Sunday 27 January 2019

Board For Brum (Part 3)

And so it came time to pack up my cast and my board and drive down to Board in Brum, a great little gaming store in Walsall, or the day itself. Once there I preceded to set up my section of New York City.

I’d decided that there needed to be a bit more cover in the middle of the table, and so I took along a few more vehicles and set up a bit of an accident with a spilled load in the middle of the crossroads.

Whilst I was doing this, others were arriving and setting up their own dizzying array of boards, with themes that included spy-fi, post-apocalypse, gothic horror and even Action Force.

Take a look at these...

And then came the games.

Mike, who organised the event had set up a storyline based in the studios of Barron Productions in which each game featured special rules that reflected Sidney Barron’s lack of investment. Lights on the blink, a labour dispute and food poisoning in the catering van would all have an effect on roceedings.

On top of this, we were all given slogans for popular consumer brands in the 70s and had to force them into the game with gratuitous product placement in order to gain the benefit of additional plot points.

All of this silliness in the studios set the scene for each of us to develop our own narrative throughout the day. We didn’t even have to worry too much about who won or lost as there were no prizes for such meaningless concepts as victory.

Therefore, I present my TMNT spin-off mini-series...


Episode 1: Hostile Takeover

Having had an agent in deep cover in Baxter Stockmsn’s former employers, TCRI, Shredder became aware of the company’s further experimentation with trans-dimensional mutagen, and decided to break in to steal their secrets, and enable him to generate a horde of hybridised monstrosities to flood the sewers and finish off the Turtles once and for all.

However, having discovered the Foot’s infiltration, Dugo Hrax, the CEO of TCRI  decided that not only did he want the spy killed, but he also sought to use the Foot Clan as a test of his latest creation...the Apetopus!

As Hrax looked on from above the action, Foot Clan ninjas swept out of their dojo and down the street towards TCRI.

However, they apparent ‘accident’ in the road was a trap and a monstrous primate-cephalopod hybrid slithered it’s way across the wreckage towards them, followed by SMG toting minions that unleashed a barrage of fire that ended Steve, the ninja who’d been undercover in TCRI’s HR department.

Undeterred, the ninjas swept forwards and shuriken whipped through the air, dropping minions left right and centre.

The minion commander found himself suddenly attack from the rear by Baxter Stockman’s Mousers. As they were powered by Energizer Batteries, they kept going and going until he was dead.

Meanwhile, Shredder leapt fearlessly into the fray with the Apetopus...well...fearlessly until he got close to the tentacular terror and despite using an ancient sushido choke move to temporarily incapacitate the beast, his caution prevented him getting too close to finish it off.

Determined to record the Apetopus’ performance accurately, and also because he minion bodyguards had just been killed by well placed exploding eggshell, Hrax used his jet-brogues to hover down for a closer look, and was delighted to see the octopoid-baboon regenerate its wounds and seek to engulf Shredder.

However, the Master of the Foot Clan eventually mastered his fear and sliced and diced the creature into something resembling a bush-tucker trial, leaving nothing to stop the Foot entering the TCRI research labs.

However, Hrax has seen all he needed to see and after a few parting shots, jetted off to refine his Apetopus formula for future applications.

Episode 2: The Splinter Cell

Having infiltrated TVCI, Baxter Stockman wastes no time in locating the mutagenic samples he would need to unleash formless spawn into the sewers, and the Foot Clan were on their way out of the labs with their prize.

Suddenly, figured seemed to flow out of the shadows ahead of them. Shredder recognised them as agents of SHIVA, a worldwide secret organisation the Foot Clan has once been part of, and they were led by non other than Kali, the Daughter of Death.

Ninjas swept forwards towards Kali. It seemed impossible that they’d be able to defeat SHIVA’s most deadly assassin, but as their Adidas sneakers flashed briefly on screen, Shredder shouted to remind them that impossible is nothing.

However, it turned out that impossible was actually something and they both died, leaving  the two martial arts masters facing each other.

The titanic showdown never came, as Shredder saw that his ninjas were outgunned and in what can only be described as a Jedi-leap, pounced on the SHIVA minions and began to slaughter them.

Meanwhile, Baxter Stockman was lurking behind machiney keeping the mutagen safe, but found himself attacked out of nowhere by Kali’s acolyte, who made short work of the mutated scientist and took the deadly research.

Realising that they were being out-ninja’d, the Foot Clan began to back away.

Any attempt to fight back saw them cut down.

This left Shredder isolated, and as he closed on the final minion, he was struck from behind by Kali and left for dead. The agents of SHIVA made off with their prize, certain to wreak more havoc with it than just flushing amphibians out of the sewers.

Episode 3: Foot Race

Shredder and his men woke up in a cargo container somewhere in the mid-west. Emerging into the light, Shredder realised that Kali had planned a fate worse than death for him as he looked to horizon and saw that SHIVA had unleashed a gibberish horde of Apetopi in heart of America that were even now slithering towards the Foot.

They would have to run!

What’s more, the Turtles had been on the trail of the missing Foot Clan, and Shredder could see their hated green forms closing in. And yet they too were were now facing the same Apetopocalypse.

The day could still be a success if Shredder could feed his mortal enemies to the advancing horde whilst saving himself.

Baxter Stockman buzzed to the roof of a diner, reached into his pocket and used a device that encased Michaelangelo in a bubble of energy that plunged him back towards the gibberish horde.

Aware he could not outrun his fate, Mikey decided to sell his life dearly, and with a defiant ‘Cowabunga!’ disappeared amongst the tentacles.

Meanwhile, Shredder and the ninjas were running for their lives when one of the ninjas tripped over a fuel can, spilling gasoline everywhere and bringing the other ninjas down on top of him.

An exasperated Shredder turned and shouted, “What are you waiting for? A Polaroid picture? All you have to do is keep up with me. It’s a simple!

At that moment a loose katana scraped on a stone, creating a spark that ignited the gas and set all of the ninjas’ robes on fire. In the ensuing panic, all of the ninjas fled back towards the encroaching Apetopi and were lost...although the air was filled with the pleasant smell of fried calamari.

Aware they were being tracked, the remaining Turtles flung a variety of missiles in BCter’s direction, but none of them hit.

Shredder and his remaining henchmen closed in on their quarry and took down some of the Turtles companions from the local police force.

Baxter Stockman saw an opportunity to take out another Turtle and spat acid at a departing Raphael.

Furious at this and the loss of his brother, the notoriously bad-tempered amphibian halted his flight to deliver a solid beating to Baxter Stockman, leaving the scientist at mercy of the Apetopocalypse.

Only Shredder, the three remaining Turtles and Channel 6 reporter April O’Neil made it to safety. At least she’d been filming and now had a story for tonight’s show!


And that was it. A great day’s gaming where the focus was more on the gaming than being gamey, which is as it should be.

A quick shout out to my opponents Andy, Alistair and Matt for fantastic games, to Simon and Mike whose excellent boards I played on, to everyone else for being really friendly, to Wayne for bringing a lucky dip of miniatures for everyone who took part (the tally is now: Painted 6 - Acquired 9), to Simon and Jez at Board in Brum for hosting an excellent day, and especially to Mike for organising such a fantastic event.

The next one is in September. I’ll definitely be there.

Tuesday 22 January 2019

Board For Brum (Part 2)

I’ve carried on doing a little work tidying up my board for the Board in Brum 7TV event this coming weekend. Due to time constraints, this has only actually involved a single new terrain piece and a couple of signs, but it has given a little bit of TMNT flavour to my generic city board.

Also, there’s the little bit of work I did last week on the residential block and the TCRI sign.

Here’s the overall layout.

Some of the roads are a bit barren and potential kill zones, but roads are a bit like that.

The fuel tank is the new piece I’ve done this week. It’s from a company called Urban Construct and I picked it up at a show years ago. It’s a really rough cast, which is why I’ve never got round to it, or bought anything from the company since. I’ve kept it fairly generic in terms of colour scheme so that I can potentially use it in a range of settings.

So that’s all ready for the weekend. It’s functional and looks good enough, although I’ve seen some of the other boards that will be there and they look stunning.

The painting tally has taken a bit of a hit as I’ve only added the fuel tank, but something I ordered just after new year finally arrived, and this month’s Wargames Illustrated unhelpfully comes with 6 Bolt Action miniatures.

Acquired: 7
Painted: 6


Sunday 13 January 2019

Board For Brum (Part 1)

I’m off to a 7TV tournament in a couple of weeks, although I use the term ‘tournament’ loosely, as 7TV seems designed to obstruct overtly competitive types with random silliness. 

It’s being held at Board in Brum in Birmingham, which is not somewhere I’ve been before, and it’s their second 7TV event. They have a really nice feature of asking participants to take along a terrain board (if they want to) which matches their cast.

I’m taking my Foot Clan along, and so I shall also be taking along my urban terrain and may. Although my simplistic terrain won’t really match up to some of the outstanding boards I saw photos of at the last event, it’s a good excuse to finish off some jobs that I’ve been putting off for a long time, such as this...

Yes, I know you’ve seen it before and it was assembled and painted years ago at the start of my journey into the Batman Miniatures Game, but if you look closely, you’ll nitcive something has changed...

Yep, I’ve finally painted the steps and railings. I’ve kept things simple to fit with the flat, comic book feel that I did the other buildings in. I decided to go with black railings as it evokes cast iron which is more transferable through the different eras I use this building for.

I’ve also painted the holes on the chimney pots, which was something else I’d inexplicably not done, and reglued the back wall on the top floor, as it was beginning to come away.

Along with the building, I’ve done the first of a couple of jobs to make my board a little more TMNT specific.

This is a BMG billboard that originally had a Vicki Vale radio show design etched into the mdf. However, try as I might I could never get the poster to look right as the colours alway faded into the mdf.

Cue today and a much simpler approach. Paint it black and stick a printed poster over it!

TCRI (or Techno-Cosmic Research Institute) are a nefarious company that feature in several iterations of the Turtles. I know them best from the 2012 animated series, where TCRI are the front company for the Krang invasion of Earth.

Sadly, I made a bit of a mistake when sticking the printout to the billboard and it’s a little off centre. I couldn’t change it as I discovered today that if you use pva to bond paper to mdf, it bonds instantly. It looks fine but it will annoy me. 

There are a couple more small jobs I want to do to the table to ‘Turtle it up’ a bit before the event at the end of January.

I forgot to mention my painting tally last week. This is part of my resolution to paint more than I acquire and with the three tanks and these two terrain pieces (I’m counting the stairs railings and chimney as one ‘model’) my tally currently stands at:

Acquired: 0
Painted: 5

That’s a good started, but I’m going to have to pick up the pace because something happened last week that is going to upset the apple cart very early in proceedings. I’ll give more details in a few weeks, but I will say that it’s not my fault.9

Tuesday 8 January 2019

Tanks A Bunch!

Happy New Year!

I’ve spent the last week or so cobbling together a range of plastic vehicle kits I got for Christmas. I don’t particularly enjoy painting vehicles and I tend to go for simplicity rather than anything clever, so there’s not much in this post to shout about.

Anyway, here’s my Soviet armoured fist.

First up is the KV-1, a slow and heavy tank from early in the war that has armour beyond anything the Germans had to throw against it. It should give Pete a few headaches in our Ostfront games until we get to the invention of the big cats.

The kit is from Warlord/Italieri and has some needlessly fiddly bits such as tracks that come in four separate pieces, and panels which seem like they would have been better simply moulded as part of the hull.

However, it does have one rather outstanding feature... comes with a second turret allowing it to be fielded as a KV-2 which packs a massive heavy howitzer capable of destroying buildings in games.

The turret was again a bit awkward as I had to hold about six pieces together at the same time, and on the other side of the turret there is a bit of a bigger gap between panels that I’d have liked because of this.

However, don’t let this put you off as that’s more about me being a bit ham-fisted. This is still a great kit, especially because it not only gives you two tanks for the price of one, but also comes with a sprue if Russian infantry as well.  With 20% off the RRP at Outpost Gamesit’s a full blown Cheaphammer bargain.

What’s more, it gives me much more powerful artillery to play with than the single medium mortar team I’ve been coping with so far.

On the subject of artillery...

...I’ve also built an SU-122 self-propelled gun.

This kit is from Rubicon and quite frankly was much easier to build than the KV-1 kit. It also had options to be built as as an SU-85 tank destroyer, however it wasn’t really possible to make it interchangeable without faffing about with magnets.

I went for the SU-122 as the KV-2 isn’t available in late war lists, and therefore the SU-122 will take on the same role by the one I’m destroying Berlin. It will have to be a bit more cautious than the KV-2 due to being built on the chassis of the T-34 medium tank.

This Katyusha mobile rocket launcher should help when it comes to flattening Berlin.

Another Rubicon kit, and similarly easy to build. There is one area in which it falls short if the Warlord kit, the driver (there is one in there) lacks the detail and definition of the crew of the KV-1. This would give me pause before I bought any of the Rubicon infantry or artillery kits.

Katyushas played a large large and amusing role in our big Christmas game, and so I look forward to getting this into a game where there’s infantry clustered that need obliterating.

The three kits came with a plethora of waerslide decals, allowing me to finally add a little bit of character to my other tanks.

I amused myself by adoning the resin tank I originally bought as part of an eBay lot when starting Bolt Action with a large it’s a T-34/76.

I also added a bit of colour to my T-34/85 (no, there wasn’t an 85 on the decal sheets). 

This tank is other reason I didn’t build an SU-85, as they are both packing the same heavy anti-tank gun. Technically, the tank destroyer was available earlier in the war, but I felt that the SU-122 offered greater versatility.

So that’s what I’ve been doing. Not especially clever or show-stopping, but table worthy and ready now to allow me a proper choice vehicles before games. It also means I can fight a Tank War game in 28mm.