Wargaming Week 17/06/2019

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

BLOG STUFF

New post this week (only just) looking at the Drone systems from Spectre Miniatures. I think none of these are required to play ultramodern wargames but having them lets you expand out what you can get up, giving you more options on the table top when building you scenarios.

NEWS

It was E3 so lots of gaming news. However, ultramodern wargaming wise, things are pretty quiet… For now.

PURCHASES

No purchases for wargaming this week – I’ve been upgrading my PC and then getting ready for my 1:1 scale wargaming event next weekend and so needed to get ready to operate. More details on all of that stuff next week!

HOBBY

Painting! First of all, I finished off the two drone operators this week. First of all the Tier 1 operator – I love these guys, especially because the painting is always so easy with the single block colours. In addition, I really like the details on him, and getting them picked out is always fun.

Similarly, painting up the insurgent drone operator was also pretty quick, ideal with plenty of block colours. This also another figure that I managed to crank out while at work.

Finally, I’ve started digging through the big pile of MDF I have and began building them. First up is Sally 4th’s airport. This is a wonderful little kit, slightly delayed due to missing a few pieces (probably during some move with them). However, replacements are on the way. At the same time, I’m already looking at some other elements, just to get the board full of buildings ready to go.


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

Impressions: Spectre Miniatures Drone Systems

Ultramodern war, especially in the last few years, has been marked with several iconic items. MRAPs, quad eye NVGS, the list of equipment that screams out this current time period. But I think the one that a lot of people think of has to be the unmaned vehicles. Be it an off the shelf quad copter carrying a frag grenade up to the Predator drones hovering over the battlefield, the robot is starting to take the strain.

So naturally, it was only right for Spectre to include rules and figures for them in their range. The figures were released back in October and have been sitting on my painting bench for a while, looking rather annoyed at me as I got distracted by other things. However, I have finally set it right and they are now ready for the table. So let’s take a look!

Quadcopters

Let’s start on the small side with the quadcopters. Both of these drones are pretty much designed to be man-portable surveillance devices, able to nip up and grab the higher ground. Spectre has produced two versions, each coming in the box with one of the operators.

The common thread is that these things are tiny. Single pieces of metal with intricate detail that would be very easy to lose if left outside of their containers so I don’t recommend magnetising these. Additionally, both sit upon flight stands, using the items bought from Spectre themselves. The bases look like their normal plastic bases with a hole drilled in the centre to attach a plastic rod through. For the small drones, I decided to clip the rod in half to let it sit a little lower and less likely to topple over from errant hands and arms. Painting wise was also pretty simple. Black undercoat, white spray over, nuln oil to pick out the details. Anything else would, in my opinion, just be excessive.

Also, these things are a pain in the ass to photo.

Out of the two, the Tier 1 drone is the more elegant and sleek. It’s almost a racing drone, tiny body and four propeller assemblies; it looks like it could be easily held in a pouch before deploying it. Actually, it’s very Ghost Recon-esque, which is perfect for the Tier 1 guys.

The insurgent drone, on the other hand, is a slightly larger model. It looks a lot more like a commercial drone, complete with gimballed camera underneath. It definitely fits their look and feel. The camera also provides a nice surface for mounting the flight stand.

Puma UAV

Of course, sometimes you need a drone with a little more loiter time. This is where the Puma comes in. Easily transportable via vehicle, deployable by a man running with it once the engine has started, the Puma can loiter above the battlefield for 2 hours, deploying a multi-role camera to send back information to the operator.

As a model, it’s a single piece of resin. There was a little bit to clean up and had to straighten the wings a tiny bit with some hot water but otherwise, it was simply a case of sticking it to the flight stand and it was ready to go! Alternatively, you could just mount it in the back of your vehicles to have it stowed. Again same paint job as the smaller drone (black -> white -> nuln oil) – it really helps to pick out the panel details. I also glued it on at a slight angle, making it look like it’s in the middle of a pylon turn.

MAARS Robot

I’ve wanted these guys for far too long. Maybe I need to blame Medal of Honour Warfighter, where you got to drive one of these through some ruined buildings in Somalia, or maybe I just like making the Robot take the strain. The MAARS is an unmanned ground vehicle, similar to a bomb disposal bot but mounting a set of weapon systems (an M240 MMG and quad M203s), providing a remote controlled fire support platform with none of the bitching an infantryman carrying this setup would provide.

Assembly was pretty simple (you can see it better in the unpainted image above). Most important thing is to dry fit every step of the way. In addition, take care with the belt feed for the M240 – I managed to lose it for one of my drones somewhere during assembly.

Drone Operators

Of course, you’ll be needing someone to control your drones. Some can be controlled from off-board but it’s always handy to have a controller on hand at close range, ideal for reacting much faster than their off-board counterpart. Something I love about both of these controller is how useful they can be – as well as controlling drones, they could be pressed into service as JTACs to bring in your off-board support or as hackers to fit the Specialist role mentioned in the new rulebook.

The Tier 1 Operator is modelled knelt, with his control unit in hand. I do really like the whole setup, from the baseball cap/headphones combo, the aerial on his back and even just the pose. Weapon wise, the Tier 1 operator continues that ranges use of the SIG MCX, except this time going for the Rattler, the tiny Personal Defence Weapon version of it.

Again as a contrast, the Insurgent drone control is seated on the phone while tapping away on his laptop. The civilian garb and rucksack I think will make him very useful for a variety of roles – I can definitely see him hitting the board a lot. On the other hand, he is lacking a weapon, so he may need a minder to keep him safe.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I think that drones add a brand new element that is unique to modern wargaming. Spectre’s releases so far provide a very nice starting point. Obviously, I’d love to see operators for some of the other ranges (a Nomad operator would be especially cool). But more importantly, just having them available at all means you can get interesting tactical situations setup and on the board, using the intelligence gathering (or even the offensive) capability to provide support to your forces. Overall, these are definitely some elements to pick up.

Wargaming Week 10/06/2019

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

NEWS

First up in news, Empress has continued its modern day releases by bringing out a set of brand new elements for the Ultramodern Russian range. As well as the mortar team to bring them to parity with the other nations, there is also a tactical drone team (similar to the British one) and a two pack of EOD and signaller. The final pack is perfect for giving your forces an AT/AA capability, adding a MANPAD system as well as the RPG-29, an AT system designed for knocking out the more heavily armoured weapon systems on the battlefield. Much like the releases last week, this set are bringing the Empress ranges kicking and screaming into a situation where they can be used for a larger scale of battle.

Also released this week by Empress was a pair of head packs which was very much a case of “something old, something new”. The Germans have got their older pattern of helmet, the classic PASGAT style seen in use from the German plains to Afghanistan itself. The style of G36 would not technically be correct for earlier operations in Afghan but at 3ft away, you can easily use them for German forces in ISAF.

The “something new” is for the British! They are getting the new helmet which came as part of the Virtus program, letting you bring your guys up to 2019 standards. The common thing with both is just how much a slight change in equipment can change your troops look.

MDF wise, we are looking at another fantastic looking release. If you ever wanted to re-enact Blackhawk Down, this 28mm version of the Olympic Hotel looks like a great starting point. The building is packed full of rooms, staircases and other nasty places to get stuck into a firefight in. Someone on the Spectre Wargaming group has actually built it up and it looks like a battlefield all to itself.

Tiny Terrain has some more news on it’s T62. It seems like it’s almost time to start parting money with them. At the time of writing…

Checks newspaper

It’s OUT BUY BUY BUY.

Finally, Spectre is on a roll with their new releases. This week, we have the Contractor Operators that were previewed a few weeks back. Rolling with tiny chest rigs and some modern gucci weapons, this is a set is exactly the sort of thing I love – figures that could be used for all sorts of factions and settings. There are also some great details on them, making each operator look individual but also part of the same unit.

PURCHASES

Contractors. Looks like Argo are getting another strike team. Maybe even hired to hunt down a certain SAS team…

Also super late, literally as I was heading to bed, I grabbed a pair of T62s. Looks like we are going to have some armoured battles on the plains of Bazistan!

HOBBY

Painting front, finished off my two little MAARS drone from Spectre. “Remote Two” and “Frontline Unit” will soon be on the battlefield taking the strain and laying down the hate. With all the drones done, I now just have to finish the operators (which I got a big chunk done on) and then we shall have a new post covering the UAV/UGV range.

I also managed to assembled and glue together the first of my Black Site Studios buildings after dry fitting it last week. I have to say, very impressed with it and all the details (the rolling door is fantastic). The pre-painted is probably good enough for most people but I think I’m going to use it as a base and repaint as well as adding texture.


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

Wargaming Week 03/05/2019

Let’s start this Wargaming Week, covering… a long time.

BLOG STUFF

A new post went up last week! The battle report I played before I disappeared away to the US was a rather fantastic little game of Spectre Operations that did not immediately start off with a raging firefight. On the other hand, it shouldn’t have taken me three weeks to get it written up – however, on checking my stats it has already done really well.

In bigger news, I’m back! My three weeks in the States was incredibly exciting (I don’t travel very much so even just going there was a massive change) and between the sitting in air-conditioned offices for meetings, I did manage to get out and explore the local area. Something I was very keen to go and do (and fitting for this blog) was hit the gun range and try out a few weapons. I quite enjoyed shooting as an Air Cadet and going again confirmed that if I had the opportunity, I would have another hobby to make me incredibly poor.

NEWS

Oh boy, don’t go away for three weeks without doing news posts.

First up – previews. Spectre has been showing off the workbench and we have some teases for what’s coming next. Including these construction helmets. Looking at them, they seem to be the 3d prints Spectre uses for its hard items when sculpting figures. If I’m going to guess what they are for, I’d probably say some new criminals (ideal for every 1980’s action film). That said, they could at the same time be for some civilian models inspired by the White Helmets although I think this is less likely. Either way, I’m looking forward to them.

Preview Two is showing off some new support for the Insurgent Kill Team that was released last year. The Squad pack only included assault rifles and carbines which is okay for a light team but a little more firepower is needed. As futuristic as the bullpup PKM is, there are multiple images of them in use with various forces from Syria to Yemen. The backpack ammo feed is a nice touch.

Good news for everyone who missed Spectre at Salute – the objectives packs are now released! These packs of resin are perfect for making your missions about more than just taking the question mark token, giving your missions much more of an interesting feel to them. Additionally, I can see the weapon boxes being really handy for adding details to vehicles.

More exciting for me is the fact the minivan is now available! Ideal for adding civilian vehicles or infiltrating your operators into the AO, this vehicle adds so much to the tabletop.

Empress is also on the release train, this time adding some more support weapons to the French forces. Giving you a few extra items for engaging the enemy, the AT4 and Minimi should be handy. In addition, there are also some fancy berets now available for some variation.

Additionally, the Chinese PLA also got some more support weapons. Giving you everything from squad LMGs to automatic high explosive grenade launchers, these packs are perfect for giving your forces a little more punch. I’m a fan of the sniper especially – I can see him being pretty fun to paint.

On the terrain front, Knights of dice have been steadily adding to the modern apartment sets. They are now up to five models of them, ideal for adding some height and complex interiors to the modern battlefield. I’m very interested in picking them up for the inevitable “board full of buildings” and they will be perfect for creating strongpoints and focusing the action. Also, everyone loves some room clearing.

Speaking of Knights of Dice, Shiny Games now have the Tabula Rasa Villas in stock. These are going to be perfect bases for a modern MENA building, something a little different from the usual adobes. I can see using these in the middle of small compounds, something a little more challenging to assault than the stuff on the street.

Sarissa has also been cranking out some modern items, ideal for ultramodern games. Some of these come from a pack they released for Warlord’s zombie game Project Z, the secured compound. This is now available piecemeal, as well as a few additional items like security barriers. I haven’t pick any up yet but I’m keeping a close eye on it.

Additionally, Sarissa has shown off a new terrain system. Coming as MDF pieces with irregular cuts on the side, these can be arranged to build up play areas before being re-arranged. Some part of me sees this as just dumb, a way of locking yourself into a system of MDF buying. One the other hand, the idea of building up a load of pieces of terrains on bases, creating little dioramas and maybe having them on display is a neat idea.

Heading out of wargames for a moment, let’s talk about Call of Duty. I make no attempt to hide the fact that videogames and Call of Duty especially was a massive inspiration for my wargaming – one of the scenarios I wrote for Plausible Deniability was a reinterpretation of a certain boat related mission from Call of Duty 4.

The trailer above makes me INCREDIBLY excited. As much as I have enjoyed other Call of Duty settings, there is something about going back to the modern day that just makes me feel like I’m seeing the Call of Duty 4 trailer all over again. I can see a purchase of this in October and PLENTY of inspiration to pull from it.

PURCHASES

First up, upon getting back to the UK I picked up the Knights of Dice releases from Shiny Games. Those villias look like a perfect addition to my “board of buildings” project, as well some more unique buildings to use as target locations. I can forsee a lot of spray painting in my future.

I also hit up Spectre. With the release of the Minivan, I added a second one to my collection letting me add some more to the battlefield or to transport more sneaky chaps into action. I’m looking forward to the look on my opponents faces when two of them appear and drop off two teams of operators around a HVT. For more overt transport, I also picked up at a second LTV to let a full squad move in mine protected comfort. I also grabbed some replacement trash bags and cardboard boxes – just before finding the ones I thought I had lost. So extra scatter!

HOBBY

First of all, new arrivals! The Black Site Studios pre-order I had with Spectre finally arrived while I was away and so I eagerly got into it when I grabbed it from work. Initial impressions were – Holy **** that’s a lot of MDF.

I did manage to sit down and break out the dry fitting fun to put one of the smaller buildings together. So far I’m very impressed, and I can’t wait to assemble more. Now, where did I put that glue…


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