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.

Wargaming Week 03/09/2018

Let’s start this Wargaming Week, covering the 27th of August through to the 2nd of September.

BLOG STUFF

First up saw a trip to South Africa with a Boer War battle report. It was a fun game to play and a neat diversion to write up. When I get some more, you may see a rise in these battle reports as I join in with more of the games at the club.

The main post this week was looking at the next stage in Project Humvee, actually painting up the first two. I had a really good time just getting them sorted and now they are finished, I can’t wait to get them on the board. Unfortunately, I seemed to have forgotten to order the key component for the third Humvee (the FLIR setup) so it looks like I won’t have to time to get it ready before Friday – you’ll just have to wait for the battle report on the 14th.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Also, it’s the start of a new month so time for a Ko-fi reminder! If you like the stuff I’m working on, I run a Ko-Fi where you choose to donate small amounts for me to spend on Pepsi Max (I’m not a coffee drinker) or other things to keep the site going. If you want to contribute, you can either click the button above or use the following link: https://ko-fi.com/A7374ATG

NEWS

Sarissa Precision has released another kit as part of the North Africa range. Obviously inspired partially by the wave of Western Desert fever (thanks to the recent Bolt Action releases), the new building is inspired by the actual El Alamein train station. As well as standing in for that, I could see using it for modern day MENA situations. With a few tweaks, it could be used as a gatehouse for a larger compound. This is definitely one on my list once I’ve finished the buildings I have.

Big news from Knights of Dice! My favourite range from them, Tabula Rasa Desert Buildings has extended with four new buildings. These are a new style, giving you a set of more urban villas with multiple floors, rooms and balconies to fight over. Much like the rest of the range, all these buildings are basic shells, ready for you to add all the air con units and other details you will need.

Of course, the even bigger news is the first of the apartment blocks. We’ve seen the basic design being prototyped but this is the first release. A small two storey setup, this building contains multiple floors and access points which should make it perfect for games trying to model fighting room to room.

Both these sets are currently released and up on the Knights of Dice store. I’m going to wait until Shiny Games get them in stock and I actually get some more buildings painted and on the table.

As well as releasing a merchandise range, Spectre brought out the updated Russian Operators previewed over the last few weeks. With the updated equipment, these figures are ideal for showing Russian SOF on operations abroad. The squad pack is an ideal starting point for any modern collection, giving you six operators, with a variety of equipment to augment the classic assault rifle and body armour, including thermal optics, secondary weapons like a grenade launcher or suppressed SMG and the medium machine gun. On top of the squad, you also can add more long range firepower to fit your team for the required situation – this can either be by adding more suppression (with an LMG or MMG with backpack ammo) or more precision (via the marksman or sniper rifles).

PURCHASES

I really did try to resist but the new range of Spetsnaz guys are ideal for an alternative SOF force to match up against the Task Force Operators (especially as I was in the process of writing a SF vs SF scenario). So I’ve picked up the squad pack as well as the additional support operators, which should be perfect for some missions I have planned. Now to pick a paint scheme.

I also added the missing items I needed for Humvee 3.

HOBBY

Painting Humvees was the main hobby action this week, although it took much less time than expected. After having hit them with the undercoat, it was just one evening of work (assisted by watching Black Hawk Down) to get them both ready for action. I am tempted to possibly go back and do some highlighting work but I shall have to see.

Next step was finally finishing off assembling my Space Marines. There will be a longer post coming soon where I’ll talk more about this process but it’s been a nice change of pace assembling multi-part plastic kits. On the other hand, I think actually building some Primaris marines has broken me on the older figures – putting the two next to each other just makes the original tactical marines look like children rather than superhuman warriors.

And then I got to play some games! While delivering a box full of Orks to my gaming buddy in York, we managed to get in a game of Killteam. My five recently assembled Deathwatch marines (clad in finest undercoat) took on a horde of Orks while trying to rescue the downed pilot. Both of us failed to use any tactics but with multiple specialists on the field (as well as the Deathwatch’s special ammo rules), there was plenty of bloodletting. The small board size makes combat pretty brutal. Overall, it’s a neat game, perfect for playing with a beer or two and I can’t wait to get some more games in.


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

Project Humvee – Stowage and Painting

Last time in Project Humvee, we took a look into the basics of the Spectre range and assembled the chassis for the first two vehicles. This time around, prompted by the need to get some vehicles ready for an upcoming game, we’re going to cover the next step for this project. Adding some details, getting the current vehicles painted and then sorting out the next set of chassis and turrets.

Stowage

So in between the first post and now, I’ve actually done a few tweaks to the vehicles. Starting with Humvee One, the standard one. Seeing as this is designed to be the “normal” one that will probably end up being used by the regular forces, the base vehicle hasn’t had any add-ons installed. I did adjust the positioning of one of the armoured windows I mis-installed and filled in a gap I created on the rear bumper.

Up top though, the turret got some improvements. After looking at the some of the pictures, I realised I had mounted the .50cal a little too low and would have caused some gun depression issues. To correct this, I installed a small column to life the gun up slightly. From the stowage kit, I pulled out the large ammo box and stuck it to the side of the turret. This was inspired by a picture from HMMWV in Scale, and made a lot of sense – after all, it means the gunner can grab a reload much faster than having to drop down into the vehicle. I also added a LAW tube on the interior of the turret – perfect for when something needs stopping and the .50cal isn’t working out.

As you might expect, the SF Humvee had a bit more stowage added to it, seeing as that whole rear section is designed to be filled with kit. Starting with the exterior, I added the ever useful sand channels to the side of the vehicle, which should visually balance out the spare wheel and M240 on the far side. In the turret, I decided to keep things simple just adding a small Pelican case to the rear of the interior. Mentally, I see this as somewhere for the gunner to store all the kit they might need when running the turret, such as pen flares or tools. With the new launcher pack, I’m tempted to add an AT4 tube on the back of the turret but this will be painted and assembled once my next order arrives.

Inside the rear section, I’ve added a pile of stowage items perfect for giving the crew a bit more firepower while also making sure there was plenty of space for anyone using the M240 to move around. The list of additions are.

  • Large Pelican case: General stowage, anything from personal effects to medical or comms equipment.
  • Rifle case: More firepower, can be used to stand in for any stored equipment
  • LAW tube: MORE FIREPOWER
  • Small ammo box: General stowage, anything from ammo to additional grenades.
  • Hardened laptop: In gameplay terms, I’m going to use this and the aerials as a way of signifying improved comms for off-map assets or long-range co-operation. This helps to show off this ride as ideal for a SF advisory team, able to act as a force multiplier when working alongside other forces

Finally, I added two items on the rear bumper. The rucksack was put in place to cover up some damage caused by an air bubble, with green stuff filling in the bulk of it. On the other side, a jerry can helped to balance out the look.

Painting

Painting on these vehicles was very similar to some of the other US vehicles I’ve done. Black basecoat, Humbrol desert spray and then touched up with a brush version. Other details were then painted before being washed in Agrax. Rather than leaving to dry as I usually do, I instead dabbed it off which prevented some of the strange patterns I had to deal with on earlier vehicles.

I have a love-hate relationship with painting vehicles. It’s very easy to make them look bad but modern paint schemes means no faffing around with camo. Painting was done in an evening and although there are a few things I could touch up (like the central hubs on the wheel). I’d say these things are ready for the tabletop.

Humvee Three

So, with these vehicles finished, let’s look ahead at the next vehicle I’ll be assembling. The goal with this is to create another Humvee that can be used with regular army forces, so it will be using HMV upgrade Alfa and the partially armoured doors.

This time, however, I’m going to make it a little special and outfit it with the FLIR camera from the new stowage set. This is partially inspired by the LRAS vehicles. A variant I learnt about from the book “Red Platoon”, these vehicles have powerful observation equipment. Instead of the turret mounted system of the real version, the rear mounted camera does the job of marking the vehicle out as something similar without requiring a specific turret change. I’m looking forward to using this in-game.

Of course, the exciting bit is up top – the turrets. I find building .50cal turrets to be a pretty safe bet. It’s a multi-role gun, easily able to take out infantry and light vehicles a like. However, as various scenarios have told me, the automatic grenade launcher is also pretty common. I was planning to wait until Spectre made a Mk19 (much more suitable for Big Army, especially when playing games in the near past) but having seen more photos of the Mk47 in action, I guessed it was time to get one on the board. I am thinking of using the spare M240 I have as a secondary weapon in the turret, letting the gunner engage closer targets where a hail of 40mm would be unsuitable.

That said, I do also like miniguns. Having already used the Spectre minigun when modifying turets for the Empress model, it was time to add another one to my collection. I can see it being used a lot on the SF vehicle, so I think I’ll put it in Turret Bravo with the greater protection. The main challenge is deciding where to put the ammo box.

Finally, as I buy more vehicles, I’m slowly building a collection of unarmoured turret rings. As you might expect, this setup really isn’t suitable for most modern locations. However, it might be useful to have a few armed ones for less combat focused operations (such as interior policing or base defence) so at least one is having a .50cal added to it.

Conclusion

As you can see, work is progressing on. Having a deadline for a project is really handy as it helps to focus the mind and add a sense of urgency. I’m really happy with how these two vehicles turned out and can’t wait for them to both be reduced to burning wrecks as is tradition for newly painted models.

Next week will be another entry in Project Humvee as I frantically try to get vehicle 3 assembled and painted in under a week. I’ll also be looking at at the new stowage options and even getting one or two onto the vehicles.

EDIT: Change of plans – I totally forgot to order the FLIR unit so next Project Humvee post has been delayed. So the first time you see it will be in the next battle report!