Saturday, 15 June 2019

Nightmare in Silver

Actually, it’s not been a nightmare at all. It’s been really rather easy.

I took advantage of Warlord Games’ recent sprue sale to pick up some Cybermen from their Doctor Who: Exterminate! game. Even though I don’t play that game, I’ve wanted some of these for a while for my 7TV games that feature a certain time-travelling Timelord.

In terms of painting these were ridiculously simple: base coat silver, black wash, drybrush silver to highlight, black in the eyes and then blue in the light on the chest.

I did try putting some white in the blue to make it look like it was glowing...but it didn’t work.

There are only a limited range of poses, with three slightly different bodies, and three variant arms. However, Cybermen aren’t especially dynamic, so this isn’t a problem and I’m really happy with how they’ve come out.

My production line approach has also had a positive income on my painting tallies, and I’ve resisted buying new things for a whole week!

Acquired: 72
Painted: 69

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Warlords Of The Land That Time Forgot At The Earth’s Core

I’ve finally finished some painting.

I’ve been out of sorts for about a month and not really been in the mood to paint. There’s been a variety of causes but most of this batch of figures have been in my painting queue for quite some time. However, I’ve been spurred into getting them finished by the impending arrival of 7TV: Pulp.

First up is the T-Rex I picked up at Chillcon in February. It’s from Wizkids’ Nolzur’s Marvellous Miniatures line of unpainted, pre-primed plastic miniatures. They are really inexpensive given the size of the model (I got mine for about £12).

It’s a really nice sculpt with a very good level of detail. There were a couple of gaps to fill, especially around the tail (which came separate), which also needed some work to make it fit properly. The sharper points, like the teeth, lose a little because of the material, and there were some mould lines (some of which I missed), which were easy enough to remove.

All in all, I’d really recommend this line, and I’ll definitely be picking up their Triceratops at some point. However, I want to explore the range properly to see what I can use.

The other miniatures are from Antediluvian Miniatures and more than resemble the bad guys from one of my favourite films when I was younger, ‘Warlords of Atlantis.’

Atmir, the leader, was tricky to paint because his costume is so pale, with it largely being white and silver. I’m also not overly pleased with the face, but I’ve decided to leave it ether than keep adding layers of paint.

The Guardians looked easier to do than they were, and I think I made a mistake by undercoating in black instead of my usual pale grey. It had an effect in the skin which I didn’t like and so I ended up doing it twice.

I’m pleased to have got them done though, as I  was beginning to get frustrated at my lack of progress. These seven models also have a positive effect on my current painting tallies, although this is undermined by me picking up four LotR models:

Acquired: 72
Painted: 57

I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on the 7TV Pulp box as it’s arguably more up my street than the Apocalypse set (excellent as it is) and I’ve go dozens of ideas of mini projects to do.

Friday, 7 June 2019

Counter Attack in Crete

After our initial forays into the Fallschirmjager assault on the Maleme Airfield during the invasion of Crete in 1941, Pete and I returned to the action as the soldiers of the 22nd New Zealand battalion made a valiant assault against their own defences to recapture the airfield.

We were taking the scenarios from an article in Wargames Illustrated #371 and according to our rudimentary campaign scoring, honours were all square at 2-2. 

However, there were a grand total of four points available in the final game. Pete would score 1 point eac for recapturing up to two of the four trenches, and another 2 point range for getting an unbroken unit within 6” of my table edge by the end of turn six. I would score the same points for preventing him doing these things.

The 22nd New Zealand Battalion (Regular) were arrayed a follows:

HQ - 2nd Lt (Pistol) + 2 Riflemen
Squad 1 - NCO, 7 Riflemen, LMG Team
Squad 2 - NCO, 7 Riflemen, LMG Team
Squad 3 - NCO, 7 Riflemen, LMG Team
RAF Crew - NCO, 4 Riflemen
Light Mortar Team - 2 Men
Matilda II

Despite having a tank, Pete was hampered by the fact that the scenario rules had the Matilda behaving erratically dying the game, which was fortunate for me as I had extremely limited anti-tank assets available in my Fallschirmjager (Veteran) force:

HQ - 2nd Lt (SMG) + 1 Riflemen 
Squad 1 - NCO (SMG), 4 Riflemen, LMG Team
Squad 2 - NCO (SMG), 4 Riflemen, LMG Team
Squad 3 - NCO (SMG), 4 Riflemen, LMG Team
Medium Machine Gun Team - 3 Men
Light Mortar Team - 2 Men
Anti-Tank Rifle Team - 2 Men

Despite being outnumbered, I had experience and tenacity on my side, and this time I’d have the advantage of a strong defensive position, while the Commonwealth troops would have to attack over open ground.

Please ignore the fact that the uniforms are late war, some of the Germans have assault rifles and the tank is a Cromwell and not a Matilda.

The New Zealander’s mass near the airfield, ready to assault.

Elsewhere, there is movement in the tree line.

The Germans prepare for the coming attack in their newly captured trenches that look a bit like walls.

Reserves are called forward from the formerly British camp.

The Kiwi Mortar team are the first to advance in a bold move, but are shot down for their daring.

The New Zealanders move up en masse, making use of whatever cover they can find, whilst the Matilda provides supporting fire.

They are met by largely ineffective for from the Fallschirmjager in the trenches.

However, more Germans arrive at the tree line and add to the weight of fire.

With the Matilda stranded for a turn, the assault edged forward, firing as it comes.

Accurate light mortar fire pins one of the Kiwi squads in place, whilst the RAF are similarly held by rifle fire.

One New Zealand squad gets close, but their assault fizzles out under sporadically successful fire.

With the Kiwis on the left pinned, the Fallschirmjager squad in the trees takes the fight to them.

The RAF fail to muster the courage to charge.

The second New Zealand squad’s assault loses impetus when it is hit by an air strike. However, despite low numbers, one of the squads of Fallschirmjager looked vulnerable.

The Fallschirmjager squad from the camp risks fire from the Matilda as they rush to support their comrades.

The British left behind to wither under accurate Mortar fire.

However, despite the New Zealanders melting away, the reserve squad freezes on the road under point blank fire from the tank.

A handful of Kiwi regulars assault the German veterans in the trench and miraculously succeed in grabbing their first objective.

There’s now a break in the pictures as things got exciting.

The Fallschirmjager in the second trench assaulted the Kiwis in the first and madehezvy weather of it, losing half their numbers.

On the final turn, they also assaulted the New Zealand officer (who was in the same trench) and made a complete pig’s war if it, getting wiped out by a man with a stick.

My only chance to stop a Kiwi victory was to activate the pinned unit in the road and try to kill the exposed unit before it advanced to the scoring zone at the edge of the table.

My unit failed it’s orders test! S**t!

However, in a fabulous display of chivalry, Pete also failed his orders test with what was left of his remaining squad, and his officer had to leave the captured trench to grab the more valuable objective.

With no trenches under Kiwi control, but their officer behind German lines, we’d managed to achieve a pyrrhic draw, 2-2.

This was actually an extremely tough scenario for Pete, to advance over open ground against a similar number of dug in veterans with unreliable support was a tall order. If my shooting hadn’t been so ineffective, it could have been over quickly. Furthermore, if my assaults had gone anything like with the odds, Pete would have not been able to hold on to his gains.

After playing three of the four scenarios from WI371, I’m not sure how much they’d been tested for balance. However, as a historical venture, they were fun. Primarily we played this campaign as a focus for building up our new armies and that objective was achieved so all in all it was a success.

I’ve not been doing much painting recently, but I have sold another 3 Space Marines that came with Conquest magazine when I was after cheap paint. Unfortunately, Warlord Games has extra phases to their sprue sale and so I bought some Cybermen (13 models to a sprue!) and a few more Terminator Endoskeletons, and so the picture has got a touch less rosy:

Acquired: 68
Painted: 50

This isn’t as worrying as it looks, as the number includes 14 Cybermats that are very small and really just need a coat of silver and a wash, so they’ll take no time to do.

I’m slowly getting back to painting, soexpect progress to pick up in the next few weeks. 

Monday, 27 May 2019

Skeletor Invades Earth

Tired of repeated defeat at the hands of He-Man, Skeletor turns his attention to conquering somewhere other than Eternia. He constructs a fiendish time travel thingamybob and with a fizz and a pop transports his invasion force across time and space, intent on destruction and conquest.

And so begins the invasion of Earth!

Yesterday saw me attending Dales Wargames’ 7TV event, ‘Invasion Earth’. The idea was to bring along either an alien/robot/zombie invasion force or a team of Earth’s defenders.

I decided, on the basis that Skeletor had already tried to invade Earth in the 80’s (in the Masters of the Universe movie), that this weekend was a good opportunity to try again. This time, neither He-Man or Courtney Cox would be around to stop him.

I was using 7TV: Apocalypse profiles, and my cast was as follows:

  • Skeletor - Abomination (Star)
  • Evil Lyn - Outcast (Co-Star)
  • Trapjaw - Killbot (Extra)
  • Beastman - Beastman (Extra)
  • Clawful & Tri-Klops - Beastmen (Extras)
  • Panthor - Animal Companion (Extra, Large) 

Game 1 vs Colin’s East End Mob

  • The Guvnor - Underworld Boss (Star)
  • ‘Princess’ - Double Agent (Co-Star)
  • The Crew - Thug Bruiser & 2 Thugs (Extras)
  • The Boys - 2 Criminals (Extras)

With a snap, crackle and pop, Skeletor’s fiendish contraption deposits the Evil Warriors on some wasteland in the East End of London in 1988, a year after his first invasion of Earth ended badly (seriously, that movie was really bad!). 

The local firm come to investigate the lights and noises, keen to defend their ‘manor’. This piece of land is a prime development opportunity and the rental yields alone could set them up for life.

Spotting the intruders, the Guvnor orders his boys to, “sort out them slags,” and show them, “whose the daddy.”

Hearing these instructions, Skeletor isn’t sure, but assumes hostile intent and orders the attack with a more conventional, “get them, you fools!”

The Evil Warriors surge forwards.

Evil Lyn leads the charge, using her magic to sow disarray in the enemy ranks and injure ‘Princess’. She assumes that a metal post will provide ample cover from whatever primitive weapons her enemy are armed with.

Clawful is bemused when he looks behind him, expecting to see Tri-Klops but instead staring straight down the barrel of a pistol pointed straight at his shell. Blam!

Evil Lyn’s over-confidence gets the better of her as she takes a sawn-off shotgun to the face.

Having seen his invasion force cut in half (Panthor had also fallen to a hail of gunfire), Skeletor takes control. First he mesmerises one of the criminals, turning him on his friends, then he unleashes his Havok Staff on the Guvnor, wreathing him in eldritch flames.

Meanwhile, Tri-Klops charges the thugs and comes off worst.

When the Guvnor runs of to lick his wounds, Skeletor turns his attention to ‘Princess’, and is amused as her polyester ‘fur’ coat makes his fiery blast even more effective.

Having lurked at the back during the battle, a cowardly Beastman clambers into a bunker to survey the battlefield.

Trapjaw, having trudged slowly towards the action, activates his lasertron arm and blasts the cowering Guvnor, appently seizing the day...

...however, Skeletor’s victory cackle is cut short when he is suddenly faced with the same vengeful criminal he’d mesmerised earlier...Blam!

The game turned out to be a scene of carnage, with only five of the original combatants still standing. The score was 9-8, which in 7TV is a draw. Fortunately, 7TV events aren’t about winning, but this turn of events made Skeletor realise that he might need more than half a dozen idiots to enable him to conquer a planet.

And if your wondering why nobody died...well, this is a Saturday morning cartoon. Nobody ever dies.

Game 2 vs Simon’s Lethal Weapon LAPD

  • Detective Riggs - Action Hero (Star)
  • Detective Murtagh - Tough Detective (Star)
  • Sergeant Hooker - City Cop Sergeant (Extra)
  • The LAPD - 4 City Cops (Extras)

Realising he needed some serious firepower, Skeletor heads to America to steal a nuclear weapon or two. His initial attack devastates an airbase just outside of LA and in the subsequent search, Skeletor finds out where he can secure some nuclear launch codes. He then orders the Evil Warriors to return to their stolen aircraft.

However, the LAPD are the first responders to this surprise assault on the military, and the cops take up defensive positions.

Surprised by the sudden appearance of an enemy, the Evil Warriors cautiously spread out across the base.

Skeletor lurks behind cover and considers launching a devastating assault...

...but while he’s plotting, the damaged car slowly rolls out of the way, revealing his hiding place. Some idiot must have left the handbrake off!

Special forces trained Riggs spots his opportunity, and in a burst of action guns down the evil sorcerer.

In a rage, Panthor and Trapjaw rush towards the police, eager to avenge their fallen master.

Evil Lyn sees her chance to take command, “Ignore them you fools! We must escape!”

Panthor savages a police officer.

The Evil Warriors make a break for it.

Beastman leaps the wrong way, but begins to lay into the cops anyway...

...who respond with some good old fashioned police brutality.

Having mailed several officers, Panthor’s instincts kick in, leaving the slow trudging Trapjaw behind.

“Keep moving you fools!” urges Evil Lyn, but a shot rings out from Detective Riggs and Clawful slumps to the ground.

Left behind, Trapjaw takes out his rage on Sergeant Hooker.

Meanwhile, after an uncharacteristically brave struggle, Beastman finally accepts his right to remain silent.

Evil Lyn and Tri-Klops make their escape, but a single minion is not enough if the witch is going to take over the conquest of Earth.

Trapjaw’s cybernetic rampage is ended by Riggs.

Whilst Panthor heads for the San Gabriel mountains.

A bad start with the countdown cards (not being able to run, terrain moving) and failing to steal the scene when I should have, got Skeletor removed quickly and had me on the back foot for the whole game. Riggs the Action Hero dominated proceedings and ultimately this led to a 9-4 loss.

Skeletor, Clawful, Beastman and Trapjaw spend a few nights in the county jail until Evil Lyn came round to the idea of breaking them out and the, albeit faltering, conquest of Earth could continue.

Game 3 vs James’ Visitors

  • Diana - Star
  • Stephen - Co-Star
  • Visitor Squad Commander - Extra
  • 3 Visitor Shocktroopers - Extras

After breaking out of prison, the Evil Warriors head for a US warship from which Skeletor extracts nuclear launch codes through the use of a mystical ritual.

However, not knowing the significance of the white shuttlecraft, Skeletor fails to realise that others have designs on Earth.

Having had their own invasions stopped earlier in the 80’s, the Visitors has not given up, and they certainly weren’t going to allow these Eternian interlopers to irradiate the planet that they need to plunder for resources.

The Visitors advance confidently towards the Evil Warriors positions.

Diana looks on, a self-satisfied smile spreading across her false face. She had hold of a device that would neutralise any nuclear weapon, rendering Skeletor’s plot impotent.

Suddenly Trapjaw bursts out of hiding and blasts the reptilian invaders with his lasertron.

Beastman bursts forward towards the survivors, firing acid from a device given to him by Skeletor.

The Visitor squad leader panics and runs straight into the frightening form of Clawful.

Skeletor strides towards Diana and weaves a charm that puts the Visitor scientist under his control.

The mesmerised alien hands her nuclear counter-measure to Evil Lyn, who then disappears into the shadows.

With the device secure, Skeletor leads his strangely effective minions in hunting down the remaining Visitors.

Diana comes to her senses and realising that the battle is lost, orders the retreat.

A combination of terrible dice rolls for James, amazing rolls for me and a perfect set of mutations made this game 11-0 before the end of Act One.

As it hadn’t taken long, we decided to play again.

Game 4 vs James’ COBRA

Cobra Commander - Star
Destro - Co-Star
Cobra Squad Leader - Extra
6 Cobra Minions - Extras

Having disposed of the Visitors, the Evil Warriors make ready to leave the docks and make their way to a secure location from which they can remote launch the nuclear arsenal of the US.

That should make Earth easier to conquer. (Yes, this plan has flaws...)

For good measure, Evil Lyn sets explosives throughout the USS Convenient.

However, before they can make their escape, the Evil Warriors must fight their way through another sinister organisation which want to rule the world, not destroy it. COBRA.

The Evil Warriors waste no time (well, it did take a turn to get close, but it was a boring turn so we’ll ignore it) in getting up close and personal. The squad leader survives being set on fire by Skeletor, and pincered by Clawful.

The failed attack leaves Clawful in a precarious position which he somehow survives.

Meanwhile, Evil Lyn and Panthor sneak along a cargo ship out of sight.

Clawful’s luck runs out as he’s brought down by the somewhat singed squad commander.

Beastman is also gunned down by a sniper whilst trying to use the acid thrower again, this time on Destro.

Tri-Klops goes feral and cuts down both the squad leader and his minion companion.

Panthor manages to slip past Cobra Commander and escape.

Skeletor unleashed his infernal fire onto Destro, it it rebounds of his metal head and engulfs Skeletor instead.

At this point, time was running short, so I stopped taking pictures. In brief, Evil Lyn escaped. Skeletor took too long to duff up Destro and so couldn’t escape. Tri-Klops got taken down, but Trapjaw (remember him?) finally caught up and shot up a few minions before switching sides.

The game ended 3-1 to James, which is a minor victory. It’s probably for the best, as otherwise Skeletor would have blown up the Earth in 1987. As it happens, the Evil Warriors were stuck on Earth for about 30 years before Skeletor landed a job advertising a price comparison website and was able to earn enough money to fix his space-time thingamybob and take his minions home.

All in all the day was brilliant fun. TheDales  Wargamers put on a very welcoming day and I’ll be keeping an eye out for their future events.

To add to the day, I was also pleasantly surprised to win the Best Director award for having the favourite cast from amongst the participants - this has netted me a year’s subscription to Wargames Illustrated. 

What’s more, Wayne Bollands, from said publication was there with a whole lucky dip of random miniatures that folk could grab for a small donation to the Dales club (which I thought was a lovely gesture on his part). I was very good and only picked up a pack of 3 Ogrons for use in Doctor Who games.

Admittedly, this added to my acquired total, but I’ve also been selling things on eBay, and this week I managed to shift 42 Greek Hoplites, and 7 random Wild West Exodus models I’ve managed to pick up here and there. This leaves things looking remarkably rosey:

Acquired: 39
Painted: 50

Yes, you read that right. Technically, my lead/plastic pile has got smaller. All in all, a cracking weekend!