Wednesday, September 19, 2018

An Epic 30k Skirmish - Imperial Fists Fold...

Blast markers abound in an Epic 30k confrontation at Byron's place last week!
Games Workshop has recently re-released the game "Adeptus Titanicus".  As a long, long time fan of GW's long-abandoned "Epic" games and the 30k setting, news of the return of "Adeptus Titanicus" stirred many feelings.  I'll probably share/rant about those in another post. But more than anything, news of the release made me, first and foremost, want to get a game of Epic 30k in! I haven't played the setting or scale in many months, and back from my summer at the lake, I was keen to play a game - Byron M was kind enough to host and oblige last week.  Here are some pictures of the game.

For rules we used the "Epic: Armageddon" version of Epic, and stats from this amazing Epic 30k wiki. The scenario was not at all complex - a meeting engagement of two opposing detachments. Byron brought his lovely Epic 30k Death Guard to the table, while I played the part of the "loyalist" fools, deployment a force of Imperial Fist Legion Space Marines.  There were no Titans in the game, but each side had a couple of super-heavy Legion tanks backing up their forces.  The objectives were brutally simple - break the other force! The first side to have five detachments broken would lose...

Initial deployments taking shape...the Death Guard seem to be moving right into my trap *cough* (that's the official version I'll report to Malcador later...)
The first turn looked good for the Imperial Fists, as Byron struggled with his command rolls and so my forces were able to get a bit of a jump on the Death Guard.  Little did I suspect this would be the high-point for the Sons of Dorn...

Here is an ominous sight...Death Guard Spartan troop carriers, backed by a deadly Glaive super heavy tank...

Fellblade, Flachion and Dreadnoughts advance on the Death Guard flank.
In subsequent turns, Byron's evil dice mojo returned, with amazing saving throws, solid command rolls and other sinister benefits (no doubt derived from his forces' devotion to the great Warmaster, Horus Lupercal).  Meanwhile, I whiffed on command rolls, rolls to hit, rolls to know, ALL THE ROLLS YOU NEED TO MAKE.  Sigh.

VII Legion armoured forces move out - Falchion providing cover at the top of the photo.

Falchion barely lumbering forward, thanks to failed command rolls on my part. Oh well. What could go wrong?
My Fellblade detachment wrecked some serious sh*t, blasting the Death Guard Sicaran tank detachment to tiny pieces. But that was it for meaningful success. Among many low points, the worst for me was the moment I thought I had Byron's assault marines dead to rights: surrounded by my Sicaran tanks, I was certain all of those Herakles auto cannons and heavy bolters would ventilate those sad Sons of Barbarus...but, no, Byron had blazing hot saving throws and...

Stars of the show for me - Fellblades, oh yeah!!

Spartans move ahead, carrying a detachment of tactical marine aboard.

And Land Raiders broke, then my Spartans, then my Predators were blasted to pieces, then then one of my tactical detachments was broken in an assault carried out by the Death Guard assault marines who should have been misted by my Sicarans...the final blow came when my Falchion was blasted to particles...VII Legion suddenly remembered a meeting they needed to attend off world, and beat a hasty retreat, leaving the table to the victorious Death Guard.
Battle is joined - Death Guard Sicaran tanks halt my advancing spearheads...although the Fellblades (top right of the photo) will soon make short work of them...

The mendacious assault marines of the Death Guard.

Old Skool Predator tanks of the Death Guard move on through a drop pod LZ.
Another view of Byron's fine Sicaran tank detachment.

Near final dispositions (the only thing yet to happen before my defeat is the obliteration of my Falchion super heavy tank, seen hiding out near the middle bottom of the photo).
This game was a lot of fun, and again a reminder of just how excellent the "Epic: Armageddon" rules system can be.  The current editions of 30k/40k are such a morass, it is easy to forget that GW did release so many fun and excellent rules, "Epic: Armageddon" being foremost among them.  The rules reflect the character and "fluff" of the factions very well. And the 30k setting is just such a favourite of mine, so this was a great time. I hope to organize another Epic 30k game soon.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Sicaran Tank for 30k Sons of Horus

Sicaran tank of the XVI Legion on maneuvers with some infantry. 
And in yet another jarring switch of settings, we zoom away from the battlefield of late 19th century France and into the distant and grim dark future - back to some more 30k stuff again!  If you are going to bring "hope and change" to the galaxy, you might as well do it in style, and so I present a Sicaran tank from the armouries of the XVI Space Marine Legion, the Sons of Horus.  This model was assembled for me by the excellent Steve B here in Winnipeg (you can see previous examples of his modelling skill on display here).

If the Mechanicum had ever designed a sports car, it would have looked like this. Steve did a great job assembling this beauty for me - thanks Steve!!
When Forge World first rolled out the 30k kits years ago, they were both faithful to the original setting (as seen in the very old game "Space Marine") while also very clever in bringing out new old models for 30k players.  Part of the ambient setting for 30k is the deep, fundamental difference between a Space Marine Chapter (of the 40k "times") and the Space Marine Legion (from 30k).  The Legions were huge, with tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of Space Marines.  The powered the Great Crusade with their own fleets, and had clouds of vehicles to support their operations.  To add to the more exotic and cool flavour of the Legions (as opposed to the 40k Chapters), "lost" vehicles appeared, with the idea being such vehicles were around and available by the boat-load in the "good old days".

Twin "Herakles Pattern" auto cannons in the turret will make mincemeat of most so-called "loyalists". 
The Sicaran tank is one such design.  An altered take on a classic Land Raider chassis, the Sicaran is meant to be a faster-yet-still-tough tank design.  It carries no troops, but between its powerful auto cannons in the turret, and sponson weapon options, it provides solid armoured support.  And it just looks awesome - the slope of the armour, etc.  As Byron has often remarked, the design just looks menacing, and fits the Space Marine legions very well.  It fits right in with the Land Raiders and Rhinos, but also looks a little different, a little exotic.  The sculptors at Forge World hit a home run with this vehicle design.

Heavy bolters on the sponsons, and another on the front hull, provide some additional anti-personnel firepower. 
Not only does the Sicaran tank look cool, it performs well on the table.  The GW designers conferred impressive performance stats on these vehicles.  The auto cannons in particular are quite potent weapons. These tanks are so tough that you see them constantly pop up in the 40k forces at tournaments, supposedly as a relic remaining in the 40k chapter armoury (one more reason I laugh at tournaments, but anyway).  When it comes to 30k games, this vehicle will fill the obstructionist terrorists known as "loyalists" with all sorts of high-velocity slugs for the betterment of the galaxy, and I look forward to a game where this joins a Sons of Horus armoured column.

Forge World has gone on to add a number of variants of the Sicaran chassis to the product lineup over the years.  One such, the Sicaran Venator, looks pretty cool, and I have some of those lined up to join my collection at some point. The other variants look...well, not as cool. YMMV.  But for now, one Sicaran is enough. This vehicle will join my already pretty-large XVI Legion motor pool for operations on the Fawcett Avenue gaming tables.

Lovely angles on this model - great design by Forge World.
Byron has had one of these beauties for his Death Guard for a long time, and I have been impressed each time I have seen it. I was keen to add one for my Sons of Horus - it sure took me long enough, but at least I got it done eventually!

Up next, more 30k...but back to "Epic" scale!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

More 28mm Prussians from Foundry - Fifth Unit Complete!

Another group of Prussians ready to take to the gaming table. 
We are heading into the final days of summer, and now that I am back from the lake, I am trying to apply the finishing touches to figures I painted out at the cabin.  While I did a few 30k and sci-fi bits out there, mostly I had brought along some 28mm Prussian castings by Wargames Foundry for my Franco-Prussian war project.  After I finished some Dragoons earlier in the summer, I started in  another unit of Prussian infantry.  The majority were painted at the cabin, with a final few castings completed last week, and basing etc. completed this week.  So here is another unit of Prussian infantry!
Officer in the foreground directing traffic in his unit. 

Tried to mix things up a bit by using a different pose for the front rank in this unit. 
The castings are lovely, as these Perry-sculpted Foundry figures are just excellent. I used some different poses in this unit to provide a bit of variety on the table. As before, there are 20 castings in the main body of the unit, and four castings on individual bases which can be set out to represent the deployment of skirmishers. The flag is from GMB. 
Commanders in the middle - flag from GMB.

Skirmish troops have their great coats on - once more, provides a bit of variety in the look of the formation on the table. 
And while I was finishing off the infantry unit, I also added some ground work to the previously-painted Dragoons. 

Prussian Dragoons, now with completed ground work. 

Split into two small units here, but could be combined into one unit without much trouble.

Another view of the Dragoons - not as glamorous as some of the other cavalry arms, but critical for the Prussian forces!
So this bonkers Franco-Prussian War in 28mm for Black Powder is starting - just barely, but starting - to come together.  Five infantry units, one cavalry unit (or two, if I want to have two small ones), and an artillery almost - almost - can be squeezed into enough of a force that can be occupy the gang for a Thursday night game. I think one or two more Prussian units of some sort should do the trick.  It may take a little while to get to them - some 30k stuff is heading for the painting table for now - but I'll do my best to keep on track toward a game sometime this year! 

Monday, September 10, 2018

Sci-Fi Terrain Bits - "Sector Imperialis" Objectives

A few "Sector Imperialis Objective" bits from GW
I'm back from a lovely summer in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, and while my painting pace was much slower this past summer than past years (and continues to be pretty slow, relatively, overall, as is my blogging pace), I did finish a few more little things here and there.  First to share are these fun little bits from Games Workshop - a set of "objectives", pieces from the "Sector Imperialis Objectives" set which I believe were released back with the new, 8th edition of 40k. 

I'm such a slacker when it comes to painting terrain, or things which might be considered terrain, and I almost never do it.  I'm a HUGE fan of products by folks like the Miniature Building Authority - painted, solid terrain, ready to be on the gaming table straight from the box, no precious time or life force expended on painting terrain! 

Orbital vox relay - "front" side

Orbital vox relay - "back" side
So, my attitude toward painting terrain is dumb. After all, just check out what Dallas or Mike can come up with - amazing stuff! And nice terrain can really add so much to a game - I'm looking forward to the day we do a big 30k game using Mike's wall...and Dallas great painted Skyshield landing pad and GW defences have appeared many, many times on our gaming table and helped make them awesome (see here for just one example- and Dallas put actual LED lights in the landing pad!).  And check out this battle report to see some trees that Byron MADE.

"Administratum cogitator shrine" - check you bank balance AND receive direction from The Emperor, all with one PIN number...
Furthermore, while guys like Dallas and Mike are really sharp with improvising/construction, I do have to credit GW with coming out with more and more excellent terrain kits - check out Tim's amazing work (here, or here - amazing stuff Tim, well done) for examples. 

"Lucius pattern escape pod" - with hatch still attached.
I don't have the skills to make terrain like Mike, Byron and Dallas can, but I can at least paint, and as more and more nice terrain options come around (and not just from GW - there are many options out there for gamers), I really need to get over my stupid hangups and start painting some of this cool terrain out there if I want to see it on the table.  I thought these little "objectives" would help ease me into the process...this little 8th edition objective pack was a good place to start. 

It appears the target of the search may have escaped! Fun interior detail on the escape pod.
These are fun, fun little bits - an "administratum cogitator shrine", an "orbital vox array", a "Lucius pattern escape pod" and, my favourite, an "Exterminatus Device" (!).  Each would be suitable to add a little bit of character to/serve as the baseline for a 30k/40k scenario.  The designs are fun and faithful to the 30k/40k setting, and lend themselves to a lot of possible mayhem in a game. 

They are also great designs - the escape pod, for example, can be modelled to have the hatch on, or off, something which could have a subtle but significant import to a gaming scenario.  I will be trying to track down some extra versions of these models - after all, what is more fun than one "Exterminatus Device"? Why, two "Exterminatus Devices", of course!

The awesome "exterminatus device" - careful with the wires, now!
There are more bits still to paint from this box - including the ultra neat "field medicarium" and spooky "xenon stasis crypt" (!) - but I'm looking very much forward looking forward to getting together with the guys and setting one or more of these pieces into a small 30k game.  I mean, how much fun would the Sons of Horus have with the "Exterminatus Device" - surely to disarm it, of course...I mean, the Warmaster would NEVER let anything bad happen to a whole world, right? Imagine the Alpha Legion hacking the "Administratum Cogitator" ("I am Alpharius, and I have drained you bank accounts...")...should be good times. 

Stay tuned for more... 

Monday, August 27, 2018

A 30k Break - A Few More Space Wolves...

Some VI Legion reinforcements as seen by the dim light of my cabin...
Since last December I have been surprisingly focused in terms of painting projects over the past year. I mean, like, relatively - I still have all sorts of different projects and half-started projects piled all over the place, but since I started on a 28mm Franco-Prussian War project back in the fall of 2017, and have been pretty much focused on painting figures for that period - some pretty good progress. During Curt's annual Painting Challenge there were short diversions into 15mm Cold War Gone Hot).  With a small exception this past May, my painting queue has lacked a favourite area of interest - 30k stuff!

Officer sporting a silly "Thunder Hammer" for smashing recalcitrant citizens of Prospero - and anything else that gets in the way...
My painting pace has been pretty slow this summer - finishing a unit of Prussian Dragoons in July, and not much else - but I have been really missing painting 30k stuff, none of which I had the foresight to bring to my cabin for painting.  Turns out there is an excellent little hobby store here in Sault Ste Marie, and they had some figures and...well, you know, have to support the local store, right? So I picked up some more plastic Legion Space Marines!

A lot of detail on the back packs and chain swords was lost thanks to the f**king matte varnish, but I managed to get most of the important detail back by reapplying the recess wash of good ol' Agrax Earthshade

What Legion to paint them? I had no decals with me, and no reasonable sources to get them, so the only real options (if I wanted to complete the figures) were the ones in the box. As the box was plastic Mark III Legion Marines, that meant either Space Wolves or Thousand Sons. Given that I only have 10 Space Wolves (from the Burning of Prospero Box), I thought I would go with some reinforcements the rowdy, nutty gang from the VI Legion. 

After more than a year, it was fun to paint up some Mark III Legion Space Marines again! I find painting great figures is like connecting with old friends, and after the first couple models I was quickly back in the groove, cranking out another 10-man veteran squad for the VI Legion. I applied the decals, and as a final step, applied a matte varnish...

This photo shows some of the "frosting" damage from the f**king matte varnish - the decal has almost disappeared...and this figure wasn't even one of the worst ones...
...and F**K! They frosted up terribly, the worst I had encountered in a while.  I had done everything - made sure it was not humid, tested on something, then on just one figure, and both tests worked fine. So I sprayed the bunch and....F**K! Just F**K! This seems to happen to me once every summer. F**K. 

I considered chucking the lot of them in the bin, it was so bad, but I thought of my good friend Dallas and how he brings almost any damaged or wounded plastic figure back from the brink.  With this as inspiration, I set about doing repair/re-painting.

Is there a drawback to the plastic Mark III marine kits? Maybe that it only comes with one heavy weapon option - the heavy bolter.  Having said that, I do love the look of the thing...
It look a lot of re-work to make the figures manageable.  I had to free-hand the "wolf" logo on the shoulder pauldrons (which was possible only because the frosted decal underneath was a useful guide); nearly all of the shoulder plates were re-painted, and many back packs, bolters and chainswords were re-done. The recess wash was re-applied in many cases.  Pretty much the entire top half of the Sergeant was re-painted. While there is still a lot of lost detail and colour (particularly the chain sword grips and the silver/gunmetal on the bolters), the figures were back to a serviceable condition for the table, and decided to call them finished and move on.

Bring on the 30k mayhem!
The photos are, of course, not top-shelf, as the lighting in my cabin isn't really ideal (or even "good") for photography of miniatures, but thankfully the relatively dark photos help to cover up the damage done from the "frosting". 

No doubt the previous squad of Space Wolves in my collection will be glad to see their available forces increase by nearly 100%! Hopefully this group will see some Prospero-themed hijinks on the Fawcett Avenue gaming tables this fall. Will I suddenly expand this force further? Who knows? The Space Wolves have never been favourites of mine, but Dan Abnett has brought be around, and grey does look sharp on that Horus Heresy armour and kit...and further 30k distractions loom - particularly with the release of the new "Adeptus Titanicus" copy of the game is waiting back in Winnipeg - I hope to have some Titans on this site before Thanksgiving, if not sooner!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

PrairieCon XXXIX (yes that's "39")

This year, in accordance with ancient tradition, we loaded up the wagons and headed out to PrairieCon in Brandon, Manitoba. Conscripts Greg, Byron, and me each ran a game, and we were pretty chuffed to meet up with Original Conscript Curt who came out from Regina to play in our games and run an amazing game of his own just for us!

Here's a view of the Assiniboine Community College gym, which hosted many of PrairieCon's miniatures games. Fortunately for us, our games were tucked away in a quiet corner of the cafeteria upstairs :-)

First up on the weekend menu was my Battlestar Galactica fleet-scale game using the Colonial Blattlefleet ruleset. Due to a bit of confusion in the convention program, some of the people who signed up thought they would be playing the BSG boardgame which is... quite different from Colonial Battlefleet (they assured me that they had fun anyway).

The scenario fit into the general PrairieCon theme this year, which was "It's a Trap." The Colonials had grabbed a breather to refuel and refit but were surprised at anchor by a Cylon fleet and had to make good their escape.

The Colonials were deployed roughly around the planet with the Cylons split between the long table edges. The Colonials had to escape from either or both of those long edges.

As in the TV show, once the fleets were engaged the missiles began to fly fast and furious!

Battlestars launched their Vipers!

Then it really got fun - close quarters battle between man and machine! We found that the Battlestars were pretty impregnable though - the amount of point defense and flak they could throw out made it very difficult for the (admittedly far more numerous) Cylon Raiders and Heavy Raiders to deal them much damage.

However, as someone once said "quantity has a quality all its own" and if you get enough Raiders (red dice) into action...

...stuff is bound to blow up!

The ended as a Colonial victory... if you can count the loss of one of the three Colonial squadrons as a "victory". The fact is, every Colonial ship destroyed and crewman killed is a loss that can't be replaced. Cylons can always produce more robots and ships...

Conscript Byron ran a game of the Two Fat Lardies' "Through the Mud and the Blood":

The year is 1915, the Germans have just launched their first chlorine gas attack and pushed the Allies back.  The Canadian forces of the 10th and 16th Battalions have been ordered into Kitchener’s Wood in a counter attack in the middle of the night with no reconnaissance.  What could possibly go wrong?
Here we see the French holed up in a ruined farm, ready to defend against the German attack / bug out (delete as appropriate).

Byron ran the game with a masterful hand...

The accessories he made for the game are outstanding in quality. Here we see one of his custom cards. The unit blinds are also pretty striking.

Next up was Greg's game: Team Yankee based on the battle of Blickheim in Macksey's excellent book "First Clash":

The year is 1986, and the forces of the Warsaw Pact have invaded West Germany.  NATO allies respond, Canada among them.  The 4th Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group moves into position to counter the advance of the Soviet 1st Guards tank division.  Leopard C1s and infantry of the Royal Canadian Regiment will clash with T-72s and Soviet Motor Rifle troops! 
In keeping with the convention theme ("it's a trap", remember?) Greg's scenario had the Soviets advancing pretty much unopposed towards a town, only to be ambushed by a mighty Canadian armoured squadron! Here are a couple of photos but Greg has done a comprehensive battle report, found here.

One last thing... I was pretty pleased to be able to pick up almost 30 classic AD&D modules from the collection of an old buddy and his younger brother. Nice eh? They were expensive, but I'm sure I could get something back from the duplicates if I wanted (I now own three copies each of "Tomb of Horrors" and "Expedition to the Barrier Peaks") and buying them all in one go saves future time and effort in looking for the ever-elusive "bargains"... at least that's what I told myself at the time :-)