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 :-)

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Templar Brethren

It's been a busy summer this year. I took a long block of Holidays off in July and the family spent a chunk of it at a cabin in Whiteshell Provincial Park. I took some stuff to paint, but progress was slow. Work itself has been busy with little opportunity for time off and the spare time that was available was used for things other than painting. With all that being said, I still managed to complete another unit and vehicle for the Imperial Fist Legion. The Templar Brethren have been pending since I started the army. They were left as a reward for hitting the half way mark with the army.
I used the Mark IV armor as they are supposed to have the best wargear available. According to the fluff, they are the elite of the Legion and dedicated to close combat. These guys would eventually become the Black Templar during the second founding and turn into a fundamentalist cult army burning all non-believers in their wake. It's the stuff of nightmares and I could see how a chaos cultist may convince you that grandfather Nurgle has 'something' for that 3rd degree burn you're sporting. The Templar Brethren seem to just like to sword fight.


 The Land Raider was originally bought for my 40k marine army. It has parts from Chapterhouse Studios (now MIA it seems) to give it the Heresy look. The Raider, along with a Storm Raven (also with C.H. parts) were just sitting on the forgotten pile when I clued in that they could be re-purposed for the Fists. I didn't bother stripping the model and just hoped the detail wouldn't be lost. I think it turned out all right.

I still have more Imperial Fists to paint, but I plan on taking a bit of a break and work on some units for Kill Team.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Gaslands! Cars, Terrain, Battle Report!

We have to admit to having been a bit remiss lately in updating the blog. Blame summertime, work, life, or what you will... but there has been some stuff going on, honest! So what's going on in the picture above? GASLANDS, that's what!

Gaslands is a miniatures game of vehicle combat, published by Osprey, that uses Hot Wheels/Matchbox-scale cars converted with guns and other fun stuff.

Conscript Kevin H turned me on to the game a few months ago and wow- is there ever an active online community for this game. In fact, it's so popular that the package I ordered directly from the game's author (including the rulebook, templates, dice and markers) was significantly delayed in being delivered.

However, this did little to temper my enthusiasm which was still running at a high temp...

One of the things that I find really exciting about Gaslands is that the barrier to entry is so low, you can go nuts doing all the stuff that makes the visual aspect of the game so cool.

Case in point - the "arena terrain" that I've done up for the game. My vision of Gaslands really tends more towards the classic "autoduelling" I grew up with - Car Wars and the like - rather than the "Mad Max" kind of vision that the game also supports. Don't get me wrong - that's amazingly cool as well and I'll probably go that way too!

This amazing piece is from a company called Corvus Games, and while it may look like a resin piece it's actually a plastic 3D print! It painted up very quickly and looks great. There was even room for some graffiti on the concrete base, visible above.

The barriers are from a Disney/Pixar (!) CARS (!!) playset I saw used on one of the Gaslands facebook pages. It takes two sets to do a 4x4 table but the cost of those sets is only around $25 each, plus time and effort in painting of course. I used photocopies of the playset's advertising decals on the walls, just to dull down the glossy kid's toy look.

Rather than repeat the same billboards twice, I went with graffiti on two of the walls which turned out well. The "tags" are decals marketed to HO-scale train enthusiasts for their freight cars.

I tried them at first on a darker coloured background but they didn't "pop" nearly as well as on the light background. Easy fix.

Back to terrain and the cars... I wanted some LOS-blocking terrain for inside the arena and stacks of wrecked cars suited that perfectly. I smashed some cars with a hammer just to flatten them a bit, then superglued them to each other and to a card base. Sprayed the whole lot black and drybrushed up faded colours, dust and rust.

Here are some cars! One of my favourites - Lamborghini Miura with corrugated iron windows and weapon from the old Dark Future game.

Ford GT40 with gubbins from a 15mm kit of an '80s Soviet tank.

2015 Mustang with DF gun.

Pickemup truck with DF minigun and rams from the 15mm tank kit.

Late '70s-looking cruiser with DF weapon.

So with all this prep work done it was time to have a game! (Note that some of the terrain shown in this post only got finished later)

Conscripts Indo, Byron, and Kevin were over for the inaugural run at Gaslands.
The game itself was controlled chaos, which is perfect for a vehicle combat game! We found the mechanics to be very easy to pick up, and with a view small exceptions they appeared to make sense in terms of vehicle physics.

One of the fun things about the game has to do with the movement, which is all done by templates a la X-Wing and other games of bodies in motion. Players select a template for their move, based on their speed (i.e. templates for different maneuvers have restrictions as to how fast a vehicle may be going to use them). There's no pre-measuring though, and in order to speed play, there's a rule that if you touch template when it's your turn to move, you MUST use that template! and if the speed of your vehicle does not allow you to use that template, the player to your left gets to pick a maneuver for your vehicle, then move your vehicle accordingly! This simulates a momentary lapse in the heat of combat driving, and when it happened to Indo in our game it was most amusing :-)
Kevin arrived late from work but got to roll out his ancient "Team Anarchy" vehicles he painted to use with Dark Future when it had first come out (!). They did acquit themselves well!

Without going into a ton of detail on the game (which I have forgotten anyway), it was a great one and fun was had by all - so much so that I'm going to tee it up again this week for the group. I think that this would be a great "convention" game and I'm planning on running it at PrairieCon next year, if not Legio-Con as well. So if you like Gaslands, definitely stay tuned here for more!