typos in the rules suggesting poor editing… I didn’t expect much.
Boy, was I ever wrong. Firefight is a brilliantly designed game, based around the concept of action dice allowing you to do particular things (I’m willing to bet more than a few of the Mantic design team played this game back in the 90s) – close fought, addictive, fast and deadly. I don’t mind admitting a strong influence on our Black Ops skirmish game (still WIP for now). Every trooper has rolls a certain number of dice depending on what action he has chosen, modified by what he’s armed with, with a basic rule of 6 generating an offensive action (such as shooting someone in the face), and 1 generating a defensive action (dodging out of the way). The designers commented that they hoped to produce a system that was easy to play but hard to read, and you know what, they managed it.
The rulebook teaches you the rules stage by stage, starting with a basic house clearance mission where a Levy squad with a Crusader NCO clears a house of Shia Khan Goblins and Infiltrators, and the subsequent missions bring in heavy weapons, melee, more sophisticated actions such as medical aid, and mini campaigns on both strategic and tactical levels, where your Crusader or Levy platoon patrol across a city working their way through snipers, ambushes and (as the name suggests) firefights!
It’s been a real blast getting back into this game again, and I’m planning to replace the thin card tiles with proper MDF based jobs with 3D terrain to enhance the feel – yet another project! But for the meantime, when we want a quick skirmish with minimal set up, low model count etc, this is our go to game for the moment, and I think will be for some time.
I thoroughly recommend this game for anyone looking for a quick fix wargame, and I commend the Alternative Armies team for producing a classic that holds it’s own 27 years later! You can still find copies on eBay if you hunt around, this game is worth the effort to find.
The plot thickens! Just as Dan’s Marines have got themselves fly new Deathwatch paintjobs, I’ve not been idle with my share of our Ebay booty – first out of the blocks, the Grots! Now, as it turns out there are 36 of these little buggers and to do the mini campaign properly I’m going to need 40, so I may be taking to eBay again pretty soon.. oh, the irony! This is how wargamers end up with houses full of tiny plastic figures… but enough of that for now.
I spread some home made texture paste (filler powder, sand, PVA and water) on the base and hit the whole thing with cheap pound shop white primer, before giving all the figures a prewash with thinned Vallejo brown ink.
I’ve got two mobs of ten painted up so far, with a pretty straightforward three colour scheme – dark grey, bone and red. To differentiate, Furst Mob has grey and red blocked out with a camo scheme (of grey and red) over the bone areas, while Secund Mob has the bone and grey blocked in and a bone and grey camo scheme layered over the red. Thurd Mob, when I get round to them, will have bone and red camo layered over the grey and blocked in red and bone. and Uvver Mob will either have a whole load of camo or none!
I used Vallejo German Grey, a cheap acrylic red and a craft paint bone. Black ink wash, thinned, over the grey and thinned brown ink over the red and bone.
For skin tones I went with a thinned light green, washed with Army Painter Green Tone and then highlighted up with green mixed with yellow, and a touch of bone for the teeth and a dash of red for the eyes. After that, I added a unifying light drybrush of bone, and then on to the metallics – block in black and then boltgun metal highlighted with silver, and then washed with brown ink to give a rusty metal vibe.
Then, basing! I used the same brown craft paint I used for the leather part, then drybrushed with bone, before drizzling flock and Garage Floor TM dust, and then a final edge of brown to touch the whole thing up.. and then, varnish and done!
As it happens, we don’t either – don’t drink and eBay, kids! So, we were wondering what we should do with this haul – loads of Grots, a full complement of 20 Marines, and a couple of Orks in various states of repair… not to mention the cardboard cutout Dreadnaught, plus the very brightly coloured Codex Imperialis and campaign book.
Now, this raises an interesting, almost paradoxical conundrum – because we can’t afford proper 40k minis, we’d got sunk deep into 20mm (aka 1/72 or 1/76 or HO) gaming, meaning all our terrain was designed and sized for this. So getting our hands on actual 40k minis kind of threw the plans out a bit. As discussed before, we planned on using them as proxies for OOP systems like Firefight, Space Crusade etc (not to mention freely downloadable ones like Deadzone), but with all this… stuff… it was more or less a given that at some point we’d end up giving 40k a try again, and we’ve had a couple of little skirmishes with our new skirmish board.
And yeah, compared to modern systems, this old girl is a bit clunky. But we got to thinking – both me and Dan got into 40k in 1991 (albeit independently of each other and hundreds of miles apart) and by then the 1st edition Rogue Trader had evolved massively from it’s origins as an almost unplayable (in practical terms) RPG/ skirmish game and was heading towards the slick and shiny and GLORIOUSLY colourful subsequent editions. Dan and I both remember getting the 40k box set – and be aware, a 40k box set was a brand new thing back then, never been done before! – for Christmas 1993, and working our way through the mini campaign missions given in the book. If you’re unfamiliar, this set focused heavily on the 2nd War For Armageddon, and featured a three (four?) mission campaign of Blood Angels vs Orks.
Then Dan reminded me that 1993 was 25 years ago exactly.
You have to figure by this point, the game had evolved quite away from it’s origins, and was badly in need of a rewrite! And so it was…
You bought wargear with cards rather than having a 15 % chance of having it. The thing had been tested, and many mechanics from 2nd Ed actually form the backbone of 40k as we know it now, love it or loathe it. We may not have had Tau or Necrons, but we had Squats, dammit! (at least for a while..) And so begins our new project for the remains of 2018 – painting up the contents of our unwitting haul to replicate those halcyon days gone by – we began with the Marines, and Dan has a load of Grots ready for the camera – then there’s the scenery to make… lots of ruins (which we’ll make 3″ by 3″ to also be Deadzone compatible – muy Skinflint).. plus we have found a very cool papercraft of an Ork Deff Dread… And then come Christmas, we’ll run the whole campaign!
So, here’s raising a glass to our “origin story” within the hobby – we may not be the seasoned grognards in at the birth of it all with Rogue Trader, but we were there for 40k to find it’s feet and become what it is today. And for all it’s (many many ) faults- it will always have a place in our hearts.
Welcome to our 2018 Summer Slam Megagame! It’s becoming a bit of a tradition during the summer months when I’m on glorious paid summer vacation and Dan is less busy at the warehouse, to congregate in my garage with a couple of boxes of Carling and whatever models we’ve managed to acquire or concoct to throw down for a BIG FIGHT.
This year we’re revisiting a concept we used last spring, with a gallant few Allied defenders holding off a endless horde of Holy Soviet Army attackers, but we’ve added a few twists..
The scenario began with our new League of European Nations platoon with 88Gw support laser deployed ahead of the Skalk Point plasma generator complex, performing regular rear area security duties – when out of the mist comes Dan’s entire Holy Soviet Army force! We deployed along the two narrow edges, the League forces up to the halfway mark, the Soviets up to 24cm forward.
Starting at the end of the first turn, the League commander could nominate 6 Alliance units (representing the local sector Quick Reaction Force) – if they passed a reaction roll, they would appear on his table edge at the end of the turn. Soviet casualties would be respawned within their deployment zone, and the forward edge of said deployment zone would move forward 10cm every turn, representing units rushing forward to find their officer (or anyone else to take responsibility for their decisions…). Once the last Alliance unit had taken to the field, the Soviets wouldn’t get any more reinforcements.
We – well, alright, me – decided to flex the literary muscles and try and write this in a narrative style.. so grab yourself a libation, this is quite a long post…
Skalk Point Power Substation, Location CLASSIFIED Northern Germany, 0600 July 21st 1956
The low cloud made him uneasy. Despite the early hour of the morning, it was already uncomfortably hot, and sweat patches were beginning to form in his underarms and under his peaked officers’ cap. Leutnant von Hulkenburg shifted his weight as he trained his field glasses on the horizon.
Rear area security was not a glamorous assignment, but the Leutnant and his command had spent enough time on the front lines to realise there was no glory to be found anywhere in this war. He was merely glad to have survived this long and the men under him shared his views. This posting allowed him and his men some rest, guarding a crucial power generation substation deep behind Allied lines – but it was essential work. Skalk Point was the nexus of the power grid for the entire sector – if it went down, it would cripple the logistics for the European and Atlantic Alliance armies operating in a hundred mile radius.
Behind him klaxons blared as the network of immense plasma rectors vented their exhaust gases. The Leutnant turned to watch despite himself, awed as always by the spectacle – clouds of vividly coloured gas moving through the vast plexiglass storage tanks, arcs superheated of lightning leaping between them as staff took cover in the specially designed bunkers. It never failed to impress him.
As he turned back to scanning the horizon, however – he saw something that took his breath away and turned his bowels to ice.
A monstrous mechanical walker, towering over the surrounding trees, cutting through the forest with the help of a massive flamethrower, leading a horde of Soviet tanks. Hulkenburg recognised T-48s in various configurations and a mammoth IS-6, leading a horde of infantry.
“Mein Gott” he gasped – how had they got so close without detection? With a jolt, he realised there must be one of those damned sorcerers in the force, using and manipulating the low cloud to shield them from observation. He could’t believe how deep into the lines they had penetrated.
“Achtung!” he cried to his men, “Take cover! Russ! Russ kommen!”
Around him, his men dived for cover, taking up firing positions, fixing bayonets, removing safeties. His gunners quickly moved the support laser into position, initialising its systems. Hulkenburg grabbed his radio operator – “Get me reinforcements! Now! Everything you can!”
He prayed they could hold out long enough.
Task Group BUFFALO Staging Area, Anglo-American XXV Corps, Location CLASSIFIED Northern Germany, 0603 July 21st 1956
“Say again, Skalk Point, say again”
The static was ferocious, but there was no disguising the panic in the man’s voice.
“Russians! We have a heavy task group of Soviets inbound in our position, armour and infantry and superheavies – we need reinforcements now, we have no chance against them!”
“Stay calm, Skalk Point, we’re on it, the cavalry is coming” – the communications officer hit the Alert button and klaxons blared throughout the compound. In the distance, he could see soldiers running for vehicles, Silverbugs initialising their engines, tanks and Humvees gunning their engines – he turned back to the microphone.
“Skalk Point, this is Buffalo Six, we have QRF inbound to your position. Sit tight now, don’t do anything stupid, we’ll get you out of there”
Lieutenant Grant swore softly under his breath. BUFFALO 2-7 had 36 hours left on their rotation as sector Quick Reaction Force. Mostly spent doing maintenance, the Lieutenant and just grabbed a coffee and a bacon sandwich from the mess after a morning spent checking engines and supervising range practice.
He slid into the command Humvee as the ARPANET downloaded coordinates and planned a route.
From the other side slid Platoon Sergeant McAuliffe, cigar ever present and smelling suspiciously of bourbon. Grant didn’t mention it – after everything they’d been through together he couldn’t blame the sergeant for wanting to take the edge off. War did that to you after a while. He reached forward, unclipped the microphone from the Humvee’s dashboard and opened up the platoon ARPANet.
“All call signs, report in”
The receiver chimed as vehicles, tanks, gunships and infantry fireteams checked in with a “ready” status. Grant cleared his throat.
“Gentlemen, I’m sorry there isn’t time to brief you all properly. We are responding to an Priority One emergency call from the reactor installation at Skalk Point. There’s a German rear area platoon there fighting for their lives against what looks like a Soviet armoured battalion – they’re outnumbered, outgunned, and in deep shit. We all know what that’s like.”
“You also need to know what happens if Skalk Point goes down. That’s power, communications and logistics across the whole sector. 100 miles – that’s all of us, XXV Corps and the whole European 7th Army, without comms, ammo, mail, food. That happens – well, we’re fucked. We’re not going to let that happen. Understood?”
“SIR, YES, SIR”
Skalk Point Power Substation, Location CLASSIFIED Northern Germany, 0605 July 21st 1956
“They’re coming, Herr Leutnant, Atlantic Alliance QRF inbound on bearing 275 – down the service road to our rear, sir.” The RTO looked up at the Leutnant, who was peering through field glasses at the oncoming crowd of Soviet tanks. The HQ section had dived into the cover of a ruined farmhouse while the 88 crew had manoeuvred themselves into a covered defile. Meanwhile the two rifle and two assault sections had spread out along the line, taking whatever cover they could.
“Thank you, Dieter – everyone, don’t do anything stupid, ok? Just stay alive, till the Americans get here”
“Americans” snorted his platoon sergeant, “Don’t know who’s worse, them or the Russians”
The Leutnant stared at him. “Yes you fucking do”
The sergeant looked away.
“Targets, sir” called one of the 88 gunners.
“Fire at will – but for Christ’s good sake, everybody keep your heads down”
The mighty laser cannon thrummed to life, unleashing, a flash of light appeared on the side armour of the Soviet SU-152 assault gun nestling a few hundred yards behind the lead elements and almost too quickly to register, forty tons of steel became a fireball. Battle was joined.
By the end of turn 1, things were looking bleak for the Germans – they’d managed to immobilise an assault gun with an inspired laser cannon shot, but with precious little in the way of anti-tank capability (1 panzerschreck per rifle squad, both operated by the squad’s token half blind members…) and the Soviet infantry using cover to conceal themselves, there was precious little they could do other than to pull into cover and save themselves for a counter offensive when Alliance support arrived. Meanwhile, Assault section No. 1 was infiltrating up the buildings on the Allied left to spring an ambush, while No. 2 assault section hung back waiting to strike when the Soviets hit the main League force sheltering around the ruined farmhouse.
As turn 2 drew to an end, the Soviets were very much on a roll but with the newly arrived Alliance firepower starting to bite, things were hanging very much in the balance.. the Soviet deployment zone was creeping forward steadily however, and the main infantry force had yet to close with the enemy.. too many factors to call!
Turn 3 saw more Allied firepower rolling onto the table, but at the same time losing the 88Gw laser, a crucial part of the League firepower, and the gradual erosion of Allied infantry was taking it’s toll. The Soviet steamroller as gaining momentum, with losses respawning further and further up the board, but with as yet all to play for..
By this point (in true SKG style) we’d got too pissed and too involved in the game to take proper notes, but suffice it to say that both sides were all in, no more reinforcements, and it was desperately close, the Soviets could almost touch the objective… but there was still enough fight left in the Allies to make it tough!
As the last few elements of the Allied defence fell, one by one, it was left to the lone M60 crew to hold the line at the entrance to the generator complex – this she did to great effect before being rammed by two T-48s who’s cannons had been destroyed after fending off the remaining Siberian assault troops.. but it couldn’t last, and the tank went down in flames – taking with it the last chance for Allied victory. The newly arrived sniper team, Ghost 7, could only flee the scene and bring word to Sector command…
So the Soviets were victorios, but by the end they only had one fully functioning runner, which the Centurion (heretofor to be named “Leonidas” after his brave and heroic stand at the gates of the generator complex) took out before being mobbed by rams, Siberian mutants and Molotov cocktails.. what an end to a game!
Afterwards, we played a small Black Ops game (a WIP skirmish take on Apocalypse: Earth) where an SAS team managed to infiltrate the command centre and at great cost hack the central computer to stymie Soviet attempts to redirect the power – next up, the League of European Nations gathers an armoured fist to strike back and retake the complex!
That was a biggie, so thanks for staying with us – stay thrifty out there and we’ll see you soon!
For those of you uncertain as to what this is all about, basically it boils down to two Midlands drunks wondering if you can truly replicate the visual spectacle of those awesome battle reports we used to see in White Dwarf without incurring the mind blowing expense of GW’s (and others) 28mm figures – everything you see here is super cheap and cheerful 1/72 scale, both armies came in at less than £15 and all terrain is scratchbuilt from household junk.
Our scenario revolved around capturing a pair of plasmareactors located in the centre of the table, with a ruined village and woods on the eastern side and more open hilly country on the western side. I won the roll off and took the southern board edge, planning to use the cover of the ruins to shield the Boyz’ advance.
Under 2nd Ed rules, the player with the lowest Strategy Rating had to deploy first, and with the Guard’s rating being 2 to my 3, that meant Dan had to set up first along the northern edge.
He placed his Heavy Weapons teams (Squad Cletus) on the central hill with the Leman Russ, Chimera on the western side with the Command squad inside ready to leap out and secure the objective and secure it with serious short range firepower and his best close combat troops. Meantime the Russ would punch forward into the main body of the Orks and the Chimera provide supporting fire, while the two infantry squads advanced through the forest, each providing covering fire for the other.
I went for a straightforward Orkish approach – hey diddle diddle, straight up the middle! I loaded up Big Red with my elite assault units – the Warboss, the Bigboss and the Nobz – and placed it where it should have a covered approach to the objective. Warbuggies Red 5 and Red 7 would attempt a flanking manoeuvre on the west side of the table, charge round and catch humie from behind. Meanwhile, da Boyz and the Dread would move up in short order behind the Nobz and Warboss, keeping humie’s head down. Doc Nikki Louda and Mek Mikael Schumorker would provide fire support with lascannon and Kustom Blasta.
Much to everyone’s surprise, the Guard got first turn and rolled forward!
After four turns, the Guard were firmly in control of the plasma reactors, and had suffered the loss of a lascannon gunner, most of the HQ and an immobilised Chimera. I, on the other had, was down to Doc Nicky Louda and half a boyz mob – a pretty comprehensive defeat!
So most of our battle reports have ended with me pulling a narrow or Pyrrhic victory against Dan, but in this one he handed my arse to me fair and square! That said, I could point to the lucky shots that roasted ALL my elite troops and then destroyed my Dread.. but there again, a certain parable about eggs and baskets comes to mind. Maybe next time they start off on foot before boarding the transport..
Other than that, my plan can’t have been that bad as Dan had more or less the same one! Da Boyz did their best in very difficult circumstances and the Charge Of The Warbuggies went more or less as well as could be expected, Kimi and Seb getting a lick each in.
Hats off to Dan’s Guard though, that was a fair and square victory, the Leman Russ was an unstoppable linebreaker, heavy weapons teams took their toll and the infantry brought in to hold the line after the heavies had done their work. An army well researched and understood, and a battle fairly won.
Still not sold on IGOUGO, and there’s some things I’d change about the close assault mechanic, but a fun game nevertheless. AND a few things learned for “Future Force Warrior”, our sci fi sister game for “Apocalypse: Earth” – more on that to come!
January is Austerity Month here at Skinflint HQ, we’ve blown all our cash on gin, biscuits and Last Jedi tickets – so that means a hobby budget of £0 for the first month of 2018. But does that mean that we have to stop making stuff? Of course not – thriftiness is the mother of invention.
And in that vein, I grabbed the glue gun and ventured into the box of Interestingly Shaped Crap that all we gamers keep hidden away in the depths of a cupboard..
I knew when that bulb went that it was Too Interestingly Shaped to throw away (and as luck would have it, I had another one.. stay tuned) – it put me in mind of the Imperial Plasma Reactors from Dawn Of War, screaming to be turned into something sci-fi-esque… and pawing through my box I discovered the Q-tip box lid which could serve as a base/fuel tank/ reactor core, which set the basic shape in my mind. I used a mix of hot glue, tacky glue and polystyrene cement to attach these together (with mixed results, as you’ll see later on..), and then cut some drinking straws to size to function as power conduits/ coolant pipes. A good tip here – drinking straws have very little surface area for contact and glueing, so filling them with something solid is a good idea. I glued a bit of kebab skewer inside each one, meaning I had a decent contact area with the bulb and the lid. I then added a few bits of cardboard detailing to be a control panel of some kind, and trimmed a sheet of granny grating to create access ladders.
I wanted something that could serve as both an Imperial piece for 40k or Epic and a suitable clunky retro-sci fi piece that could conceivably be a part of a 1950’s superscience project, so I picked Vallejo Olive Drab for the base and body, a generic Boltgun Metal equivalent over a black undercoat for the base of the bulb and the tubular part got painted blue in preparation for a cool forcefield trick I saw on a Warhammer TV post.
Unfortunately, I encountered a few problems during this phase – for a start, thinnning down my black paint meant that it refused to adhere to the primer.. and then, the water in the acrylic paints began to reactivate the tacky glue (which is just regular PVA with isopropyl alcohol added for faster drying) – meaning the model literally came apart on me!
So after much swearing, and a few consultations on Facebook, I (sorry Dan) slightly reneged on the “no money” pledge of January and bought some superglue and No More Nails, which seems to have done the trick.
After the initial colouring, I washed the olive drab with Army Painter Green Tone, pin washed the detail parts (rivets, ladders etc) with a homebrew wash of green and black paint thinned with water and detergent, then drybrushed up with Vallejo Olive Drab, lightened with cheap tan craft paint for highlighting. I added a few streaks and pin washed Vallejo Smokey Ink, and sponge chipped with grey, black and metallic for a weathered appearance.
Following Duncan Rhodes (hallowed be his name)’s advice, I created the forcefield effect by stippling on purple and light blue patches, before outlining the lightning patterns faintly in grey and going over them with white.
I camouflaged the No More Nails residue around the base by painting it up as mud, highlighting up from dark brown to light brown – and here it is in situ:
A fair few flaws in the detail, but not too shabby from two feet away.
Now, as some of you may recall, we screwed the maths up a little last time out, so we were determined that this time we were going to get things right, so army cards were checked, double checked and checked again for good measure – this time before the beers came out. For WAAAGH-BOZZHOG, Dan was able to bring out all three of his painted up Ork clans, plus the mighty Slasher that had wrought so much carnage last time out:
We rolled up a health mix of terrain, including several towns – too many, in fact for the buildings we had supplied in the box so we broke out some of the home made sci-fi terrain we made earlier on in the year (which never made the blog- might have to remedy that) to fill in the gaps. This worked out quite nicely – the Orks would be rushing to loot the vast giga-storehouses of Hazzard’s finest export moonshine, certainly a mission which would require the Redeemer’s immediate attention!
For what seems like the first time in living memory, Dan won the deployment roll off and opted for the southern table edge with a greater concentration of objectives, leaving the Redeemers slightly on the back foot – but not to worry, the Emperor’s finest would save the day and ensure that Imperial liquor cabinets would not run dry on this most festive of occasions! First to 50 Victory Points would be the winner…
Imperial Deployment & Plan
Bugger, I wanted that side! Right, never mind, a Marine is nothing if not adaptable.. looking at the terrain and bearing in mind the experience of the previous game, my rough plan was to get the Leviathan, Devastators, Warlord and Whirlwinds into position and firing as quickly as possible to whittle down the Ork numbers and counterattack with the Veterans and Terminators when the time was right. Scouts would sit on the backfield objective and protect the Whirlwinds while the Land Raiders would act as a fire brigade.
To this end, I placed the armour and the Leviathan covering the open ground on the right flank, Devastators would advance to capture objectives 2 and 3 and plaster fire into the oncoming hordes. I debated what to do with my Veterans and Terminators and eventually decided on something audacious – Veterans would charge forward onto Objective 6 and use that either to springboard an assault or pull back in a fighting retreat onto the Devastator’s guns, while the Terminators would ambush any unwary stragglers. With this rough plan in mind, the Redeemers and the PDF crew of the Leviathan finished their final weapons checks and turned to face the enemy..
Ork Deployment & Plan:
Haha, for once the dice gods favour me! Right, my basic strategy with this army was three pronged – Evil Sunz would loop around and charge in, pinning the main enemy unit in close combat, before pulling out and leaving the central column of heavier but slower moving Goffs to finish them off. Meanwhile the Bad Moons and the Slasher wold provide covering fire and if any close combat targets of opportunity presented themselves, the Slasher would take care of them. Following this, Bad Moons deployed onto the hill with orders to advance onto objective 7 and 5, while the Goffs would charge “hey diddle diddle, straight up the middle” with the intent of pulverising any Imperial unit foolish enough to stand in our way, and the Evil Sunz would secure Objectives 2 and 3. From there – we’d see what happened..
The Imperials won the initiative and forced the Orks to move first. This was somewhat intimdating as the Bad Moons and Slasher grabbed three objectives on the Ork right, while the Evil Sunz floored their throttles and hurtled toward the towering peaks of Objective 3, and the Goffs bellowed a mighty WAAAAAAGH, charging through the buildings in the centre towards the hated humiez!
The turn began with a mighty WAAAAGH and the roar of greenskin V8s as the Orks won the initiative and opted to move first. A wave of red and green engulfed the Devastators on the commanding heights of Objective 3 – hunkered down on First Fire orders, the Marines grimly zeroed their sights, waiting until they saw reds of their enemies’ eyes..
The initiative stayed with the Orks for this one, who opted to move first. The Evil Sunz assault had been a costly failure, but with unexpected good fortune on the other flank – wiping out an entire company of valuable Redeemer veterans – would we be able to refocus and redeploy to take advantage?
With the Warlord down, the Imperial left flank was reduced to a few stands of Terminators, but equally the Ork left had crumbled and the Bad Moons had taken heavy casualties to the point where they were perilously close to breaking – even at this stage, it was anyone’s game!
The Orks won the initiative and opted for a bold, aggressive strategy..
The Imperial side won the initiative and opted to go first – with the remaining Orks running wild, only an equally aggressive strategy could pull things back!
What a game! Right until the end it could have gone either way, especially after the Warlord disintegrated (as he seems wont to do every game).. and the ballsy charge of the Goffs and the Slasher almost swung it. Had the Evil Sunz assault gone better it would have been all over for the Marines, but Dan admitted to getting to unfocused, trying to capture Objective 2 as well as carry the assault. A bit more concentration of force would have enveloped the Devastators and most likely annihilated them. And what the hell was I thinking putting my entire Veteran company in the warehouse?? I may as well have left them at home!
The Goffs are a weird bunch, clumping infantry and tanks together means something very hard hitting but at the same time hard to position right, and it was only really Turn 4 when they were in position to do something significant – and by then they’d suffered enough casualties to have broken. Dan’s going to try mounting them in Battlewagons next time… ulp.
Most Valued Player for Dan was undoubtedly the Slasher, 600 pts but chewed it’s way through 1850 pts of Marines and Titan – nearly half my force! For me, I was impressed by the Leviathan, it’s long range cannon let me put the hurt on the Bad Moons from the opposite end of the table, and in the end that helped push us over the line.
So while we mourn our Veteran brethren and Warlord (and Scouts.. and Whirlwinds.. and Dan managed to kill a stand of Terminators to break them too..) the Leviathan leads a battered taskforce of Land Raiders and Devastators to secure the remaining precious stocks of Luna Luceat liquor. The Imperial Festive Season must go on!
And you may have wondered (given our predilection for making our models out of cardboard and junk in order to avoid spending money) just where we got them from – they certainly look a bit slick for chopped up pizza boxes, drinking straws and IDE cables.
In fact these are snap fit plastic 1/72 model kits from a Chinese manufacturer billing themselves as “4D Models” – £8.99 from Ebay for a pack of 8, including the M42, the S-15, the T-48 (a T-55 in the real world), along with a mine clearance vehicle, an M1 and a Leopard 2 as well as a T-72 and a Type 63.
Now, it hadn’t occurred to me to do a product review until I came across this video – essentially, it’s Games Workshop’s Duncan Rhodes (the most serene man on the internet) explaining why, after spending £200 + on a toy tank from Forge world, you should have to arse about with it for several hours before you even glue the damn thing together. Now, this is not a GW hate page, I appreciate the concept of “profit margin” and I don’t begrudge it.. but if you’re going to charge £200+ for a TOY TANK the thing should go together with the absolute minimum of fuss. Joints should be clean and smooth, flash a bare minimum. You certainly should not have to spend yet more money on “Liquid Greenstuff” to fill in the gaps, and then sand them down – I’m sorry but Tamiya, Revell, Airfix.. these guys don’t have those sorts of issues and the prices are far lower. In fact, I’m writing this on a laptop that cost less than their new superheavy, and you know what, I turned it on and it just worked. I didn’t have to resolder any joints or replace any cables before I could switch it on and use it.
Anyway, rant over – Our 4D kits occupy the opposite end of the scale – dirt cheap, 20 piece (ish) kits with rubber band track assemblies.. but you know what? They pushed together – no glue needed. They paint up well – there’s a fairly decent amount of detail molded onto the bodies and wheels (check out the engine grills, the tow cables and shovels – all molded on, present and correct). The tracks fit. The turrets fit. The turrets move, the gun elevation can be adjusted. They’re light and sturdy, the scaling certainly seems correct to my enthusiastic but untrained eye – they’re never going to be winning awards from high-end detail obsessed modellers, but for a wargamer, I think they’re fantastic. They’ve been panned in the only other product review I’ve been able to find but they’ve worked very well for us.
My only criticism? You get eight different kits, eight different vehicles, vaguely linked by era, which is not so great for a wargamer. So 4D, whoever you are and wherever you are, do this one thing – let us specify what eight kits we want in a box. If I could specify a box set of T-54s or M113s, we would be snapping these up and so would a great many others. You will win many friends amongst the cost conscious and bargain seeking wargaming community.
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”
In my case, what I had won was this:
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:
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!