Monday, November 29, 2021

Star Wars Legion Probot and Snowtrooper Squad from Wargames3D

So the Battle of Hoth Star wars Legion project draws near to its close, as I've now received and painted some 3D prints from licensed printer Wargames3D on Etsy - an Imperial probe droid (designed by Skull Forge) and another squad of Snowtroopers (designed by Dark Fire).  

First - the Probot (OK, the "Arakyd Industries Viper Probe Droid"). This is a model that's currently missing from the official SW Legion range, but one that every Legion enthusiast will want in their collection... just a super-cool looking droid.

The model was 3D printed in resin and comes in several parts - the "head", "body", and five "legs". A printed resin support stand is included but I substituted my own clear plastic stand. Please don't mind how it's sitting a bit crooked, that's been fixed in post :-)

Size comparison with a Legion infantry model. Not much work required on the Probot - I drilled two small holes in the top to fit synthetic broom-bristle antennae, and magnetized the head-body join so the head can rotate. Painting consisted of a basecoat of Vallejo Dark Rubber, light drybrush of Leadbelcher, and a Nuln Oil wash, followed by picking out wear points with Mithril Silver. A couple of the lenses were painted Evil Sunz Orange and Corax White, the rest were painted black. The model was sprayed with Testors Dullcote and the lenses hit with 'Ardcoat gloss finish - done. 

Next up was the Snowtrooper squad. This consisted of seven troopers, two of which tote heavy/special weapons, a nice change from the flamethrowers in the official SW Legion squad mix. These are all one-piece models and came ready to paint, with supports and flash all removed - nice. 

I painted them in my standard Hoth Snowtrooper scheme - basically painting the whole model Rakarth Flesh, and hitting the white armour and face shield with Corax and then White Scar. The RF parts were washed with Agrax Earthshade and re-highlighted with RF. Weapons are black, drybrushed with Mechanicus Standard Grey.

Here are the special weapon troopers.

And a couple squaddies with blaster rifles.

Size comparison - official SW Legion trooper on left, Dark Fire 3D print on right.
If I had a criticism of the Dark Fire models it's that they're not as detailed as the official models - note the relative detail on the backpack and blaster holster. It's too bad that DF didn't include some of this detail - particularly considering the price point for the squad - it was more expensive than a box of Snowtroopers from FFG. But I think they'll mix together OK and the differences aren't too noticeable.

So I think that's about it for the Imperial side - I now have four seven-man squads, an E-web blaster, a Probot, a command squad, a K-series security droid, an AT-ST, Veers, and Vader. That should be enough for a game at long last! 

Some "True Scale" 30k Marines

"For the Warmaster! Horus for hope!"

As the Christmas season approaches once more here in Canada, I find that my painting table has once more filled with assorted GW and GW-related projects - some are new projects, but others much more familiar. In this post I share a few photos of a project that is very much in the latter category - here is yet another unit of 30k Marines. These fellows are wearing Mark IV plate, sporting the green, black and gold of the XVI Legion, the Sons of Horus. More Sons of Horus, well...why not? I can always use another squad of veterans - and I do love painting these guys...but there is one difference with these models...

These specific Marines are a hybrid of components - the heads, power backs, shoulder plates, arms, and weapons will be familiar to anyone who has worked with GW's excellent plastic Mark IV Space Marine kits. The torsos and legs, however, are one-piece resin accessories and they are sourced from Tortuga Gamestable. Why use an alternate source? Well, the poses are very sharp, but these torsos and legs have one other feature that makes them unique: they are bigger, and as such, more "true scale". The net result of the combined components is a unit of 30k Space Marines figures that are larger - some photos in this post will give a rough idea of the size. Yessir, what we have here is a squad of "true scale" Space Marines for 30k.

"Truescale" Marines and 30k - Pointless...And Yet...

Bolt pistols and combat blades galore for these veteran chaps.

I last opined on this topic in the summer when I painted up "Maloghurst The Twisted"
. Suffice to say that a combination of factors over the past spring/summer - leaked photos of a rumoured new 30k box set, the apparent large size of some recent 30k character figures from Forge World, and the general fevers of online communities - have really got all of us fans of 30k wondering and worrying about a possible Primaris-style re-size/re-scale coming to the GW/Forge World 30k figure range. 

Veteran Sergeant sporting power fist and plasma pistol.

Hobbyists will all have different perspectives on these speculations and on whether a re-size is a good thing - if it even happens (remember it's still rumours and interpretations, after all - as of this day, we don't have any confirmed information). I don't mean to opine over that matter much in this post, other than to note it would be nice if GW would communicate more constructively with the community on this sort of issue. 

Many players will see any re-sizing as a pointless complication, and avoid the whole thing as much as possible. This is a perspective that I am highly sympathetic to - after all, inter-range "scale creep" is a curse in the hobby generally, and it is even worse when in happens intra-range, creating a nightmare scenario of mis-matched scales within a single collection. For those of us with hobby-related OCD tuned to a certain frequency, that is a nightmare.

Boltguns at the ready...

Lots of room to affix the "combat blade" and holstered bolt pistols.

But I will say I have been surprised to note the strong feelings among many hobbyists in favour of a re-size. I am struck by the extent to which a wish for "true scale" marines out there. There are many, many gamers looking for this. They are irritated at the gap between the Space Marines as described in the Black Library novels and the Space Marines they see on the gaming table. In the novels, the Marines tower over the "regular" humans. On the table, they are barely larger than that average Cadian trooper. For my part, I have always been annoyed at how the Cadian sculpts are too large...but that is a digression for another day. There is a large community of 30k players who wish for their Marines to loom on the table as they do in the novels. They are looking for options to make this happen - and they are finding ways to do it!

This brings me to another thing I must admit, I saw some folks with "true scale" 30k marines...and they looked...AWESOME. This is how I came to learn of Tortuga Gamestable.

The Conversion Monster Drowns Off Tortuga

For me, the main obstruction to creating a "true scale" 30k Marine from a base-line figure out of the current range is the amount of conversion involved - both the level of skill needed, and just the raw amount of overall work. Even if you manage it for one or two figures, can you manage it for the 10, 20 or 40 figures you would want for your 30k force? Would the results be consistent? Goodness knows they would not be for me. There are incredibly talented hobbyist out there who can manage this sort of this, but for me, it is just not worth any attempt. I like to think I am not alone in that view... 

Vox operator and special weapon, seen from the rear.

The fellow with the flamer is ready for a BBQ....

Enter Tortuga Gamestable. They cut this Gordian Knot by offering bodies and torsos that are "true scale" for 30k Marines, yet still work OK with the established and existing range of components such that players can work with the bits and kits they already know well. The assembled end result is a "true scale" 30k marine without a tortured amount of conversion work, and consistent results across your whole units. As a 30k obsessive, I decided to test this out - and in the process create another Veteran Tactical Squad for my Sons of Horus collection.

"Shark fin" style missile launcher - still a classic!

Things did not go well with the decal on this shoulder...ugh. Oh well.

These resin sculpts are hobby-friendly and easy to work with, requiring some minimal preparation. And I really, really love the final look of the assembled figures. The taller Marines have, IMO, a superior look in terms of their proportions - their hips, and shoulders, just make more sense. The larger torso offers more opportunity for accessories too - as you look at some of the figures, you can see I used some of the pouches, for example, that come with the Mark IV plastic kits. These are very hard to fit on the regular plastic Mark IV marines, but they fit easily on these larger torsos, because there is just more room for that kind of stuff without interfering with the arms holding the bolt gun. 

Another benefit - the larger plates on the knees and legs offer that little extra bit of room you always wished you had to make full use of some of the decal options that are out there. For example, the "XVI" numeral decal on the knee plates was an easy fit (they still fogged up, because they are expired, poor-quality decals from Forge World, but that is a rant for another time). 

These "true scale" 30k marines look sharp and offer more scope for accessories, painting and decals. There is a lot to like in that...

So, How Big Are They Anyway?

From left to right: Tortuga Gamestable in Mark IV armour, GW Plastic Marine in Mark IV armour, and original Forge World Marine in Mark IV armour.

At the end of the day, these Marines are definitely larger than the current size standard, but still not-quite-so-large as Primaris Marines. Note: the comparison is a little rough when you consider that many Primaris sculpts are hunched over in a "combat stance". But I have a few comparison photos here that give a rough idea.

Tortuga Gamestable on the left, Primaris Intercessor on the right...the size is close overall, but the Primaris fellow is still  larger and heavier - note how the Primaris Marine is hunched in a menacing ready-stance, while Mark IV Marine is upright.

Even if they are not fully Primaris-sized, these true-scaled Marines are notably larger than the current standard range.Could they mix well with existing 30k Marine models? Look, they are definitely different - but everyone has their own sort of preference. IMO, I think they work OK to mix in the same collection, but definitely not the same unit. But we all have our own little hobby quirks and preferences - you might hate the difference, and I would respect that.

I just love how this squad looks - regardless of the relative size - the Tortuga Bay poses are just awesome. I enjoyed painting these fellow for sure, too. As I said, very forgiving and hobby friendly.

Are there downsides? Of course - there is no free lunch, especially when it comes to 30k! To make use of these Tortuga Bay sculpts, you still require a source of arms, guns, backpacks etc. The likeliest source would be a squad box from GW. So this approach is more expensive - for something that is already kinda pricey. 

There is also the fact that these components are not official GW kit, and thus would likely be barred from any official GW sort of gaming event. Not something I really care about, but some others might, so just something to keep in mind.

Ready to deploy!

The final downside is that, well, it takes a long, long, long time for your order - and I don't blame the folks at Tortuga Gamestable. I think the demand for their product is strong - I see more and more units of their marines appearing in pictures online. So it can take a while for your stuff to get cast. Then factor in the complete clown show that is shipping in today's environment - expect to wait. Again, not their fault...just something to keep in mind. I ordered these in the early summer, and they arrived in July...and that was back when shipping was still working sort-of-OK. Needless to say, my second order has yet to show up...pile on the Christmas-shipping pressure to an already caved-in global logistics system, and you will be waiting a long while.

So, what next? Will I now suddenly paint up a whole new segment of my 30k collection using these Marines? Well, stranger things have happened, and I am a 30k obsessive, yes - I love painting 30k Marines!. But I did not order enough sets of Tortuga Gamestable kits to attempt anything like for now. Instead, I plan to sprinkle these around a bit on a couple different projects. Watch for more of them to appear here soon.

That's all for now. Thanks for reading!  

Friday, November 19, 2021

The First Shots – Early-WW2 Bolt Action Battle Report

A year ago I finally finished painting my early war Polish army and was looking for a suitable scenario to deploy them on the table top. I hit upon Scenario 1 from the Bolt Action campaign book ‘Germany Strikes!’ which is about the defence of the Polish Post Office in Danzig. There were a few special units required, such as Steyr ADGZ armoured cars and several German light and medium artillery pieces. Doing some research into the actual battle, I was inspired to not only paint up the additional units, but to build the center piece of the battle, the massive Polish Post Office itself. (Use the tag ‘Polish Post Office Danzig’ to find the related posts on our blog.)

Last night Conscript Dallas hosted the game in the ‘Churchill Bunker’ with five other conscripts to command the Polish and German Forces. The Poles are superior in quality to the majority of German units, but they are significantly outnumbered and outgunned.  With the hard cover of the post office building, and the inexperience of the attackers, it would still be a difficult task for the Germans to capture the building.

The Polish Forces consisted of 2nd Lieutenant Konrad Guderski, six rifle sections of four men, two light machine gun teams, and two grenade launcher teams. Guderski is a veteran with a +2 morale modifier, and the rest of his men are regulars. The Poles have a ‘No Where To Run’ special rule which allows them to re-roll failed morale tests. In addition, Guderski also has a ‘They Shall Not Pass’ special rule where he can set off a massive grenade charge which causes every model  within  a radius of 3” of him (including himself)  to take a hit with a +1 Penetration value.

The German Forces consisted of a mix of SS-Heimwehr Danzig, SA, and Ordnungspolizei, supported by two armoured cars, a medium machine gun team, two light howitzers, a medium howitzer and a small section of assault pioneers with a flamethrower and satchel charges. They would come on in three waves as follows:

1st Wave: 1 x 2nd Lieutenant, 2 x Ordnungspolizei Sections, 1 x MMG Team, 1 x Light Howitzer, 1 x Steyr armoured car, Deploy on the table anywhere outside 12” from the Post Office.

2nd Wave: 1 x 2nd Lieutenant, 3 x SS-Heimwehr Danzig Sections, 1 x Assault Pioneer (Sapper) Team, 1 x Medium Howitzer. Enter on Turn 3 from any board edge

3rd Wave: 1 x Sturmabteilung Section, 1 x Light Howitzer, 1 x Steyr armoured car.  Enter on Turn 4 from any board edge.

While the officers, support weapons, armoured cars, and sappers are regulars, the rest are all inexperienced with the SS-Heimwehr also rated as Green (on first casualty roll D6 - 1: extra D6 pins & go Down, 2-4: no effect, 5-6: upgrade to Regular), and the SA rated as Shirkers (always take order test, count pins as double).

The Polish defenders were trying to hold more rooms in the post office building than the Germans at the end of the game, which would last a minimum of 5 turns. At the end of that turn, there is a chance of a sixth turn, with a chance of a seventh.

Rather than have the Poles inside the building model, they were deployed on a grid off board designating the six rooms on each floor. Not knowing where the Germans were coming from, the Polish players deployed in ‘all round defence’

The Germans players deployed their first wave near the eastern end of the post office building, and began bringing artillery and machine gun fire on that part of the building. Initially the German artillery had little success, and the Polish defenders were able to take out the Germans’ MMG team. However, with the arrival of the second wave, things started to swing over to the Germans’ side. They were able to score a devastating hit with the medium howitzer that took out a rifle section, a grenade launcher team, and a LMG team.  Meanwhile two sections of SS-Heimwehr tried charging the front entrance of the post office, and the Assault Pioneers planted a satchel charge against the west end of the building. 


Although Polish casualties were mounting, the defenders successfully repelled some of the Germans rushing the front entrance. One Heimwehr section got upgraded to Regulars on receiving their first casualty, but later rolled a ‘FUBAR’ on their command check two turns in a row and ran off the game board. However, a section of Ordnungspolizei and an officer were able to get inside.  At that point the Polish commander set off a bag of grenades in the midst of the Germans that wiped out the squad, but due to the vagaries of the game rules, the Polish and German officers both managed to survive the blast.

Despite this brief success, the Germans gradually managed to gain the upper hand. Polish squads were forced to retreat to the south side of the building to avoid the German artillery fire, while the Steyr armoured cars started to drive around to that side to bring them under machine gun fire. Meanwhile the satchel charge blew a hole in the west wall allowing more German squads to enter the building. 


The game ran to the maximum seven turns with the Germans finally controlling more rooms than the Poles at the very end. This played out much as the historical battle. At the end of the game, I gave a brief summary of the fate of the Polish defenders. The players enjoyed the game, which hung in the balance until the final turn.  It was good to finally see all the newly painted units on the table top, as well as the model of the post office building. A few of the conscripts have suggested that the scenario would do well as a participation game at a wargames convention.  Until next time!


Wednesday, November 17, 2021

SW Legion - Cassian Andor and K-2SO

Cassian Andor and K-2SO - figures from Fantasy Flight Games "Star Wars Legion" range.

Well, there was a slight diversion there, but it did not take long to squeeze another "Star Wars Legion" bit on my painting desk. Here we have Cassian Andor and K-2SO, characters from the excellent "Rogue One" film. These are plastic figures from Fantasy Flight Games' "Star Wars Legion" game. 

"Why can't I have a blaster?"

The Disney sequels for "Star Wars" are awful. I don't mean to dwell on that here - there are many other (better-written) sources for that sort of content online. But I found first one was so vomit-inducing that it caused me to ignore anything "Star Wars" that emerged from the sh*t pit of the Mouse Empire. This stubborn attitude, in turn, caused me to ignore "Rogue One" when it came out in theatres. Wow was that dumb on my part! Years passed, and I finally watched "Rogue One" on TV, and loved the film. So when I finally tilted over into collecting and painting "Star Wars Legion", I was pleased to see a number of characters from the film were already featured in the game's miniature range.  

Very nice sculpts from FFG.

There are different options to equip both Cassian Andor (either pistol or rifle) and K-2SO (either unarmed, or carrying Jinn's blaster). I find this latter option to be nicely on-the-nose, given K-2's complaint about not having a weapon during the movie. I nonetheless decided to leave K-2 unarmed, with the idea that the figure could represent an actual Imperial Security droid, or even K-2 sneaking in as part of a Rebel op. Plus I just like to imagine K-2 complaining to Cassian about not having a weapon.

Ready for deployment on a gaming table...

While we all know how things end for the Rogue One team in that movie, the idea of gaming battles featuring the characters and troops from the film is certainly a motivating one - not only the fateful battle on Scarif, but other "what-if" operations as well. I know a lot of other "Star Wars Legion" players are motivated by the same notions, so my approach is hardly original, but nonetheless it will be fun to paint them up. I'm particularly pleased to have K-2, such a great and fun character. More of the characters from the "Rogue One" film are available from various 3D printing aficionados out there (thanks to Dave V for pointing me in the right direction), so watch for more "Rogue One" content to appear in this space as the winter arrives.

That's all for now - thanks for reading, and happy painting!