Monday, December 30, 2013

Tech-Priest, Dwarves, M113s, oh my!

Trying to squeeze in a few more posts before the end of the year... here are some models I've just finished for the Analogue Hobbies painting challenge.

First up is an old Citadel Adeptus Mechanicus Tech-Priest from the Rogue Trader era. This was a model I picked up recently from the estate of Tim, a friend of the Conscripts, who passed away suddenly last year. Godspeed, Tim.

The next group is some Hasslefree dwarves. These are really cracking little models, and very easy to paint.

The weapons and weapon hands are cast separately for flexibility in assembling your models.

For some reason I've been on a real fantasy kick lately - mainly due to the very cool stuff that "Oldhammer" aficionadoes have been posting on their blogs. Really gets the juices flowing to remember a simpler time, before skulls and "listhammer"...

Another order to Hasslefree is imminent.

Lastly we have some M113s from Baker Company, for my Eureka MOPP-suited Americans. Modern escalation has really been on lately - my Russians have scored a BMP-2 and Hind, so the Americans deserve an upgrade too.

The Baker Company models were a birthday present. As it happens, they are quite poor models and took a lot of work to get into acceptable shape. Baker realized this and sent a pack of Vietnam War US Army infantry with shotguns (!) as a sweetener, but unfortunately they're no good to me.

The stowage came from an ebay seller I've nicknamed the "South Korea Store" after the infamous "North Korea Store" that used to peddle those 1/48 Kitech armour kits for cheap. The resin stowage is great - albeit smelly - and you get a ton in a pack. This pack was designed for a Sherman tank but stowage is stowage, right?

I sculpted gas masks on the crewman to fit with the rest of the MOPP-suited force.
One of the tougher things to get my head around was the tactical markings that should go on these vehicles. After a ridiculous amount of Internet faffing about, I decided to go with "Reforger"-type exercise markings. At least with WW3 stuff no-one's gonna tell you you got it wrong!

Well that's my break done, back to the painting table and "Leafs/Red Wings 24/7". Stay warm kids!

Monday, December 23, 2013

An Epic Clash - Epic: Armageddon AAR

An Imperial facility on Toxo IV.

Last week we celebrated the imminent arrival of Christmas with a game of Epic: Armageddon.  We haven't played Epic in a while, so I thought it would be fun to set up a game on poor old Toxo IV just before the holidays. The scenario pitted nearly equal forces, a column of Dark Angels (Loyalists) vs. a column of Word Bearers (Traitors!).  The objective was an Imperial facility in the centre of the table. The game would last six turns, and whoever held the facility - or the greatest part of it - at the end of the game would win!

Loyalist Marines - Dark Angels.
The Dark Angels had two tactical detachments, a devastator detachment, a Predator detachment, a Land Raider section and a pair of dreadnoughts.Conscripts Dallas and Dave V. played the loyalist side.

Followers of Horus - Word Bearers.
The Word Bearers had a very similar force, but instead of a devastator detachment they had an assault detachment.  Conscript Jim took command of Horus's followers for his very first game of Epic.

Preliminary action - the Dark Angels have rushed their Land Raiders forward, while the Word Bearer assault marines ponder their options.
It was a race from the get-go to see who could get units into the Imperial complex.  Dallas and Dave rushed their Land Raiders forward, while Jim was very aggressive with his assault marines.  He got some good results with them, taking out one of the Dark Angel Land Raiders (this is a good outcome - Land Raiders are supremely tough in Epic) with a close assault.  It was Jim's first taste of the "engage" order, and he rapidly grew fond of it.

You can see the Land Raider has been driven back (on the right, with a crump) - the second one having been destroyed.  The assault marines have retired to a quiet corner of the facility.
Despite this initial success, the Dark Angels had better luck crowding into the complex, thanks to their slightly easier approach path (which they had won when dicing off for table-edge selection).  Dallas and Dave were ultimately able to cram most of their force into the complex, while Jim tried to pick them off from the flanks.

"Yeah, that's two hits." Dallas's hot rolling preserved for the record - a pair of "6"s followed by a pair of "5"s.
One of the most incredible moments in this game (or any of our games for a while) came when Dallas' detachment of Predators made a "double" move, which allows two move and a round of fire at "-1" to hit. The Predator Destructor's auto cannon is not a huge AT weapon to begin with, and when you add the "-1", you needed "7" to hit. To do this, you need to roll a "6", then a "4".  Dallas managed with BOTH of his Predator Destructors!! He nearly wiped out Jim's Predators with this shooting.

How come the Word Bearer Predators are gone?

The most accurate shots in the galaxy...
Jim's jump troops made repeated assaults against the Dark Angels, and were very, very successful considering how they were hugely outnumbered.  But their high close combat value and high maneuverability make them dangerous, and he briefly pushed one of the Dark Angel tactical units back.  As the turns moved along, Jim was able to blast through the walls and get all of his troops in for one last big push.

The Word Bearer Land Raiders have smashed a hole on the right.
Jim also levelled some punishing fire into the complex.  He took revenge on Dallas' super elite Predators, knocking out three of the four tanks. The Dark Angels took losses, but Marines in hard cover are very, very tough customers.  Dallas and Dave hunkered down, the devestators pouring out heavy fire. Jim was only going to win if he went "all-in".

Close up of the complex.  The Dark Angels have comprehensively manned the facilities and are ready to fight!
As the sixth turn approached Jim won the initiative and sent every marine he could muster through the breach against the Dark Angels.  The close combat and fire fighting was very, very fierce.  The Dark Angels paid a high price, but they did not break enough to give the Word Bearers any kind of toe-hold in the complex.

The Word Bearers are trying to swarm toward that hole on the right.
It was a close game.  Jim's aggressive use of his jump troops was fun and worked well for him.  They did not kill a ton of Dark Angels, but they drove them back a couple of times thanks to some fortunate die rolls. 

Another view of the fighting in the final turns - on the left side of the photo you can see Dark Angel tactical stands which had been driven from the buildings by a daring assault of the Word Bearer assault marines.
As the sixth turn came and went, the Dark Angels remained in possession of the Imperial complex, denying a key piece of Toxo IV infrastructure to the Horus' rebel marines.The Word Bearers were driven away, minus their assault detachment, which had paid the ultimate price for their super aggressive tactics.  The last stand had been smashed to bits by one of the Dark Angels' dreadnoughts.

This Dark Angel dreadnought had something to say to the Word Bearer assault marines.
It was GREAT fun to play Epic again, particularly in the Horus Heresy setting. It is easy to forget but many of GW's rulesets other than 40k are very good, and the Epic: Armageddon rules are one of their best.  The rules do a very, very good job of presenting the Marines in a fashion that is more authentic to the actual setting that you read about in the fluff - very tough, flexible, and not easy to move out of defensive positions. You also do not need many Marine models to have a good, quick and fun game.

A view of the Word Bearer's desperate final attack.
Thanks to Dallas for hosting and to Dallas, Dave V and Jim for playing! Special thanks to Dallas for the photos as well. Happy holidays to all, and I look forward to some great gaming in 2014!

- Greg

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Byron's Mad Plan for Curt's 4th Annual Painting Challenge

So with a few of the Fawcett crew in on Curt’s 4th Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge I thought I would post a bit of my plan for the challenge and see what the rest of you have in place for long term plans, or see if you are just winging it.
First up, my main goal is to complete 4 infantry sections for each of the 10th and 16th Battalion of the CEF from WW1.  I have already submitted one section from each Battalion and have another in the works for the 16th.  To go along with these as opposition I am aiming to finish at least 3 infantry sections and 2 HMG sections for the Germans.  This should give me a good solid base to host WW1 games with.
The first of hopefully 4 sections of the 16th Battalion.
My second goal is to get a unit of 28mm French Napoleonics done.  This was something I had promised Curt a while back, that I would at least give them a go.  Well, now is the time.  What I didn’t realize is…. WOW that’s a lot of damn Frenchies….  32 models in a unit!! Ouch!
My third goal is to clean up some of the many Gamer ADD induced purchases and projects.  Just a few of which include a TONNE of FoW stuff, some Dystopian wars ships to round out my French fleet, a Malifaux warband, an infinity squad, some more Sedition Wars figures, and more.
Part of my cleanup.  I put these together and based them over 6 years ago,
then never did anything with them...  they were not even primed!
Those were my goals going in, then Curt sprung a surprise on us at the last minute.  There were going to be bonus rounds. Hmmm… now I have a fourth goal.  There will be 7 different bonus rounds and my goal is to submit entries for at least 5 of the 7.
Here are the themes, dates, and my plan of attack.
·       December 22: Non Combatant(s) – Old Woman (done)
·       January 5: Villain(s)  - Nurgle Demon Prince
·       January 19: Vehicle – Dystopian Wars French Skybase
·       February 2: Hero or Heroic Group - ???
·       February 16: Casualty / Casualties  - WW1 Casualties
·       March 2: Favourite Character  - ??? Something Cthulhu based
·       March 16: Last Stand - ??? Maybe Necron Centipede

My Demon Prince has already been converted and is just waiting
to be primed up and painted.    Now that I am done the non-
combatant figure he will start to be painted this week.
So, that’s my mad plan of attack, and at my current pace, maybe even do-able.  However, despite my recent pace I will not say it’s a sure thing.  That damn Gamer ADD is sure to kick in at sometime.  At least any new projects that I have planned are all Kickstarter based, and therefore according to Greg, never likely to happen.
I know that Dave is not directly involved in the Challenge, but is trying to paint up his Sedition Wars force during the same time.  Which, if accomplished will be quite a feat for him, since it will likely quadruple his painting output of the last 2 years! Sorry Dave, we all love you, but painting speed just ain't your thing. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Zentreadi Battle Pods - 1/200 Scale

1/200 scale Regult Tactical Pods from Nichimo
 The Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge is underway! If you want to see a lot of really cool figures in a great diversity of scales from a wide variety of periods and settings, I suggest you go check it out.  Check often - the submissions come in fast and furious - I don't know how Curt keeps up.Anyway I will share my submissions here too once they have had a chance to percolate a bit on Curt's blog.  I hope the other Fawcett Avenue member participating in the Challenge (Byron, Dallas and Kevin H) do the same!

My first submission was a pair of Regult Tactical Battle Pods, the main mecha used by the Zentreadi aliens from the anime series Macross (recognized more commonly in North America as "Robotech").  These are 1/200 scale multi-part models sold under the "Nichimo" brand many years ago, now available these days in isolated Ebay lots.  Six or seven years ago, long before any Kickstarter panhandling, I started piling together enough of these kits to play games of Macross with the gaming group here in Winnipeg.  They are not great models - they have to be screwed together (WTF !?!) so you have to fill those holes with putty.  But they look the part!  These models are about 4 inches tall.

The screw-holes on the backs of the models have been filled with green stuff prior to painting
 I've loved the Macross series - complete with its bonkers notions, whacky plot with rather large holes, and terrible, terrible "pop music" - since I first saw a few scattered episodes as a teenager.  Back then "GI Joe" and "Transformers" were popular cartoons, and in those shows nobody ever got hurt.  Along came this show with very cool animation, amazing mecha, and a plot that routinely killed off major characters (and also half the earth's population, ultimately).  It was quite a contrast! Robotech was WAY better than the lame North American "action" cartoons.

This screen-grab gives a rough idea of how the Zentreadi pilot is supposed to "fit" into the pod...
While of course the premise of Robotech/Macross was (and still is) preposterous, the themes from the show - duty, freedom, loss, homesickness, coming of age, friendship, love, and the question of what is really "human" - still resonate even when you watch it today.  I found the recent re-do of Battlestar Galactica shared many attributes with Macross (although BSG fans may hate reading that). I will toss a few episodes of Macross on when I'm painting from time to time. And although Macross fans rigthfully take many barbs for the awful pop music angle to the show's plotline, I don't take them too seriously.  Especially from people who in turn believe any comic, cartoon or show with a character like "Wolverine" is somehow good for anything.... :)

The alien mecha from Macross are beautiful.  With the reverse articulation in the legs, artful curves, the Regult pods fit the bill perfectly for alien bad guy soldier mecha.  They are armed to the teeth, elegant, maneuverable, funny-looking-but-cool-looking, and easily blown away by the dozen by the heroes of the TV series!  In the series, these pods were about 70 or 80 feet tall, piloted by 50-foot-tall expendable soldier-clone Zentreadi soldiers. The aliens would attack with an approach that made the Red Army appear spartan in comparison, and clouds of these pods would lead the assault, getting mowed down by the ace human pilots in their own super-cool variable fighter mecha. 

Ready for action on the gaming table

It was a lot of fun to collect these models from Ebay and paint them.  I haven't painted one in years, and these two had been sitting forever, primed black.  I figured I would clear them off the pending desk (I literally had to dust them off) as a way to recognize the expansion of the Analogue Challenge into the sci-fi realm!

Stay tuned for more entries! And go check out what others are painting - it's pretty awesome.  Byron has already completed some really, really nice WW1 stuff...he might share it here too...

Monday, December 16, 2013

Poll Results and New Poll

One of the cool things about Blogger is the ability to create polls for our visitors. On our blog the "Poll" is always at the top right of the page.

Our last poll asked:

Traditionally, model vehicles for wargames haven't been put on scenic bases. However, there's a modern movement towards basing vehicles for aesthetic and practical reasons. Do you think vehicles should be based for gaming?

Twenty-seven of you voted, and the results were as follows:

Yes, 15mm vehicles but not 28mm vehicles
  13 (48%)
Yes, both 15mm and 28mm vehicles
  7 (25%)
No, vehicles should not be based
  7 (25%)

So, an overwhelming majority of three-quarters of you thought that 15mm vehicles should be based! Interesting!

New poll coming up about priming models in cold weather.



Friday, December 13, 2013

Winter Has Arrived Yay! (Not)

More 15mm winter WW2 troops and tanks
Well the winter has once again locked the Canadian prairies with its dreadful embrace.  The current day time "high" temperatures range in the minus 25 degree Celsius range, and once our enviro-guess-Canada weather "forecasting" service adds its random wind chill, the temps are even more awful.  So of course this is all perfect inspiration to finish some more winter WW2 stuff...

Matching the current weather outside my house. Note that an additional 30cms of snow has come since this photo was taken some time ago

Not much to show in this post - I've been away from the painting table for a few weeks, back just in time to take a stab at yet another Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.  But it was good to get these bits cleared off before the Challenge started - a set of half-tracks, 251/7s, a few more infantrymen and another pair of Panther "A"s.

An SdKfz 251/7 - will need to warm up after starting the engine...

I opted for these half-tracks over more conventional ones to give the option of having an engineer/pioneer force.  Often they have the worst jobs - repairing bridge crossings, clearing minefields and other work, all under fire.

I believe those are meant to be temporary bridging sections on top there, but I have never been too sure...
This force is also semi-inspired by Scwhere Panzer Regiment Bäke, which included an engineer battalion on its roster for at least some of the period it was in action. The Panzer crews would have relied heavily on them to help keep their advances/breakouts moving, particularly in the face of tough weather conditions.

Peter Pig vehicles are real beauties, sharp castings with nice details like the stowage on the front.
A scenario where some engineers are trying to secure some rickety bridges somewhere on the Eastern Front during the winter, then trying to blow them just as the Russians approach - this appeals to me! I think that would make for a good Chain of Command game.

Some foot sloggers from Battlefront.  These castings look depressed, which I love about them.
The half-tracks are from Peter Pig, and were quite lovely to work with and paint. To my mind they remain top-of-the-list when it comes to quality 15mm figures and vehicles.There are enough half tracks to mount up a platoon - three vehicles.
Panzerschrek team.  I bet that was a fun piece of kit to haul through the snow...

The infantry are a smattering of spare castings from Battlefront - a panzerschrek team and a few regular panzer grenadiers. Once again I am impressed with the quality of these particular castings from Battlefront - their winter Germans are really well done.

Another snow cat, weathered to show it has fought its way through several kessels since the snow fell...

The Panthers are "A" variants, and the models are from Battlefront.  These were real beauties to work with and I had a lot of fun painting them.  The details on the hull are top notch.  While they are of course more expensive than the very, very nice models from Plastic Soldier Company, I still think these are tops in my books and a great value.

Panzer 314 ready to roll out.

As with my previous batch of winter tanks, these received heavy winter weathering treatment. Again, it's probably a little too much, but I still have a lot to learn when it comes to being a bit more subtle with the weathering on vehicles :)

Lots of wonderful, sharp little details on the Battlefront Panthers

So the Painting Challenge starts this weekend - I will be a slow starter in this challenge, but I've got a fairly high points goal (although the others are all just low-balling and sandbagging - right, Ray?) so I hope to tear out a few good starting pieces over Christmas.  During the Challenge I hope to do projects in different scales and periods including 28mm Napoleonics and Sudan, 15mm Arab-Israeli Wars, more WW2 stuff of course, and maybe some sci-fi! I know Dallas, Byron and Kevin are in for the Challenge too, so I'm looking forward to seeing lots of great Fawcett Avenue content lighting up the blogosphere!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Monogram MiL-24 Hind "D" in 1/48

OK, it must have been about 4 years ago that I picked up two 1/48 Hind kits by Monogram in a TMP deal. One of these ended up with Conscript Mike F. and has long since been completed. Mine sat in a box and I decided that once I'd painted the BMP for my chemical Commies, I'd better give them some air-transportability too.

I assembled and painted the model pretty much by the book, although I skipped the detailed interior. I found that the interior parts didn't fit that well and I hadn't intended to include opening doors, so there was no point in doing the extra work. I did heed the advice of Mike F. and rig up magnetic mounts for the rotors though. This was done post-assembly but turned out OK.

One thing I did do that I usually skip was to use the clear canopy. I usually paint over canopies because either there's no crew included in there, or I'm too lazy to paint them, but this time I made an exception. The crew figures included with the kit are very nice so I thought it would be fun to make them visible from outside.

Here's another blurry shot of Yuri and Alexei. There's something very cool about the Hind, it's just a purposeful looking weapon. Looking forward to deploying this one in a game soon. I've got a few goodies in store for my MOPP suited '80s Americans that I'm leaving to start until the Challenge begins next week but I anticipate they'll go up quickly...

15mm Modern Canucks vs. Red Army Battle Report (HNIC style)

Other than wargaming, one of Conscript Greg's and my shared obsessions is NHL hockey. Of course, being Canadians, we both grew up with Hockey Night in Canada and broadcast personalities like Brian MacFarlane and Howie Meeker. Classic!

However, nowadays we have "the Studio 42 crew" - Glenn, P.J., Kevin, Ron, Elliotte (sic) and the lovely Andi... These guys drive Greg crazy for many different reasons. Glenn and Kevin because they were formerly NHL goalies and Greg thinks goalies have mental disabilities (oh and did I mention I'm a goalie too?), P.J. because he has the intellectual acumen of an "enforcer" matched with the physique of Peter Dinklage, and Elliotte not only because he spells his name with a Smurfette-style extra "e", but also for his fetishization of the "ideal hockey" supposedly played in Europe, where the game is physical but there's no fighting, everyone is skilled but there's room for "role players", and there are never EVER any cheap shots.

Greg calls this "Hockey Night in Chardonnay" and it provides us with tons of laughs while we're background-watching games on Thursdays. So in honour of this motif we're doing a battle-report up HNIC style, with all of the cliches and overdone hockey tropes we love from our broadcaster heroes. On to the batrep... 

The game was the debut of Conscript Mike's gorgeous modern Canadians, replete with Leopard 1's and loads of M113s. The force might be smaller in size but certainly consists of skill players who are going to bring a high compete level to the game.

The Soviets are Greg's work and they are outstanding too. The BMPs provide flexible punch but the T-72s and T-80s are the power forwards that will really bring some needed physicality to the matchup.

The scenario was a home game for the Canadians - they are tasked to defend a small German village against the Russian breakthrough force. The Soviet objective is to punch through and exit as many elements as possible off their opposite table edge.

Soviets start from the top of the photo and have to exit from the bottom. Canadians deploy in a neutral zone trap to clog up the middle and stall the Soviet advance.

Once the game started I seized the opportunity to send one of the Canadian Leopards forward on a flank. The idea was to gain penetration and get some cycles going down low in the zone.

As the Soviets advanced, the Leopard disabled the main gun of one of the tanks but unfortunately the Soviets were able to activate their D and the Leopard was knocked out with a lower body injury.

Meanwhile on the other flank the Soviets are pressing hard getting guys to the net. At this point, the Canadians are really collapsing around their net and have decided to play for the single point as the Soviets really have some good jump in their game.

The Soviets really maximized their zone time as the Canadians hunkered down in the village. Getting pucks to the net was the key to their game as they got the cycle going and pummeled the Canadians from close range. The Soviets went to the hard areas and that was the difference-maker.

In the end the onslaught was too much for the Canadians as the Soviets played an excellent road game. The Soviets played a north-south game and really kept their feet moving. The active sticks from the tanks didn't give the Canadians time or space to get anything going. The one dangle from the lone Leopard was fruitless as the rest of the line was off on a change and couldn't provide any support.

You really have to hand it to the Soviets here as they managed the game well, kept it simple, took it one shift at a time, and played the whole 60 minutes. They'll cherish those two points and move on.

Thanks to Mike and Greg for bringing out their superb models and to Greg for running the game!