The Battle Of Outpost 44 – A Star Wars Story!

As the Grim Darkness of the.. present day.. grinds on, we fancied taking our wargaming as far away from reality as possible- the other week it was Hyperian Wars (which gave us a load of ideas for game development), this time it was our 6mm “Epic” scale take on our rules engine in it’s sci-fi skin “Future Force Warrior”…

I laid out a somewhat similar battleground to last week’s fight, substituting the ruined temple with plasma reactors and the Valiant 44th command centre – codename Objective Hamilton – which would be the objective for both sides… so theoretically at least, it would be best commander wins!

Rebels win the deployment roll off, getting to pick the side and forcing the Imperials to start deployment first. Support platoon with E-Web blasters set up shop in the woods on top of the hill towards the bottom of the pic.
Rebels set up using cover to screen their infantry from Imperial fire (they hope) – mechs lurk in the rocky gulch, speeder bike team in the woods to the bottom of the pic
Overview of the battlefield – Rebels stage left, Imperials stage right, Outpost 44 dead centre
Vader leads the Imperial attack from the front – “Leave them to me!”
Rebel speeders burst from cover, performing a hit and run attack destroying one AT-PT and damaging another, using a command point to move them back into cover before Imperial fire can respond
First blood to the Rebellion!
…aaand back into cover before return fire hits!
Rebel infantry storm forward to consolidate the objective
Yeah, we’ve got line of sight…. (say the Imperial support platoon)
Where’d Yellow platoon go?!? The Empire Strikes Back!
The first turn ends with the Rebels in control of Outpost 44 but they’ve taken significant casualties and Lord Vader is marching forwards…
Red platoon double time forward to capture the outpost, successfully using a command point to gun down a Stormtrooper platoon caught out in the open
Marching forward into cover, Imperial AT-PTs catch a Rebel speeder in the open and damage it
Imperial and Rebel speeder bike teams duel at point blank range in the forest
Inconclusive, but definitely bloody!

Imperial support platoon draws a bead on the exposed Rebel mechs… 6’s to hit?

That’ll do..
Die, Rebel Scum!!
Vader leads the remaining Stormtroopers in a last ditch attack towards the outpost
The moment we’ve all been waiting for! Vader engages Luke in close combat – “I AM YOUR FATHER!”
“NOW YOUR FAILURE IS COMPLETE!” Vader fells Luke and the Rebel platoon look at each other nervously..
…before annihilating him with the combined fire of a full platoon’s blasters! Actually in retrospect we should probably have done all this as close combat, maybe some form of Force shenanigans.. as it was, he took 18 hits, fluffed every Force save and every Hero save…. “NOOOOOOO!”
Rebel speeder team carries the duel in the woods
With the remaining Stormtroopers annihilated by the second Rebel platoon, the support platoon weigh up their options as the sole remaining Imperial unit and decide to retreat to fight another day… it was close, but the Rebel Alliance wins this round!

All in all, a fun little game – we need to finesse the “fighting in buildings” aspect, we were a little inconsistent with how we abstracted that, but on the whole, a solid rules engine and I think we’ve struck a good balance between alternate activation and IGO/UGO mechanics, as well as the range abstraction that dogs wargames… Till next time, May The Force Be With You (particularly if you’re Ukrainian)!

May The 4th Be (Belatedly) With You Once More

So, not going to labour this as there’s another juicy battle report to get to! But in the build up towards it I did manage a couple of fun little scratchbuilds to pad out the Epic Star Wars armies which I thought I’d share. So, to business!

First up, some support infantry – these represent heavy E-Web blaster teams, able to lay down heavy fire from covered positions. I knocked up a platoon of 6 each for the Rebel & Imperial sides.

Yep, it’s our old stalwarts of granny grating & wine box card! The two crewmen were the standard infantry shape, the guns used an H-shape for bipod and a long beam for the barrel. I had the stormtroopers stood at parade ground attention, while the Rebels got to stand at ease at different angles. Hot glue to attach the grating to the card, superglue to attach the barrels to the bipod. Make sure you let the hot glue dry and cool, you don’t want to mix superglue and hot glue together! Just ask Mel The Terrain Tutor

Unfortunately I forgot to take any photos pf these guys painted, but the schemes I used were exactly the same as the first round of infantry, so let’s move on to…

Imperial AT-PT Walkers!

I put some speeder mechs together for the Rebel forces a couple of weeks ago, so it was only right that the Empire got some mechanised support too – and because I have a weakness for Return Of The Jedi and the Care Bears taking down stormtroopers with twigs, I was really psyched to build these!

Foamboard! 5mm deep, cut these shapes out. Two of them glued side on make the cab.
This is thin “modelling card” bought from The Works discount stationary chain here in the UK – cut these shapes out to wrap around the exposed foamboard. If you haven’t got access to this stuff you can always use printer paper.
Of COURSE – granny grating! Cut this shape out to form the underside assembly carrying the laser cannons
“She’s got LEGS… and here’s how you make them..” cut these shapes out of chipboard (that thick cardstock stuff at the back of A4 pads)
Here are the templates drawn out – the circles are where they’ll attach to the “hips”, the toes at the bottom will be cut out and folded in opposing ways to make sure this thing holds together and stays upright!
NOW we’re cooking! I added some PVA blobs for rivets and extra detail where the legs met the body
Based on wine box card bases (these are integral to keeping the model together, really)
Added a couple of card squares to represent armour reinforcements and crew access hatches, primed white and painted basically the same way I did the rebels – Granite Dust house paint, green wash, brown wash, black wash, drybrush. Mithril Silver washed with black ink for the metallics.
The “eyes” were just painted on, doesn’t work too well close up but works well from two feet away!
Seen here backing up the stormtrooper infantry and Lord Vader himself!
“We will destroy the Rebel scum!”

And in my NEXT report… we’ll find out if they manage to!

Meanwhile, stay safe, stay thrifty, and Slavia Ukrainia!

May the 4th Yet Be With You – DIY Rebel Strike Mechs

So after a slightly impassioned – some may even say hysterical- piece a few weeks back, it’s time for a new project. Or, more accurately, time to reopen an old project and add stuff to it.

Inspired by Dan’s endeavours with granny grating, I built a small force of Star Wars rebels and stormtroopers, as well as a teeny tiny Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader… cue much chipmunk voice “I am your father!” “That’s not true! That’s impossible!”

This was for a couple of reasons- I like Star Wars, I like Epic, and we’ve been playing with a ruleset for 6mm battles and I wanted to test out what we had.

Now, we did have The Battle Of Aberdeen planned, but honestly, savage urban battles between a cartoon villain Russian horde and the plucky defenders just felt queasy given the current situation, so we shelved the plans for now and took our interests as far away from current reality as possible…

..which for me meant building these forces up for a May 4th battle! First order of business- vehicles.

I based my design on the units shown in the excellent and venerable RTS game Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds, so while the Galactic Empire has the iconic walkers from Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi, with the Rebels I was left guessing a little bit, so I took this as my model:

As you can see, it’s a sort of repurposed hover car/ speeder things with jets and front mounted lasers. So with the standard fare of materials (and of course, Hope), let us get started:
Foamboard for the body, dimensions as you can see marked on them
Cardboard layer around the exposed foam on the sides, detailed with cereal box cardboard overlay frame
Now we’re getting somewhere! Cockpit made from squidgy blob of greenstuff and I had a go at etching cockpit details on with a cocktail stick. Drinking straws, cut to lengths of 1cm and glued on with a mix of superglue for immediate hold and PVA for a lasting reinforcing hold.
Granny grating lasers mounted on the nose, and we’re ready for priming!
Primed grey as that’s what I had to hand, then given a coat of Wilkinsons’ Granite Dust house paint, then washed with grey, black and brown inks thinned down. Quick drybrush of Granite dust again, silver washed with black for the metallic bits, Vallejo Hot Orange for the squadron markings. I based them on 20mm cardboard squares, painted brown and dusted with the magical mix of Garage Floor Dust (TM), earth and flock. I created the illusion of hovering by basing them on a couple of granny grating “spikes” glued into the middle of the body.
And shown with the rest of the Rebel Scum..
Teeny Luke Skywalker leads the troops forward!

Right, next up will be the Empire with a few AT walkers, so until then, stay safe and thrifty out there!

I Am The God Of Hellfire, And I Bring You…

Hellfire!

See?

This is a ruleset I picked up in the dim and distant period of history known as my childhood and recently rediscovered during an attic clearance, along with it’s sister ruleset “Hell By Starlight” – both written by Jim Webster, both published by Wessex Games in the mid-90s, and both entirely “miniature agnostic” as the current term goes. I have a vague memory of mail ordering this aged 14 or so from Miniature Wargaming magazine – yeah, I got all the birds, me.

Reading through it, there were a few nice concepts so I invited Jim over, laid out the terrain cloth and Jim brought his DIY granny grating Star Wars armies to try things out and see what we could do with it. The scenario was simple, with Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker leading company sized forces of infantry with a couple of attached speeder scouts battling over control of the hill in the centre of the table.

Imperial stormtroopers form up on the left, Rebel Alliance to the right
Imperials deploy north west table corner, Vader to the fore
Rebels deploy southeast, trusting to the contours of the ground to conceal them – after all, only Imperial stormtroopers are this accurate.

The game plays basically IGO UGO, with adjustments via command points from the leaders. Each one generates D8 command points which can force each unit under their command to perform extra actions – all the D8s were at Jim’s so we used 2D6 to represent both Luke & Vader being Strong With The Force. These could do things like force extra movement actions, firing etc.

The first few rounds were mainly both sides advancing to contact using the terrain for cover, both Luke and Vader generating command points like crazy to frog march their troops along – meanwhile the scout speeders on each side zipped around the table trying to snipe at each other or any targets of opportunity.

Vader storms up the hill at the head of his stormtroopers.
While Vader powers up the hill, Luke sends his detachments left and right to try and envelope the enemy in a crossfire
Imperial fire kills Rebel HQ – fortunately Luke survives to take direct command of the Rebel Scum (TM)
The moment we’ve all been waiting for! Having secured the hilltop, Vader storms down the hill into the teeth of Rebel fire, shrugging off blaster hits that shred his Stormtrooper bodyguard – Luke Skywalker fearlessly dives into melee combat with his father… cue much Chipmunk voiced “I am your father…” “That’s not true… that’s impossible!”
With their HQ destroyed and Luke locked in combat with Vader, the Rebel assault stalls under fire – although they do manage to take down the last Imperial speeder
“Luke.. I know what you’re getting for Christmas..”
Imperial stormtroopers drive off another assault while Luke & Vader duel – “Luke, I know what you’re getting for Christmas…” “Why do you keep saying that?”
Stormtroopers gun down the last Rebels trying to mass for a final assault, and Luke falls! Vader powers down his light sabre, his work complete – “I felt your presents”

So there we go, a fun little game with a suitable cinematic ending. Hellfire has some fun concepts – the idea of your troops deteriorating as the battle continues, becoming more susceptible to poor morale is a neat one, although I think the way it’s executed in practice is a bit fiddly. The idea of HQ generating command points – well, you don’t need me to approve that, as GW have worked it into the current and last versions of 40k!

My only criticism is that it feels incomplete – obviously, the production values don’t really stand up viewed from 2021 perspective but given this is a 30 years old from the pre-internet era, you wouldn’t expect it to- but a few more specific examples of how certain mechanics work would be nice, a lot of the rules are very open to interpretation and you’re never sure if you’re doing things the way they’re supposed to be done.. that said, it was fun and that’s the end of it, really. However – we’re going to try refighting this using our own ruleset which we’re developing for large scale battles in the Apocalypse: Earth, Future Force Warrior and Hyperian Wars universes, and Hellfire has definitely given us some ideas to try there. So if you find a copy of this floating around Ebay, or just a car boot sale. it’s definitely worth picking up.

Respect to the author Jim Webster, in the unlikely event of him reading this, and we’ll be trying out his other set “Hell By Starlight” in a future post.
As always, stay safe and thrifty out there… the Omicron Variant is waiting like a microscopic Grinch to steal Christmas….

EDIT – thanks to Pete S/P for pointing me towards Jim’s own site here: https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/

And that’s me off for some wine & cheese at a business meeting….

May The 4th (Still) Be With You…. You Rebel Scum!

Yep, more granny grating.. but just LOOK at them! Aren’t they CUTE!

So as an OPFOR for the stormtroopers and Lord Vader, I created a company of rebel infantry using the same techniques as in the previous post. I mirrored the organisation of the Imperials – 3 platoons of six stands each, a command group of two stands, a pair of scouts on jetbikes, and a hero commander – in this case, Luke Skywalker himself!

And yes, a great deal of “I am your father…” “That’s not true! That’s impossible” squeaked in Chipmunks style falsetto has been going on here recently.. I’m blaming lockdown.

As before, a simple painting process – sprayed with cheap grey primer and given a base coat of Wilko’s Granite Dust house paint. Then a wash – I alternated between Vallejo Smokey Ink, Black Ink, and Army Painter Green Tone because I wanted a clear difference between the uniform pristine white of the Bad Guy Empire and the grungy guerillas of the Good Guy Rebel Alliance. I did the same for skin tones too – after all, diversity = good, and Rebel Alliance also = good, so Rebel Alliance must = diversity, right? So you’ll see a mix of skin tones – pinkish washed with Vallejo Skin Wash, dark brown washed with Smokey Ink, Goblin Green washed with Green Tone and Wilko’s Duck Egg Blue house paint washed with.. well, I squeezed a drop of blue ink from a nearly dead biro and mixed it with water and matt medium!

Basing was more or less the same as the stomtroopers, but this time I added some really fine dusty earth from the garden along with the sand and flock. I’d notice a patch of this in the garden and thought it might prove useful as a basing material.. it’s not world changing, but I like the effect.

Right, then – pics:

The lads on parade – as with the Stormtroopers, 3 platoons of infantry, an HQ, two speeder bikes and in command (featuring the BLUE lightsaber) – Luke Skywalker!
Scout bikes
Rebel infantry
All together: “I am your father!” “That’s not true! That’s impossible!

So next is figuring out what to play with them – as I mentioned, Hell By Starlight, which I fund a VERY dusty copy of in the attic will be getting a go, and we’ll bodge some stats for them in Epic – not forgetting our “epic scale” take on Future Force Warrior which hopefully we can get back to developing further now lockdown seems to be easing… Let’s keep the masks on and the fingers crossed people, we’re nearly there!

Stay safe and thrifty out there, we’ll see you soon

May the 4th Be (Belatedly) With You

Hmm…. I think I may have been in lockdown too long…

Anyway, followers of this blog can’t fail to have noticed Dan’s experiments with granny grating, and I think I’m probably the biggest fan of all – I’d already picked up a sheet of the stuff to see what I could use it for, and it wound up helping to detail our DIY Space Fleet ships and my WW2 Sci Fi trooper (must make him some friends…) and it was only a matter of time before I succumbed to the temptation to copy Dan’s idea (well, not Dan’s, this guys’ – but you get the drift).

We’ve floated the idea of an “Epic Scale” take on the Apocalypse: Earth system for a while, and I figured let’s just make some figures to test it…. what theme shall I base them around…

Yeah, that should work.

I should add, there is no real logic to this, it’s not like we’re planning to buy the franchise off Fantasy Flight Games – I just like Star Wars (yes, even the new ones… and even Phantom Menace!), and I like Epic. So these little fellas will serve as test beds for Apocalypse: Earth Armageddon rules and look ADORABLE while doing so! Further inspiration was gained by finding one of my old favourite RTS PC games on Steam for the princely some of £2.99 back in February:

I decided to set up two identical forces – Imperial and Rebel, each with a company of infantry (3 platoons of 6 stands each, with two command stands), a hero and two scout bikes. I also stumbled across this old relic from the 90s:

I got this waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back when as a kid and never really understood the rules, but a cursory flick through it shows some interesting concepts involving reactions and fatigue that should be fun to play through.

So, what did I make? Come and see!

Stormtroopers! Spray primed grey, painted with Dulux Jasmine White house paint, black marks for the blasters and the armour gaps, and each platoon has a shoulder flash with it’s colour on for identification purposes. Bases were 20mm squares of single corrugated cardboard from a box of Morrison’s Shiraz, painted brown and then painted with PVA, drizzled on sand, dry dusty soil from the garden and flock.
Stormtrooper HQ! No banners here, as Star Wars is at least slightly more sensible than 40k in this regard..
Vader!
I sense a disturbance in the force… the army assembles!

I love these little guys – yes, up close and personal they don’t look much, but from two feet away the illusion is complete and I absolutely love the sense of having effectively got something for nothing.

I’ve just finished doing the Rebel force and they’ll be featured soon, as soon as I can pull myself away from Teeny Darth Vader and Teeny Luke Skywalker re-enacting all those classic scenes from the films.. and of course it’s not too long before we can think about actual in-person, face-to-face gaming once again (fingers and toes crossed)… until then, stay safe, stay sane, stay thrifty!