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…

Wargaming Week 08/10/2018

Let’s start this Wargaming Week, covering the 1st through to the 7th of October.

BLOG STUFF

This week’s post was a Range Impression taking a look at the Deniable Operators from Spectre Miniatures. These are a cool set, and despite being painted a while ago I really like them.

I’m still really busy with work so this week’s post may be another Range Impression. My SWAT/CIA Operators may have to wait a bit until I have a bit more time to sit down and get to work on them.

NEWS

Tiny Terrain’s War in Chechnya Kickstarter is up and running! It started off on Monday and they are almost 200% funded, with several stretch goals already down and ready to add to your pledge.

In rather exciting news coming from New York Comic Con, Spectre Miniatures and Echelon Software, the makers of the Black Powder Red Earth comic series and several related project, are partnering up. This is pretty cool, especially after they announced two of the projects they are working on.

For people looking for more cool operators to have on their tabletop, Spectre is going to be releasing a set of figures styled after Ember team from the latest series of BPRE. I do love the style on the operators, laden with all the latest kit while still looking different from other operators currently available. This range has been tentatively slated for a Black Friday release and I will be picking up a set as soon as they come out.

The other part is that Echelon is working on a PvE board game, letting players take control of a small team of door kickers in non-permissive environments. In other words, it sounds a bit like a dungeon crawl in a modern day, something that sounds perfect for when you want to get your game time in without having to roll the full board out. Spectre is again helping, working on the miniatures and assisting to make the rules fast paced and flowing well.

In other words, it’s an exciting time!

Finally, 4Ground are previewing some 28mm ruined African terrain. There are only a few images for now but it sounds like they are working on two styles, the city ruins you see here  and ones closer to their existing African terrain. Although designed for North Africa in WW2, I can see plenty of use for them in the MENA area of the world, ideal for creating some real urban hell holes for your insurgents to dig in to.

PURCHASES

Nothing! I’ve been too busy to buy anything!

HOBBY

Honestly, not very much. This week has been incredibly busy at work so apart from throwing some textured spray onto the last of Sarissa North Africa buildings, I haven’t had a chance to sit at a desk and get the paints out. Fingers crossed I’ll have something ready for the next Wargaming Week.


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

Range Impressions: Spectre Deniable Operators

Although wargaming for most is focused more overt actions (complete with all the firepower you might want), for most of history covert action has played an important role. TV, films and games are filled with deeds of low profile agents fighting wars in other people’s countries where they are not supposed to go. The frequent refrain of “we’ll deny you even exist” is probably becoming a trope at this point. If you’re wanting to bring some low profile guys to your own tabletop, the Spectre Deniable Operators are perfect.

At the moment, Spectre has four packs available – two for the rifleman and two for each of the specialists. All of the operators are dressed in civilian outdoors clothing and are wearing rucksacks. If it wasn’t for the AKs in their hands, they could easily be hikers out for a day’s stroll. The chance to paint some civilian clothing means that you can add the odd touch of colour that you might not normally see when painting more regular troops

Riflemen

There are a total of four riflemen available, giving you a nice variety of poses. All four are armed with a rail-equipped, crane stocked 7.62mm AKs, complete with all the usual bits of kit that operators love to have when fighting in urban terrain.

The rucksacks are ideal for representing any number of kit, from grenades to medical equipment to laser guidance systems for bringing the rain.

Support

Of course, every squad needs special weapons. For the Deniable Operators, you don’t get quite the same heavy firepower as some other ranges. Instead, it’s a bit more of a scalpel (in relative terms). One operator has an M203 under his AK, ideal for taking out groups of hostiles or enemies in cover. The other is designed for reaching out and touching the bad guys at long range, the larger optic ideal for representing a DMR.

As much as you might want a machine gun, I think keeping the specialists with AK platforms make a lot of sense for operators working in small groups behind enemy lines.

Usage

The best thing about ranges like Deniable Operators is just flexible they are. These guys can represent anything, from heavily armed criminals up to special forces seeking to hide their origin. Mix them in with some irregulars and you have some advisers mentoring their more ill-equipped buddies.

Conclusions

The Deniable Operators are one of my favourite compact ranges. Small and sweet, these six operators are ideal for something new compared to the usual door kickers. If you’re looking for a small team with a fun playstyle, I recommend picking these guys up. You can find them on the Spectre store under Undercover Operators.

Wishlist

Like all of the compact ranges, the wishlist is just more. AK armed operators have a certain attraction, something different from the usual AR15s and FAST helmets. A few more figures, perhaps in some different poses, would be nice. Some guys pointing out enemy targets would be ideal when using them as advisors.

Wargaming Week 01/10/2018

Let’s start this Wargaming Week, covering the 24th through to the 30th of October.

BLOG STUFF

This week saw yet another part in Project Humvee, looking at the new weapon options. I’m really excited to see these come out, especially the weapon stations – I think I’ll be picking up a few more to upgrade some American armour I’m planning to pick up eventually. After all, can’t have a platoon of Marines without some heavy armour to back them up – going to need to get a War Pig on the table.

NEWS

Tiny Terrain’s next Kickstarter is rumbling closer (in fact it should be up later today). As part of this, the two main squads of new figures have been previewed. First up, we have the Russians. This is a nice set of guys, packed full of AKs but with an SVD, PKM and some disposable RPGs for support weapons.

The other preview is for the OPFOR, the Chechens. These guys are armed similarly to their Russian oppositions but clad in a very different style. For example, I think it would probably be frowned upon for the standard Russian trooper to bring a sword into battle.

Finally we have the preview video for the Kickstarter itself. All of the figures are from the same sculptor as the original range, giving you even more guys ready for the battlefield. From the descriptions on the images, there will be plenty of other support options to extend the squads. Keep an eye on the Tiny Terrain page for more details once the Kickstarter is up.

Spectre returned to the release stage with a new set of specialists for the Cartel range. We saw previews of these guys on the Colours table a few weeks ago, but it’s nice to see them now available.

The new release is seven figures. Each is on the store individually and, if you’re fighting other cartels or law enforcement south of the border, you are going to want these guys. Each figure is packed full of character (from the mad man with his dual MAC-10s to the soldato, bare chest exposed while holding his AUG one handed) and there is also a useful range of weapons. There are now two LMGs in the cartel range, as well as an AA12, a multiple grenade launcher and even one cartel member with a M82 – useful when your rival is rolling around in an armoured SUV

PURCHASES

Actually, nothing. I’ve still got a lot of things I want to tidy up and, although I really like the look of the new Cartel fighters, I want to work out the best way to include them in my MENA/African setting. I am also conscious of how many figures I have sat waiting to be painted.

Okay, well almost nothing. I finally picked up the last volume of Black Powder Red Earth Yemen. I really like the series, although it has some flaws, and the Yemen run is the best so far. It has much more of a story to it rather than just operators thwacking people so it’s going to be exciting to see how the story wraps up.

HOBBY

The main hobby time this week was assembling the turrets all ready for Friday’s post. In fact, there were too many turrets (and not enough hobby time) so the turret gunners were put to one side to be saved for another post. You’ll be seeing those guys in a few weeks.

The building of B-Town continues as I keep working my way through my collection. This weekend saw it progress a bit more, with more MDF covered in textured paint and a few more air conditioning units on walls.

I also decided to get some figures that have been sat on my workbench finished off. Gazing around at the options, and thinking of my next game, I decided to grab the Spectre SWAT team and broke out the paints. I’ll talk more about them in the post but the plan is to paint them up using the PMC painting scheme. More details in Friday’s post


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