Wargaming Week 30/10/2017

Let’s start, covering the 23rd through to the 29th.

BLOG STUFF

Last week’s post was all about the SAS fighting Werewolves! Got to admit, this was the worst performing post so far this year which was a little disappointing but it was a fun time playing it.

GAMING

So werewolves fighting SAS. I had a good time playing it but there are a few optional tweaks I’d recommend trying out in the post. It was just the right sort of dumb for a Halloween game and everyone involved had a good time so thumbs up! It also seemed to annoy a few of the older more grumbly members of the games club so two thumbs up!

This weekend also saw Fiasco where I got to play a lot of Skirmish Sangin. They will be more on that this weekend’s post but it was a fantastic time and really recommend the show to anyone nearby.

PURCHASES

Actually less than planned. However its hard to not pick something up after a trip to a wargames and I finally picked up some packs I’ve been eyeing up for a while. Under Fire Miniatures are primarily 20mm figure makers but they have the start of a pretty solid Cold War range in 28mm. I had been looking for some police figures to represent officers from the Bazi Ministry of the Interior and these guys in formal gear and older military kit should fit in nicely. Their support guns should also be a nasty surprise. So I grabbed a pack of each of them, expect an impression piece coming soon!

HOBBY

Painting! Main focus this week was getting the SAS and wolves finished off for Thursday’s game.

The SAS are from Empress and are Direct Action guys based on Task Force Black. Initially when painting them I went for a uniform MTP smock and OD trousers (primarily to reduce time between arrival and getting on the table.) However, I looked back at the source photos and was struck by the sheer variety and mixture of camos on show, from UCP to desert 3 colour to both types of DPM. So when a new figure (the dog handler) was released, I decided to strip them all back and start again. When doing multi-camo groups, I pick one to be the key set to tie them all together. In this case it’s my darkened UCP. Combine this with the other camo and I’ve got the effect I wanted to

There is also the female officer from the US Rangers sets which was perfect for to stand in for the intelligence officer. I’m still deciding how to paint the rest of that range of up, but the current plan is UCP, Multicam and some softshells in OD.

So 9 figures, 5 different camo schemes, one happy project.

So the wolves. These guys are Warlord Games’s SchreckWulfen from their Konflict 47 range. I haven’t painted anything not in man sized for a while and never anything partially covered in fur. So I ended up going with the old staple – paint it brown and dry brush it til it looks good. Being genetically modified humans rather than pure wolves, there are also big patches of exposed skin/muscle. Rather than leaving fleshtone, this was drybrushed brown to make it look covered in short stubby fur. Finally, these wolves have clothes so with a dash of UCP they now look like mutated or biohacked US soldiers. Fun little project but I’ll be glad to go back to humans with guns.


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

Battle Report: Home of the Wolf – Skirmish Sangin

It was the last club night before Halloween – something slightly spooky was required. With freshly finished scenario in one hand, and freshly painted werewolves in the other, we sat down to play… Home of the Wolf!

The scenario saw 8 UKSF soldiers and a SIS agent going up against 3 werewolves. Thanks to the design of the scenario, I managed to fit two games of it in.


The board ready to play, with an abandoned compound in the middle of a forested valley. I think this was the most trees I’ve used in any of my wargames.

First game saw me taking control of the werewolves. The SAS setup throughout the central compound, in particular taking the high ground.

Slightly blurry shot, but it isn’t a werewolf film without a shot of one howling to the moon. I went for a scatter approach, probing for a thin point and then using my superior speed to mass suddenly at that position.

The start of the game didn’t exactly go my way. Werewolf number 3 was shot before he even activated, having been spotted early on and shot down by the combined gun fire of two Operators (including the SIS agent).

Werewolf number 2 ran straight into the two-man combination of shotgun/LMG trooper, leapt on top of the gunner and ripped him to pieces sending morale markers everywhere. Werewolf kills generate additional morale effects so even the elite and veterans were suffering morale failures.

Meanwhile the Alpha bounded over the wall and engaged one of the operators covering the front. Luckily for the trooper, he managed to parry the werewolf’s furious strikes.

I must have missed the photo but the two-man killing team that took out Werewolf 3 slewed round and finished off the alpha as well. About 4 phases in and I was down to 1/3 of my force.

Back on the rooftop, the shotgun trooper now stared down the last werewolf. Before it could leap forward he took aim and pulled the trigger. And….

Rolled a misfire. The shotgun jammed and now required 3AP to clear it.

The last wolf leapt off the roof and went running for some concealment. Maybe another ambush would help it get its prey.

After having watched the operators move to regroup, the wolf jumped in to take out another operator but got hit by the mother of all snapfires. Everyone in the arc opened up. However, the wolf managed to take the storm of bullets before slashing it’s target down and then sprinting away into the darkness.

As the wolf player, I was running out of options. So I went for a hail mary – moving round the compound, leaping over the wall and then trying to get some stealth kills by sneaking up behind

Alas, it was not to be. The wolf’s attacks were parried and in the next turn, he was dogpiled by the remaining SAS troopers.

Final result – all wolves dead, two SAS trooper critically incapacitated. Looks like the boys at Porton Down are about to have some new things to investigate.


I took a different approach when I jumped in as the SAS. Rather than sitting in the compound, I decided to make a break for the separate building and look for a spot where I could take advantage of massed firepower without being ambushed (also to avoid wolves jumping over the walls). To this end, I setup at the south gate ready for a sprint.

The downside of this blob approach was the fact the wolves could get much closer and very soon one had jumped over the wall to get at a straggler. However, snapfire inflicted some serious damage, dropping him to half health and his attempts at combat were parried.

This wolf then attempted to flee but Cunningham the SIS agent was having none of it. Upon activating she turned, sighted the fleeing wolf and dropped it with a burst before it could regenerate

The SAS attempted to make a break for it but upon exiting the compound got slammed by the other wolf.

After some bouncing around (including a good few hits on the wolf that regeneration didn’t get round to fix) one of the wolves managed to cause a wound on one of the rear guard. This caused a bubble of morale markers but the Operators were not being put down by a few oversized dogs.

At this point, the Alpha really got to strut its stuff. First it disemboweled the shotgunner (the snapfire shot missed by rolling equal to the target value) before killing the LAW gunner outright.

Raging at this kill, three of the SAS bum rushed the Alpha and with a flurry of blows (helped by the fact the wolves can’t parry).

The other wolf, seeing the Alpha taken down, promptly failed its morale test and made a run for the hills, followed by a chorus of jeers from the surviving troopers.

And with that, another victory for the SAS. Two men dead (minced by the Alpha) and one injured but the werewolves had been fought off.

One point we thought up while playing – the pounce move mentioned in the PDF which knocks the enemies prone is designed to cause a problem in close quarters. For this reason, we changed its effects to match up to the “Trip Up” combat action – a nasty way for the wolves to avoid enemies parrying them. Similarly, if you find the wolves a little too squishy, some light armour would help.


Overall a fun, dumb scenario – perfect for Halloween. Don’t worry, we’ll return to your regular scheduled Ultramodern content next week.

Dare You Enter… the Home of the Wolf!

SHOWING NOW ON A WARGAME TABLE NEAR YOU…. 

Halloween is always a great time to put some stranger things on your wargames table. Rather than the usual zombies, and after watching a film or two, I instead pitched Colin on werewolves. Nasty, agile, ambush predators werewolves that are dead hard to kill. The scenario includes the special rules for the werewolves and a small scale action showing the SAS going up against a pack.

This free scenario (as well as some more serious ones) can be found on the Skirmish Sangin site at the download page http://www.skirmishsangin.com/downloads/


Tune in on Friday for this week’s battle report which will be this scenario. Good thing someone finished off some figures for it…

Wargaming Week 23/10/2017

Let’s start, covering the 16th through to the 22st of October.

BLOG STUFF

This week’s post looked into the last set of Spectre Releases. From looking at the stats, these posts also do really well. Expect one every month if I pick the releases up.

GAMING

No gaming –  I had planned to go to the wargames club on Thursday but I ended up missing it due to work. Ah well, just have to make sure I get there for next week (especially as I’m running it).

PURCHASES

Nothing new was purchased this week but a few things arrived.

First up, the last three buildings from the Tabula Rasa range arrived from Shiny Games. These buildings are awesome, perfect base models for conversion work and I’ve wanted to get all the elements of the range together before doing an impressions. The plan is an initial article in the next few weeks, followed by a larger post once I finish them.

The other thing that was arrived was the second part of Project Little Bird. These two fully converted models arrived thanks to a lucky ebay auction I was sent to by the guy who sent me the other Little Bird kit. These two are a AH-6 armed with rockets and miniguns and a MH-6 complete with boards for troop carrying. I’m really happy I managed to grab these helos.

That said, I think there are quite a few changes I want to do to them. I need to sit down and work through the list of tweaks I want to make before I start on the project so I can gather all the little bits I need. Expect a post soon.

HOBBY

I got the figures for the releases post done. You can find more details in the impressions post but overall the biggest challenge is making sure that newer figures match older ones in the same collection.

I also started on repainting my SAS Direct Action guys ready for Thursday’s game. When I first painted them, I did them in a generic fashion with multicam smocks and green trousers. They looked okay and I had a good few games with them. However, I think Spectre’s ever increasing range is much better suited for the bang up to date operators. The other reason for the change was taking a look at pictures of Task Force Black and seeing the cool collection of kit they were seen wearing.

Due to working with US forces, camo ranges from British DPM varieties to US three colour desert and UCP. So for 8 models, I’m using 4 different camo patterns. To tie them all together, I’ve decided to use at least one item of ACU camo (either trousers or shirt) with the other being different camo patterns. So far I have done the four figures above (two only wearing UCP and two with desert 3 colour) and will be finishing the last four (and the SIS agent) before the game on Thursday.

And then there are the matter of their opponents for Thursday’s game. They are a little hairier than the usual bad guys…

 


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

Impressions: Spectre’s September Releases

September saw a pretty big set of releases for Spectre. With 5 separate sets covering a selection of collections, there really was something in it for everyone. More importantly, it added some more female figures and filled some capability gaps. 

Tier 1 Operator – Delta

 

We start with a new Tier 1 Operator. She looks just like her male counterparts, with SIG MCX, silenced pistol and fast mag equipped battle belt. She fits perfectly into the rest of the range and provides some variety to the squad. I’ve painted her up to match the rest of my Argo contractors (solid colour clothing, tan webbing), but she would also work well in an Agent or other undercover force.

Task Force Operators – Golf

Two more operators to the giant Task Force collection. These two are equipped the same as their colleagues, wearing body armour and fast helmet while carrying carbines with the trifecta of upgrades (red dot, laser and silencer). One is wearing a full size vest while the other just has a chest rig and carrying a kit bag, both packed full of gear. These figures fit

One thing to point out – with the figure with the carbine pointing down, I noticed it was quite easy to bend the weapon back and forth. I don’t think it will snap but it’s something to keep an eye on.

GRU RPG – Alfa

A key capability for any force is the ability to knock out armoured vehicle and fortified positions. Since release, the main way the Russian GRU had to do this was the pump action grenade launcher. Now, a Russian player can pick up this figure and have a light anti-armour weapon perfect for knocking out insurgent technicals or the SUV the VIP is riding in.

I really like this figure – from the crouching pose to slung PP19 SMG, he is spot on for the role. Also there is nothing better than dropping an explosive rocket right on the target

Insurgent Stinger – Alfa

If the GRU RPG was a pretty useful piece of kit, the stinger is going to level the playing field for the OPFOR. In Spectre Operations, MANPADs can prevent airborne off map assets which are often used by the more elite teams (as I know well from the Spectre weekend where a little bird managed to wreck an entire flank). This figure, in balacava, vest and utility trousers, may not have much else but totting the stinger around is a pretty useful task.

As well as being useful against airborne targets, this guy would also be useful as VIP/objective for missions where your SF team is hunting down potentially dangerous gear.

Insurgent Kill Team

The first release in the new Squad packaging is a new team perfect for augmenting your insurgent force. Sculpted moving more tactically than their insurgent buddies, they are armed with tactical AKs, wearing BDUs, plate carriers and comms gear. These guys can form a core of a force, able to mentor your less trained troops or focus on snatching enemy VIPs. In addition, they could also work as special forces from a middle eastern country, ready to work alongside your Western buddies or as Republican Guard infiltrators.

So why the new Squad packaging? In this case, it makes sense to get all the team members togethers giving you a powerful single unit in one go. I can see the format doing well in other situations such as for specific scenarios (VIP + bodyguards) or interesting packs that wouldn’t sell by themselves. Its strange to see Spectre go from packs of four down to two (or one) to suddenly bounce back with these big releases.

Painting Notes

Painting notes, the place where I explain all the painting decisions when it came to getting this article ready. Again, the usual rush to get stuff finished in time for a post. I’m getting better though; this time around the figures were painted Wednesday night mean they were less rushed than usual.

The latest Tier 1 Operator is painted the same way as the other Argo Contractors – block single colour for clothing, tan webbing and a dot of blue for the glasses. She ended up a little darker than her comrades, closer to the other female agents I’ve painted

The two task force operators are also painted similarly to existing figures in my collection.  As they were only wearing tshirts, the trousers had to multicam (using Spectre’s great painting guide) to match the rest of the force. Block colour Tshirts, US field drab for webbing and tan gun parts. The mad rush to

GRU was back to using my Surpat camo. I’m actually happier with this batch than I was with the original GRU figures as I used more green, which in turn made the other colours pop more. I’m tempted to redo the original group, especially as I’m about to paint up the CQB guys in the improved Surpat. Webbing was in Russian uniform.

The stinger wielding insurgent was super easy to do. Nice blocks of solid colour across the different clothing items and then the Agrax wash to dull the colours and make it fit my collections aesthetic (which has been described as having a “Post Gears of War 3rd Person shooter”filter applied)

As I’m using the Killteam to represent Bazi SF, I went for US 3 colour desert camo with painted guns and khaki boots. The 3 colour recipe came from Bolt Action CP on youtube and is super easy to do. They also match up pretty well with the Empress Universal figures I have so mixing in the odd operator to mentor the trained Bazi Army should work well.

Wargaming Week 16/10/2017

Let’s start, covering the 9th of October through to the 15th of October.

BLOG STUFF

My article on Tiny Terrain’s recent releases is now out. Nice figures, but not exactly the style I like. However, I’m still excited to see what comes out from them next – I’m keeping a close eye on the current kickstarter.

Speaking of upcoming posts, I think I’ve worked out what I’m doing for the Modern Wargames comparison post. Looking at the rulesets left available to me, I’m going to split this into two parts. Part Two is looking at modern day focused rules while Part 3 will look at rulesets that have been converted to modern action or could be.

Part Two is going to cover:

  • Fireteam Modern
  • FUBAR
  • No End In Sight
  • Wars of Insurgency
  • Winter of ’79

Part Three will look at:

  • Flying Lead conversion
  • Bolt Action Modern (in its various versions)
  • Combat Patrol for modern day
  • Chain of Command

The goal is to have Part Two up in December (probably being the last piece of content before I have a christmas break) while Part Three should be up in the new year, probably before Salute.

GAMING

Been busy with work and finishing writing a few articles so no time for gaming. Should be back to it soon though.

PURCHASES

Three more buildings from Knights of Dice – I really want to do a proper in depth impressions of their Tabula Rasa range (as an extended version of the posts I wrote about Adobe options) and seeing as the range is about to expand I feel I should get the first generation covered. I also want a few more buildings in a ready state for future games and the Tabula Rasa ones are really fun to build.

I’m also looking at another project. There will be a bigger post on it once it properly starts, but lets just say I’ll be reusing the Project Little Bird category. I’ve got three airframes lined up, I now just need to do some tweaks to them.

HOBBY

Back on the painting train, and I have at least two groups to get done ASAP. The first is the figures for next week’s post looking at the September releases from Spectre. I’m part of the way through them with two figures finishing, six waiting for camo work and one, the Russian AT figure, still in the early stages. With the Russian figure, I’m tempted to do a batch job with a few of the other Russian figures I’ve had waiting to be painted. But it depends on how much painting time I get this week.

The second is for the Halloween game. Most of which I’m not concerned about but there are three guys who have a style of texture on them I haven’t painted before.

 


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

Initial Impressions: Tiny Terrain’s Figures

So far most of this blog has been filled with models from Empress, Eureka and Spectre. Today however, I’m going to take a look at Tiny Terrain’s current offerings – in particular his law enforcement pack (that was released a few weeks ago)and the two man JTAC team released earlier this year. This is just a small selection from the range, that seeks to cover some figures not normally seen. Based on reading around, these figures are sculpted by Phil Lewis, formerly of Games Workshop fame.

In regards to customer service, its excellent for such a small operation. I ended up with a figure missing, sent an email to him that evening and had a new figure sent out the following day.

Full disclosure – I’ve talked to Craig (Mr Tiny Terrain) a fair amount and he is a great chap. Three of the games from the Spectre weekend saw me going up against him. When his blog was running it was at the very top of Must Read list.

Law Enforcement Pack

The Law Enforcement pack, purchased for £30 during the pre-order phase, is designed to complement the already released Narcos and will set you up for engagements around the border. Each pack contains 14 figures, each with a unique pose. Apart from the dog, they all have separate heads, and available options include baseball caps, bush hats, helmets (as seen here) or a mix of all three. The helmeted heads are in tactical hoods and have some nice variety to them, mixing some with goggles on and others with them stowed on the helmet.

A plus point about the heads is that they actually fit in the neck joint properly, with no issues of giraffe neck or major trimming required (unlike a certain manufacturer whose head slot fills me with dread every time).

There are seven figures armed with AR15 style carbines in a selection of poses. I did manage to snap off one of the flash hiders while fixing a bend in it but the rest went back into shape really easily. The poses all feel different and unique which is great but the overall feel of them is very static. This is definitely a group not in the midst of direct combat.

The other seven figures are specialists, giving you a few more tools for the job. Two guys with ballistic shields will help room clearing, two guys with breaching tools and another with a shotgun will get you into a room and the dog team is always handy.

I do have a pet peeve with these specialists – I think that all of them (apart from the dog and the shield users) should have a carbine slung across their back or chest. I can think of a few reasons why they haven’t but it does make WYSIWYG a pain.

I also really dislike the dog handler. The pose is off, he isn’t armed – he just looks like he standing there waiting patiently for the dog to finish off its business rather than him leading it through a search operation.

Looking closer at the shield guys, I really like them. Shields definitely help you to tell a SWAT team apart from a SF team, and these two look the business. The shields come separate and I did have some issues when I tried the goggle wearing head on the crouching body when it came to attaching the shield so be warned about a possible incompatibility.

That said, I think the breaching tools are the stars of the show. These are two figures I haven’t seen the likes of anywhere else which is something Tiny Terrain has been good at with the range so far. The circular saw + arms is a separate piece that slots into place.

Looking at the back, you can see an impressive amount of detail. From the molle strips on the vest to the belts full of gear, each of these troopers look like they are ready for the mean streets of El Paso or Juarez.

As this is a new company, I’ve grabbed a size comparison. Going from left to right we have

  • New Empress US SF
  • Old Empress US SF
  • Tiny Terrain
  • Eureka Force Recon
  • Spectre Miniatures Task Force Operator

The pack of figures is currently unavailable but should be up on the Tiny Terrain store soon. on the Tiny Terrain store at https://tinyterrainmodels.wordpress.com/law01-law-enforcers/

JTAC Team

Slightly older, the JTAC team is two man pack designed to let you add a pair of troops calling in fire support to your force. Both figures are kitted up on SF style kit, with beards and heavily laden packs on both of them. Both figures also have M4s lying on the ground next to them. One figure is posted calling in on the radio while the other is crouched over the included SOFLAM

The SOFLAM is mounted on a tripod which is seated on triangular base. To help with alignment, the front of the spotter’s base has a triangular groove, making it easy to get the different parts into position.

Overall a very simple but characterful set of figures with plenty of ingame uses for them.

Edit: Find them on the store at https://tinyterrainmodels.wordpress.com/jtac01-jtac-team-with-laser-target-designator/

Conclusion

So what do I think of this range? Are they worth your time? Yes. I think the figures are well sculpted (apart from a few poses) and cast, with lots of detail at a reasonable price for a small company. The rest of the range provides some more figures you are not likely to find anywhere and so fills a cool place.


That said, there is a reason I haven’t painted them up. While I think they are well sculpted in a technical sense of the word, from an artistic stand point they don’t really grab me. The style of sculpt just looks old to me and I don’t have great fondness for them. And if I don’t like them they are not going to get painted or used. For that reason, I’m going to sell mine off. Don’t take this as me saying “Don’t buy them” – I think a lot of people will love them but for me they just fell a little flat.

That said, Tiny Terrain has plenty of upcoming things to be excited about. As well as these figures, his store also has some cool MDF terrain and free scenery models for 3D printing. At the time of writing, his Kickstarter for a Chechen War range is going on. This is a different sculpter and so I’ll probably be taking a look when they final product comes out.

Plausible Deniability is available for Pre-Order

 
 
Plausible Deniability, the next supplement for Radio Dishdash’s modern day skirmish game, is now available to pre-order!
 
Plausible Deniability contains 12 Special Forces scenarios for Skimish Sangin. It includes 9 ORBATS of Special Forces teams ranging from MARSOC to GROM and all the associated rules to run a Special Operations campaign using the Skirmish Sangin rules.
 
Customers who pre-order today from the Radio Dishdash store will get the PDF version straight away and the printed version once they become available. They will also save $5.00 off the RRP.
 
For players interested in getting into Skirmish Sangin with Plausible Deniability, there are also bundle offers which include the original rulebook for a reduced price
 

Preorder Special Offer 1
 
Preorder Plausible Deniability for US$19.99 – That’s a US$5.00 saving
You receive the PDF immediately and the printed version when it becomes available. Purchaser will need to pay postage and packing from the USA, UK or Australia (nearest).
 
 
Preorder Special Offer 2
 
Preorder Plausible Deniability and add PDF version of Skirmish Sangin core rules for US$29.99 – That’s a US$10.00 saving
You receive the PDFs of both books immediately and the printed version when it becomes available. Purchaser will need to pay postage and packing from the USA, UK or Australia (nearest).
 
Preorder Special Offer 3

Preorder Special Offer 3 – Printed Skirmish Sangin, Printed Plausible Deniability (US49.99) – That’s a US$20.00 saving
You receive the PDFs of both books immediately and the printed version when it becomes available. Purchaser will need to pay postage and packing from the USA, UK or Australia (nearest).
 

Well that’s it – if you pre-order today you could be reading and playing the stuff I’ve been working on. It’s pretty exciting.