Friday, February 27, 2009

Imperium Facing Sludge Shortage

The Imperium is facing a shortage of the key armoured maintenace substance known as "Carceno-lube", an important coolant for Shadowsword tread assemblies, thanks to a daring raid by Orc bombers(z) and fighter-bombmers(z) on the toxic sludge facilities of planet Toxo IV.

Toxic sludge facilities burn, filling the planet with deadly fumes that will probably cause some kind of Nurgle plague- just another day in the Imperium...

Last night we tried out Aernautica Imperialis, the F*** World 40k air combat game which uses the Epic scale fighter planes. As seen previoulsy in this blog, Dallas has been on a little tear of a "project", painting up a hefty Ork squadron, some Imperial fighters, and some great new terrain made of spare bits and junk from around the house.

Cam and I played the Imeprial side, with four Thunderbolts, and a trio of heavy flak guns defending the three different Imperial sludge reclamation facilities.

Imperial pilots are briefed for their patrol over the vital toxic sludge reclamation facilities.

Frederick, Dallas, Mike F and Bill took control of the large Ork squadron, which included two "bommerz" (looted Imperial Marauders - excellent conversions by Dallas) and 8 "fighta-bommerzs" (or was it 10? or 12? as an Imperial pilot, I think I had an incentive to exaggerate the number of attackers).

As a certified F*** World hypocrite (yes - I bought Epic Tau), I was a bit wary of the new AI rules. Certainly the book lived up to Forge World's reputation for rigorous production controls (the Q&A addressing typos in the book was filled with typos itself).

Yet my concerns were misplaced - as is so often the case with GW's non-40k games, the rules are great. They are easy to understand, play quick, and use simple maneuver cards that provide some challenge in terms of aniticpating the other side's moves without needing a bunch of charts or (something that is in my subjective opinion one of the least-appealing sights in table-top wargaming) a hex-map on the table.

The game was fast-paced. Lucky for me, Cam's two fighters took the brunt of the early fire from the Ork squadron (or is it Skwadrun?) and he lost a 'Bolt in the second turn, while our flak guns missed. At that time, we wondered how useful they would be. HA! As the Orc attack wave broke up to engage the different sludge reclamation facilities, they started to pick the Orc planes out of the sky. In fact, our rolling got pretty awesome. I may never roll that hot again, and Cam was even winning initiative for us!

Artist's rendition of rolling by Cam and Greg during last night's Aeronautica Imperialis game.

The "play of the game" had to be the moment when Dallas, after carefully lining up in the 6 o-clock spot of Cam's last fighter, had a chance to blast it. However, Frederick has also lined up a bombing run on one of the plants, and with the flak gunners demonstrating eagle-eyed accuracy, the Orks put the mission first and allowed Frederick to take the first shooting action, and he attacked the factory (and my apologies to Frederick - I can't recall if he hit the thing or not...)

Quote Dallas - "I've got a bad feeling about this..." The Imperial flak guns opened up, and blasted his fighta from the sky with a direct critical hit...

All in all, the Imperials shot down all but one Ork plane. But the Orks really pasted the targets, destroying one plant, severely damaging another, and knocking out one of the flak guns. Mike F in particular gets an Ork squig coupon (or would have if his pilots hadn't been shot down on the second-last turn) for a red-hot strafing run that absolutely pasted the second factory, and gave the Orks the victory - although I'm sure Gav Thorpe would agree that the Imperial side won a moral victory after shooting down almost the entire Ork attack force.

Gav Thorpe: "Definitely a moral win for the Imperial side..."

No doubt the Imperial pilots, thinking they had done well, were surprised to return to base and learn they had been demoted to Colon Servitor Fifth Class for not protecting the precious toxic sludge reclamation facilities...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Future FV432

Here are some APC's/IFV's for my future force: The King's Own Manchester Yeomanry of the new English Army.

Imprint is alive... for now

I sent an email to some of you about this, but I thought I'd post here as well. I received a reply from Bob over at Imprint and he says he's still in business and isn't sure why no one has been able to contact him. I've asked about discount bits for a BMP-3 and the hummer (DaveV was interested in a few of those).

Britain seems to be on the verge of financial collapse, so it may be prudent to order some things from Bob before his credit dries up and he can't afford to buy the resin anymore! :P

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Sludge-Busters

The warning klaxons sounded suddenly, so loud they pierced the almost-deafening mechanical noise of an Imperial sludge-reclamation facility operating at full capacity.

Shift-Supervisor Second Class Jax Paxton checked his wrist-chrono. "Too early for midday nutrition period..." he thought. "I wonder what th-"

Paxton's thought was rudely cut short by an inch-thick bullet from an Ork Big Shoota entering, and then rapidly exiting, his temporal lobe. As Paxton's lifeless corpse dropped to the metal decking, overhead a flight of Ork Fighta-Bommerz streaked past, trailing black smoke from their overloaded turbine engines, skidding across the sky to make another strafing pass on Imperial Sludge-Reclamation Facility (Vraks Pattern) Ref. 32-Z. Looted Marauders, gaudily painted in Orkish "go-fasta" red, loosed shrieking volleys of air-to ground rockets against their targets.

Imperial ground defences sprang into action, the shining trails of anti-aircraft tracers arcing into the sky, here and there exploding into jagged black shards of flak. Thunderbolt interceptor aircraft of the Imperial Navy weaved across the sky, lascannons and heavy bolters spitting at the Ork aircraft crossing their sights. But can they drive off the attackers before the facility and its precious toxic sludge reserves are destroyed by the manic Ork Flyboyz?
Find out on Thursday as we try out Forgeworld's "Aeronautica Imperialis" rules for aerial combat in the world of Warhammer 40K. Usual time, usual place!

Progress? What is this "progress" you speak of?

Oooh snap, is that actual paint being applied to actual figures? At this rate, 2 more reading weeks and I'll be laughing...

Still to paint:vehicles, vehicles and more vehicles and some battlesuits to boot (lots). I'll need to cannibalize some suits to build other units, I'm thinking (s'a lot of markerlight drones to scratch build).

Commander Farsight: 170
Bodyguard (HW Drone controller w/ 2 shield drones, HW multi-tracker, HW target lock, Shield Generator, Missile Pod, Fusion Blaster)x 4: 301
Battlesuit Team (Team Leader, Bonding Knife, Fusion Blaster, Flamer, Shield Generator) x3: 188
Stealth Team (Team Leader, Bonding Knife, Drone controller and 2 marker drones)x3: 275
Fire Warrior Team (Shas'ui, Bonding Knife, Devilfish w/Decoy/disruption/multi/SMS)x6: 190
Fire Warrior Team 2: 190
Pathfinders (Shas'ui, Bonding Knife, Devilfish)x7: 176
Broadside (Target Lock) x2: 150
Hammerhead (Decoy/disruption/multi/SMS): 180
Hammerhead 2: 180

Spearhead CR* - 6mm That Doesn't Suck

* - Contliffe Removed

"Listen - I know there is a Russian tank brigade out there and our 88mm guns could deal with them, but I'm just saying the command arrow is moving toward Orel. If we don't move at least half, we'll be out of Command, and Manstein will need to make a morale check to keep our battalion in the game..."

Actually, I shouldn't be hard on Arty - after all, Spearhead and Shako (to name just two sets) are excellent, well thought out rules that have been published. I have had the pleasure of working with Dallas to tweak his excellent 25mm skirmish rules. Rules actually created by Greg? Zero.

Still, just imagine how great Spearhead and Shako would be if they had put some time into an editor for the books (or in the case of Shako II, a buck or two on making the book at least appear to not have been a photocopy).

All the same, in terms of ease of use for the lads, Spearhead is tough - needing a map, writing orders etc. It achieves so much in terms of compensating for the players' helicopter battlefield view, and creating situations where order changes are easier for some than others, allowing a differentiation to be created among national doctrines without resorting to lame-o 40K-style special rules like "British Bulldog" and "Tiger Aces" (Battlefront, take a bow).

The Blitzkreig/Cold War/Future War Commander tried to compensate by essentially re-purposing Warmaster. But as we have covered elsewhere in this blog, the results can be unsatisfying.

I have been playing around with my own possible versions of some new 6mm, platoon based rules. But in the end, I think it's just a modification to the Spearhead engine that is needed. I have managed to put my time sitting in planes and airports to good use this week, and have just about developed a new movement system for Spearhead, where the battalions (the basic Spearhead unit) are activated with a command roll that combines a command rating attribute of the Battalion Command and the higher-level command of the given formation.

You roll 2d6, trying to roll below the combined number, and if you succeed, you move.

All the firing etc. is resolved as normal as per Spearhead, except that a formation that tried to move and fails still fires as though it moved. Why reinvent the wheel? And no rolling just to fire, and no endless volleys of fire from hot-rolling, high-morale units.

Hopefully we can try this out soon. And if it sucks? Back to the drawing board...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sherman XXV is done!

Inspired by the wave of weird war/sci-fi tank conversions, I decided to chop up a 1/48 tank kit that DaveV traded me. This tank will support some future Brits (perhaps Britz) that I'll be converting out of some cadians and british heads from West Wind's Secrets of the Third Reich. I was unable to find a gun to match the phallus GregB managed to mount on his Panther, but I think the British would assume this was big enough. It also has a vickers MG mounted beside the main gun.

To compensate for the gun, I decided to add a super sagger type ATGW on the turret. For close support there is a flamethrower. I'm not sure how a MBT with a large main gun would find itself close enough to use a flame thrower, but that's the joy of science fiction...I mean science fantasy.

In keeping with Britain's green commitment, the tank is zero emission and operates a hydrogen fueled turbine engine. Those are the fuel cells on the top rear of the tank, so everyone better go easy on it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

An Even Longer Time Ago, In A Galaxy Far, Far Away...

Background for the game on Thursday (with credit to "Scorchy" from SA for the KOTOR 1 recap):

Knights of the Old Republic 1:

The Mandalorians declare war on the Republic; the Jedi council, being sanctimonius pricks, officially refuse to involve themselves, and the war goes poorly for the Republic. Eventually a group of rogue Jedi led by Revan join the Republic fleet and the Mandalorians are finally defeated at the battle of Malachor V. In the process, Revan goes all Dark Side and seizes control of most of the Republic fleet, calling himself a Sith and beginning to fight the other Jedi. Eventually the Jedi Civil War ends with the Republic decimated, most of the Jedi in the galaxy dead, and Darth Revan vanishing into the unknown space...

Revan returns to known space with a case of Jedi-council-induced amnesia, collects a merry assortment of psycopaths, cutthroats, homicidal protocal droids and whiny, angst-filled characters that no one could possibly care less about. Over the course of many adventures, she recovers her memory, kicks her former apprentice's ass repeatedly and redeems herself before leaving for the Unknown Reaches once more.

Dramatis Personae:

-Revan: Ass-kicker. Stronger, faster, tougher than you and dressed like Dr. Doom to boot.
-Bastila Shan: Jedi Consular (read: manipulative drama queen) who is apparently trying to win a bet on how many times she can turn to the dark side.
-HK 47: Assassin droid in a protocol droid's body. Constucted by Revan while she was a Sith. Endless source of comedy*
-T3-M4: T3-M4 is our resident R2-D2 ripoff, except he's 4000 years older and has more of an attitude.
-Darth Malak: Revan's apprentice, went Sith when Revan did and decided that it was way more fun.
-Canderous Ordo: A Mandalorian commander who managed to survive the battle of Malachor V. Lives to restore the glory of the Mandalorian peoples - eventually becomes Mandalore the Preserver.

Knights of the Old Republic II:

The Mandalorians are reduced to small, isolated pockets - a shell of their former glory, the Republic is an absolute mess of civil wars, coups and piracy, the Exchange (the mob) is hunting any remaining Jedi for large cash sums and the Jedi council is no more.

Revan's best general finds himself was exiled from the Jedi order ostensibly on account of his disobeying their directions to stay out of the Mandalorian War. (In reality, he has been severed from the force and really, really freaks them out). Unsurprisingly, everyone refers to him as "the Exile" because clearly no one else has been exiled from the Jedi order before. Except for Revan, Malak, Bastila and half of the characters from the first game. He now finds himself with a pressing need to become reacquainted with the force on account of the two sith lords chasing him across the known galaxy.

His plucky companions:

- Kreia: Imagine Alec Guinness as a secretive, manipulative old bitch. Now, imagine him as a woman. Basically, she's your mother. Have you called your mother lately?
- Atton Rand: The obligatory Han Solo archetype. Hates droids, likes the ladies. Undecided on the droid ladies.
- T3-M4: Revan picked up this utility droid back at the beginning of KOTOR 1 and he's back in this game. He knows everything and says nothing.
- HK-47: Everyone's favourite homicidal protocol droid. Unfortunately he's forgotten everything. Again.
- Bao-Dur: A Zabrak mechanic. Like Darth Maul, except not. Served with the Exile
- Handmaiden: Former student of Atris, a Jedi. She's an albino who likes to punch things. If she had been a midget, it would have completed some magical trifecta.
- Visas Marr: Former apprentice to Darth Nihilus. You don't even have to stick a bag on her head; she already comes with one.
- Mira: Bounty hunter with a soft streak. If she wants anyone to start taking her seriously, she has to stop showing so much cleavage.

Other Peeps:

-Darth Nihilus: Possibly the dumbest (or is it coolest?) Sith name ever. Dude is a living void in the force, eats souls for sustenance, basically.

Aeronautica Imperialis (with Epic 40K models)

I blogged about a mini-project I started a few weeks ago, inspired by Fawcett Avenue friend Ethics Gradient and his blog "Another Slippery Slope" (see our Links section).

I enjoy painting tiny airplanes because a) they're relatively inexpensive, b) they paint reaaaally fast, c) they look cool, and d) it's fun to game with them.

This project coincides with my recent sci-fi mania in that it involves Games Workshop "Epic 40K" scale aircraft. I decided to paint Orks and Imperial aircraft in a quasi-historical theme, the Korean War of the early '50s. Orks=MiGs, Imperials = F-86 Sabres and Corsairs. Here are the results...

These are Imperial Marauders that I converted to the Ork cause. I thought they looked alot like Ilyushin IL-2 Sturmoviks, which the North Koreans used, so I went against canon and painted them up Orky. First I added some greenstuff to the nose for extra armour, to the wings for some Orkish-looking reinforcement, and to the engines for the Ork-standard issue heat shielding.

Ork aircraft...

And a close-up of the "Honchos"

Here are the Imperial planes... the silver ones are smaller OOP Thunderbolts and the ones in the foreground, the larger current ones. The latter are kitted out as Corsairs for ground attack, in the "Navy blue" scheme with low-vis tactical numbers.

Since I had six old T-bolts I painted some with black and white stripes and some with yellow and black... both of these schemes were used on sabres in Korea.

A close-up of the "Corsair".

Lots of fun to paint. Looking forward to a game with them soon. Maybe a ground attack mission against some of Greg B.'s Epic Imperial Guard...?

Sherman XXV

Mike F. has now caught "sci-fi fever"... excellent... he's created a very cool sci-fi "Sherman XXV" based on a 1/48 Sherman kit.

The main gun may not look as unfeasibly large as Greg's and my sci-fi tanks, but as Mike pointed out "it carries on the fine British tradition of not mounting a big enough main gun..." However, I think it looks pretty sweet.

Nice work Mike!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Completed Space Panther

The arms race continues, and Gün Schwarm now has some armoured support to help in the battle against FutureKom. On Saturday I completed a conversion of a Solido 1/50 scale Panther. Yesterday, I managed to finish painting it, along with a few more grunts. Photos are below.

For colours, I used GW Snakebite leather as a base, then applied GW Desert Yellow. After that, I gave it a coat of Devlan Mud GW wash. Once that was dry, I applied more GW Desert Yellow, and dry-brushed with GW Bubonic Brown. I used various browns to weather the tracks and road wheels, and dry-brushed some black in some places to try and capture exhaust effects and other things that ruin the paint. I painted some of the vision slits with either green or red "glass" highlights.

Following Dallas' example, I placed some rust splotches in different spots using GW Boltgun Metal and GW Terracotta Brown.

The decals were courtesy of Dallas - thanks much dude!

The Panther Ausf. W-2050 is now ready for action. I hope to complete one more of these for the force, but that will have to wait until more tank sprues arrive from GW, so for now, it's back to painting regular troops, and getting their IFVs built. I'm also working on a wonder-waffen for the Gün Schwarm as well. Watch for more in this space.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Project Opfor - Armoured Support

As Dallas continues to expand the FutureKom armed forces, it is time to get some armour into the lineup for their opponents - now to be known as the "Guun Schwarm" (I would have put the little umlau over the "u" if I could figure out how...). I'm using GW's Steel Legion figures for troops, but the Guun Schwarm will need tanks to overcome the power of FutureKom.

To try and keep a counter-point to the soviet look and feel of the FutureKom, I thought I would start with the German Panther tank - a 1/50 model from Solido. This would be modified to try and provide a sci-fi look and feel, almost to GW standards - i.e.with an absurd main weapon.

The first step was to use a hacksaw to cut the gun and cupola off. Cutting the cupola away was a major pain, but it was one of those things that, once you start, you can't really leave half-done, so I kept at it and finally shaved it away. I then used a Dremel tool to try and balance the surface off a bit after the hack job.

I also cut the gun barrel away. After all, the long barrel 75mm gun looks reasonable, and we're going for sci-fi here.

Using chunks of plastic tube, the Panther was upgraded to a 120mm gun, a calibre I felt would be suitable for the "period" we're going for. I then turned to the very useful GW tank and heavy weapon sprues. I added a co-axial 20mm cannon (GW autocannon), hull mounted heavy MG (using the GW heavy bolter) and the GW cupola with an MG and search light.

Smoke launchers were placed on the turret, as was a searchlight - a couple of gun sight bits were also dropped on to the turret which I hope that, when painted, will give this a sci-fi look.

Unfortunately, the exhaust pipes at the back were a casualty of the poor hacksaw job - I figured screw them, and just went on without them. I glued a length of piano wire to serve as an antenna, and also cut the end off of a GW lasgun bit and mounted that on the back turret hatch of the Panther to provide a kind of light anti-infantry rear-defence weapon.

The very first Panther Mk 2050 is now waiting to be painted...

In the end, I have a rather heretical product - a glorious Panther tank, hacked for the purpose of playing a Sci-Fi game! Oh my - what would the up-tight "serious" WW2 gamers make of something like this - using GW components no less! The horror....

Stay tuned for further updates - I hope to have this sucker painted very soon.

Friday, February 13, 2009

More FutureCom Fun

The arms race continues...

I've really been enjoying the conversions and painting projects I've been doing for my Pig Iron project. Science-fiction painting and modelling can be fun even without skullz and spiky bitz ;-)

Anyway here's the latest addition to the arsenal - based on a gigantic 1/43 Russian diecast T-34/85 tank obtained from Greg B. A mild conversion really - cut off the main gun and replace with twin GW Heavy Bolters, mock up a hull-mounted lascannon for a big punch, add stowage and a pintle-mounted storm bolter, and sprinkle on some randon sci-fi bits. "Simple but effective," as they say... here are some pics.

A word of caution for anyone attempting to repaint Russian diecast... DO NOT paint the tracks!! I forgot to remove them before priming the vehicle and the paint would not dry on the flexible vinyl... it turned into a sticky mess. After a bath in Castrol Super-Clean degreaser they are OK again, thankfully.
Anyway, hope you enjoy the pics and stay tuned for pictures of the painted Polikarpov I-16 conversion coming soon!

The Finished Flyer

Thanks for all the kind comments on here and TMP regarding the Polikarpov I-16 conversion!

I thought I would post some final pics of the painted model and briefly describe the process of painting it.

The whole model was first primed with cheap black spraypaint - the cheapest I could find (that still has "fast-drying" in the description, as I am an impatient hobbyist)

The top surfaces were basecoated with Citadel Catachan Green and panels highlighted with a mix of Catachan Green and Camo Green. The red nose ring and rocket warheads were painted Citadel Mechrite Red from their Foundation range. All of these paints are highly pigmented and cover extremely well.

The underside surfaces were painted Citadel Ultramarines Blue and panels highlighted with Citadel Shadow Grey.

The metal parts were painted Citadel Boltgun Metal and washed with Citadel Badab Black, and a Botgun metal drybrush applied. Black craft paint was drybrushed along the fuselage bottom to simulate the effect of the jet wash.

After painting the colours, I went around and added paint chips to panel edges and wear spots with Citadel Boltgun metal and a spotter brush. (Most all of the panel highlighting was done with a no.2 "Filbert" brush which I tend to use alot).

The last step was to affix the canopy with white (PVA) glue, to avoid fogging the clear plastic with cyanoacrylate fumes. The (twenty-year-old) kit decals were applied and I although I used Microsol to set them, some silvering is evident, and I think I'll touch that up with some paint.

All in all, this was a really fun project from start to finish and I hope you enjoy the pictures. Cheers!