Impressions: TTCombat HGV Truck

(Hey everyone, as a special treat thanks to me hitting over 2500 views this month, I thought I would bring a post back from the future and put it out on this Bank Holiday Monday)

There is something about a toy lorry that takes you back to being a kid. Of course, as a wargamer, you then want to skirmish around them and use them as terrain. You could go and get a diecast truck from the toy shop but there is an alternative if you want to get them even cheaper. TTCombat does several vehicles (including armoured trucks and a taco van) and all for a good price. I picked up two of these HGVs ready for the tabletop and was very excited to get started on them.

Construction

The HGV comes on two sheets of laser cut MDF, as well as an instruction sheet and a front page showing a completed model. Removing the pieces is easy – the laser cutting in the MDF is spot on, leaving only two corner bits still attached. A quick twist and the pieces separate needing only a minor bit of pruning to get them in shape.

The main body of the truck is a long thin baseboard and the shorter squatter upper level that forms the bottom of the cargo bay. From here, the upper panels are attached to form the box structure. The only niggle with this is that the upper part of the wheels protrude into the cargo section, leaving them exposed if you choose to open the back doors. I’d recommend either leaving the doors sealed closed or be willing to break the MDF out and tweak the inside.

Speaking of the wheels, each wheel unit is made up of an axle with two connecting tabs (for the body) and two rods, two plain wheel plates that attach to the rods and two detailed wheel plates that fit onto of the plain ones. I am not 100% sure about the assembly on the wheel – should the inner and outer be lined up or alternating? There seems to be a mixture on the site between the vehicles so I would guess it’s down to personal preference (I went with matching).

Once the rear box is done, the front section is then added. I did a quick trim down to the bottom tab on the front panel as it didn’t seem to fit 100% but in the end it was all alright. The lid for the cab is removable so you could leave it unglued to allow placement of crew figures. There is a tiny gap where the upper and lower windscreen meet but it’s barely visible.

 

Modification

So as you can see in at this point the crew compartment is visible and accessible. However, as the rest of the vehicles in my collection have painted over windows and the cab is a massive space lacking in detail, I decided to fill in the gaps using off cuts from my spare pile of MDF. This was super easy, thanks to plenty of space on the inside. Just make sure you pop the slots out for the mirrors before you glue the interior panels in place.

Final Result

Add on a few detail pieces (headlights, mirrors and the grill) and the kit is done. Now for the pictures you all wanted!

The rear shows the detailing for the lights. This is actually slightly cut out of the MDF, so it should still be visible once the basecoat is applied. There is also details on the rear door and the number plate.

At the front you can see the details on the grill, more cut in details on the lights and the wipers in place. Comparison time. Here it is next to the Foxhound (now undercoated) and standard reference figure from Empress. It’s a big old vehicle, slightly oversized for 28mm so it fits with 35mm games but should still be fine as a terrain piece.

The container is slightly smaller than the truck’s cargo bay. You could use the truck as a starting point for a container carrier but you would need to build a bed that sits over the top of the wheels.

Final Thoughts

The truck kit costs £5.95 from TTCombat and I think it’s worth every penny. There are a few places where some tweaks had to be made but the end result is a really solid HGV that is great to play around. It’s a good starting point if you’re wanting to make some more decorative like an Afghan Jingle truck requiring less of the prep work that a diecast replica would need. Overall, I’m very happy with my purchase.

Now, if only I had some sort of depot for them to park up in and load cargo from…

Wargaming Week 29/05/2017

Let’s start, covering the 21st of May through to the 29th of May.

BLOG STUFF

Last weekend post was looking at all sorts of scatter terrain. Future compliation articles will actually be spread out during a week, looking at different manufacturers in each post and giving them the forefront. This is primarily to allow people to share them without advertising their competitors. A slight change with a massive implication in terms of who get to see what. On the plus side, more posts per week!

There is also another new post going up later today (at 1pm BST) to celebrate hitting 2.5k views in one month. It’s a massive growth compared to previous months and I’m really happy with it.

Also more plugging of the facebook page. Share it with your friends (as long as those friends enjoy wargaming)! The page is getting quite a lot of activity during the week as I’m posting a lot of the images (such as WIPs or finished models) there rather than on my personal profile.

GAMING

All writing and no play makes Charge a dull boy.

PURCHASES

Purchases are getting quiet. Too quiet.

HOBBY

Lots of hobby work this week! Time for high speed updates.

I built more of the plane.

It’s a really big plane

I built a truck

I started building something else. Wait for this weekend’s post!

 


That’s it for this update, expect more updates next week!

Impressions: Scatter Terrain Part 1

Strictly speaking, terrain isn’t technically needed for a wargame – a few pieces of cardboard with labels on can play the role of buildings and walls. However, terrain makes games much more interesting, giving you something to actually fight over rather. While big buildings and rolling hills help shape the gameplay and draw the eye, smaller items and scatter terrain brings the game to life. Its makes urban streets feel like somewhere people live, adds detail to otherwise empty plains and provide vital cover in skirmish games.

There are two sets of impressions coming for scatter and smaller terrain items. This first article will cover plastic and resin items while the second will look at everything made from MDF.

Spectre Trash Piles

This set from Spectre was the first bits of terrain I picked up and they are pretty fantastic. The pack includes three cardboard boxes, three small rubbish bags and a large bag pile. All the terrain pieces have flat bottoms while the large pile also has flat back, perfect for fitting next to a building in a crowded alley. Both parts are great for adding some decoration to a street scene or terrifying your opponents by using them as possible IED sites.

Spectre Oil Drums

All games that involve shooting need barrels (especially red ones) and these are great. Each pack includes 10 barrels. They have a nice level of detail and paint up nicely. The only major issues is you can see some casting lines and a few of the barrels have some missing rims after some use.

Spectre Barricades – Alfa

Designed by The Lazy Forger, these barricades are amazing and an easy way to meet the chest high wall requirements of any mission. The pack includes six full size barricades and one partial barricade. Each one is unique and full of detail, really giving a war-torn feel to a board. The barricades are flat edged so really fit best forming straight lines.

Spectre Barricades – Bravo

Another Lazy Forger designed product, these vertical barricades provide full height cover. The pack includes six walls and once each is unique. They are also filled with evocative detail, such as the exposed re-bar inside the concrete and the masses of bullet holes. The walls have a concave edge on one side and a convex edge on the other, letting them fit together and hiding most of the join.

To add, both of these products make me really excited for what The Lazy Forger is doing next – Brick Walls! These are instantly useful and will make both building modification and board setup even easier.

Spectre Ammo Boxes

Not yet on general release, these hard cases were available at Salute 2017 and will presumably coming soon. There are a few casting lines that need trimming down but the level of detail on them is ridiculous for such a small item. These will look great when building a military outpost or wanting some objectives for teams to fight over.

TTCombat Portable Toilet Set

Most of the time your figures are answering the call of duty but sometimes they might need to answer the call of nature. These resin portaloos (coming in a pack of four) are simple and do the job, making temporary military installations or building sites slightly more realistic and also adding some full height cover. They are one piece of resin and feel really solid. Luckily they also don’t include the smell.

 

TTCombat Bank Accessories

Money, it makes the world go round. This pack is designed to add-on to an MDF building, letting you fill it with loot. The vault door and safes are really cool but the gold bars in various combinations are spot on for objective markers. If you’re wanting something more mobile the cash sacks are just the right size for using as markers, letting you know which of your troops have grabbed the swag.

TTCombat Bank Accessories 2

The second part of bank accessories are more security focused. It includes two burglar alarms, two piece security cameras (allowing for some careful placing and angling) and pieces required for a security console (such as a keyboard and a screen). Unlike the Bank Accessories 1, this one is very much focused on upgrading other pieces of terrain. However, it is very effective at this job and gives you a lot of bang for your buck.


The resin stuff is great for objects on the smaller side, but once you start using cheap laser cut MDF and scatter terrain can start doing some really cool stuff for the slightly bigger things. Come back in two weeks for part two where I’ll cover MDF constructs including shipping containers, pallets and more!

Wargaming Week 22/05/2017

Let’s start, covering the 15th of May through to the 20th of May.

BLOG STUFF

This week’s post is up, looking at Sarissa’s industrial buildings. Little terrifying to notice that Sarissa actually reposted it on their Facebook page. Thanks to them, Saturday hit some record numbers for views though and I hope everyone enjoys the rest of the blog.

Speaking of posts, if you want to know the best time to check the site for new posts, it’s midday Monday (for wargaming week) and midday Saturday for the post of the week. I’m going to try to stick with this pattern although additional posts may pop up. For example, Weekend Warfare installments will probably go up pretty quick and outside the usual pattern.

Upcoming posts! I’ll be looking at some scatter terrain and smaller terrain elements over the next few weekends and TTCombat’s depot should be turning up. There will also be upcoming impressions on some figures as well, just need to decide who to look at first.

Also more plugging of the facebook page. Share it with your friends (as long as those friends enjoy wargaming)! The page is getting quite a lot of activity during the week as I’m posting a lot of the images (such as WIPs or finished models) there rather than on my personal profile.

GAMING

Still no gaming and I’m starting to have withdrawal. However, writing on the book is going really well – getting great feedback on the new rules and the scenarios are cracking along. I’m also still trying to work through the details of CGS Episode 3 for weekend warfare

PURCHASES

Nothing purchased (shocking I know). Too busy building and painting the stuff I have. Also I keep trying to avoid getting into Napoleonics.

HOBBY

Lots of hobby work this week! Despite being in the middle of crazy work time, I got a fair amount of stuff done.

In regards to the demo board I started building the C130. I knew it was big but dang, this thing is huge! The plan is to build it in subassemblies, apply a basic paint job, assembly fully, take a saw to it and then apply the final weathering. The cool thing with working in 1:48 is there are much fewer tiny pieces than back when I was making airsoft kits.

I also started and did some painting. A few friends that used to live in the frozen north have now moved to Edinburgh and wanted to start painting all their Dark Souls figures. We ended up hanging out for most of the day and did some painting which might turn into a biweekly thing. It’s cool to have some other people in the room while painting, it really helps to keep me focused. Thanks to this, I finished off these five Spectre Insurgents. They are some really cool figures, rolling Western guns rather the usual AKs and looking semi professional. My plan is to use them as a snatch squad for the militia, grabbing VIPs from the streets of Bazi City or turning up to militia fights as the ace in the hole.

After having started them at the painting session, I finished off these three contractors as the weekend finished. These guys are Empress US SF in Light Kit and I’ve already finished one of their number for the first Weekend Warfare. Painting the rest was great fun, especially as I tried not painting them with the same hair colour as everyone else. The ginger was especially fun to paint and should be distinctive on the board. These guys will also be playing roles in the Weekend Warfare as other members of Commando Global Solutions.


That’s it for this update, expect more updates next week!

Impressions: Sarissa Precision Industrial

Sarissa Precision are pretty high on my list of favourite terrain companies thanks to their wonderfully detailed buildings. Among my favourites in the range are two buildings from their Industrial range, the factory and the office. I first saw these thanks to Spectre’s playtest report and was immediately interested in them.

Like all Sarissa buildings, both arrive on A4 sheets of laser cut mdf. In addition, they also have some cardboard detailing panels that sit inside the MDF. Unusually for an MDF building, the kit actually includes instructions which is massively appreciated to make sure no mistakes happen during assembly. For both kits, the MDF parts were cleanly cut and came away from the sprue really easily. The cardboard is a useful addition and easy to place but I’m less happy with the doors, especially the larger warehouse ones. The hinge is quite thin and just asking to eventually fall away if constantly moved. I will probably end up glueing or taping them.

Both kits include gantry items which can be combined together. As you can see above, this lets you bridge between the two buildings or just make a bridge. The gantries are simple to construct and look very effective on the tabletop.

In terms of scale, the Sarissa kits fit perfectly with the 28mm figures I have. The gantries are perfectly sized for 26mm bases (and would probably fit the 30mm bases used by Batman and other games) and the warehouse door easily fit most of the vehicles I have.

Factory – Office/Warehouse

(Please note, the metal air conditioning is not part of the kit but was added to make removing the roof easier)

This building is two stories and designed to be the perfect side building alongside larger factory units. The ground floor is slightly taller than usual and  has two large warehouse doors and a side entrance. Above it, the top floor has a side door for use with a gantry . The top floor also has a slot through the floor but I’m not sure it’s suitable for a staircase – it’s also too short for the height of the building and would block entryways in either alignment. However, a ladder or pulley system could be fitted depending on the building’s purpose.

The roof and top floor are removable with the roof resting on the top of the cardboard detail layers. Inside the building, the top floor rests in two slots in the cardboard and is surprisingly sturdy if a little fiddly to place correctly.

On both floors, the detail cardboard has lots of windows meaning the building has plenty of fire points. The outside also has a chimney or water pipe. unfortunately I managed to mess up construction of this and so on mine it’s slightly misshapen.

 

Overall, I really like this building. It works both with other industrial buildings or settled amongst more civilian dwellings for a little variation. The two floors also make it interesting to play through. As the description on the website, it could be warehouse with a storage area upstairs or an office depending on how you want to decorate the interior. This is a building I’d be interested in picking up a second.

Factory – Large

If you’re looking for a centrepiece to your wargaming board, the Sarissa factory is perfect. About 1ft square and two stories high, the factory just toes the line between “terrain feature” and “play area”. The interior is dominated by the open warehouse floor but there is also a smaller room under chimney (perfect for sneaking in through) and a second floor balcony so you can take the high ground and get a good view over anything inside. The balcony can be accessed by both a gantry on the outside and also from a ladder from within. The balcony is not removable.

The two end pieces are mirrored and both include two warehouse doors and a standard door.

A cool feature of the factory is the interior crane. This is composed of three parts – a frame, central gantry and the crane unit itself. I do not recommend gluing the frame in place if you intend to actually play through the interior as it sticks out and can prevent gamer hands from being able to place figures. Similarly, the gantry and unit can also be left unglued thanks to how well they grip the tracks which means the crane can be repositioned depending on the scenario. I’m a big fan of it. Especially if you get someone up on top of the crane, just asking to fall to the ground once he is taken out.

Finally, here are all the bits that make up the warehouse. The roof is easy to take on and off (resting on the struts you can see in the interior photo) and also feels very solid once constructed. The gaps in the roof could be filled with plastic for glazing if you want to add that extra detail.

 

Conclusion

So, overall how do I like the buildings? They are fantastic kits to build, easy to knock up over an evening. Once constructed they just look great, giving even the barest of boards a cool edge. I have my reservations about the cardboard doors but having played a few games using them, they are very gameable items of terrain letting you sweep and clear without having to carefully balance figures on strange angles.

There is however one thing to think about and that is the price. The factory is £50 and the office is £20. You get a lot of stuff for that cost but it is definitely on the higher end of MDF pricing for this size.

Overall though, a big thumbs up from me! Now I just need to go paint them…

Wargaming Week 15/05/2017

Let’s start, covering the 8th of May through to the 13th of May.

BLOG STUFF

Whole host of things! In terms of actual posts, I put up an impressions of the Foxhound. Its a lovely little kit and I’m really looking forward to getting it painted up.

In other news, you may have noticed I’ve setup a Facebook page where I’ll be sharing all the posts from this site. If you’re wanting to get everything I write straight to your newsfeed, I’d recommend liking or following it. I’ll also probably put up extra images on facebook as it’s an easier site for people to browse.

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The reason for this page being set up, as well as the push on subscriptions and more views is I would like to expand what I’m doing. I’ve got some stuff coming along (like the demo board or going to events) that I really want to cover and make available for people to read. In addition, there is a gap in what people are reading – when I started to look around there is barely anyone providing impressions on modern wargaming figures except a once over when painted. The core of the blog will always be that of a personal wargaming story with a focus on the ultramodern but if I can provide some resources to the rest of the community, why not? The comparison article for the rules and the feedback I got for it really started to push me looking down this road. Who knows, I might even start recording video and creating the video content everyone seems desperate for.

Coming sooner though, I’ll be writing up an impressions piece on Sarissas industrial buildings, looking at the factory and factory office I own. Something I was missing when I bought it was a good solid review showing it in detail and that’s what I intend to produce. Sadly I don’t have many photos of the in process build but I can write for England on the process. After that, I’ll start working my through the rest of the collection.

GAMING

No gaming – works been hitting me super hard and I’m hitting a major milestone with the book I’m writing. I am getting really excited to show off what I’ve been spending all these hours on once its ready for prime time. And then you’ll be desperate for me to shut up.

PURCHASES

Image from TTCombat’s website

This week’s purchases have been a little spur of the moment. On Friday, TTCombat announced that this year’s giant building is now available for anyone who didn’t find it at Salute and it came with multiple extra bits. Every since watching Free Fire, I’ve been desperate to get a large warehouse space – an indoor area that still has plenty of space for obstacles where you can run an entire game in a warehouse. The Depot and it’s extension reminds me so much of airsoft sites I’ve played at and I’m really looking forward to getting it build and playing around with it.

HOBBY

Not much painting as my lunchtimes have been spent looking through new rules but I did manage to do some assembly. As well as the vehicles, I also build a few more of the US Infantry guys I bought at Salute. Having just rolled off another Modern Warfare 2 session, I decided to give some of the guys MICH and bump helmets. As well as looking cool, it will also help to avoid any duplicates that will turn up while making my US Army platoon.

Empress US Squad 03 with MICH and FAST helmets
Empress US Command Squad with MICH and FAST helmet. The radio guy’s head is part of the body and so some more work would be needed to swap it out.

That’s it for this update, expect more updates next week!

 

Impressions: Evil Bear Wargames Foxhound

https://i1.wp.com/www.themanufacturer.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Foxhound.jpg?resize=688%2C491
Image from http://www.themanufacturer.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Foxhound.jpg

The War on Terror has seen a massive rise in the use of IEDs against conventional forces and as such, there was a much greater interest in the development and purchasing of mine resistant vehicles. The British Army purchased a whole fleet of vehicles designed for different roles, including a replacement for the Snatch Land Rover. Named the Foxhound, this vehicle is currently in British service.

Evil Bear Wargames have previously released another vehicle from the late 2000’s refresh (The Panther) and I was very impressed with it. Lots of detail, hot swappable weapons  and super easy to assemble and paint. They have since expanded the range by adding another vehicle, the Foxhound. Although I purchased mine second-hand, it was basically fresh out the box.

The Foxhound model is comprised of resin and metal pieces. The core hull, unlike many wargaming vehicles, is actually two parts –  the base plate and nose are one piece, the crew compartment the other. As well as hinting at the possibility of future variants (as shown on the Evil Bear facebook page) it also does a fantastic of covering up any marks from the casting process.  There is a banding texture to the resin but it should be easily covered by an undercoat.The wheel assembly is very similar to the Panther (metal central structure and two resin wheels) allowing for a great deal of detail around the axle. Most of the metal details do not have any form of mounting slots or guide positions. However, this can be a benefit if you wish to skip certain elements (such as the rear mounted boxes) and reference images are easy to find. The GPMGs on the top of the cab do have mounting guides and the top hatches can be mounted either open or closed (the hinge is attached to the hatch). There is also a good depth underneath each hatch so crew figures (such as Evil Bear’s Virtus or Empress’s British figures) can easily be mounted.

Assembly is super easy. Attach the two body parts, assemble the wheel units and attach and then add details. As I mention above, I recommend doing it with plenty of reference to make sure everything goes in the right place. Once built, it’s an impressive beast. As you’ll see below, it maybe on the smaller side of Mine Resistant vehicles but it’s still huge.

The completed vehicle all good to go.

Some of the texture is visible here, expect an update once painting begins.


Seen here next to some of Empress’s SAS figures. It’s a real monster.

Empress US Ranger and Spectre Task Force Operators to show the height of this thing.

Next to its little brother in the series, the Panther. Looking forward to these two rolling round the board together.

Next to the Spectre buggy and Technical Alpha. Shows just how tiny the buggy is.

Finally, the Foxhound next to a Spectre Civilian Car. Expect to see the Foxhound doing a monster truck impression when the bullets start flying in a crowded street.


So overall, what do I think? Once again, I’m consistently impressed with Evil Bear’s output. The Foxhound, despite its very minor flaws, is lovely to build and great to look at once constructed. I am seriously thinking about getting a second one for larger games and to add to any convoy I might need. Additionally, it’s generic enough to work as a protected vehicle for any contractors needing a protected patrol vehicle.

Wanting one of your own? Evil Bear has two version in stock – a vehicle by itself (at £31.50) and a version with two crew figures in the British Army’s new body armour (at £33.50). There is also an offer comprised of two teams of infantry and two Foxhounds for £75.

Impressions: Spectre’s Razor

Salute saw me picking up a few things, one of which was a very exciting upcoming release from Spectre Miniatures. For months we have been teased with render and prototype images of perhaps the most complex kit they have produced. Perfect for Spectre games of special operations, this new vehicle will be perfect to transport your operators around the board at high-speed.

Picture from http://www.utvguide.net/polaris-launches-turbo-diesel-mrzr-d2/

I am of course talking about the Razor, the lightweight 4WD that has been recently introduced into use by the US Special Forces Community. Airportable and capable of transporting four troops across rough terrain with all their kit.

 

As much as I can talk about the real life thing, what’s more important is how the kit is. I need to first mention that I built mine without the instructions sheet that is coming along soon (probably when they are put onto the Spectre site for sale).  As a testament to the guys at Spectre, they have done an excellent job, packing the resin and metal kit with detail and minimising the number of fiddly bits.

The parts split into a mixture of resin (main chassis and wheels) and metal (everything else). There are some cool design features (seats at the back have a recessed bottom, seats in the front have an exposed plug to slot in place) and it’s mostly simple to put together once you start using the locator blips on the underside. As with all kits, a dry run is a great place to start.

The reason why this is a preview and rather than a review is that I’m waiting for a few additional items before I paint it up and get it into action. Spectre have mentioned crew and stowage are coming and this is a vehicle that is begging to be covered in gear.

As you can see at the back, I was a little overzealous with my trimming when trying to fit the outer suspension legs (something I’ll fix before painting). The rear section required a bit of dry fitting to put into place, working out its exact arrangement. However, this should be much easier when following the instructions

A view of the underside shows off the wheel arrangement and the join between the two pieces of chassis. Most of the seam is hidden out of sight thanks to positioning under the front console.

Not a great picture, but it does show a pretty good view of the dashboard and it’s detail. The M240 will sit on the right hand side on a two-part arm, giving it a wide range of positions.


So comparison time. As you would expect, it’s quite a bit smaller than most of the other vehicles currently available.

Comparing against the Spectre SUV and Technical Alpha, the Razor is tiny.

This is even more obvious when compared to a fellow vehicle in US arsenal, the Humvee (this one from Empress).

Finally, lets look at who else will be using it. Model on the left is a Spectre Tier 1 Operator. Model on the right is an Empress US Army Ranger.


To conclude, I think this is one of my favourite releases from Spectre. For such a small vehicle it has a very nice weight to it, prompting none of the fear you would normally have with something this small; I can’t see it being knocked off the table by a stray arm. It was fun to put together and now just needs some final details. Then it will be off to go cruising round the deserts of Bazistan.

As for its role in the game, it’s going to be a taxi – getting your team in to do the mission and then back out again. As you can see, there isn’t much armour so leaving it exposed is an invitation for anyone with an explosive weapon. However, the MMG and crew guns will put some fire down and you can always just drive really fast. Just remember to leave a space for any “buddies” you might want to pick up.

Final thought? I’ll probably be getting a second one for the rest of the squad once they are available to everyone.