Saturday 22 February 2020

Quality or Quantity?

I'm really pleased to have finished off the last of the unpainted Soviets in my to do list, even though I hadn't intended to...more on that later.

First up is a Warlord Games IS-2, a heavy tank with a big, big gun.

The kit was straightforward enough to assemble, but I'm constantly mystified with these kits why the turret (not including the gun) and tracks come in several pieces when Rubicon are able to do similar models with single piece turrets and tracks.

In terms of painting, I've kept things simple, as with the rest of my Soviet tanks. However, as well as adding the white stripe on the turret to indicate a Guards regiment, I've also grubbied up the transfers with paint chips to indicate wear and tear.

I like ho this has turned out and will probably do the same with the rest of my vehicles soon, as it's a pretty quick job.

The IS-2 packs a heavy anti-tank gun, 3 MMGs (one of which is rear facing) and a pintle mounted HMG. 

The price for all these toys is that this can't be the first unit I activate in a turn. I'll get a chance to see whether this is a problem or not in a game I'm playing against Matt tomorrow.

The infantry are the remains of a Plastic Soldier Company box I bought before I even played Bolt Action. The models are of dubious quality and include some bizarre poses.

I hadn't intended to paint them at all, but I spilt a load of khaki paint when I was basecoating the other infantry I painted earlier in the week, and not wanting to waste the paint, I quickly grabbed these models and slapped it on them as an undercoat.

They'll never be my favourites, but as was commented on one of my earlier posts, you can never have too many Russians. Also, it means I've added ten models to the painted pile (and reduced my acquired total by one as I threw another one away).

Acquired: 93
Painted: 64

With the Soviets done I'm now going to moving on to another unfinished (in fact, unstarted) project as I'm quite enjoying the sense of completion I'm feeling right now.

Friday 21 February 2020

The Reconquest begins...sort of...

Pete and I finally got our Dropfleet/Dropzone 'Battle For Earth' campaign underway with the UCM launching an assault on Earth's defensive space stations as a prelude to the main landings, and the Scourge overlords of Earth racing to intercept the fleet and deny the humans their staging posts.

Our fleets were 700 points each and, as it has been a long time since either of us had played, were constructed with an 'I hope this works' mentality.

I plumped for a Hydra Fleet Carrier as my flagship, and a slew of Gargoyle Strike Carriers to try to seize control of the space stations. To do the fighting, I plumped for a battlegroup of two Yokai Light Cruisers and a squadron of Djinn Assault Frigates.

Pete had gone a bit more militant in that he had a Cruiser (sorry, I don't know most of the names of the UCM ships) as his flagship, and had also plumped for a bunch of Strike Carriers and a pair of Light Cruisers. He'd complemented these with a squadron of Toulon Frigates and a pair of the new Destroyers.

The opening turns saw our strike carriers making straight for the space stations and my Djinn squadron rushing directly towards the enemy, but falling short of being able to do much more than destroy a single Strike Carrier and leave themselves in range of the entire UCM fleet.

However, a combination of terrible attack rolls from Pete and us completely mucking up rolls on the crippling damage table saw the Djinn survive the barrage. What's more, when the Destroyers launched torpedoes at two of my Strike Carriers, we got the rules for shaking them off wrong too and they were got rid of rather than delayed.

To add injury to insult, on the Djinns' following turn they turned abruptly and ripped apart a UCM Light Cruiser in close action.

In the race for the space stations, I used the Gargoyles' speed to get control of three of them, bringing their mass drivers and burn-through lasers into action. Pete grabbed one of the space stations, and on the final one we both landed troops and a mutually destructive ground assault was fought.

The UCM Destroyers made their presence felt by using their remaining torpedoes to destroy one of my Yokai, and they then got into close action with a Gargoyle, destroying it.

The Strike Carriers of both sides were prime targets as, without the protection of dropping into atmosphere, they were sitting ducks and the key to victory. A combination of space station guns and the Hydra Fleet Carrier finished off three UCM Strike Carriers trying to seize control of one of the space stations the Scourge held.

Unfortunately, the Hydra was destroyed by an explosion of one of the UCM ships. It had been crippled by a Barrage from the Toulons earlier.

My remaining Yokai finally got into the fight by finishing of the over-extended Destroyers by flying into the face of the Toulons.

However, the Toulons were dealt with in short order by the Djinns coming in behind them, who were in turn taken out by the UCM flagship.

This put the Yokai in prime position to go 'weapons free' and destroy the not only the UCM flagship, but the remaining Toulon too.

With only one Light Cruiser left Pete conceded. There was a good chance that it would win a fight with my remaining damaged ships, but without any Strike Carriers he would struggle to also shift the Scourge ground troops in the space stations and prevent me scoring enough points to win in the final round.

I'm fully aware that our mistakes early in the game affected Pete more than me and probably cost him the game, but this was a good relearning game. What's more, my victory means that our next game in the campaign will be of Dropzone Commander, and looking at what is required of my currently meagre army, I'm not hopeful of a second victory.

I might need to paint some more stuff.

Monday 17 February 2020

Zis is getting silly

Just in case an extra anti-tank rifle and a Zis-3 wasn't enough, let's add a Zis-2 and some Tank Riders, bristling with grenades and panzerfausts.

The Zis-2 is, like the Zis-3, a 1st Corps 1/48 model I got from Matt, crewed with some Warlord plastic Soviets that came with my tanks.

Unlike the Zis-3, it doesn't have the capability to be used as a light howitzer, but with one less crew, it is a bit cheaper. However, this is likely to be an underused piece, except in theatre selectors that allow two artillery pieces) in my army as the Zis-3 is always going to seem a better choice.

Nevertheless, the decision to not base the crew and gun together does mean that the Zis-2 may be used elsewhere. In fact, I've been toying with the idea of starting a Chinese army, and the Communists have access to these anti-tank guns later in the war, so it may not end up being totally unloved.

With the remaining Warlord plastics, I wanted to fill some gaps in my army. One if which was that I had no miniatures armed with both SMGs and anti-tank options. This meant that my Tank Riders (which must have SMGs) could not be used against enemy armour. These three models fix that problem.

Finally, these four add to my total number of SMG armed troops, opening the way to potentially having two units of Tank Riders. This could be extremely useful in Tank War games, where everything has to have a space on some sort of transport, increasing the amount of infantry I can take.

Another 11 models done, and only an IS-2 and another batch of infantry to go for my Soviets.

Acquired: 94
Painted: 54

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!


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