Wargaming Week 18/06/2018

Let’s start this Wargaming Week, a weekly look at what I’ve got up to over the last 7 days in the hobby, covering the 11th through to the 17th of June.

BLOG STUFF

It’s Humvee time! The start of a new project needs a big post and this initial impressions piece certainly fit the bill (coming in at almost 3000 words). It was however quite fun to write!

NEWS

No news this week – come back next time to see what’s coming up.

PURCHASES

Nothing this week – I’ve still got tons of stuff to work on.

HOBBY

The main hobby this week was my Tuesday evening, spent assembling and taking photos of the recently arrived HMV kits. It was one of those great hobby occasions where a plan is in effect and there is a key task that needs doing. I just got to sit back, put some TV on and spent the time cutting, gluing and photographing. The only downside was having to rapidly put the rest of the article together due to how little time I had to get the writing side done due to work and travelling time.

Apart from that, I haven’t managed to do much else. My Friday and weekend were spent down in Leeds seeing family for the Father’s Day festivities so apart from assembling a rough plan of my next Humvee order there was not much hobby.


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

Wargaming Week 11/06/2018

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

BLOG STUFF

Last week’s post was looking at Empress characterful Mercs, getting them ready for the tabletop. Expect to see these guys backing up my other mercs when things get really hairy.

As you may have seen in Friday’s post, I’ve done a little experiment with the images. I take my photos on my phone, with no fancy lenses or tweak-able settings. Most of the time I’ve used the raw photos straight from the camera which look okay but can also mean the main figures take up a tiny space. Instead, I’ve decided to try following advice and trimming the photos down to focus on the subject. On the one hand the photos are a bit more informative and show off the figures better. On the other hand, it does show off all the small mistakes I make while painting. I’ll freely admit, I don’t think of myself as a good painter – merely good enough for the tabletop. I’m still playing around with the best setup to get the best photos so expect some tweaks in quality over the next few posts.

NEWS

After spending a whole news post of Spectre Humvee and them not actually releasing, they are finally out! You can get to them on the site in the rather busy Vehicles collection page and I wouldn’t be too worried about the resin bits going out of stock. To be slightly down, a few of the weapon systems you might want are out of stock (minigun humvee will have to wait) and the crew figures are not here just yet and I really wish the bumpers were not bundled in with the rear sections. Apart from that though, just look at them! Fantastic detail and I can’t wait to get my grubby paws on them and get building.

There is also a 360 spin of the SOF vehicle available on the Spectre facebook page is you want to see the detail from all the angles.

PURCHASES

Well guess what this week’s purchases are – Humvees! I mentioned on Lead Adventure that I was splitting this impressions up (to make sure I stick within my hobby budget for the month) and building two vehicles this month and two in the next order. Order 1 is going to let me build two vehicles:

  • SOF Humvee (Upgrade Bravo and Charlie) with Door Armour Bravo and mounting a GPMG in the back (probably a single one from the twin GPMG pack) and a Bravo Turret with a SF M2 in it
  • Normal Humvee (Upgrade Alfa) with Door Armour Alfa and mounting Turret Alfa with a M2.

I’ll be able to take a look at the default variant covering all the basic construction options by just not gluing certain pieces in place while taking photos, meaning a small order can still cover all the important points.

Unrelated but seeing as I’m starting work on my Empress SF (both SEALs and US Army Special Forces in combat kit) as well as a few special figures that fit the range, I realised I was actually missing a model – US11, an American sniper in Crye precision gear. This is a figure I haven’t seen in the flesh and so grabbing some more pics would be great.

HOBBY

This week’s hobby was (shockingly) limited but I did manage to finish off the four mercs ready for last week’s post. I’ll freely admit they are not the best paint job I’ve done (not helped by the cropped photos) – a part of me was just sick and tired of seeing them sat on my workbench. That said, I’ve left them unvarnished so I can go back and do some touch up when I have some time. Apart from that though, usually great quality sculpts from Empress

In what ever other time I had, I started repainting the Empress SEALs and Sniper ready for redoing in the new method of multicam. As part of that, I did some tweaks to the standing version of the American Sniper. The example pictures show the rifle slung vertically. However, I am a cack handed fool and long vertically protruding elements do not last long. So, to prevent bent sniper barrels, I pulled the gun off his back and re-positioned it pointing down. Hopefully it doesn’t look too bad and means he may actually stay in once piece for longer. I’m looking forward to repainting these figures – they were some of the earliest I bought from Empress and it will be cool to see if I’ve improved.

With the rest of my hobby, I ran around a field most of this weekend dressed in my new Tigerstripe combat uniform and wielding my SR47 doing my best operator impression at the yearly Airsoft Club reunion. Haven’t been in ages, writing this while everything aches.


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

Wargaming Week 04/06/2018

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

BLOG STUFF

This week’s post was the last post in Project Technical, taking a look at the anti-aircraft options in the Technical range. It’s been a great time finishing all these vehicles and building up the collection. The next step is going to be writing (and running) some more scenarios to get them on the table.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

It’s also the start of a new month so time for a quick reminder. I run a Ko-Fi page where, if you like the stuff I write, you can throw me a few bucks. You can find it by clicking the button above or by going their directly at https://ko-fi.com/chargeblog

NEWS

Image from Spectre Miniatures

The main new this week is that it’s almost Humvee time! After a week of smaller teases of WIP and unpainted models, they finally showed off the full painted versions. As you can see above, there is a nice amount of variation between the vehicles, showing off some of the upgrade parts. I’m not 100% on the final release date but it’s going to be very close at this stage

Image from Spectre Miniatures

This photo from the Instagram shows off the SOF version accompanied by other vehicles like the Razor and a SF Technical. I must admit, I’m looking forward to running some mixed vehicle patrols, maybe even with the M-ATV. And speaking of M-ATV, I’m interested in seeing if the rear of the SOF vehicle could be used to speed up assembly of my M1245, saving on me having to detail all the panels at the rear. I’m not 100% on it but it will be work taking a look at.

PURCHASES

Currently none – just waiting to pick up a pile of Humvees.

HOBBY

The main hobby thing this week has been getting the three pedestal mounted AA guns finished. Honestly, the paint job is very simple but it was more just pushing to finish them.

Speaking of pushing to finish things, I finally started painting up the Empress Mercenaries I picked up before Salute. Having just watched the inspiration, I realised that I really didn’t want to paint a load of guys in just straight black. Instead, I looked at my Commando Global Solution figures (the SAS from Empress) and tried to work out some schemes that kind of match while still being distinct. So far, I’ve only finished this chap with an AA12 and a german sounding name but I’m working on the others soon.


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

Operation Dragon’s Hoard: The Final Run and Post Mortem

This post should have been appearing back in March. However, General Winter came a calling and the final run of Operation Dragon’s Hoard was delayed due to the show being cancelled after an unexpected amount of snow.

In my last post on Operation Dragon’s Hoard, I covered some major tweaks I’d made to the plane to make it look more crashed. I also covered some other tweaks I’d thought of making to add some extra detail. However, I ran out of time to make these alterations. They might be something I come back to in the future but honestly I think the game looked pretty great anyway.

The only other tweak I haven’t previously mentioned was to add some low cover for the insurgents. This was the Spectre Jersey Barriers I covered last week. This low cover was designed to give the militia a bit more staying power, especially after the great explosives massacre that was game 3 at Vapnartak.


After a night spent in York and a 1:30 drive down to Newark, Peeb and I managed to get to the Gamer’s Lounge to set up one hour before opening. Everything was really well organised, with easy access to the venue and plenty of parking. The switch over to using bubble wrap rather than the foam blocks continued to be a better choice. Unfortunately, just after setting up we spotted some large chunks of plaster surface that had cracked in transit and would need repairing. Luckily there were some big chunky terrain that could cover it up.

As you can see, we did a few little tweaks to the game layout. The biggest addition is the construction buildings from Supreme Littleness Designs, adding some much-needed vertical elevation to the board. Combined with the jersey barriers, it now looks like the plane has come down close to an abandoned building turned militia stronghold. I also assembled the two adobes to be a little less square. Is this practical town planning? Not really. Does it look better? Yes.

During the first game of the day (traditionally run between myself and Peeb while everyone attending was in “look around the show” mode) we had a good few pieces of action. This was the shot just after one of the operators loosed an AT4 round down range to knock out the MMG team on the first floor. Adding in the multiple levels really helped to make the game more interesting, especially as it gave the insurgents a slight advantage in a few cases.

And here it is again from the Operator eye view. Picking up the teddy bear stuffing and painting it for smoke clouds really adds something to the game.

Later in the game, four of the operators stack up on the edge of the plane.

Partway through the game, one of the RPG gunners spotted a possible shot by threading his explosive payload under the wings. Instead, thanks to a scatter roll, he managed to catch himself in the blast radius.

Game 1 ended with the BLUFOR having wiped most of the enemy off the board, popped smoke and then began to retreat with black box in tow. All at the cost of one killed operator and some injuries.

Board reset for game 2 – a few different operators ready for the players to use.

As always, blowing the cockpit is among the first objective everyone does.

For game 2, I decided to tweak the setup and have a technical waiting on the board. Thanks to a very low body value, this turned up once the players had started moving and so required a bit of careful planning. In the end, the technical managed to cause some injuries before being shredded by close range assault rifle fire.

What couldn’t be planned for was a lucky RPG shot flying straight across the board to hit a Good Samaritan trying to heal up an injured colleague. The RPG was a perfect shot and 6D10 damage has a habit of overwhelming even body armour.

I spent the final game talking to a few people so didn’t see much of the action. However, it sounded like the insurgents caused a fair amount of damage to the oncoming operators.

With the last game done, it was pretty quick to get the game packed up and begin the drive back to York. Overall, running a game at Hammerhead was great fun. Although I kind of wish we had been in the main hall rather than the Gamer’s Lounge so as to get the most eyes on it, it was still quite busy. The team behind Hammerhead was great, with plenty of emails and help on the day to making running the game super smooth. I also got some really nice feedback and advice from the Mantic rep at Hammerhead which made me start planning ahead.

Also The Terrain Tutor covered my board in his video – click here


With this being the last run, and no more game days planned due to real life work, I think it’s time to look back at the project.

First up,

What Went Well:

  • It Got Done – This was a project that went from initial concept to execution in just over a year. I managed to get four runs out of the game, going to multiple different shows and getting a lot of people to have eyes on the game. Everyone who played it seemed to enjoy it so it’s safe to say mission accomplished
  • Crashed Plane – The crashed plane, the very expensive cornerstone of the map, was a risk. But in the end if fulfilled the role I intended it to have – it caught the eye, with plenty of people rubbernecking as they walked around the various shows.
  • Scenario – Simple idea (recover crashed plane), multiple fun objectives (especially with multiple BLUFOR players) and a great show of the Plausible Deniability’s rules with stealth and new weapon systems.
  • Gradual Evolution – Although not the traditional way, varying and improving on the game between shows meant that even people who had seen the game before still stopped at the table to check in and look at the tweaks. It also meant that the work was spread throughout the project rather than being front-loaded before the game even hit the board.
  • Skirmish Sangin – I finally got to show Skirmish Sangin (and my book) to people. A common phrase said while near the board was “I’ve heard of Skirmish Sangin/own a copy but I’ve never played it”. As it’s a ruleset I very much enjoy (enough that I wanted to write a book for it), getting to show it off was really great.

That said,

What Didn’t Go Quite So Well:

  • Game Length – Due to the game lasting 2 hours, we only managed to get 3 games run through at each show. With game one normally being between me and peeb, this massively reduced how many people actually got a chance to play. When I next run a game, I’m going to aim for something closer to 1 hour. As for what I would change I’m not sure. Possibly reducing the number of figures or switching to a slightly faster playing ruleset.
  • The Boards – I used my Ford Fiesta for transportation which meant I had limited space. As much as they looked fantastic, I’m in half a mind if I would use moulded boards again. They were very heavy and had to be repeatedly repaired after breaking chunks of the surface up.
  • Pick Your Team – This was an idea I had to take advantage of the cards I had printed for the teams but as cool as the idea was, it didn’t quite work – it was very hard to balance and I’m not sure it was as exciting as my brain thought it was.
  • Multiple Missed Targets – As you may have noticed, a few of these posts included comments about “not managing to do tweaks I’d want to”. This meant there were ways I could have improved the game but missed out on due to time. Next time I think needs a bit more planning.

Overall though, the Operation Dragon’s Hoard game has been a pretty great experience. I got to go to various wargames show, get people playing moderns and show off something I’ve made. I’m already thinking a game we might do next, possibly inspired by the recent trip to London for Salute. So maybe you’ll be seeing another set of project posts coming soon. But not for a while – I have to work out where I’m storing all this stuff.

Battle Report – “Climb To Glory” – Skirmish Sangin

This week’s battle report takes us back to Bazistan. The last few battles have been pretty Special Forces heavy so this time we’re going to get the regulars on the table. This is also a chance to play some Skirmish Sangin without a giant plane sat across most of the table. Anyway, on with the battle report!


The contested zone between Bazistan and Aden has been the site of several attempts by international agencies in improve local conditions. One attempt in the 2000’s was the establishment of the Bazistan Agricultural College, including a modern educational building in the contested zone. The compound, co-sponsored by the Argo Corporation, would provide technical help to the locals farmers as well as a testbed for new techniques and varieties. Unfortunately, the building was started just before a rise in violence between the local tribes and the governments and so was left abandoned. The local farmers took over the fields around the building shell and continued to till the ground.
Unfortunately, the building, among others in the valley, have been taken over by one of the insurgent groups in region to use as staging positions when moving supplies and personnel into Aden. ISAF-AP have spotted the activity in the region and have ordered elements of the 3rd BCT, 10th Mountain Division to move down the valley. Starting the operation in the early hours of the morning, dawn is approaching by the time the first troops reaches the Bazistan Agricultural College.


BLUFOR

The Americans in this battle were formed up in two groups:

Alpha – Squad Leader and two fireteams with the usual mix of weapons (Two M4s, a M4 with UGL and a M249). One of the riflemen is replaced by a marksman with his M21.

Bravo – Team leader, Combat Lifesaver, grenadier and M240 medium machine gun team. All of these are mounted in a M-ATV with a HMG

The objective for the US Army troops were simple – secure the area, destroy enemy assets and limit friendly casualties. These guys are the forward edge of a search and destroy mission.

OPFOR

The opposing force in this battle was one of the militia groups in Bazistan that has taken advantage of the porous state of the border. Several small groups were scattered around the main buildings with a mix of weapons from assault rifles up to RPGs (including a RPG 29). There were also a set of technicals, with two of them carrying HMGs to add some fire support. Two more acted as objectives.

The insurgents have also setup the area for defence. They have placed some small but potent IEDs in some of the fields (in order to take out people trying to sneak into the area). Additionally, mortars in other strongpoints are available to call in (assuming a forward observation roll is passed).

For this mission, the Insurgents know that the Americans are in the area. They are preparing to fire a rocket barrage from their technical which is a little unreliable. This is also a delaying action, so causing casualties to the oncoming force will give other strong points more time to prepare their defences. Evacuating supplies and fighters is also recommended.


This battle begins just after dawn. The American offensive began before the sun rose, with small units working quickly and quietly to overcome positions at the start of the valley. Just off-board, Alpha dismounted from their MRAP and began their advance on foot, trekking up to the edge of the wadi. On the road, Bravo moved slowly, looking for a good position to support the assault.

Inside the college grounds, the insurgents were preparing the rocket pod pulled from a Bazistan Hind. Although the system for firing had been used before, it was never 100% reliable.

The M-ATV arrives with the gunner swinging to aim at the shell of the Agricultural College.

A better view from above shows Alpha set up near the wadi while Bravo sat in their M-ATV (their presence in the drainage ditch is an illusion).

Eager to get in the fight and keep pushing forward, Bravo’s driver put his foot down and floored it. As they rolled down the road, the gunner shouts “CONTACT” after spotting two of the sentries close to the turning into the compound.

Hearing the news over the radio, Alpha decided to stay in the wadi and put the fire down, rather than the original plan of assaulting the compound. The marksman in the squad quickly found a target on the roof and, in an excellent bit of marksmanship, dropped him with a single shot. This alarmed the RPG wielding fighter behind him, who is suddenly distracted from the oncoming M-ATV to evade bullets.

However, the insurgents closer to the road were all ready to take on the armoured truck rolling towards them. One of the DSHK technicals rolled onto the road while the RPG-29 gunner set himself up ready to fire. At the same time, the M240 team disembarked from the MRAP and began to set up their machine gun.

Before anyone could take their shots, one of the grenadiers in Alpha dropped a 40mm grenade straight onto the technical. This blast ripped the vehicle apart and rendered it combat ineffective. While the crew dived for cover amongst the wheat field, many of the other fighters were disheartened.

However, the RPG gunner on the roof was more on the game and sent an RPG round flying towards the target. Despite the huge size of the vehicle, he missed sending up a plume of smoke next to vehicle. The shot wasn’t entirely ineffective though – the blast rattled the crew inside causing them to be stunned in place.

Two insurgents attempted to outflank the MRAP by moving along the drainage ditch, careful to keep out of the firing arc of the M240. However, Bravo’s grenadier (sat in one of the passenger seats) spotted the oncoming threat. In one swift move he disembarked, spotted the oncoming threat and took out both fighters with a single 40mm grenade.

The two lead sentries, shocked by the arrival of the M-ATV, had gone to ground in the crop field. For a few activations they were hidden away until Alpha spotted them and opened up with the M249.

Back on the road, things were not going well. After seeing the original RPG 29 gunner get cut down, another insurgent rushed to pick up the dropped launcher. Barely pausing, and limited by his skill with heavy weapons, this plucky insurgent sent another round towards the vehicle. Sadly it was ineffective causing nothing more than another nasty fright for the crew in the MRAP. Return fire cut this have-a-go-hero before he could reload.

I haven’t got a huge number of photos of this but throughout the game, Alpha squad were racking up a massive bodycount. Rather than advance, they simply sat back and used their high rifle skills and night vision to spot enemy targets an engage. The photo shows one of the main threats to them, a PKM team in the front building, after it was engaged by multiple LMGs, 40mm grenade rounds and assault rifles.

After an aborted attempt, the rocket pod suddenly sprung to life. With a plume of smoke and a scream of rockets, the insurgents completed one of their objectives by sending its deadly payload into the bulk of the American offensive.

Around the same time, a plucky insurgent armed with an RPG attempted a hit and run on the MRAP. This shot also missed but it did make the M-ATV realise that it maybe should move before one of the rounds actually caused some damage.

Having seen the rocket pod go off, the Americans were desperate to engage and destroy the launcher before it fired again. This lead to a rather hilarious situation where almost two full squads engaged an empty vehicle and managed to do nothing more than add some ventilation holes, wreck the interior and blow big chunks of dirt up.

On the other flank, the green technical had been attracting ineffective fire from Alpha while distracting them from the escaping supply truck. As the rounds got closer, the technical decided to back up.

“What’s that Abdul, there’s Americans around here?”

The M-ATV hammered away with it’s .50cal, turning the vehicle to mincemeat and igniting the ammo.

With only two fighters left, Alpha and Bravo decided to roll forward and begin clearing out the college building. However, tragedy unfolded when the M-ATV decided to cut through one of the crop fields. With a deafening bang, one of the IEDs detonated and ripped through the crew compartment, completely destroying the vehicle. Having not taken a single casualty all game, two soldiers were now dead and an expensive vehicle was now wrecked.

However, the Americans had forced the insurgents from this position and the road was now open for the rest of the offensive to move forward. At the same time, despite massive casualties, the insurgents had fired their rocket barrage, evacuated their supply truck and caused casualties amongst the American forces.


Overall it was a really fun game. BLUFOR managed to get fire superiority and keep it through most of the game. Playing as the insurgents, I think I fixated too much on the M-ATV rather than trying to engage Alpha. It was a real shame that my off-map mortar were not called in – I guess they had an issue (possibly the kicking off for a new scenario perhaps). At the same time, I managed to hit all of my objectives which is new! It’s also really different to play with more Average troops having been running the demo game with Special Forces. There were more missed shots than I was used to (even with one of my opponents using his magic dice) which led to a few outrageous shots.

Having not run a game at the club since January, I really miss the different feel that you get from running demo games. It’s a bit more relaxed despite having less time to play. So expect a game in April – perhaps this one will be run with more than a week’s worth of planning.

Operation Dragon’s Hoard: Vapnartak, York

If you haven’t checked out the previous posts in the series on Operation Dragon’s Hoard, check out the page I’ve set up for it at http://hntdaab.co.uk/blog/demo-game-operation-dragons-hoard/

Last weekend was Vapnartak. This was a show I’ve been particularly looking forward to; Its one of my “local” shows (thanks to one of my buddies in the wargaming being based in York) and it’s also a massive event spread over three floors (and mezzanines). Its big enough to lure many of the southern companies (such as Empress) up to the frozen north. Getting to run a game has been on my wish list for a while and I was a little disheartened when they initially reported they had ran out of space. However, thanks to the guys at York we managed to squeeze in and we were off to the races.

PRE-GAME TWEAKS

So with the whole uncertainty around if I was running a game, I didn’t manage to do the main task of making the plane look a little less hacksawed by using my new airbrush and dremel. With only two weeks, the idea of having to repair it in the event of dremel related mishaps was too much to take. Instead, the focus shifted to improving the other elements on the table.

First stage was repairing the boards. This was pretty simple – reapply the filler, textured paint and the cover up with lashings of Zandri Dust. The repair work was mostly effective. However afterwards there were one or two places where I don’t think the filler had set properly before I painted it and so it wasn’t quite as hard-wearing as it should have been. However, between these tweaks and changing how I transported the boards (bubble wrap rather than foam spacers) meant there were no massive chunks of surface that had been knocked away.

The next step was to add some more terrain elements. Finishing off another RedVectors buildings gave the OPFOR some height (useful for the marksman) and make the board look a little less empty. As I mentioned in the impressions on them, this one is great but I did have one or two events where the rooftops dropped through the rest of the building. Luckily no figures were lost to the fall damage.

Another element I think that was missing from the board was debris. Even if you ignore the straight edges on the plane wreckage, it’s easy to notice the lack of material that a plane shredding itself in mid-air would eject. This would also add some more detail to the board and provide some difficult ground to cross. Building them was pretty simple – get more plasticard, cut out kidney shapes, add plastic elements from the C130 kit and then cover in filler. Some of the plastic elements were trimmed to be closer to the ground making them look like they have sunk into the sand.

Once assembled, the same process I used on the boards again came into place. The difference this time was that I added a rough spray of grey over the plane elements, oversprayed by the base colour and then finished off with some drybrushing grey and the old faithful, Iraqi Sand. Overall I think they worked out quite well – it helps to make the board look closer to the ideal.. The only issue was again due to the filler. It hadn’t set correctly and so, as you can see above, a few bits chipped off over the weekend. It’s easily fixable but if I had more time it shouldn’t have happened in the first place. Moral of the story – don’t try to rush things at the last-minute.

For a while, I’ve been wanting to upgrade my central objective from “white SUV” to something more suitable to the mission title of “Dragon’s Hoard”. After throwing a few ideas around, the idea of a big chunk of gold was just too tempting. I’d already bought the components I was going to use as part of Bank Accessories pack from TTCombat in 2017 and just hadn’t got round to building the actual objective. With time pressure adding focus, I built the pile of gold you see above. The three stacks were to act as the base, with one of the smaller piles placed on top for detail. The other smaller pile was chopped up into single bricks to be loosely scattered around the base.

After basic construction, the next stage was adding the tarp. This was the classic modelling standby – toilet paper with watered down PVA painted over the top. Once this was dried, painting began. Rather than painting up like terrain, this was closer to a figure – sand on the base, black undercoat, base colours, lashings of agrax and then drybrushing. The tarp was painted dark blue first before going over the top with a layer of light blue. Gold on black is always interesting and it took several coats to get the look I was after. Also Agrax is still my method of choice for fixing any issues with painting.

Something else I needed was smoke cloud, both for the operators to deploy and also to mark when explosions went off. Rather than cotton wool, one of my fellow SESWC members pointed me in the direction of teddy bear stuffing. After a Saturday where I couldn’t find any in Edinburgh I went to Amazon and ordered 1kg of the stuff. Now, I may not have anticipated just how much 1kg of stuffing is. The package was literally straining at the packaging when it arrived. To put it mildly, I don’t think I’ll be buying much more, even if I decided to model shooting lines for a Napoleonic battle.

Once I’d pulled lumps of smoke off the pile, it was painting time. Rather than just dropping lumps on the board, I used some old bases to keep the clumps anchored to the ground. Rather than just using the same colour for all of the smoke, I set up a few schemes. The white smoke had Mechanicus Grey spray for the lower portion with white spray paint for the top half. The black smoke was a little more involved. The bottom was black spray done relatively close to the clump for a dark colour. The next step was black again but further away. Finally, a light dusting of grey for the top of the cloud. For a first attempt, the smoke clouds worked fine – the only change I’d make would be to get a glue gun to stick the smoke to the base.

Some of the final prep was getting some more cards printed out. This was for a few reasons but primarily, it was because I repainted my insurgents. Along with finishing the other insurgents, I had I ended up with a fair number of cards left over to fill. This was a perfect excuse to keep working on the Task Force Operator pile, with a particular focus on some of the cool gear people may want to pick (such as the airburst grenade launcher). I also added the December releases to the list of guys I have on cards so pickup games of Skrimish Sangin will be even easier to arrange. Once again, personalised card creator knocked it out the park in terms of service. Downside: I didn’t do any post processing on the images so you can plainly see which cards are from which packs I made. However, they were once again a hit.

As I mentioned in my last post, the game at Fiasco ran well but it did feel like the operators, once on the objectives, were basically fated to win which is fine but not quite as exciting as it should be. Having managed to use two of the cards in the new pack for some Technicals, I decided that the operators going loud (be that by lots of gunfire or by blowing the cockpit) should prompt the arrival of some insurgents reinforcements. This basically moved the response squad from a building to a much larger threat, as a four man team of veterans were accompanied by two technicals with HMGs. The operators, thanks to the technicals lacking armour and BLUFOR having brought AT weapons, would find it relatively easy to destroy these reinforcements, as long as they react fast enough. This also makes the end game as exciting as the start, forcing the players to change-up the plan rather than getting all the time in the world to work out how best to approach the problem.

DETAILS OF THE DAY

After setting up the boards on Saturday afternoon (thanks to traders and game organisers being let in early), Sunday morning was a quite relaxed affair where we were able to turn up, get the figures out and then get ready for everyone turning up. Once again, we managed to run the mission three times, rotating players and observers each time.

Game 1 was the usual show started in that I get to play against my number 2. As well as making the game look busy while everyone is doing the early morning lap of the show, it’s also a chance to iron out issues and show off exciting gameplay. Game 1 had a nice mix of stealth and violent gunplay with BLUFOR achieving most of their objective before we called time.

Game 2 brought in some of the public to participate. I actually disappeared off for my lunch break during this battle so I didn’t see all of it but there was everything from awesome sniper shots, some clever tactics and a slightly explosive fumble that luckily didn’t cause any harm other than the need for some fresh pants.

Heading for the black box leads to some close quarters gun battles.

The final game of the day showed just how deadly Skirmish Sangin can be. Thanks to the operators picking a lot of explosive weapons (ranging from two AT4s to the multiple grenade launcher and airburst grenade launcher) the game was all action all the time. With both BLUFOR players ignoring stealth in favour of all action all the time, this was one game where the technicals were actually rolled out. The .50cal scared a few people, but the return fire was able to cut

The pickup takes an airburst round, shredding the insurgents near it
Later on, the MGL gunner engages the horde of technicals heading for the gold.

THOUGHTS ON VAPNARTAK

That was the game, how was the show? Well, apart from two evacuations after someone set the smoke alarm off twice, it was a fantastic show. Vapnartak does really well thanks to its timing at the start of the year, dragging in everyone looking to pickup new projects for a new year. The range of sellers is always great, and I was very excited to see both Spectre and Empress there. The combination of these two (plus people like Pig Iron Productions and Crooked Dice) is perfect for any ultramodern gamers.

Speaking of gamers, thanks to the size of York it’s perfect for meeting up with people you’ve only talked to online. Putting voices to names is always exciting and getting to talk about the hobby is one of my favourite things.

PLANS FOR NEXT TIME

So what’s next?

  • Work on the plane – change the edges of the cut to look less uniform, curl some of the panels, add some interior details (dangling wires and cargo nets) and then tweak the paint job
  • General repair work – make sure there are no chipped edges
  • Get the new buildings from Supreme Littleness Designs ready for action – I’m really excited to get these buildings into action. As I want to build and paint them up myself, there is going to be a little bit time to put aside to get these things built up but they should improve the look of the board and provide a nice tactical challenge for the players.
  • Tweak the battle – We’re almost there. The final gameplay tweak is going to be adding another two-man patrol to the OPFOR start. However, this patrol will be further back – they are not designed to be sentries, instead they will be backup once the action starts.

Something else I’m thinking about is future games. In the projects post for this year I’d mentioned my plan to do a second demo game, with its first run at Fiasco. As fun as this would be, one of the things I realised is that I kind of missed going to Vapa as a customer rather than as someone demoing. Chatting to the figure makers was limited to during a few small breaks. I also didn’t get to do as much browsing as I would like. Combining this with possible work schedules and I think I’ll be having a year off. Game 2 will be bumped back, giving me some more time to work on what exactly I want to do.

CONCLUSION

I’m so glad that we managed to show off at York. I’m even more glad that people really seemed to enjoy it. I had lots of great feedback from people (as always, a downed C130 draws the eye) and was really happy that lots of people totting cameras stopped to take proper photos. Seeing as the planned items is also much smaller, I think we are almost there with this game. Fingers crossed, the version shown at Hammerhead will be the definitive version, perfect for its final planned showing. So keep your eyes open for the final part of Operation Dragon’s Hoard at Hammerhead in March.

Wargaming Week 22/01/2018

Let’s start, covering the 15th through to the 21st of January.

BLOG STUFF

Last week’s post was looking at December’s release from Spectre. I really like this little set of releases – its exciting to see some new weapons for the older ranges, giving them more options on the battlefield. It will be cool to see just how much gear the Task Force Operators end up getting, especially as you’ll not be using a huge number of them.

NEWS

Last week was a little too quiet for news updates in the field of 28mm Modern. I’m thinking many of the big companies are getting ready for Vapnartak in early February.

GAMING

No gaming last week, too busy finishing off a few personal things.

However, slightly related to gaming is a new project I’ve started work on. I’m not quite ready to give out many details on it just yet, but the plan is to make something a little different that can be used to generate scenarios for any ultramodern game.

PURCHASES

The first part of “Look at all the companies” has arrived. A small order from SASM in the states arrived on my desk after about a week in transit which was pretty good. Inside was a pack of 3D printed plastic water bottles (which I’ll cover when I do an update on project technical) and the Operator Juarez pack. There will be more details in a week or two when I do the proper impressions but early impressions are mixed.

But that wasn’t the only model related thing this week. I’ve also put two orders in to some countries across the sea. There are currently packages heading my way from Warhansa in Russia and Eureka in Australia. More details when they arrive.

The final thing that arrived is a can adaptor for my airbrush. I still have a few propellant cans left over and, rather than simply putting them to one side, my plan is to use them up before getting a compressor. Unfortunately, the different hose size from my old adapter meant I had to get a new adaptor sent out. However, now I’m ready for airbrushing time!

HOBBY

Not a huge amount of hobby time this week sadly – did a few more block colours on the insurgents and got the SASM figures ready for painting. Too busy!


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

Wargaming Week 15/01/2018

Let’s start, covering the 8th through to the 14th of January.

BLOG STUFF

This week on the blog, we took a look at a brand new ruleset Round of Fire. I was really excited to try it out and from the few games I got in over Christmas it’s definitely something I want to play more of. Hopefully I should get a few games in.

To everyone who just started reading based off being linked to my Round of Fire Impressions, welcome! I hope you enjoy all the content that’s going up over the next few weeks. We’ve got a nice mix of articles planned, from figures impressions to tactics articles to battle reports.

NEWS

Not a huge amount of news this week, but I’d recommend going over to Tiny Terrain’s Facebook page to look at some of the new models from their “War in Chechnya” campaign. Beautifully painted up by Andy Zeck, these figures look awesome. I’m struggling to work out where I can fit them in the Bazistan/Zaiweibo theatres but I’m looking forward to grabbing them once they are available.

GAMING

Nothing yet – however, there is a Spectre game on the books for the 25th so look forward to an upcoming battle report on the 26th!

PURCHASES

As it was my birthday on the monday, and it’s a dumb item I’ve been looking at for a while, I decided to spend some money on the Citadel Painting handles. Before I go further, I am sure you could get something similar for cheaper but work being 5 minutes from the nearest Warhammer shop was just too tempting. I think I’m going to do a bit more of a write-up on them after they get a bit more use but I’m currently a fan. I’m not probably going to use them for bigger batch painting jobs but for doing small numbers (where you don’t have to keep swapping out the models) they are invaluable.

HOBBY

I was busy writing the Round of Fire Impressions this week but I did manage to get some painting in. The first set of the week (and in fact the year) was finishing off the models for the December releases impressions planned for Friday. These three were more Task Force Operators so apart from some of the new gear it was a return to the usual methods of painting this lot – block out the main colours, do most of the detailing and then paint on the multicam scheme.

The next main thing I’ve been working on was repainting the Spectre insurgents. The original set was done very early on in my return to the hobby and so had a limited colour pallet of OD and tan. This was starting to look a bit tired, especially next to the militia, and so I decided that enough was enough and they were dumped into the iso. As these guys are used pretty frequently amongst my OPFOR choices, the turn around has to be pretty quickly. This is especially the case as many of the insurgents are to be used as part of the demo game and a new paint scheme means new cards are needing to be printed. I’ve only done the basic colours so far, but the plan is to paint the insurgents in a mix of camo and plain colours to make them look a little more military than their militia buddies.


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