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

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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.

Terrain Talk Pt. 12 – Life’s A Beach…

You know what? I think this might be the most ambitious build we’ve ever tried. Grab a beer, this is going to be a big one.

Back at the start of the year, I mentioned to Dan that June 6 2019 would be the 75th anniversary of D-Day, and we figured it would be nice to do something to commemorate it beyond getting hammered and watching Saving Private Ryan, especially as we both had grandads who had served on the day itself (mine drove a DUKW in the early follow up waves, Dan’s served on a Royal Navy destroyer). As such, we both took a little inspiration from Mel The Terrain Tutor’s amazing D-Day beach landing board and decided to attempt something similar ourselves.

I mean, it’s not like Mel’s (as he explained himself in his vlog series) went way over time or budget or anything.. and he’s a pro with years of experience, proper materials, a budget, talent…. what could possibly go wrong?

STAGE 1 – PLANNING.

Now, this concept in itself is fairly novel, as up until a couple of years ago we just tended to glue junk together, hope for the best, and then lose ourselves in vicious envy of other people’s work, but this time we knew we had to have some sort of plan.

There’s no way we could do a devoted 6×4 board – don’t have the time, don’t have the talent, don’t have anywhere to store it even if we did – so we decide on a 2×4 overlay that could sit on top of the regular board. Happily, I just happened to have a pair of 2’x2′ bits of hardboard in the shed. Game on.

We roughed out a basic design – a small concave beach with rock formations either side, that would match up and be modular so we could play different scenarios – and got cracking.

STAGE 2 – BASIC MATERIALS

Hardboard base, Celotex insulation foam edging, and yes, that’s a bit of wooden shelf as a plateau. We call ourselves Skinflint for a reason, you know.
Pebbles and cat litter, foam off cuts to start making the beach. 1/72 T-34 for scale.
Caulk and filler to start building some contours
Early days, but there’s something there!
Filler and caulk added, smoothed out the straight lines

Covered with home made texture paste (PVA, sand, filler powder, paint and water mixed to taste) primed white and ready for…..

….leopard spotting! First we daub on a thin dirty yellow wash…

…then, a dark brown wash on the bits that aren’t yellow (although some overlap is fine – just make sure you leave a few bits of white…)
A couple of coats of a thin black wash
Bone drybrush works its’ magic
Such a simple technique, but so effective!
Really brings out the texture
Base colours roughed in – thinned red brown for the sandy areas, dark brown for the earth tones, craft blue for the sea… yeah I know how it looks, but…..
It ain’t staying that way Black and brown washes, as always heavily thinned with water
Sand tones overbrushed and a bone drybrush.. and oh yeah, didn’t I mention this piece has a brother? 😉
Couple of very thin washes to get the sand where we want it – unfortunately, as you can probably see, we’ve got a hairline fracture forming as this was where I’d used corrugated cardboard to add some contour and the filler had decided that now was the moment it would decide not to take… F*ck. Would have been ok, but it was a straight line and NATURE DON’T DO STRAIGHT LINES, YO.
Three tone flocking as per Mel The Terrain Tutor

Coming together now!

Between flock and bushes (lichen scraps, sprayed with PVA sealant solution and covered in several layers of flock, before being sprayed again)

Water effects added courtesy of pound shop epoxy resin thinned with acetone nail polish remover, mixed in a few drops of green and brown ink as well, and then applied with a lolly stick. We nicked this idea from Lukes APS – all hail the Squire Of The North!

Final touches were a good healthy dousing in watered down PVA sealant, followed by a coat of matt varnish. Warping was counteracted by applying PVA on the underside of the board, and – DONE!

We finish with the now obligatory Skinflint Games terrain naming ceremony – ladies and gentlemen, charge your glasses and raise a toast to (named after our main influence) Mel Bay!

So let’s wrap this up with a few White Dwarf- style beauty shots:

The Holy Soviet Army fall upon the beach head while the League Of European Nations and Atlantic Alliance forces scramble to respond

So if you’ve made it this far, thanks for sticking with us and I hope you can forgive us for being a bit quiet on the blog front this month! Steal every idea here – we did – stay thrifty and we’ll see you again 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!

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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dead centre!
Look what I found – ping pong ball and bottle cap..
Of course! A radar dish!
Dressed with bits from my Pot of Interestingly Shaped Crap – two wooden caps from Cholula hot sauce bottles, a toothpaste tube cap and something that was once part of a toddler bubble blowing kit..
Added some access hatches, door frames and steps (all cereal packet cardboard)
Primed white with some cheap £1 spray paint (seems there was a run on black in my local pound shops..)
Basecoated with Vallejo US Olive Drab – looks a bit streaky, but remember, two thin coats are better than one thick one (praise be unto thee, Duncan Rhodes)
As you probably noticed, there are some holes in the original blueberry container. So, I glued some nylon tulle (left over from the Skalk Point mega-build) to some card – having measured the gaps, I worked out I would need 8 strips, each 1cm by 1.5. So I cut a strip of card cm by 1.5cm, glued the tulle to it. This would then get painted black ad drybrushed silver to represent ventilation ducts.

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

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

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

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

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

O. M. F. G.

It’s a bit of a fill in post this week as we’ve got a couple of different projects on the go and it seems like a marked lack of time to do them in.. Oh well, first world problems!

That said, with 2018 almost halfway there we took a quick peak at the stats and would you Adam & Eve it – over 10,000 views! In six months!

Celebrate!

And I’m pretty certain they’re not all Jim & me, as a good chunk are from countries we’d struggle to find on a map (there’s a NEW Zealand? Who knew!)

So while the new projects sizzle and bubble under the hobby grill and we get ready for the Apocalypse: Earth Summer Smackdown 2018 megagame, I thought I’d drop in a post to thank all of you who tune in to our geeky little blog, and hopefully we’ve given you some ideas about how to do wargaming without breaking the bank.

Anyway, here’s what we’re up to at the minute:

Scratchbuilding Sor Gharax (Word Bearers Contemptor Dreadnought) for Betrayal At Calth – Patoroch template with help from drinking straws.. this is a fiddly one!

Testing out the new League Of European Nations forcesforces against the Holy Soviet Army

We’ve also been dipping a toe into GW’s much maligned Warhammer Fantasy Battle successor game, “Age Of Sigmar” – as a general rule we tend to prefer sci fi in flavours ranging from gritty (ALIENS) to flat out daft (Flash Gordon), but every now and again we both get the “I wants” to start something new, and seeing as GW have the core rules an warscrolls available for free on their website, we duly downloaded them and had ourselves some hot Freeguild on Freeguild action to see what all the fuss was about..

Figures are Airfix Napoleonics, with a papercraft A7V playing the role of Steam Tank

And much fun was had – although I do get the feeling that they were trying to retain the IGO – UGO structure but not make it feel like IGO-UGO, and this has added some unnecessary levels of complexity, plus my own bugbear of Move Phase then Combat Phase – what if I want to shoot and then move? Why does this seem to be an alien concept to GW designers (with the honourable exception of Betrayal At Calth).

Anyway, it’s still a fun game, and now the new rules are available to free download, so I recommend giving it a shot. The Malign Portents series of stories has done a good job (in my view) of making the Mortal Realms seem more relatable – the Warhammer World I always had a soft spot for, it always seemed well fleshed out and the type of place where people could live, work, build, eat, piss, take a crap without being hugely overpowered daemon monster sorcerer warlord things, whereas everything I’d heard about the AoS fluff just seemed a bit stupid. But I’m guessing GW’s New Age is working on that. We’ll be trying out the new rules soon enough, so there’ll be an Age Of Skinflint battle report in the offing…

Meanwhile, a couple of teasers for the next post….

 

Nutritious and delicious sci fi buildings…
Definitely NOT Skaven….

Thanks to everyone who checks in with us, hopefully we can pass some knowledge and inspiration on to the community in the way that so many have passed it onto us. Stay thrifty out there, we’ll see you soon!

Great Scott – 88 Gigawatts?!? Cheap & Easy Scratchbuilt League Of European Nations Platoon Support Laser

I’m going to be entirely honest here – the concept for this build was 100% nicked from this post by the Fawcett Avenue Conscripts, so let’s just get that out of the way first.

But it was a fun little build. And I used magnets. So…

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about my League Of European Nations infantry platoon – these guys would have been the first to meet the fury of the Holy Soviet Army assault on the Ostwall on that fateful day in 1954..

Of course, I couldn’t just send these chaps out on their own. They needed something to deal with enemy armour- I suppose a panzerschreck or faust could have done the job, or maybe a mortar, but I liked the concept of a giant laser just that little bit more.

We began with a rectangle of corrugated cardboard, and six defunct Hexbug (little motorised insect things powered by watch batteries – seriously, these things are awesome fun!) batteries provided the carriage wheels, three a side. Strips of IDE cable cut at a 5mm thickness (thank you Zrunelord from TMP) and glued on with gel superglue made excellent caterpillar tracks, and another defunct Hexbug battery made for the gun mount. I dressed the chassis with some thin card and kebab skewer cuts for cabling and duct work.

For the weapon itself, it began life as a superglue nozzle, behind which I fashioned a gun shield from cardboard and bulked the assembly out with kebab skewer offcuts and a little bit of foam – and then it was time to break out the magnets!

I’d bought a small pack on eBay and was anxious to try them out, so superglued one to the underside of the weapon assembly and one to the gun mount – and the result was actually pretty successful!

Next up – painting!

White undercoat, wash of Vallejo black ink, then tan basecoat followed by green and brown camo striping as per the German infantry platoon a few weeks back  ted together with a brown wash, a pin wash of Vallejo Smokey Ink and a light drybrush of Americana Buttermilk. Metallics were a boltgun metal washed with thin black ink, and I applied a rough DIY texture paste of brown paint, sand and PVA. This in turn got a wash and a highlight drybrush!