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….

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I Have Seen The Future…. and it is GRIMDARK!

As some of you know, Jim and I are basically Wyloch groupies, and have been ever since we stumbled across his series on how to craft DIY 40K vehicles, skimmers, walkers etc out of hot glue and random crap he has lying around the house. He’s basically nerd MacGyver.

Anyhoo, recently he’s been putting up some battle reports using the system formerly known as 1page40k – Grimdark Future. This is billed as a fast playing, easy to use, quick and dirty version of the 40k we all know and sort-of-love, sort-of-loathe. Rules and army lists are free to download from the One Page Rules website here. And seeing as we are drawn to free stuff like a moth to the flame of a slow burning crack pipe, we were all over this.

Jim took the Skooderia as Orc Marauders, I took the Hazzard 1977th as Human Defence Force. Long story here, but basically I feel the Leman Russ I built out of cardboard owes me some serious f*cking karma after it’s traumatic birth. OPR designer Gaetano Ferrara recommends 750pts per side to start, but because we were using smaller models we expanded up to 1000pts.

Well, it made sense at the time.

Anyway, lists:

Da Orc Marauders!
Warlord [1] 3+

(shoots at 5+)

4+ Twin Carbine (18”, A4)

, CCW (A3)

Bad Shot, Furious, Hero, Tough(3)   65pts
Orcs [10] 4+

(shoots at 5+)

5+ Carbines (18”, A2)

, CCWs (A2)

1 Rocket Launcher

(24”, A1, AP(3), Deadly(3))

1 Heavy Machinegun (36”, A3, AP(1))

Bad Shot, Furious   215pts

RT -280

Commando Orcs [5] 4+

(shoots at 5+)

5+ Pistols (12”, A1), CCWs (A2)

1 Flamethrower (12”, A6)

Bad Shot, Furious, Scout, Stealth, Strider   145pts

RT 425

Power Armor Orcs [3] 3+

(shoots at 5+)

2+ Carbines (18”, A2), Energy Fists (A3, AP(2)) Bad Shot, Furious, Slow, Tough(6)   395pts

RT 820

Truck [1] 4+ 2+ Heavy Machinegun (36”, A3, AP(1)), Crew (A1) Bad Shot, Fast, Impact(3), Tough(6), Transport(11) Battle Ram (Strider)

Red Paint Job (moves +3” on Advance and +6” on Rush/Charge actions)

180pts

RT 1000

The Human Defence Force musters!

Commander [1] 4+ 5+ Assault Rifle (24”, A1), Energy Sword (A2, AP(1)) Commander, Hero, Tough(3)  55pts

Psychic [1] 5+ 5+ Pistol (12”, A1), CCW (A2) Hero, Psychic(2), Tough(3)  50pts RT 105

Infantry Squad [5] 5+ 5+ Assault Rifles (24”, A1), CCWs (A1) –  90pts

includes Weapon Teams [3] 5+ 5+ Missile Launcher – pick one each turn: HE (48”, A1, Blast(3))AT (48”, A1, AP(3), Deadly(3)), CCWs (A1) Tough(3)   RT195

Conscripts [10] 6+ 5+ Assault Rifles (24”, A1), CCWs (A1) – – 60pts RT 255

Weapon Teams [3] 5+ 5+ Heavy Machineguns (36”, A3, AP(1)), CCWs (A1) Tough(3)  115pts RT370

Weapon Teams [3] 5+ 5+ Missile Launcher – pick one each turn: HE (48”, A1, Blast(3)) AT (48”, A1, AP(3), Deadly(3)), CCWs (A1) Tough(3) 120pts RT490

Weapon Teams [3] 5+ 5+ Laser Cannon (48”,A1,AP(4),Deadly(3)), CCWs (A1) Tough(3)  125pts RT 615

Battle Tank [1] 4+ 2+ Nova Cannon (36”, A1, AP(1), Blast(6)), Laser Cannon (48”,A1,AP(4),Deadly(3)), Crew (A1) Fast, Impact(3), Tough(12)  2x Heavy Machineguns (36”,A3,AP(1)) Storm Rifle (24”, A2)  Light Machinegun (36”, A3) 385pts RT 1000

We set up terrain with a ruined village to the east and a disused plasma generator station to the west, set objectives (one of the generators, central hill, ruined church and a ruined shop)…and GAME ON!

Human Defence Force won the roll off and force the Orcs to deploy first:

Jim’s ladz took the southern table edge, concentrating forces in the village – effectively conceding the plasma generator but with the intent of focusing on the central three and hoping to overwhelm the HDF at short range
Big Red packed with Warlord, Power Armoured Orcs and Commando Orcs with the task of seizing and holding the two village objectives. Meanwhile the other mob would head for the central objective in  the hills
HDF infantry cluster in cover opposing the main orc force – commander, infantry and conscripts along with heavy machinegun team
The HDF is ready – Hoo-AH!

And battle was joined!

Action erupts almost immediately as the Warlord, the Commando Orcs and the Power Armoured Orcs leap off their transport and straight away mix it up with the HDF heavy machinegun team – losing a PA Orc and another wounded
HDF range superiority proving effective as long as humie can keep his distance, but if the Orcs can get in close…
Boyz mob climb the hill, taking an objective and lobbing a grenade into the HDF squad
HDF missile team open up on da boyz
The General wades in to the fray
“Where dey all gone?”

 

Transport holds the objective while the Warlord makes his way through the village
Commando Orcs hold the forward ruins objective, giving supporting fire while the Power Armour Orcs advance on the conscript squad and the Command squad 
As we go into Turn 3, it’s 2 objectives to the Orcs, 1 to the HDF
HDF conscripts play cat and mouse with the VERY tough Power Armour Orcs
The General advances toward the Orc flank, a rolling firestorm…
From their perch near the plasma generator, HDF laser cannon team drop the Warlord
And as the final turn comes to a end, the General crashes into the Orc flank, taking the central objective and massacring the Commando Orcs.

End result, 2 objectives to the HDF (plasma generator and central hill) one to the Orc Marauders (ruined church, held by the transport)

Casualties – HDF lost a weapons team and some of the infantry squad, plus wounded Captain… the Orcs were pretty much down to the transport and their Power Armour elites, and even they were pretty beaten up.

So a pretty decisive victory!

Thoughts on the game? A LOT of fun. Grimdark Future is simple, fast playing and intuitive, absolutely brilliant for a quick throw down kickabout. We did wonder about the balance of point values given the pounding the Orcs took, but Jim did point out the he might just’ve sucked at playing the game.

So, a new system, and props to OPR designer Gaetano Ferrara for the effort he’s put into creating a fun and fast game that really benefits from not being supported by a major model company (more thoughts on that another day). We had a blast and next up on the list is OPR’s “Age Of Fantasy- Regiments” – we’ll let you know!

(Side note – free rules and army lists, 1/72 miniatures, scratchbuilt terrian and vehicles… could this be the cheapest wargame ever played?)

Try these yourself: onepagerules.com

Operation TYRANT- Apocalypse: Earth AAR

With the Soviet offensive of summer 1956 successful in capturing a number of Allied plasma generation facilities, UNIVAC, Majestic 12 and Supreme Allied Command Europe were all agreed to focus their immediate strategy on recapturing these vital installations before Emperor Djugashvilli could build on the momentum the Holy Soviet Army had managed to create (at great cost).

It therefore came as something of a surprise when Stalin’s next move did not come across the front lines in Europe, but a massed amphibious assault on northern Scotland coming from an armada of massive transport submarines. In one of the opening moves, Lt Polikarpov would lead the infantry component of the assault task force assigned to knock out the plasma generator station powering Faslane naval base.

The Scottish campaign was notable for the complete and total inebriation of both sides – commissars would ladle out vodka liberally to the assault troops while the Scottish defended their homeland fuelled on a mix of Iron Bru and McEwan’s. Fighting was close and brutal, fuelled by borscht on the one side and deep fried Mars bars on the other. In the end, however, there could be only one victor.

Welcome to another Apocalypse: Earth megagame! We’ve been planning this for a while to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings and figured doing our own weird war retro sci-fi take on things would be our little (if slightly strange) contribution to commemorating the immense bravery shown that day.

So, without further ado, on to the battle report!

Scenario:

The Soviet force would be landing on the beach from the gigantic transport submarines they had created in secret and infiltrated up to the Scottish coast (which meant no need to scratch build landing craft), and would be landing with the intent to capture the (suspiciously familiar looking) plasma generator station that powered Faslane Naval Base – knocking that out would take down the base forcefields, allowing the next stage of the Soviet invasion.

Task Force Polikarpov, therefore brought EVERYTHING to the battle, including some new recruits to bolster the rifle squads to a full 14 men each. We were also trying something new – grouping the Soviet tanks into platoons, each consisting of two regular gun T-48s and either the Inferna or Elektra assault variant. This meant less flexibility (alternating unit activations favours multiple small units, a fact that the Atlantic Alliance is built around) but also the ability to bring down a LOT of firepower in one go. In short, playing like the slow moving iron clad firestorm the Holy Soviet Army should be!

And their opponents – well, wouldn’t you know it, Buffalo 2-7 had been so badly mauled at Skalk Point they’d been sent back to the UK for training and integrating replacements, so guess who happened to be the sector QRF again? This time the lads would also have help in the form of a League of European Nations platoon, including infantry, an anti-tank laser and some experimental vehicles on their maiden game

Deployment

Klaxons blared inside the Allied command centre.

“Contact – no, wait, multiple contacts!” called out the sonarman monitoring the sonobuoy pickets out in the bay. “Bearing 060 through 065, closing up on the beaches fast.. where the HELL did they come from?”

“One of their damned sorcerers” snarled Lt. Grant. He quickly swallowed the last bite of his bacon sandwich and thumbed the ARPANET transceiver on to the platoon network.

“Buffalo 2-7, this is Sunray. All units stand to. I say again, stand to. Prepare for amphibious assault.”

Around him the troops were already scrambling. Men checked weapons, drivers gunned engines. Grant thumbed the channel.

“Kampfgruppe Hulkenberg, this is Buffalo 2-7 Sunray, we have multiple- “

“We have them too, Lieutenant”. The clipped, precise tones of his European League counterpart cut through the static. “All units moving to prepared positions as rehearsed.”

Grant smiled grimly. “See you on the beach, Nico.”

“It’s a date. Von Hulkenberg out.”

The Allied forces rush to defend Mel Bay! Silverbug gunships anchor the flanks while the Kugelpanzers prepare a point blank defence with their (potentially) devastating laser cannons..
Grant and the Atlantic Alliance infantry cluster on the Allied right
Lt. von Hulkenberg’s platoon take the left, bolstered by Atlantic Alliance vehicles
An wall of steel welcomes the Holy Soviet Army!

Turn 1

The game opened with a salvo of 152mm shells from supporting Soviet naval firepower, smashing an Allied jeep and causing damage to the Kugelpanzer squadron, but no sooner had the ground stopped shaking from the explosions than appeared the gigantic, terrifying form of the Soviet Colossus – Stompy Uncle Joe leading his children to war!

The Holy Soviet Army storms ashore – the Colossus leads the way,  incinerating one Kugelpanzer, frying another one with his lightning launcher and lobbing the third one onto an Alliance APC, destroying both! AND THEN finishes off by blowing both missile launchers off a Silverbug with his anti air machineguns – THAT’s how Stompy Uncle Joe rolls..
The Holy Soviet Army barges on to the beach, the brutal firepower of the Rampager’s twin 130mm cannons demolishing a Centurion
Siberian assault troops storm into the fray…
…before being gunned down by Rocketeers!
Soviet infantry push onto the beach, taking fearful losses
Chaos on the Allied left flank!
And just about everywhere else!
Lt. Polikarpov leads his platoon forward
Heavy weapons squad unleash hell on the defenders
Attack Drones bring down a Silverbug
Into the breach, Comrades!
The state of play at the end of turn 1 – the Soviets are ashore but heavy losses on both sides

Turn 2

Once more, the Holy Soviet Army advances into the maelstrom – after the near total demolition of the Soviet infantry in turn 1, we house ruled that any units destroyed in turn 1 could respawn as a second wave in turn 2. Very sportingly, Dan declined to apply this to his left flank tank platoon and limited just to infantry. In fairness, we hadn’t really balanced the armies too closely, it was largely gun and guesswork!
Despite being immobilised, Stompy Uncle Joe manages to grab an Allied APC that ventures too near..
Which he promptly lobs at the sole surviving Centurion, falling short but causing a very spectacular explosion…
Second wave of Soviet infantry charge forward…
A second squad of Siberian assault troops overwhelm the German infantry on the Allied left
The remaining German rifle squad gun down the exposed mutant assault troops

As the second turn ended, the Soviets were ashore with heavy losses – but at the cost of gutting the Allied formations!

Turn 3

Soviet Holy Mystic summons primordial waves of psychic energy to telekinetically lift the last functioning Allied M60A3 and drop it on the second Silverbug, destroying them both in spectacular fashion!
Soviet naval guns blast through the few remaining Atlantic Alliance infantrymen
Surviving Tesla troopers demolish another APC
Stompy Uncle Joe falls to Stinger/ TOW fire

By this time both sides were on the ropes and tottering, but the Soviets had managed to push the Allied forces off the beach, with catastrophic casualties on each side!

Turn 4

Stompy Uncle Joe may have fallen, but he’s still in the fight! Soviet Holy Mystic summons the psychic strength to lift eighty tons of steel and drop it on the sole surviving Allied vehicle..
The subsequent explosion wounds Lt. Grant and kills yet another Alliance rifleman
Allied sniper team knocks out a Tesla trooper’s generator – in response, the surviving trooper fries the sniper team! 
Mac and Lt. Grant make a last gasp attack on the Soviet HQ..
But they fail to inflict any damage, and Lt. Polikarpov and his HQ gun them down without mercy!
And with that, the last gasp of Allied resistance falls… the way is open to the plasma generator station!

The pain flared across his temple. Lt. Grant struggled to consciousness to find himself looking into the darkness of a Kalashnikov assault rifle barrel. As he struggled to clear his vision, a second figure in a peaked cap wielding a pistol swam into view.

“Lt. Grant, I presume”, said a Russian voice, “I have been waiting a long time for this..”


So, a Soviet victory! At great cost – HQ, a couple of riflemen, the Mystic and his bodyguard, a Tesla trooper and sniper were literally all that were left. On the Allied side, however, we were down to a German medic armed with a pistol. So, now what for our story? Lt. Grant trying to effect a breakout from a Soviet POW camp? Some more fluff and battle reports on the Scottish Front? Let us know!

On a more serious note, no one reading this will have been unaware of the 75th anniversary of D-Day a few days ago, and certainly that was in our thoughts as we finished this quite epic game.

Dan – “That was a laugh and everything, but f**k me, can you imagine having to do it for real?”

No. No I can’t. We both agreed that neither of us could have done it. But mercifully, we haven’t had to.

So thank you Grandpa. Thank you Grandad. Thank you to all of you who summoned up the courage to do the impossible – not just on D-Day, but the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after that, for eleven more months.

Stay thrifty out there and we’ll see you again soon.

How To Play With Your Balls – rules for the League Of European Nations Kugelpanzers!

Oh, the jokes just write themselves 😉

Anyway, in the spirit of thrifty wargaming, here are some “beta test” rules for the Kugelpanzers in the last post – this is what we’ll be using in the next couple of games, let us know how you get on and please do post feedback in the comments section.

Ocelot“ Kugelpanzer – official designation Porsche Model 9.44 Laser-Aufklärungspanzer 

Armour – 16 (all over, due to spherical nature of the tank)

Speed 22cm

Armament – 3 x laser cannons (with targeters)

Range – 100cm

R.O.F – 3

Penetration – 2D6 + 3

Instead of firing individually, the vehicle may combine all three laser cannons to produce one focused shot:

Combine the targeter bonus (so +3 to hit)

Range – 100cm

R.O.F – 1

Penetration – 4D6 + 6

The vehicle may combine fire with up to two other Ocelots within 12 cm of it, each additional vehicle doubling the penetration and adding an additional +1 to hit (maximum +4) .

Damage Roll 2D6

Front 27

Side 23

Rear 18

Top/ Bottom 14

2,5 The engine is hit and explodes, crew are killed and all within 3cm are hit as if by a frag grenade The engine is hit and explodes, crew are killed and all within 3cm are hit as if by a frag grenade The fuel tank is hit and explodes. The vehicle is destroyed and catches fire. Crew and all within 3cm are hit as if by a flamethrower The ammo compartment explodes and the vehicle is vaporised. All within 6cm are hit as if by a frag grenade
6,8 The fuel line is severed. The vehicle is immobilised and must roll a D6 each time it fires a weapon. If it fails to roll 3+, the vehicle explodes. All within 6cm are hit as is by a frag grenade and the vehicle catches fire A laser cannon is destroyed A laser cannon is destroyed The crew compartment is hit. All crew except the driver are killed. The vehicle may move but not fire.
9,11 The driver is killed. The vehicle slews 2D6 cm in a random direction. If it hits an obstacle, it crashes (penetration 2+2D6). If the vehicle survives, it is immobilised. A track is blown off. If moving, the vehicle lurches 2D6 cm in a random direction. If it hits an obstacle, it crashes (penetration 2+2D6). If the vehicle survives, it is immobilised. If the vehicle is stationary, it is immobilised. A track is blown off. If moving, the vehicle lurches 2D6 cm in a random direction. If it hits an obstacle, it crashes (penetration 2+2D6). If the vehicle survives, it is immobilised. If the vehicle is stationary, it is immobilised. A laser cannon is destroyed
12 A targeter is destroyed on the laser cannon facing the firer A targeter is destroyed on the laser cannon facing the firer A targeter is destroyed on the laser cannon facing the firer Fire control computer is damaged – the vehicle may no longer combine fire from its laser cannons

Stay thrifty out there and happy wargaming!

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. 6 – Second Marine Combat Squad

…Or “An Odyssey in Edge Highlighting And Going Partially Blind”…

As Jim has raced through his Greenskin horde with impressive and ever improving results, I seem to have gone backwards! *gnashes teeth*

With these two combat squads I decided to deviate slightly from the template laid down by Duncan on Warhammer TV (at the risk of being burned as a heretic) and try something a little different – after priming with cheap black £1 spray paint, I gave these lads a base coat of Vallejo German Grey and darkened them down with a couple of thinned black ink washes. When these dried, I hit them with a drybrush of German Grey giving me a nicely modulated basecoat…

…Which I then proceeded to ruin..

Now, I’ve seen edge highlighting done well in the old ‘Eavy Metal pages of White Dwarf, I’ve seen it done well on Warhammer TV and on the display stuff at Warhammer World, but I’ve seen a LOT more examples of it done badly and hamfistedly (many of them my own work, it must be said, and I will name no names otherwise), and it seems to me that the problem lies in thinning the paint for the highlight enough and being patient enough for the colours to modulate subtly.

Now, to give them their due, GW seems to have thought this through with their colour selection, as Duncan and Peachy’s videos show the various shades blending together beautifully, but they also tend to use a minimum of two dozen colours every time they paint something. And GW paints ain’t cheap.

So, using what I had to hand, I tried to blend some highlight colours – I took the base Vallejo German Grey, dialled in a little of the light blue grey Crown house paint (water based, so probably still acrylic in nature) to gradually lighten it, took up the old Windsor & Newton series 7, drew breath and started.

The next layer was for the super high exposed edges, and for this I blended in a little bone craft paint to lift it still higher. I also hit the recessed parts with pin washes of black ink to give depth, and went to bed pretty satisfied with my work.

Looking back on it the next day though, I found myself considerably less satisfied – the highlights look blocky and heavy handed, the washes a bit unsubtle, and disturbingly I found that if I bring a model too close (ie less than about 6 inches from my nose) my vision starts to get a bit blurry, so I’m starting to ponder glasses or one of those magnifying glass/ holder things I’ve seen. Any thoughts, internet?

Anyway – pics, see for yourselves and see if you agree with my assessment.

Combat squad headed by Veteran Marine as I only had three sergeant models.. note the sponge chipping – think I went a bit heavy handed there, oh well..
This was the squad I felt I went a bit too heavy with the pin washes… still, they look ok from two feet away!
Ready for action!
Group shot of the entire force
Time to kick some greenskin ass!

Next up, Jim’s got the rest of his ladz based, varnished and ready to rock, so it’ll be time to throw down for the third and final game of the campaign! Stay thrifty out there, we’ll see you soon.

A Very Bloody Valentine- Apocalypse: Earth AAR

The sun glittered on the waves, reflecting across the expanse of the North Sea. At this altitude you could smell the salt, and thanks to the backwash from the helicopter blades and manoeuvring thrusters on the Silverbugs, you could taste the spray too.

Lt. Grant looked back at his new command, a platoon of infantry jammed inside the brand new Westland Wessex transport. Spread out either side of him, as far as the eye could see, were transport helicopters and Silverbug antigrav gunships, skimming across the waves. He felt a mixture of immense pride and trepidation – Ivan wouldn’t be expecting this, but the 1st Air Cav, although an elite division on paper, was as yet untested in battle. Grant himself was fresh from West Point, a young officer with much to prove. He flicked through his briefing notes one last time – get in, destroy all the supplies you could reach and get to the extraction point before Ivan could react and summon reinforcements. The damage they did here would be crucial in stemming the tide of Holy Soviet Empire forces currently engulfing Central Europe, and rampaging across Eastern Germany.

It would work. It had to work.

The pilot tapped his helmet, held up a hand, four fingers and thumb extended. Grant nodded, and turned to his men.

“Five minutes to drop!” he yelled. “Lock and load!”

With a metallic crash, his men did so. Grant smiled – they looked ready..

With all the 40k stuff that’s been going on of late, you’d be forgiven for thinking that we’d forgotten our first love – our own universe and game system, cobbled together over the years and finally codified back in 2014. For those who aren’t familiar, Germany wins (sort of) WW1, and the result is a proto-EU (The League Of European Nations), an Atlantic Alliance bloc comprising the UK & Commonwealth along withe the USA, and a demented theocratic hellhole Holy Soviet Empire, ruled over by everyone’s favourite baddie, Emperor Josef Djugashvilli I! (aka Stalin to his mates).

January 1954 sees the Holy Soviet Army invade the West, and in the first catastrophic days the Europeans struggle to contain the Red Hordes as they mobilise their reserves. So it’s Blighty and the Yanks to the rescue, as on Valentine’s Day 1954 the joint US-UK 1st Air Cavalry division (including a few experimental vehicles) pull off a devastating raid from an unexpected quarter on a massive Soviet forward logistics base, causing severe damage to the ammunition and fuel supply chain.

We’ve been kicking around a few scenarios to try out, and this has stuck with us as a fun one to try, focusing on a single platoon trying to get in, cause havoc, and get out again before the Holy Soviet Army wakes up and flattens them! So, as Valentines Day dawns and you think you’re in trouble with the missus – well, it could be worse!

We laid out the 6 x 4 board with the objective in the middle, and let the Soviets deploy within 60cm of the objective marker with no idea yet where the attack might be coming from. Next up, they were subjected to three barrages of 155mm artillery fire, simulating the bombing runs from the lead Silverbug attack vehicles. At that point, the Atlantic Alliance forces would deploy on the table anywhere at least 50 cm from the objective, and the Soviet player would nominate which edge should be the extraction point.

The Atlantic Alliance job is to hit all the buildings around the objective marker with C4 demolition charges (setting the charge counts as a Combat Action) and extract as many forces as possible off the nominated table edge. The Soviets would be trying to stop and/or kill & capture as many of the elite cavalrymen as possible.

The Soviets had the Platoon HQ, three rifle squads (nos. 1, 2 & 3), a support squad (no. 4)reinforced with an additional Lightning Launcher, a Noble Sniper (who we both forgot about throughout the game), a squad of Siberian “Strong Men” assault troops, a section of Tesla armoured troops, the Holy Mystic and his bodyguard, an APC, the SU-152 assault gun, 4 T-48s, the Inferna and Elektra specialist tanks and the two Shock Drones – basically everything but the big superheavies!

Meanwhile Buffalo 2-7, were in lean, mean “airmobile” mode, which meant leaving the tracked vehicles behind, giving us Lt Grant and his Platoon Command Element, two rifle squads (Alfa & Bravo), a heavy weapons squad (Charlie), machinegun squad (Delta), Rocketeers (Warhawk 4-9), Dreadnaught squad, three Humvees armed with minigun, Stinger/TOW and railgun, and sniper team (Ghost 7). Also present were our ace in the hole – two Avrocar Silverbug gunships toting Stinger/TOW launchers and Avenger autocannons, along with the M85 combat support robots.

Grab yourself a beer – this is going to be a good one….

The field of battle – objective marker is dead centre, with two plasma generators, a communications centre and two supply warehouses clustered around it

The Soviets deploy for all round defence
Winter storage hasn’t been kind to everyone :-/ still, comparable quality to Forge World resin, or so I’m told….
Lt. Polikarpov and No. 4 support squad take up residence in the centre, with heavy weapons deployed to cover every avenue of approach.
The sh*t hits the fan! Allied airstrikes crash amongst the Soviets, destroying the Shock Drones, the assault gun, Elektra and wiping out a good portion of No. 1 squad!
Led by the Silverbugs, the main Allied thrust comes in from the Western table edge (now that air strikes have cleared a path)
Rocketeers enter from the south to take out the Mystic with extreme prejudice…
The defenders take cover and try to react!
Alliance Humvees streak in from the south west in a diversionary attack.
Alliance Silverbug brews up a T-48, but the treacherous Holy Mystic successfully mind controls the second ‘bug, firing on its comrade and stripping off both Stinger/ TOW launchers!
To add insult to injury, close range rifle fire from the Mystic’s bodyguard squad massacres Warhawk 4-9!
Burning vehicles and casualties litter the board
Gutter fighting as the defending Soviets take their toll on the assault forces!
Lt. Polikarpov rallies the troops for a counterattack – Za Rodina!
Large parts of the battlefield on fire, copious casualties on both sides – and it’s still only Turn 1! At the end of this turn, Dan nominated the northern table edge as the extraction point for the Alliance frces.
Dreadnought power armoured troopers clear the hill, capturing the Soviet artillery observation team, but in the end phase of the turn Soviet artillery hits hard, killing two of them
The survivors expose themselves to gun down the Siberians massing at the bottom of the hill
Surviving Soviet rifleman launches a one man attack to prevent a Delta squad trooper planting a demo charge on the western plasma generator..
Fortune favours the brave! This time, anyway…
Second Delta fireteam guns him down and dive into contact with the generator
Before one falls to Soviet fire – this is going to be HARD FOUGHT!
The still-mostly-intact No. 2 squad emerge to gun down the surviving Dreadnought troopers
The Soviets bring down a Silverbug with a Lightning Launcher
Lt. Grant leads the Allied infantry towards the buildings
The view as turn two draws to a close…
BEDLAM!!
Turn three starts with the Soviets gaining the initiative – the remains of No. 2 squad gunning down Platoon Sergeant Elias and wounding Lt. Grant!
Retribution is swift and deadly!
Turretless T-48 crushes a Delta squad member just before the first plasma reactor erupts in flames..
…like that!
Not my best camera work – with a Silverbug in amongst the Soviet infantry and wreaking havoc at close range, an immobilised Inferna rotates her turret and drenches the gunship in napalm, bringing it down in flames in the centre of the Soviet position
Lt. Polikarpov and Commissar Kuryakin lead the remains of HQ and no. 4 squad in a counterattack against Allied Platoon Command Element
The last member of Charlie squad falls
His squad may have been gunned down or crushed beneath the tracks of Soviet T-48s, but Delta’s sergeant carries on with the mission, attaching a C-4 charge to the Soviet communications centre…
…Before the remnants of No. 1 squad gun him and another rifleman down!
Who’s winning? F*CK KNOWS!!!

 

As the communications centre and supply warehouse erupt, Soviet HQ gun down Platoon Sgt Elias and RTO Smashy!
With three buildings blown, a wounded Lt. Grant realises his command is practically annihilated, with only a few infantry left – time to run!
Enraged, the Soviets open fire at the fleeing Alliance, downing the remaining rifleman!
Doc Macauliffe and a wounded Lt. Grant just make it to the extraction zone!
A scene of utter devastation!

Stumbling through the undergrowth, nursing a gunshot wound to the shoulder, Grant and Macauliffe ran for their lives. His lungs afire, Grant stumbled and fell, pain shooting through his shoulder like a lightning bolt. It was nothing to the pain he felt on the realisation that apart from the big medic, his entire command- men he’d trained with, whose lives were his responsibility – was annihilated. Destroyed. His men dead or prisoners. He dropped his M15 in the dirt, sagging to his knees.

“Go on without me, doc, I’ll only slow you down” he panted, throat raw.

The big medic looked at him. “I don’t leave my men, sir. I ain’t leaving you. We did what we came here to do – those boys knew the risk. “

The next thing Grant knew, he was across the medics shoulders, being carried a trot to the extraction point. The sound of rotor blades had never been so welcome.


 

Whichever way he looked he saw flames. Lt. Polikarpov tried not to cringe as caskets of ammunition cooked off in the blaze around him. He straightened as the pair of riflemen – all he could spare from the shattered garrison – threw him a salute.

“We are sorry, comrade Lieutenant, but the fascists made it out. We have a few personal effects they abandoned, however” – the riflemen handed over Grant’s pack for inspection. 

Polikarpov’s lips moved as he read the stencil. Grant, 2nd Lt, B-2-7 1st Air Cavalry.

“I’ll get you, you bastard” he swore silently. “I will see you again, Amerikanisch, and I will end you”


 

Conclusion:

Probably the most brutally violent four turns either if us have ever played! We agreed it was a draw – 3 out of 5 buildings blown, but Grant and Mac the only Allied survivors. Probably a bunch of things we could and should have done differently, but we got so swept up in the cinematic feel of the game, we were both running on adrenaline! Action packed and immense fun – props to Dan for also suggesting that it functioned rather well as an “origins story”, setting up the saga of Grant v Polikarpov for many years to come!

Thanks to all who stuck with us through a pretty sizeable post -hope you enjoyed t as much as we did, and if you want to get in on the fun, check us out on Wargames Vault.

Till next time, 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 😉

CheapHammer 40k: The 2nd Ed Revival Project Pt. 4 – Da Boyz Are Back!

Bloody hell, it’s still January. All the fun of winter without Christmas to look forward to.. still, could be worse. I could be PM.

Anyway, having spent the run up to Christmas listening to Dan whinge about having to edge highlight a whole 20 Space Marines, I feel inclined to redress the balance a bit – 30 Grots, you idle bastard! For one game!!

And for our next one, I have to get 15 Boyz ready!

#FirstWorldProblems – I know… 😉

Our accidental eBay haul was somewhat lacking in Boyz – there were two, with three arms between them – so I’ve had to dig about on eBay to stock up and managed to pick up a couple of good deals.. unfortunately one is still en route from Poland, ten days late so far… Hmmm. Watch this space.

Anyway, using what I’d learned from the Grots, I set to business:

Home made texture paste on the bases, then primed white. Forgot to prewash this mob, but it didn’t seem to matter too much. Mixed a fair approximation of the old GW Bilious Green – go bright and wash down, that works for me!
Decided to rough out a prototype colour scheme with this guy – basically Evil Sunz-esque, red with camo trousers. I did the first mob with a scheme based on Crye Multicam, the second mob with a scheme based on the old 90’s British Army DPM camo. Next mob will be using US Army “mint choc chip” 90s desert camo.

For the skin tones, I washed the DIY Bilious Green mix with Army Painter Green Tone, then drybrushed the original colour and then pure yellow over the top. Red and brown and camo areas washed with thinned Vallejo Smokey Ink.

Metallic areas undercoated black and then painted with Vallejo Mithril Silver before washing heavily with mixed black and brown Vallejo inks. Leftover silver was used for sponge chipping. Thinned down tan and then bone craft paint for highlighting the teeth.

Final touches included an all over bone drybrush – very light – with bone, followed by basing. Painted brown, drybrushed with two layers of highlights, and then flock added before varnishing – and here are the results!

These ladz will be rolling out against the marines for Game 2 of our Armageddon mini- campaign – see you soon for that one!