Thursday, March 31, 2016

40K Chaos Renegade Chimera

It's been all-Renegades-all-the-time lately on the old painting table, and vehicles have been among my favourite subjects to paint lately. This is an old-style Chimera armoured vehicle that serves as a command transport for the Renegades. It dates back to around 1995, and is the first version Chimera with separate track links, cursed by many ;-)

For being 20 years old, this design still seems fresh to me, unlike the Leman Russ, which to my eyes has dated somewhat.

Still a cool-looking piece of kit. It was built mostly from the box, with multi-laser and heavy bolter armament.

I had a heavy stubber in the bits box so I carved that up to mount on the cupola. The gunner is an amalgam - Forgeworld Renegade torso with standard IG/AM lower body and arms. "01" tactical numbering indicates a command vehicle.

Rear door is non-functional on this model, primarily because there's no interior detail in the kit and I'm too lazy to scratch-build it ;-)

Some heavy weathering down low on the chassis. I really like the Imperial serial number decals and try to use them on every Guard vehicle kit I build.

Again, the vehicle mounted heavy stubber has to be one of the coolest accessories GW has ever made. I just love the brutality of the look. In this case it nearly outdoes the main armament for looks cool factor!

Watch for more Renegade vehicles coming soon, including some air power to address the Valkyrie gap... :-)

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Necromunda Project

Lately, I've found that the way for me to actually complete a project is to ensure that it is small in scope, and then to stick with it until it's done!

Back in January, after some idle chit-chat amongst the Conscripts, several of us thought it would be great to start up a campaign for Necromunda, that long out-of-print sci-fi skirmish game from Games Workshop (set in the dystopic Warhammer 40K universe). As it turned out, several Conscripts still owned either painted gangs, or owned the parts to make them. I did not, so I went onto eBay and found a gang of 5 pristine (i.e., never cleaned up or painted) 28mm scale, pewter Spyre Hunters.

Camera Roll-1010



The fluff behind the Spyrers is interesting. Within the industrial underhives of a far-future hive city, where the gangs of the ruling houses compete for resources, the upper nobility also commit their own groups of "gangs" to the conflicts for a different purpose. Spyrer hunting parties are composed of the unproven youths of the noble houses, born in the upper levels of the hive. These groups descend into the lower levels to undertake a vow that has been impressed upon them by a sponsor, either to survive unaided in the depths of the undercity for a designated length of time, or to obtain a designated number of kills. They are not permitted to return until their task is complete. In this way the nobles will prove themselves as both ruthless and resourceful, and thus suited for political leadership roles.

Each Spyrer is granted a unique Hunting Rig which has been crafted off-world, using nearly forgotten technologies. A Hunting Rig acts as a suit of armour with built-in weaponry and cybernetic enhancements. It is self-sustaining, providing sustenance to the wearer so that they are not burdened by the requirement of food. It is also self-repairing, so that they do not require regular maintenance.
However the most important feature of the hunting rig is their power boosting system. As the wearer fights and gains experience in combat, the hunting rig will adapt and evolve to suit the wearer by increasing power to certain systems, unlocking previously unavailable abilities and new potential as the hunt continues. The Hunting Rig classes:

  • Orrus are characterized by oversize, piston-powered arms containing Bolt Launchers built into the fists. They are also protected from shooting attacks by a force field. 
  • Jakara are the lightest and most agile of the Spyrer hunters, equipped with a Mono-molecular edged sword, and a Mirror Shield which can absorb energy-based attacks and fire it back at their enemies. 
  • Malcadon are armed with Web Spinnerets designed to immobilize the enemy so they can be torn apart by their vicious claws. They are also equipped with climbing hooks and hydraulic pistons to allow the wearer to reach ambush points. 
  • Yeld are equipped with Chameleon armour and razor-edged wings. They are armed with multiple laser tubes built into their gauntlets. Though their wings do allow them to fly, they make for better gliders. 



I cleaned up the figures with files, including sharpening the Jakara's sword, in the middle below. Most sword blades on 28mm models look like chunks of wooden 2x4. I pinned the figures with brass wire to neat-looking cast resin bases from Dragon Forge.

Camera Roll-927

I started with my usual zenithal highlighting, priming black and airbrushing white downward at  about a 60-degree angle (thanks go to the late Shep Paine for that trick). The faces were initially laid in with Vallejo acrylics, using their great Face Painting Set. The paints provided allow you to do highlights, shadows, and to bring out the colour in the cheeks and lips, for various types of skin tones.

Camera Roll-954

Camera Roll-956

Afterwards, I went back in with artists' oils, to smooth out colour transitions, to punch up highlights and shadows, and to add detail in and around the eyes.

Camera Roll-959

I wanted to keep the paint schemes simple, with only one or two colours noticeable from a distance. Using Citadel washes, I laid in the base colours of the Hunting Rig body armour and weapons, and the hair on the Jakara and Orrus. Details were picked out in various acrylics, followed again by using oils to smooth out transitions and emphasize hot spots or shadows.

I used Vallejo's Non Metallic Metal paint set for the Orrus wrist- and ankle-mounted bolt launchers, on the left below.

Camera Roll-995

Camera Roll-996

I was inspired to paint the pair of Malcadon similar to the Predators from the Aliens v. Predators franchise. Their Hunting Rigs are markedly different from the other Spyrer types. I mounted one on a tilted base to allow the viewer to see its face. I painted  their wrist mounted weapons as claws rather than blades; it goes with the feel of the living amour they wear. Their helmets' green lenses were painted in Conscript Brian's style.

Camera Roll-997

The Malcadon with the closed-face helmet has a couple of trophies hanging from his rig. From the Spyrer rules, I think that I will choose the "Kill X number of opponents" vow for the campaign.

Camera Roll-998

The Yeld is striking. The characterful head has the best sculpting of the five models. Shading the facial implants was a bit tricky. The challenge with the wings was to differentiate them without drawing attention away from the face. The "grey" wings use colours from black, through various greys, to white, The wrist mounted laser tubes also got the Non Metallic Metal treatment. The bases for all figures were glazed with Citadel Devlan Mud. The figures were sealed with Tamiya semi-gloss spray.

Camera Roll-999

Camera Roll-994



This is the table of terrain that I brought to the LegioCon 2016 miniature war games convention, where I ran some Necromunda participation games. As described elsewhere, the buildings all either take apart or are hollow, to allow play inside them. Thanks to Conscript MikeA, Barry, Jeff, Dave, and Cole for playing!

Camera Roll-1003

Camera Roll-1004

A photo from Friday night at the convention, at the St. James Legion No. 4 (a great, friendly venue!).

Camera Roll-990

Coinciding with LegioCon was the Manitoba Model Soldier Society annual Show and Competition. I entered my Spyrer hunting party in the Wargames category, and managed to win a gold medal and the Best War Game Unit award. I was rather pleased, since the other MMSS members had several beautiful armies and units on display, including some very nice horse and musket era infantry regiments and cavalry squadrons.

Camera Roll-1028



I have found for both modern and sci-fi skirmish games that you need a fairly high density of terrain for your table. Otherwise, automatic weapons or snipers will dominate play. Many of these new pieces came from Conscript Byron's company, SG2 Creations, who make a variety of MDF terrain, available from his web store, or as custom pieces.

New additions to my urban table include the clip-on helicopter landing pad, a Middle Eastern styled garage, an overhead walkway, some planters (with small trees sourced from a model railroad supplier), and some dumpsters. For the most part, the MDF terrain is assembled with white glue, painted quickly with spray can colours from RONA hardware, and weathered with various acrylics and Vallejo powdered pigments.

When mounted on a 3-story building, the landing pad is almost 5 stories above the ground. The Yeld on the landing below is an alternate pose, painted by Conscript Kevin almost 20 years ago.

Camera Roll-1001

The eight new items in the photo below (except for the trees and dirt) all come from SG2.

Camera Roll-1030

The garage door opens, and the roof comes off to allow you to place models inside.

Camera Roll-1036

I have another unbuilt walkway; I need to build another 3-story building.

Camera Roll-1035

The planters provide a lot of cover. I mounted the trees onto two layers of cut out foam core, then added and painted model railroad dirt.

Camera Roll-1031




Some of us still have our original Necromunda rule books. The game is basically 2nd ed. Warhammer 40K, with a more skirmish feel. Overwatch, being pinned by gunfire, various levels of wounding effects, and draconian morale rules allow a quick, fun, game with a surprisingly current feel. Although the game is no longer supported by GW (though that may change in future), there are some third party online resources available. For example, the YakTribe Gaming site has PDFs of various rule books and supplements.

I am looking forward to the start of the Necromunda campaign in April!

Skirmish Wargaming in Mythical Japan

Also, I am finally getting around to painting a war-band to play samurai skirmish games using rules like Ronin (published by Osprey) and Daishō (from The Ministry of Gentlemanly Warfare).

Next in the painting queue are some Japanese samurai, the Koryu Buntai boxed set from North Star Military Figures, with some Shogunate-era terrain pieces from 4Ground.  The figures are very distinctive. Seven of them are clearly modeled after the titular characters in the movie Seven Samurai (Shichinin no samurai).

Camera Roll-1029

Nine figures, a couple of buildings, some fences, and an ox cart. No problem!

The Four Horsemen

 Well they were given the grapes that go ripe in the sun
That loosen the screws at the back of the tongue
But they told no one where they had begun - the four horsemen!

 I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come and see!” I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest. 
( Revelation 6:1-2)

 When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come and see!” Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword. 
( Revelation 6:3-4)

 When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “A quart of wheat for a day’s wages, and three quarts of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”  
(Revelation 6:5-6)

When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come and see!” I looked and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine, and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth. 
 (Revelation 6:7-8)

Here's a project that sat on my painting desk for a loooong time before I finally put the boots to it and got it done.

A couple years ago (!) I was at the FLGS looking through a bits box, and found four Chaos Renegade torsos, from the old Citadel "Mounted Renegades" set. I thought these were super-cool and instantly thought "the four horsemen of the Apocalypse!"  I was also in the process of accumulating old school Chaos Space Marines for a Rogue Trader warband of some kind, and thought these would fit well.

What to use for mounts? Well, I'd been working on the Renegade Cavalry at the time and had originally bought Warhammer Fantasy Chaos Marauder horses for them. However, those horses were a bit *too* Chaos-like for the Renegade Cavalry, who after all are just supposed to be Guardsmen torqued about 30 degrees Chaos-ward, not full on raving loonies of the Chaos Gods. So those horses were set aside in favour of regular Pistolier horses. But the Marauder horses seemed to fit perfectly for this project, so I used them.

Legs were another challenge, since the Chaos riders came as torsos only and I had but one set of proper legs in the bits box. Chaos Marauder Horsemen to the rescue again; I used those legs with some mild greenstuff work to fit the metal torsos. Et voila, as they say - conversion complete.

So they sat on my desk, unpainted, for over a year, until this week. I based the paint schemes on the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and incidentally, on the four Chaos Powers.

On the white horse we have Conquest/Pestilence. Nurgle, obviously. The red horse bears War, the representation of the Blood God, Khorne. Famine was tougher. But being the God of Pleasure, and therefore of starving supermodels, Slaanesh gets the nod. This leaves Death on his pale horse - Tzeentch, the Changer of Ways. Done!

Now, to get to the rest of that warband...

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

LegioCon 2016: Retreat from Mons Great War Game

In addition to helping Conscript Greg with his amazing 40K game at LegioCon this year, I also volunteered to run an early-Great War game as well. Here is the description:

"The late summer of 1914 was marked by innumerable encounter battles between the German army and the French, Belgian and British forces operating on the Western Front. The game focusses on one of these battles between the Germans and the British Expeditionary Force leading up to the pivotal Battle of Mons in August 1914. Can the plucky "Old Contemptibles" withstand the furious onslaught of the German infantry, Uhlan lancers and even armoured cars? Or will the Huns triumph and drive the BEF back into the Channel? 28mm figures are supplied, rules are "The Great War" by Warhammer Historical.  6 players"

As noted, I used the old tried and true Warhammer "Great War" rules and the "Over the Top" supplement. The scenario we played was "Fighting Retreat", where the defender deploys in a box in the middle of the table, and must exit units off the table. The attacker can hold up to half his force (which totals twice the points of the defender's) in Reserve, and deploys the rest on the opposite short edge. reserves may enter the table on any edge but the defender's home edge.

The forces comprised, for the British defenders, a two-company battalion with three attached machineguns and an 18 pdr field gun. The Germans deployed two battalions each of two companies, plus three machineguns, a cavalry squadron of 12 Uhlans, and two armoured cars. They left one company, the cavalry, and the armoured cars in Reserve, and deployed the rest of the infantry. The models used in the game are all from Foundry's Great War range, with the exception of the Ehrhardt armoured cars (Barrage Miniatures) and the German and British commander models (Paul Hicks's Mutton Chop Miniatures). Some of the Germans were from the collection of our late friend Glenn Shott and I thought of the game as being somewhat in honour of him.

Here's the initial dispositions. German long-range machinegun fire was effective against the British artillery and machinegun. The grey wave rolled forward as the British prepared to withdraw from their positions towards the town behind them.

On turn 2 the Germans were lucky to have all their Reserves appear. An armoured car, an infantry company, and the Uhlans appeared on the British left, while the other armoured car swept in from their right. The unlucky armoured car was torched by "five rounds rapid" fire from the infantry behind the stone wall. Armoured cars in these rules are not proof against small arms fire by any means!

Infantry and Uhlans prepare to assault the British.

Uhlans sweep in! We had a bit of a moment here as we initially played the assault out, the Uhlans absolutely annihilating the British infantry. However, we forgot to apply the Overwatch rule from Over the Top (my fault). Once this was pointed out we rolled back the clock and replayed it with a completely different result - the Brits lit up the Uhlans on their charge and forced a Morale check, which the Uhlans failed, and they failed to make contact with the main British body. The Uhlan Squadron command troop did contact the British company command section, though, and destroyed it utterly.

The infantry company that beat off the Uhlans' charge made it off the table, the first of two units the British needed to exit in order to win. The battalion command group is in the foreground above; you can just see the other German armoured car in the background.

British infantry platoon charges and destroys a German platoon as more Germans approach from behind the woods.

Conscript Bill contemplates a strategic victory but a tactical defeat, as the second British unit escapes the Hun's noose. It was a fun game with much carnage, as you can see from the toppled casualties all over the field. I think the game looked good and the guys had fun - thanks to the Conscripts who came out to play, and Mac, a LegioCon regular who played with us as well.

This was a super-nice surprise for me at the end of the day, as I scrambled to clear away the game (I had to catch a plane for a work trip later that afternoon).

Garth of Maxx Collectibles, one of the prime movers behind LegioCon, said a few very kind words and awarded me this nice token of their appreciation for the games we put on at the Con. It was really nice to be recognized for our participation and I appreciated that a lot. Thanks LegioCon and see you next year!

Monday, March 28, 2016

LegioCon 2016: Warhammer 40K Renegades vs. Vostroyans/Elysians

Two weekends ago, I assisted Conscript Greg with his outstanding Warhammer 40K game staged at LegioCon, a local tabletop gaming event that we have attended and hosted games at pretty much since it began. Above, you can see Greg's amazing desert terrain with my Imperial Bastion, LED Skyshield pad, and bunker/wall complex. It did look good!

We came up with a scenario for my Chaos Renegades and his Elysian/Vostroyan Imperial Guard loosely based on the Siege of Vraks from Forgeworld's "Imperial Armour" book series. Here is the blurb:

As an Imperial Colony is overwhelmed by a revolt, the consular guard make a final stand to protect the Imperial governor at his estate.  And they hope Elysian drop troops will arrive in time to save them? 

Longer version:

The game is set in 813 M.41, early in the 17-year siege of Vraks, an Imperial armoury world that's essentially a weapons locker and staging area for the Imperial Guard.

The Apostate Cardinal Xaphan marshalled hordes of fanatical Renegade followers on Vraks, including uncounted regiments of the Imperial Guard stationed there. Our game will depict part of the battle for the Citadel on Vraks, with loyal Guardsmen defending to the last, hoping against hope for rescue from an airmobile elite Guard unit operating in the area. Those troops have a different objective, however: rescuing the Imperial Commander-Governor of Vraks and ensuring that the arming codes for the virus bombs remaining in the armoury don't fall into Renegade hands. 

Conscripts Dave and Greg survey the bleak terrain of Vraks. The Renegade legions of Cardinal Xaphan are seen at bottom; they include a troop of Leman Russ tanks, a Medusa self-propelled howitzer, a squad of Ogryns, a large mob of workers, a penal squad, a troop of Renegade cavalry (!), and a platoon of Renegade guardsmen with a command squad in a Chimera. Their objective, the Imperial commander with the virus bomb codes, is in the Bastion at centre, defended by a couple squads of Vostroyan honour guard.

The Renegades were lined up and raring to go...

As the Death Riders surged forward, a squad of Elysian heavy bolters deep-struck into position to light them up. And they did...

...but while the HBs decimated the cavalry, four or five of their number survived to charge in, and their explosive-tipped hunting lances made short work of the Elysians, wiping them out to a man.

Unfortunately, after they swept over the Elysians, the surviving troopers faced this demoralizing prospect... yes, they all died :-(

Meanwhile, in the centre of the table, the Renegade guardsmen swept forward past the Skyshield defended by a Vostroyan squad.

On the left, the Vostroyan defenders of the Bastion, filled with holy fervour, leapt over the barricades and charged the penal squad! A clever move, as this bought time for the Imperial commander to flee towards the Elysians approaching from their table edge.

The donnybrook between the Vostroyans and the Renegades continued for most of the remainder of the game. But meanwhile, the Imperial commander was getting away...!

Elysian command squad awaiting the commander for extraction... they met a sticky end courtesy of a Renegade Leman Russ' Punisher autocannon.

Elysian flyers crowded the skies as they arrived from reserve, spewing death, destruction, and Elysian drop troops. You can just make out the lone surviving Ogryn Bone 'Ead on the nearside of the Bastion, just past the defence line. He will figure largely into the story later...

The Medusa in action. Jeff, a young fellow who joined us in the game, showed appropriate Renegade spirit as he insisted on dropping large templates alarmingly close to our own models...

This mostly went OK, until a Breacher shell landed on the Renegade command squad that had just deployed from its Chimera transport. The result was predictable, most of the squad died, leaving just the detachment commander and standard bearer alive, and pretty upset ;-)

A target-rich environment, to be sure. Unfortunately I'd left the Blight Drones at home and the Renegades had no anti-aircraft capability. This sounds worse than it was, though, because the mission really required boots on the ground and the flyers were just chrome.

Elysian drop-troops deploy from a Valk, ready to grab the commander.

But what's this! On the last turn the Ogryn Bone 'Ead emerged from the backfield and made a dash for the target... he needed to roll 11 or 12 to make the grab. The first die came up a six! Then the second... a three :-( So close!

So the game ended in a draw...? Yeah, that's it. The Renegades failed to capture the virus bomb codes, though, and we presume that the Imperial commander was the subject of a battlefield execution by the Elysians. Life is cheap in the 41st Millennium and as they say, no matter what happens, "you will not be missed"...

Thanks to LegioCon for inviting us to bring out our game, to Conscript Greg for putting it on, Conscript Dave for his copious 40K rules knowledge and infectious sportsman spirit, and to Gabriel and Jeff for playing it with us, we hope you had a good time.