Wargaming Week 19/11/2018

Let’s start this Wargaming Week, covering the 11th through to the 18th of Novemeber.

NEWS

Oh boy is this a big one. The long-awaited French from Empress have been finally released. These guys continue their Ultramodern releases, seeing as they are not wielding the trusty FAMAS but instead various items from H&K’s catalogue, the 416 and the 417 specifically. There is a nice variety of poses in the packs, as well as plenty of grenade launchers.

The release includes four packs of infantrymen, a three-man AT missile pack and a set of heads with NVGs. I quite like this range, both for using as modern French but also for generic 416 armed troops if you swap the heads for US Army or Marine Corp

PURCHASES

None, still working on my backlog. I was very tempted with the new French but I’ve decided to wait until Vapa in the new year. Maybe the feeling of the nations I haven’t finished yet (like the USMC and the Rangers and the British) were weighing on my mind.

HOBBY

I finally assembled something! And then threw some paint on it. The BMP1, which has been sat on my desk for a while, is now assembled and base sprayed. I was planning to get it finished off this week and get the write up done but there have been some personal things that mean I’ll be away from my desk for a bit.

I’m also going to get the Dshk turret for the Humvee finished and then this pair will be ready for my next game.

Although speaking of my desk, here is just a glimpse of it. I managed to get a few new things on bases, including the special edition Texas sheriff that Spectre released. He is only made of resin so fingers crossed he doesn’t get knocked over too often

I’ve also decided that my Christmas project (when I’m back down in Leeds) is going to be getting my Fantasy adventurers painted up. You can see them in the back of the shot and it’s been a while since I finished assembling them. However, I am already thinking about picking up a frame of the new female adventuruers when they are released and getting everything painted up in one go.


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

Wargaming Week 12/11/2018

Let’s start this Wargaming Week, covering the 5th through to the 11th of November.

NEWS

The Ultracombat Kickstarter continues. At the time of the writing, we’re sitting well funded and with two stretch goals down. Usefully, the team at Radio Dishdash has released this handy comparison image. The image shows the relative height of the new Russian figures in the kickstarter compared to Empress US Infantry, Tiny Terrain Chechen, Radio Dishdash Taliban and Eureka US Marines. This type of image is always useful and I think the new figures look like they should work well alongside most other manufacturers.

The kickstarter can be found here

Alas, by the time you read this, the smart looking gentleman above will no longer be for sale. However, Spectre have released a special edition figure to celebrate their trip to Texas for Millennium Con. For those of us not at the show, he was on the store from Friday until Sunday.

PURCHASES

Well I just had to grab the Spectre exclusive. I’m not planning on doing anything cartel focused but I love the sculpting on this guy. I can see him ending up as some eccentric figure in Bazistan. I also picked up a few extra RWS systems, including the light setup ready for mounting on technicals.

HOBBY

This week’s hobby time was mostly eaten up by me going away to do one of my interests. Yep, I headed down to York to run around airsofting after around a 6 month break. Despite my problem child of a primary refusing to play ball, I had a really good time. Although that weekend has meant I’m not thinking of playing around with what BB throwing systems I use.

However, there has been a little progress. I’ve started writing the next scenario I’m planning to run down the club. I don’t want to spoil it just yet but it’s going to be a change from the usual Insurgents vs BLUFOR scrap. Expect to see the BMP1 out and about


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

Wargaming Week 05/11/2018

Let’s start this Wargaming Week, covering the 29th of October through to the 4th of November.

NEWS

Blotz has released a new bit of terrain – a submarine! I do like the fact this is modular kit, letting you set it up as appropriate for your time period with a mix of missle hatches, deck guns and deck pieces. A more modern alternative conning tower would be a neat addition for those people wanting something to deploy their Navy SEALs in style.

If you want one of your own, find it on the Blotz store.

The Ultracombat kickstarter rolls on so it’s time to talk about it. First up, the disclaimer. I have worked with Dishdash on the last Skirmish Sangin book but I have not been involved with any work on this ruleset

So the cool thing we have seen this week is a preview of how the rules work, showing a small Russian and American force encountering each other in Donetsk. For anyone who has played Skirmish Sangin, a lot of these concepts (and the presentation style) are going to seem familiar – for example, the humble AP has returned. However, the focus on elements over individuals has shifted the game as well as the change from the D100 to the D20.

This first document has me really excited and I am looking forward to having the excuse to get some platoons on the board.

PURCHASES

Nothing

Okay almost nothing – I backed the Ultracombat Kickstarter.

HOBBY

Spectre’s latest order arrived earlier. Although I haven’t managed to assemble most of it, I did have to put together one of the pair of Talon Robots. I really love these guys and getting the first one together was quite fun! The only downside was I managed to snap the barrel off the 240 and had to reglue it. I also managed to add the usual rare earth magnets to hold the turret on

The bulk of the order was, of course, Spectre’s BMP1. And now that I have it in my hand, I am tempted to go back and order a few more. The quality on this is great, lots of detail. Wyrmalla managed to get his writeup done real sharpish and most of his opinions match up with mine. Maybe I need to come out of my break a little early and get mine painted up once I’ve done the clean up on it.

I’m slowly getting back into painting with the Aussies. I managed to actually get to use my Broken Toad brush for the first time. It’s a nice breath of fresh air compared to the junk I’ve been using as a paint applicator for the last few months. Expect more when I actually get the figures finished.


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

Wargaming Week 29/10/2018

Let’s start this Wargaming Week, covering the 22nd through to the 28th of October.

First up, I hope everyone is playing Red Dead Redemption 2 is enjoying it!

NEWS

After a week of teases and previews, Spectre kicked off the weekend with a pretty major set of releases. First up, they have officially entered the AFV business with the release of a 1:50 scale BMP1. Ideal for a variety of MENA forces and the rebels fighting them, these IFVs are the biggest vehicle Spectre has released yet. They are also making noises that other vehicles are on the way.

The other part of Spectre’s release is all about drones. The Tier 1 and Insurgent ranges now both include a figure ideal for controlling the various remote systems your teams may need, with each pack also including a small quad-rotor drone for close in recon. In addition, the much larger PUMA UAV is perfect for maintaining recon coverage. For all of these flying drones, Spectre is also selling some flying stands to make it easier to get them on the board.

I’ve got to admit though, my favourite part of the new release has to be the MAARS Robot. Having played Medal of Honor Warfighter and rolled through Somalia using one, I think these bots are fantastic. They are also going to be an exciting thing to play around with. Also look at it!

As always, all the new releases are up on Spectre’s site.

Exciting news from Crooked Dice! As well as their ongoing apocalypse kickstarter, they have also announced they are stocking Akula’s Apocalypse Island Range. For modern wargamers, this excitingly includes the Governor’s Guard which is ideal for any number of African nations. Armed with FALs and a M249, these guys look pretty sharp.

Speaking of African fighters, Militia Miniatures have returned with a whole selection of OPFOR perfect for you to add to your campaign. With squads themed after everything from American Survivalists to Cartel Guards, there are plenty of options for anyone needing some more bad guys.

Finally, Table Top Tactical Simulations have shown off some photos of the painted JLTV that was first talked about alongside their Medium Truck kickstarter. As you can see it’s rather nice.

PURCHASES

As you might have guessed, I’ve grabbed the new Spectre stuff. The drones will be an interesting addition to the game especially the smaller bots. As for the BMP1, it will be a nice ride for the MENA regulars I have.

I may have also picked up a second MAARS bot. Just in case things end up in an Operator vs Operator fight and both sides want to bring a buddy along.

HOBBY

Not much this week – I have started putting some painting on the Aussies I found in amongst the Brits I was planning to paint as a bit of a warm up.


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

Wargaming Week 22/10/2018

Let’s start this Wargaming Week, covering the 15th through to the 21st of October.

BLOG STUFF

This week’s post was taking a look at the Spectre Tier 1 Operator range. This was another range that has been sat in my “to be finished” queue for a while and, despite not having much hobby time, it was really great to just push them over the edge and get them ready for the tabletop.

IMPORTANT BLOG NEWS

So things in the real world have been a little busy for the last few months. The project at work is wrapping up (you’ve probably been seeing adverts for the release out and about – being bright red they are hard to miss) but things are in the final stages and I don’t want extra deadlines hanging around my neck.

Don’t get me wrong I really love writing the posts and getting everything together but it takes time. Lots of time. And that time is among the first thing to get cut when I need to do more stuff at work or indulge in other hobbies to relax.

What I’m trying to say is that there will be no Friday posts for the next month or so. Wargaming Week will still be going up every Monday. My plan is to come back in December for a few posts before my Christmas break and maybe sneak in a battle report if I manage to get down to the club.

NEWS

First up, Spectre has shown off the model they will be releasing at Millenium Con in Texas. Appropriate for the area, it looks like a US Law Enforcement Officer complete with. For those of us not making the trip to the Lone Star State, the figure should be available on the web store for a limited time, in the same way that the other event exclusives go up.

Despite not really focusing on the Cops and Robbers side of wargaming, the smart clothing means I might end up using him as a slightly more eccentric US offical.

Spectre also had some new releases this week! This time they are focusing on terrain, both human and physical. For those wanting their civilians to be doing something more than just strolling around or being dodgy, these packs give you two figures on phones and two slightly more irrate fellows. Both of these are going to be great for scenarios, either needing some pacification or arrest. The phones especially could stand in for a dicker.

The physical terrain is the release of the various walls and pieces of cover that we have in several of the press shot for recent ranges. As well as the brick piles, there are several small walls (ideal for scatter) and larger full size walls in brick and concrete. When I started working on my KOD buildings, I’ll definitely be picking up some to build up the detail on them.

Finally some interesting news coming out of Sarissa Precision and SASM. They are teaming up to produce some MDF buildings for modern wargaming and are kicking off with a certain compound in Libya. This is something that I’ve been waiting for Sarissa to do for a while and I’ll be interested in seeing how the range turns out, both with the Libya items and with what comes next.

PURCHASES

For a change from the last few weeks, I actually grabbed something. From the new Spectre releases, I just had to pick up both the civilian packs. Next year I’m planning to run several scenarios as part of a campaign set in Bazistan and more civilians will be exactly what I need to give my players concern.

I’m also in the process of changing my brushes. For the longest time when I first started, I was buying GW’s supplies which, although good, were a little expensive. Being a cheapskate,  I found an “8 brushes for £13” pack on Amazon which have been absolute garbage. So for Christmas, I’m going to get a few new brushes. On advice from one of my hobby senseis/former housemate Dreadquill, I’m going to take a look at Broken Toad‘s offerings. I’ve grabbed a size 1 brush just to try them out before pushing the button on a full set.

HOBBY

So the Tier 1 Operators. I had actually already painted most of these guys last year but I wasn’t a massive fan of the look of them. So after a quick wash in the Iso Alcohol and some repainting, these look a lot less garish than the original version. Also, it’s nice to get the get them finished off rather than just still sitting on my desk staring at me.

It’s time. One of the first sets I bought all those years ago when I first started wargaming was the Empress British Infantry. There were also one of the first groups I actually painted up fully and they got lots of use.

However, I was never happy with the MTP, especially after Spectre showed off their methods. So, in a fit of rage, I stripped all 50 figures down, rebased them, corrected a few assembly mistakes and then got ready to repaint them. And then I started needing to do a post every week and so they fell back down the list (right next to the mountain of US Marines).

However, I’ve always wanted to get them back on the table. And so, in some of my break, I’m going to start getting these guys ready again.


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

Range Impressions: Spectre Tier 1 Operators

A frequent question people have when starting to collect Spectre figures is which range to get first. For those wanting their own tiny Special Forces team, the Task Force Operators range is obviously the first stop. However, for sheer versatility, I really have to recommend the Tier 1 Operators.

The common identity to all these figures is for a set of operators in cutting edge gear while wearing practical clothing that makes them useful for a whole selection of paint schemes, from camo to the latest in Operator fashion, plaid. All of them are wearing modern chest rigs and belt kits, with retention holsters for their suppressed Glock. The weapons are all upgraded with the usual mix of attachments perfect for sweeping and clearing. I really like the variation in this range – the Task Force Operator guys are much more uniform while these figures look much more like they have chosen their kit based on personal preference.

Riflemen

The core of any force is your riflemen and in this range you have seven of them. Each pack is a different style of pose, from enaging the enemy to moving under fire. There is a nice mix of bare heads and caps, as well several figures equipped with shades.

With all these figures, the main assault rifle is the Sig Sauer MCX with all the trimmings – suppressor, laser, red dot and various sights. This makes them a pretty powerful rifle when clearing rooms. The MCX is also usable with the specialist .300 Blackout round, designed for superior performance while suppressed.

The final rifleman is actually a female operator, which is a neat addition and perfect for representing any number of characters in your special operations force.

Support

As cool as the riflemen are, the specialists are where the fun begins. There is a definitely feel of close range firepower to these guys and the first specialist, armed with a MPX SMG, is perfect for being a pointman. The SMG’s bonus in close quarters makes it perfect for popping sentries or being the first through the door.

Of course, you may want something a little more dramatic for room clear and there is where the two shotgun equipped figures come in. The first is armed with an Origin 12, a rapid fire shotgun that can be used as an automatic in Spectre Operations. If you need to put the suppression down at close range, this weapon is great.

The second figure, we covered in an impressions piece last year, is going a different approach with his shotgun. The Six12 is only a combat shotgun rather than an automatic but comes with a suppressor. This figure is also wielding a tomahawk perfect for breaking locks and busting heads.

A great bonus to both these guys is the fact they are still carrying their assault rifles, so they can easily join in the mid-range firefight while moving to the objective.

Of course, not every firefight will be at close range. So, you’re going to want some guys to bring the pain at longer rangers. First up is the LMG – every squad needs a base of fire and a suppressed LMG fills that slot. It also has a the usual optics upgrade, making it very useful went approaching the objective.

On the other hand, you might need to take out a few enemies in one go. To help with this, the Tier 1 range includes the ever useful MGL. As well as explosives, multiple smoke grenades can help to cover a rapid exfiltration. In addition, he still has his assault rifle when you need a little more precision.

Conclusions

As I said at the start, I really like the Tier 1 range. I’ve also loved how many different variations of them that people have painted on the Spectre Operations group – everything from guys in full camo to run as advisors down to the plaid look more commonly seen on competition shooters. For a new player, 12 figures is actually a pretty sensible amount and gives you plenty of options when building a mission.

In terms of who to use them as almost anything – Western Special Forces, highly trained PMCs or federal agents ready to steal some money from the cartel (if you’re a fan of Sabotage). What is really cool is putting these guys up against other Special Forces, meaning both players have to be much more careful when trying to fire and move as everyone is pretty effective.

Wishlist

Honestly, this range is pretty complete. It’s a nice mix of poses and equipment. So apart from the stock answer (give me more!), it would be cool to see some more variation, or maybe even someone with other futuristic SIG guns like the tiny MCX Rattler for some real close quarters action.

Wargaming Week 15/10/2018

Let’s start this Wargaming Week, covering the 8th through to the 14th of October.

BLOG STUFF

This week’s post was taking a look at Spectre’s S.W.A.T. team! These guys were fun to paint and I’m really happy with the final result. Now I just have to get them operating.

NEWS

First up, Radio DishDash (who for disclosure I should say I worked with on Plausible Deniability) have announced their next Kickstarter. Ultracombat is going to bring a new game (separate from Skirmish Sangin) to the market, as well as a range of vehicles and figures for it. Going off the description on the forum, this is going to basically be what Platoon+ was aiming for but with a different gameplay system closer to the upcoming WW2 game. I’m really excited for it – as someone who loves Skirmish Sangin, it’s going to great to see their take on a Platoon level game.

More news from Spectre Towers about their partnership with Black Powder Red Earth. As you can see, they are really making sure the gear is correct to the comics, including this heavily modified M4 with plenty of BCM kit. From the custom stock to the offset T1, this matches up to one of the guns that appears frequently in the comics. Based on this, I’m looking forward to seeing the actual figures even more.

PURCHASES

Nothing!

HOBBY

So as you may guess, this week was really about just pushing the SWAT guys over the finish line. I’m still super busy with work (and my free time currently being used on other things) so honestly, the whole hobby thing has slowed down. Next on my desk is either going to be the buildings I’ve worked on or possibly the Tier 1 Operators that are partially painted.


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

Impressions: Spectre S.W.A.T.

One thing that’s great about wargaming is just how broad you can be. From 54mm games where players control single figures, all the way down to tiny scales where you are basically playing with painted pins to represent your armies of soldiers, there is something for everyone. And even within relatively niche periods, such as Ultramodern wargaming, there can many different settings that let you play out the whole breadth of modern-day gunfighting.

One setting that Spectre provides for is the modern day cops and robbers, thanks to their range of both criminals and armed police. These are ideal for anyone interested in this setting and today, we’re going to take a look at their SWAT team.

The Spectre SWAT range at the moment consists of 6 figures. All of them are geared up, based on very latest kit US police departments are issuing. Every officer has body armour, FAST helmets, eye protection and more kit on them, including their trusty sidearm. The uniforms are a mixture, but there are plenty of trousers with built in kneepads to show the operators among the bunch. All of the figures are posed aiming or at the low ready, perfect for stacking up on each other.

The differences come with their equipment. The bulk of the force is armed with AR15 pattern rifles, covered in rails and mounting a selection of accessories. Some figures have magnifiers behind their red dots, while others are just using the EoTechs. 

The other two officers are your specialists, ideal for winning in a close-quarters firefight. One is carrying an MPX SMG, great for when you need manoeuvrability in tight spaces. The other carries a KSG shotgun, perfect for breaching and clearing. Both of these guns also have red dots, ideal for actions where close quarters combat is expected.

So, let’s talk about how I intend to use them. I have to admit, my focus when wargaming is really military or SF operations in MENA and Africa – partially because I have the terrain and figures for it and partially because that style of action is more interesting than drug cartels and police actions to me. So, how best to use these guys in a more militarised setting?

Well, the figures are definitely well equipped but are not quite as well armed as the Task Force Operator figures – these guys have standard M4s rather the 416s of their better funded/trained brothers. This means that the SWAT range is ideal if you need some local SF figures with western style equipment – similar to your main operators but still visually distinctive.

I’ve gone the contractor route with my guys. Thinking these are the QRF sat waiting to rescue the principal or drag their buddies (possible from the Tier 1 Operator Range) out of the fire when things go wrong. Alternatively, they may end up being the bad guys when the inevitable third act twist takes place and suddenly the operators have to fight against almost near-tier adversaries.

Now I just have to get them on the board…