Thursday, September 16, 2021

A Billion Suns

A few months back Osprey released another set of wargame rules called A Billion Suns. It was by the same guy who did Gaslands (Mike Hutchinson) and promised to be a spaceship fleet battle game. I eagerly pre-ordered it and was quite excited when it arrived. The excitement dropped a bit as I started reading the rules and realized it wasn't "really" a fleet combat game. The game is model agnostic which is nice, but the object of the game isn't necessarily about combating the fleets of other players. In the game each player represents a corporation (it's like our species has an instinctual fear of future corporate power). Each corporation competes to complete various contracts using the fewest ship resources as possible. The contracts are actually more like bounties, which is a bit strange for some of the missions. There's no tender process in the game univers, a job is simply paid to anyone who completes the terms. This makes sense for contracts involving destroying rival corporate assets, but why would you pay a bounty for an escort or evacuation missions? Wouldn't you want everyone to cooperate to get the job done? If you want a rival corporation’s communication satellites hacked to steal their data, why would you want multiple factions competing to complete the job? Wouldn't you want as few people involved as possible? Anyway the game needs to happen, so don't think about it too much. In terms of game play, the contract system encourages players to use the least number of the smallest ships available. Ships like battleships are prohibitively expensive and likely won't see much game play in small games. This is a disappointment for fans of Full Thrust or Battle fleet Gothic who want to see big ships duke it out. This isn't to say that the rules are bad or the game isn’t fun, it's just different from my initial assumptions. Folks on YouTube speak highly of the game, so I persevered and tried to learn how to play. One thing that struck me is that the contracts require players to have a fair amount of "stuff" to represent freighters, satellites, space stations and other things for your ships to interact with. The game can scale to any size, but small games will only see players deploy fighters or frigates. If you want to use large capital ships, you need to play a bigger game to justify the expense. This then requires you to buy more "stuff" to represent the extra contracts. This is something I could see GW designing! I have lots of warships in my collection, but none of the non-combat assets needed for a game. Luckily, there are several companies on Etsy that make resin and 3d printed components for the game. I ended up getting some space stations and tokens from Etsy as well as some utility ships and satellites from Brigade Models. The paint jobs aren't fancy because these are really just glorified objective markers. Hopefully I can put on a game, though the list of games we would like to play is quite long already.
Thanks for visiting!

Monday, September 6, 2021

Clearing out the last of BFG

I've completed all the models I have for Battlefleet Gothic! These include some fighters / bombers, a space station, 4 defense platforms and 2 space marine strike cruisers from Shapeways. I also completed the 2 leftover transports from JohnC. The strike cruisers are noticeably different sizes and come from two different 3D print files. The smaller one has much more detail than the larger, but is a bit small compared to the other ships. I guess the Forgeworld it was built at uses metric.
Now I just need to put on a few games! Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

August Projects

It's been a few weeks since anything's been posted, which is failry typical of August. I haven't been idle however and I wanted to show some of the things I've completed / been working on. First up is the Arachnus Heavy Lascannon Bettery for the Deredeo Dreadnough for 30k. Greg was kind enough to entrust me with his 30k Alpha Legion prior to his move to Toronto. This included a Deredeo Dreadnought with weapon arms fully magnetized! I decided to up gun the dread and picked up the heavy lascannon battery from Forge World. It's a higher strength lascannon for taking on pesky loyalist tanks, which my Imperial Fists have a few of. The magnets lined up failry well and my paint job blends in ok with Greg's I think.
Next up is a Land Raider conversion I built for a yet specified 30k legion. The kit is the standard Land Raider from GW. The tracks, side sponsons and top plate are from Blood & skulls Industry. The kit serves as a replacement for the top hull plate and tracks of the land raider to make it fit with the 30k vehicle asthetic. It's well thought out and mostly fits together smoothly with the plastic kit. The only issue I ran into was that the wrap arount tracks left a space that was too narrow to fill with a single link of the tracks. I had to shave down two track pieces to make them fit. It came out fairly well and you can't really tell the difference. It should be noted that this is not a "cheaper" option unless you already have a land raider sitting around. It is cool though and worth getting if you feel comfortable sorting out the track issue. Don't expect this to be painted in the near future, I just wanted to show off the build!
In non-GW gaming, I picked up Stargrave when it came out and it's got me raiding my bitz box and pile of shame for appropriate figures for crew and creatures. I located a suitable figure to represent a bounty hunter who periodically appears during a game and hunts one of your crew. The model is from Copplestone Castings.
Finally, I completed a bunch more Battle Fleet Gothic stuff. I have two more cruisers and a squadron of frigates from Vanguard Miniatures for my Imperial Fleet. These are resin and require very little cleanup. I really like his stuff and I hope he branches off into chaos stuff at some point. I also received a bunch of ships from fellow conscript, John C. He had a bunch of models from the predecessor of BFG, Spacefleet. They're solid peweter and placing them on a plastic flight stand was a bit tricky. I have no idea how long these models languished on John's shelf, but BFG was new when I was in High School and Spacefleet was before that, so long enough I guess. I painted them up so quickly that I forgot two of them on my shelf! I refuse to let them linger for another 20+ years and promise to paint them ASAP. These ships will be used as transports and troop carriers for BFG games.
Well that's it for summer 2021! They don't last long in Canada and I can already feel the chill in the air. Hope everyone stays healthy and hopefully we can game this fall/winter.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Volkite Weapons for Adeptus Titanicus

Assortment of new "Volkite" weapons for Adeptus Titanicus.

More new guns for the God Engines of Adeptus Titanicus! Here we have the range of new "Volkite" weapons for the Titans. Fans of 30k will be familiar with the "Volkite" weapon class - it is essentially a Martian heat ray/death ray kind of thing. They are great fun to use in 30k games, and the sculptors who designed them made them look pretty cool (in my view, at least - YMMV). Tactical support squads equipped with "Volkite Calivers" are a must for any 30k force for me - for the "looks cool factor" if no other reason.

Like the las guns, bolt guns, and other scary weapons of the grim and dark future, the rules writers and designers for the Horus Heresy setting ultimately came up with a Volkite-type weapon of every size, from a pistol all the way to a "volkite demi-culverin" for tanks and the "volkite carronade" for super-heavy tanks (such as the lovely Glaive painted by MikeF for his Alpha Legion collection).

So would the Titans miss out on this fun? Heck no! Earlier this summer GW released Volkite weapons for the Titans, and being a nerd, I picked some up - here they are. These are all multi-part resin kits from Forge World.

"Volkite Eradicator" on the carapace mount of a loyalist Reaver Titan from Legio Gryphonicus.

Volkite Weapons in Adeptus Titanicus

Reaver Titan of Legio Mortis modelling a new "Volkite Eradicator".

As you smash your foes in Adeptus Titanicus, you are trying to find the right mix of weapons that will knock out the enemy's formidable void shields - often, though not always, accomplished through volume of fire - and also have the power to deliver a killer blow - often, though not always, accomplished through a high strength rating.

Loyalist Warlord from Legio Gryphonicus sporting a new "Volkite Destructor".

Closer look at the new Volkite weapon for the Warlord Titans.

The volkite weapons would purport to give you a bit of both - the rate of fire is not high, but they have special rules that nonetheless make them rather taxing for the void shields of your enemies. The weapons come in two flavours - "Volkite Eradicators" for the arms of your Warhound Titans, or the carapace mount of your Reaver Titan - and "Volkite Destructors" for the arms of your Warlord Titans. 

The Death Heads won't miss out...Legio Mortis trying out its new toy...

As you might expect, the "Destructor" hits a little harder than the smaller "Eradicators" on the Warhounds and Reavers. I obviously have not had a chance to use these in a game yet, but my initial assessment is that, while these things look cool, they would suffer from opportunity cost - they could be useful, but you only have so many weapon mounts to go around, and the other weapons are probably more useful.

All sorts of arcane-looking power bits on this weapon design. Good times await!

In terms of their headline use, knocking over void shields, I can see how they might be a better option the vulcan mega bolters...but using up an arm mount on a Warlord Titan for this purpose is, to me, possibly a waste. The "Destructor" does benefit from a "Beam" special rule, but I don't think that compensates for the loss of one of the other, much more destructive weapon options you might employ on the arms of your Warlord.

The Reaver is probably the worst option for this weapon...with just a single mount, and therefor single shot available, you are unlikely to have the truly devastating impact you hoping for when it comes to knocking over the void shields of your enemy - the missile launcher will do a better job, from a longer range - but again, it looks neat, and does have a higher strength, offering some flexibility of use.

Ready for Volkite mayhem! Warhounds sporting their new "Volkite Eradicators"

If you are going to use these weapons, the Warhound is probably the chassis to use them on - and they would be best used in pairs. To me, they would functionally replace the twin vulcan bolters, and generally fulfill the same battlefield role you would have had for a Warhound with twin bolters - knocking the void shields from enemy engines in one pass of firing, leaving them vulnerable to killer hits from other, larger titans on your side. And while the strength isn't all that high, it is still usefully higher than that of the bolters, so you can spray destruction at wounded Titans, or enemy Knights.

So here we are, even more weapons for Adeptus Titancus. During the early stages of the release of this game, the lack of weapon options was a great frustration. A couple of years later, there is now quite a wide variety to choose from - although a number of them have disappeared from Forge World's web store, so...I hope you got them while you had the chance...

Anyway, thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Star Wars Legion Hoth Rebel Characters

You'll recall I said I wouldn't be picking up any Star Wars Legion stuff... yeah right. I'd ordered these three 3D-printed models off an ebay seller some time ago and they finally arrived last week (did I mention how much I hate the Global Shipping Program?). Anyway, they were quickly off to the paint shop.

First up, Luke Skywalker in his "patrol" outfit with lightsaber lit. I like the dynamic pose here and the Hoth outfit is super easy to paint in a combination of Rakarth Flesh, Zandri Desert, and Corax White. I tried to shade up the lightsaber a bit in Conscript Dave style.

Leather belts and holster are Mournfang Brown.

The model was an excellent print in resin with no lines and no flash. The saber was a little bent but straightened out OK in hot water.

Next up is Princess Leia. Another very straightforward paintjob in Corax White and Rakarth Flesh.

I did the normal groundwork and stippled on Rakarth Flesh paint as a base layer, followed by Corax White and snow flock applied with white glue.

The controversial Han Solo! Yes, I know that Han's parka was actually dark brown (it just presented as blue on film) but I LIKE the blue and it provides a nice contrast from the others' outfits.

Here are the models I've painted so far. The only drawback of the third-party prints is you don't get any cards or stats with 'em. Not that this matters so much, as I've never actually played the game (Dave is coming over to run it tonight) but I imagine that the cards can be printed out somewhere. I also have a notion that maybe these models might get used in a Bolt Action-type modded game, we'll see.

Meanwhile, maybe some Imperials next!

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

The Adeptus Titanicus Gun Shop - The Loyalists Go Shopping

Loyalist Warlord titan posing with new carapace weapon options.

Time for some fun at the Titan gun store on Mars! Titan commanders need retail therapy too, right? Who wouldn't want to go shopping?

Back in April, I added more weapon options to my Adeptus Titanicus collection (new weapons and models in my 30k work generally always seem to arrive first with the Warmaster's side, for some reason). Inspired by the release of the fifth book in the "Seige of Terra" series - "Mortis" (a fairly dreadful book) - I thought I would balance things out in my collection once more, and paint up new weapons for the loyalists in my collection, the Titans of Legio Gyphonicus

These are all new weapon options for the carapace mounts of the Warlord-class battle titans. All of the weapons profiled below are resin bits from Forge World - with one exception, as you will see.

Paired Vulcan Mega Bolters

Not the scariest looking guns, but these will certainly strip the void shields from enemy engines - they shoot a LOT...

Visually, I find these weapons to be the least appealing. In terms of game impact, these things will definitely rip up your opponents' void shields, but otherwise they are light and don't cause much damage to other engines. Considering the other - IMO much superior - weapon options that a Warlord Princeps would have access to for the carapace mounts, I don't see a whole lot of value in this weapon system - but the option is now there if players want to try it. Certainly these things puke out a hail of shots!

Not an ideal weapon choice IMO, but I'm sure some clever tactics can come together to make use of these!

"Rotary Cannon Weapons" from Battle Bling

Cool weapon option from "Battle Bling" - a third party purveyor of custom components.

Have you heard of Battle Bling? If you love Adeptus Titanicus, you should check them out! Here is a link to their eBay shop - they make all sorts of optional, customized and character components that work with the new models. Many of the components they sell will trigger fond nostalgia for players of the original Adeptus Titanicus game. I hope to have more of their stuff to show later in the year, but it is very, very cool, and this is a good example.

Nice, clean castings that assemble easily - and fit magnets!

These could represent either Vulcan Mega Bolters, or the Paired Gatling Blasters...anything shooting shells at a high rate of fire from a Titan! It is a nice alternate look, another choice for folks seeking a bit of a different look for their Titans. Be sure to check out Battle Bling!

Paired Turbo Laser Destructors

Let's melt some stuff! Powerful energy weapons for the Warlord Titan!

Similar in name, and in performance, to the plastic "paired laser blasters", the Paired Turbo Laser Destructors hit the enemy a little harder, but with a lower rate of fire. A very effective weapon - and I have to hand it to the Forge World sculptors - these look pretty cool too. 

Ready for action against Horus!
Paired Gatling Blasters

Oh yeah! Gatling guns, Titanic scale...only the good "people" of Mars can bring this together!

Now we're talking! This choice provides a nice level of firepower AND a nice rate of fire - beat down the enemy's void shields with the volume of fire, and then you can still damage the enemy once those shields are down. Good times await with the Paired Gatling Blasters.

I recommend painting these in sub-assemblies - the multi-barrel set up makes painting a little tricky.

So, once more my Adeptus Titanicus collection is mostly balanced between rebels and loyalists - with both sides able to access a pretty wide selection of weapons to suit their Titanic firepower preferences. There are more Titanicus weapons coming, but that is all for now - thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more!