Project Humvee – Weapon Options

Last time we looked at Project Humvee, we’d just finished adding another chassis to our convoy. In this post, we’re going to add some more weapon options. When running scenarios, it’s nice to be able to pick from a selection of gear, so the hot-swappable turret system is perfect.


But first, I needed to add an upgrade to Humvee Alpha. Up until this point, the only variant that had space for a spare wheel was the SF upgrade. For anyone using the regular variants, there was no mounting point available. From reading the Haynes guide to the Humvee, this is actually a pretty common occurrence. However, seeing as I haven’t covered my vehicles in bags handing off the side, I was looking for a way to make these vehicles look a bit less factory fresh and more utilitarian.

I’ll admit, there isn’t much too it

As part of the last wave of releases, Spectre has released HMV Upgrade Delta, inspired by the tire carrier seen on military Humvees. This is a simple two-part kit, comprising of a one-piece frame and a spare tyre. This is actually a different style to the tyres included in the basic vehicle, with a much deeper central recess. The frame glues into a locator lug on the back of the vehicle and then rests on the rear of the bumper. Its position means you can easily mount the spare tire frame even if you have installed oversized aerials on either side.

I really like this upgrade, so much that I think I’ll be picking up another one to add to my other normal Humvee. The frame sits away from the back of the vehicle which had me a little worried about how much support it would have once assembled, especially once exposed to the rigours of the gaming table. However, the resin actually has some flex to it – not enough that it’s weighed down by the tyre but enough that catching it on a building edge or dropping it shouldn’t be a problem.

I should also point out that mounting the fuel cans onto the frame is not technically accurate. Although a perfect space, this would cause issues using the mechanical lifting system (needed due to the sheer weight of a Humvee tyre). On the other hand, it does look cool.


Right, that’s the utility out of the way, lets move on to the cool stuff.

Three generations of M2 mounts

As the War on Terror has rumbled on, a key element of modern vehicles that have come on leaps and bounds is the weapon mounting system. In 2001 Humvees were rolling around with ring mounts and no protection but after combat usage in Iraq, they were soon mounting armoured shield and turrets to protect the gunner from being shot.

Of course, the safest place for the gunner to be is inside the vehicle. Remote weapon stations (or RWS) remove any need for the gunner to stick their head out of the vehicle while also adding some additional features such as improved optics or smoke grenade launchers to assist in the role and improve survivability.

Spectre’s range of RWS comprises of a mix of weapon systems and mounting platform. The heavy variant comes with thermal optics and smoke dischargers and can mount the M2 HMG, M240 MMG and the MK47 AGL. If you’re wanting to mount them on a smaller platform (such as a technical or a modified SUV) there is also the light version – it’s currently only available with the M240 and lacks the smoke dischargers of it’s bigger brother. However, it is more suitable for less military roles.

Having two of the heavy mounts you can see the similarities. The turret ring is a modified version of the one that comes with every HMV, and so assembles the same way. The actual gun mount (complete with ammo box and mounting system) is actually similar but slightly different for each gun so I wouldn’t recommend trying to hot-swap them. The smoke dischargers are small, but not small enough to cause an issue with attaching them.

I currently leave all my turrets loose, letting me easily swap between them. By default, the RWS attaches with a pin and socket system. Although stable, I could see an issue with so many loose parts – to this end, I decided to magnetise it. Of course, being a man of limited patience and skill, I ended royally bungling the job leading to several slightly drunken looking guns when rotated too far. Luckily this was easily fixed with a bit of filing.

The M2 is sort of the classic weapon for an RWS system, easily able to engage a mix of targets from infantry to lightly armoured vehicles. The thermal cam and zoomable optics make it even more of a threat.

I’ll admit, I have a soft spot for the MMG. The AGL is a useful weapon system but I’m much more of a fan of the MK19 – the MK47 is slightly too snazzy for most forces using the Humvee. The M240, on the other hand, is a much more refined tool, easier to balance as a scenario writer and slightly less terrifying to go up against.


Speaking of things terrifying to go up against, let’s talk about the GAU-19. If you’ve followed this blog, you know I’m a fan of all things rotary, even modding the Empress Humvees to mount a M134. Combining rotary with .50cal, and you’re about to see something pretty nasty to go up against. I know for a fact that Spectre is currently still working out the stat line for the GAU-19 and looking at for Skirmish Sangin, I think it’s first burst is going to be an incredibly emotional event for anyone downrange of it.

Assembly is actually something worth covering. The pack comes with the weapon, a box of ammo and the basic mount. Unlike previous miniguns, the scope is actually part of the main body of the gun. Additionally, the pack doesn’t include the turret ring, which means it can be used on all the various turret styles if you’re willing to slightly widen some of the slots in the armoured plates.

More interesting is the change in material. Unlike previous weapons, this gun is actually resin. But more importantly, the belt is resin. This makes it much easier to shape and mould after a bath in hot water, especially compared to the metal one that came with the M134 Minigun.


Of course, it was also time to assemble something a little more basic, perfect for the MENA forces or those less well equipped. For this, I grabbed a simple M2, an unused turret ring and a small piece of the pylon that comes with the M2 gun. Trimming down the turret mount slightly to make the pole fit flat, this turret is a bit of a classic. Change the door design, and this vehicle would be ready to roll around Mogadishu. On the other hand, this version is better suited for internal security, either rolling around military bases or city streets.


These new additions help to open up the options I have for using these Humvees. With a good selection of weapons, a limited number of vehicle bodies can fulfil many roles. As you can see above, the same weapons also work pretty well on the Empress vehicles, although the new RWS will need some tweaks to fit the roof flush due to the box at the front. Perfect for upgrading an M-ATV to sling .50cal rounds down range.

Next time on Project Humvee I’ll be adding some personality to my Humvees with the addition of some turret gunners. In addition, the local forces will be getting their first turret, perfect to upgrade the MENA regulars with something more than just a pickup truck.

Wargaming Week 24/09/18

Let’s start this Wargaming Week, covering the 17th through to the 23rd of September.

BLOG STUFF

This week’s post was finishing off the Foxhounds. I’m really happy that I have finally got these vehicles done – they have been sat on my desk for over a year at this point but now they get to go into the completed project box. Hopefully, they should be out on the board the next time I run a game featuring the ADF but I’ll have to work something out to really show them off.

Also, I updated last week’s battle report with some post-game analysis. Seeing as people really liked it, I’m going to try and expand what I do with battle reports, as well as getting more games in. Go and take a look at the updated write-up!

NEWS

First up with have a double bill of news from Tiny Terrain Models. Last weekend at Colours, they were there with a brand new terrain board for their set of rules focused on the First Chechen War. As you can see in the picture above, and in the gallery on Facebook, it’s rather beautiful. Tinned Fruit helped to assemble it and you can see his skill in just how nice the buildings are. Overall, this is another occasion where I’m annoyed that I’m up in Edinburgh and so can’t really make it down to Newbury to attend Colours. Luckily, Tiny Terrain should be at Fiasco in Leeds in October so fingers crossed I should be able to lay my eyes on it there.

But that’s not all for fans of Russians and Chechens clashing. Tiny Terrain also announced the date for the upcoming Kickstarter. This is the second part to the very successful original Kickstarter, adding even more figures (including a few more Chechens with AKs to balance out the vast number of RPGS) all from the sculpting hand of Igor. Ignoring my distaste of prone figures (i’ll get over it) I think some of these sculpts are fantastic. If I was more interested in this conflict, I’d be putting money aside for this one.

The Kickstarter will begin on the 1st of October, keep a close eye on the Tiny Terrain Facebook page for more details

One of the MDF Wizards I have contact with, REDVectors, has just announced the completion of a recent commission. It’s a 28mm scale cargo ship suitable to play over. Stretching around 6ft long, the ship has interiors letting your team of operators clear it deck by deck. It can also be broken down into smaller parts for storage and transport. There are plenty of cool details so I recommend taking a look at the gallery I linked.

As I mentioned when the news came out, this style of ship was what we had in mind when writing Cargo Inspection for Plausible Deniability. So if you want to play that scenario and don’t mind dropping the cost, this is perfect for setting up the board.

White Dragon Miniatures are back and showing off more of their Afghan Insurgent range. These guys are some really cool new poses, including some you don’t see very often (when was the last time an insurgent pulled a sidearm in your game?). It’s going to be really cool when all the various poses are available – one thing that was apparent when talking to them at shows is that White Dragon is using all the benefits of 3D sculpted figures to allow for a huge amount of variety in the range. Keep your eyes peeled to see what’s coming up next

(Also I really need to get my British Infantry rebased and painted :|)

PURCHASES

Nothing!

HOBBY

As you might have guessed, most of the work for this week was getting the Foxhounds finished off. For full details, check the post.

My weekend tasks has been assembling more Humvee Weapons from the latest order. I’ll be taking a look at these in Friday’s post so stay tuned for more details on them.

I’ve also started looking at how much work it would be to convert the turret ring of the Empress M-ATV to fit the Spectre weapons properly. It would be ideal if all my US vehicles shared the same turrets, letting me swap in the various versions as they were needed.


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

Force Protection – Finishing the Foxhounds

Wargamers like building themselves piles of lead. This is a known phenomenon. Of course, having a blog does like to remind you of these lead piles, especially when you start cleaning up your blog of old posts.

One of the first impressions pieces I wrote, way back in May 2017, was on the Evil Bear Foxhound. Now, over a year later, and after watching some Humvees being ripped to shreds by an explosive device, I’m finally inspired to get my act together and get these wonderful little vehicles painted up.

Preparation

The first step was getting the vehicles ready. As you can see, I’d already hit them with a tan spray colour sometime in the last year. However, there were a few things that needed tweaking before I could finish them. The first was redoing one of the magnet positions for the GPMGs pintles. I decided to magnetise them so I easily swap the vehicle between up-gunned British Army pattern and a less overt version if they were being used by a non-government organisation. My first attempt had got most of them okay except one mount was at a 45-degree angle. and looked broken. I popped it off, re-dug the hole and remounted it.

I also decided to modify the position of the boxes at the front to make sure they match and also popped off the tow bar from one vehicle. Technically, I’m not sure this is 100% accurate – most of the vehicles on operations have them. However, I wanted to make the two vehicles look visually distinctive.

Stowage

The next step was stowage. The large flat open top is great for covering in kit but I had to make sure to explain how they were being lashed down. I broke out the green stuck, assembled a few sausage shapes from it and gently laid it across the items in order to lash them down.

The stowage itself is a mixture. Most of the kit is from the Spectre stowage packs, with the various missile tubes being especially useful. I continue to be a fan of the rucksacks and so have liberally covered this vehicle in bits from packs.

Other bits were picked up from Empress’s range of kits. The side mounted fuel cans and a few of the rucksacks were pulled from the US Vehicle Stowage pack. The more exciting addition is the disassembled Desert Hawk drone. This was pulled from the British Army drone controller kit. It’s a small detail but it could signify a vehicle’s access to the UAV’s camera, handy in some rule sets.

Painting

Finally, time for painting. On the one hand, I’m never 100% happy with how painting vehicles turn out. It’s a different style of painting to figures and despite having hammered out plenty of transports in my time, I’m still getting used to it. However, the benefit is that I can get them done relatively quickly thanks to liberal use of spray paint, picking out key details and then covering in wash before dabbing it off.

Comparison

The original impressions were packed full of comparisons to the rest of Spectre’s range of civilian vehicles and trucks but I didn’t actually look at any of the equivalent vehicles. So above is a lineup of the usual suspects.

As you can see, the Foxhound sits right in the middle in terms of size, more easily able to match the roads that the Humvee can handle while still capable of protection of IEDs. It’s actually a step down in raw firepower compared to the less protected Humvee and the chunky M-ATV, mounting the pair GPMGs rather the heavier .50cals.

Also that M-ATV continues to be a ridiculous vehicle.

Conclusion

Aden Defence Force troopers set off on patrol

I am really glad I got these vehicles finished. They are a really nice model of a distinctive looking vehicle. Having spent the time to get them ready for operations, including adding the stowage and correcting my initial construction mistakes, I think they are now ready to see some action.

Fingers crossed next time the ADF go on patrol, these beauties will take the strain.

Wargaming Week 17/09/18

Let’s start this Wargaming Week, covering the 10th through to the 16th of September.

BLOG STUFF

This week’s post saw a triumphant return to battle reports with a Humvee ambush in Bazistan. Turns out, people really like battle reports.

There is always a little bit of stress when writing and then running games at the club, always a concern that I’ve written something no one Hobby, wants to play. Luckily, this game was an absolute banger – being able to have two players on each side and run it as a DM meant it was much easier to introduce new players to the game and get the tension up between the different elements. Using a double sized board also really helped to improve the spectacle as well. 

Having managed to get a game in, I’m really looking forward to running something else in a few weeks.

NEWS

First up we have some more MDF buildings. Now, I’m stuck firmly in the Middle East/East Africa until I’ve painted up all the buildings I have but I couldn’t help but take a look at these South East Asian buildings from Dragonfrog Games. Never used the company but they look really good, perfect for anyone wanting to do Vietnam or anything else in that region.

One thing I love about following wargaming sculptors is how differently they handle some problems I have when collecting. Flytrap Factory decided he needed some more operators for his team from Spectre (which he’d been converting along the way) and so simply banged out a really nice pair of low profile/deniable operators covered in all the kit they might need. Having had some of his figures before, it’s really cool to see these guys designed to fit in with the Spectre style of figure. I’m also a massive fan of this style of operator (kitted up but not rolling in Crye Precision) so I can’t wait to see them all painted up and on the table.

Okay. Spectre, in their continuing quest to make me talk about their range every week, came out this Friday with a literal pile of new releases. First up they have a new site which should make it a little easier to navigate their ranges. My favourite change is the fact vehicles are now split out into several sections rather than just a massive list.

Now let’s talk about the new items. First up the big stuff and something I can see a lot of people buying even for non-Spectre vehicles. We finally have someone producing remote weapon stations to add to your vehicles, giving them a nice upgrade to bring them kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. As well as the full-size systems (that also includes a smoke grenade launcher) for the M2, MK 47 and M240, there is also a smaller version designed for mounting on lighter vehicles.

The big thing for me is the arrival of the GAU-19. I think this gun is mad – a three-barrelled Gatling gun firing .50BMG, this really is the gun you need to kill everyone in the target zone and whoever is directly past them. I’m really looking forward to getting this in a scenario and on the table.

This image also shows another upgrade, the rack of fuel cans on the side of the vehicle. The pack also includes a seat for the rear gunner, ideal for making the SF vehicle a bit more comfortable. The main surprise from this release is another HMV addon, the spare wheel frame. It’s a simple addition, but I can’t wait to put it on my vehicles.

Finally, there are three new turret gunners. These are designed for the HMV turrets, cut off at the knees. Each gunner is a different variation, letting you them your vehicles for either SOF troops, MENA Regulars (in a similar style to the existing squad) or a more generic style.

But that wasn’t all from Spectre this week. The long awaited Jungle supplement is finally out! It’s a really nice release, adding new rules for fighting under the triple canopy, additional support options more suited for the jungle and a complete campaign with a nice selection of missions. It’s going to be exciting to see what other supplements the Spectre team are working on.

But wait, there is more. At Colours this weekend, the crew behind A Few Brits and the Hobby , who also interviewed Spectre in a previous episode, were running a Spectre Operations demo game set on the island of Val Verde (yes, the Val Verde where every action hero of the 1980s earned their stripes). With the CIA and Navy SEALs taking on the Cartel, it looks incredible. You can find lots of pictures on their facebook group.

Also interesting were a few new Cartel figures spotted on the table. These guys are definitely on the gangbanger side of the Cartel range but have come to the table with some serious firepower. As well as some SMGs and assault rifles, there looks like one figure with an M249. But more importantly, the guy on the left has something with slab sides and a drum mag – it can only be my room clearer of choice, the AA-12 automatic shotgun. Not sure when these guys are coming out but knowing my luck it’s going to be next weekend.

PURCHASES

Coming out of the next month’s hobby budget, I’m picking up a few new items to form the next stage of Project Humvee

  • Remote Weapon systems – first round is the M2 and M240 in full-size mounts.
  • The GAU-19 – I don’t think I need to say why I need this
  • A SOF turret gunner – I’ve already said I’m cautious about adding gunners to my Humvees as it limits which factions they can be used with but the SF M2 is only going to be used by guys in fast helmets.
  • A MENA regular turret – It’s time to give the locals some firepower. Turret Alfa, a MENA turret gunner and DsHK will be a good start.

The other thing is it’s time to re-up my spray paint for building work. I need more grey and texture paint seeing as I have 5 more buildings to paint.

HOBBY

For the first time in a while, I actually managed to write a scenario that only needed one new figure painting. Although the SPG-9 was not 100% successful in game, it was a fun set to paint. The spotter was just sat there waiting to be painted as well and so I just rolled on and got them both done.

The main thing for this week was obviously preparation for Thursday’s game. As much as I love Skirmish Sangin, writing your own scenarios can end up being a lot of busy work,

On the weekend, I finally grew tired of the MDF sat on my sofa and broke out the spray cans to continue work on Project B-Town. Having seen how much I have left to do, I’m modifying my style slightly to make things quicker. More details coming soon.

After Thursday’s losses, I think its time for the Aden Defence Force to get it’s act together and invest in some protected patrol vehicles. In other words, I need to get off my ass and finish painting the pair of Foxhounds I picked up from Evil Bear Wargames. I’m also going to take this opportunity to add some stowage to them. Come back on Friday to see what I’m doing with them.


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

Battle Report – “Training Day” – Skirmish Sangin

Man, it’s been a while since I got some figures on the board. The last battle report was way back in March (where the M-ATV got blown up) and work has been mad. So, why not get the giant table out and put those Humvees to good use.

With the ongoing situation in the breakaway Tribal regions, the Aden Defence Force (or ADF) has started preparing a new strategy to deal with cross-border insurgents close to Bazistan. After constructing several FOBs, ADF units now patrol the countryside. To assist these units, several ISAF-AP nations have assigned small units to provide training and force multipliers.

This activity has begun to take an effect on the insurgency, prompting one group in the region to plan an ambush. Hiring in an expert bomb maker and several local fighters, the group’s aim is to eliminate an ADF patrol and dishearten the rest of the government’s forces in the region.

On the road between FOB Alpha and FOB Delta, a new ADF section and it’s support will have a trial by fire.

Briefing Document


BLUFOR was split into two parts. The bulk of the force was an ADF section, mounted in two Humvees. The Aden Defence Force is arranged (and equipped) along British lines, with two four-man fire teams containing assault rifles, a UGL and an LMG. This section replaced the fourth man in the fire team 2 with a GPMG for some extra range. The lead Humvee was armed with an M2 HMG, the classic look. Vehicle 2 mounted the AGL and MMG in the turret. It also has a FLIR unit to assist with spotting enemies (a +20% bonus to spotting for anyone in the back seats)

The final vehicle in the column belonged to the US Special Forces element supporting this ADF platoon. Five men (4 Green Berets and a USAF JTAC) were mounted up inside (the rear MMG currently unused). In terms of equipment, the SF element has access to an LMG, DMR, UGL and the M2 HMG on the vehicle top.

Off map, the column has access to several support options. On the ground, FOB Delta has 81mm mortars covering the route. In the air, the JTAC had access to a pair of F16s flying a combat air patrol (CAP) to perform a Show of Force and the ever-present DUSTOFF was available for casualty evacuation.

Overall, a pretty powerful force. But, it’s worth noting that BLUFOR is operating under quite strict ROE due to the operating region, unable to engage unless a threat was spotted via PID.


Opposing them was a small group of insurgents. Above you can see most of the core element. Led by the triggerman, the element also included an SPG-9 recoilless rifle to assist in taking out enemy vehicles and some rear security in the form of a veteran fighter with an MMG. This group also included The Fox, a renowned insurgent marksman known throughout Bazistan and a constant threat to ISAF-AP forces.

To assist in the ambush, the main force brought two IEDs. A medium IED was placed inside a white civilian vehicle and parked on the main road. A secondary device, much smaller than the main, was buried on the road. Both were controlled via remote detonators, operated by the core element.

To assist the main force, two small elements of local fighters had been hired. These 8 fighters ranged from novice to veterans and had an RPG-MMG combo to add some firepower.

Both groups also had access to a series of ratlines, letting them move quickly around the map.


First up, the BLUFOR force rolls onto the board, ADF elements leading the way.

As they approached the edge of the village, the SF Humvee hangs back to provide fire support.

That white car seems a little suspicious. 

Two enemy fighters popped their heads up on the edge of the village being spotted effortlessly by the FLIR system. The ADF moved to speed up to get through any possible ambushes.

With a sudden bang, the white car suddenly erupted into flames. This IED managed to catch both the ADF vehicles in the kill zone causing massive damage. The lead vehicle was made immobile by the blast, leaving the crew shaken but alive. The second vehicle was less lucky, being destroyed by the blast with a loss of all crew.

At this stage, the BLUFOR players declared a mission change. They would be unable to reach FOB Delta without abandoning the troops in the damaged vehicle. Instead, they decided to perform a casualty evacuation and return to base.

Cautious of secondary devices, the SF vehicle rolls into a position to help with the evacuation.

Activating at the same time, the US SF team leader and the JTAC quickly jumped on the radio. While one called in the MEDVAC, the other requested a Show of Force to clear some breathing room from the insurgents.

Having spotted the lead vehicle still engaging with the heavy machine gun, the recoiless team opened up. Although it hit, it failed to destroy the vehicle.

The Aden Defence Force trooper armed with the UGL spotted the recoiless rifle and popped smoke to obscure it.

Two of the US SF soldiers dismounted to provide additional secruity

Another view of the key areas of the battlefield – that tree in the centre of the map would have probably ended up being shredded based on how much fire was zipping past it.

The SF Humvee managed to successfully engage this pair of insurgents with the .50cal despite them being in adobe cover. The HMG continues to be an incredibly effective weapon in Sangin.

As the troops moved to evac the casualties from the destroyed vehicle, the SF Humvee backed up to make it easier to load them into the cargo bed. Additionally, the gunner on the top used this opportunity to pop smoke to cover the operation.

As with all games, there comes a point when you’re too busy to take photos. But here are some highlights:

  • The arrival of the Show of Force managed to scare away several insurgent fighters, including the SPG-9 team. It also contributed to multiple fighters close to ratline holes simply dropping into them and running away.
  • The MMG gunner in the lead vehicle managed to survive the recoiless rifle round going through the crew compartment. He then dismounted and put the fire down on multiple enemy fighters before being shot in the chest. However, his armour stopped most of the wound and so was able to fight on before helping to drag one of the casualties away.
  • The rest of the insurgent force took advantage
  • The Fox actually survived a game and inflicted some casualties without ending up in a drainage ditch.

We ran out of time before the BLUFOR guys managed to get off the board. However, they were well on the way with every casualty on board the SF vehicle and the rest falling back in an orderly fashion. On the other hand, they had managed to take 5 KIA and several wounded

Seen here is the figure we’ll be mentioning in dispatches. Corporal Jacobs, team lead in vehicle one, managed to survive his vehicle being hit by an IED. After recovering, he took up position in the turret and proceeded to engage multiple enemy targets with suppressive fire to cover friendly troops falling back. After coming under additional enemy fire, he dismounted the vehicle and rushed to save the body of one of his men. While able to lift the body into cover, he was caught in the open by multiple enemy troops but managed to avoid being hit before falling back with the rest of his team.


So overall a very exciting game. As expected, the IED caused massive damage, shifting the focus of the game from advancing across the board to fighting off a hoard of OPFOR. I was quite happy how the BLUFOR team just rolled with the punches and started working together to make sure no one was left behind. On the other hand, they maybe shouldn’t have trusted the single civilian car on the board.

The OPFOR team also did well, managing to achieve their objective with two KIA and several MIA fighters. The placement of the second IED was designed to catch any vehicles that managed to survive the first blast meaning it sat unused for the entire game. Instead, the OPFOR commander decided that next time he would have put it alongside the main device. However, they managed to give the ADF the bloody nose they wanted to.


Stayed tuned for future games! I can see the US Special Forces wanting to hunt down the bombmaker. I’m also itching to roll out some more covert operators.


UPDATE

If you want some alternative viewpoints of the battle you can find them at the Aden commander’s blog and on the SESWC page.

Additionally, the thread on the Lead Adventure forum has had some interesting posts. We got the Insurgent commander’s viewpoint, some thoughts on how different the game would have been if it was played using Spectre Operations and some hindsight thoughts on dealing with the white car.

Wargaming Week 10/09/2018

Let’s start this Wargaming Week, covering the 3rd through to the 9th of September.

BLOG STUFF

Last week saw two posts! Wednesday’s post on the new stowage available from Spectre was completely unplanned – I wasn’t expecting the new kit to arrive on time. However, seeing as I was about to stick some of it onto my new vehicle, I thought I might as well quickly get something written about it.

The main post though was a short one looking at the latest Humvee to be added to the project. Despite the minor problems I mentioned, I’m really happy with getting this vehicle ready and on the table.

NEWS

This week has been a little quieter than the last couple. First up, the painter currently working on the White Dragon Miniatures Quad Bikes has been teasing some more and shown off one of the vehicles WIP. They are looking really good and I’m now feeling incredibly bad about not painting my guys up.

Spectre continues to tease. This week, they have shown off another weapon system to mount on your Humvee. This is a GAU-19, a .50 BMG firing rotary cannon which is going to be a nightmare to go up against. It combines the high rate of fire of a rotary cannon with the hitting power of a HMG. Looks like I’ve found the next part of Project Humvee

PURCHASES

Nothing! The last few weeks has taken a big chunk out of the budget so a week off was a nice change.

HOBBY

As you might expect, I was working on the latest Humvee this week! This was basically the same painting task as my last few vehicles so it only took an evening of work to get it painted.

The main hobby task though was writing. I’m creating the scenario for next week’s game to get these vehicles on the board. In addition, we’re going to try out a new injury system to save having to keep track of HP values. The next game is going to be really exciting.


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

Project Humvee – Vehicle 3

In the last Project Humvee post, I has a chunk planning out Vehicle 3 in the project. Well, this week I managed to get around to assembling and painting it in preparation for next week’s game.

First stage was assembly. This was exactly the same as mentioned in back in the first post of Project Humvee. Vehicle 3 is actually the exact same setup as the Vehicle 1 (using HMV Upgrade Alfa) except with the addition of two rear mounted aerials. One is from HMV Upgrade Charlie while the other is the FLIR setup from the Comms and Countermeasures pack included in the Version 2 of Spectre’s stowage

In the past, when buying items from Spectre, I usually get everything I need in the first wave and so only see items from the original casting run. This time, the delay has allowed Spectre to iterate on their resin process and so this vehicle is actually slightly different from the original release. I noticed that the detail on this vehicle seemed much crisper than the original run. This helped with assembly as the armoured window pieces seemed to fit much more easily into the slots. More importantly, some of the mould slip and air bubbles that I noticed on the original vehicles are no longer present. On the other hand, there did seem to be a bit more material to clean up on the underside. It’s always easier to remove material than try and fill out elements, so if it means a bit of extra prep time it’s a price I’m willing to pay

However, I did have a slight issue in the latest delivery involving the rear door and the rear cover from Upgrade Alfa. Both seemed to be fractionally oversized compared to the chassis, leading to some misaligned tabs and small gaps. Having compared the chassis with my other HMVs, it seems that it was the correct size so the other elements were at fault. However, this wasn’t anything that couldn’t be solved with an application of a craft knife and liquid green-stuff and so I got the vehicle built up anyway. I’ve mentioned this to the Spectre team, and they are investigating.

Painting on this vehicle was the same as the other Humvees. Literally the same. Go check out my method in the previous post.


The other part of assembling Vehicle 3 was setting up the turrets to go with it. I picked up a pair – one designed to go on the new vehicle and another to give me options for the SF truck.

As in the last article, I decided to go with the combination of an automatic grenade launcher and medium machine gun for one of the turrets. This lets the gunner pick between the weapons depending on the situation. The MMG is mounted on the weapon position from HMV Upgrade Charlie, with a small hole drilled into it. I skipped the stowage on this seeing as it already has a lot going on.

For turret two, I picked up the minigun. As I couldn’t bend the belt enough to allow it to drop into the turret, I decided to mount it on one side. True it covers up the side port and requires the hatch to be removed but on the plus side, it does give the gunner easy access to the ammo box. Again no stowage as it looks uncomfortable enough.


Aden Defence Force troops (along with SOF advisers) head out on patrol

And with that, the convoy is ready to go in next week’s game. The HMV continues to a fun kit to build despite some of the issues I had. I’m really looking forward to getting the three vehicles out on the board.

The next step? I’m not 100%. Crew figures are still coming and I need to decide if I want to use them and lock that turret into a specific group like the Task Force Operators which I presume are coming. I’m also interested to see some of the other weapon options coming, such as the remote weapon stations. Finally, it might be time to setup some non-US weapon systems.

Next week, tune in to see how they fare in their first game.

Impressions: Spectre Stowage Version 2

Way back when the Razor was released by Spectre, they also added a stowage kit to the range so you could add all sorts of boxes, bags and launchers to your vehicles and troops. I took a look at original pack back in July last year and since then have bought it four times, explaining why lots of my troops seem to have gained AT4s and LAW. The downside to the pack was that is was often out of stock, leading to people missing out on it when new stock came in.

Spectre has decided to do a new version of the stowage range. As well as swapping to resin rather than metal, the pack has also been split out into five separate packs. This has also allowed them to expand the range, adding several new items.

This is going to be a quick post covering the new range before I start sticking them onto things. The change to resin has improved the detailing on several items (as you can see above) although I did notice a few tiny air bubbles that will require a little filling. We also seem to be missing an item – the sand boards didn’t survive the conversion, although it sounds like they will be returning soon.

First up the fun stuff! The Launchers pack is designed to let you cover your vehicles in a wide range of things that go boom. In addition to two LAWs and two AT4s from the original pack, this new kit includes a pair of Javelin tubes and an NLAW. The new items are ideal for giving to your more advanced forces (although we are missing a Task Force Operator with a Javelin…)

Probably the most useful of the stowage packs, the Containers and Ammo pack gives you all the various boxes you’ll need to store the vital kit. I’m really happy with the addition of the smaller ammo boxes (in both singles and a block of three), perfect for when you want to stack them up ready for quick action. It’s also the return of the Pelican rifle case, a perfect stand-in for whatever kit you want to claim is inside it.

A quick note – this pack seemed to have gained the small cooler from the next pack I’m going to look at. Might have been a mis-pack.

The cooler chest returns in the Coolers and Fuel pack. The main change here is with the two types of duel stowage – MRE boxes and fuel cans. The four separate cans have been swapped out for a single loose one and four cans stacked in a row. I can see this causing mixed feelings, with many preferring the options of individuals. However, more often than not the singles were being combined into racks when added to vehicles so it makes sense. The MRE boxes are also grouped up.

The Bergens and Daysack pack includes six packs. As well as the four from the original stowage pack, they are joined by two old friends. Backers of the original Kickstarter will remember the SAS Recon Patrol and their separate backpack. Well, the designs of those rucksacks live on and can now be bought separately. This pack is labelled as stowage but honestly, this is ideal for anyone wanting to upgrade any number of figures to look like they are ready for long range patrolling.

The final pack, Comms and Countermeasures, is a real mix of old and new. The smoke dischargers and satellite aerial from the original stowage return. They are joined by the aerial bases (from Humvee Upgrade – Charlie) and a brand new addition, the FLIR cam. This is a two-part upgrade, letting you position the camera facing in any direction. It’s a neat add-on that could be used on all sorts of vehicles to give it an edge in gathering intelligence. It would have been nice to also see the Large Aerial from Humvee Upgrade – Charlie but it’s not a deal breaker

This is one place where I think the switch to resin will improve the product – the metal version of the satellite antennas I have on my SF technicals have been repainted multiple times as they have been bent out of shape. In resin, I can see it returning back original position much more easily.


So what do I think of these changes? First of all, splitting them into different packs is ideal. It means that when I need to grab a few more launchers, I don’t end up with a massive pile of bags I haven’t used. The change to resin is also a positive one, as it means they can be cast by Spectre themselves without having to wait for their metal casting partners. Hopefully, this should reduce how often the stowage is unavailable. It also does a nice job on the detailing as well.

On the other hand, there has been a change in pricing structure. The original pack was £7.50 for quite a few items. The new packs are £3 each. If you wanted to re-create the contents of the original pack, you’d need to spend almost double. On the other hand, you’d also be getting much more on top of the original pack. All of this is, of course, idle speculation as the metal version (which was out of stock) has been removed.

Overall, I think this is a good change for Spectre to make. I’m also excited to see what else they may create to extend the stowage range.

Come back on Friday to see why the FLIR antenna isn’t in the group photo.