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 😉

Advertisements

Happy Christmas! And what’s half of 40k?

…20,000, of course! And that’s how many views I discovered we’d had when I checked our stats a few days ago – pretty amazing stuff for our geeky little blog! So this is a quick fill in post to thank all of you who keep coming pack to discover what we’ve managed to build out of cardboard and junk picked out of the recycling – all of you who like, comment and share, it’s really a wonderful feeling to think we’re connecting with people across the world. Particularly when we’ve learned so much from other posters on YouTube, TMP, Dakka Dakka and Warseer – building on their ideas and spreading the word to others. So a very merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you out there in cyberspace!

This is probably our last post of 2018 – certainly the last sober one – so what’s in store for 2019? Well, we’ve got the 2nd Ed 40k Armageddon campaign to fight, a Firefight campaign to play through– not to mention that in the war torn world of Apocalypse: Earth, the vital plasma generator complex at Skalk Point is still in the hands of the evil Holy Soviet Empire! And with Buffalo 2-7 devastated by the losses they took, it’s going to be the League Of European Nations leading the charge to retake the facility.. that’s going to be a scrap to look forward to! And let’s throw in the fact that June 6 2019 will be 75 years from D-Day – there has to be some way to commemorate that…. plus the Betrayal at Calth campaign to run… oh, and I have a project I want to try using foamboard to build a variety of vehicles for Epic… let’s see how many of these projects we can turn from ideas into actual models this coming year!

And as a teaser for our next battle report, let us present scenario #1 from the 2nd Edition mini campaign book, “First Blood”!



Marines and Gretchin deploy to fight it out in the rubble of a ruined hive world…

Stay tuned, stay thrifty, and have a fantastic Christmas! See you in 2019..

Forgotten Classics! Game Review: Firefight (Alternative Armies)

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!

Not a bad haul!
A very Rogue Trader aesthetic in the rulebook..
Pretty certain the same artist as a LOT of the early 90s GW stuff!
Levy and Crusader NCO squad take on Shia Khan Goblins and Infiltrators in a house clearance mission
This game is up close and personal!
As the rulebook says – “With these weapons, at these ranges…”

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.

Till next time, stay thrifty out there!

Terrain Talk Pt. 9 – Cheap & Thrifty Scratchbuilt BIG Urban Board

I’ve been wanting to do this for AGES.

I’ve long had a vision of my miniature armies fighting their way through a ruined urban battlespace, diving and weaving their way through dense cover, shattered buildings, ruined walls.. the whole bit. Stalingrad, Berlin, Hue, Fallujah.. right up to the shattered metropolises of the 41st millenium and everything in between.

Now, we redid our regular board last summer, but I couldn’t help looking at the flip side of our chipboard shelves and imagining texturing and painting it up to model the ruined city I’d always seen in my head. But I was always worried I might not be able to match up to what I saw in my head. After mentioning it to Dan over a beer for the millionth time though, he told me to “either shit or get out of the kitchen” – which I took to mean either shut up or get on with it!

We’d built a small urban board and a Deadzone board over the last couple of months and had pretty much nailed down the building/ texturing/ painting scheme – so we had a plan. The main challenge was to ensure that it was “scale independent” – whether we were doing our favoured 20mm, making forays into 28mm, or creating apocalyptic havoc in 6mm, we wanted to be able to use the same board. So it wouldn’t – couldn’t – have too many details, but at the same time we didn’t want to just paint it grey and leave it at that. So….

And with that, battle was joined:

You can see the remains of the old artificial grass overlaid with primer, some home made texture paste (PVA, sand, filler powder, paint, water) and acrylic caulk
Acrylic caulk with cat litter embedded in it
Cardboard scored with squares to represent paving slabs or flooring tiles, texture paste, caulk and cat litter blended around it

 

Sprayed black, drybrushed with blue grey Crown house paint, then drybrushed with our usual pallette of greys 
Red! But it’s all part of the Luke’s APS approved paintscheme, and it’s served us well so far..
Drybrushed again and ready for some washes
Texture close up
Washes added – thinned and thinned again, Vallejo Skin Wash, Army Painter Green Tone, Vallejo Smokey Ink
League of European Nations patrol for scale – also added mud and flock effects
Close up of flock, mud and rubble
Blended mud effects with flock and dust

Big Urban Board

Between the multiple drybrushes, washes, flocks, dust and everything on there blending nicely, I’m really pleased with this, it looks almost exactly like what I’d visualised. The next trick is going to be building the ruins to go with it, I’m really looking forward to having a truly 3D absolutely epic battlefield for Dan to paste me on!

So, to sum up –

Step 1 – texture paste, acrylic caulk (aka flexible filler) and kitty litter, cardboard paving slabs – basically, all your texture goes down at this stage.

Step 2 – prime black. Cheap black spray paint or craft acrylic applied with a big brush.

Step 3 – drybrush blue grey, over everything. We used Crown house paint tester pots.

Step 4 – drybrush red (in certain areas) – go light here, but don’t worry, it’ll work out!

Step 5 – Greys! Drybrush up with Wilkinson City break, followed by Granite Dust and Cloud Burst in gradually lighter stages.

Step 6 – Washes – splodge on VERY watered down greens, browns and chestnut tones.

Step 7 – Mud. Stipple on the burnt umber and drybrush up with lighter browns

Step 8 – Flocking – paint on watered down PVA and daub on strategically. Then drizzle – very sparingly – flock and dust.

Step 9 – Seal. PVA and water, 1 – 10 mix. Slosh this stuff on at least three times

Step 10 – Varnish – cheap £1 matt varnish.

Done!

We also added a couple of girders and a tiled floor, done in the same way as our previous smaller board. So now, the planned 40k 2nd ed mini campaign set on Armageddon will have somewhere authentic to fight over, not green fields on a planet famed as a harsh, overdeveloped Hive World! Can’t wait 🙂

Deadzone! On a budget.. of £0…

Focus? What is this focus of which you speak? Heresy!!

You know that phenomenon where you hear about something – a band, a game, a TV show – and all of a sudden you hear about it everywhere?

What is that called?

Anyway, that’s what’s happened with us – a Luke’s APS video brought it up, and then over the next couple of months we just kept hearing about it, reading about in blogs and forums.. what is it? Deadzone, that’s what!

I’ve long had a weakness for small, quick skirmish games that bridge the gap between wargame and boardgame, and doing a little digging into what Deadzone is.. we liked what we saw.

Particularly when we discovered the rules available for FREE on Mantic’s website. BOOM (as the saying goes).

So, we had the rules downloaded. Next up – miniatures. Well, that was easy. Dice – Deadzone runs on a D8 system with specially labelled D6s for command rolls, but normal D6s will work just as well- you simply assign a number to each command skill. Ebay, £3, 20 D8s show up a week or so later. God bless those hard working Chinese kids.

Finally, terrain – Deadzone box set ships with a 2′ x 2′ mat with printed 3″ squares, and a terrain system based around 3″ cubes. Happily, Dan had a couple of bits of hardboard knocking around his shed, roughly 2′ x 3′ – the excess would be used for dice, counters, roster cards etc.

It begins! Measured out 3″ squares onto the hardboard and scored them into the material with a DIY knife
Stippled on texture paste – a mix of paint, PVA, filler powder and sand. Rubble effects are done by squeezing acrylic caulk onto the board and pressing cat litter into it. Caulk is excellent for gripping the litter and holding onto the board.

Sprayed the whole thing with cheap black spraypaint and then began drybrushing up as per the previous urban board.

Here I’ve added washes to help delineate the squares – thinned down black, smokey ink, and skin washes to colour the greys.

Texture catches the drybrushing nicely

Added mud – burnt umber basecoat, drybrushed with layers of lighter brown
Added flock to the mud to help mark out the squares, simulating weeds growing in the mud

After all this, the board was pretty warped, about a 1cm bulge in the middle. Were all our efforts to be in vain, our attempts at Deadzone gaming to be thwarted by models gradually sliding off theboard?

Happily, no – Wyloch to the rescue – we coated the other side with thinned down PVA and left it for 24 hours. Result? Totally flat board.

Added some scenery built a while back from various bits of food packaging and away we go!

The rules give a sample scenario along with two strike teams – we’ve proxied the Marines as Enforcers and the Gretchin as Forge Fathers, and so far we’re 3-2 to the little stunties.

Deadzone is definitely a fun game, once you get your head round the dice test mechanic, and it’s great for keeping both players involved through alternating activation boosted by command dice providing extra actions throughout the game. It’s definitely a game that lends itself to tactical play – you’re going to get the victory points through taking and holding objectives, as it can be damn difficult actually putting a model down, (particularly as the wimpy laser rifles the Enforcers are equipped with don’t pierce armour too well), but this is no bad thing – in the real world, you wouldn’t just chuck your highly trained strike team into a meat grinder, and as we get the hang of this game it’ll be fun to try and build a narrative campaign.

Time to finish up with some pics, as Grot and Marine get down and dirty in the Deadzone:

Till next time, stay thrifty out there and we’ll see you soon!

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

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

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

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

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

Began with single corrugated cardboard to act as paving slabs and such – for the tile textures in the corner, I scored 20mm squares into the card, then tore off the edges to make some broken tiles. I used PVA to glue them, but in retrospect acrylic filler (caulk) would probably have been a better bet.
Began adding texture – the grey stuff is home made texture paint, made from water, black paint, filler powder, sand and PVA glueand stippled on with an old brush. The white stuff is cat litter (unused, I should add!) held on with splodges of acrylic caulk intended to look like rubble piles..
Close up of tilework and rubble

The board textured and ready for priming black

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

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

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

Overbrush grey blue

Drybrush red (lightly, and only in selected places)

Drybrush with Wilko’s City Break grey

Lighter drybrush with same brand Granite Dust

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

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

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

 

After a looking at it a few times, I decided I’d cocked up a bit with the tilework – 20mm squares just looked wrong with 1/72 – so I chopped them up into 10mm and painted a checkerboard pattern using cream and dark grey, lining the edges with thinned down Vallejo smokey ink
And then I realised how long it had taken, and settled for cream alone on the other part!

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

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

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