Friday 30 March 2018

One Man & His Dog

Erm...that’s all there is to say really.

When I last used my 7TV cultists, in a game against Mystery Incorporated, Matt, who was using the cultists, complained that the unit card said he could include a dog handler, but I didn’t have one.

And so, I bought one.

It’s been nice to do another if the cultists from Crooked Dice, as they were the my first completed cast last year. They are wonderfully simple models and quick to paint. I may have to add the female cultists at some point.

And there we have something else removed from the painting desk, although painting the dog did give me an idea about something else, and so I’ve actually added another two models to the queue.

Technically, this is a zero progress post. Hmmm...

Thursday 29 March 2018

The Gang’s All Here

In the spirit of finishing things off, I’ve taken the opportunity to add to my Necromunda Orlocks for the first time in around twenty years.

The reasons for this are twofold. Firstly, I had a brief flurry of nostalgic excitement about the release of the new Necromunda just before Christmas, until I found out that fundamentally the rules hadn’t changed massively, you could only get the full rules if you bought the big box (which includes two gangs of fiddly sprues) and you also needed to buy supplements to play the campaign - this is Cheaphammer after all!

Secondly, in a former gaming life I’d beefed up my Orlocks with a handful of Grenadier models that have now been repurposed into different projects over the years, and so my gang were a little short handed should we start a campaign.

Therefore, I took to eBay and secured a couple of Juves without needing to remortgage, and a healthy dose of begging netted me a couple of the original plastic hangers from Matt.

They’ve all been painted and based to fit in with the rest of the crew, obviously, who had a spruce up last year to serve as the Purple Dragons in my games of 7TV with the Turtles. I’m not sure these guys will see service in that way not that I’ve painted the Foot Clan, but there’s always an option.

However, you may remember that a few months ago, Matt and I began a fledgling Necromunda campaign. We were hoping to tempt Pete, who had Spyrers (filth) and possibly Wes, into the fray, but we’ve not really pushed that yet.

The two plastic gangers are packed with nostalgia for me. A friend and I bought the original box between us when we we sharing a house. He took the Goliaths and I had the Orlocks. We pretty soon moved onto the metal models, and although he moved on to the Delaques, I stuck with the Orlocks (although I did have a brief flurry with the Ratskins).

They’re certainly a bit dated now, but they are perfectly serviceable (more than can be said of the Goliaths) and fit in well with the rest of the gang.

The Lasgun is a bit big and some of their features are a bit cartoonish, but overall, I like them, even if the design of the Orlocks is a bit soft rock.

The addition of two more juves fixes an issue that I’ve had in Necromunda for a looong time. Namely the fact that I always had to recruit gangers rather than juves due to lack of models.

Although out of print models, and particularly Necromunda models, can get expensive, I didn’t spend more than a few quid on either of them. There doesn’t seem to be the demand for Orlocks that there is for the likes of the Escher models. Sometimes it’s good to be vanilla.

All in all, I’m pleased to get these done and off the table. I’m now ready if we do pick up the campaign, no matter how long that takes.

Wednesday 28 March 2018

The Last Defence of Mother Russia

Given that I’ve spent much of 2018 starting new projects, I’ve decided to try and clear out the tail end of some long running projects.

First in the firing line, so to speak, are the last few Russians for my Bolt Action army.

Most of these are made from some Plastic Soldier Company models which I’d given to Matt after I’d used a bunch to create my VBCW BUF force. I retrieved them (much to his delight, allowing his painting vs acquired tally to start the year in a very healthy position) mainly because I wanted to add some crew to my SU-76 (I’d lost the original crew somewhere). As he’d returned the whole bag of the PSC miniatures to me, complete with the pennies he’d based them on (so I made a 14p profit too!), it seemed silly not to add at least some of them to my army.

The Plastic Soldier Company Russians are, quite frankly, not great. However, they are cheap and serviceable, and if your are starting Bolt Action on a budget, they are the best way to acquire a fairly sizeable force for minimal cost.

The infantry box contain 57 models, allowing you to build several LMG squads and command. The heavy weapons box adds MMGs, anti tank rifles and mortars, and there’s also a box with 45mm anti-tank guns. If you throw in the fact that you have less fiddly assembly time than with a Warlord box, then there really are advantages to this range.

The downsides are that they lack an amount of detail, you get duplicate models and some of the sculpts are just funky. There is one model throwing a grenade with what looks like a withered arm that’s been dislocated at the shoulder...I’ve not used him.

I have used one of each of the sculpts to try to keep variety in my force.

I’ve painted the commander as a Commissar, as that’s something I’ve never used and it adds something trousers. In game it gives you the chance to reroll morale tests for the cost of one model, as the Commissar shoots them! I needed to find a new arm for this one, but simply used one of the many spares from my Warlord sprues.

The female officer is going to serve as a medic for me. I’ve never used a medic, and they’ve become a little less useful since the 2nd edition rules no longer counter-intuitively make them the best option for manning the machine guns in transports. I know the picture is a little blurred, but don’t worry, she doesn’t really have any sort of facial features to speak of that you’re missing.

The riflemen and sergeant have all been done in the same slapdash way I did all of my Russians. They’ve turned out okay, and so will slot into the army well.

The LMG team has been done in much the same way. I quite like the pose of the gunner as it is quite characterful (for these guys) and also marks him out from the more ‘action’ poses of the Warlord LMG gunners.

The AT Rifle gunner is actually the last of my Warlord models with a slightly converted PSC LMG loader. The rock was added to the base when I realised that when I’d clipped everything off the Warlord sprues, I’d neglected the AT rifle stands, therefore I needed something for the rifle to rest on. What I like about this model is that the Soviet rules allow me to take up to three Anti-Tank teams, and so I can use this alongside my other AT rifle team and either the surprisingly effective Mine Dogs or the surprisingly less effective Tank Hunters.

The SU-76 was painted some time ago, but I’ve taken the opportunity to add some decals and the crew.

Sticklers for historical accuracy would point out that the crew would not be wearing their full kit in the cramped conditions of the vehicles.

In response, I intend to point out that it’s even less historically accurate to have a light howitzer firing by itself without any crew.

Personally, I’m quite pleased with how this has turned out. It still comes at least second to my T-34/85 as my best tank, however, it is a cheaper option, there’s an optional rule that allows me to take an inexperienced SU-76 instead of the free rifle squad, and I have enough tanks for a game of Tank War, and so this vehicle will see some action.

Overall I pleased to get these guy off my painting table and put a lid on the Russian army. I’d still like to add some decals to my two tanks, and I may still add vehicles, but I certainly think I’m done for infantry. The only infantry I can see myself doing now are a few casualties using the renaming PSC models - perhaps as pinned markers.

Expect to see some more projects reaching ‘completion’ as I endeavour to clear some space on the painting table for the influx that follows my birthday this year.

Tuesday 20 March 2018

“What, do you guys come off an assembly line or something?”

Another batch of Resistance soldiers for Terminator; Genysis, and this time, in the full spirit of Cheaphammering, they’ve been co-opted from Mars Attacks by Mantic Games.

I picked up Mars Attacks cheaply a couple of years ago, with the intention of using the scenery and miniatures for zombie games and 7TV. Unfortunately, the single piece miniatures are a bit slender and small to fit in with most 28mm ranges. Fortunately, so are the Terminator; Genysis miniatures.

The miniatures are more individual than the Terminator Resistance models and so add some much needed variety to the force. The bases and uniforms are slightly different but not worryingly so. In fact, the only major downside is that most of them are armed with assault rifles, which are largely useless against Endoskeletons. Weight of fire is their only hope of slowing the machines down.

Fortunately, these troops also give me access to light machine guns, something that I’ve not had access to previously, partly due to the fact they’re not in the main rulebook. However, and errata has fixed that and so I’ll be able to add massed firepower at range to hold the terminators at bay.

The set also includes a missile launcher. Unfortunately, I can’t technically add a third until I bring my force up to 750 points.

At the moment, I’m currently only at 500 points, however events have taken place that mean that reaching that next benchmark might be easier than I first thought.

This also means that I get to start adding fun stuff to the machines, and I have plans for that too.

This is beginning to get out of hand...

Sunday 18 March 2018

Rage Against The Machines

Matt and I found time recently to play a couple of slightly larger game of Terminator: Genysis and, I have to say, it’s a much better game than I have it credit for.

Both of our previous games were tutorials which feature just a couple of Endoskeletons and ultimately the machines were stopped by a couple of lucky shots. However our most recent games were using the last tutorial mission and had 16 Resistance against 10 Termunators, and those machines were relentless and frightening and both times humanity was in a panicked struggle for survival.

This has prompted me to paint the Resistance models that came in the starter I picked up cheaply at last year’s Salute.

I’ve gone quick and dirty with painting these as their not the greatest miniatures in the world (serviceable, but not brilliant), and I’m not a fan painting in bulk.

There are four poses in the set and there is a degree of interchangeability with optional weapons. However this is limited, for example, the female fighter can only have a plasma rifle or a shotgun (something that non of the other models can have), and so I’ve tried to bring in some variation with different skin tones, hair colours and other features like bandannas.

I was a bit confused that with single pose models in uniform there was only one of the sculpts with a helmet on. Uniforms bring uniform isn’t really an issue, but hairstyles being the same becomes noticeable. I think these would be more desireable for other games if they were all in helmets.

I’ve gone with a simple dark grey with a wash, I didn’t even bother highlighting (don’t tell the paint police), and most of the weapons are black. I’ve allowed myself the luxury of doing the plasma rifles silver both to easily differentiate them from the assault rifles, but also they are supposed to be machine-tech and so silver makes some kind of narrative sense.

The basing, like on my Endoskeletons is just bare sand with some tufts added. As well as being quick, it means my models will be easily told apart from Matt’s (who’s done great bases) should we decide to merge our forces for a bigger game.

My initial aim is to get both of my forces up to 500 points. For the machines this just means making one of them a command unit and purchasing a reroll, however for the Resistance I will need to get creative with some cheap vehicles and my much-unloved Wargames Factory Apocalypse Survivors, as well as a few other surprising sources.

Watch this space. I’ll be back.

Sunday 11 March 2018

The Walking Dead - Issue #7

So, it’s time for the gang to leave Atlanta, but there’s a herd of Walkers determined to stop them. This was (or so I thought) going to be a big game featuring 13 characters, but would also involve both risks and rewards for the future of the campaign.

In the comics (spoiler alert) this encounter sees the death of Amy and the infection (and ultimately death) of Jim. Therefore, there was the chance that both of these characters could survive and be available later in the campaign. As ever, characters who died would be gone for good, and infected characters that survived to the end of the game would turn out not to have actually been bitten.

However, it is possible to not win the scenario due to not gaining enough victory points, and in this circumstance I would face the following penalties:
  • bitten characters who survived the scenario would actually succumb to their wounds,
  • Jim would turn out to have been bitten, just like in the comics.
So let’s see how I got on...

Days Gone Bye - Chapter 5

Despite Shane’s opposition, Rick persuades the others that they have to keep moving to stay alive. Unfortunately, the RV needs major repairs before they can pack up camp. While they’re working on repairing the transport, a herd of roamers emerges from the woods...

Well that went wrong!

The game only actually only lasted three turns due to me not remembering that a Walker getting within 3” of the campfire in the End Phase would end the game and being somewhat trigger happy with Andrea in the opening turns, thus overrunning myself. 

I probably should have focused on melee weapons and cleared out the Walkers who got close whilst Jim fixed the RV. This is especially annoying because Jim, armed with the wrench is pretty much a dead cert to fix the RV in four rounds.

To add insult to injury, Allen, who had already survived a lurker, was bitten when overwhelmed by the Walkers drawn to Andrea’s gunfire. According to my own rules, I failed to get the 5 VPs required for victory, and that means that both Allen and Jim end up succumbing to their woulds and joining the Walkers.

On the up side, Amy survived. However, she’s not as good as Allen, and given that Allen makes it all the way to the prison, there are a number of scenarios where I’m going to have to put Amy, or one of the other weaker characters in harm’s way in his place.

In terms of narrative, it works out. Andrea is consumed by guilt for Allen’s death (instead of Amy’s), both Allen and Jim will be left on the outskirts of Atlanta, with a tearful farewell between Allen and his wife Donna, and there has been a serious consequence to Shane’s insistence of staying near Atlanta, further driving a wedge between him and Rick.

And on that subject, the next scenario actually requires an opponent. Shane and Rick will go head to head, and one of them isn’t walking away...well, not until after they’re dead.  

Sunday 4 March 2018

The Walking Dead - Issue #6

I’ve decided that I need some painting motivation, and so I’ve figured out that if I play the remaining Days Gone Bye scenarios, I will need to do some painting before starting on the Miles Behind Us expansion.

This time I was joined by my daughter, who took control of Glenn, and we engaged in a tense mission on the streets of Atlanta.

Days Gone Bye - Chapter 4

Rick and Glenn decide to brave Atlanta once more, and head into the city limits to find vital supplies. Covering themselves in gore from downed Walkers, they try to sneak through the heart of infested territory.

After a very calm start, the end was extremely tense. My daughter actually shrieked when the lurker supply card was drawn. For the second game on a row, I’ve been a single turn away from a significant character death saved only by the fortuitous use of some found meds.

The next game is a big one, and for the first time I’ll actually have the chance to save the lives of some characters, rather than just get them killed.

Saturday 3 March 2018

Don’t mention the ‘D’ word!

The last few days of snow have give me the time to paint up the beginnings of a little project I’m doing for my daughter: The War for the Magic Kingdom.

The idea for this is to paint some characters from a well known producer of animated films to use for games of 7TV in which the heroes battle the combined forces of evil. The idea for this came for the Descendants films (ask your kids) which are set after the good guys have won and the baddies have been banished to the ‘Isle of the Lost’.

Perhaps the trickiest part of this project is locating suitable miniatures as there aren’t as many ‘not’ sculpts of these sorts of characters as you’d think - possibly due to how trigger happy the lawyers representing the well known producer of animated films are.

In respect of this, you might notice that I’m being somewhat circumspect in my use of names. I don’t want to get anybody into trouble, after all.

You might recognise these two, as I painted them a couple of years ago. However, time spent in the possession of a small child has meant that there were some chips to repaint, as well as a base for the Ice Queen and a new hand for Miss Feisty-Pants.

The miniatures are from North Star, as part of their Frostgrave range - labelled as a Fire Elementalist and her Apprentice. For reference, similar characters are available from Hasslefree.

Speaking of Hasslefree, this brave lass is from them, and was a really straightforward paint job. I’m a bit disappointed with her eyes, which look fine in real life, but the photo reveals to be a bit boss-eyed.

Also from Hasslefree is the evil fairy, currently the sole representative from the forces of wickedness. The sculpt is clearly based on the live-action iteration of the character, but I’ve tried to do a more traditional outfit.

Amusingly, I think the face makes it look like she’s being played by Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones.

The humpbacked bell-ringer is from Pulp Miniatures, and despite being dressed a bit too modern for the medieval setting of the subject character, the overall resemblance was too good to pass up (also, I already had the model).

I built up the hump with greenstuff to make the resemblance more obvious.

The cheeky monkey comes in the same pack as the previous miniature, but needed a tail adding to make him suitable to represent a flying carpet co-pilot from the Middle East.

I’m genuinely not happy with the final look of the face of this chap, and so I might need to go back to it. I think the problem is that he’s designed as a villainous henchman, and so there’s a sly look to the face that’s difficult to make look friendly.

This character, photographed amongst the white snow, is the Baron’s Daughter from White Knight Miniatures. I’m a little bit disappointed with the tidiness of my painting but the bright colours make it quite hard to cover up by throwing a wash over the I usually do.

I may revisit this one.

I’m now on the lookout for some more appropriate miniatures, particularly to represent some villains. I have already been ‘hooked’  by some pirates from North Star, which include a fellow who might make a suitable Captain.

Cards will follow when I’ve evened out the bad guys’ numbers.

Friday 2 March 2018

The Walking Dead - Issue #5

With the fact that outside my house currently resembles Narnia, our weekly gaming night hasn’t happened. Therefore I took the opportunity to continue my Walking Dead solo campaign.

Days Gone Bye - Chapter 3

Reunited with his family and an old friend, Rick thinks he may have found some respite from the horrors of the new world. But the fledgling group soon realised that there’s no rest from the threat of the Walkers.

Despite almost losing Shane, without the meds he’d have been done for, this was actually fairly straightforward. One of the issues with the solo game is that with a large number of characters it becomes too easy to manage the threat level, and so barring bad rolls it’s unlikely that the threat tracker will get away from you.

Admittedly, Shane was having a bit of a nightmare with his rolls, but this was largely due to me not giving him a melee weapon.

For reference, my character death rules are that if a character dies in game, they are gone and I will need to adjust future scenarios accordingly. If a character’s death in the comics happens ‘off screen’ then it will happen no matter what, however, if a scenario is built around a situation which causes character death and they survive, then they will make it to future games.

These ideas will only come into play in the final two scenarios of Days Gone Bye, specifically for Shane, Jim and Amy. However, despite apparently being bitten, Shane will live to fight again.