Friday, 9 August 2019

It's All Ruined Now!

Recently I signed up to Terrain Time, a terrain building project during August. Details can be found at Deadly Dick's Tavern. The basics are to simply complete one piece of terrain, and although I'm planning to do more, here's my first piece.

I've been very slowly working on a terrain board for the next Board in Brum 7TV day in September. I'm aiming for something that can work for Lost World Pulp games or an alien planet such as Eternia. I'd already done three pieces of jungle terrain, so I thought a ruin would add a little bit of variety.

The base ruin is something I've had for a very long time and came from the original Fellowship of the Ring starter set from GW, which I've given a brush up. The walls are actually too thin and the reverse side has issues, but I feel that the jungle additions help hide some of the limitations of the piece.

I'd actually run out of the purple tinged leaves I'd used on the other terrain pieces and hadn't been able to find more of them. So I spent I little time removing some from my other terrain, and replaced them with some of the livid green fronds I picked up from a pound shop. This means I now have enough to give a few more terrain pieces a consistent feel.

Sadly, a piece like this still only counts as one model, however it's all progress.

Acquired: 158
Painted: 121

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

"I, for one, welcome our new parasitic alien overlords."

I've started a new army. A Scourge army for Dropzone Commander.

Yes, I know I made a new year's resolution to work on what I have, but I'd like to point out that it isn't for a new game and really is just an expansion of my Dropfleet Commander force, and given that the Battle For Earth book included rules for running a campaign across both systems, I was really given no option.

Yes, they're small.

This is the infantry contingent of a starter box I picked up cheap on Ebay. They form one of the core units required in any army.

In terms of painting, on figures this small washes reall come to your rescue, and I've not done anything fancy except the eyes, which are dots of white with a wash of Hexwraith Flame over them. This gives them a glow which reminds me of night vision goggles.

I've done the packs dark red to tie the infantry with the main colour I'll be using for the vehicles, but I'll talk more about that in a future post.

Importantly, however, getting these chaps done has a massive impact on my painting tally. I counted them as individual models when I bought them, so I can count them as individuals now they're painted.

My only purchase this week was a ridiculously cheap Lifthawk for my Resistance force that I stumbled across in Wargames Emporium, my flgs, and so the scales have balance up somewhat.

Acquired: 158
Painted: 120

Saturday, 3 August 2019

The Least Effective Guards In The Universe

One of the things that has struck me in my nostalgia trips back to Eternia is that the Palace Guards really are useless.

They have one job, to guard the palace, and this is a job that they singularly fail to do in every episode where it us relevant, relying on He-Man and chums to actually deal with any threats to the royal family.

What's more, their captain, Teela, regularly abandons her post to nag off on adventures which usually involve getting herself captured.

Naturally, when the opportunity to get hold of some of these 'elites' came about, I jumped at it.

The Palace Guards are from the same source as the Horde Troopers, and as with them, I will probably pick up more when they become available again.

I've used the same colour scheme as I did for Man-At-Arms, and it was very straightforward to do. As with the Horde Troopers, Filmation did not waste animation detail on background characters and so there were no fiddly bits to paint.

In games of 7TV these guys are destined to be used as Native Guards (I think) from the 7TV: Pulp set. It's occurred to me that the Pulp profiles are more than suitable for Masters of the Universe as He-Man's adventures on Eternia bear more than a passing resemblance to Flash Gordon's escapades on Mongo, and John Carter's tribulations on Mars.

Another two added to the painted pot has that total creeping towards the magic 100 for the year.

Acquired: 157
Painted: 92

Friday, 2 August 2019

Two's Company, Three's A Horde

I promised some painted models, and here they are, Horde Troopers to confront She-Ra and the Great Rebellion.

I wanted to get something simple done after the chore of painting the Gun Technicals for Dropzone, and one of the big advantages of sculpts based on the Filmation cartoons is that simplicity is the name of the game.

They are, as you might guess, custom sculpts, and I only bought three for now...not really a horde. However, there should be another opportunity to get a few more in the future, and so I'm likely to add to their numbers.

However, three is a good number as often in the cartoons you only saw three troopers at a time due to 'cost effective' animation standards.

In game terms, I've moved away from making custom 7TV profiles for every character as the sheer volume of profiles available now pretty much ensures that there is something suitable. Horde Troopers easily fit into the minion category which there are versions of in every iteration of the game.

Three models painted counteracts my holiday purchases nicely, moving things in the right direction again.

Acquired: 157
Painted: 90

Next up, some good guys...

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Channelling Cheaphammer

Sorry for the brief hiatus, but I've been on my holidays to Jersey.

As ever, part of my holiday was spent looking at things with a wargamer's eye and I thought I'd share some good spots for the game should you find yourself in Jersey.

First on the list for a historical or fantasy gamer is the frankly fantastic Mont Orgueil castle in Gorey.

This Norman castle is a brilliant place to wander about and is a textbook lesson in how much medieval builders knew about building death traps.

Whilst we're on the subject of castles, Elizabeth Castle opposite St Helier is well worth a visit as a demonstration of how fortifications developed over time. Built during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, this fort has been added to continuously, even by the German occupiers in WW2.

In fact, as Jersey was part of the Atlantic Wall but was never attacked, there are lots of intact WW2 defences to explore, including the War Tunnels, bunkers and command posts.

My final recommendation has nothing to do with wargaming and is a little off the beaten track. La Hougue Bie features an eclectic mix of historical artefacts and buildings all on the same site.

A neolithic passage grave (which you can enter) is topped with a Norman chapel where fake miracles were performed. Nearby is a WW2 German command bunker which has become a memorial to the forced labourers brought to the island. There is also a museum displaying a Celtic treasure hoard found in a field down the road and tells the story if the site, including the point where Victorians turned the chapel into a Githic fairytale tower. This is all topped off with a replica neolithic building to explore.

A brilliant place.

As you may expect, I also had my eyes open for potential gaming supplies.

A 30p plastic snake from Jersey Zoo, which is destined for my 7TV: Pulp games.

A slightly battered 1910 Renault I picked up in a model train store, which either needs the lamps replacing, or will get some armour plates for use VBCW or Operation Sealion games of Bolt Action.

Finally, and most surprisingly, is a Mars Attacks flying saucer that was half price in Toymaster of all places. I was on the verge of selling my Martians, but I'm now happy that I can add a centrepiece like this to what will become a new cast for 7TV.

Three more models are only a minor bit of digging in the hole I'm already in:

Acquired: 157
Painted: 87

The next post will include painted models. I promise.

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Let's Get Technical

Another six models done of my Dropzone Commander Resistance backlog. This time it's the awesome firepower of a squad of Gun Technicals.

In a game of tanks, dropships, battlemech style walkers and giant alien craft that spit plasma,  these are exactly what they look like: cars with a gun strapped to the back and a few extra metal plates screwed on the side. As such, they aren't going to be immensely resilient to enemy fire, especially as they have no countermeasures and so can pretty much be shot at from anywhere on the board.

They do have a few advantages though. Firstly, they are a cheap way of getting some more AA fire into the army - they can even focus their fire to potentially damage larger target. Secondly, they can enter play from the Breaching Drill I painted last week, and so can pop up behind enemy lines to harass weak points. Finally, they are scouts, which means they can provide line of sight for indirect fire weapons and allow command cards to affect units some distance from my commander.

In terms of painting they were fiddly buggers to do. Not only are they small and difficult to handle without rubbing paint off, but there are loads of tiny details. The sculpting of DZC miniatures is excellent, but Dave Lewis (the game designer) has such attention to detail that even bits that will never get seen are detailed and demand to be painted properly.

As with previous units, I've moved away from my main scheme to create a more ramshackle look to the unit. This has the added bonus of making it easier to work out which units have countermeasures and which don't.

Pete and I have now had three games using the new rules and we're thoroughly enjoying them. The game is much faster and frenetic, whereas it used to be laboriously tactical (although still fun).

Our game last night was a straight up kill fest and so it gave Pete a chance to break out his laser tanks (these are actually a thing) and, although the Gun Technicals weren't finished, for me to give my other new units a run out.

My Hellhogs were able to to complete a couple of attack runs, blowing up tanks and transports as they went. However, they were met head on by Pete's Archangel Interceptors which took down one of the Hogs before the first run was complete.

The Breaching Drill allowed my Freeriders to pop up behind Pete's lines and harass his tanks. Although they didn't kill a lot, they did draw a lot of fire away from the main lines and tenaciously clung on until the final turn.

The game ended in a narrow win to me, but if a couple of dice rolls on the last turn had gone differently, the result would have been reversed. It was close enough that we really had no idea who had won until we totalled up the kill points.

This would be a good week for the tallies if it weren't for the fact that Wargames Illustrated showed up with another free sprue of six plastic Crimean Russian infantry (God only knows what I'm going to do with them):

Acquired: 154
Painted: 87

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Underground, overground, wanting to be free...

After a long gap, I've recently started adding to my Dropzone Commander Resistance army again.

This return to Dropzone Commander has been prompted by the release of the second edition of the game in the 'Battle For Earth' sourcebook.

So far, Pete and I have had two games using the new rules and are really enjoying them. I'm particularly enjoying the fact that my Alexander command tank is no longer a points sink of single shot ineffectuality.

The first new addition to the army is a second Hellhog fast attack craft. In the new rules, these have lost the ability to hover, but having experimented with one last night, I have discovered that they are more than capable of ripping enemy tanks to shreds.

This model is actually a special character sculpt of Resistance commander Karl Foley, and as such has more armour plates and larger weapons than the standard Hellhog.

Special characters aren't actually useable in the new rules yet, I suspect they'll be added when the faction specific command cards are released. For now, this will serve as a second Hellhog in larger games, or might even get proxied as a Strikehawk Tiltrotor transport.

Speaking of transports, the other model is a Breaching Drill, which allows smaller units such as Free Riders or Technicals to pop up behind enemy lines and hopefully wreak havoc.

Additionally, the Breaching Drill also forms a defacto board edge for some of my units, allowing for easier extraction of objectives. This, I can imagine, will cause it to draw a lot of fire if I don't place it properly when it surfaces.

Only two models painted, and three more arrived through the post, so things aren't looking any healthier, however these two have been a bit of a blockage on my paint table for the past couple of weeks, so maybe I can start to make some inroads into the backlog soon:

Acquired: 148
Painted: 81

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Captain America: Fighting For Victory

Yesterday saw me heading down to Wargames Foundry to participate in yet another 7TV Day. This time the theme was 'Pulptastic' and the release of the new 7TV Box, and so the day was filled with stalwart heroes and vile despots battling for the fate of the planet under the guidance of either the Strategic Scientific Reserve or HYDRA.

After previous daliances with HYDRA, this time I was on the side of the angels, and fought to good fight with none other than Captain America himself.

My 30 rating cast were as follows:
  • Captain America, Costumed Champion
  • Bucky Barnes, Stalwart Sidekick
  • Lieutenant Dan, Army Officer
  • Sarge, Army Sergeant
  • Curley, Larry & Mo, Army Privates
  • Doc, Doctor
  • Professor Cushing, VIP
Episode 1: The Ambassador's Reception (vs Christopher)

Captain America had responded to information from Professor Cushing that an sinister scientist known as Doktor Morbius was seeking ancient knowledge to open an intergalatic portal that would threaten the world.

Heading straight to Cairo with his crack team, Cap discovers that this shadowy enemy had already plundered the secrets of the pyramids and awoken an ancient evil, Pharaoh Rocher and his undead minions, who were now in pursuit of their lost treasure.

Cap knew that he must quickly gather as much intel as he could so that he could pursue Morbius, and avoid the clutches of the evil Egyptian, who would not distinguish between the forces of democracy and those who had plundered the tomb. He order the squad to move quickly to secure anything that looked like a clue.

Cap himself noticed something glittering on a nearby roof and leapt up there to discover a crystal skull throbbing with power. Immediately he knew that this was what the Pharaoh was searching for. If he did not get it back, the ancient evil would tear Cairo apart in its rampage.

The squad operated with speed and efficiency, securing many clues and began to extract them away from the dessicated denizens of the pyramids.

However, whilst laying down covering fire, Bucky suddenly found himself assailed by the towering form of an avatar of Anubis.

The squad were suddenly enveloped in a veil of darkness emanating from one of the Pharaoh's servants. Cap realised that unless he acted quickly they would be caught and cut down by the malicious mummy.

He leapt into the fray, slamming the Pharaoh to the ground with his mighty shield, whilst shouting to his men to get moving. However, the evil Egyptian was not finished and slowly began to rise.

Bucky also managed to free himself from the grasp of the avatar of Anubis, but as he made his escape, a preserved priest appeared and its ancient mumbling took over brave Bucky's mind.

Cap was suddenly wrapped in the smothering veil of darkness and so was unable to defend himself when struck by the mighty bandaged fist of the mummy. Just as its ancient blade was about to be brought down...

...the Crystal Skull rolled out from beneath our hero. The Pharaoh suddenly stopped, reached down to retrieve the skull and then he and his followers dissolved into clouds of flies and returned to the tomb.

Cap and the team had secured enough information track Morbius to his hideout, but had been left badly bruised by their Egyptian encounter.

Episode 2: Venice is Burning (vs Mike)

Following the clues left behind in Cairo, Cap and the team track Doktor Morbius and his nefarious minions to a floating laboratory in Venice. Unfortunately, they arrive as the allies unleash Operation Bowler to destroy the Venetian shipyards.

Morbius and his accomplices were busy packing the last of their gear, unaware of the impending assault from land and air.

Meanwhile, Captain America led his team towards the docks, intent on securing the laboratory before it could escape.

The mechanical minions of Morbius become aware of the arrival of the team when rifle fire begins to ping of their armour.

Cap rushes forward to engage Maria, Morbius' hulking henchman in single combat, aware of the threat she would pose to his companions, as more fire rained down in support, knocking out the the red robot.

Meanwhile the squad move up the quay, firing at whatever they could, even Morbius' pet dog.

However, their advance is halted by the alluring form of that fatal female, Brittney Storm, assassin and seductress. She unleashed her weaponry on the hapless GIs, and then she shot at them too!

Suddenly, bombs rain down from above as the first wave of allied bombers strike, setting this portion of the docks ablaze, and knocking both heroes and villains flying.

Unfortunately, at least one reel of this episode is missing, lost somewhere in the store rooms of Hollywood. It is believed that it featured Captain America and Morbius' minions battling for control of the ship, Lieutenant Dan in a shootout with a hunchback, and Bucky in flames.

We rejoin the action with Cap having been hurled off the ship by Maria.

As Morbius started the engines, Cap leapt out of water and unleashed his last resort, the terror has he had been given by Professor Cushing. The hallucinogenic effects of this substance cause Brittany and, somehow, Maria to flee from the wheelhouse, preventing Morbius from fully gaining control of the ship

As more bombs fell, ultimately sinking the lab, Morbius slipped away. He would not be able to use his equipment to open a dimensional portal that would swallow the Earth, but he did retain the knowledge to open a smaller portal that could perhaps bring something through to aid his nefarious schemes.

Captain America would have to make sure that whatever came through was shut down properly.

Episode 3: The Merciless Monarch of Mongo (vs James)

Morbius opened a small portal to a planet called Mongo, where its Emperor, Ming the Merciless offered the Doktor secret knowledge in exchange for rulers hip of planet Earth. Morbius agreed, even though it was not his to give, and Ming led a small party through the portal to survey his new domain and assemble a terrible titanium titan that, when complete would allow Ming to stride across the planet crushing all in his path.

Captain America had tracked down Morbius' portal to a small village in the Spanish hills, and knew that if they could destroy the titan before its shields were activated, they could drive Ming back through the portal and close it behind him.

However, the titan was protected by a detachment of Ming's Royal Guard, his daughter, Princess Aura and the Emperor of the Universe himself, Ming the Merciless.

The Royal Guard advanced bravely, using a formation that although effective against the ray guns of Mongo, made them extremely susceptible to SMG fire from Sarge, and they took heavy casualties.

Concerned for his titan, Ming and Aura moved to defend it 

They took heavy fire from Lieutenant Dan and the boys advancing cautiously through the woods, Aura was then taken out if the fight by a spray of fire from Bucky.

Isolated on the hill, Ming could only watch as Captain America clobbered the last of his guards into submission.

Alone and surrounded, Ming realised that escape was now more crucial than victory.

Ming now looked to retreat, abandoning his titan to its fate.

However, his escape was cut off as the soldiers started to splash across the river towards him. He was forced to abandon his dignity and run.

This left Bucky free to clamber up the riverbank and plant explosives to blow up the titan.

After Doc had patched up the wounded Princess Aura, Cap nobly allowed her to return home through the portal, before he, with the help of Professor Cushing, closed it for good, saving the world from enslavement by Ming.

The End...or is it? Will Pharaoh Rocher spoil the celebrations? Is Morbius still on Mongo? Will Ming return in a flash?

The day was great fun, as usual, and not only featured lots of like-minded gamers playing silly games in good spirits, but also a Q&A session from Karl of Crooked Dice and the Edge Hill team that had helped develop 7TV: Pulp.

At the end of the day the big news is that somehow, according to a scoring system nobody fully understood, both SSR and HYDRA had scored 95 points each, so everyone was a winner.

Also, everybody who wanted one was given a sprue of Warlord Games plastic miniatures (I got more zulus), hard copies of the Children of the Fields programme guide (I only had the pdf before), and pulp postcards.

In addition there were prizes for nicest person, best superweapon and best board. I entered the superweapon contest with no real hope of winning as I'd seen some of the other entries (which included James' giant robot) online. However I offered television as my weapon, as ultimately it would come to destroy the movie serials that 7TV: Pulp was based on (very meta).

Finally, there were prizes for most points, and due to Christopher, who I played in my first game and had won the superweapon contest, I snuck in at the bottom of the prize category.

My prize was about a dozen sprues of overly large fantasy miniatures from Parrabellum Games which I promptly gave away to anyone who wanted them for fear of adding too much to the lead and plastic pile.

Matt had finished higher than me and had amassed a haul of Lucid Eye pulp miniatures and a variety of WW2 items. In exchange for some of the Parrabellum sprues he gave me two Soviet anti-tank guns (a Zis 2 and a Zis 3) as I have Bolt Action Russians and he doesn't. Additionally, Simon (off of Brummie's Wargaming Blog) gave me some Victorian Police to use, so all in all it was a good day for gaming, but a bad day for the tallies.

To make matters worse, earlier in the week I slipped, fell and accidentally bought a Scourge starter box for Dropzone Commander, adding a grand total of 53 models to my acquired tally, with only the TV for the superweapon being painted.

Acquired: 145
Painted: 79