Let’s start, covering the 13th through to the 19th of November.
This week’s post was looking the Under Fire Miniatures German Police. Its always nice to find a new company making figures especially when they release ones this nice. Really looking forward to what’s coming next.
In other blog news, I’ve got some good news on the photos front. I’ve upgraded my phone to a Pixel 2 XL and the camera is much improved over the Nexus 6P I was using. So hopefully nicer looks photos going forward!
Still no gaming, I’m back on the writing train.
No purchases, still painting up the stuff I bought last week.
Been a busy week between actual work, blog work and more writing so I haven’t had a huge amount of painting time. However, I’m continuing work on the SAS, starting with the rural and respirator teams.
However, I did get something cool to work on. Campbell, a frequent opponent of mine at SESWC, is also a terrain building king. Due to him being busy, he’s decided to pass over some WIP compound walls he has been building to add to those we already have. I’m looking forward to getting to work on these – it’s a different type of terrain to what I’ve done so far
That’s it for this update, expect more updates next week!
However, when I got to their stand at Fiasco I was looking at their other 28mm option, the West German Polizei. These figures really interested me from when they were first announced thanks to the mixture of military firearms and police uniform. Both packs are £8 each and include four figures. Looking for some local cops to patrol the mean streets of Bazi City (or with the long arms more likely the rural areas of Bazistan), I grabbed both packs and got to work.
The figures are excellent sculpts – in fact, the sculpting style reminds me strongly of Empress’s stuff, which is always of pretty high quality. Assembly is simple – most are one piece figures and those with separate limbs have a pin system making it easy to fit the limbs. That said, I recommend dry fitting the parts to make sure they are not any unwanted gaps.
Pack one is the basic pack, giving you 4 police officers armed with G3s. Two are shooting while the other two are more specialised. The chap in the beret is running with G3 and a HK69 grenade launcher slung on his back (ready for dropping smoke or firing rubber balls into the crowd when on police duty) while the final officer is obviously a superior (based off the pose and beard sculpted on the figure). I really like the posing on the two shooting police officers – its simple but works really effectively.
Pack two is the support weapons – two with Medium Machine Guns (MG3s) and two with Panzerfaust 44 anti-tank weapons. These may look a little heavy for a police force but makes sense in a Cold War Gone Hot/Mass Civil War situation. As with pack 1, there are some really nice details from ammo boxes for the MG3s to the sports bag the police have pushed into service for carrying AT rounds. These guys should be a nasty surprise for your opponent when you tell them you are using some police in today’s game.
Wanting to theme them more to Bazistan, I decided to sculpt some facial hair onto three of them (the running G3, the idle Pzf 44 gunner and the moving MG3 trooper). This was really simple and I fear I didn’t leave it long enough to cure as the undercoat covered up most of the detail. However, I did the job of making them look a little hairier.
Here they are painted up! I went for a Police uniform (so no camo) and took a look at police forces in the region. Originally the colour was Khaki top and bottom but it looked a bit dull so I add the Iraqi sand trousers. The caps were painted in beige brown while the band around was painted the same colour as the berets. US Tan drab was finely painted on the webbing. As always the final touch was lashings of Agrax Earthshade.
Here are the rifle pack, showing off the slung blooper. I really like the wooden colour that came out on the G3s giving them the look of an older pattern/locally produced gun as opposed to the later polymer guns. It also nicely offsets against the black painted gun.
The support pack painted up. Not technically right but I’m happy with the wooden stock on the MG3. The anti-tank weapons went with the usual scheme of metal and green warhead.
As with any new manufacturer, it’s time for a scale comparison. This image also shows off the various security forces in Bazistan (with more details on them coming soon). From left to right
Spectre Miniatures Insurgent Kill Team – Bazistan Army SF
Empress Universal in PASGAT – Bazistan Army
Under Fire Polizei – Bazistan Internal Security
Eureka ANP – Bazistan Local Police
If you’re looking for something different, and don’t mind the older style of kit, the Cold War figures from Under Fire are some awesome figures to add to your collection. The sculpting is great, they fit in well with other major ranges and are great fun to paint thanks to the mixture of kit. From talking to them at the stand at Fiasco it sounds like they have figures planned (MP5s were mentioned) but I wouldn’t say no to some police with handguns/revolvers. Either way, I’ll be watching that page with glee.
For the ultramodern gamers, Cold War figures still show some appeal. These guys would look great as police or palace guard in their fancy hats. Depending on the setting, the NVA and Bundeswehr could stand in for second or third line army troops, meaning you can have trained guys with a different look to ragged insurgent look. With a few clever paint schemes, it easy to get these guys into your force and onto the table. I’m probably going to pick some more up next year and I look forward to painting them!
Let’s start, covering the 5th through to the 12th.
This week’s post was taking a look at the Tabula Rasa range from Knights of Dice. This is also the start of a new project which I’m looking forward to; the experience of building the demo board has made me a little more confident at building and painting terrain. Now I get to have the fun job of picking what I want each of the buildings to look like…
Honestly not much – my thursday ended up being more work.
This week saw the release of the Spectre UKSF on their website after being first shown off at Crisis in Antwerp the week before. These guys have been a long time coming and, after talking to the guys at Spectre, have been the result of countless hours of research.
Luckily, I was able to get my hands on them within two days of being released and take a look at them in the metal. I think it’s safe to say that these are some of the greatest figures they have made in terms of details. Looking at them out the box (with only one or two barrels to bend back into shape), it was easy to spot small features like the pattern on one of the marksman’s AFG which I haven’t seen before. More details coming soon with an impressions coming soon (once I get them all painted up – see below for some initial ideas).
An interesting thing is that some of the other new releases at Crisis (the support weapons for existing ranges) were not released. I think it makes a lot of sense (don’t want to lose them amongst a new range) but I am looking forward to what’s coming to some of the already released teams. Especially after getting the magnifying glass out.
I’ve finished painting my Under Fire Miniatures Polizei which I picked up at Fiasco. More details coming later this week but it was fun to paint something that didn’t use camo. It was also fun creating a uniform for fictional force – I look forward to painting more figures up in this scheme if Under Fire release more. I’m also looking forward to getting them on the table
I’ve also started work on the recently arrived SAS although no picture as they are still in the undercoat. The main thing I want to talk about is camo – I’m not a huge fan of the Arktis Comb and although the all black urban kit is cool, I’m not 100% sold on it for my collection. My current thinking is to paint up the rural squad and the respirator teams in multicam to match the rest of my operators. This lets me use them alongside the others more easily and it’s also a pattern I’ve used a fair amount. That said, I am going to do a few little tweaks to make them stand out, such as painting the vest and webbing in multicam rather than tan. However this is all subject to change. As for the CT Response guys, I’ll be sticking close to the default scheme as it just makes sense. Hopefully they will be ready for my game in December and ready to help rescue the Geordiestan Ambassador.
That’s it for this update, expect more updates next week!
In my overview earlier this year looking at Adobe buildings, I briefly talked about Knights of Dice and their MDF buildings. Since then, I’ve picked up the rest of range and I’m now ready to talk about all the various buildings you can purchase from the Tabula Rasa desert range. In this post, I’m going to look over the basics shells, point out some features and then quickly talk about what I intend to next with them.
First up, let’s talk about the common features. All the buildings are designed as shells, only contained key structural features and with none of the detailing many other buildings would have (such as exposed brick textures or doors). The shells are made of MDF and arrive on a sprue ready to be pushed out. They are held in tightly enough so they are not accidentally pushed out during transit. This does require some pushing to get them out but I’ve yet to break a piece while extracting them. In addition, most sprues include a crowbar piece that can be used to help get the pieces ready for use. All the MDF is well cut (needing only a tiny bit of trimming on the connectors) and fit together perfectly during assembly. As always, do a dry fit before gluing together.
In all cases, the buildings have removable roofs and easy access to both floors. All the buildings also have logical access to each room via both internal or external doors, windows or via staircases. I’m not a huge fan of the staircases; assembled by default and they are way too small to fit figures on bases onto the stairs, instead acting more like a ramp. There are alternative ways to assemble them so that they are more usable but by default you won’t be placing figures on them.
In terms of scaling, the doorways are a tiny bit small for 25mm bases to fit through but perfect for 20mm. Heightwise, figures from Spectre and Empress fit them perfectly, although again I recommend 2mm deep bases rather than the 3mm slotta style bases.
The first two buildings are referred to as Compounds and are the biggest buildings in the range. Both have two floors as well as multiple internal rooms making them a battleground in their own right.
Compound 1 is a huge arrangement, spreading six rooms across two floors. Features of note include a covered exterior area on the ground floor, staircase up to an open roof and two upstairs rooms.
This building is obviously on the more stylish end of the range, perfect for a target building. The ground floor in particular is perfect for some CQB; the wall between the covered area and the rear room is asking for a breaching charge.
Compound 2 is a slightly smaller footprint but equally detailed. Again spread over two floors, this building has three rooms on the ground floor (the long one is split in half) and an upstairs room that leads onto the roof of the long room. The upstairs room is actually a frame that fits inside the outer shell, making it easy to lift out and be used in-game.
As a note, the metal details are not part of the kit. They are from Empress as part of their builder’s yard. Expect some details on them as the project goes along.
Being a larger building, Compound Two presents some interesting tactical decisions. Multiple rooms will need clearing and the upstairs could be an interesting target location.
The bulk of the range is the small Desert Residences. These buildings have a smaller footprint than the compounds but should still be interesting to play though.
Residence One is a simple two room building but also include a flat outside area with a low wall around it.
Again, the metal details are from Empress.
Residence 2 use the same idea but in a slightly different arrangement to give some variation to your town.
Residence 3 is really cool. It uses the same footprint as Compound 2 but only on one floor. It’s a clever reuse of the same pieces but it works – the slightly larger layout makers the rooms great for scuffle.
The final building is something different. Labelled as a Storage Building, this would be great filled with ammo boxes and fuel cans. The arches are sadly too small for vehicles so it can’t be used as a garage/workshop without modification but there is still plenty of space to fill with things that might go boom.
If the compounds were not tempting enough, then this is perfect for scenario use. Fuel, ammo or a weapon cache, the multiple entrances will making this building an interesting position to take.
So what do I think of these buildings? The first thing I stress is that these things are shells – If you’re a game developer, these things are grey boxes, geometry designed to give you the mechanically feel for a place but not the actual look. They are the perfect starting point to make them feel how you want them while having much of the heavy lifting (such as rooms or multi-storey buildings) already done. You could but them on the table after a spray of paint but they would look a little plain. This lack of detail also means they are slightly cheaper than many other MDF buildings.The quality level is great and they don’t feel too small, even with based figures, that can be an issue with some other MDF set ups.
As a useful starting point, there are plenty of accessory packs as part of the Tabula Rasa range. These add useful elements like antennas and vents, as well as some walkways and ladders to improve access to the buildings.
If you’re interested in them, where is it best to pick them up? For most people, and if you want the latest stuff, you’ll want to grab them directly from Knights of Dice via their online store. In fact, the website says if you are in the area (Victoria in Australia), feel free to drop in for a visit. Being Australian based, this can lead to some long delivery times and expensive postage. Luckily, Shiny Games in the UK also stocks them (with only a slight delay between release on the KoD site and being in the UK). I have bought a fair amount of stuff from them and they are a fantastic shop. Great pricing, prompt delivery and even have a loyalty scheme ready to knock some money off your orders.
I now have these boxes, it’s time to make them look pretty. This article officially kicks Project Compound, which will take these buildings and make them look ready for battle. The idea is to make them look like an urban area somewhere in Bazistan in the early days of a conflict. Some limited damage but not completely wiped out. As well as the texturing and painting needed, I also want to add some more walls and street furniture. I’m going to update the blog with a new post once I work out which parts are going where. I still have a few Empress bits to use up (both air conditioning units and TV dishes) so I now need to work out which buildings are getting them.
I’m looking forward to getting these buildings done. This should be a great chance to make some buildings ready to sit on my boards as well as theming them to my theatre of operation – I’ll be going all out with posters and advertising.
If you’re wanting to keep an eye on this project, I recommend following the facebook page where I’ll be putting some WIP photos up.
I managed to get down to the club on Thursday to get some games in! I spent the evening playing AK47, one of the older games I think I’ve played. Under the careful guidance of Jack and Derek, MDF Michael and myself grabbed our forces and got playing. Unfortunately, my phone knows it’s about to get replaced and has decided to turn off at 50% battery and so I missed out taking any photos of the game. After the pre-game political moves and some rough dice rolls, I ended up with only a single unit on the board. While the horde of religious nutcases bum rushed the dictator’s forces, my Colonalist armour sat on the objective for the entire game.
To make up for it, here are a few of the other games going on at the club on Thursday.
2 v 2 game of Warhammer 40k across a crowded board.
Angus ran a Back of Beyond game set in Poland complete with low flying planes
Currently nothing – but Crisis was this weekend and Spectre showed off their upcoming releases. We’re looking at 3 squad packs of SAS, some SAS supports and a few extra figures for Task Force Operator, Tier 1 Operator and Task Force Nomad ranges. In fact the release is so big I’m going to have to split my release article in half – one looking at the new SAS guys, the other covering the additions to the older ranges. Now just to get Task Force Nomad painted up…
I spent the weekend at Berwick seeing my Aunt and Uncle while they were on holiday so spent a lovely weekend not doing much hobby stuff. However, I did manage to look through my stuff and start planning out some more games
As I mentioned above, AK47 really grabbed me. Its a fun game and the club are playing it in 15mm. At some point, I realised that I actually have some 15mm stuff (fresh from an attempt to dabble in Flames of War) that was sat in a box waiting to be used.
Turns out I had quite a lot of 15mm stuff.
Lots of Shermans, Fireflys, Churchills, Staghounds and some cheapo halftracks. There are also two platoons of US Airborne infantry and a platoon of British infantry. This should be more than enough for a AK47 force. The next step is to get all this painted. I also need to rebase infantry into smaller groups which is fine for the metal guys but could be interesting with the plastics.
That’s it for this update, expect more updates next week!
So, if you you may have received a pile of emails earlier this evening talking about video games. You may also have noticed there has been a bit of a drop in the number of posts on the site and lots of categories have gone missing.
This is because I’ve decided to tidy up this site! Although it’s now focused on wargaming, before it was my personal place to scrawl everything from video games to tech to how my life was going. However, with how the site is going (and what I’m planning for next year) having that many articles was starting to cause issues in features likes search. So I decided to move all of the posts from before I started wargaming. This led to me disabling them and reactivating during the process which caused the
The big thing about this: This blog is going to be almost entirely about wargaming now.
This is me saying sorry about spamming all your inboxes – so as an apology, here is some good stuff coming up! Next week will be some impressions on Knight’s of Dice’s buildings and the start of a new project. The week after, I’ll be taking a look at Under Fire’s West German Police (along with a few tweaks). Depending on Spectre’s release schedule, the final week in November will either be talking some tactics for building forces in Spectre or taking a peek at some new figures.
Looking further into the future, there will be three projects coming (Little Bird, Humvee and Compound) and I’m planning to look at a few new ranges such as Full Battle Rattle’s Canadians. I’m even in the early stages of planning on a new card game/planning aid setting up random games, as something different from rolling dice. But more details on all of this soon!
Operation Dragon’s Hoard had its first public showing last weekend. This was a pretty major turning point for this project – as well as having the game running, it also needed to actually attract people to it from the horde walking past.
Remember the massive list of things at the end of the last post? Unfortunately due to a couple of reasons (mainly the potent cocktail of other releases, work and finishing a book off), I didn’t manage to get any of the physical tweaks to the board done. I really don’t want get into adding more damage without having the correct tools and material for the job so I pushed back those changes to the long gap between Fiasco and Vapa.
One thing I did decide to do was adjust some positions of bits of terrain in order to change-up the dynamics. BLUFOR now approached the board from a full edge rather than just a corner piece. They also approached the plane side on rather than head on, meaning that the detached wing became less of a trench line. The other two points were shifting the buildings around, and moving the technicals from parked locations to more dispersed. As well as improving the look of the board, it helped to make things a little bit more natural looking.
The final decision was to adjust the number of characters on both sides. BLUFOR was reduced to two fireteams (8 in total) while OPFOR was maintained at 16. The aim with this was to keep a relatively quick pace of play (allowing for a quick turn around) while also providing a challenge. BLUFOR should still have a slight advantage but there should still be a little more balance that what was seen in the original run.
Details Of The Day
Part of the reason for choosing Fiasco as the first run was it’s on my home turf. Needing only to drive 30 minutes into Leeds to get to the Armouries meant I had a pretty relaxing morning. As I wasn’t a trader I could only use the back entrance for drop off. Luckily, there is a cheap nearby car park to leave the car in. In addition, being in Yorkshire meant I could grab my usual York based gaming buddy Peeb to help out.
Setup was relatively painless – the tables were already placed out in the hall and just need a quick swap round to create a more level surface. A quick look around the hall also made me realise I need to a bring a tablecloth next time to cover up the table underneath.
As it was pretty quiet at the start of the day (everyone more focused on seeing what was available rather than wanting to sit down to a game), I decided to jump into a quick game against my buddy in order to give the table some activity. To make it easier to stop and reset once someone became interested, we went for a tiny team of operators (just four) against the rebels. This first game was pretty relaxed so it ended up being a testbed/photo gathering chance. I also got to see Mr REDVector himself, and show off his buildings being put to good use.
Peeb decided to go loud in a rather spectacular way by shredding a patrol with a 40mm grenade and causing enough suppression to worry the elite reaction team hiding in the building.
The game also saw one of the OPFOR team manage to sneak behind the BLUFOR operators. Rushing up the wing and standing on the engine, he was interrupted by the operator snap firing. This shot managed to hit the OPFOR, dropping him. Nice try, but no one out sneaks Wyse.
At the end of the game, which ended with the BLUFOR operators with two figures down and the other two suppressed, we decided to do a few tweaks. Bringing the rest of the BLUFOR team on the field, we also moved the OPFOR DMR nest to tweak its field of fire. Rather than seeing across the entire board, the rear DMR now just had a good shot into the gap between the two plane sections.
As you might be able to guess from the lack of photos of Game 2, it was full on. Both myself and Peeb took control of the OPFOR forces to go up against three players (split up with 4 – 2 – 2 in terms of figures). Overall it was a bloodbath, with BLUFOR using its explosive advantages and reasonable skills while snapfiring to reduce the OPFOR team down to only three survivors before calling it.
After another gap (during which I ran round the floor grabbing some purchases while Peeb watched the table) and then we had time for one final game. Three kids took command of six operators and in perhaps a shocking display of the impetuous of youth, managed to achieve the most objectives of any games during the day. Highlights include an early maneuver that saw two operators pile on to a single militiaman and (I quote) “shank him”.
After the game was done it was time to pack up. Everyone we talked to seemed to like the board (especially the centerpiece) and many of those who got to play came away with saying how much they had enjoyed it. I also really liked how many people said how they had seen Skirmish Sangin before but were tempted to get back into it after seeing it being played.
Thoughts on Fiasco
As for Fiasco 2017 what did I think about it? It’s very definitely on the smaller side of shows, with a focus more on local clubs and retailers. As such, it got really quiet by the start of the afternoon and I think many people were there to simply get in, buy and then get out. The other thing is the hall is a little dark. Black curtains and roof worked okay but it did lead to lots of slightly overshadowed photos.
The location is great, relatively central to Leeds and only a short walk to the station. Car parking is expensive if you want to park right next door to the event but a short walk away is £3 all day – one of the joys of being on a Sunday.
Overall as an exhibitor doing something for the first time and with free accommodation in the city, it worked out great. I’m also tempted to come back next year with a new demo game but we will have to see.
Plans For Next Time
The next event is going to be Vapnartak in February at York Racecourse. This is the first Big show of the year I’ll be going to and as such I want to improve the board even more. So there are a few points to look at.
Fix the broken edges on the boards
I really like the boards and they seem to have held up pretty well to models and dice bouncing off it. However, the edges have been suffering and so I need to do some emergency repairs. Luckily it should be relatively easy to repair. The bigger issue is how best to prevent this damage from happening too often.
Detail the plane
Yeah okay, I know I mentioned this one last time. Same plan however I should be getting the necessary tools (dremel and airbrush) and material (wire and aluminium foil) at Christmas
Improve the central objective
Still trying to decide between gold transport and mysterious box – either way this should be more interesting than the objective to “look through car”.
Tweak the balance
So we’re still not 100% on the balance. I think that 6 BLUFOR seemed to be the best number to balance speed and the giving the players enough toys to play with. On the OPFOR side, I want to tweak the composition. Primarily, I want to adjust the elite reinforcements so they don’t just roll out of building.
To make the game a little more exciting, I’m tempted to get some cards made for vehicles and have the OPFOR backup arrive in a pickup and backed up by a .50cal truck. This would force BLUFOR to get into a good location rather than letting them sit back and plink. It also helps with the action movie esque flow.
Build more explosion markers
I’ve learnt the ways from a friend at SESWC, but I think I need more. Especially if the Operators get more explosive weapons.
Make more cards
It’s safe to say the cards are a hit, with lots of comments and questions about them. With some upcoming releases and the possibility of swapping some figures out, more cards are needed!
So overall I’m calling Fiasco 2017 a success, which is a strange thing to say based on that name. The game worked, people enjoyed it and I didn’t destroy the terrain in transit. I should be doing an update post just before Vapa in the new year so keep your eyes open for that!
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.
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!
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!