Let’s start this Wargaming Week, covering the 12th through to the 18th of August.
First up, news from Spectre. Price rises hit all of us, and it looks like it’s now time for Spectre’s metal figures to go up in price. You’ve got until the 1st of September to enjoy the current prices.
Additionally, they are working to improve their resin production, mainly to keep their stuff at better stock levels for as long as possible.
Of course, as soon I mention them quietening down, Spectre drops off this little preview onto Instagram. Two new HVTs for your tabletop. The figure on the right is a reproduction of the African general from the original Kickstarter, so this re-release might explain why a few people found. some resin versions of him in the last set of Covert Packages. I’m more interested in the General on the left, a very Russian looking gentleman in a warm coat with a big hat. This will be perfect for any Russian separatist games where you might want to play the Russians as the good guys.
TTTS is coming out with another vehicle to add to their increasingly large US vehicle garage. This time it’s one of the Special Forces support vehicle motherships, nicknamed Warpig. It’s a fierce-looking vehicle and is coming to Kickstarter later this month. I like the TTTS stuff but buyer beware, it is 1:56 rather than the 1:50.
Finally, Blacksite has a brand new range coming ready for Stalingrad. If you’re looking for some bombed-out Soviet buildings for other modern warzones, these look pretty great. Pavlov’s house especially is just incredible – a game board all by itself.
Infamous JT has slashed their prices as he clears out other product lines to focus on his own range. While still waiting for my Canadians to arrive along with the LAV-III (which is taking its sweet time through the postal system), I decided to pick up the rest of the Canadian teams to complete my collection. Fingers crossed the sudden arrival of a block of Canadians will summon the rest of them.
With a bit of free time, I finished off the last two Spectre civilians that had been sat on the painting desk. I do find solid colour stuff is perfect for a quick bit of evening painting, and these guys were a nice bit of relaxation. Also, I now have a decent crowd to fill the streets of Bazistan, ideal for annoying…everyone.
Finally, the big thing was assembling more MDF. I’ve finished the three buildings from Knights of Dice and as you can see it’s looking like a proper city now. I’m working on the article now and then it’s going to be a lot of work to tweak and prepare them.
That’s it for this update, expect more updates next week!
For the moment, everything on the Patreon is going to be free – so if you want to take a look you’ll find it here. Donating will let you jump in and comment as well as showing your support.
No news! Everything has gone a bit quiet.
Not much in terms of painting and gaming (mostly too busy finishing the article for the Patreon) but my order from Knights of Dice did finally arrive! After sucking air through my teeth at the VAT bill, this collection of MDF landed on my desk with a crunch. The apartment buildings are going to be a big chunk of work but I’m really looking forward to sitting down with them.
As you can see, I managed to get all of the market stalls constructed. Building them was really nice, the kits are wonderfully designed as always. More details coming soon.
That’s it for this update, expect more updates next week!
It’s still summer! Apart from Spectre detailing a slight thermal issue with their resin production (it’s really warm), there is no news.
Nothing! Still working through my current list of items such as eyeing up the pile of MDF all over my flat.
This week has been pretty hobby quiet – I’ve been focused on other things (mainly video games and preparing for an airsoft weekender in August) or writing up stuff for the Patreon. Come back next week and I might have done a little painting!
That’s it for this update, expect more updates next week!
Way back in the November of 2017, I wrote an initial impressions of the Knights of Dice Tabula Rasa range. And approaching two years later… I haven’t advanced very far. However, Knights of Dice has continued to work, producing much more in their ranges. One thing especially interesting for me, however, is the Tabula Rasa villa range. As someone who is starting to really like buildings, you can actually fight through rather than just around, adding some larger multi-room buildings should help to make my games more interesting.
As a rough overall point, all three buildings are wonderful things to assemble. They pop easily from sprue, with very little work needed in terms of clean up. The construction is also nice and easy, in many cases tight enough to dry-fit the entire thing before only adding a little glue to secure them . One comment is that the sprues this time around are definitely on the larger side to support the larger footprint for the buildings, so expect some larger delivery boxes.
I did have a few issues with some missing pieces from the sets. None of these would have stopped construction (a missing step and a barrier) but both could be easily replaced from offcuts. In addition, Knights of Dice support is fantastic so missing pieces will be quickly sent out.
Above you can see the rough scale of the doors and windows. You can also see the details – these buildings are really just shells, lacking in pretty much all detail except structural elements such as interior walls and staircases. This is not a negative, it’s just pointing out the feature of this range.
Most importantly, stairs! In the original review, I picked out the almost smooth stairs a major negative. Well, it seems that KoD heard all about it and decided to tweak them to make them look a little more playable. I think the compromise makes them playable while not ruining the look.
Pictured here on the left is Compound 1 from the original release next to the villas. As you can see, the new buildings are on a larger footprint, with much larger second floors and often access to the rooftops. They feel a lot more like some of the hard work is done to make them into interesting games.
The first building up is a two-storey structure with access to the roof. This building looks like some town centre building, with a covered outdoor walkway and flat roof above. The interior is split into several rooms, two on each floor.
The pack also includes a removable ladder, ideal for quickly accessing the roof. You can also see just how many firing positions this building has, perfect for defending and a nightmare to assault.
Broken down you can see just how much floor space is available. Although only two rooms per floor, there is plenty of space to move through, with plenty of choke points to fight through. Additionally, I like the stairs having a little cover when you climb them.
Villa 2 is a bit more modern, offer a two-storey building with balcony and roof access, ideal for sunbathing, filming enemy forces or siting a heavy weapon.
Interesting to note, this building only has two ground floor doors on this side which could be an interesting tactical challenge. This building also supports the ladder from building 1, if you want to vary it up.
Broken down, you can see this building is mostly larger rooms, with the upstairs being only one interior room before leading outside.
Villa 3 is a bit of strange one. Apart from the very different style and fancy steps, this feels like a building from the original releases. However, with the sloping roof and elevated window, it is pretty distinctive on the tabletop.
Looking at the rear, you can see the side entrance. This passes under the stairs, which I should warn you includes a perfect hidey hole for ambushing assaulters.
Broken out, both floors only have a single large room. It’s also interesting to note that both floors have blind spots the other floor manages to expose – something to think about then placing them.
Finally, VIlla 4. This one looks and feels like a very modern building, a gently sloping roof combined with an exterior balcony
The backside shows the entrance locations and the multiple windows, as well as a better shot of the gently sloping roof angle. As you can see, there are plenty of firing points on this side, making assaulting it a genuine challenge.
This is probably the busiest of the four buildings, with a total of 5 rooms and a balcony. It also provides multiple entry points. on the two floors (ignoring the action movie technique of setting up a ladder onto the balcony itself. The two smaller rooms at the back of the house will be pretty interesting to take control of, especially without grenades.
So what do I think of them? Well, I love seeing the improvement to design these buildings show – they feel like Knights of Dice have learned from the original release and these now feel more like real buildings. As I keep banging on about, having buildings you can actually CQB through, rather than just treating as “occupied” or “unoccupied”, really lifts games from just simple skirmishes to feeling much more interesting.
At the same time, these are Tabula Rasa buildings. If you want something you buy, spray paint and then put on the table then I don’t think these are necessarily the best idea. They would be fine but they are really asking to have all the little detailing work, to give them that extra touch. But that said, I think these are the perfect starting point to just go wild with it.
Now, time to go get some more air con units and and bits of plasticard…
It’s summer so things are pretty quiet. However, Spectre Miniatures are running their usual summer sale, ready to take all your money while offering double points on everything.
More importantly, Spectre has finally released the errata and points for V2. Both pdfs are available on the website, ideal for keeping games of Spectre flowing. The Errata fixes are mostly common sense, but the extra profiles for the Attack Helicopter are a great expansion of the OTA option.
Well, thinking ahead to the next game in the campaign, we’re going to need some more multiroom buildings to CQB through. After seeing Treadheadz work on facebook, I’ve put in an order with Knights of Dice and have already started planning some of the room tweaks. More details when they arrive!
I’ve also grabbed a few things from the Spectre sale – I realised the Luxury SUV would be perfect for the new Contractors and was an element missing from my collection. I also grabbed another turret for the HMVs – a full armoured turret bravo ready to add a spare .50cal I have to it to give me a few more options when kitting the Humvees up.
Probably the main thing from this week was doing a few interior elements for on Thursday. I didn’t finish as much as I had planned and the ones I did manage to get ready chipped a little bit . I also had a play with my airbush as part of this, leading to a situation of rushing to learn how to use a new toy. I’ll be doing some more work on this stuff before I really show it all off.
The main hobby activity this weekend was digging into the Knights of Dice buildings, specifically the villas. These were pretty fun to build and I have to admit I’m loving having more multi-room and level buildings which are ideal for the skirmish games I love to play.
Now I just need to get all these buildings painted up…
That’s it for this update, expect more updates next week!
Meanwhile, the rebel leader has taken the intelligence gained from the captured local fixer and used it to locate the enemy safehouse. Rather than risking his own forces, the leader has instead sold the information to the Internal Security Forces of Bazistan (ISFB).
After all, when you find a criminal den, you call the police.
Limping away from their firefight in the badlands, the forces of the AESA and SAS were limited to a small number of operators. Six Elite operators, mostly using carbines but supported by an LMG would be the main force. Along with the Elite Captain Amari, three other Trained AESA staff members were on-site and armed with assault rifles which would provide some extra guns.
The BLUFOR objectives were to prevent any opposing forces from capturing evidence of illicit activity taking place on Bazi soil by the Aden Government. This would mean holding off the opposing force long enough to destroy the pair of servers holding operations data, demoing the supplies in the garage building and then extracting as much of the personel as possible, including the unarmed civilian AESA station chief.
Prompted by details of the safe house, the Bazi Ministry of the Interior assembled a large force to deal with the security threat. To provide the training core, the Bazi Army hired six Professional Argo Contractors, each armed with modern CQB small arms and grenades, body armour and NVGs. These troops could be parcelled out, either mentoring the lower skill Bazi units or acting as a close-quarters assault force.
And speaking of the Bazi Army, they are providing two units. The elite(ish) Bazi Special Forces would be taking part in the assault. Although only Trained, the 6 man Bazi SF team were equipped with CQB weapon systems. They are also arriving in a Tigr armour vehicle, mounting an MMG (the automatic grenade launcher being banned due to the ROE). A much larger presence was the regular Trained Bazi Army, bringing an 8 man squad in body armour and carrying an MMG and an RPG (just in case). They also arrive on the board in a BTR-80A – despite having its main claws trimmed by the ROE, it can still help the assault through using the armour and its Medium Machine Gun. Finally, a Technical from the Bazi Army would provide MMG support.
OPFOR objectives are simple – capture as much evidence of insidious actions against the Bazi Royal Family and Government taking place on Bazi soil. Ideally, the Interior Ministry would love to have some captives to parade on TV and so capturing the opposing force is a priority.
First of all, let’s take an overview of the setup. Taking place in the suburbs of Bazi City, strict ROE is in place regarding the use of explosive weaponry such as the RPGs or autocannons. The mission also takes place at night. (Although this may have been forgotten once the action kicked off)
(As an aside, I really want to get some more of my buildings painted up and ready for play. As much as I like the layout, a few more buildings would have really set the suburban scenes)
The AESA compound in the photo above is located south of the road and focused on the main safehouse, with two other smaller buildings acting as annex’s, including a garage. Several concrete walls and barriers provide cover. On the other side of the road, a multi-level construction as well as several smaller buildings filled with non-combatants.
The Special Forces in the Tigr slowly rumbled down the side road. Pausing only to let three of the team disembark, the vehicle prepared to push on into the main compound. Upfront, an Argo contractor kept an eye on the gentleman in the orange outdoors coat, listed as a possible AESA agent.
On the other side, a technical from the Bazi Army rolls up, MMG swinging to focus on the target building.
Inside the safehouse, the BLUFOR operators were unalert but at risk of a future assault. For this reason, they were checking entrances. Upstairs, the SAS were taking positions at the windows and doors, trying to cover all the angles.
On the ground floor, the AESA statin chief, a SAS operator and Captain Amari were in discussion. Two AESA agents were also on this floor, one in the makeshift server room and the other checking keeping watch.
As the night rolls on, the Bazi Army makes it’s assault.
Three of the Bazi SF operators setup on and then breach into the garage building, the sound of boots on wood echoing through the night. Inside, they find a stockpile of supplies destined for anti-government rebels – in other words, jackpot.
With the sound of vehicles moving the raised voices, the inhabitants inside the building start to setup. Table are flipped, guns checked and made ready to go.
Making a tight turn, the Tigr bursts into the compound, causing the AESA agent to make a break for the annexe. The civilian he was talking to, after adopting a surrendering gesture then attempted to run. Twigged by this movement, the Tigr’s gunner opened up with a burst of fire, dropping a suspect to the dirt. The first casualty had taken place.
The Tigr also ended up being a bit of bullet magnet, with SAS troopers both inside the main building and the annexe engaging it and piling on suppression.
On the other side, a fireteam of the Bazi Army troops were moving alongside the BTR and getting ready to stack up on the back door. However, with a smash, a frag grenade thrown by one of the SAS came flying out, landing in the middle of the attackers and shredding most of the force.
Hearing the gun battle outside rising, Captain Amari snatched thermite grenades off the AESA agents and got to work, placing them on the server racks to destroy the lists of operations inside Bazistan.
At this point, the three man infiltration set of contractors were getting ready to rush the building, sprinting across the road. The squad leader suddenly looked to his left when, with a roar of an engine, the BTR came flying down the road, turning the corner and then…
It collided with the building, it’s prow smashing through the wall, the driver’s head coming flying forward and breaking his neck. The rest of the crew and passengers were stunned, leaving the three operators outside to keep pushing.
Inside the room, as the dust settled, the room was a mess. After talking it through, we decided that everyone in the room would be stunned, the cloud of dust and rubble smashing things aside.
On the other side, the Bazi SF split up, starting to assault the two buildings. Unfortunately, they ended up being caught in the cross of the SAS LMG and a riflemen, eliminating the trio on the ground floor.
The PKM gunner, his ears ringing, hit the deck and got ready to open up while his Argo buddy got ready to move up. However, a quick burst of assault rifle fire and the MMG went silent. The contractor hower brought his SMG up and trained it on the window when…
A thunderous blast of from the upstairs, accompanied by a pile of shrapnel, and suddenly the fire from the upstairs windows slowed. The SAS team leader was preparing to drop a grenade on the assault for below when he fluffed his throw. Landing on the window sill in front of him, the blast took him out, the concussion echoing around the roof the room and stunning his teammates.
The operator, who had taken out almost a whole team by himself, was caught standing in the window stunned by a burst from the Argo contractor. He dropped dead, leaving only two SAS operators standing upstairs.
In the Annexe, the SAS operator and AESA agent looked at each other and decided to make a move, busting out the window and getting ready to make a run for it.
After a short scuffle, one of the Argo Contractors managed to tackle and drag the AESA Station chief back outside of the ruined front room, letting the main Bazi Army push inside. Another contractor around this time also attempted to knock unconscious one of the SAS operatives. After a short scuffle hower, the SAS operative was killed in the fighting.
Outside, the last of the Bazi SF were taken down, the SAW in the SAS gunner’s hands hammering away and shredding what was left of the door.
As a final push, the last rifle operator upstairs attempted to rush down and rescue the AESA station chief. However, the Contractor holding the captive simply swung around and clocked him around the face with his rifle, knocking the operator unconscious and adding him to the captive pile.
Inside, the Bazi Army and Argo contractors burst into the server room, finding Captain Amari slowly raising her hands and kneeling down.
On the other side, the servers gently smoulded, useless to anyone. Amari was still smirking when the rifle butt came down on her face from an irate Bazi Army trooper.
The last AESA agent, crying out for updates from the explosion behind him while still keeping an eye on the Bazi SF before they were cut down, was very surprised when an Argo Corporation merc grabbed him by the neck and slammed him into the door. And with that, resistance at the compound was ended.
Although missing out on the data, the Bazi force did manage to take four inhabitants of the compound hostage. Three AESA agents, including the famed Captain, and a single British citizen should be a handy group to show on Al-Jeezra as proof Aden is not to be trusted. The stockpile of material in the garage would help with this, providing shocking evidence.
Of course, three BLUFOR operators did manage to get away. Perhaps they may return in future missions?
Overall, it was one hell of a game. I did not expect the BTR to be used as a battering ram, nor for just the sheer number of grenade fails. I did lose my cool a little (I blame the heatwave we’re in) when it came to keeping the game flowing and also forgot a rule or two (such as sidearms in CQB). On the other hand, the Spectre rules still play fast and feel brutal.
But this is setting up the next mission in the campaign. With Captain Amari in chains, I think it’s time for someone to build a prison (I’m thinking a few of the Knights of Dice apartment buildings) and prepare a rescue. The question is… who will be doing the rescuing?
Let’s start this Wargaming Week, covering the 15th through to the 21st of July.
First up we took a look at the War Zone Arabia buildings from Black Site Studios. Building these things was really exciting – they are some nicely designed kits, with interiors perfect for playing through. They will be getting their first taste of combat this week, and I can’t wait!
One bit of news: TTTS has a new release for their US Army range, bringing a 60mm Mortar team ready to provide your guys with some close quarter integrated support. I quite like the mortar pit it comes with as well, might be something to look at when it is released.
Another preview from TTTS is that they are making a War Pig! One of the stranger SF vehicle conversions, this vehicle would be a perfect supply carrier for a mixed Special Forces convoy. More details in August, but it’s an exciting addition to see.
Tired of having figures everywhere, I decided to pick up the supermassive KR Case. The reason for this is that I am a fan of the KR case system, using it for my game bag. Having a case that fits these tray easily while also being able to move it just made sense. The setup process for heading to a game is just pulling out the right trays from this larger box, before putting them in the travel case and heading out.
I also grabbed a few pieces from the TTCombat interior range this week as well. With the large spaces inside the Black Site buildings, some sofas, chairs and more were needed to fill the rooms and make them into obstacles, rather than just open shooting galleries. Fingers crossed they arrive in time!
Literally, just as the post last week went up for you all to see, a package arrived on my desk of T62s from Tiny Terrain. These were beautiful little things to build. Having run out of spray paint midway through undercoating, I had to pause in their assembly. However, post should be coming soon.
I finally finished off the 4th humvee that has been sat on my desk. This is another standard one, lacking any extra electrical elements or fancy kit. This simplicity means it could easily run under a national army or with the local militia. However, rather than run it entirely clean, I added some stowage on the back. More details when I get some more of Humvee turrets built up.
Speaking of cleaning up my desk, I finally assembled the LTV that was sat on there since just after I went to the states. This one needed a little cleanup to get the fit but I think it had turned out looking good. Similarly, I also assembled the Light RWS Spectre sell. This is a really cool piece and to improve my options with it I also assembled a Technical mount as you can see above.
As part of my desk clean up, I also pulled out the Spectre objective markers and started looking at getting them ready for the tabletop. Mostly this is just getting them on thin pieces of plasticard, with some basing together. Fingers crossed, you’ll be seeing them in Thursday’s game, making it look like an AESA safe house.
Most of my hobby time, however, has been spent moving figures around bits of foam, getting my new hardcase set up with a storage setup. Massively reducing the number of figures sharing slots in the foam, binning some super-thin foam pieces that were at risk of falling apart and final clearing my coffee table of all the loose figures.
And of course, as with any week before a game, I’m getting the game planned out.
That’s it for this update, expect more updates next week!
I’ve got to admit, there is something about using Private Military Contractors in-game. Maybe it’s the flexibility of the models, maybe it’s the ease they can be added to any theatre or the extra punch they add to the force with their training. Or maybe I just like the stereotypical plots which end up with Special Forces guys fighting turncoat contractors, the lure of money too strong for their corporate masters.
Either way, I am always looking for new contractor models and I have especially loved Spectre’s. The original Kickstarter came with three packs showing three different types – Alpha (the super modern CQB team), Bravo (the AK wielding boys) and Delta (the classic Western PMC look). These figures are some of my favourites from the original batch and I have been waiting to see other figures to fit that niche. The Tier 1 Operators are pretty good but sometimes you really want something a little more outlandish…
The Contractor Ops pack comes with six operators, each dressed in t-shirts and tactical trousers. Each one is also equipped with a plate carrier and load-bearing gear, plenty of spaces for ammo and all sorts of kit. One interesting thing I like is the mix of weapon systems – two guys are armed with suppressed Vector SMGs, two guys with Scorpion Evo SMGs, one with a Tavor bullpup assault rifle and the last with an X95 assault carbine. This gives you a range of kit – it’s cool to note the guys with the unsurpassed weapons have suppressed sidearms to help out. These weapons are not exactly a standard mix for any military force – however, they all come with the image of portraying a well-equipped team, standing out from the usual AR15 armed operators.
Looking at the backs of them, you can really see just how much equipment and detail each of the figures has. Their belt rigs are pretty stacked, and most have some sort of pack or carry kit for all the specialised toys. The models also have some pretty non-regulation haircuts and facial hair – perfect for the non-government look and pretty fun to paint. I went for the blonde mohawk on one and a mixture of blonde and purple on the other, just a dash of colour without standing out too much.
As a little comparison, here are a few of the different groups from Spectre that could be used in the similar role of Western Private Military Contractors, with a few tweaks to the paint job. The Tier 1 Operators are the most obvious – in fact, I decided when painting these new figures to make them the contrast to the Tier 1 guys, swapping the paint schemes around. Task Force Operators and the SAS ranges are maybe a little more heavily equipped but the Green Berets, with their light loadout, could with the right paint scheme pass for a few Contractors in contact.
Overall, I’m a big fan of this pack. As I said at the top, I’m a sucker for anything contractor releated and these figures really deliver. The mix of weapons and poses, the little non-standard details – all help to make them look the part. I’m really excited to get them out on the table, either hunting down some corporate infiltrators, protecting a VP of a department during a deal or helping the local forces by providing technical assistance on the ground.