Wargaming Week 30/07/2018

Let’s start this Wargaming Week, covering the 23rd through to the 29th of July.

BLOG STUFF

July’s month of Range Impressions is over with one last post looking at the Bundswehr from Empress. Now technically this is an impressions piece but shush, it’s looking at plenty of figures so it counts. I am so glad I got these done – they have been sat on the workbench partially painted for a while but I just had to push myself to actually put some time aside to get ready to do the camo. Having my holiday week off really helped refresh my joy of painting.

It’s been a while since I last reminded everyone of various links to other ChargeBlog things. I’m relatively active on various platforms so often you’ll see WIP elsewhere that you might not see here.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChargeDog
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/chargeblog/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ChargeBlog/

Lead Adventure Threads:
Modern: http://leadadventureforum.com/index.php?topic=97949.0
Fantasy: http://leadadventureforum.com/index.php?topic=110960.0

NEWS

White Dragon Miniatures are now showing off their next set of releases – some Taliban OPFOR for your Brits to fight. I quite like the look of these – there is some nice variety in the figures in terms of headgear and clothing. I’m looking forward to seeing them come out.

Tiny Terrain also some news promising releases coming soon! It’s finally time for the figures that were part of the Chechen War kickstarter (sculpted by Igor) to be available to the general public. Keep an eye on their facebook page and website for when they go live.

Finally, by the time you read this the LAV-III pre-order from Full Battle Rattle will be over. Standby for final update soon.

PURCHASES

I bought something for side project 2. Kill Team fever is in full effect. I grabbed a box of Intercessors and the Deathwatch details pack to get my kit started. I also grabbed the digital version of the rules and spent Saturday morning in bed reading up on it.

HOBBY

Obviously the main thing this week was getting the Germans finished off. I actually covered most of the painting in the post itself so time to talk about other things.

Wait these aren’t modern guys. I got all of my Frostgrave soldiers built up and ready to talk about. If you look closely you can see I had a good time using bits from the Cultists and Barbarians frames on the soldier bodies. More details in a post on Side-Project Wednesday

No, hang on these aren’t modern either. On a roll from the plastic glue, I ended up assembling a chunk of the box of Intercessors. These marines are definitely a bit more involved than the old Space Marines but look so much better. Except a post coming soon about these guys and Kill Team.

I also got some paint onto the Strykers that have been sat on my desk for over a year. It would be nice to get these things ready soon so when I get back to wargaming I can get an armoured convoy out.


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

Impressions: Empress Bundeswehr

Empress releasing a new range in their modern collection is a pretty major event, especially when it introduces something entirely brand new. Going for the all in approach, a new range gives you plenty of toys to get ready for the tabletop. Earlier this year, just before Salute, they finally released one of their most anticipated ranges. First teased at the end of the Empress Kickstarter back in July 2013, the German Bundeswehr is now available from their website.

These Germans are also not your standard 2000’s era Afghan ground pounder (if you’re wanting them, Eureka have a suitable range). Instead, Empress has gone with these incredibly modern looking guys equipped with the IdZ system, a product of the German Future Soldier program. You can see this throughout their gear, from the Ops core helmets with vision systems to various details on the G36s (such as new stocks, optics and laser units). As you’d expect, all the figures in the range are the usual Empress quality and sculpting style. The figures do come with detachable heads of varying styles (no vision system, NVGs and heads up displays) and separate heads are available if you want to equip all your soldiers with the same type.

Empress notes on its website that the packs give you 6 man fire-teams by combining Pack 1 and either Pack 2/Pack 3. This number roughly matches up to dismounts for the Puma IFV but there is nothing to stop them represent foot troops or those using other German Army vehicles.

Pack 1

The first pack is your command and support pack. This has two Team Leaders (armed with the G36) and two Light Machine Gunners (equipped with the new MG4). Much like the other two packs, the figures are split into advancing and engaging poses. The pack does include one of my wargaming pet peeves (a prone figure not part of a support weapons team) but thanks to the MG4’s short length you can just about fit him on a standard size base. On the other hand, it’s rather cool to see one of the team leaders holding an optical viewer up to his eye, showing him taking advantage of the IdZ system.

Pack 2

The first fire team is posed advancing on patrol, with weapons held relatively low. The team has a selection of weapons, including a Panzerfaust 3 AT weapon (complete with optic) and UGL. Every soldier also has a G36, with an optical sights and lasers.

Pack 3

Fire Team 2 is posed engaging (or preparing to engage) the enemy. Weapon loadout is the same as Pack 2, except that the AT gunner in this squad is equipped with an MP7 SMG rather than a full-sized assault rifle.

Pack 4

Every new range needs support packs and the first of them gives the some anti-armour/anti-bunker support in the form of the MILAN ATGM. It’s a nice change from the Javelin featured in many of Empress’s other forces. It’s also nice that the pack includes a MP7 for the assistant to use (great for systems where weapon teams can still engage with personal weapons). The Milan also

I had a bit of difficulty trying to get the crew figures to line up properly on the launcher. Eventually, I unfortunately managed to break the legs off the tripod so it’s now operating in an incredibly low profile mode (with one of the gunners covering up the most damaged leg). I’d recommend taking your time assembling it, rather than trying to rush it, and to dry fit all the parts.

Pack 5

In a fantastic case of “Something Old, Something New”, the last pack in the range gives you a three-man MG3 team, with the venerable weapon design on a tripod many WW2 players will quickly recognise. This Feldlafette tripod actually lets the team fire the gun from the prone position thanks to the optical periscope system. The pack comes with three figures – the team leader is directing the team (and could be used as part of a foot patrol), the assistant is feeding the belt of ammo (while carrying a MP7) while the gunner is adjusting the elevation of the tripod. I had a bit of fun trying to fit the team on my standard weapon team base, leading to the unusual positions you see above.

As with the MILAN I found this a little fiddly to assemble. I’d really recommend taking your time assembling it, especially if you want to prevent it being slightly tilted.

Painting

This is my first time painting Germans so I had to work out how on earth to paint their camo up. Seeing as I play mostly in desert settings, I went look for how best to paint Tropentarn. Luckily, Eureka has a guide (including Vallejo colours) for both temperate and desert flecktarn. In order to reduce complexity, and seeing as I end all my paint jobs with a copious amount of Agrax Earthshade, I decided to tweak it slightly:

Base Colour: Vallejo Game Colour 34 Bone white
Green: Vallejo Model Colour 894 Cam Olive Green
Brown: Vallejo Model Colour 818 Red Leather

The process was base colour, large dots of Green and Brown and then cover up slightly with smaller dots of the base colour. This give the impression of the camo without it being dominated by the pattern. I’m also not sure the colours are 100% correct but it provides the right look (as well as being different from any of the other nations I’ve painted so far.

Conclusion

Overall this is a pretty different release. It’s a strange blend of old and new, combining old kit like the MILAN and MG3 with the ultramodern elements of future soldier program. It’s great to get some ultramodern Germans, providing an alternative to the older Eureka figures. It also gives the Empress Leopard 2 some dismounts to escort it. It’s also great to have some G36 equipped bodies. These could be a great jumping off point for some conversion work as a whole host of nations use the G36.

Aside from my usual comments about my cack handed lack of fine motor functions in regards to the finely detailed Empress support weapons, my only other comment is that a pack of additional patrol suitable support weapons would have been a nice addition to the range. A pair of guys with the G28 DMR or G22 rifle would be handy for giving some long-range punch while a version of the MG3 or the new MG5 MMG on the move would give some additional fire support for a patrol. We’ll have to keep an eye on the future to see what Empress get up to.

If you want to pick up your own German Infantry for fighting the Russians or training the ANP in Afghanistan, you can find them on the Empress website.

Wargaming Week 23/07/2018

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

BLOG STUFF

This week’s post was a Range Impression of Eureka’s excellent ANP sets. I’ve really liked using these guys on the field, both for their look but also for the different opportunities they provide for a BLUFOR player. Going back and looking at these older ranges is really making me want to break them back out and write a few scenarios for them, ready for when I get a chance to hit the gaming board again.

Now I just have to finish painting the subject of Friday’s post…

NEWS

 

The Spectre preview train is a-rolling and they are showing off some more scenery options. And in the case of these walls, finally! Those walls were previewed last year at the Spectre event and I’ve been quite looking forward to them – chest high cover is pretty much vital for most battlefields so having some pre-made stuff is great. As well as the walls there also appears to be some stacks of boxes and supplies that seem interesting. More news when these get released and then I can finally get round to decorating my Knights of Dice buildings by adding some extra cover.

Spectre also surprised us this week with another release! This time we’re looking at the extended version of the Razor, seating four “internally”(as much as you can be on this vehicle) while still leaving the rear cargo bay free for storing kit and munitions. The kit uses the same upgrades and crew as the original vehicle (which I looked at back in my impressions) but there will be some additional crew and stowage options coming soon to take advantage of the change in setup.

Finally we’ve got a small update on the LAV-III from Full Battle Rattle Miniatures. The pre-order program is going to be finishing off at the end of the month and they are not quite at the goal they need to guarantee production. The end goal is the 29th of July – if they have reached the target number of vehicles production will begin, if not refunds will be going out. I’m really hoping they get the numbers but if not, I’ll still be picking up some Canadians to take a look at. Fingers crossed they work something out.

PURCHASES

I may have bought some more stuff for Dungeon Crawling. We’ll take a look at that next week.

HOBBY

Bases! Finally all of my odd sized purchases from Salute are finally on MDF bases. It only took them three and a bit months but they are one step closer to being ready for the tabletop. I’m going to sit down at somepoint and get everything that is waiting to be undercoated done. I’m quite excited about getting the bikes and animals ready for the table top – it should hopefully make missions involving the local population a bit more interesting.

I also managed to order the wrong bases sizes so for the next 40 or so guys they are going to be on slightly bigger bases than everyone else. But no one is going to notice, right?

Look, fantasy figures! The Frostgrave Soldiers box arrived and I eagerly jumped in with plastic glue and clippers. So far I’ve built half the figures from the box but, after seeing how modular they are, decided to pick up a sprue for the barbarians and cultists and get to work doing some hybrids. As such, construction has stopped until they arrive. However my greater concern is seeing how many bits are left over on each sprue after using the bodies. I’m gonna need a bigger bits box.

Also the painting of Germans has continued. I’ve gone back over the first colours and made sure it’s neat before getting into the camo on all figures BUT I managed to sit down and finish off the first squad. I’ll be going over the paint job in the post but it’s definitely one I wasn’t happy with until the final stage. More details on Friday!


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

Range Impressions: Eureka ANP

It’s hard to wargame Afghanistan without involving any of the locals. There are many situations where missions should include elements of the local government, either being instructed by the coalition or providing assistance to make an operation seem less outsider focused. Among the variety of Afghan Security Forces, the Afghan National Police have been a consistent sight in reporting from that part of the world, wearing their (predominately) blue uniforms and kepi hats while manning checkpoints or guarding strategic locations.

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Eureka has released two pack of figures designed for the ANP. Each set comprises of six figures, containing 4 riflemen, a PKM gunner and a RPG grenadier. The two packs includes some slightly different poses but the main difference comes down to their equipment. Pack 1 features the ANP in caps while Pack 2 has them wearing PASGAT helmets and kneepads. All of the figures are wearing BDUs and a tactical vest, although the style of this vest varies from character to character.

Riflemen

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As you’d expect, the bulk of any ANP force is it’s riflemen. This range has 8 figures in a variety of poses (from low ready to steadily advancing). A neat feature, and vital for an ANP force, is the fact that several of the guys are not armed with standard AKs; instead, they are using the AMD-65 complete with the distinctive fore-grip.

Support

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The ANP is policing in a warzone and as such, the squads include some special weapons. The machine gunners in the pack are armed with the PKM and posed holding it at the hip. Each gunner has a slightly different pose a cool addition to the range and not just being the same figure with a headswap.

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It’s hard to overstate the usefulness of the RPG and so it’s handy to see the ANP also get an RPG gunner in each pack. Both gunners are only equipped with the RPG-7 launcher (so no backup weapons when you need to reload) but they do at least carry backpacks with plenty of rounds. I like the nice touch that the capped gunner has turned his hat around so it doesn’t cause an issue while aiming down the sights.

Usage

I mean, do I really need to spell it out for these guys? If you’re looking for Afghan National Police figures, these are the guys to go with. However, if you’re not fighting in Afghanistan, these guys would also work for many police forces throughout the MENA area. If you paint them in a camo scheme, they could also work for regular army forces. Thanks to the weapons in the range, you can actually put together a pretty well equipped squad while the PASGAT is common enough in that region of the world.

On the tabletop, these figures give you plenty of situations to use them in. ANP forces have acted in multiple different operations, from both a security role (guarding locations) to more offensive postures when fighting various criminal groups. In many cases, they would also be working along with ISAF personal. Germany in particular has played a large part in training the ANP so there will be situations where a ANP checkpoint may have a OMLT (Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team) alongside them. The Dispatches books for Skirmish Sangin includes some more details on the ANP, with book 1 including the ORBAT and book 2 a scenario featuring a checkpoint attack.

One comment I’d make is that, if I was to go back and repaint them I’d probably mix up the tone of the uniform. As well as the blue, uniforms can also be more grey or green. Adding a bit of variation would certainly give the force a different look.

Conclusions

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The Afghan National Police has played a sizeable role in the fighting in Afghanistan and, if you were wanting to put them on your table, these figures are certainly a great option. Some people have expressed thought’s about the sizing and sculpting style of Eureka figures but I think these guys look really good. From tabletop height I think they fit just with other manufacturers (helped in part by the real life size difference between the Afghans and Western forces) and the team at Eureka have done a great job with these guys.

Wishlist

I think this range is complete and honestly I’m not asking for more. Twelve figures with a mix of poses and weapons is very good. The only possible addition might be some figures designed to be added to the back of pickup trucks for patrolling, either passengers or gunners.

More generally, this has reminded how we are currently lacking some good figures for Afghan National Army soldiers. Although we have plenty of MENA figures armed with AKs, no one has released any figures armed with American equipment and the slightly slap-dash look many images of the ANA include.

Wargaming Week 16/07/2018

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

Blog Stuff

This week’s post was another Range Impression, taking a look at the Empress SAS in Afghanistan. Despite this being some of the oldest sculpts I own, you can tell I really like them. Expect to keep seeing them in battle reports for as long as I need some scrappy contractors.

So I’m coming off a short break away, lets talk about how the blog is going – think of this as a mid year catch up.

First up, things have slowed down a bit as you may have noticed. I like to keep blaming this on work but it’s not entirely the reason. I think I’ve been a bit bogged down in trying to get big chunks of my collection painted and so the motivation has just dried up. This hasn’t been helped by the fact I haven’t been down to the club to play for a while so the cycle of “painting to be ready to play a scenario” has been broken some what. It’s probably going to get worse before it gets better.

Second, I’m thinking of diversifying a little bit. Remember back when I’d post stuff on Wednesdays? Well, I think I’m going to return to the occasional post as part of running some side projects . I can already think of three little projects that will let me vary up what games I play (and figures I get to paint and assemble) in addition to the moderns that dominate the blog.

  • Fantasy Mercenary Bands (using Open Combat): I like my fantasy on the more realistic side, dirty peasants fighting horrible monsters with the occasional magical lunatic when things go horribly wrong. Open Combat is also a ruleset I’ve been really interested in playing, especially after talking to the writer at Chillcon. I’m also looking for a wargame that I can put together and [lay in a lunchbreak. Combing these elements together and I think it’s time for some dungeon crawling. There may even be some written material coming out of this
  • British Airborne at Arnhem (for Chain of Command): My holiday read has been Anthony Beevor’s Arnhem book. Aside from getting massively annoyed with the blunders of high command, it re-awakened my desire to get a platoon of Red Devils in my collection. I’m also thinking of using this as an excuse to improve my green stuffing and conversion work – the plan is to make a few of the troops look a bit more battleworn while also assembling patrol markers and jumping off points. My target is to get this ready by September 2019, in time for the 75th Anniversary
  • Deathwatch Kill Team: KILL TEAM IS COMING BACK. As someone who blames the original KIll team for my love of small scale tactics games, the idea of new version fills me with joy. I’ve wanted to pick up some of the new Primaris Marines for a while and a game that only needs a few is perfect. This will probably be the shortest project, as I’ll be picking up a single box and rulebook to get ready for it

Don’t worry! This blog is still going to focus on Modern Wargaming – it remains my main love for wargaming and so the Monday and Friday posts will remain the same. The change is that every once in a while you’ll get something a little bit different.

News

So the news! I may have been away enjoying some time off in Yorkshire venturing outside, but this didn’t stop exciting things happening in the modern wargaming world.

Phalanx Consortium and Radio Dishdash have been showing off some more shots of their figures for their upcoming Kickstarter! I’m really liking the look of these guys – I’ve had some misgivings about the Day of the Rangers figures but these look improved.

Spectre have also been showing off some upcoming terrain detailing products. These are some air conditioning units and TV aerials, a good shorthand for making many terrain items suitable for the modern day. EDIT: These are now out and available on the Spectre site!

I’m going to be buying a lot of them for my Bazi City project.

Also OPSEC at Spectre HQ seems to have dropped, those greens look pretty exciting.

Under Fire Miniatures have some brand new releases. As well as 20mm sets, the first of the RhSAS are now out. Pack one includes two RPDs, an AK and a FAL. The pack also comes with small packs and bergens, letting you set these guys up for either long range patrolling or close in fire fights. I’m looking forward to seeing what other figures are coming soon.

In a follow up to last week’s post, White Dragon Miniatures have shown off the detailed version of their Hesco combinations. As you can see, they’ve added some sand to make these look used and ready for combat. I love the single Hescos and these walls should help make some really cool battlefields.

I’ll be keeping an eye on these, and maybe I’ll be building that FOB sooner than I originally planned.

Purchases

As part of diversifying, I picked up the Frostgrave Soldiers box for my Open Combat project. I’ve kept my eye on this since I first started investigating the idea of wargaming something other than moderns. Expect a post coming soon looking at the box and describing my plans for the project. It’s gonna feature sewers.

I bought some bases. I still hadn’t got round to basing many of the figures I bought at Salute (those donkeys need ). They are MDF bases. There is nothing exciting about them.

EDIT: With Spectre releasing their terrain items yesterday, I picked up multiples of the Air Con and Satellite Dishes to get to work on my Sarissa North Africa Buildings. I also, after checking through my collection, realised I was actually missing two of the Russian Breachers with half height shields and so added them to my order, all ready for when I get round to covering the Spetsnaz range.

 


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

Range Impressions: Empress SAS in Afghanistan

Despite being a blog that plays around with new releases, it’s always important to look back at some of the older figures. Today’s range covers some models which are probably among the oldest sculpts in my collection but I still rank them among my favourites. We’re talking, of course, about Empress’s SAS in Afghanistan range.

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Released back in 2010, and the first modern figures produced by Empress, these figures were modelled on some of the SAS operators spotted in Afghanistan. The guys are wearing a mixture of civilian clothing and military equipment (with most operators wearing nothing heavier than a tactical or safari vest, while wielding a mixture of weapons with optics. The poses are a mix of firing and at rest.

Packs

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Pack 1 includes four operators. Two are armed with L119A1s, one is armed with a L119A1 and UGL while the final is equipped with a Minimi LMG. These guys are all at rest, with guns low. I do really like the inclusion of a radio operator, perfect for an operator working alongside less well trained troops.

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Pack 2 is for when the action starts kicking off. All four figures are engaging, with two L119A1s w/UGL, a L119A1 and a Minimi. This is probably my favourite pack in the range thanks to all the poses, with the guy in the blue baseball cap above being my sculpt of choice for the range.

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Pack 3 is your SF O-Group, ready to run the battle. Pictured above are the team lead (with binoculars and L119A1), the number 2 (with L119A1 w/UGL and binocular) and communication specialist on his laptop and surrounded by kit (the pack includes a satellite antenna to provide data for the laptop). Although not the best for figures in combat, it can make spotting your HQ element much easier when in a firefight.

This pack also includes a local interpreter, complete with folding stock AK and cigarette between pointing hand, but I haven’t got round to painting just yet. He’s sat in the box next to the rest of the Afghan forces from Empress.

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The final pack I own is the sniper pack. The comprises of two figures, with the marksman sat next to his rifle bag and the spotter with a L119A1 and UGL, pack and spotting scope. In order to fit him on a standard base, I decided to glue the spotting scope to his hand. This pack would also work really well together as weapon team on a single base.

The range also includes two quad bikes piled high with kit. The crew figures, and their guns stored while riding, match up to two of the figures on foot so you can model them both in contract and or driving to the fight. I really need to pick these two vehicles up, and even though they may not end up being used in combat, they will make great jumping off points or scene setting pieces.

Usage

Once you have these guys, whats the best way to use them? Well time has been rolling on so this combination of kit maybe isn’t the most suitable for the ultramodern setup. However, if you’re wanting to set your games back at the heights of the war in Afghanistan, these guys are spot on. They could be in a whole host of situations, from rolling through the desert in landrovers and pickups to close recon on suspect compounds in Sangin.

One of my favourite things about these guys is how cool they look when combined with regular troops. One of the first videos of troops in contact I remember watching on youtube was the footage of US Marines and a few guys in t-shirts and DPM with British accents being engaged. That contrast is quite striking in terms of look and would present some interesting tactical situations – if you only have a few operators, what’s the best way to use in order to max out their utility when the rest of your force is less well trained. Also having a SF JTAC can be pretty handy.

Alternatively, the slightly older kit and lack of heavy gear means they would work quite well as contractors running private security gigs. I’ve used them several times, as contractors guarding locations and escorting VIPs (until the vehicle breaks down in the bad part of town. In fact, they are the creator recommended figures for the scenario “Our Man on the Ground” from the Skirmish Afrika book.

Conclusion

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Despite being on the older end of the models I own, I continue to really like using and playing them. The poses and details are crisp, foreshadowing the rest of the Empress range and I just love this style of character. I heartily recommend these to anyone wanting figures in this style.

Wishlist

Time has moved on – Empress has gone on to make several lovely ranges cover the rest of the Ultramodern world. In the real world, the kit on these models have become out of date, with other manufacturers making more modern version of these figures. But still, it would be nice to see a few more guys in a similar style to this with the older kit for when you want to turn the dial back to 2010.

Wargaming Week 09/07/2018

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

This is going to be a short one as I’m actually on holiday, enjoying the UK’s current heatwave. As such, last week was pretty barren in terms of hobby (as I rushed to finish my tasks and then pack) and this week is going to be similarly quiet. However, there are a few things going on:

Last week’s post was the first part of a series called Range Impressions. The idea here is to look back at some ranges that have been out for a bit (mainly so I’ve had a chance to get them painted up), cover what’s available and then talk about how they can be used on the tabletop. Part 1 was looking at the Spectre Task Force Nomad range.

This week, 4Ground have released some damaged containers, perfect for decorating the slums or warzone you might find your team fighting over. These containers match up with some models originally released by 4Ground, letting you easily create container cities to fight through. There are three variations available with a different number of containers and accessories included to add details. As with all 4Ground stuff, such as the pylon I constructed, it comes pre-painted and ready to game with.

Spectre Miniatures have continued talking about their HMV range, including showing off some vehicles constructed using some pieces outside of the normal range. Vehicle 1 is a designed as an SOF mothership, carrying tons of kit, fuel and extra ammo boxes for the turret mounted minigun. It’s cool to see how well the technical bits work with only a few alterations.

Vehicle 2 is based on some of the bizarre constructs coming out of the Middle East. This HMV has been upgunned just a bit, with a ZPU in the turret and a quad ZPU at the back.Not quite sure I fancy being near it when it starts to rock and roll but it’s certainly a cool way for an insurgent force to use the HMV.

Of course, these images also have some other interesting elements in the background if you break out the magnifying glass that are previewing some future releases. Based on a bit of detective work, I’m quite excited for what’s coming up!

Finally, the Lazy Forger has been busy. After showing off some single hescos, he has now got to work assembling those starting points into a few terrain pieces. This will make it easier when building your emplacement and saves you assembling the singe ones to have to explain the piles of earth around each stacked hesco. As I’ve been re-reading Red Platoon again, I’m going to be jumping on these once they are released so I can build up my own FOB.

Click through for more photos

(Disclaimer: I have done writing for Radio Dishdash in the past (such as the Plausible Deniability book, still available from the Radio Dishdash store)

Wait hold up, not finally. Coming just before my usual deadline of 10pm Sunday for writing this post (I blame those crazy New Zealanders), Radio Dishdash have shown off some test casts for their upcoming Ultramodern US and Russian kickstarter they have planned. I have had mixed feelings about some of the figures from their Day of the Rangers kickstarter (which are 3D sculpted rather the excellent eBob sculpts for the earlier RDD figures) but these guys look pretty promising. After going back and checking for more new on the kickstarter, it looks like we’ll be getting the US and Russian infantry and a wheeled combat vehicle for each nation (the Stryker 30mm variant and the Russian Boomerang IFV). I also missed some generic Western SF guys which were preview back in April and they look like they could be used almost anywhere. Expect some news posts once the kickstarter goes up.

LATE BREAKING NEWS DOESN’T GET A PHOTO

EDIT: Oh look someone else who decided to share news literally as I was shutting down for the night. Jerwood Miniatures have put up the first four packs from the Venexia ranges they reccently purchased. So far you have two packs of French (fireteam either in beret or helmet) and two packs of Italian (standard infantry or bersalgeri) with assault rifles. There is also a pretty decent sale currently running on all these figures. I’ve never seen the Venexia stuff but its alright from the few pictures I have found. Looking forward to seeing what else comes from these ranges.


Right, that’s me done for now. I’m gonna go back to reading Anthony Beevor’s Arnhem book in the sunshine and planning out a few things. They’ll be a range impression on Friday and then I’ll be back with a new Wargaming Week at the end of my holiday.

Range Impressions: Spectre Task Force Nomad

In the past my impressions on this blog have been focused on the brand new, the recent arrivals, the purchases just made. However, there are plenty of figures that I have sat in various boxes that haven’t been written up on the blog (especially in this new format). So I think it’s time to break open the old model boxes and take a look at what’s inside. To begin with, Task Force Nomad.

I’ll admit, this was not a range I rushed out to purchased. When they were first shown (back in 2016) I though they were neat but not quite was I was looking for at the time. In fact, it would take me a year (and seeing the figures in person at the Spectre event) before I’d drop my money and jump on the low profile train, picking up all the figures in the collection.

Task Force Nomad is based off multiple images of SOF troops in the Middle East wearing a mixture of local clothing and modern kit. This allows them to pass as locals at distance, without affecting their combat capabilities in the same wear as wearing entire local clothing and equipment would. Much like another range I’ll be taking a look at soon, these guys are all rolling rather fancy setups – from the Crye Precision style clothes to the SIG MCX rifles and other, more exotic support kit. As a rule, they all also have silenced pistols stowed in their robes, perfect for when you need to switch to the more offensive stealth. Spectre has done a feature video showing off the inspiration for the range that is well worth a watch.

But now, lets take a look at the models

Riflemen

First up, we have core of any range of figures – the riflemen. Despite maybe not having all the cool gadgets, troops armed with assault rifles form a multi-purpose block in any fight that can be vital for winning the day

Task Force Nomad is no exception. The range currently has four operators just armed with rifles, split into two packs. There is a nice mix of poses from up and engaged to directing fire (a shoe in for the squad leader figure). The guys are using SIG MCX rifles and these are tooled up, with red dots, magnifiers, lasers and suppressors all equipped. The MCX in this case is, according to the description on the Spectre site, using .300 blackout. This chambering is designed to easily switch between subsonic rounds (for ultimate stealth action) and supersonic rounds with only a minimal drop in performance giving the user great flexibility when operating covertly. On the tabletop, this just means they are going to be really good for stealth missions.

Support

Once you’ve built your base of shooters, you can then add your toppings of specialists. The Task Force Nomad range has no shortage of team members with special kit to help out.

The first pack builds upon the covert nature of the group giving you a pair of troopers armed with suppressed MP7s, complete with the usual package of red dot and laser. The SMGs will have less hitting power but are better at the quiet work, so these guys are ideal to lead your forces in, able to pick sentries off at close range without waking up the neighbourhood. Just a warning though – the barrels on these are liable to bend slightly so I recommend careful handling, especially after they first arrive.

The rest of the support options seem to have forgotten the whole “stealth” thing; they are really there for when the shit hits the fan and the silenced pistol won’t cut it. Case in point: the shotgunner. Armed with the Origin 12 semi automatic shotgun, the version modelled is the short barrel (without even a suppressor) but with a PEQ box (laser) and red dot. Now, I’ll admit, the Origin 12 offends me on an asethic level (and the fact it seems to have replaced the AA12 in the role of “cool combat shotgun” doesn’t help) but it does get results on the tabletop. Normally when you need to cut your way back out of a situation.

The other way of getting out a bad situation has got to be the airburst grenade launcher. This is one of those guns that screams “ultramodern”. The XM-25s abilty to detonate at a preset distance helps to remove the effectiveness of cover, something that comes in handy when having to fight through a defended position. The only downside to this model is that he doesn’t seem to have any form of secondary weapon other than his pistol, making him much more of a long range and loud pick for the team. He is also the one that is most obviously wearing Crye Precision kit, as you can tell from his kneepads. Fitting that the gucci looking operator would have the future tech!

The final option, and one that has appeared on the blog before, is the Task Force Nomad Sniper. Armed with a Barrett XM500, a bulpup and modernised version of the classic “Light Fifty” M107, giving your covert team a long range reach with a bit more precision than the XM25. Either as a heavy sniper rifle or an anti-material rifle, this gun is a monster when used in the game, especially when combined with an elite character’s high shooting skill. I really like the figure, especially when you start picking out the details like the rifle bag he is currently sat on.


Usage

These guys are cool, but how best to add them into your games? Well the big thing about them is that these guys is that they are special forces operators through and though. You might be able to get away with using them as high end contractors (the type usually seen ambushing the SF heroes when the conspiracy is revealed) but these guys are going to be near the top of the skill chart. They do however work for pretty much any western nation (the MCX, while not a service rifle, has been purchased by USSOCOM amongst other).

You could use them as low profile operators on a mission, sneaking around an enemy settlement and trying to avoid guards. Alternatively they could be rolling around the desert in local vehicles and meeting in the middle of nowhere for a prisoner exchange or to gather intel on a target. Finally, you could scatter a few amongst a militia force as mentors, teaching the local force the best way to carry out their objectives. I’ve used these guys as the stealthy team trying to reach the hostages while the main group of operators kicked in doors and made lots of noise – you can read more in my battle report covering the “rescue” of the Geordiestan Ambassador.

Something else to think about is how you’re going to paint them. They are designed for the middle east but a few tweaks and a different paint scheme can totally change their feel. Going for a darker, more urban look and they might even fit into a “The Division”/post-apocalyptic game as a team waiting to ambush unaware groups.

Conclusions

Overall, this range provides the option for an elite force that uses many of the same painting skills you may have gained while getting your OPFOR together. The cloth detail from the cloak adds some interesting textures and the combination of old clothing and modern kit is great once the paint job is finished. On the table, a Task Force Nomad team is probably going to the point you break out the covert rules and add some patrolling guards to make life interesting. You can really use them to push the scenario side of play, rather than just being more operators in multicam to hit the table with. As I’ve said above, I wasn’t too fussed when they first released. But after getting them home and painted up in my style, I really like them! Although I do need to go back and repaint the sections where the wash has pooled a lot.

Wishlist

No range is perfect however and when I take a look at the options available right now, a few ideas stick out:

  • A LMG figure would be a handy addition when it comes to tactical options – letting you set up a proper base of fireteam that can still be suppressed, rather than immediately revealing yourself if the XM25 is used.
  • I’d really like to see another set of guys with carbines to give a few more of the basic team members. This would be even better if one is in a crouched position, ready to act as spotter for the sniper that is already released.
  • This might be more suited to being another range but it would be cool to see the operators slightly further down the scale towards looking like the locals and instead armed with Russian kit. Now this isn’t to say it should be totally militia-esque (the AK looks rather cool with a suppressor on) but a truly covert team (with just enough identifies to make them more than “well armed militia”) could be a neat addition to the collection.