Wednesday, May 29, 2013

WIP - 28mm Austrian Cuirassiers

WIP - 28mm Austrian Cuirassiers from Foundry
I recently finished a unit of 28mm French Napoleonic heavy cavalry.  It's only fair that my often-neglected Austrians receive some similar reinforcements, so here are a few WIP photos of an Austrian Cuirassier regiment coming together.  The figures are metal ones from Wargames Foundry.

Early primer, brown base coat on the horses, grey on the leggings
It's another grand-manner-style 24-figure regiment.  The cavalry are in a reserve pose, with their heavy sabres at the side.  It's a suitably sombre look for these Hapsburg heavies. 
A finished "stick" - these are test models from early May
The Austrian Cuirassiers are another favourite unit of this period (I have a lot of favourites in this period).  They are known for their black-armoured steel plate cuirasse.  Unlike the French Cuirassiers, the Austrians only wore a plate on the front, not the rear.  I have read some commentary indicating that this lack of parity led to the Austrians suffering harshly in some cavalry melees, but I'm not sure how relevant the armour was overall in this period. 

The black armour is hard to see under all of the straps
Trying to find the right black was tricky, and I'm still not sure if I've nailed it.  I used a Tamiya acrylic Gun Metal Black as a base colour, and then a slight highlight of GW's "Lead Belcher". I find the combo looks black but still metallic.  Good enough on the test models, so good enough for the first unit.

Rear view showing the water bottle and lack of rear armour plate
I have to say I love how the Perry cavalry avoids the monopose syndrome with both their metal and plastic figures.  As nice as the Foundry figures are (and I think the Perrys may have sculpted them too? Confusing...), these Foundry units lack in variety once they are based.  On the other hand, I hope this unity of pose will lend them a certain menacing air...

The rank and file troopers await transfer to gaming bases...
I started with a couple of test models back in May, but moved on the French cavalry. With the French regiment finished, I came back to these guys. So far I have 16 of the troopers painted.  Just eight, including the command group, to go! We have some family friends visiting soon, which tends to shut down painting production for me, and I was hoping to get these suckers finished before the company arrives tomorrow but it's just not going to happen.  I will try and get as many of these guys painted as I can tonight, but the debut as a unit will have to wait a little while...

Sunday, May 26, 2013

"Grand Opening" and Rogue Trader 40K Game

Well, it did take awhile but we're now pretty much settled into our new house, and more importantly, the basement gaming area is ready. So to celebrate this I hosted an old-school 40K "Rogue Trader" game last week.

The cabinets are IKEA "Besta" with glass doors and shelves, and added interior LED lighting. IKEA is great but every component is offered "a la carte" which means costs can quickly escalate. Fortunately I don't picture us moving again anytime soon so there should be a long amortization ;-)

The game table base is made up of 4x2 foot folding tables picked up on sale at Canadian Tire. Very sturdy and a perfect base for the very weighty terrain board that goes on top.
Anyway, on to the game! Greg had very kindly come up with a scenario to continue our "Rynn's World" campaign pitting my RT Orks against his Guardsmen and Crimson Fist Space Marines. In this game, taking place on the outskirts of New Rynn City, an Ork blocking force is buying time for the rest of the horde to arrive. The Orks occupy the defensive line seen about 1/3 of the way from the top of the table. There are three objective markers spread along the line; the forces of the Imperium start in the city sector and have 10 turns to take the objectives.

Conscripts Mike F. ready to roll with the forces of the Imperium. Greg ran the game. Kevin and Dave V. assisted with the Imperial forces, which comprised:

- Pedro Cantor
- A squad of five Crimson Fists w/heavy bolter
- A squad of five Crimson Fists w/missile launcher
- A 5-man Imperial Guard Command section w/ two lascannons, medic, standard bearer
- A 10-man squad of Imperial Guardsmen w/ grenade launcher and lascannon
- A 10-man squad of Imperial Guardsmen w/grenade launcher and lascannon
- A Thudd gun

 Conscript Wes, centre with beer, acted in an advisory capacity to the Ork side, which consisted of:

- Thrugg 2.0 in Mega-armour and a few buddies
 - A "Kan" (dreadnought) with missile launcher and flamer
- Three teams of six boyz, each w/ heavy bolter
- Two emplaced zzzap guns/lascannons with grot crew
- Air "support" from da Red Barun

 Byron made it out to the game as well which was cool.

 Initial Ork dispositions, left to right: lascannon, boyz squad (near objective), HQ squad in reserve, boyz squad with second objective, lascannon, Kan, boyz squad with third objective in sandbag bunker.

A view from the western edge of the table.

Red Barun executing a precision airstrike (!) on the Guard HQ squad in the ruined building at top centre.

Here's a pic of that Guard HQ squad, in happier times... they ended up routing out of the building after soaking up mucho bolter and lascannon from the boyz opposite them. Mike left shortly after that... (he said he had to work early. Uh-huh...)
Marine assault! Space Marines occupy a ruined building and lay down covering fire.

The main Imperial thrust came on the Ork left. I've moved the HQ squad and Kan to cover but as you can see, Imperial shooting has already whittled away the Boyz squad. Some uncharacteristically accurate Ork shooting peeled away most of the Guardsmen supporting the Marines, too.

Also, this guy (at left) died. held an objective all by himself, making an invaluable contribution to Imperial victory. (original text must have been wishful thinking on my part - thanks to Dave V. for the reality check)

This is where the Kan should have shredded some Space Marines...

...sadly it fell in the first round of combat without even striking a blow. Waaah. The Ork HQ also withered under the savage Marine assault. Fortunately Ork shooting killed or routed all of the Guardsmen and some of the Marines too. The question was, would the Imperials have enough models left on their side to have at least one on each objective by turn 10? (Yes, the game was that bloody :-)

The remaining Orks form a conga line out of the bunker to try and safeguard one more objective, but to no avail.

The Marines were just too tough tonight, even with Toughness 3 they pwned. The Orks acquitted themselves well though; the Barun accounted for several targets and there was one turn where I literally rolled six "6"s in a row with the Ork heavy bolter. We routed the Guard HQ squad handily as well. Gotta take those Thorpeian "moral victories" where you can.

The victors... both of them ;-)

Well, it was a hard fought game and yet another very cool Rogue Trader battle is in the books. I'm really happy with the new gaming space and glad that the boys could make it out. Hopefully I'll be back to regular blogging as regular gaming resumes at my place. I think next week we'll test the PrairieCon game I intend to run, as the Endor forest moon model just arrived late last week :-)

Monday, May 20, 2013

1st Cuirassiers - 28mm French Napoleonic Heavy Cavalry

French 1st Cuirassiers - 28mm Napoleonic Heavy Cavalry from Perry Miniatures
A little bit of a "surprise" project that I wanted to get done before my friend Curt returns to Winnipeg for another visit, I present the 1st Cuirassiers, 28mm French Napoleonic Heavy Cavalry, 24 figures strong.  The figures are plastics from Perry Miniatures.  I finished up the unit during the long weekend here in Canada.  Overall it took me about three weeks.  I started these guys on May 2nd, the same night the Montreal Canadians opened their (ultimately ill-fated) quarter final round against the Ottawa Senators in the NHL playoffs.

Command group before priming

A couple of the models are primed - these would be the "test" figures

I already have a small but gradually growing force of 28mm Austrians for the Napoleonic wars.  These have faced off a couple of times against Curt's French troops. And while I will continue to haul my sausage aficionados happily down the Trans-Canada Highway, I would like to have a few games for the group locally.  That means I need to get some French done of my own.

Some troops at the "half way" point in the painting process

Painted fellows and some "half way" figures

Close up of a WIP stage
I had purchased a couple of boxes of these plastic French heavy cavalry back when the Perrys first released them.  That was a couple of years ago...2009, or 2010 or something like that.  So these have been sitting for quite a while.  I don't know what, precisely, prompted me to knock these off, but when Curt mentioned he might be popping by for a visit in June I thought to myself that it would be awesome to finish these off in time for his visit.

Officer and standard bearer at the early painting stage

Painted cav, waiting for basing
In many ways, starting off a French force with heavy cavalry is hugely illogical.  What I actually need to get on to the table is a couple of regiments of ligne, some artillery and other bits, not fancy armoured heavy horsemen.

Basing step one - glue to the bases

Basing step 2 - sit in the "goop"

Basing Step 2...waiting to dry into the goop
But I have always been impressed with the look of the French heavies...some of the nicest troops of the whole period.  Gleaming breastplates, big horses, funky helmets, heavy swords...these guys have it all when it comes to looking cool.

Ready to charge home against Napoleon's enemies
I did not (and still don't) know a whole lot about them - other than to watch out when they charge - but the Perrys give you enough info with the box sets to encourage you to get started, so I dove in. I made several mistakes (like using the wrong horse halves for the officer, etc), but I figured "screw it" and these painted up relatively fast, as far as calvary go.

These plastics are really, really nice.  I am getting to be quite the curmudgeon when in comes to plastic figures - I dislike assembling them, and prefer the weight of the metal figures.  But the Perrys give you everything you would need with the box - you get the option to have them in a charging pose, or with the sabres at rest.  And you can do them as either Cuirassiers or later-look Carabiniers.  It's pretty awesome.
Musician's uniform...mental...who thought that was a good idea? How french. 
Painting the musician was particularly tricky.  The uniforms of the French musicians generally are quite mental compared to the humble garb of the Hapsburg drummers and buglers.

The flag is from the "Flag Dude".  I quite like the effect of his work, certainly a cooler "crinkle" in the flag than I could manage on my own.  But I find the wire he mounts his flags on pretty challenging to cut - I ended up using the Dremel tool, with plenty of sparks, because none of my cutters were up to the job.  Fortunately nobody was hurt.

Flag by the "Flag Dude"
As Curt might say, these fellows will be "a little lonely".  I think the Cuirassiers typically operated in divisions together, so having these guys all alone on the table would be a little odd.  That means a second unit at some point, as well as some specific heavy cavalry officers.  I won't lie - that will be quite a while away. I would prefer to use metals as opposed to the plastics (even these really nice ones) for a second regiment, and I don't have those handy.  But this was really fun, and I look forward to hopefully seeing these on the table, perhaps alongside Curt's French dragoons.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The British are coming...

As Greg just posted in the comments on the French Fleet, many great projects start on a whim... So, why not continue on with that whim.

Well, I had started writing the French post up weeks ago, and got sidetracked by the 40Kegger tournament that happened last weekend and never got around to posting it.

This weekend I took a few hours and banged out two sample British ships to face off against the French.

I wanted to stick with a British paint scheme, and like the Dazzle camo that the Spartan Games uses for their fleet and the take on it that Curt used for his.

So here is my take on it, done on a battleship and a frigate as a sample.  I still plan on putting some markings on the ships to mark them as British, just not sure what yet.

Thoughts on them?  I both like and dislike the arc'ed scheme on the battleship, I think it looks cool'er in a way, but is way easier to screw up with the brushstrokes and come out slightly off...  I see 2 instances that bug me, but at tabletop level, not sure it matters... and these really are just tabletop quality, they would never stand up to any level of painting scrutiny.

Will be working on more of them over the next few weeks, so a game early June is looking very possible.

Dystopian Wars - French Fleet

After some prodding from Greg about posting, I thought I would post up some of the items I have been working on lately.

Here is my first Dystopian Wars fleet that I painted up in March on a whim.  I had this and another fleet sitting around for a while since I liked the look of the ships, but had never actually seen a game played.  I decided that it was time to unbox them, paint them, and get a game in, so here goes.

First off, the quality of the castings and resin that Spartan Games puts out is first class.  I was amazed at how little cleaning was required, with almost no mold lines on any of the ships, and better yet the crisp clean detail on the models is extremely impressive for the price of the starter fleets.  I wish I could get Forge World models even half this good, and Forge World is about 3x the price!

For those unfamiliar with Dystopian Wars is it a naval combat game set in an alternate Victorian Steam Punk universe based on ours in the year 1870.  Several of the dominant powers of that era are represented in the game.

The one I chose was the Republique of France (RoF), which is based on a France brought to great power under Napoleon. However that power was then lost after his death in 1804 and the country fell into chaos.  It has now been rebuilt by Louis-Napolen and is allied with the mighty Prussian Empire and controls most of Europe. 

While the RoF is a small force, they are a highly trained elite fighting force with many innovative technologies that other countries do not yet posses.  These technologies include:

The Gravity Nullifaction Engine which allows several of their ships to lift out of the water and pass over other ships and terrain. Even the ships that do not have these engines are generally faster than other nations ships as the RoF focuses on speed and precision strikes.

I know the French are a fragile lot, but this seems a little
extreme just to avoid sea sickness.
Many ships also have built in cloud generators which make them harder to be hit by enemy attacks. Better yet they are often combined with retardant armour which allows them to ignore the first 6 rolled against them in each round of fire.

And lastly mighty Heat Lance which inflicts damage based on the size of the target, making it an extremely deadly weapon against large battleships and dreadnoughts.

A French carrier equipped with the fearsome Heat Lance.
In addition to all of the advanced technology that the RoF possesses, they also focus heavily on air superiority.  They have greater access to air craft and anti-air (ack ack) firepower than any other fleet in the game.

While the RoF has many upsides, it also has significant faults. The first being the lack of serious firepower when compared to almost any other fleet in the game.  A case in point is their battleship which only has 2 turrets, compare that to the British with 4 at roughly the same point cost.

A French battleship and three frigates escorting her
The second fault in the fleet is the fragility of the fleet. The cloud generators and retardant armour help, but if caught in the cross hairs the ships fold up pretty fast.

The ships painted up amazingly fast.  They were simple models that I primed, airbrushed, applied basecoat, inked, and then picked out a few simple details.  I looked at picking out more detail on them, but thought that as soon as you do on such small models they start to look busier (and therefore potentially messier) than better.  Others may disagree, but that was my thought process on not adding more to them.

The one thing I did add detail and flare wise was the French flag on every ship.  While I would love to claim this idea as my own, it was “borrowed” from a painter on the Dystopian Wars forums.  In my opinion it really makes the ships pop, even the small ones with only a deck board of each of the three colours, but amazingly so on the carrier with the room to do a full flag.
Each ship has the French colours shown
on the deck in some way.
I have more to expand as this is only the starter fleet with the addition of the carrier, but next to be painted is the British fleet (on my painting deck for May) so that I can host a Dystopian Wars battle one Thursday evening in June.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

40K Beer League Quarter Final Game

Over the course of the last eight months I have really enjoyed participating in the 40K Beer League. Coinciding with the start of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, May 1 was also the official start of the Winnipeg Warhammer 40,000 Beer League Playoffs. Of the 18 players in the League, the top 8 made it to the Playoffs. I managed to place 2nd in the overall standings. As such, I was matched against Lance and his White Star Marines. Lance is a long time 40K veteran. In fact, I remember playing with him at  Founding Conscript Curt`s store, Mediaeval Works, back in the heady Rogue Trader days of the summer of 1988!

Yesterday, Lance dropped by mi casa, and we threw down in what turned out to be an epic fight!

The Opposing Forces:

Asurmen's Academy vs. The White Star Chapter; Eldar vs. Imperial Space Marines.

Asurmen`s Academy: The Return of Ancient Days
HQ: Autarch (1#, 75 pts)
1 Autarch (Death Spinner)

Troops: Dire Avengers (6#, 175 pts)
5 Dire Avengers, riding in a Wave Serpent (TL Scatter Lasers)

Troops: Dire Avengers (6#, 160 pts)
5 Dire Avengers, riding in a Wave Serpent

Troops: Dire Avengers (6#, 160 pts)
5 Dire Avengers, riding in a Wave Serpent

Elite: Fire Dragons (6#, 190 pts)
5 Fire Dragons, riding in a Wave Serpent (underslung Shuriken Cannon)

Heavy Support: Night Spinner (1#, 115 pts)

Heavy Support: Warp Hunter (IA) (1#, 125 pts)

Total Roster Cost: 1000 points

Going into this, I knew that Lance would be fielding some sort of Legiones Astartes force. I went with my second list, the one with more tanks. I figured that was a couple more hulls that he had to burn through before he got at the Aspect Warriors riding inside. The two artillery tanks might really mess with his forces, given some luck.

The White Star Chapter
HQ: Librarian (1#, 100 pts)
1 Librarian (Avenger, Gate of Infinity)

Troops: Tactical Squad (11#, 210 pts)
10 Tactical Marines (Meltagun, Multi-Melta), riding in a Rhino APC

Troops: Tactical Squad (11#, 215 pts)
10 Tactical Marines (Meltagun, Missile Launcher), with a Razorback IFV (TL-Heavy Bolters)

Elite: Terminator Squad (10#, 470 pts)
10 Terminators (Assault Cannon, Cyclone Missile Launcher, Chainfist)

Total Roster Cost: 995 points 

Lance showed up with his Terminator heavy force. Yikes!  Both my lists had  only a single squad of 5 Fire Dragons. Further, I could not count on Lance tightly bunching up his Termies for a D-Cannon shot.

The Game:

We played the Crusade scenario (rolling 3 objectives), with Hammer and Anvil deployment.

I won the roll for choice, and chose to go second. Lance deployed all his forces along the western table edge. In the junk yard, right next to an objective, went a combat squad, including a Missile Launcher.  Looking north, the Terminators, led by the Librarian, deployed in a loose formation. The Rhino, with a full Tactical Squad embarked, came next,. The Razorback, with a combat squad, set up on the Marine left, northern, flank.

Camera Roll-597

The photo below looks west. The two other objectives were located mid-table, on either side of the road and forest. The Eldar deployed only part of their force. Two Wave Serpents, each with a Dire Avenger Squad, deployed in the southeast table corner. The Fire Dragons set up next to them, behind the water treatment plant. To the north, the Night Spinner was deployed behind the storage shed, using the forest to block LOS. I figured Lance would concentrate at least some of the Marine fire on the Dragons, keeping the Avengers alive to score later.

Camera Roll-596

Another squad of Avengers, with the Autarch, were held in reserve, along with the Warp Hunter. I was hoping to 1) move the reserved Avengers up the northern table edge, and 2) keep the Warp Hunter alive long enough to fire at least one D-Cannon barrage.

At the top of the first turn, the Marines made a general advance to the east. Their missiles bounced off the Eldar tanks. The Wave Serpents moved slightly west, and a Night Spinner web entangled the Marines in the junk yard.

Camera Roll-598

The Razorback moved north, flat out, to hunt the Night Spinner. A squad of Marines disembarked into the forest. The Terminators moved up in support and nailed the Fire Dragons` Serpent with missiles. First Blood!

Camera Roll-599

The Warp Hunter and Avengers came on from reserves from the east. The Night Spinner moved south, away from the Razorback and its embarked Meltagun. A Serpent moved to place itself between the Marines and the Warp Hunter. The Fire Dragons moved up on foot next to the water treatment plant. The Night Spinner dropped a barrage onto the Terminators, killing the Assualt Cannon Terminator and slowing down the squad; they counted as in both Difficult and Dangerous Terrain the next time they moved. The Warp Hunter managed to kill six Marines and damage the Rhino with an Aether Rift, a torrented template D-Cannon shot; Lance admitted later that he had forgotten about the Eldar reserves.

Camera Roll-600

The reduced Marine squad moved further into the forest, to try and get out of line of sight. The Razorback`s infantry disembarked around the storage shed, to try and gain Linebreaker. Marine fire broke the Fire Dragons, who ran off the table. A lucky missile immobilized the Warp Hunter,

Camera Roll-601

It was way too early, but I moved up and disembarked all the surviving Eldar infantry, to try and reduce the Tactical Marines, both in the forest and by the storage hut. The Marines in the forest were whittled down to a single man, and a couple of Marines were left standing by the shed. The Night Spinner dropped another web onto the Terminators, to keep slowing them down.

Camera Roll-602

The Terminators concentrated their fire on the Avengers to the south. Surprisingly, a couple of them survived. The Autarch moved off on his own to hunt the Razorback, managing to take off a couple of hull points. The remainder of the Eldar infantry embarked back into their tanks and moved west.

Camera Roll-603

Night fell, but the ranges were so close, and the Marine armour already so resilient, that darkness had no effect on the outcome of the battle.

The Night Spinner kept hammering at the Terminators. Two Avengers disembarked by the  junk yard to contest an objective, and some Dire Avengers disembarked by another objective to the north of the forest, contesting it.

The game would have ended in a  1-1 draw, but the rules of the Beer League playoffs dictated that a clear winner be decided. So, we kept going.

The Razorback gunned down the Dire Avengers near the centre. The Terminators, slowed by the Night Spinner's Chains of Vaul,  managed to get a couple of men into contact with a Wave Serpent in the assault phase, immobilizing it. The two Marines to the northeast assaulted the Autarch, losing one in the process. The last Dire Avenger Wave Serpent moved flat out south, towards the uncontested objective located by the road. A lucky barrage shot landed onto the Terminator with the Cyclone Missile Launcher, killing him.

Camera Roll-604

The Terminators were too burdened by the Night Spinner`s webs to advance effectively. Marine fire immobilized the Wave Serpent in the centre of the table. The Autarch was wounded in close combat, but passed his morale and remained locked in combat. The third Dire Avenger Squad disembarked from their immobilized tank, to finally take control of an objective. Eldar fire killed the last Marine in the forest.

Camera Roll-606

Below is a photo of the final game position, looking north. To the southwest, the Marine and the Eldar contest an objective; thosee two Eldar Aspect Warriors also scored Linebreaker. In the centre, the yellow helmeted Avengers control an objective. To the northeast, the Autarch and a Marine are locked in combat, just outside of the Eldar deployment zone.

Camera Roll-605

Eldar VP's: 4
Space Marine VP's: 1

Result: Eldar Win

Camera Roll-607

The Marines were a tough nut to crack. The Terminators survived the game with the majority of their number still alive. In retrospect, the Night Spinner kept this squad from moving as freely as it might have, reducing their ability to control the centre of the table.

Thanks again to Lance for a nail-biter of a game, maybe the best one we`ve had together in a couple of decades of play!