Sunday, 16 February 2020

Zis should be fun.

Due to a series of difficult to explain circumstances involving Matt purchasing some palm trees, I've returned to my Soviet army for Bolt Action.


Ong time readers will possibly remember that I've 'finished' the Soviet army several times. However, new models have a way of working their way into my possession and so I've made the decision to finish off all the remaining Soviet models in my backlog (again), starting with this Zis-3 anti-tank gun and anti-tank rifle team.


The Zis-3 is actually something I've been wanting to add to my army for some time due to the fact that the artillery slot in my force has been occupied since day one by a measly 45mm light anti-tank gun. The Zis-3 is not only a medium anti-tank gun, but can also be fired as a light howitzer, making it much more versatile. The 45mm gun will still get use in early war scenarios.


The model is actually a 1/48 1st Corps I traded with Matt when he won it as part of the most eclectic prize ever at the Wargames Illustrated 7TV day. The crew are Warlord plastic Soviets that I've posed to match the Warlord metal crew as much as possible.

I normally base team weapons on a single base, but the size of this would make it unwieldy on a circular base that it would fit on. It will also make storing it easier.


The plastic models I used for the crew are from two sprues that came with the KV-1 I got last year and the IS-2 I got last Christmas as a secret Santa gift from Pete (there are those that suspect Pete got me an IS-2 because it added an extra 8 models to my acquired pile...).

As I was building the crew anyway, I took the opportunity to make a third anti-tank rifle team because...well...I could. Although they don't really threaten most tanks, they are good for dealing with transports and add extra order dice into the pot.

7 models painted is not bad, but I've also taken the opportunity to offload a some of the free Wargames  Illustrated via ebay (18 in total).

Acquired: 94
Painted: 43

Be warned, the next few posts might be a bit Soviet-centric, I've got quite a bit to do.

Sunday, 9 February 2020

Alien Menace

I'm now ready to play the first scenarios in the Dropfleet/Dropzone Commander Battle for Earth, and it's been a bit of a battle getting here.


These are the Despot Command Walker and Intruder B Transport that I needed to command my forces in the opening scenarios on the game.

They came with the Scourge starter army I bought with a voucher and, with what I've already painted, allow me to get to the 700 points needed.


The Despot brings some close up destructive power to my small army, with short range plasma hoses and razor sharp claws.

The model is really nice, although one of the legs has some fairly rough casting that I'm not used to with Dropzone Commander. I've also had another extended battle with mold release agent - I suspect this is because the Scourge models have lots of lumps and bumps, making it difficult to clean.

I was really unhappy with how the painting was coming along (still not at all convinced by contrast paints) until I did the gold plates on the back and added some visual variety. At some point I may go back and pick out the spinal plates too, but for now I'm happy enough.


The Intruder also has a roughly cast part in that one of the lower connectors has a small bubble in it. This is disappointing, and worrying for when I make future purchases.

In all of my Resistance models (which are all resin) I've not had a single issue with the casting. However, in my first resin purchase since the game was bought by TT Combat, I've had two issues in two models. That doesn't bode well.

I'm glad to have got these two done, even though I've not really enjoyed doing them. Playing some games and getting my alien ass handed to me by Pete's UCM of infinite variety should provide ample motivation to get more units painted.

Two models painted and four models got rid of (I threw away three bizarrely posed PSC Soviets and a damaged Flames of War model) begins to make inroads into my self-created backlog. I'm currently listing a bunch of things on Ebay, so that acquired total should start to come down quickly.

Acquired: 112
Painted: 36

Saturday, 1 February 2020

Dangers Lurk Everywhere

My journey into the Fallout wasteland continues, and it's a dangerous place...


I've been ploughing through more of my Christmas haul, completing a Deathclaw and some terrain I picked up from Amazon using a voucher.


Both sets of terrain are from a company called War World Scenics, and I'd not encountered them before I went looking for how to spend a voucher effectively.

All the pieces are really nicely sculpted, with limited flash and affordable. However, I've had the biggest struggle with mold release agent that I've ever encountered. After several attempts at removing it with soapy water, I ultimately ended up spraying the pieces with matt varnish before painting to get paint to stick to parts of the models.

I'd still recommend using this company, but it's worth knowing to not hold back on you usual method for cleaning models.


The toxic slime pits involved me using the GW technical paint Nurge's Rot. Having not used this before, I was pleased to find out that doing a basecoat of Warboss Green and highlighting raised areas with Yriel Yellow meant that I got a mottled, swirling effect in the pools, but not on the bubbles.

I'm really happy with these.

In Fallout: Wasteland Warfare sources of radiation inflict damage on nearby creatures (assuming they're not immune, like Super Mutants), and so they'll add something different to games.


The Deathclaw is the big beastie from the starter set and should be a really good addition to narrative games as a threat to both sides.


I actually went searching online for some advice on how to paint the big fella, and came across a tutorial from Dice Junkies which just used a series of washes. This made the model really straightforward to paint, and I'm really pleased with the effect.

I will add the caveat that at the end, I felt the Deathclaw was a bit dark and so I finished off with a light drybrush of Ushabti Bone to highlight.


You'd think, with all this progress, I'd be feeling pretty pleased with myself, but as the post title suggests, there are dangers lurking everywhere and Christmas continues to cast it's long shadow over my attempts to paint more than I acquire.


This is the new Scourge Dropzone Commander starter army, which is twice the size of the old one. Even though it will lead to an army that doesn't have a lot of variation, it was a very effective way to spend a voucher for Outpost Games and will mean that Pete and I will be able the start the Battle for Earth campaign fairly soon.

I also used the voucher to pick up a few more terrain bits for Fallout from TT Combat, as well as picking up issue 2 of Mortal Realms for the paint and 4 banshees, and so despite painting 11 models, I've acquired...wait for it...99 more!

Ouch!

On the upside, the Christmas presents are now done with, however, I now have the voucher for Crooked Dice I recieved last weekend burning a hole in my pocket.

I'm going to have to get a wriggle on.

Acquired: 116
Painted: 34

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Day of Revelations


Yesterday saw me take another trip to Board in Brum for another excellent 7TV day. This time I would be 'filming' a trilogy of low budget zombie flicks as the studio was short of cash following the expense of shooting on location at the last event.


The first order of business was to recruit a (40 ratings) cast, including a faded star and a whole load of extras, who'd work for peanuts:
  • True Believer (Co-Star)
  • Freak of Nature (Co-Star)
  • Bloater Zombie (Extra)
  • 2 Patient Zeroes (Extras)
  • 3 Crawler Zombies (Extras)
  • 3 Rager Zombies (Extras)
  • 24 Zombies (Extras)
The premise of the plot was that deranged priest Father Ezekiel (played by Dick Van Dyke taking a break from Quincey MD) is determined to bring about the day of revelation, on which the dead will rise from their graves and cleanse the wicked from the face of the Earth.

'BOOK OF REVELATIONS'

The first film in the series saw Father Ezekiel lead the restless dead against the fanatical Red Shadows, a secret organisation bent on world domination. Their leader, Baron Ironblood, sought the secret of the Book of Revelations by capturing and torturing men of the cloth. Their treatment of Ezekiel not only drive him mad, but enabled him to tap into the power of the book.


To save on costs, the film reused the set of a 'weird' war movie. In fact, most of the Red Shadows costumes were simply German uniforms dyed red.


The climactic scenes of the movie saw a deranged Ezekiel return to the scene of his torture at the head of a horde of zombies. His goal was to retrieve the book from where he had hidden it during his escape and bring God's vengeance down on the sinful Ironblood and his cronies.


Despite the number of extras, costs were further cut by focusing much of the action on smaller conflicts such as the clash between the robotic 'Skeletrons' and a few zombies over the site of the hidden book.


Every so often the camera would cut away to long shots (thus reducing the need for lots of expensive make up) of the shambling horde. In fact these were actually all taken as a single shot which was liberally cut throughout the finale of the film.


Perhaps the most expensive sequence in the film saw a giant red robot pummeling an oversized zombie into the ground. This proved so popular with test audiences that it caused the production team to include oversized monster fights in the rest of the films in the series.


The conclusion of the film saw Ezekial watching on as the dead tore through the base, before heading off into the sunset to bring about the end of the world.


'BOOK OF REVELATIONS 2: CADAVERLAND'

The second film in the series suffered from lack of communication between the scriptwriters, costume and design departments. Also, somebody thought that hiring lookalikes of famous actors like Hugo Weaving, Sean Bean, Jason Statham and Billy Connolly would add glamour on the budget. It didn't.


The antagonist in the sequel was 'El Generalissimo', the despotic dictator of a fictional Latin American state who, inexplicably, had decided to personally lead a hit squad (which included a giant insect at the studio's request) to retrieve the Book of Revelations. If this flimsy plot wasn't bad enough, the lack of budget meant that the location team had only been able to secure a disused funfair as a set. This was 'justified' as Father Ezekiel's secret lair (in Latin America) where he plotted to bring about the end of days.


The finale of the film saw El Generalissimo lead his team into the heart of the funfair searching for the deranged priest, only to be ambushed by a gibbering horde of zombies.


A sequence of pyrotechnics amongst the zombies poorly intercut with repeated shots of the Sean Bean-alike firing an SMG from atop a rollercoaster made it look like his shots were exploding like artillery rounds amongst the dead.


Once again, cost were kept down with plenty of shots of individual zombies creeping up on El Generalissimo only to be gunned down as they got too close.


There was, as requested, a monster mashup between a giant zombie and an oversized insect, however, it remained incomplete as some of the footage was lost and it was deemed too expensive to film again.

It's to be assumed that the giant zombie won as it appears later, alongside Father Ezekiel as they deliver righteous vengeance unto him.


However, perhaps the most well known scene from the film is an oft-played clip on blooper shows. Realising that they needed to explain the absence of the giant insect, there was a brief reshoot which involved the insect being chased down by a large zombie (which eagle eyed viewers noticed was blown up earlier in the film) and both of them exploding for no discernible reason.


'BOOK OF REVELATIONS 3: END OF DAYS'

The third film in the series saw Father Ezekial actually launching his cleansing of the Earth, and focused on a team of archaeologists, explorers and journalists (accompaniedby a giant ape because, well, the studio said so), as they raced to find a way to stop him.


The final showdown was filmed in an Amish village and was the source of some controversy as the elders had kindly agreed to allow the filming to take place because they had been informed that 'Book of Revelations 3' was a religious film that would bring its audience closer to God. Although this could be argued to be technically true, giants apes and zombies is certainly not what they had imagined.


The final film in the trilogy actually had a plot the held together as the dynamic team of heroes raced to stop Father Ezekial reaching the Gettysburg National Graveyard to raise the dead there and begin the Apocalypse; although it didn't explain how he and his shuffling horde of zombies had travelled from Latin America to Pennsylvania. The final scenes saw the last stand in an Amish village on the edge of the cemetery.


By this film, a formula had been established. A series of implausible lookalikes held the line, this time featuring Doug McClure and Groucho Marx, and monsters clashed with the great ape succumbing to the bloodied fists of a giant zombie.


There were more comedic explosions as the Groucho-alike, surrounded by zombies, pulled the pin out of a grenade whilst saying, "I've had a perfectly wonderful day, but this wasn't it." After the explosion, the smoke cleared and the Groucho-alike stood amidst a pile of dismembered corpses, unaffected by the blast, save for his pith helmet being knocked to one side.


Again, costs were reduced in the apparent mass battle by focusing on individual battles and refusing the two dozen extras in zombies outfits.


The final scenes of the film saw a giant zombie smashing down one of the last defenders and Groucho looking on in horror as Father Ezekiel strode into the cemetery and recited from the Book of Revelations. The final shot was of decayed hands beginning to emerge from the thousands of graves.


The studio succeeded in making savings on the filming but the cheap effects, bizarre plots and bad lookalikes meant that only the most hardened zombie film fans were interested in seeing the third film in the cinemas. This meant that no further films in the franchise were made, although equally bizarre scripts are rumoured to exist.

You can still find them occasionally in bargain bins and on very late night television, however, Dick Van Dyke not only refuses to talk about them, but has been known to claim was also played by a lookalike.

***

Another great day's gaming at Board in Brum. It's a really friendly store that makes an effort to ensure that games are played on exciting tables; although several were also brought along by participants.






I took along my city board, but I was actually asked if it could be used for a Marvel Crisis Protocol event which was running simultaneously, as it seemed more appropriate for that. Which is true, and so it was.

James Aldridge's V2 base, which was the one I played on first, won best board.

Mike Strong ran the event with his usual ingenuity and imagination. Not only were there scenarios to play, which I have adapted into my narrative (or sometimes totally ignored), but also there were cost saving measure we had to enact, which included trying to advance less than your opponent, speeding up filming by claiming the most countdown cards, and not wasting resources by having the most plot points left at the end. Those that succeeded went into the black and gained small in game benefits, whilst those in the red had small penalties.

There were, quite rightly, no prizes for winning games, as that sort of thing discourages imaginative casts. However, my 'joke' 35 model zombie cast actually proved to be fairly lethal, especially in the first turns, thanks to the filthy Patient Zeroes and zombie moan allowing me to catapult the Ragers at the enemy, and the last turns, thanks to still having plenty of models left - despite having massive chunks blown out of the horde, I was able to pick up 6vps in the last turn Cadaverland.

The participant were as friendly as ever and brought along an eclectic mix of lovingly constructed casts. My own consisted purely of models I've painted during Zomtober over the years, including some truly horrible Wargames Factory models.




Paul (aka David) Smith's excellent Children of the Fields cast won best cast and reminded me that I still have many of these models sitting unpainted from the Kickstarter in 2018!

All three of my games were excellent and my opponents were great. I've play James (Red Shadows) several times and he is always upbeat despite always being cursed with terrible dice against me. Alistair (Despotic Dictator) and I laughed out way through our frankly ridiculous funfair battle, and many of the sillier ideas for my narrative came from our mutterings. Simon (Pulp Adventurers) was an excellent sport, as he was unfamiliar with the Apocalyse zombies and so the game contained a series of 'they can do what?' moments.

I think they must have enjoyed the games too as I was awarded the best opponent prize, despite bringing a slow playing, annoying, accidentally power gamey cast.


I was awarded this enormous trophy and a £25 voucher for Crooked Dice, topping off a genuinely fantastic day.

If you are at all tempted by attending a 7TV day, then I can heartily recommend Board in Brum. The next event is in September and it is NOT a tournament in any way, shape or form.

Saturday, 18 January 2020

To Me My Ex-Men!

They're mutants. They're super. They're in a world that hates and fears them.

Enter the Super Mutants!


I've now finished all the models I need to play through the first four tutorial scenarios for Fallout: Wasteland Warfare. Let the games begin.


I made a decision to keep things simple with them after much musing and research about painting rust effects. I figured that I didn't want to experiment with a technique I was unsure of on models that I was uncertain I'd be able to strip effectively if it went wrong (due to the PVC).


Therefore, I stuck with simply adding a wash of Agrax Earthshade on top of the Nuln Oil wash I usually use to give the metal a grubby look. I may give rust a go on some other models first and come back to add some later.


The Brute was probably the most straightforward of the bunch to do as there's a lot of skin on show and not much in the way of fiddly details.


I went with a dark green drybrushed with a paler green, wash with Biel-tan Green, and then washed with Agrax Earthshade. I then picked out some facial features and the fingers with a paler green to highlight.


The 'Aviator' is probably my favourite of the bunch. Mainly this is because there's quite a few characterful details about the model, like the flying helmet, the skulls and the 'piratey' way he's holding his guns.


With the bases I've stick with the same greys and pale browns as I've used before to allow models to mix and match between factions and remain consistent. Apparently, mixing and matching is perfectly plausible in narrative games.


You may have noticed that I have two versions of the same model, and the box only comes with three Super Mutants. This is due to the fact that when I opened the box I found that the Super Mutant with the rifle had a somewhat melted face.


However, fair play to Modiphius, a couple of emails and a photo later, they had sent me a replacement free of charge.

It was at this point that I discovered that Super Mutants have the same sized heads as Space Marines...


Never one to look a money saving venture in the mouth, I performed a head swap and switched the model around on it's base for variety in order to add a fourth member to the band.

From what I've read, Super Mutants aren't actually likely to have cybernetics (although one in the first game had a bionic eye) and don't really need gas masks. However, I've also learned that pretty much anything in Fallout can be explained away, for example he might have been subject to fiendish experiments, or stolen the mask from the Brotherhood of Steel.

Anyway, I like it.

In terms of progress, I've taken a hit this week as I picked up the first issue of GW's new partworks magazine, Mortal Realms, in order to grab £35 worth (or, more accurately, models they charge £35 for) for £2.99. However, I'm still in the black...for now...

Acquired: 17
Painted: 23