Thursday, May 31, 2012

Battle Report - Robotech 1/200 Scale

The life of a Veritech pilot in the Robotech universe.
Last night we played Robotech in 1/200 scale, using a slightly modified version of the Lord of the Rings rules system from GW (yes - we use those rules for everything, even futuristic mecha combat, right Brian?).  The game, hosted by Dallas, was a chance to do a practice run on the scenario I will be running at PrairieCon in Brandon this weekend.  Here is a report with some photos of the game.

The alien ranks.
The stoic Destroids await their fate.
The scenario is set on Mars.  SDF-1 has landed at the abandoned Mars base to try and pick up supplies, and has become trapped by "gravity mines" while the Zentraedi lead an ambush.  In this game, a group of RDF mecha are trying to hold the attacking aliens back. 

The Zentraedi have 8 turns to knock out the five Destroids AND get at least five of their battle pods to exit the far side of the table. The Zentraedi start the game with 16 pods, including one ace pilot in an Officer's Pod, three light missile pods and one heavy missile pod.

The RDF detachment has five destroids - three "Raidar X" variants, one "Excalibur" variant and one "Gladiator" variant. The destroids are supported by a pair of VF-1A Veritech fighters that will enter the game on turn two.

Dallas and Dave V. took command of the Zentraedi, while Brian and Mike F. played the RDF side. The Zentraedi would start the game with priority in turn one, and after that both sides would roll a D6 to determine priority.

Zentraedi Commander leads the way.
VF-1As arrive in figher mode.
Alien pods advance through the base.
The modifications I use for the LOTR rules engine allow the mecha to be whittled away by the fire of the various weapons - although in some cases (like the cannon-fodder battle pods) the "whittling" doesn't take long.  But in "close combat", any damage scored immediately destroyed the opposing mecha.  The "close combat" is not intended actually represent blows landed by the arms/feet of the mecha, so much as a point blank hit by one of the various hugely destructive weapon systems used by either side.  It also gives the Zentraedi players an incentive to swarm the opponents, as they did in the animated series, as opposed to approaching the matter as a complicated gun fight.

What could go wrong?

No problem - we've got this under control.
The game was a real blast. The Destroids fell back in the face of the overwhelming alien numbers, trying to use their firepower for as long as possible.  The VF-1A fighters made a decent entrance, and shot up some aliens, before Mike opted to use them as a means to hold up the Zentraedi Officer's pod, which was a tough and hard-hitting customer thanks to its ace pilot.

All together now...

The VT pilots give the "Guardian" mode a try as they engage the Zentraedi's ace Commander.
The Zentraedi lost four pods on the approach as both sides traded shots, while one of the Raidar X's went down to alien shooting.  In one sequence Brian managed to use the heavy particle beam cannons of the Excalibur to blow away two alien pods, one right after the other.

The Destroids are swarmed by the Zentraedi assault.
Once the Destroids' backs were to the wall, the game got very, very interesting as the close fighting began.  Mike's Veritech fighters did very well against the ace Zentraedi Officer, but he was too much for them in the end, particularly as extra Zentraedi pods showed up to finish off the brave (but, keeping with the spirit of the series, expendable) VT pilots.

The Zentraedi Commander finishes off the last Veritech pilot.
The Gladiator is swarmed under by Zentraedi pods.
Raidar X - not long for this world...
Dave and Dallas swarmed the thin line of surviving Destroids, peppering them with fire and hammering them in round after round of close assaults.  The Destroids held out bravely, repelling assault after assault.  Gradually the last two Raidar Xs and the Gladiator were destroyed.  Only the heavily armed Excalibur remained.  Dallas and Dave realized victory was in their grasp - they sent five pods off the table to meet the first part of the victory condition, and set in with two turns remaining to destroy the surviving destroid.

Never tell him the odds!
Brian's "6" holds off the Zentraedi!
Brian, however, lived up to his "never tell me the odds" billing, and the Excalibur incredibly managed to hold out!

No worries for this Destroid...

Victorious Excalibur stares down the enemy!
Final result was a partial win for the Zentraedi, and a big-time promotion for that Excalibur pilot!

A very dramatic ending for an outstanding game.  Everyone really played in the spirit of the sides they were representing, and it made for a very good battle.  Thanks to everyone who came out to play, and a big thanks to Dallas for hosting.  We'll see everyone in Brandon this weekend!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Yet More 15mm Khurasan Stuff

Khurasan 15mm Corporate Marines, ready for action
Some more mop up efforts on incomplete Khurasan 15mm projects.  When I started my indiviudally-based 15mm craziness earlier this year, I went first with the "Red Faction" guys.  But of course they will need someone to fight.  The Control Battalion will do nicely, and they will need some help.

Marine officer, with a carbine-type weapon
Given that 15mm individually-based stuff is the intended default setting of the Ambush Alley game system Tomorrow's War, and that we had finally come around to figuring out how to play that game (it's quite fun once you get the hang of it), I set a goal of painting up the figures for the starter scenario in the Tomorrow's War rulebook involving the downed pilot.

Marine fire team
The Red Faction figures would serve well as the DPRG troops, and we even had a pilot.  Khurasan's 15mm Corporate Marines would make good stand-ins for the Marine troops.  I painted a few test-model Marines back I have actually finished the detachment.  I also did a vehicle up for them as a test model.

Each fire team has two heavy weapons - a SAW and a rocket launcher, packing a lot of punch
The Marine side in the Tomorrow's War entry scenario has three heavily armed four-man fireteams, and one officer. The Marines in that scenario also have a technilogical edge over the DPRG troops. The Khurasan Corporate Marines really fit the bill - the weapons look like they are a step ahead, without being too far gone.

The Marine weapons have a clean, sleek sci-fi look to them.
There is no vehicle in the starter scenario for Tomorrow's War, but I thought the vehicle looked neat, so what the heck. The vehicle comes with several turret variants to support the various uses of the "Hunter Class Gun Carriage".  This is the "AA" weapon set - there is also an AT set, and a general support set.  I tried to give the vehicle a bit of an urban dazzle pattern. Yikes.  It mostly just looks like a dirty grey APC.  I'm OK with that.

"Hunter Class Gun Carriage" used by the Corporate Marines - AA turret configuration
These Marine fire teams can now contest the Red Faction in the hunt for the pilot when our group returns to Tomorrow's War. Or other systems -Dave V. has mentioned a cool new set of rules he purchased from Wargames Vault, so these models might be fun to use.  With the Fawcett Avenue Conscripts, you never know what rules set we'll try next...

More 15mm Khurasan Stuff

Heavy weapons for the Nova Respublik
Last year the group started to get into 15mm sci-fi.  The games are fun, and there are some awesome figures out there.  We based them in groups, using a bases from Battlefront Miniatures and a basing approach that looks similar to that employed by Flames of War and would work with a number of games, including Future War Commander and Epic, just to name two of the many, many game systems out there. 

A "super" heavy pulser...the weapon barely fits on a 40mm base
Working with the Khurasan infantry, however, I was so impressed with the quality of the sculpts and castings that I started to do some individually-based 15mm stuff (probably making Dallas' head explode in the process). I'm continuing along with that - here are some heavy weapons for the "Red Faction", a heavy-MG-type weapon, and a pair of ATGW-type teams.

Nova Respublik AT Launcher teams
The ATGW teams are based on 30mm round bases from Litko.  The MG-type team is on a 40mm base - the gun is quite big, and even with the larger base, the gunner is a tight fit.

The AT Launchers look very much like MILANs or TOW-type weapons
This range from Khurasan is outstanding.  I have almost a platoon worth of guys done up.  Now they need some more vehicles to back them up.  Watch this space for more progress on that front! 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Few More "Beakies"

Reinforcements for Pedro Cantor
Well, work has been very, very busy lately, so I have hardly accomplished any painting, and thus, a lot less blogging.  But I actually have managed to paint some stuff recently - small number of reinforcments for my Rogue Trader Crimson Fist marines. This crew mostly consists of special/heavy weapon troopers, but there are few more good-old-RTB-01-bog-standard fellows to join the ranks.

The RTB-01 Flame-Trooper

Some of the free-hand symbols turned out better than others...
Since I am out of the fancy shoulder pads, and the decals don't work on the old marine models, I have been  painting the Crimson Fist symbols on the shoulders by free-hand.  The results haven't been too bad - a few have turned out quite nice, while others look more like they are flipping a crimson bird as opposed to clenching a crimson fist.  I was really concerned about this after the first couple of models - but now I'm just "meh" about it.  They seem close enough when they are in a group together.

Three new missile launchers - one for a second tactical squad, and two for the devestator squad
Heavy bolter-equipped troopers - part of the devestator squad
I am still looking to boost the original 15-man complement to a 30-man detachment - two tactical squads and one devestator squad.  I only have about five marines left to paint, and I'll be at that goal, and on to some other crazy project.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Book Review: "It Was the War of the Trenches"

In our recent visit to France, we toured the fantastic Historial de la Grande Guerre museum in Peronne. Along with a staggering collection of uniforms, weapons, equipment and artifacts, the museum presented a very interesting perspective on the origins of the war. And there was, of course, a gift shop ;-) And in that gift shop, there was a fine collection of posters, including some very cool posters advertising past "special exhibits" at the museum. One of the exhibits focussed on comic art, and one of its finest current practitioners, the masterful Jacques Tardi.

The poster art inspired me to pick up Tardi's book "It Was the War of the Trenches", available in English from Fantagraphics. Notwithstanding the English title (which is so incredibly clunky that I'm surprised that it made it past the editor), the images in this book are mesmerizing - no less than visions of Hell through a two-dimensional black-and-white lens. The book is comprised of short stories featuring the average poilu. No superheroes (or really even regular heroes) here - just ordinary men thrown into the horrifying, otherwordly Hellscape of the Western Front. The artwork and storytelling is amazing - although depressing - and gives a real sense of the despair and horror that must have been the lot of the poilu.

It was very interesting to me to see the War from the French perspective. I'm used to studying the Great War from the British/Commonwealth perspective - and even in terms of comic art, the "Charley's War" series by Pat Mills and Joe Colquhoun. "Charley's War" is a quite different proposition from IWAWOTT both in terms of art and tone. The British strip has a very "2000AD" feel with a more realistic artistic style, while Tardi's work is a bit more... "impressionistic"? Faces are evocative and expressive while being more cartoony in style. Details of uniforms and weapons are excellent in both strips. The tone of "Charley's War", while it contains an element of horror, tends to be somewhat more "traditional comic" in the sense that the story is driven by action and combat, while Tardi's work is vignette-like and not episodic at all. From a gaming perspective, either work will get you revved up about painting and gaming, but to me it's clear that Tardi's is the more "mature" work, a definitive masterpiece of war art that will stand the test of time.

I'm not a big comic guy but I really love this book. I am anxious to hear whether Tardi's other Great War magnum opus - "Putain de Guerre!" - will be translated into English. It looks fantastic, following a single poilu through the War from 1914-18. In its English translation, IWAWOTT is highly recommended as part of a popular library on the Great War - even for readers who are not comic fans.

"It Was the War of the Trenches" Hardcover, 120 B/W pages, Fantagraphics Books. RRP $24.99USD

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Shield Generator Terrain Project

Readers may recall the Star Wars "Hoth" game I ran in February. I speculated in the blog entry that I might take it on the road to PrairieCon, a local game convention that I've been attending and running games at for almost 30 years (yikes). Well, I've committed to running it at PrairieCon, and will be joining Conscript Greg B. there this weekend... he will be staging his impressive "Robotech" game at the con as well.

I figured it might be a good idea to build some more terrain for the game as the table was a bit sparse. I'd seen somewhere on the interwebs that someone had built a Hoth shield generator out of paper plates and this appealed to both my modelling sense and my budget ;-)  So I dug out some Royal Chinet and gave it a go...

I cut the plates in half and glued them together using white glue. Detail was added with semi-circles of card cut from a cereal box, also attached with white glue.

A toilet paper roll was cut in half and detailed with some off-cuts of card, to serve as the "connector" for the generator units. A 28mm Rebel soldier is included for scale.
The model was sprayed with Krylon flat black undercoat and then hit with a cheap primer grey spraypaint.

I've left the model in five parts, for flexibility in use as well as ease of transport. I think it will serve well in the Hoth game as well as in our other 28mm sci-fi gaming. There's always room for a shield generator, right? ;-)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Thrugg 2.0

I'm sure everyone remembers that lovable fellow, Thrugg Bullneck, chief criminalist in his band of Space Ork Raiders? Unfortunately Thrugg didn't fare so well in the initial game in our 25th Anniversary Rogue Trader campaign, the Battle at the Farm, ending up a casualty at the hands of Captain Cantor's Crimson Fist Marines.

Fortunately, Rogue Trader being what it is, Thrugg was merely seriously injured in the skirmish. Of course, with enough Teef, any self-respecting Ork warlord can consult a Doc and get himself cybork-ized. So while some of Snagrod's other forces were fighting Space Marines and Guardsmen on the outskirts of New Rynn City, Thrugg was "otherwise occupied" being augmented with a chainsaw arm and 'ard 'ead (among other, erm, "enhancements").

I obtained this model by a happy accident - it was a throw-in with a bunch of Fantasy orcs I bought in a job lot on eBay. I really couldn't have picked a better model for Thrugg 2.0 - the original Thrugg was a chainsword-wielding maniac as well, so I figured that the Doc would just weld the sword on in place of Thrugg's original arm - whether it had been injured or not! I'm looking forward to seeing Thrugg 2.0 test his "metal" against Pedro and Co. in the next campaign game!

Friday, May 18, 2012

200,000 Pageviews - Thank You!

Wow, it's only been nine months since our blog passed 100,000 page views, and here we are now having passed 200,000! Amazing, particularly since it took us two and a half years to get the first 100k views. I think it is in no small part due to some controversial GW content we've run in the last few months... but I also like to think that the painting posts and battle reports have drawn some readers too. Although it's always a challenge to keep up quantity as well as quality we'll continue to do our best. Stay tuned for updates on our Rogue Trader campaign, Salute 2012 goodies, a Star Wars game/convention report from Prairiecon, more painting and gaming, and of course ranting about whatever lunacy Games Workshop is sure to come out with this year. ;-)  So thanks, readers, for coming along for the ride!

Monday, May 14, 2012

This Was Salute 2012

Oh yes... it's big...
So, one of the reasons for the relative lack of posts on the blog lately is that I was out of town... WAY out of town, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. On 19 April we left Winnipeg bound for sunny London, England and a European holiday. Our good friend (and founding Conscript) Curt and his lovely wife Sarah were going to be in London at the same time as we would be... oh, and Salute just happened to be on as well ;-)

I'd never been to a "big" British show before, so Salute would be a bit of a first. I did attend Partizan during our last Euro-trip in 2009 but I had the feeling that Salute would be another order of magnitude entirely... and I wasn't wrong... on to the pictures...

One for Greg B. and modern skirmish fans, a very cool modern game in 28mm

The terrain in this game was particularly inspiring

Aspern-Essling game in 15mm

Belgium 1940 game

Straightforward WotR game in 28mm

Some chaps from the Continent put on this nice Great War game in 28mm

15mm sci-fi monster game mashup

I badly want an Eagle lander for myself!

Frothers' strangely compelling monochromatic (and mono-sided) terrain

Another superb Great War game

Some Areonef-y madness. Weird Victoriana was a recurring theme

Beautiful feudal Japanese game with outstanding terrain

Clubby Ancients game

Warma-hordes on a lovely table

An interesting skirmish layout

Pretty cool 40K game

See what I mean about steampunk Victoriana?

Gorgeous buildings here

A very sharp "7TV" game featuring the perfect supervillain base

More Victoriana.

The German folks running this game said that the buildings will soon be commercially available :-)

Early WW2 game featuring bystanders Tintin and Snowy :-)

Forgeworld's cabinet of goodness

New FW flyer

My favourite photo from Salute - will be the subject of its own post :-D

I'm a sucker for display games with water features...

This one was mental... battle of Corunna on a 12 by 20-foot table...

Out-of-control detail in the Corunna game... you can read about it in Wargames Illustrated

Crimean War game by Barry Hilton

Peninsular War game in 54mm (!)

The Warlords' own "Captain Scarlet" participation game

40K Apocalypse madness

The venue - London ExCel
Thoughts on Salute... rather overwhelming to a provincial chap like me. Seven hours was hardly enough to see it all. Fortunately I had a shopping list with me, prepared in advance, but even then stuff got missed. Other than the amazing display games and incredible variety of retail opportunities, I think what I enjoyed most about Salute was meeting and chatting with the "celebrities" of our hobby, some of whom I am fortunate to have met on my last trip in 2009. Shouts out due to top chap (talented and prolific sculptor) Paul Hicks, Paul Sawyer of Warlord Games, Kev White of Hasslefree, Nic Robson and Rob Walter of Eureka (my wife loved the shirt, Rob - thanks again), the very cool Perry twins (especially Michael who we jawed with for a bit about reenacting and other stuff), and most impressively for me, Rick Priestley who very generously shared some of his time for a chat with a couple of guys from Canada. Plus of course meeting the superstar bloggers, "Postie's Rejects" - a great bunch of lads.

After Salute Curt and Sarah parted ways with us, heading to the south of France while we went to Germany, eventually making our way to Paris via Verdun, Arras and the Somme. Perhaps some more posts from that part of the trip soon.