Wargaming Week 23/04/2018

Let’s start this Wargaming Week, covering the 16th through to the 22nd of April.

BLOG STUFF

Another two post week. Wednesday’s post was recapping Salute complete with the usual pile of pictures – as you might guess, it’s done pretty well in terms of views. Friday’s update then looked at Osprey’s latest book as part of Project Technical.

Image may contain: text

Big news – this weekend is Hammerhead at Newark Showground. After being postponed in March due to the sudden arrival of snow, I should be running Operation Dragon’s Hoard in the Gamer’s Lounge. I’m not currently scheduled to run this game again so this will be the last time (for now) that downed C130 will be on the board. Full details can be found at the event page on Facebook.

NEWS

No news – everyone is too busy recovering from Salute.

GAMING

No gaming – starting to sound like a broken record but things have gotten busy so I haven’t had a chance to get down to the club.

PURCHASES

Nothing – I have plenty of stuff to be working on

HOBBY

With work being mad, I haven’t had a huge amount of time for painting. But I did get a few things done.

The biggest thing was that I got to work with my bits box out and tweaking up some more weapons for the Technical. I’m going to do another part in the Project Technical series in the next couple of weeks but as a preview, here are the three weapon system I’ll be looking at. A ZPU-1, a PKM with crew for the MENA Regulars and a tall mount for the SPG 9.

I also did some work on the Empress US Infantry model with the AT4. The base model’s launcher seemed incredibly stubby, so I cut off either end and replaced them with the bits from the Spectre Vehicle Stowage pack. I ended up lining the sections up based on the hand positions on the original model which I think worked okay. However, it does mean he’s folding it a lot further forward than it should be. On the other hand though, it does now match up in terms of size to all other AT4s in my collection.

I’ve also started work on the Spectre MENA Regulars which will be another job for solid colour armour and helmets with DCU camo uniform.

Finally, I got around to building the replacement Colonial Souk that Sarissa sent due to errors on the first one. Turns out my guess as to what was incorrect was wrong. Rather than the tabs being in the wrong place, the cut out on the end pieces was incorrectly placed.

Next step is going to get all this lot painted up and ready for a game!


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

Impressions: Osprey New Vanguard Technical

The historical wargaming hobby has many aspects to it for people to enjoy. One of the aspects I particularly like is learning the period as it’s a great way to learn tactics, be inspired for scenarios and find references for paint schemes. When looking for information, one of my favourite places to start is Osprey Publishing’s various ranges. Well written and formatted and with great artwork to illustrate the subject, these books help to provide a great overview. So when they showed off their new releases for April 2018, I noticed one book in there I just had to pre-order.

Written by Leigh Neville, who has also done several books for Osprey (including the RAID book on Takur Ghar and the hardback Special Forces in the War on Terror book that lives in my reference pile), the latest book covers a subject that has been featured quite heavily on here – Technicals! So for the latest part of Project Technical, we’re going to take a look at some reference material for building your own fleet of vehicles.

The book is the usual form factor for Osprey. Softback, 48 pages and colour throughout, the formatting makes the book an easy read. It’s also packed full of pictures (at least one on each page on average) and includes 13 pieces of Peter Denis’s incredible artwork. There are a whole host of base chassis shown ranging from the classic pickups to Land Rovers and trucks.

The book kicks off with a basic introduction to the concept of the technical as well as looking into the very early roots of the idea. A small section then looks at the most common weapon systems found in use with the technical. After that, it runs through various key conflicts the technical has been involved in starting with Beirut and The Great Toyota War in Africa, passing through Somalia (including an interesting bit of information on an alternative origin of the name “Technical”) and the Balkans before looking at their use in conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. It’s a pretty comprehensive look at the history, with a focus on showing the various unique vehicles from each theatre. This is a great inspiration for how best to make your technicals stand out.

Finally the last section jumps the fence and looks at the use of technicals by Special Operations forces. This section covers the whole history of them, such as the use of Land Cruisers in Gulf War and some details on Russian technicals. There is a lot of information I here I hadn’t read before, as well as plenty of photos of pickups with the Special Operations modifications I have on my own Spectre vehicles.

Do I recommend the book? Wholeheartedly, yes. I think it’s a great little reference, covering all aspects of the topic with a great level of detail without bogging down trying to tell you them. The pictorial element helps to bring the information to life, showing off the weird and wonderfully variety of things people have made.

The only problem with the book? It would have been nice to have last year when I started building mine own collection of these vehicles!

If you want to pick up your own copy, it’s available in PDF, ePub and physical copy over on the Osprey Publishing website. You can also get it via Amazon – you’ll find two affiliate links below (pointing to the UK and US stores)

Salute 2018 Trip Report

Salute is the largest wargames show in the UK and, for me, a chance to visit London, see the sights, catch up with other wargamers and then escape within 24(ish) hours with a bag full of lead and future plans made. Since going to my first in 2015 as I rejoined the hobby, I’ve eagerly enjoyed going along even when I moved up north and turned 1 hour on the train up to 4+ depending on the time of day. Salute 2018 was even better as I was joined by my demo game assistant Peeb’s Gaming Nonsense who came down to see the delights, share the cost of the hotel and work together to prevent us spending way too much while at the show.


With my trip to London being kind of part of my Summer holiday (at least in the budget), I usually try to get out to some local attractions and be a tourist. Thanks to taking the morning train rather than the afternoon, I was able to do my touristy stuff on the Friday rather than the following day when my bag is filled with models. With a few hours before I was going to check in to the hotel, I headed off to Chelsea to visit The National Army Museum.

The Museum is definitely very modern, with lots of interactive displays and graphics alongside display of artefacts. I’d actually done the museum last year so apart from a quick run round, my main focus was up in the temporary gallery area with their Special Forces exhibit.

The exhibit has an entry fee (unlike the rest of the museum) which was maybe a little on the pricey side but the exhibit was well done. If you’ve read a lot of Osprey books you’ll find most of the information familiar, although I felt it was presented well.

As well as plenty of information boards covering all aspects of the Special Forces, there was lots of kit on display, ranging from WW2 up to the present day.

More of the exciting kit and one of the interactive screens

The rest of the museum was still the same high quality, with multiple displays covering the entire history of the army and tons of artefacts. Having already been here, this was more of a cursory look round and soon I was heading back to the underground.

After heading off to check into the hotel, the rest of the evening was spent in the [email protected] until it was kicking out time.


Waking up in no great rush, we grabbed breakfast at the hotel and leisurely walked over to the Excel (one of the advantages of staying close by) for about 10:15. Despite being so close to opening time, we managed to just walk straight in with only the shell of a queue to join. I think the organisation team seemed to have nailed the process for getting everyone in at a sensible speed.

First role of the day was to go round and do the Ultramoderns check – see what new things/previews were on offer for my chosen era of choice.

Kicking off with Spectre Miniatures and they had their new releases (along with what seemed like their entire range) being shown off in the usual display cases and available from the racks behind them. Nothing new in terms of previews. Every time I went past the stall throughout the day, Spectre always seemed to busy.

I did also visit Empress, despite already having the latest releases on my painting tray. They didn’t have anything new and, although tempted by a T14, I ended up saving my money. I’ll be getting one of those when my Russians get to the tabletop.

Another company whose releases are in the queue is White Dragon Miniatures. I caught up with them at Chillcon and got to have a pretty long chat about whats coming next. These guys are the foot patrol versions of the currently released Vehicle Dismounts, wearing patrol packs and some slight tweaks.

More exciting is what was on the shelf above – as well as the quads, Foxhound and NVGs, Salute saw the first showing of the Taliban figures. These guys look rather nice and I can’t wait to see the rest of the range. White Dragon have shown off these guys in some images in the Modern Miniatures group if you want to see some nicer pictures.

Not necessarily interesting for me but I known a few people play Ultramoderns in 20mm. Well, White Dragon showed off some 1/72nd scale Brits. This is one of the great things about CAD designed models – it’s really easy to rescale or make minor adjustments.

Blotz were also showing off their range. As much as I’m excited about some of these buildings (that compound especially), some of the doors and staircases seem a little small for 28mm when I was there but I think I’m gonna pick some up in a few months once I finish off the pile I already have. The minaret especially would be a rather distinctive.


After looking around for things to buy, I instead set off to take a look and take all the photos of things that caught my eye. Most of these are not suitable for my prefered era of wargaming but it’s still great to see the best of the hobby all on display.

TT Combat had a massive stand which was dominated by several bundle tables offering tons of their MDF. It does show off just how much stuff they produce. I may have had to drag Peeb away from the sci-fi desert planet buildings in the top left.

They did however also manage to fit in a few demo tables for their range of games including this rather nice setup for Carnevale. Their buildings could be quite good for building a modern Venice, perfect for some spy related shenanigans.

Blood Red Skies from Warlord Games was being shown off in perhaps the most dramatic way possible for an air combat game – with a to-scale aircraft carrier!

This wintery game of Bolt Action was packed full of details. Quite cool to bring a background element as well.

Spotted this very early in the day and didn’t see a huge amount movement on it by the time I left. However, it was a great looking WW3 game, complete with lots of helicopters and carefully hidden NATO troops waiting to spring the ambush on the thousands (or so it seemed) of Russian tanks and BMPs pushing through the area.

Something that stood out all day was the blue tent at the very end of the convention hall. Upon reaching it, I was treated to this rather impressive sight of two games using custom lighting and effects. This Necromunda game worked especially well.

Looking at more sci-fi was this rather neat looking compound.

This setup actually stopped me in my tracks. The multi-storey hab block looks like something ripped out of every cyberpunk story. I’m almost tempted to get some and start doing some near future, megacity street fighting.

It’s also cool to see the detailing pack, letting you theme the boxy base buildings to whatever type of sci-fi environment is most appropriate.

A rather nice battle going down in Florida as the Spanish raid a plantation. The board included some tall ships sat in the creek while the main force formed up for battle.

Stand To Games were showing off Forager on two different boards. This game is right up my street and seeing some really nicely made small boards was a nice surprise

The first of two Battlegroup games, this one covering The Battle of Leros. I listened to the team behind it talk about the historical battle on A Few Brits and the Hobby and it sounded like something special – FJ, Brandenburgers and Luftwaffe troops fighting against the LRDG, British and Italians on one of the Greek Islands. The board itself is something else, with floatplanes and a mix of forces battling over a Mediterranean landscape.

The other Battlegroup game saw US and German tanks clashing in the desert in Tunisia. Aside from the nice buildings, I also really like the base material. It’s sackcloth with bits of sand and shrubbery piled on but it works well and saves on carrying big chunky boards everywhere.

I always find 40mm to be a mad scale to wargame in so seeing board with a fort (constructed by TM Terrain) AND big blocks of troops was something rather special.

Finally, this was something that I was really excited about. I have a soft spot for Mechwarrior, especially the Mad Cat/Timber Wolf, so seeing a 28mm version was fantastic.


I have something to admit – I find it really difficult to spend more than 2/3 hours at a wargame show, even one as big as Salute. I’m not a major fan of playing participation games at shows (I’d rather be running it) and with my main interests being WW2 and later, most of the stuff on show is just a quick glance and moving. After a few hours of looking around and taking photos, we decided to bounce and go check out a few other things in London.

After leaving the Excel Centre I stopped at Meat and Liquor for lunch, visited an Airsoft shop to take a look at more expensive things and then rushed back to catch my train and head home to Edinburgh…. and then spend the following day assembling all my goodies.


So how did I like Salute 2018? Well it was pretty great! Not being on the London Marathon weekend meant the Excel wasn’t as packed as it usually is. Several people made comments about the lighting and, although it was reasonably dim, I didn’t find it too bad. A nice variety of stalls and games means there was something for everyone. I think Salute is without equal in the UK for sheer variety and, although you don’t get quite as much time to chat with the sellers about what’s coming next, it’s definitely worth going along to see everything the hobby has to show off.

Am I going back next year? Hell yeah.

Wargaming Week 16/04/2018

Let’s start this Wargaming Week, covering the 9th through to the 15th of April.

BLOG STUFF

Last week’s post was looking at Warlord Games’s Project Z Spec Ops box. These guys had to be looked at as they are a unique set amongst the primarily metal and resin alternatives. Overall I wasn’t that impressed but I can see lots of use of other elements on the sprue. For anyone who was expecting some Bundeswher thoughts, I unfortunately found myself running rapidly out of time to do all that camo.

The plan for this week is to do my Salute writeup on Wednesday and then something else on Friday. I’m still deciding what so watch this space!

As a bit of forewarning, in the next few months I’m going to slow down posts/make my schedule less rigid. Work is going to get pretty busy in the second half of the year and as much as I would like to get everything in my collection looked at, I also don’t want to burn myself out. The plan is still to do the usual Monday/Friday posts with an occasional additional one slipped in whenever I have time.

NEWS

It was Salute on the weekend which means new stuff. Probably the main news for Ultramodern gamers was Spectre’s releases at the show. The World Leaders pack definitely turned some heads, bringing some very special VIPs to the tabletop. Interesting for this style of figure, the focus has been to make them look realistic rather than caricaturing them. I’m not sure I’ll be using them very much as the real world people but all four of them would be perfect for more generic VIPs such as ambassadors, businessmen, former spies being brought in from the cold etc. This set was actually planned as a show exclusive but fortunately for those who couldn’t make it to the show,

More exciting for me was the release of some MENA Regulars. Wearing PASGATs and body armour, this first set are armed with Russian guns, giving you an 8 man squad with PKM and RPG support. I really like this type of figures as they can easily be used for both OPFOR or BLUFOR in games, either giving your SF some support or causing problems for them. Having talked to the team at Spectre, this range is one they are excited about extending and giving you more options based on the huge variety of countries that use this style of equipment. With my set in my hands, they have the same style and level of detail you’d expect from Spectre.

Beasts of War, who were running a live blog all day, also talked to both Spectre and Empress which are both well worth watching. Both mention upcoming releases, with Spectre naming a quite a few things. This includes their upcoming Humvee range I’ve been gathering reference material for.

GAMING

None – my Thursday night was spent frantically getting a bag packed to go down south. However, with the recent purchases, I’m really inspired to get to work on some more scenarios coming soon.

PURCHASES

Salute is always big for purchasing and this year was no different. To skip the preamble, lets look at what I picked up after a lazy Sunday spent gluing figures together.

Interestingly, this year’s purchases were entirely split between Spectre and Eureka (after pre-ordering figures to be brought from Down Under) thanks to Empress releasing Ultramodern stuff several weeks before hand. So let’s take a look:

Spectre

  • World Leaders: I’m looking forward to getting these guys painted and using them as more generic VIPs as I mentioned above.
  • MENA Regulars: I grabbed the squad pack, RPG gunner and two PKM gunners. This will give me enough for a full squad and another figure to go one of my hot-swappable technical mounts to give some backup. The pose with the machine gunner leaning forward would look perfect when resting a bipod on top of a vehicle.

Eureka

  • Chickens: Eureka always run a code-word at every Salute allowing you to receive a small set of models if you walk up to them and work up the courage to say it. This year’s granted you a sprue of Chickens ready to add to the table.
  • Taliban Type 63: As I’m almost ready to finish off Taliban collection, I just had to pick up this artillery piece to act as a possible objective. Unfortunately, I don’t currently have a base big enough for the carriage so I’ll need to order one. The set comes with a nice amount of stowage as well making a great objective marker/jumping off point.
  • Taliban DSHK ground mount: One of the new releases for the show, and something I’ve been looking forward to since the Eureka DSHK on AA mount first decided it wanted freedom and dove head first off the desk. I also like the fact the spotter comes with a Lee Enfield across his lap.
  • Taliban on bikes (AK, LMG, RPG, Dicker): The main new releases at the show, these bikes offer some
  • “Bringing Bazistan to Life” is actually one of my goals this year as I want to make my battles in that dusty imagi-nation to life. The Eureka Civilian packs are a great start but there are other things that provide distractions for troops operating there.
    • Afghan Civilians on bikes: Another new release, these bikes are going to really help make the streets come to life. They are also going to be pretty fun to paint.
    • Goat Herd: Since Dispatches 2, Skirmish Sangin has included an option for the Taliban which is to include a herd of goats to wander round the map nibbling at anything that looks vaguely tasty – like a well camouflaged soldier. As the book specifies the size of the herd, I’ve picked up 12 goats in total which also include two herders.
    • Donkey train: Ready to fill the roads or be spotted trekking down mountain passes, this pack of three mules (plus handlers) will either be making towns looked lived in or be an objective to be checked for smuggling. I also grabbed three donkeys for ambient reasons and will probably paint one white.
    • Donkey carts: Alongside the train, I picked up two donkey carts. One is loaded with boxes while the other is stacked high with barrels. These carts occupy a chunk of space and might be a pain for larger vehicle rolling round the town.
    • Goat cart: Less of blocker for larger vehicles, the goat cart and handler will help to bring my towns to life.

With such a large number of models to look at, you can expect a glut of posts coming soon.

Combined this with the Empress Germans release (which falls in the same hobby budget month) and I think I pushed this month’s budget (and some of the Hobby Emergency funds) to the max. Because of this, and because I still want to keep up to date with modern releases, I going to start slowing down how many figures I buy from each release, looking to get a few small examples rather than buying into ranges I don’t technically need. I’ll be going in deep on the Spectre Humvee range (because literally everyone uses them) but the main focus of the site is going to be conserving funds and finishing off all the projects I already have.

HOBBY

Apart from finishing off the Warlord guys for the post, I’ve also been working through the pile of Germans. All the figures are base coloured except on the weapons so the next step is weapons painting and then camo which is going to take ages. I’m going to break them down into smaller batches than I was previously working at so I get a better sense of momentum on them. Apart from them, work has ramped up and will continue to slow down painting time.


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

Impressions: Project Z Spec Ops

As a rule, most modern wargaming figures are either metal or resin. Due to the relative niche amount of interest in ultramodern wargaming, it’s never really made financial sense to release plastic multi-part kits. There is however one place where a modern wargamer may find some suitable figures. Of course, it’s inside the subject matter that always sells, the genre that has a habit of spreading.. like a virus. Zombies.

Project Z, Warlord Games’s entry into the zombie market, contains several kits of multi-part plastic figures designed to give you the widest option for assembling your gang of survivors. I’m going to look at one of them which seems the most interesting for gamers looking to build military forces, the Special Operations Team. From researching, these plastic kits were originally from Wargames Factory; the Special Ops frame was one that didn’t quite make it out the door before Warlord bought and repackaged the entire range.

Alongside the Project Z specific components, the box contains one pack of 10 bases and a single sprue of operators, with enough bodies and legs to make 8 operators in total. The frame has a quite large number of weapons included (both attached to arms and unattached), giving you a wide variety of options. As well as the classic M4 and AK families, there are also weapons for the Chinese and British. For a bit of extra kick there is also a combat shotgun, what’s supposed to be an AT4 and an RPG (both in the hand and stowed alongside some extra rounds). All the parts are nicely moulded, showing off all the little details on the guns such as rail sections and various attachments. On the other hand, the plastic is super soft and I managed to bend almost all the barrels when cutting them off the sprue. Although I like the sheer variety of guns, it does mean you don’t have enough combined arms and weapons to make a full 8 man team with the same style of weapon – you’ll either need to make two small teams or be willing to do some additional cutting up.

The sprue includes some other handy details. There is a nice selection of heads with multiple types of helmets (US Army ACH and British Army Mk6 ish), balaclavas, bandanas and boonie hats. You can also add some extra details to make the squad look even more operator with NVG monoculars, belt mounted stowage and pelvic armour. There is even a block of C4 and some assembled IEDs for base detail or creating ingame markers.

For all the positives, things get worse when you start actually building the guys. All the bodies share the same basic design (hydration bladder and plate carrier) with different shoulder positions designed for different arm/weapon combinations. There is a fancy guide available from Warlord for showing which arms go with which bodies. Documentation is nice but there seems to be a miscalculation in terms of arm sets. There seems to only be one of most of the lettered arms which can leave the second round of guys to be left with the more unusual arms. Combined with the limited leg options, this can lead to some really strange poses.

After a relatively quick construction process (complete with plenty of frowning) and a painting sprint, here are the finished models. As I was losing my interest in them, I decided to go with the quick and dirty single colour clothing schemes covered up with some washes. Due to some of the issues I had with the parts, I had to create two themed four man teams rather than building one full size squad.

Team 1 is done in a Western look, with AR15 pattern weapons and a combat shotgun. For all of these, I used the ACH heads (except for the mandatory “marksman in boonie”) and added the crotch armour and extra stowage. Tan armour and weapon details offset the green of the clothing.

For Team 2, I went for a more Russian/Irregular look with the AK variants and a RPG ready to go. As an opposition to the tan tinged Westerns, these guys are all in greens and blacks. I’ll admit, I quite like the RPG gunner. With some arm tweaks he looks like he is ready to pop out and take down a vehicle or two.

And of course, here is the classic “new figure range” comparison. From left to right: Empress recent, Empress older, Warlord Games, Eureka, Spectre


Honestly, I don’t think I’ve bought a set so far that I’ve hated the process of making as much as I did working. There is definitely some good points about this set but between some of the design decisions and the soft plastic bending left right and centre really soured me on the box. The main thing though is that, apart from pieces for conversion work, the set gives you nothing you can’t get from other manufacturers at better quality.

If you really, really want some plastic modern troopers (or need some of the guns for conversion work) I’d skip this box. Instead, you can buy four figure frames directly from Warlord. I get the feeling that (with the limited arm selection) this was how the sprue was meant to be sold before being redesigned. I still don’t think it will solve the posing problems but it does give you a few more options. On the other hand, if you play Project Z, the main box does include the cards and extra details you’d need.

If you’re reading this on release day (13/04/2018) or while catching a ride to London on the following day, I’m going to be at Salute in London on the 14/04/2018. I’m always happy to meet and talk with anyone who reads my site, so keep your eyes open for the bag shown in Monday’s Wargaming Week

Wargaming Week 09/04/2018

Let’s start this Wargaming Week, covering the 2nd through to the 8th of April.

BLOG STUFF

Last week was a twofer, covering Evil Bear’s Combat Drones and Sarissa Precision’s Colonial buildings. I’m really excited about getting both of these products on the table so watch this space!

The plan for this week is to have some thoughts on the Empress Bundeswehr. However, that does depend on my actually finishing them by Thursday night (and then not stay up too late so I don’t miss my train to London on Friday).

NEWS

Honestly, no major news from the world of wargaming this week. Everyone is keep their stuff quiet for Salute.

Speaking of Salute, I’m going to be there this weekend! Expect to see me wandering around, taking photos and picking up more tiny figures for wargaming. If you’re wanting to catch up, just keep your eyes open for this bag and the person it’s attached to. I’ll also be around at the [email protected] the night before for a few drinks/planning what to purchase the following day.

GAMING

No wargaming

PURCHASES

No purchases either. Salute beckons…

HOBBY

Work is getting pretty mad so I haven’t had much time to really sit down and work on stuff. I did however manage to do a lot of utility stuff (like basing and painting). More importantly I also managed to finally clear both my coffee table and most of my desk of wargames projects so I now look less like a mad man. Thanks to this chest of drawers on wheels I picked up from home over Easter, I now have space to fit all of my vehicles, paints and material for wargaming into there so now I have a bit more space to fill with more stuff.

I have started work on the Bundeswehr this weekend. They are still in a pretty early state (I only got them in my hands on Saturday) but I can cover just a little bit of my plans for them. The paint scheme I’m working from is Eureka’s desert Flecktarn that is available on their site. However, I am a simple man with little skill for mixing paints in a consistent way. However, since I was also planing to use my standby Agrax Earthshade as the final wash, I think I’m going to tweak the colours slightly. Come back on Friday (hopefully) to see the final effect.


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

Initial Impressions: Sarissa Precision North Africa / Colonial

When most people look for terrain to fill their MENA board, the first thought goes to the classic adobes. Although these mud brick buildings (and their variations) are found throughout the region, there are all sorts of other buildings suitable for the tabletop. For a while, Sarissa Precision have had a range of colonial buildings designed for North Africa in WW2 available in 20mm scale. A year or so later, and with much rejoicing, the entire collection has been released for 28mm. As someone looking for some grander buildings to represent the more urban areas of Bazistan, I just had to pick some up. I ended up going with some of the larger buildings, perfect for building some traditional streets. This is going to be an initial impressions (unpainted and missing some of the detailing greyboard) as I haven’t chosen the modifications I want to do to “Modernise” them.

As with all Sarissa Products, the building is a combination of thick MDF for the structure and greyboard for additional details. A common element of these buildings is use of large greyboard panels for the doors and window; these sit on the inside of the building to help increase the sense of depth. Additionally, greyboard window shutters are included and can be glued in either the open or shut position. The MDF is well cut and comes out the sprue with no tearing or damage. Although I always recommend a dry run when building MDF, all of these kits went together with ease.

To improve gameplay, all the buildings have removable roofs secured by MDF tags at either side. The roofs also provide some cover, although it’s only half height in the corners and the front feature. Multi-storey setups have the same combination of locating lugs allowing for quick removal and access to different levels. One comment for these buildings is that there are no interior staircases modelled in order to maximise space on the inside to place figures so moving between floors may require some abstraction.

Additionally, the range includes damaged versions of all the buildings. I haven’t picked any of them up yet but from looking at them they have done a nice job keeping them as terrain obstacles while still making them look like they had been part of an engagement.

With the basics covered, lets take a look at the specific examples.

Large Single Storey Building

The first building is a large single storey build. It’s comprised of three units, each with a different layout of windows and doors.

The rear view shows off the different arrangement of windows and doors. The end pieces also have extra detail, such as cracks in the coating of the wall or an additional window.

With the roof removed, you can see there is plenty of interior space for figures or obstacles for when you’re fighting from room to room.

Large Two Storey Building

Building two uses the same basic layout as the first building but adds an additional floor. It also changes some of the design, squaring off the windows above the doors on this compared to the first building.

The back still has plenty of windows meaning it’s got plenty of place for figures to shoot out of. Both end pieces also have windows in them for all round viewing angles.

Another addition is the two balconeys on the first floor. If you’re wanting to have figures on 25mm bases standing on them, you will need to open the doors behind them as otherwise they won’t fit.

Souk Building – Single Storey

The next two buildings are labelled up as part of the Souk, ready to form the local marketplace or bazaar for spy related shenanigans. The common feature is arched and covered area, a perfect place to add some small market stalls or to get out of the sun. For the single storey building, it’s very similar to the Large Single Storey building but with a much larger footprint.

Anyone looking at the this picture and comparing to the images on the store may have noticed something strange here. For the first time I received a miscut piece from Sarissa – the two long walls of the building were cut with the same end connectors rather than the different one needed to fit into the middle of the side walls. What this does mean is that I’ve managed to get a different layout than most with only some smaller gaps needed to fill. Sarissa provided some great customer support, another positive for them.

The addition of the covered front area adds some more room for gameplay around the buildings as well as a much larger roof element. Aside from that, the interior is similar to the one storey building shown above.

Souk Building – Two Storey

To go with the one storey building, there is also a two storey option for players needing some more vertical space. As you can see, the expanded foot print of the arched area helps to give the upper floors proper balconies with plenty of space for heavier weapon teams. One of the balconies seems to be lacking door access so expect troops diving through windows.

The back of the building is similar to the two storey building above, once again with all round line of sight through the windows.

With access to the balconies, this building could be quite a difficult one to assault and I can see lots of fighting from room to room. The balconies add some options for out flanking enemies in other parts of the upstairs.

Administration Building / Hotel

The last building is designed to be a centrepiece, the local hotel or a government building. It has a certain amount of finery not seen on the other buildings with arches and decorative elements. It also has a balcony perfect for local leaders or agitators to speak from. The roof also passes the Little Bird test so your D-Boys can deploy straight into cover.

The rear shows off another access door, as well as more as the decorative aspect of the building.

As you can see in the picture, the interior is entirely open with no interior walls. It would have been nice for some interior details on this building but I can see the point of leaving it open if you’re playing certain squad based games. With the sheer number of windows, putting full squads into the building will make it a pretty hard nut to crack.

One interesting point about the construction of this building is that it’s actually made up with more greyboard than the other buildings. This is the MDF frame which provides the top layer and most of the structure. There are then two layers of greyboard to give a greater level of depth than is seen elsewhere which will look rather special.


So what are my opinions on this range? Well it’s the usual high level of Sarissa quality combined with a style of building that I haven’t seen a huge amount of. With only a few buildings, the entire tone changes from a board mainly covered in adobes. For anyone wanting a more urban battlefield, I really recommend these.

Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-10-29,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-Y

Additionally, this style is quite common across previously colonial regions and as such could be used for anything from the Middle East to the Caribbean. These buildings could also be a great starting point for more modern buildings if you don’t mind trimming details down or cutting holes. I’m really looking forward to getting my sleeves rolled up and making them look more modern.

Impressions: Evil Bear Wargames Combat Support Drones

The line between Sci-fi and Ultramodern for wargamers is sometimes a very thin line. With the rise of drones from things flying high above to smaller ones that fit in the palm of your hand, it’s highly likely at some point you’ll want to add a robot with a machine gun to your game (similar to the SWORDS robot), especially if you’ve played the Somalia level from Medal of Honour Warfighter or cleared a way to the helipad in Modern Warfare 3. Luckily, Evil Bear Wargames, whose range includes a selection of items from modern day to science fiction (such as the Spudies and Hardsuits), have two types of Close Support Drones ready to fill your need for some robotic support.

The two packs I ordered arrived in a single blister. Both vehicles are basically the same, sharing the same core unit and accessories. The main changes are the locomotion system and mounted weapons. As you can see, the entire kit is metal. One feature I particularly like about construction is the fact that both the chassis and weapon have enough space to fit in rare earth magnet in without any tweaking. This lets you easily switch between guns if you own both versions (or the Evil Bear Panther PMV which uses the same weapons). I’ve haven’t used them here but the pack includes two other little details, a control box and manipulating arm. These would let you theme the bots for a different purpose or for marking who has control of them in game.

Here are both vehicles painted up. This view also shows the vehicle in more detail, including the cool winch at the back of the chass

So what are the two variants? The first is the Medium Close Support Drone. This guy is armed with a GPMG and is equipped with wheels for moving around at speed.

The other is the Heavy Close Support Drone, equipped with tracks and mounting a M2 .50cal. This should be a nasty surprise when it appears and starts rolling around.

As you can see here, when compared to an Empress SF figure, these drone are certainly not man portable. They also won’t fit everywhere that people can get to, so more difficult terrain will prove to be an issue for them.

However, compared to vehicles these drones provide some serious firepower in a much smaller package. The photo shows both drones in comparison to the Panther from Evil Bear Wargames and one of Empress’s Humvees.
Honestly, these things are just cool. A little bit of ultramodern tech to add to your games (perhaps to show off the super high tech faction). You might need to jury rig some rules for them (most games don’t cover them quite yet) but they will be an interesting challenge. As the models, the casting is great with little clean up required and some neat details on them. Painting was a breeze and I’m pretty happy with the final result. C3 and R2 should useful when kicking doors and taking names.

If you’re wanting to get a pair of Close Support Drones yourself, they can be purchased from Evil Bear Wargames. At time of writing, their site is being re-developed but you can contact them via email at [email protected] in the meantime.