Monday, February 20, 2023

Wings of Glory - Outnumbered

Last Thursday I ran the latest in our long-running Wings of Glory WWI campaign for the Fawcett Avenue Conscripts. We played a 1917 scenario based upon mission 7a of the Knights of the Air campaign setting, “Outnumbered”.  The Germans were the attackers, since they won the last game (which was played before COVID).  

Frederick, the leading German player, had a Deadly Aim 1 ace flying a Pfalz DIII. Hugh, new to WoG, flew a trusty Albatross DII. Kevin is the leading French player, and flew a SPAD S.VII. I flew the colourful Nieuport XI with a wing mounted Lewis gun that allowed firing even if overlapped! Both German planes had twin guns using the A deck, and both French planes had a single gun using the B deck. This would be interesting. 

Under the rules of the mission, if a French plane was shot down, it could basically re-spawn on the French table edge, representing reinforcements. 

The Germans set up within the confines of the green circle, then the French rolled randomly for placement from the mission map. People got stuck in right away, with a damaging pass that resulted in several smoking planes and jammed guns. The two sides kept circling , with my Nieuport also trying to bring the Germans closer to a ground based French AA machine gun. 

Frederick’s ace skill was impactful. For most of the game the Nieuport was flying on only 1 damage point left! I got in the ace’s sights again and was shot down in no-man’s land. My plane re-spawned near my original deployment. 

Fredrick and Kevin’s pilots got into a fight, and an explosion card was finally drawn by Frederick! Under the rules of the campaign, Frederick drew a card from the A deck to determine his ace’s fate. His pilot managed to avoid being killed outright, and crawled wounded from the wreck near the German front line trench, vowing to return to the fray. 

Hugh's pilot, with a plane damaged by both French aircraft and ground fire, managed to accidentally fly off the French table edge into captivity, setting up a later escape and rescue scenario!

Much fun was had by all. Thanks to Frederick, Hugh, and Kevin for playing, and to Dallas for dropping by and showing off his new WWI aircraft book. 


The current standings in the campaign (as the moderator, my results do not count):

Frederick's German Flight Leader (suffered 6 wounds in mission 7a): +6 (six sorties flown) +23 (4 and 1/2 planes (18) and one balloon (5) shot down) +4 (drove off two enemy aircraft) -8 (being shot down twice) 7 1/2 victories = 25 campaign points, Knight's Cross, Deadly Aim 1

Kevin's French Flight Leader: +4 (four sorties flown) +10 (2 victories (Frederick's Wingman and Ace and one shared victory) +2 (drove off one enemy aircraft) 4 1/2 victories = 16 campaign points

Brian: +2 (two sorties flown) +8 (two planes shot down) 2 victories = 10 campaign points

Indo: +1 (one sortie flown) +4 (one plane shot down) = 5 campaign points

Bill (suffered 2 wounds in Mission 1): +2 (two sorties flown) -4 (being shot down) +4 (one plane shot down) 1 victory = 2 campaign points

Frederick's German Wingman  (suffered 1 wound in Mission 4a): +3 (three sorties flown) +2 (drove off enemy aircraft) -4 (being shot down) 1 victory = 1 campaign point

Kevin's French Wingman: +1 (one sortie flown) = 1 campaign point

Jim: +1 (one sortie flown) +4 (one plane shot down) -4 (being shot down) 1 victory = 1 campaign point

Byron (suffered 3 wounds in Mission 3a): +1 (one sortie flown) -4 (being shot down = -3 campaign points

MikeA: +1 (one sortie flown) -4 (being shot down) = -3 campaign points

Hugh: +1 (one sortie flown) -4 (being forced down = -3 campaign points

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge XIII Submission #7 - A Short Trip Around the Challenge Studios

 Having completed 'Under Construction' and 'Black and White', I decided to hit the Sci Fi studio next for 'Destination Moon'. I found two highly appropriate miniatures in my retro collection that were wearing spacesuits that looked a lot like the ones worn in the movie. I have no idea who the manufacturer is, so if anyone out there recognizes them, let me know. Like a lot of my minis, I glued these to 25mm fender washers, and added some sand as groundwork. They were then painted using Vallejo acrylics, with the exception of the Partha True Blue. Once again the special challenges are getting me to paint figures that have been sitting in the pending box for a long time.


My two astronauts with their rocketship in the background

Front View

Rear View

  The next figure is a vintage West End Games Rebel Commando figure that I have painted up in the colours of my planetary militia using Vallejo Gunship Green and a wash of Biel-Tan Green.

Front View
Front View


 The last stop is the High Adventure studio where we are going to film an adaptation of H. Rider Haggard's novel 'King Solomon's Mines'. Our figure is the Big Game Hunter with Shotgun from Grenadier Models 'Call of Cthulu' range. This miniature dates from 1983. It was glued to a fender washer, sand was applied to the base, and it was primed black with an airbrush. The main colours used are Vallejo Flat Flesh, Khaki Grey, and Leather Brown. Iraqi Sand was used for the pugaree, Beige Brown for the gunstock, and Gun Metal for the shotgun barrels. Citadel Reikland Fleshshade was used on the skin areas, and Agrax Earthshade for the rest of the model.


The mighty hunter facing a 'charging' elephant
Front View

Rear View

 As I wrote at the beginning of this post, the Special Challenges within the AHPC provided some incentive to paint up a few more of the oddball minis that have been sitting in my storage boxes for a while. I am not sure if I will ever have a need to place these on the tabletop, but they were fun to paint. Thanks for reading.

Friday, February 17, 2023

Painting Challenge Submission #13 - Director Krennic and Death Trooper Guards for Star Wars Legion

Director Krennic and his Death Trooper body guards - figures from Fantasy Flight Games

Rounding my recent run of "Star Wars" painting for Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, we have the antagonist from the film "Rogue One" - Director Krennic, accompanied by his bodyguard squad of sinister Imperial Death Troopers. These are all figures from Fantasy Flight Games range for Star Wars "Legion". 

One of the many things that make "Rogue One" so awesome is the non-supernatural nature of the protagonists and antagonists. I mean, it is still clearly a sci-fi setting of course, with all that can entail, but Ben Mendelsohn's portrayal of Director Krennic, leader of the Death Star development program, was so well done, creating a relatable antagonist amid a fantastical setting. The Death Star or the Galactic Empire do not exist in the real world (at least, not yet), but Director Krennic types are everywhere in our increasingly futile-o-crat bound society. Krennic is a pencil pusher, a super bureaucrat, adept at navigating and climbing in the bureaucracy of the Galactic Empire. Never mind The Force, he has a Program with a Budget. Never mind Order 66, Krennic could have simply buried the Jedi order with TPS report audits. 

Director Krennic, prepared to sort out a few bureaucratic SNAFUs personally...

Sure, he is working on a genocide-level terror weapon, but for him it's all about getting the credit - even after Vader nearly strangles him! Will the Emperor be told I did a good job? Switch out "Death Star" and replace it with "Winnipeg Regional Health Authority" or "Competition Bureau of Canada" and his movie dialogue is depressingly close to real-life. Death Stars and Sith Lords are products of our imagination, but there are Director Krennics all over the place, right now, in our world, working on a program that will "fix health care" and accumulating a defined benefit pension obligation that your taxes will have to fund somehow.

So look, he makes an awesome character for a Star Wars game! And Fantasy Flight did a great job on the miniature. In particular the sculptor captured Krennic's near-constant annoyance with his subordinates, best captured in his exhortation/command to deploy the garrison on Scarif...

Krennic-types may lurk all over, but the Imperial Death Troopers, on the other hand, are thankfully NOT a common feature of our real world (for now). I believe the idea for these Troopers came from one of the Star Wars FPS video games from the 90s? I'm not certain on that, but they sure looked cool in "Rogue One".

No need to panic! The Death Trooper are here!

Not only is their armour black, sleek and sinister, but they are festooned with all sorts of different blasters - which they carry with them everywhere! The "Rogue One" film handled them brilliantly - I mean, sure, a small child DID manage to out-whit them (they didn't seem too intent on burning up calories to search for young Jyn Erso, did they?), but notice how the Death Troopers never have any silly Stormtrooper-esque dialogue (i.e. "they're over there!" or "get them" or whatever). Rather, when they are present you catch the faint audio snippets of some kind of closed-channel radio chatter, and that's it. They are communicating with each other, but the only message they'll send to you will come from the barrel of a blaster. I find it makes them more sinister.

I love these poses - Curt described them as having a real "special forces" look, and I think that description is perfect.

Finally, when they are sent to combat, they actually hit pretty hard, exacting a heavy toll on the brave Rebels making the raid on Scarif, and sealing the fate of the diversionary ground attack.

A handy DLT-19D blaster on the left, while the fellow on the right prepares a grenade...they are going to clear that room...

Great firing poses - they might actually hit something!

Once more, I have to hand it to the sculptors employed by Fantasy Flight Games - they really nailed these models. The blasters, the grenades, the grenade launchers, the harnesses, the cool helmets, it's all there.

Now painting these all-black sinister SOBs was a bit of a head to capture the look? Maybe this called for some grisaille? Hah! Hell no. In the end, I did my best with grey highlights and a lot of black washes. Thankfully GW's new "Nuln Oil" is not as f*cked over as its new "Agrax Earthshade", so still has applications on subject like this. I also added some red for the eye lenses and scopes, and touch of green on the helmets. I considered attempting some kind of gloss varnish, but decided against it in the end. 

The garrison deploys...

 It was fun to take this little run on Star Wars figures - and great to knock out so many boxes of figures from the "pile of shame" in my basement. The Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge continues - we are nearly 2/3 of the way through - so keep watching this space for more submissions, and thanks for reading.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge XIII Submission #6 - Some Lord of the Rings Bits and Bobs

 For this submission I decided to work on clearing away a lot of loose ends to make room on my desk for some large projects that are coming down the pipe. What we have today is a mix of Uruk-hai Berserkers, Mordor Uruk-hai, some Dwarf Heroes, a trio of Trolls, and a collection of Mines of Moria terrain and dead.

The three Uruk-hai Berserkers are metal figures from Games Workshop that were mixed in with the secondhand Uruk-hai Scout that I was given. The paint job left much to be desired, so they got stripped back down to raw metal and then were primed black with a rattle can. Vallejo acrylics were used for most of the colors - Cavalry Brown for the skin areas, Leather Brown for the loincloth, sandals, and gloves, and Gun Metal for the helmet and sword. They were then given a coat of Army Painter Strong Tone Quickshade.


  The three Mordor Uruk-hai were from another blister of metal figures from Games Workshop that I picked up years ago, and they have been sitting in the pending box ever since they got mounted on their bases and primed black. Again, I used primarily Vallejo acrylics, but also some craft store acrylics that I still have in my paint box. I used a colour called Hippo Grey for the skin areas, and Charcoal for the cloaks. The leather pieces got painted a mix of Leather Brown, Chocolate Brown, and Flat Earth, while helmets, greaves, gauntlets, and weapons were painted with Gun Metal. Finally I gave them a coat of Citadel Agrax Earthshade.



 Next up are four Dwarven Heroes consisting of a Shieldbearer, a King's Champion, and two Heralds.These are resin figures from Games Workshop that were available at one time as metal miniatures. Like the Dwarves I painted for last week's submission, these were mounted on their bases, some sand glued down to the base with PVA glue, and then primed black with an airbrush. I used mostly Vallejo acrylics, but also some Partha paints for the True Blue and Bronze Metallic.

King's Champion and Heralds
Side view to show off the banners

Showing off the shield design

A Shieldbearer is a Minor Hero bodyguard


 The three trolls are a mix of two Games Workshop Cave Trolls, one in metal and the other in plastic, and a Reaper Miniatures Mountain Troll that I am going to use as a Mordor Troll. The metal Cave Troll I purchased years ago, and like the Mordor Uruk-hai, it was prepped and then gathered dust. The plastic Cave Troll is the one that comes with the Mines of Moria starter box. Somebody bought it, but was only interested in the Moria Goblins and the Fellowship figures, so I ended up with the Cave Troll and the terrain. The Reaper Mountain Troll is a massive metal figure that has since been replaced with a plastic version of the sculpt. Again, Vallejo acrylics were used, followed by a wash of Citadel Agrax Earthshade. I had used Medium Flesh on the Mountain Troll as a base colour, and with the Earthshade wash, it came out looking a bit more orange than I expected, but it still looks pretty menacing. These all stand 55-60mm tall.


Reaper Mountain Troll, plastic Cave Troll, and metal Cave Troll


The backside of the trio of trolls


 Lastly I have two sets of terrain pieces from the Mines of Moria starter box. I got one set from someone who only wanted the Fellowship figures and the Moria Goblins, and the other from someone who just wanted all the figures, including the Cave Troll. So I ended up being given a total of 8 pillars, 4 trapdoors, 2 chests, 2 wells, 2 sarcophagi, and 6 assorted skeleton/skull pieces. These were all primed black using a rattle can, and then dry brushed with progressively lighter shades of grey. I used Iraqi Sand on the skeletons and skulls, Stone Grey on all the pages, Chocolate Brown on the chests and book covers, with Bronze Metallic and Gun Metal painted on various other bits. I then used a fine tipped Sharpie to put lines of dots and dashes on the pages to look like writing. Finally everything got a wash with Citadel Agrax Earthshade.

Two sets of Mines of Moria terrain

An elevated view

A closeup showing the dead and skeletons and the detail on the pages

 Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Painting Challenge Submission #12 - Imperial Shoretroopers for Star Wars Legion

Shoretrooper Squads for Star Wars "Legion" - figures from Fantasy Flight Games.

More painting from the "Star Wars" setting, and more figures for Star Wars "Legion" - here we have a detachment of Shoretroopers. They're like Stormtroopers, but they are, you know, for service near the shore - the specialist tropical climate infantry (I suppose) of the Galactic Empire. 

One of the Shoretrooper squads.

Everyone recalls the Shoretroopers in the movie "Rogue One". I loved them, and I can hardly be the only one, as these things seem to be popular! They are a very cool alternate infantry for the Galactic Empire. Given that you first see them as part of the garrison on Scarif, I suppose it might be inferred that they are a cut above the (highly theoretical) fighting quality of the average Stormtrooper. I'm not sure their actual combat performance bears that out - either as observed on Scarif, or at the remnant Imperial refinery base seen in the second season of "The Mandalorian". 

Some view of the rear detail.

In "Andor" (another amazing Star Wars series) we see them shaking down and rounding up randos as part of a general Imperial crackdown - so I suppose the Shoretrooper is just a basic trooper with tropical kit. That said, they sure look cool - I like the lines of their helmets and the colours on the armour. 

Squad leader on the left, and I used the sculpt on the right as a second-in-command for each squad.

Not only to Shoretroopers have different coloured armour, but they seem to sport a marking scheme. Almost all of them seem to have a stripe on their left shoulder pads, and then varying combinations of red, blue and even yellow lines and pauldrons to denote various ranks and specialties. For my part, I have opted to be much more limited with the markings - while I did put a red armour section on the right arms of each Shoretrooper, I decided against the "everyone gets a stripe day" look - leaving those only for the squad leaders and assistant squad leaders, and only the NCO squad leader got any blue markings. 

Trooper rocking a T-21B blaster on the left, regular grunt on the right.

Fantasy Flight Games did a great job on these sculpts, I love them. And it is kind of nuts, each box comes with a mortar and a gunner. Like - how many mortars do you need? I decided I would only paint up one for now. 

I love the poses on these sculpts - well done by FFG.

Painting these was a bit tricky, as it brought me further into the realization that GW has utterly f*cked up its "Agrax Earthshade" wash. They issued a new formulation for this beloved and endlessly useful product last year. Given GW's compulsion to "fix" things that are not broken and make changes for no good reason in a way that makes things worse, news of the "new" formulation filled me with dread. Having tried the new formulation and given it a fair shot, I can confirm that my worst fears have been realized - the new formulation of "Agrax Earthshade" sucks sh!t 

Why? Well, for starters, it dries glossy as f*ck (even though there is still a separate "glossy" version - can only surmise that one finishes so glossy you can see it from space). It has also lost its tinting properties, and while it is supposedly "thinner", it does not flow well into recesses for highlighting. You might as well drop your figure in some vaguely brown would need less cleaning up...

DF-90 mortar and its one-person crew.

Using the "new formulation", the usually straightforward process of achieving some highlights on the armour via recess wash became a distended exercise in frustration, leading to a lot of re-painting. I ultimately had to try and some new "Contrast" paints from GW instead - in this case, "Skeleton Horde". On balance, this was too light, but it did flow much better, so I'm going to step up the experimenting with the new "Contrast" paint range, as I will need some kind of replacement for "Agrax Earthshade".

Another view of the mortar and gunner.

Whatever the tribulations, my Imperial forces are now considerably expanded with the addition of two squads of Shoretroopers, supported by a mortar (or, I guess, a "space mortar"). I am scouring the 3D printing sites to get some more specialists kitted out in Shoretrooper armour, as I much prefer the look of these fellows to the basic Stormtroopers. Depending on shipping time, they may appear in this edition of the Challenge...

Stay tuned for more - and I hope you have a chance to escape winter and enjoy a beach somewhere...just like these fellows do!