Friday, 29 May 2015

Operation Unthinkable: Dropzone Commander

So this month I set myself the goal of completing my brand spanking new Resistance starter set for Dropzone Commander, and I'm pleased to say that I've been successful with a few days to spare.

This is my final battlegroup, featuring a Kraken Hovercraft and three AA Gun Wagons. This unit is my main defence against enemy aircraft, and main strike force against enemy troop carriers. I believe that unlike most transports, the Kraken allows the Gun Wagons to fire on the turn that they disembark, which means that I will have quite a threatening alpha strike capability against enemy transports. However, the Gun Wagons are some of the only vehicles in the game that don't have active countermeasures and so enemies can shoot them from distance, and so I'll need to be careful with them (for reference - it seems that all of the other vehicles without active countermeasures are also in the Resistance list...hmmm...).

The Kraken was probably my least favourite model to paint in the army. Not only is rather dull as a model, but it also, unlike the other models in the set, seemed to have a lot of release agent from the moulding process all over it, so it took some effort to get the paint to stick to it. On the up side, it painted up quickly, and if I have to do another one at some point, I'll cope.

On the other hand, the Gun Wagons are loads of fun. They've been described as having a 'Mad Max' feel to them, but I can't escape the image of these being part of a rather extreme Top Gear special (maybe if they return to Patagonia...). When it came to painting them, I wanted to break from the military theme, whilst still using colours that appear in the rest of the army at points, which I hope makes them different, whilst not breaking the overall look of the army. Personally, I think this works.

The feature I like most about this battle group is that the Kraken can actually carry the Gun Wagons without me having to faff around with magnets. The design of the model has also allowed me to leave the ramp unstuck, so that I can open and close it as necessary.

Finally, a shot of the whole army. This is the first time I've worked with lots of resin pieces and I have to say, it's really enjoyable to work with. The crisp detail, ease of trimming and cleaning up, simplicity of assembly and the way it makes my painting style work well are all massive positives, and have made me glad that I went with this army rather than the cheaper plastic sets. As long as the game doesn't suck, I'll certainly be adding to this army at a later date.

So with eyes on next month, not only am I committing to another Operation Unthinkable target, I'm also beginning the handily titled: Six Month Mountain Reduction Painting Challenge (hereafter referred as 6MMRPC). The only major changes to my current behaviour this asks for are that I am only allowed to buy models three times in the next six month unless I complete projects and earn more Jokers, and I need to post something every week.

As I'm aiming at completing six projects in that time, I should be able to spend when I need to, and it's always good to have a little pressure to post.

So my next Operation Unthinkable challenge is to complete two Guildball teams. I played a game against Craig this week and found it to be a cracking little game. However, with no money to spend, I'm going to go back to my Cheaphammer roots and knock up my teams from stuff I already have. I order to claim a joker once this is done, I need to post a 'before' picture, so here's two of my bits boxes:

The teams I'm going to try to make are the Mortician's Guild, which will primarily use elements from my WFB Undead army, and the Mason's Guild, which will lean heavily on my Bretonnians and some plastic Bloodbowl miniatures. My minimum requirements are to make three models for each team (including the team leader), which is the minimum requirement for a game, but the ultimate aim is to get to six for each team, although I may need to burn a Joker for this as I've no idea what I'm going to use for the Mason's mascot, which is a baboon.

This little project will also allow me to revisit the commandments of Cheaphammer, which newer readers may be unfamiliar with, and will serve as a timely reminder of just how cheap I can be.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Boots On The Ground

As the end of the month approaches I've managed to complete my second battlegroup for my Dropzone Commander Resistance force.

This battlegroup is, fairly obviously, a mobile infantry unit in the form of another Lifthawk Dropship and three squads of two bases of infantry, mounted in a Jackson APC. Apparently, infantry are key in Dropzone Commander, and I'm pleased to discover that although not packing awesome weaponry, these little guys are less likely to run away than most and the fact that they come in three squads makes them a bit more versatile than many of their opponents.

The Lifthawk Dropship is to all intents and purposes, with the slight exception of some of the details on the model, exactly the same as the last one. This one painted up really quickly as I was now following a pattern. It also comes with a handy AA gun mounted on its hull, although I suspect that given the need to move the infantry around the board, this will be used less for hunting enemy ships, and more for self-defence.

I showed off the Jacksons in my last post on this army. They haven't changed.

 The infantry are the element that has held things up. I've enjoyed painting both 6mm and 15mm figures before, but it appears that 10mm is the unloved middle child of the three scales, having neither the easy-to-paint details of 15mm, nor the 'it's so small nobody will notice' factor of 6mm. So they're not my best work, but as long as I either distract or intercept anybody who is about to move their eyes within a foot of them, they'll do fine.

I've stuck with the dust, desert-wasteland theme and extended this to their bases with just a covering of sand and some grass tufts I had lying around.

I've now got only four models to complete before the end of the month: a Kraken Hovercraft and three Gun Wagons. I've made a good start on the Kraken, so I'm fairly confident of success.

Stay tuned...

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Bat In The Game

After a bit of a Bat-break, I've finally got moving again on my ever-expanding BMG collection by completing another Batman (the Frank Miller version) and Black Canary. If I'm honest, these two have been arguably my least favourite models to paint for reasons I'll go into below, and that is probably one factor in my recent slowdown.

Canary took a bit of hacking initially to remove the tactical rock from her base and re-position her foot. I also had to build up he foot as I accidentally took a chunk out of it whilst removing the rock. I'd initially planned to have a go as painting her in her traditional garb of fishnets.

However, not only did it turn out that the casting of the mesh on her legs was too shallow in places, but also there was a socking great mould line down the back of her leg completely messing up the pattern.

I therefore decided to go for something more conservative and so rather than go for her new 52 outfit which is actually blue (????), I've gone for something more reminiscent of the character in the Arrow TV show.

You can't quite see it in the picture, but the darker areas have actually been built up with ink and so a shiny, and the face is better than it looks but I couldn't get the light right when photographing her.

In the game, Black Canary is yet another Acrobat, built for speed and loot grabbing. However, she comes with her Canary Cry, which is a template attack that can potentially cause an entire swarm of Henchmen to lose their activations for a turn.

The Frank Miller Batman (in that this is the Batman as he appears in Frank Miller's seminal treatment of the character 'The Dark Knight Returns') is the lowest Rep version of the character except Adam West Batman and so brings a degree of versatility to my potential Batman crews. He's also, strangely, probably the best in close combat because of the Combo rule. However, there are no other tricks up those sleeves, he's quite a direct beast.

I've gone for a fairly traditional paint job on him, simply to echo the version he's based on. I've had this model since Christmas and not had much enthusiasm for him, mainly due to already having done a Batman earlier in the year. That cape is a big chunk of metal and I will probably need to weight the base as I didn't want to use the section of roof he comes with to stand on.

Neither of these two is going to be a favourite model of mine, and they're not my best painting, but they're done to a reasonable standard, and now I can move on with the bundle of miniatures I got for my birthday.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Resistance Isn't Futile...I Hope!

As I may have mentioned, I've been lured into building an army for Dropzone Commander from Hawk Wargames. Not only have I been tempted to start a whole new army, I've also ended up buying the starter set for the most expensive of the five armies that are currently available: the all-resin-no-plastic Resistance.

Partly this was due to Pete, Wes and Mike already having started their UCM, PHR and Scourge armies and me not fancying the Shaltari (fortunately, Matt likes these), but mainly it was due to me having been given a fat pile of cash for my birthday and deciding to splurge on something pretty. So here's my first battle group of my army: a Lifthawk Dropship and two Hannibal Battle Tanks.

As the Resistance are apparently the remnants of humanity left behind on the 'Cradle Worlds' when the alien Scourge invaded over a century previous to the game, I figure that they might be hiding out away from useful places and so decided to paint mine in a desert theme. Unusually for me, these models feature washes AND highlighting, but they are so beautifully detailed that they're worth the extra effort. I'm particularly pleased with how the red details (actually they're missiles) really set off the colours.

The game is built around battle groups of units that all activate at the same time. Most battle groups feature transports and either vehicles or infantry (or even infantry in vehicles). The Lifthawk is one of my three main transports. It's job is to deliver the tanks to the combat zone quickly and efficiently. From what I've seen of the game, unless I drop the tanks in completely the wrong place, the Lifthawk won't be collecting them again and so its chunky AA gun allows it to go hunting enemy transports - I was delighted to find out that the transports in the other starter sets don't have AA guns and so can't shoot back at my Lifthawks. Result!

My Hannibal battle tanks are apparently something of a compromise. According to what I've read online (with all the caveats that brings), the Hannibals are either too lightly armoured or too short-ranged to go toe-to-toe with enemy heavy tanks, and too slow to function in another role. However, this is all theoretical until I actually play a game, and as it stands they've got the biggest guns in my current army and so will be indispensable.

I've also begun work on my second battle group, which will feature a second Lifthawk, six stands of infantry and these three Jackson APCs for them to get around in. I was actually disappoints to find that two of these were the same model as each other, as across the rest of the army, ramshackle uniqueness is the order of the day - even if it's just in the positioning of the replacement armour plates as on the Hannibals. However, I intend to do some unit markings eventually, which should address the problem.

So that's my progress so far. Whether or not I get everything done by the end of the month remains to be seen, but they're coming along nicely.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

A Little Help From My Friends?

So, I'm five months into Operation Unthinkable and I'm doing well and have given away only a handful of miniatures. So far the projects I've finished are:
  • Bolt Action Soviets
  • VBCW Royalists/B.U.F.
  • Flames of War Germans
  • BMG Urban Terrain
However, I'm seeing trouble on the horizon for a variety of reasons.  Firstly, I'm running out of simple things to finish and the bigger projects are looming. Secondly, being the magpie that I am, I've actually added a couple of items to some of the above projects in the shape of some more terrain and a Soviet assault gun. Finally, I'm getting side-tracked by new projects like the Dropzone Commander Resistance army I'm working on this month. The lead pile isn't diminishing as fast as it could be.

A lead pile...
Therefore, in order to stop the rot, I've decided to sign up to the 6 Month Painting Challenge that Matt failed at last year. The rules, taken from The Spider Web of History, are:

1. No purchasing of new miniatures, EXCEPT if you use a joker.  You get three jokers to use on a figure purchase.  Could be a blister pack, an ebay bundle, or a single can't splurge. The only exception to this rule is if you need bitz or A FIGURE (Singular) to complete a unit/warband etc. 

1.1 - There is an opportunity to "earn" additional jokers.  If you complete an entire project (whole unit/army/warband etc.) with pictures of starting, WIP, and completion, you earn yourself a Joker.  

2.  Gifts do not count against you. Holidays, birthdays etc. Also, if you're given gift cards by your hobby illiterate family or friends, you can without penalty use them on anything you want miniatures wise. 

3.  Paints, terrain (or materials), and other hobby supplies do not apply to the no purchasing rule. 

4.  At least one hobby related blog post and/or Instagram update a week.  If you instagram, be sure to hashtag your pic with #6MMRPC 

5.  Zombtober will be part of the 6 month challenge so, Zombie related stuff during October is ENCOURAGED. Other theme suggestions are welcomed. 

6.  Anyone that wants to submit a before and after picture of a miniature that they are proud of completing during the course of the challenge to will be entered into the running for a gift certificate to a online wargaming store of their choice.  Judging will be by an un-biased person.  Amount on the gift certificate will be dictated by winners nationality but should work out to about $30 U.S. I (Spiderweb of History) will not be eligible to win.  
Now let's be clear. I anticipate failure on the buying of stuff. However, with my birthday just gone I've got a stack of stuff to be working on and I still have projects to complete. What's more, I've noticed that BMG has begun to veer into characters that are more and more niche and not on my 'must have' list, which should help the buying a little. However, three purchases in six months is tough, so I'll deliberately be seeking out those bonus jokers to help out and this should provide added motivation for the bigger tasks that lie ahead.

For reference, these include:
  • 15mm Sicillian Greek army for Impetus
  • Completing my 15mm Mid War US force for Flames of War
  • 28mm War of 1812 Americans
  • 28mm Native Americans for Muskets & Tomahawks (and War of 1812)
  • 3 MDF Buildings and other scenery for my Urban Board
  • Loads of Zombies and Survivors
  • 28mm Superheroes for my mini-Marvel project
  • As ever...BMG
Mainly though, a bit of pressure to get stuff done will be a massive help.

Fancy joining in?