Thursday 31 October 2013

Welcome to BATVEMBER!!!

After the festivities of Zomtober and the much needed motivation it gave me I've decided to grab a new theme for a new month.

Given that my long stalled Gotham project had also benefited from last month in the shape of Comissioner Gordon and a SWAT team, continuing with this project was a fairly easy choice.

For those that don't know, I began this project last year before the arrival of the Batman Miniatures Game from Knight Models. Even though I have that game in mind, I'm not exclusively using either their models or the characters that they release. Most of the figures I've done have been Heroclix reprints which not only scale well with Knight's 35mm minis, but also are a damn sight cheaper given that I had them already. I am quite picky about the sculpts that I use though as some Heroclix stuff is truly horrible and I have been making some careful purchases.

The rosters so far...

Batman (Heroclix)
Nightwing (Crossover)
Robin (Crossover)
Comissioner Gordon (Heroclix)
3 SWAT Troopers (Heroclix)
2 Cops (Knight Models)
1 Detective (Heroclix)
Batmobile (Eaglemoss)

Joker (Heroclix)
Harley Quinn (Heroclix)
Riddler (Heroclix)
Killer Croc (Knight Models)
Mr Freeze (Knight Models)
Firefly (Heroclix)
2 Henchman (Heroclix)

As you can see, the villains are a bit thin on the ground and severely lacking in henchmen and transport, so much of what I'll do this month will be focused on them. I'll also be working on some terrain with the aim of having a playable board at home.

So, what are the rules?

Each week, usually a Sunday, I will complete at least one miniature or terrain piece for this project.


And as a special launch party treat I have few to begin with.

First up, Professor Jonathan Crane, aka the Scarecrow, the Master of Fear. On of Batman's more one dimensional foes, he is a psychologist who likes to scare people so he dresses up like're with me...and commits crimes using fear gas.

The model is from Heroclix and frankly isn't amazing, however, it is the best I have and I don't really like the Arkham City version that Knight have done either so he'll do until a better option presents itself.

Next up, a solution to the paucity of henchmen. Two escaped Blackgate prisoners. Again these are Heroclix, one with a head swap. These will actually duplicate the two henchmen I've done already for the Batman Miniatures Game, but this isn't a problem as the Blackgate Prisoners are useable by all villain gangs and I've got plans to alter the two I've already done.

Finally, some wheels for Mr J. This is an Ertl van I got off ebay. All I've really done is touch up some chipped paintwork, toned down the hideous yellow on the hubcaps and grill, and blacked out the windows (there's actually a Joker driving it, but he has a HUGE head). This will mainly serve as scenery, but I've got some ideas for using other rules which may see the Joker Gang pile in the back to escape from a heist.

That's all for now. See you again soon, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel.

Saturday 26 October 2013

Zomtober 4: The End?

City Hall has finally confirmed what this reporter has known for several days. Police and National Guard lines have been breached and the infected are now loose in the city.

In addition to the curfew, the public are being ordered to stay in their homes until order is restored. However, given the widespread outbreaks across the country, it is not certain how long that will be.

The official advice for...wait...what's that? What's going on Phil? 


Folks, we've got to go. Stay safe. 


So we've come to the end of Zomtober. Due to work commitments I found myself with much less time for painting this week. 

However, a decent session on Thursday saw me paint five Zombies and six Civilians in one night. I was able to get them done at speed as there were no models that I wanted to really spend a lot of time on, so I cut a few corners.

First up, the Zombies. These are the last of the men that I've got from Wargames Factory and rather than continue moaning I'll say that I'm actually quite pleased with them. These five looked awful when they were just under coated. Even the fat guys seem more in proportion.

This isn't the best picture but frm left to right there's a couch potato, a businessman, a guy in pyjamas, a medic and a survivalist. The survivalist has had a head swap from the Vixens sprue as the head he had was completely shapeless.

The Civilians are more O gauge railway scenic models and have been given a very simple paint job as their job is to get in the way and die screaming. I need some civilians to run an ATZ: Day One scenario.

And that's it. Zomtober is done. I'm really pleased with how I've done and I'd like to thank my fellow Zomtober Bloggers, especially Pulp Citizen and Brummie Thug and Rob of Four Colour Super Minis (whose idea it was), for giving me the motivation I needed to start a project that's been on a back burner for too long. I've also been given lots of ideas for future purchases based on others' blogs.

Next month is looking like Sovember as I have a load of Bolt Action Russians to paint, so I'll leave Zomtober with a couple  of images of everything I've painted this month:

The Zombies

The Survivors

Sunday 20 October 2013

Zomtober 3: There's...too...many...of...them...

Reports are coming in from across the city that police lines have been breached and the infected are dispersing amongst the populace, spreading the contagion.

There are also tales, that this reporter fervently hopes aren't true, of small groups of survivors being cut off and battling for their lives against the tide of the infected...

This week got off to a slow start due to work commitments, but I've managed to get my first two genuine survivors done.

This crowbar-armed tough guy will be pulling double duty as a hard-as-nails survivor (who's done his research on the best weaponry for surviving the apocalypse) and as a henchman in my Batman project. 

He's a heroclix model with a head swap from a GW sprue (Bretonnian Men-at-Arms I think) and he's turned out well. His suitability for both projects has also convinced me to use beveled bases for all of my survivors. Not only does it allow them to walk the streets of Gotham, but it also marks them out amongst the hordes of the undead and will prevent me forgetting about them mid-game.

This one makes me chuckle. She's a repaint of a model I've owned for years (possibly from Grenadier?) and was in my Orlock Necromunda gang as a Juve.

Inspired by the pop-culture references popping up throughout Zomtober, along with the fuss about Miley Cyrus getting 'all grown up', I spotted the opportunity to paint her up as anothe child star gone off the rails. I call her Stephanie (you probably need to have kids to get the reference).

And now the zombies. I set out this week to finish off the sprue of Zombie Vixens and discovered that there aren't actually enough arms with open hands for all the models on the sprue. So things have gone a little stumpy.

The one on the left below is probably my zombie-of-the-week. As to the one on the right, I'm not sure that I'm getting zombified black skin tones right yet, as the tricks I'm using for white skin (green was over skin, dry brush bone, wash pale brown) won't work. Any suggestions welcome.

Does anybody else find themselves naming zombies as their painting them. Not all the time but occasionally I do. Below are Michelle and Claire. It appears that nobody is safe from the virus...oh, and somebody forgot to save the cheerleader...

Finally, a couple of crawlers. I'm particularly happy with the one on the left. The spilled guts are from a GW zombie sprue and add a greater level of gruesome.

So that's week three. The horde continues to grow. 17 zombies so far. I'm not starting anothe sprue of Vixens yet, but I do have a few more of the frankly depressing male zombies to finish off the month.


Monday 14 October 2013

Firestorm: Lorraine - The End of the Road

In a busy week for World War II, another battle was fought in our Firestorm campaign. Pete was looking to capitalise on Bill's success against me, whilst Matt sought to return the Third Army to winning ways.

Pete won the initiative and elected to attack deeper into American territory and potentially capture a vital location that could win him a hat full of points at the end of the campaign, thus forcing the Americans to halt their advance and turn back to recapture their staging area. The scenario rolled, appropriately enough, was Breakthrough.

HQ - Panzer III
Panzer Platoon - 2 Panzer III, 2 Panzer IV
Panzer Platoon - 2 Panzer III, 2 Panzer IV
Assault Gun Platoon - 2 Stug G
Schwere Panzer Platoon - Tiger
Panther Platoon - 3 RT Panther (Firestorm Troops)

With the addition of the Panthers, Pete created a Kampfgruppe to bring his platoon count to even numbers. He took three Panzer IV and joined them with the 2iC Panzer IV, leaving one platoon of two Panzer III, and one of two Panzer III and one Panzer IV which were joined by the CiC. Pete placed the Stugs and Tiger in reserve to come on behind the objectives later in the game.

4TH ARMOURED COMPANY (Confident Veteran)
HQ - 3 Sherman M4A1 inc. Creighton Abrams
Tank Platoon - 2 Sherman M4A1, 1 Sherman M4A3
Tank Platoon - 2 Sherman M4A1, 1 Sherman M4A3
Light Tank Platoon - 3 Stuart M5A1
Tank Destroyer Platoon - Security Section, 2 M10 Tank Destroyers
Rifle Platoon - Full Strength & Bazooka (Firestorm Troops)
Field Artillery Battery - 4 155mm Howitzer (Firestorm Troops)

Matt opted to begin the game with one Tank Platoon, the Rifles and the Artillery on the board. He was hoping to camp on the objectives with the infantry and use his big guns to hammer the Panzers as they crossed the battlefield.


Matt deployed his Rifles at the crossroads, intent on scurrying down the road to straddle the two objectives. The were supported in this by the two command tanks lurking behind the farmhouse in the top left corner. The Artillery and Tank platoon (along with Abrams) were in the opposite corner, utilising the woods to hide, ambush the Germans.

Pete deployed all of his tanks, barring the platoon of two Panzer III's, as far towards the objectives as he could get, hoping to race across the board and get there before the Rifles had a chance to dig in. Special attention should be paid to Pete's historical deployment of his Panzer III's and Panzer IV's, a photo of which has been included for the purists...


Pete lost no time in making for the objectives as fast as he could. He took care to spread out as much as he could, aware that the Artillery would be looking to inflict some early casualties. Only the two Panzer III's took a different route, heading into the woods to threaten the Artillery and the Shermans. Pay close attention to where they are, as this will become important later...

Matt's first turn saw the second Sherman platoon arriving from reserve along the road by his Artillery park.

The Rifles left their foxholes and jogged down the road to take up positions behind the walls. You may notice the platoon grow later in the game when I noticed that Matt had only deployed 8 stands, not the 11 he was entitled to. Pete was pleased about this, obviously.

The Artillery, predictably, opened up on the clustered Panzers and nailed two of the Panzer IV's (one of which had bogged on a wall during its storm-trooper move. The Shermans bagged a third and even with a Herman Goering reroll on its morale, the remaining Panzer IV from the Kampfgruppe fled the field. One platoon down


Pete's second turn saw the Germans fan out even more, fearful of further bombardment. The Panthers hugged the table edge, hoping to use distance and the cornfield to mitigate the inevitable arrival of the M10's.

Shots were fired but the best the Panzers could manage was to bail an already bogged Sherman. Notice how those Panzer III's haven't really moved yet?

With the Germans moving stealthily, the Americans, lacking any reserves this turn, we're without viable targets. Shermans stalked the Panzers, whilst the Rifles made it to the objectives.


Pete spotted an opportunity for a dashing sweeping manoeuvre that could even the odds and the count of burning tanks.

Sadly, his gallant charge was hindered by two of the four tanks involved bogging on a stone wall, leaving only two to attack. They managed to knock out one Sherman, but it seemed like it wouldn't be enough.

The unmistakable whoosh of warp-drive engines could be heard as cloaked Romulan warships arrived from reserve. Pete's heart sank.

Meanwhile, Matt's more conventional laser-tanks (the now official name of 76mm Shermans in our games) finished off the gallant Panzers that had, perhaps recklessly, brought the fight to them.


The Germans countered the arrival of the M10's with reserves of their own. A pair of Stugs edged onto the board an immediately made their presence felt by destroying another Sherman, whilst one of the Panthers showed the power of their big gun by destroying the American 2iC.

However, in response, the American tanks moved to surround the troubled Germans. Stuart's came one from the rear and began pouring fire into the weak flanks of the Panthers.

Massed Shermans pounded the Stugs, but to no avail.

Whilst the M10's slipped through a wormhole into real space and bagged a Panther's bottom.


Remember those two Panzer III's? Have you noticed how I've not mentioned them since turn 2? Well that's because of this...

...which would pretty much continue until the end of the game...


The Stigs made the one of the Shermans pay for their platoon's inaccuracy.

An unbogged Panzer III managed to get the jump on an M10.

And the Tiger arrived from reserve to no real effect.

The Shermans moved closer.

Stuart's, amusingly, showed how poor Panther side armour really is, forcing a morale test which saw the remaining reluctant Panther flee the table.

And the remains of the mixed Panzer platoon were finished off. Only one platoon to destroy for an American win.


The Stugs and Tiger poured fire at any Shermans they could but despite managing to destroy a platoon, didn't really have enough effect to protect them from what was to come.

Shermans, Stuarts, an M10, Howitzers and a single Bazooka unloaded everything they had at the German tanks, knocking th out one-by-one. As the smoke cleared, the Herman forces had been shredded, the breakthrough had been halted and only two lonely Panzer III's still stood, inexplicably guarding a copse of trees.

After Matt's deadly first turn, Pete had always been up against it in this game. Breakthrough is hard enough with pure tank list at the best of times, but losing one of your strongest platoons on turn one and having a second trying to be one with nature for the entire game made victory nigh on impossible unless Matt did something really stupid, which he didn't. Pete was always going to lose a tank trading game.

To add injury to insult, the Firestorm Panthers were destroyed and removed from the game, bringing the German advance to a crashing halt. The Panzergrenadiers look somewhat vulnerable on the wrong side of the Moselle, protected only by the fact that other territories are more valuable.

After a brief period of worry, normal service has resumed for the Americans and their major concern now seems to be the fact that failing another initiative roll will see them unable to use all of their air sorties this game turn. It's a hard life.

Sunday 13 October 2013

Zomtober 2: Outbreak Under Control?

The Mayor has assured this reporter that the recent outbreak of violent behaviour in the Lower East Side is now firmly under control. Speaking at a lunchtime press conference the Mayor said, "After initially being caught by surprise by the scale and spread of the violence, the Police Department had deployed its Tactical Weapons Units to deal with the threat. You have my guarantee that this situation will not get any worse."

It's Police Week on Cheaphammer and my offering for Zomtober is a SWAT unit, deployed to combat the Zombies. The eagle-eyed amongst you will recognise that not only are these guys Heroclix sculpts, but that the chap with the torch is non other than Commissioner James Gordon. That's right, after a bit of a hiatus, my Gotham project is once again underway.

Gordon is massive. Given that the Batman models I'm using are 32mm, he looks eye to eye with them and simply towers over the WF Zombies. I like the model though, it has character and the body armour is more suitable for the combat nature of the Batman Miniatures Game.

The other members of the team are a little smaller, but as they're crouching, it's not so noticeable. This chap required a bit of chopping to make him fit the equipment requirements of his stat card in BMG (and also to remove the simply HUGE sidearm he was holding). Hands and gun from my Bolt Action Russians and a Bretonnian shield and the transformation was complete. I did try to do some lettering on the shield, but it looked like a child's scrawl so I removed it.

The other two members of the team are the same sculpt, something I don't usually like to use. However, given that firing an assault rifle is done in a pretty uniform way I was happy to use them and introduce a little more diversity to the department.

Continuing the Police Week theme, I've done a couple of the WF Zombies in police uniforms. The SWAT member had a head replacement from the WF Numidians, which although a little big is an improvement on the misshapen lump it replaced. There was a gap at the neck, but a splodge of liquid greenstuff turned it into a neck wound.

This guy. Well. I'm not happy with him, but he'll do as painting him is rather depressing.

And some more Vixens. These are much more sayisfying to do. There are some mould lines visible, but I'm not too fussy about it, I'm not trying to win prizes. The lifeguard is an odd choice for a zombie in an urban environment, but WF clearly want you to make it so I decided not to fight it. The business woman is more ubiquitous and although you can't see it, I'm very happy with her mushed up face. The jogger (a second one, was there a marathon on when the apocalypse happened) is another one I like.

A really productive week overall, making progress on two projects, 10 models painted and some terrain work done (more on that soon). I'm very close to being able to start playing some zombie games, however I'll need some survivors first...