Impressions: Spectre LTV

The Humvee, despite being seen on the battlefield all over the world, was not designed for a combat role. It was a utility transport, unarmoured, suited for rushing around behind friendly lines. However, nothing goes to plan, and every since 1993, they have found themselves in the line of fire. Post 2001, they soon became upgraded and burdened down, the sheer weight of upgrades needed to survive the counter-insurgency world stressing power units and risking lives.

At the same time, to fight the rise in IEDs in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the US Army developed the MRAP program. These Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles were easily able to survive strikes that would destroy humvees, carrying troops straight through hostile lands. However, these vehicles were huge to maximise protection, and their sheer size made them less appropriate for the modern battlefield against near-peer adversaries.

After another US Army run military procurement program, Oshkosh (the makers of the M-ATV) eventually won with a smaller vehicle that shared many of the features of it’s bigger brother but more suited for a wider range of combat operations. This vehicle is slowly being rolled out to full scale productions, but reports from troops in the field are very positive.


The Kit

Having made the Humvee, it was only a matter of time before Spectre would look at assembling it’s replacement, a vehicle they have called the LTV. Thanks to the common systems (such as stowage or turret packs), a whole host of options are ready for players wanting to build one. The LTV is a modular vehicle, the rear deck easily switched. For this initial release, Spectre chose to go with the vehicle most suited for support your SOF ground troops. Although it should be noted, the pieces for the rear deck came in a separate baggie to the rest of the vehicle. I’d be keeping my eyes on Spectre to see what else they have up their sleeve.

As you can see, the LTV is a multi-part resin kit. Much like the other Spectre kits, there is some clean up required, along with the usual washing. I only noticed one minor piece of protruding resin but it wasn’t anything that required more than a quick file down and a spot of green stuff. Assembly was relatively simple too – I recommend just taking it slow and looking at the website as a reference. The most troublesome thing was the rear access hatch, but that simply glued in place on the back of the cab.

Of course, you can’t have a vehicle without stowage and addons so I decided to break out a few pieces to make it looked lived in. A rear gun mount took one of Spectre’s upcoming resin M240 (a preview the team passed me to take a look at), ideal for covering your operators dismounting. In addition, a jamming antenna adds some vertical height while some packs make it feel like a home base. Finally, a Javelin tube lets the vehicle be used as a resupply when the operators need to grab a new ATGM.

And here it is assembled, in the bare resin. As you can see, lots of detail in the resin. I didn’t find any air bubbles in my vehicle and I’m really happy with the quality. There are a few barely visible print lines that came over from the master (mainly on the windows) but the undercoat and paint covered them.

And from behind, you can see the detail on rear section, especially on the outer edges of the cargo bay.

Painting

In terms of painting, it’s the usual tricks. Desert Tan spray from Humbrol over a black undercoat, touched up with some brush work. From there, blue on the windows, black on the tyres, etc. Drybrush grey over the black to give it a shine, drybrush Iraqi sand to show dust. Agrax Earthshade wash, dabbed off to make sure it doesn’t look odd. Then finally, Desert Tan and Iraqi Sand drybrushes to give it the sandy look.

Comparisons

So size comparisons, between the three SOF vehicles with heavy weapons you can pick up from Spectre. As you can see the LTV sits tall over the humvee and the technical, even with no weapon mounted. It isn’t that much wider either, making it still able to fit down most city streets.

Okay, the M-ATV continues to be stupidly sized. Not only is it taller, but it’s also longer and wider (making me very worried about the idea of some of the actual MRAPs in 28mm). The LTV presents a really nice compromise between the Humvee and the M-ATV, much like in real life. In addition, you can see that both vehicles tower over the operators that use them. They are all a sight to see on the field.


Conclusion

Overall, I’m really impressed with the LTV. It’s a lovely satisfying chunk of resin to assemble and put on the table, perfect for giving your operators a tactical edge. There will be nothing cooler than the sight of this rumbling down the table toward the bad guys, a few of your shooters using it for cover while it’s RWS hammers away to keep the enemies head down. Expect to see it on the field soon.

Also, I might just be looking at picking up a few more, letting me deploy an entire team to the field in mine resistant vehicles. Of course before that, I think I need a few more weapon options. Maybe something with a selection of options to blow enemies away.

Wargaming Week 11/03/2019

Let’s start this Wargaming Week, covering the 4th through to the 10th of March.

BLOG STUFF

The WW2 introduction post finally went up (and only three months late). Despite being packed full of unpainted models, I’m really looking forward to this project. Having spent most of the morning before writing this reading “With the Jocks”, I’m starting to understand why everyone is carry shovels and picks on the models.

NEWS

Tiny Terrain’s T62, a product I know a lot of people are excited about, is continuing to progress. We’ve now reached the point where the 3D print is being created, thanks to Alan Crookes of White Dragon Miniatures (who is a thoroughly nice chap). As I’ve said, it looks really good – I am excited to picking up a pair of them to give my SF chaps something a little more interesting to fight.

Finally, there is some rejoicing going on with the news that Empress is moving to a new website. Ideally, it should be up on the day this is post goes up so fingers crossed nothing goes wrong.

On the downside, it does mean having to wait to show off and pick up the new Modern and WW2 British releases but I expect them to be in the next Wargaming Week.

PURCHASES

Nothing still working through my pile of stuff.

HOBBY

So I woke up on Wednesday this week and lay in bed feeling just mentally awful. So because of that, and looking ahead, I took a little personal time to just get some relaxation in. And for the first time in a bit, I just sat down with True Dective on my media server and just painted.

As part of this, I’ve been moving on with the LTV. As you can see above, it’s really close but there are still a few tiny touches to do. I do like how quickly you can paint vehicles but it does also remind me I need to actually get on and use my airbrush.


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

WW2 Project: Introduction

There comes a point in most wargamer’s life where your eyes start to wander towards collections of tanks and men armed with bolt action rifles. Afternoons spent watching war films, trips to the library to pull down the hardcover book full of black and white photos or endless nights of Call of Duty suddenly lead you to looking at collecting books of reference material and eyeing the various ranges of chaps in steel helmets and woolen uniforms.

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your frame of mind), it is my time to take a trip back to WW2 and build my own army up. Although we had been talking about it for a while, the decision by my ‘friend’ Peeb’s Gaming Nonsense to gift me a Churchill tank for Christmas was really the straw that broke the camels back and unleashed the whirlwind.

(It should be noted that I got him back by gifting him some additions to a possible WW2 British Para Force. So guess what we’re playing in September)

So, what am I doing in my World War 2 project? Well, my first interest in WW2 came from Operation Market Garden, but there is a distinct lack of Churchill’s amongst the elements of XXX Corps speeding up Hell’s Highway (mainly due to the speeding requirement).

So my eyes drifted to the Reichswald and then into 1945. Mud, blood and hard fighting, everyone reaching the breaking point as the war begins to draw to a close. This time period also lets my opponents pull out the weird and wonderful toys to play with, while I potentially get to mix Paras and Churchills, Tommies and Comets as the final offensives get underway.

Because of this, I’ve decided I’m going to make a force for this period. Pulling on the feel of things like Fury, (and helped partially by my wash heavy painting style) I’m going to making these guys into a platoon of British infantry somewhere in Northern Europe in the early stages of 1945. Everything is muddy and wet, you can feel the cold in your bones, and still, bloody Jerry won’t simply pack it in and call time for this long game.

To take inspiration from the period, and get the right mood, I’ll be using the name “When This Bloody War Is Over” for it. Having listened to the tune above, it seemed appropriate for the time period. I’m also collating a few more books on the subject to try and capture some of the feel for the actions and tactics of the time.


With that target laid out, I’ve already made my start. The most obvious thing is the Churchill tank, now fully assembled and with a few tweaks to make it look unique. It was a bit strange building plastic kits again, but the Warlord product is really nice. I do have opinions on the fact it comes with two turrets and only one turret rear basket but it wasn’t enough to ruin the kit. More on it once it’s painted.

The bulk of the force, and something else that pushed me over the edge was the announcement that Empress had a range of late war British coming soon. Sculpted by the incredible Paul Hicks, from the first photo I fell in love with them. It’s something about how crisp they are as well as the proportions. The assault jacket and decorated helmets are also a strong outline

I picked up the Bren teams and two each of the two rifleman sets. My intention is to do some modification to the duplicate poses. These will probably be minor, removing some of the pioneer tools (of which there are many) and rotating a few heads, building on the scrim everyone is wearing around the neck to cover over any gaps.

However, there is also the matter of another few packs coming out soon which Empress released at Hammerhead this past weekend. The PIAT is a must, while the kneeling rifles and sten gunners should help to bring my force closer to the core platoon being comprised entirely of Empress figures.

Of course, I had to have a little play with a few other things as well. Arnhem and a Bridge Too Far weigh heavy on my mind when thinking about WW2, thanks to the inspiration it had in getting me into history. Despite focusing on the poor blooding infantry, I couldn’t help but pick up a box. Both for sourcing possible conversion bits, but also to let me possibly start building a second platoon in my collection. Also, plastic kits are something different from the piles of metal I usually have to handle.

In addition, I picked up the Winter British Infantry (mainly for the greatcoat look) and to act as an additional infantry section. Finally, I really like the ghillie suited snipers and will be making them into a sniper team, one soldier having his rifle replaced with a sten gun. More details on these guys as I work my way through them.

For anyone interested, here is a rough look at the Empress and Warlord figures side by side. The Warlord guys are definitely chunkier but should work well as an attached squad (maybe some of those Canadian fellows).

I’m also using the British Paras for an idea that GetWhimiscal, Peeb and myself talked about at Christmas – modelled patrol markers for Chain of Command. This should help to make pre-game phase a little more visually appealing, as well as reminding the players just what the markers represent. It’s also a chance for me to break out the converting skills and learning something new. Above is my first attempt, a pair of paras patroling forward, one of whom has recovered an MP44. There is a lot of work to do before they are ready but I’m really looking forwarad to working on them. Also the lack of pointing right hand on the para sprue is irritating.


With this idea, what am I actually going to play? Well, Chain of Command has really grabbed me, in part due to the feel of the game. The patrol phase and the jumping off points especially make me feel like an infantry commander in WW2, rather than an all-seeing general. I look forward to breaking out the support lists and getting a few more games in

However, I was lucky enough to get my hands on Radio Dishdash’s Ultracombat Normandy, the latest ruleset from Skirmish Sangin’s developers. Having had a read through it, it’s got some really interesting ideas that I can’t wait to put into practise.


Overall, I’m really excited about starting an entirely new setting. I have a tentative goal of getting a force ready for September (even if the equipment isn’t technically correct for Operation Garden) but I’d like to get plenty of games in before then. And of course, it may make sense for me to get some opponents for them at some point…

As this project continues, expect new posts every time I finish something. Meanwhile, I have to go read up on painting camo suits and using rifle/gun team combinations rather than my beloved fireteam arrangement.

Wargaming Week 04/03/2019

Let’s start this Wargaming Week, covering the 25th of February through to the 3rd of March.

BLOG STUFF

Yeah I didn’t finish that WW2 post – I got too distracted assembling the models. But soon!

NEWS

Big news! Spectre V2 is finally announced and up for pre-order. I’m really excited about it, especially after seeing the new layout and diagrams. With all the photos shown off in the run up, I can see it being something that is great to just sit and read.

There is also the new limited edition figure which is just the exact style of operator I love. The baseball cap and headset look is ideal. In addition, he’s armed with a battle rifle giving you a nice punch on the battlefield.

As someone who helped test it, I’m really looking forward to my copy arriving. I’ll be writing lots about it, especially as intend to get a few games in !

Kind of some half news, Empress didn’t have time to show off their new releases for Hammerhead but have mentioned what they were. Come back next week for some photos of the new WW2 Brits and the female Insurgents (which after running around in Insurgency Sandstorm, I am every interested in).

Tiny Terrain’s T62 is getting closer and closer and I am really excited to see it in resin. Having got a Challenger 2, it’s just hunting for some targets. In addition, some less than modern MBTs would be ideal for adding to games to add an edge without being completely dominating.

Finally Full Battle Rattle have continued with details on the upcoming LAV-III. This time? Crew. Ideal for making your LAV-III’s look more lived in, I’m really excited to add these to my pre-order.

PURCHASES

No purchase this week!

HOBBY

WW2 project had some progress which I will be covering more in my upcoming post!


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

Wargaming Week 25/02/2019

Let’s start this Wargaming Week, covering the 18th through to the 24th of February.

BLOG STUFF

I am just putting the finishing touches on a blog post covering my plans for the WW2 project. This will just be covering the intro, as well as a few things I’m aiming for with it. From there, I can start writing post about the individual bits, like the churchill I assembled last week.

Although as a bit of a throwback, Spectre has started talking more about V2. Which reminded me about one of the few playtest games I actually wrote about, Big Bird Down. With the news of the full release coming Soon(tm) I’m really looking forward to playing a few more with all the improvements that the team at Spectre have been working on for the past year.

NEWS

One piece of news this week – Spectre have brought back the Covert Package item to the webstore. This was something I was a fan of back when I was starting, letting you possibly try out new ranges without picking up a whole pack. I do have my concerns about all these blind box arrangements (people buying tons in the hope of getting a specific model is always a worry) but they are also pretty handy if you just need to push your order into the free postage category.

PURCHASES

No real purchases this week other than a Warlord base pack for my WW2 project. This should give me all the bases I need for my project (infantry, prone bases, Jumping off Points and Patrol Markers).

HOBBY

So hobby. Honestly, it’s that time of the cycle where I’ve been distracted by real life. I’ve recently had a positive change in my life that makes me incredibly happy but does require a little rebalancing of time between job, hobby and freetime. However, thanks to the antics of my wargaming buddies back in Yorkshire (Peeb’s Gaming Nonsense and GetWhimsical) I’m starting to get excited again!

That said, I did manage to break out the spray paint and get the LTV and Humvee IV undercoated and in tan. They only need a few extra tweaks and then they should be good to go on the battlefield (and in a blog post).

Also more prototyping! Managed to spend an evening making sure the concepts make sense and then a weekend playing around with it. The other person involved in it is wanting to have it playable for an event in March so we’re working to make sure it’s something that is fun to play right now!


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

Wargaming Week 18/02/2019

Let’s start this Wargaming Week, covering the 11th through to the 17th of February.

NEWS

Spectre have continued to show off more of their photos from V2. This latest batch includes some really cool combinations of figures, ideal for inspiring your next game.

In addition to more photos, Spectre has also been talking about some of the rule changes, beginning with Suppression. This was something I found a bit of bugbear as I played and when I got to test V2 the changes basically dragged me back into the game. I’m planning an indepth look at the changes once V2 is released so keep an eye on the blog!

PURCHASES

No purchases, been busy with other things so haven’t had time to crack on with what I’ve been wanting to do.

HOBBY

Project WW2 rumble on as I finally assembled the Churchill I got as a present for Christmas. Building plastic kits are really fun, a nice change from the resin. And now having made it, I’m really tempted to get two more to build a full squadron. More photos coming in a project intro post that I’m working on for this week.

If you’ve read my Spectre Rare Model post, you may recognise this figure as the first dog handler released on the Spectre store just after it’s initial launch. This, for a very long time, was my white whale figure. I didn’t pick him up when he was available (I didn’t need any more dogs) and then regretted it ever since.

However, thanks to a very kind fellow hobbyist, I finally have him in my hand. I’m really looking forward to getting him painted up and adding him to the collection of operators ready for the table.


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

Wargaming Week 11/02/2019

Let’s start this Wargaming Week, covering the 4th through to the 10th of February.

BLOG STUFF

Writing and photos were taken of the LTV this week for the assembly stage. I’ll be moving it onto the paint desk soon.

NEWS

First of all, Empress and Paul Hicks have been very busy! As well as the WW2 range, Empress have released the first look at the Vietnam range. This US rifleman is all ready for Tet in 1968 and looks pretty great! I’m going to be keeping an eye on this range while trying to resist picking it up and starting YET another project.

Spectre Miniatures are also pushing forward with work on V2 of the rulebook. This means they have been hard at work with the camera and this week they dropped a sneak preview of some of the images they have taken. I really like the style Spectre has with these, and I really need to improve my own skills in this area to make the blog even better.

Managing to avoid last week’s wargaming week, Black Site has shown off and put up for pre-order for a brand new kit. And oh boy, if you’ve been wanting an MDF ship but hated the idea of painting it, this looks ideal. As someone who wrote a scenario about fighting on a ship, it’s great to see the number of these kits become available, giving people the ability to play more interesting scenarios.

PURCHASES

With this being the week after Vapa, my hand is staying well away from the buying things. Apart from another can of desert tan.

HOBBY

First up, I built the LTV I got from Vapa last weekend. This was a really satisfying kit to assemble – several big chunky pieces of resin to put together sensibly and even the wing mirrors are nice and solid. Having built my first, I’m really thinking about picking up more – these things look nice and chunky without being ridiculously sized like the M-ATV.

As well as the vehicles, I also started assembling the turrets I go with the vehicles. After finishing the Land Warfare RWS, apart from a bendy barrel, I realised I had a few other systems to look at. So expect a lot of updates coming to Project HMV soon!

There was also more prototyping – we had a lot of barbarians.


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

Wargaming Week 04/02/2019

Let’s start this Wargaming Week, covering the 28th of January through to the 3rd of February.

BLOG STUFF

There is blog stuff coming. I have a pile of it on my desk

NEWS

Tiny Terrain has shown off some previews of their upcoming Russian Tank Crew. Designed to go with their upcoming T-60, these guys are great for Afghanistan or Chechnya as well as a whole host of nations that use that style of kit. I’m quite excited to see them with the vehicle so well worth keeping an eye on Tiny Terrain’s page.

After weeks of teasing, Spectre has finally released the LTV. And I don’t know about you but MAN does it look cool all painted up. I’m really a fan of the two-tone camo on one of the vehicles (especially after seeing it in person) and I think this will be a great addition to any motor pool, giving you more options when it comes to designing missions. It’s also designed to mesh well with the HMV range, with many of the turrets, stowage and add-on items able to fit onto the LTV. There will be more details when I post about mine.

At the same time Spectre have also released the Land Warfare RWS, the horrifying 30mm cannon, ATGM and M240 combo. This thing definitely means business and looks awe-inspiring when mounted on the LTV. Having thought about it more, this system is really ideal for scenarios between neer-peer forces – something else the LTV is designed for.

PURCHASES

First up, I finally selected some replacements for the shitty brushes I bought last year. After weeks of waiting for Broken Toad to get the selection of brushes I wanted, I ended up buckling and just getting this Army Painter set off of Amazon. And the next day, it arrived on my desk.

I haven’t yet got round to using them but they seem good and at a reasonable price. Even better, they come with a really good guide on how best to use them.

And then I went to Vapnartak. As you might have guessed, I picked up the LTV from Spectre as well as the Land Warfare RWS and an upgrade pack to add the jamming aerial. The Spectre team also threw in two items coming soon, resin versions of items previously in metal. More details soon!

I also put in a pre-order and picked up some of the new Empress British for my WW2 project. One pack of bren guns and two each of the two rifle packs gives me enough for two sections (assuming the section leader carries a rifle). However, this would duplicate the poses which is not great but can be worked with. I’m thinking of doing some head surgery and green stuffing (as well as reducing the number of shovels these chaps seem to have collected)

HOBBY

I spent my Sunday visiting Vapnartak at York! This is one of my favourite shows, not just because it’s a chance to meet up with my usual wargaming buddy/opponent Peeb’s Gaming Nonsense but also because it’s the first show of the year meaning plenty of opportunities to talk to Spectre and Empress and hear what’s coming up. This year I got there pretty late but it did mean I got to get in for free AND run round with less of a fuss. Luckily I pre-ordered my items meaning I came away with exactly what I wanted.

There was also some cool games! Arriving late means a lot was slowing down but anyone playing Indiana Jones just had to have a picture taken of it!

More prototyping was done. This time with beer and pizza as well as the dice rolling. We added some objectives so the game feels more like an actual game rather than just a scrap in a back alley.


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