Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Legions Maxximus - Team Yankee Battle Report

As reported previously, Conscript Greg and I ran two games at this year's Legions Maxximus tabletop gaming convention. Greg's Sunday-morning Epic 30K game gained rightful accolades (it looked amazing and played great too), and in the afternoon we ran a Team Yankee mega-game on an 8x5 table.

Here's the blurb: "It's 1985 and the Cold War has suddenly gone very hot indeed! As the Soviets roll across the West German frontier in a seemingly-unstoppable horde of infantry and armour, NATO desperately musters its forces to stop them. A small British armoured battlegroup is surrounded but fighting a determined rearguard action. Can the West German Bundeswehr kampfgruppe rescue the British survivors and continue the fight? Or will they be swamped under the rising Red tide? Tanks, infantry and airpower collide on the battlefields of World War III!"

The initial deployment for the Soviet forces was behind the rail line.

The trapped British battlegroup deployed in the town sector. You can just see the Chieftains around the houses at centre right of the photo, with FV432s behind the petrol station and infantry deployed in that building and in the "McPizza King" right in front of it. Lynx Helarm attack helicopters near, and Swingfires in, the woods.

Here's a higher view of the battlefield; British are at lower-centre left.

Panicked civilians crashed their cars by the Shell station, abandoned them and fled before the advancing Soviets.

Lynx Helarm choppers lurk.

It's on! The Soviet tanks surge across the highway.

View from the Soviet lines as the tank company moves off.

Chieftains light up the FOO in BMP at the treeline.

British deployment quite visible here as the Soviets advance (top centre) - Chieftains at bottom right, Swingfires and helos by the trees just above them, and infantry in the McPizza King.

The Lynxes and Swingfires had a good first turn, lighting up the Soviet SAM launchers and along with help from the Chieftains, decimated a motor rifle company. However in the Soviet turn the ZSU-23-4s got into action and, well... pwnership happened.


As the Soviet T-72s advance they land a few lucky shots - Chieftain brews up.

Over on the other flank, the lone survivor of a T-72 platoon lines up a flank shot on a Chieftain


Chieftains come under fire from Hinds appearing on their flank... not good. The Brits had no anti-aircraft capability and that was a problem for them as they anxiously awaited the arrival of the West Germans from reserve...

Hinds have a target-rich environment. Meanwhile, a Soviet assault on the McPizza King was repulsed, bloodily.

Marauding Hinds take out the last of the Chieftain troop.

Meanwhile, Leopard 2s of the Bundeswehr arrive from reserve to try and salvage the situation. The T-72 company is in a veritable shooting gallery as the Leos heat up the barrels of their Rheinmetall 120mm guns...

Soviet scrapyard...

Over at the McPizza King the British defenders peer out over stacked up pizza boxes and see this...

Motor rifle company closes for the kill.

M109Gs of the Bundeswehr arrive and take aim at the massed Soviet infantry about to assault the McPizza King.

Leopard Zug zips down the highway but is destroyed by the Soviet Frogfoot ground-attack planes. Still no AA on the table for the Allies.

Just as a Team Yankee game should look... massed burning vehicles everywhere.

Conscript Greg reckoned the game ended as pretty much a draw. The British battlegroup was broken and such of the West Germans that made it onto the table were pretty much destroyed as well, except for the M109Gs. The problem for the Allies was not so much the overwhelming amount of Soviet armour - they could deal with that - but the utter lack of any AAA to oppose the Soviet airpower was fatal. Not only did the Hinds impose their will on the Chieftains, but when the Frogfoots showed up things went pretty pear shaped.

However the Soviet losses were... significant, with most (all?) of the battalion's tanks destroyed, and a motor rifle company erased as well. It was a great game and certainly looked very cool with stuff burning everywhere!

Much thanks to Conscript Greg for supplying the board, roads, and most of the buildings, as well as the scenario idea and all of the Soviets (and there were a lot!); also thanks to Conscript Bill who played in the game, and Nathan for making a great last stand with the Brits in the McPizza King! (and of course to Garth of Maxx Collectibles and Bryan of Legions IV Hire for inviting us out to run our game!)

Adeptus Mechanicus Kastelan Robot Maniple!

Way back in 2015, Games Workshop introduced the Adeptus Mechanicus faction for Warhammer 40K, and man was I stoked. In fact I was moved so far as to proclaim that GW had gotten its mojo back. Well, we've had our ups and downs since then but I still love me some AdMech.

And I've finally put my money where my mouth is! Here is a Kastelan Robot Maniple I finished just in time for the MMSS Show at Legions Maxximus.

As you can see, these aren't exactly the "stock" Robots from out of the GW box. Like many, I'm lukewarm on the "Robby" heads that the Kastelans come with, so I replaced them with these spiffy heads from Wargame Exclusive. In addition to these very cool bits, Warex also makes some amazing looking Inquisitor models, vehicles, and even "not-Tau" characters.  I think their heads suit the Robots perfectly.

Not to be left out, the Kastelan box comes with an Adeptus Mechanicus controller dude to control (?) the Robots. I've always been a bit intimidated by all the detail on these new AdMech character models but never fear, Leadbelcher and Nuln Oil cure all. Add in a skosh of Brass Scorpion/Balthasar Gold here and there and Robert's your mother's brother. Robes are painted with Mephiston Red, washed with N.O. and highlighted with Mephiston and Evil Sunz Orange.

The pistols on this model are notably cool sculpts.

The giants robos got a coat of Mephiston washed with good old N.O. with Mephiston over top again. Sponge weathering and some random Leadbelcher chipping finished them off.

During assembly one of the model's hip joints were cut up and reposed slightly as well, just for some variety.

I'm a big fan (and somewhat less skilled practitioner) of the Magnet Revolution - mainly because I'm cheap and I love having flexibility to use the same models in different ways. So for the Kastelans, I magnetised the hands and painted both sets for both models - so I can field blaster-bots, handy-bots, or a combination of both in the same Maniple.

Here's a family portrait of my Adeptus Mechanicus "army" so far. It will be added to - I have a bunch of unassembled models to build yet - but I think there's a sufficient number for a small multi-player Rogue Trader/Kill Team type game. I can hardly wait to get them out on the battlefield.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Onager Dunecrawler Rescue Project

One part of the hobby that I find enjoyable is what I like to call "rescue and rehab". This is where you find a model that's been neglected or abused, and by cleaning up, repairing, and repainting, return it to a state where it can proudly be deployed on the wargames table.

As I've been building a small Adeptus Mechanicus force (in fits and starts), I couldn't resist picking up an abused Skitarii Onager Dunecrawler for a deal... but as it turns out, not enough of one...

The model had been assembled and painted, thickly, in a bizarre colour scheme. The assembly wasn't great either, as the "turret" part had been glued straight down to the hull/legs, removing any poseability to the model. The Dunecrawler also only came with one weapon - the Neutron Cannon.

After getting the piece home, I started to make plans as to what parts I needed to order. I ended up getting an Eradicator main gun, Ad Mech gunner and cupola, comms array, and decal sheet from a trusty bits supplier on eBay. While waiting for the parts to arrive, I soaked the model in SuperClean to get most of the paint off, then carefully sliced off the turret and constructed a rotator assembly. I also cut off the manky cupola and replaced it with fresh bits, and added the Ad Mech pintle servitor. I carefully sliced apart the neutron cannon assembly and magnetized the main gun mount. Lastly, after adding the new parts, I textured the base and primed the model:  

After a lick of paint, here is what we have!

Done up in the traditional Martian colourway to match the Skitarii Rangers and Kastelan Robot maniple I've done already. The hull was painted Mephiston Red and washed with Nuln Oil, then punched up with Mephiston again.

Metalwork is Leadbelcher again washed with Nuln Oil. The gold bits are Brass Scorpion.

The undercarriage is painted Rakarth Flesh, and copious amounts of sponge weathering applied.

Some Leadbelcher applied as chips complete the weathering.

 Lenses are done with a straightforward jewel style. The "racing stripe" on the front hull was laid out with low-tack masking tape and painted in with Pallid Wych Flesh over Celestra Grey in a heavy stipple.

Here it is with the Neutron Cannon. Purposeful enough I guess but I prefer the Spaceman Spiff look of the Eradicator...

I'm really pleased with how the project turned out, even though it probably made little economic sense to do it the way I did. Between what I paid for the basket case model and what I spent on spare parts, I'm nearly up to what the model costs from a discount retailer. But these projects can be fun when you think of what it started as, and what you ended up with.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Epic 30k Game at Legions Maxximus (Lots of Photos)

"Let's shake hands!" - Titan vs. Titan in Epic 30k action at Legions Maxximus

This past weekend in Winnipeg we were very pleased to participate in Legions Maxximus, a local gaming and hobby event that has been growing in prominence here in Winnipeg thanks to the support of local retailers and hobby enthusiasts.  We hosted two demonstration games at the event.  Here are some photos of the first game - Epic 30k!

Loyalist forces for the scenario
Horus for hope! The Rebel forces for the scenario...

The scenario pitted the hard working advocates of hope and change from the 16th Legion, the Warmaster's own Sons of Horus, backed by Titans from Legio Mortis, against the delusional followers of the so-called "Emperor" from the VII Legion, the Imperial Fists, and hapless Titan crews from the Legio Gryphonicus.

The forces were equally balanced, because they were identical :) This was a demonstration game, after all, and the main goal was to give the players a taste of some of the different vehicles and troop types as well as an opportunity to blast away with Titans.  We played the game using "Epic Armageddon" rules.

The 6'x4' table with deployments and objectives marked
The table was 6' x 4', with three objectives.  The opposing forces entered along the opposing short table edges.  The goal was to hold the majority of the objectives prior to the conclusion of the game.  It would end after six turns OR once one side had five of their force elements destroyed or broken.  With all of the big guns on both sides, I had a pretty good idea which would happen first...

Hey - the Alpha Legion is already here...what are they up to?
Also present on the table from a small detachment from the XX Legion, the Alphas. Their purposes was unknown to either side...just the way the Alphas like it...basically, neither side trusted them, including their supposed allies in the Sons of Horus, so a secondary objective was to try and contain the Alpha detachment ("secure" them in Sons of Horus parlance).   If one side or the other made contact, well we would see what might happen...on to the photos!
War engines of Legio Gryphonicus lead the way for the loyalist side...
Armour from the VII Legion follows the Titans
Legio Mortis engines race to confront their hated rivals

Meanwhile, the Sons of Horus deploy from their Spartan carriers to capture an objective
A loyalist Warhound leads an advance along the flank - and takes cover behind a building! Typical...
The Imperial Fist Land Raiders boldly advanced to open fire on the Legio Mortis engines - they would knock out the void shields on one of them!
The Sicaran detachment from XVI Legion comes under heavy fire
The VII Legion Land Raiders received heavy return fire directly from the rebel titans...the remnants of the detachment fall back under fire
The Imperial Fists launch a bold assault, closing to point blank range to knock out the opposing Land Raiders with grenades, power fists and other goodies...the unfortunate, yet brave Sons of Horus Land Raiders would be wiped out...
The XVI Legion, however, had a second tier of support lined up...a Fellblade and a Knight detachment ready their guns for the Imperial Fists
Contact! The players on both sides, inspired by Dave's passion for aggressive play, had their power-fist-equipped Titan charge right at each other, a fine climax for the game
KA BOOM! The rebel Titan ripped the loyalist engine apart, but did so in such a dramatic fashion that its reactor melted down and the resulting explosion obliterated the Legio Mortis attacker as well! Classic 30k!

So it was a close-run game, with a suitably apocalyptic ending - two Titans destroying each other in a brutal close attack!!  The loss of the Titan was the final nail in the Loyalist attack, representing the loss of a fifth force element, and they withdrew, leaving the ground to the rebels, who themselves had lost one Titan, seen a second one severely damaged, and seen heavy losses among other detachments.  Well fought everyone!!

Epic remains as one of the finest rule sets GW has ever produced, allowing a large encounter featuring everything from foot-slogging tactical marines to massive Fellblade tanks, to Knights and all the way to Titans!  

Loyalist troops, backed by armour, secure one of the objectives

Sons of Horus forces keep an eye on the Alphas...

Rebel Knight household units advance
Ouch! It was a tough outing for the loyalist Knights...this formation would break under withering fire from XVI Legion Fellblade tanks
Thanks to Dave V, Russ, Russel and Nathan for joining us to play.  A huge thank-you to Dallas for playing and helping set up and run the game as well! 

This was, I believe, the third year for the Legions Maxximus event. It has been growing from modest roots into a significant gaming event for hobbyists in Winnipeg and the surrounding area.  With the support of the Manitoba Model Soldier Society (see them on Facebook here) as well as local hobby retailers like Maxx Collectibles, Legions IV Hire and the Winnipeg GW store, this event is improving every year.   In addition to gaming, the members of the MMSS were on hand to provide tutorials on painting, while the keen model builders of the IPMS were sharing their tips on model building.  The MMSS was also staging their 40th anniversary show (congrats to them!). There were a number of different demonstration games, from fantasy to sci-fi to historical. Participants could try different games and learn about how to paint the figures - and take home one of their own!  Very well done.

In all, it was a great hobby event, and we had a great time participating. I'm already looking forward to next year!   Watch for more photos from our "Team Yankee" mega game that followed the Epic 30k game...