What happened to Project Little Bird?

A while back I wrote a long post about making some Little Birds to add to the tabletop. Since then, nothing has happened.

The reasons for this are multiple:

  • I have been super busy so didn’t sit down and build the kit
  • King’s Hobbies have shown off some 3D renders for both the AH6 and the MH6 version which they will be releasing in plastic. These will be a lot more resistant to damage that a fragile plastic kit and will require less work to get ready for tabletop. They will also be releasing crew figures which are added bonuses.

Due to this, I’m going to sell the model kit and reinvest the money in buying the King’s Hobbies models. So that’s why you haven’t been seeing tons of picture of little birds.

 

End of 2016/Start of 2017

Ah it’s the Christmas season. A time when people get to celebrate, receive presents and blog writers get to wax lyrical about life, usually sipping a bottle of wine and trying to look pensive for their relatives while actually staring at wordpress’s blinding screen. Instead I’m just looking at my new NAS box, all ready to go after days of transferring files to it.

I wanted to look back on the year and then forward into next year.

2016

Well it was a year of ups and down. I lost my job in January, a selection of terrible things happened in the world and honestly I think everyone is looking forward to it being over. And to cap it off, my Microsoft Band 2 decided to end the year by breaking for the third time in 12 months and so got returned to Amazon for a refund.

However, on the other hand, there have been some very good things to come out of this year. I moved from Brighton to Edinburgh, started a job at one of the best games studios in the industry, started writing scenarios for a wargames company, bought loads of awesome models and played some really good games. I also got to do a lot more wargaming and in a lot more varied time periods.

I noticed that my posts that did best this year were my rules comparison and anything about Spectre. I’m sure I could go deep into the analytics on this and started producing focused content but that really isn’t the type of site this is. This is just for me to post up photos of models, rough rules ideas and updates as to what I’m doing

2017

So plans for 2017. I’d throw in the usual ones but they should probably be taken as granted. Time to get out, do more and be more social.

Wargaming wise – I’m going to carry on with the writing as its a great way to wind down after work. I’ll also be carrying on buying figures but the big goal at the start of the year is to finish off painting the figures I already own. There is a large number of Russians, US Marines and US Army Rangers to paint on top of the insurgent forces I’m doing for Lead Mountain II and I really want my coffee table back from the pile of undercoated figures.

In terms of new stuff, I’ve played some Spectre with larger forces and now need to tweak some of my collection. The insurgents really need some point sinks so I’m going to pick up some weapon teams, technicals and maybe even a tank or two. The suspects for this will be Empress for the larger vehicles and Spectre for the technicals and weapon teams to match the rest of the ground troops. There will also be some helicopters turning up – I intend to take a look at King’s Hobbies for some 3D printed figures perfect for the abuse of the wargames table.

The bigger thing is that this year I want to run a wargames demo game at a convention. My current planning is to run it at Fiasco in Leeds and then at Vapa in 2018 giving me most of year to collate forces and get to playing. Not sure what game/board to run but we shall have to see. Thinking something extravagant like a crashed C130 or something similar.

Anyway, to all my readers – Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Project Little Bird Begins

There is a set of rules in Skirmish Sangin I haven’t had the chance to really use and that’s the helicopter rules (introduced in Dispatches 2 and Day of the Rangers). Part of this is down to the missions I’ve played (if adding the vehicles boosted up the points, adding a helo is something else entirely) but the other thing is due to lacking suitable models to hover around the board, dealing rockets and miniguns.

For 28mm models, 1:48 is the accepted scale for helicopter kits (sadly 1:50 scale kits don’t exist or are exceedingly rare). Now, aircraft are big – its amazing just how much bigger than most vehicles they are! So the idea of 1:48 aircraft for a long time seemed like a bad idea lacking the space to carry them or store them. There are also other issues: whats the best way to setup the rotors so they are fit for wargaming, how best to set them up and base them and how to make them look cool flying around; the list goes on.

However, now I have a bit more space and after watching too much Blackhawk Down I think its time to get some rotors spinning. Of course, there is only one aircraft to start the ball rolling.

Cool Little Bird pictured with some other less cool helos
Cool Little Bird pictured with some other less cool helos

The Little Bird.

To begin with, I’m making an AH-6 in order to provide some fire support. The first part was picking up the base kit, in this case an Academy Tow Defender. To make it into an attack chopper, I have ordered a conversion kit from which will give me the rocket pods, miniguns and other bits I need. Once that’s arrived, I’ll then have to work out a flying stand. Currently leaning towards a method on the Lead Adventures forum that uses a telescopic inspection rod to let you adjust the height. This will be great for two reasons: making multiple helos look cool flying together and also MH-6s coming down to land on the rooftop. It will also involve magnets because it makes everything easy to transport.

I’m a little worried about this project – there is a lot to worry about and lots of places to mess up. I’m gonna have to do stuff like painting components before assembly (which I hate) and also drilling into the plastic bodywork so I can place the magnets. However, if it works it means I can add a load of extra dimension to my tabletop games. Helicopters on the board really make it stand out and if I was to take a game to a wargames show, a helo is something to have on the board.

Also once the AH-6 is up, I’ll then start looking at other helicopters. Obviously, MH-6s are the next port of call (probably two of them so I can have cool simultaneous landings). I also have an Airfix Lynx that needs building but I’ll be waiting until I can get some crew figures and then see if all this helicopter malarky is worth it. And then we start moving on to brand new things like UH-1s, Blackhawks, Apaches. Heck, maybe even a MV-22!

In the mean time, here are some more painted figures!

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On the Work Bench 01/05/2016

So stealing from several popular blogs, I’m going to a weekly post saying whats on my painting table this week as well as any models that have turned up. I don’t plan to buy a huge amount until the painting is done though – the army case is pretty full already.

Newly Arrived:

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  • Spectre’s Agents set – Both sets look awesome and as someone who has been mainlining The Division, these guys are perfect for recreating the action from it!
  • Spectre’s Tier 1 Operators set – I would probably say these guys match up to my idea of PMC guys more than Tier 1 Operators undercover but either way they look pretty sweet. I did order all three packs but I received a duplicate of pack 2 and no pack 3 so will be waiting for its replacement to arrive before getting these guys painted.
  • Spectre’s Salute 2016 models – Despite not being there I got in an order very quickly to get the two exclusive models. Primarily because they are pretty damn great!
    • Model 1 is a kneeling sniper to match the Agents range. Silenced pistol, stored Vector and a Remington MSR make for a tooled up figure perfect for a vairation of the sniper hunt mission
    • Model 2 is one I have been waiting for ever since I saw the Russians being released – a tiny metal version of an old airsofting buddy. Heavy armour, PKM held in one hand while the other prevents a slung shotgun from swinging around, this guy will be a terror on the battlefield. However, I am green stuffing a metal face mask – the head seems tiny compared to the body so the face shield should improve and make him look more iconic
  • Empress’s Russian Bundle – New job, new project. This one is to make some Russians broaden my opponents. I was originally down on the Russian figures – they seem unaturally tall and some of their helmet designs are a bit meh. However, I came upon this post https://houseofqueeg.wordpress.com/2016/04/10/spetsnaz-empress-miniatures-28mm-conversions-fireteam/ and was suddenly gripped by a mania for all things Special Forces. So one bundle later I have two squads. One (with an attached anti-tank team and a stationary machine gun) is going to be dressed as the “little green men” or “Polite People” that one morning appeared deep in the Ukraine. All the heads I used have goggles or facemasks (or both!) perfect for obscuring your identity. The second group (including an additional MG loader who I found in the pack and will soon be on radio duty)have had hoods greenstuffed to their bodies and are now waiting for some bare/woolen hatted heads that Empress are releasing soon. I look forward to my first major conversion job!

In the Painting Queue:

  • 10 Empress US Army Infantry – Undercoated and ready to be painted!
  • 1 Empress EOD in bombsuit – Undercoated and ready to be painted! Should be relatively easy seeing as its mostly green
  • 1 Empress Insurgent – Undercoated and read to be painted! Okay, its odd I’m painting one but upon taking one look at this guy (shades, plate carrier, Pakol hat) its obvious this is some sort of deep cover agent or local translator (Meesh in the flesh). Plan is some UCP with a tan vest and maybe a dash of woodland

Feather Added to Cap

I’m writing this from my new flat in Edinburgh – first night in by myself after a mad weekend of moving furniture around, going to IKEA and sorting out where I will be living for a while. Its a step up from Brighton – feels much more like a flat I want to be in in a city I love. As an aside, my back feels like a truck hit it so I’m looking forward to a night back in my own bed (after two weeks in a travelodge and a month+ at home with family).

ANYWAY, what’s more exciting is that I appear to have gained another hat to wear (as well as games developer) that of wargames writer. Late last week, Radio DishDash put up a new free scenario on the Skirmish Sangin blog featuring a night attack by the Black Watch during Operation Panther’s Claw. The reason I mention this, other than drawing attention to the excellent blog fillled with great articles, is that I actually wrote the scenario! I posted an untested draft version on the Skirmish Sangin forums which reccived some positive feedback. About an hour later, Colin of Radio Dishdash had sent me a mail about packaging up and releasing the scenario to the general public as one of the official scenarios.

We had to do some quick testing and ended up tweaking the off map support rules to make it a little more reliable (while not a complete game winner) but its ended up being a nice hard fight. The night rules provide a nice twist and the support weapons distributed to both sides make it an interesting fight to play through.

You can download the rules HERE and read an AAR report HERE

So what’s coming next? I’ve all ready submitted my next scenario and there is a google drive full of scenarios to finish off. There is also probably going to be some more rules stuff coming soon…watch this space!

In terms of other stuff, I now have a fair bit of time to sit back and get painting again. And with Spectre’s Salute releases and the Day of The Rangers kickstarter coming soon, there should be lots of cool models to show off.

Holiday Rollings

With me being in the North for a decent length of time, I found myself journeying to York to pit myself in martial combat against my erstwhile foe. Well, martial combat meaning the deployment of tiny metal figures and dice. I’ll be writing a big post on modern wargaming rules when Spectre release their new set but on this day, we had two rulesets to try.

First up was Osprey’s Black Ops. We came to these rules expecting a great game to reenact stealthy military ops and by gods does it deliver. I think the “low is good” system is a little odd and the author should be castigated for using half points in the army building system but the rest of the game is rock solid, super quick fun. Combat plays well but the stealth mission rules are the best. Random guard positions, sound counters that have to be managed by the infilitrator – it all makes for a fun time. We played three games.

  1. Standard battle – insurgents vs 6 SF guys. We messed up the points (I should have had a few more insurgents) but great battle was had. Just a shame my commander got nabbed as he crossed open ground causing my force to flee.
  2. Sneaky battle – SF guys vs the man himself Solid Snake. Snake managed to grab the intel and brutal murder a few guards but got shot in the back while attempting to exfil
  3. Massive Sneaky Battle – Milita and FSB defending against a group of SAS teams. Some tense moments as the SAS got into the compound but were spotted when the FSB agents saw them sneaking around. A mess of a fire fight later and we ran out of time, although the milita did manage to bundle the hostages into the back of a SUV. Maybe a rematch is in order…

Next was OSC from Evil Bear Wargames. I’ve met the writer behind the game and the way he described it really got me interested. Finally getting to play it and I was really excited in the end result. I did find the sheer number of actions you can do a little overwhelming in the first game, but the focus on objectives, the simple 1 stat system and the setup for playing weapons off against armour makes me excited to play again. I’m also a fan of how the turns playout, with the outnumbering player being limited in how many figures he can move each turn by the number of bad guys. Highlights included a Hardsuit swatting an RPG out the air with its countermeasures (just before fleeing from a few sniper hits), a SF soldier managing to grab an objective under four turns of full auto fire and my commander taking full advantage of his extra action.

Overall, I really enjoyed both games. They bring cool stuff to the table – Black Ops for super sneaky infiltration times while OSC feels like re-enacting an airsoft game, all fast paced and full of cool moves and heroics. I’ll be playing a lot more of both games, as well as more Skirmish Sangin and Spectre, this year.

Then we played sleepy D&D and a fun time was had by all.

Catchup

Reju 2015 - "Warm but not as bad as last year" edition
Reju 2015 – “Warm but not as bad as last year” edition

Hey Michael, whats going on!

Well actually quite a lot hence why there haven’t been so many posts. Between visiting home, going to Reju, playing some tabletop games and doing oh so much work I really haven’t had time to sit down in the evenings on write.

Played some tabletop? Will we be seeing some reports?

…Yes. But I’m probably not going to do much a rules review. Hopefully this weekend I’ll get them finished off.

The reason behind my reluctance is as much as I love Spectre’s model range (I just bought a load more of the devils) I really fell down hard on the rules. Between two matched sides played by beginners it works great but as familiarity breeds contempt and before you know it you’ve pulled down the curtain and the man behind is frantically trying to cover the cracks. It has a good basis but I’ll be waiting for the next edition to be released before trying again.

Oh. How’s Skirmish Sangin going? You bought the books for that one.

So I finally got round to playing that. Peeb and I did a four on four game with matching sides (although varied body values) in order to try out the rules. To be honest, the fact it looks like Dark Heresy but modern day was a little terrifying but once you get into the game the time just flys by. I’ll write some up about it at some point but I very much enjoyed it.

The only downside was that Sangin doesn’t quite give you the same “kid in a candy store” feel that Spectre does. So as a side project, I’m going to start writing some rules for some additional items and a few scenarios for my army. Hopefully I’ll be able to test them on both the Brighton and the York guys.

So how many models do you have now?

Too many. I finally finished making my British Army Platoon (all painted and based) and will be writing a post on them. I also ordered a few more insurgents to bring my sides up to being equal. I have worked out I have 6 factions I can play around with, giving me a nice box of toys to create missions with. Still keeping an eye on Spectre and Empress for cool figures but I might pause buying until I’ve painted the lead mountain.

Other stuff?

Work is fun, airsofting was good (videos soon) and getting to enjoy driving up and down the country.

How’s personal project X going?

No comment

More posts?

Soon. I have lots to write about I just have to find the time/motivation to do it