Tuesday, 25 October 2011

NAC and FSE Powered Armour

Following on from the Japanese powered armour from September, I have painted up two more sets of the GZG powered armour, old style NAC and FSE. In both cases I have beefed up the squad support weapons. The original ones were a bit meh in my opinion. In fact, the FSE one was almost indistinguishable from the standard trooper. I'm not sure if this is the norm or my figure was a miscast, but I couldn't see any difference. I scanned around in my bits box, but had nothing of the right size. Instead I turned to a set of the GZG RAM Mortars. A few quick cuts and files later and we have something much more impressive.

FSE PA Squad
NAC PA Squad

Both sets were undercoated with Tamiya fine grey primer. The NAC suits then got a very simple Knarloc Green scheme with an orkhide shade wash and then a Devlan mud wash. Visors are blood red with a dab of red ink. Guns etc are Chainmail and Boltgun. The NAC suits have Windsor and Newton Texture Medium on the bases, which is waiting to be painted. I totally forgot that they still needed doing until I got them out to be photographed. The texture medium is funny stuff - a bit like slightly gloopy toothpaste that you can add to the bases. It has small bits of pumice in it to give a rough texture. I tend to use it quite sparingly, but Robin over on the Gruntz website uses it a for his figures to great effect and has a couple of tutorial videos on how to apply and texture it.

The FSE suits were painted with Coat d'Arms paints, using the WW2 US army paint set. They had a base coat of the Buff Brown with Desert Tan and Olive Drab camouflage added. Visors are the old GW Electric Blue and the markings are various GW colours. All suits have a Devlan mud wash.

The NAC suits are fine, if a little dull. The FSE suits are quite muddy, and the camouflage didn't come out at all how I wanted. I've based them up in the usual way now, but may strip them back and start over in due course.

GZG have recently re-sculpted and re-released the NAC suits, but I think I actually prefer the old versions.

Monday, 24 October 2011


For some odd reason Blogger currently won't let me comment on my own posts unless I change the comments setting to remove embedded comments and instead have them in a pop-up window. I quite like having the comments below the post instead of floating about in their own bubble universe, so for now, until I figure out why, I may not be able to reply to comments. I do read and appreciate them all, though.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

New Vistula Legion Test Paint

I first saw the Oddzial Osmy New Vistula Legion on The Miniatures Page a few weeks ago. I'd seen a few previews a while ago and liked the look of them. I already had a few different hi-tech forces in full body armour, the new and old UNSC from GZG, ARC Fleet from CMG and a few others, so I was looking for some more mid-tech troops. I'd recently purchased some OUDF from GZG and have some NAC as well, but these guys were a must.

I bought about 8 assorted packs from Fighting 15's and their response was very quick - I had them in just a couple of days. I realised I hadn't ordered any SAW's so placed another order and bought the US Army Coat d'arms paint set at the same time, as I have both 15mm and 6mm US armies to paint as well and Fighting 15's had a minimum order value.

The figures are very nice close up. They had very little flash, but quite a few runners on the bases from vents in the mould, I assume. The metal they are made from is very hard, much harder than other miniatures, and these were quite sharp, as I found out to my cost (perforated thumb...).

As usual the figures were glued to lolly sticks with white glue and then undercoated, GW Chaos Black in this case. I then gave them a quick, light blast with Army Painter Army Green undercoat. I wanted this to just hit the highlights and leave some black in the hollows.

After letting this dry I started in using a mix of the new Coat d'Arms paints. I was aiming for a fairly straightforward WW2 US Army/Vietnam Marines/Aliens Colonial Marines look, so no fancy camo patterns but simple, basic colours. The Coat d'Arms paints were much more liquid than I was used to, as I've been using GW foundation paints a lot, and it took a little while to get a coverage I was happy with. I think over a white base coat they'd be fine, but the black kept showing through, so it's going to be a bit of a chore to paint all 60 of the buggers.

I also noticed whilst painting them that a good proportion of the figures are female, which was a nice surprise. Several of them are smaller than others and there are several with ponytails as well. There are satisyingly no figures with "fantasy cleavage" or boob-shaped armour sets in there (as an aside, AGG recently did a post on fantasy armour on her blog here).

Once the basic colours were on the figures got a generous wash of GW Devlan Mud and were superglued to 15mm round bases from Warbases. The bases got a coat of GW Bestial Brown, then a 50/50 PVA and water mix was brushed on and they were dipped in the medium brown Woodland Scenics ballast. The PVA mix was then dropped on again and they were dipped in flock.

I really like these guys. They are senisbly proportioned, sensibly armoured and the poses are all natural and have plenty of variety. I have some Old Crow 15mm (Sabre tank and Claymore APC) vehicles on order for them, and I think they will fill a nice niche for low/mid-tec troops to face off against all the high tech, grav armoured hardsuited troops.

Friday, 21 October 2011

15mm Terrain from IMEX Hexagon kits

A while ago I was pondering the IMEX Hexagon and Platformer kits as potential sources for 15mm terrain. I had seen some of the terrain that was used in the Gruntz Demo games and recognised it as being constructed from these sets.

So, when I saw two unopened sets at the bring-and-buy at SELWG for £5 each I snapped them up.

Here we have Katrina of the NVL showing us a few of the resulting pieces. First up we have a... thingy... Designed to be an objective, or a bit of scatter terrain, it's a simple build that can be all sorts of things. Power node, rescue beacon, grundulating trundulator - whatever.

Next we have a very bijou hab unit, with a couple of additions from the GZG Buildings and accessories range.

Finally we have the power station, again with a few GZG additions. Don't press the red button!

I'm very happy with the way they've turned out and have several more waiting to be painted and based.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Crusty Mecha Part 2

Back in August I posted some pictures of the conversion work I'd done on the GZG Crusty Mecha. I've now completed and painted it.

I tried to capture the battered, worn look seen on the original inspiration.

Paints were GW Chaos black undercoat and a couple of drybrushes of Boltgun, Adeptus Battlegrey and then a very light Dheneb Stone. Details have a white basecoat and then blazing orange highlights. The "eyes" are scorpion green. There are a couple of panels, details here and there and some markings in Midnight blue. The whole thing then got a black wash and then a targetted Devlan Mud wash for grimy bits. The base was done in the usual way, Bestial Brown paint, PVA, Brown ballast, PVA, flock, cork boulders and Silfor Tufts.

Overall, I'm really happy. I think it captures the well used look of the original, and the revised torso blends in well.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Tomorrow's War AAR and review part 2

I finally got a chance to play some Tomorrow's War at the weekend. Not, as I had expected, with my two nephews, but with my brother and another friend. They took control of the two forces and I umpired and looked up the rules as we went along. We played the 1st scenario in the book, which pits a USMC patrol against the loyal forces of the Democratic People's Republic of Glory. A US pilot has been shot down, and the US squad has to retrieve him, whilst the DPRG have to prevent the capitalist running dogs from retrieving their Yankee Sky Pirate and capture as many of them as possible.

The initial setup was as follows:

The red dots are the DPRG squads, the yellow the USMC and the black dot the pilot. Light woods were scattered around, along with a couple of buildings and a crop field surrounded by hedges. Troops by the bank of the stream could also claim cover if they were up against the bank (i.e. standing in the stream).

The first turn saw the USMC begin with initiative. The DPRG troops are hidden at this point. The USMC troops to the south by the crop field spend their turn trying to spot the enemy. They do so and transmit the information to the other two squads. USMC Squad 2 moves up to the edge of the wood and opens fire on the DPRG squad in the northern woods. This prompts a reaction from the DPRG in the building to the north who will try to fire on the USMC first. The US troops win the quality roll and get to fire first, dealing four casualties to the northern  DPRG. The DPRG in the building return fire, but it is ineffective. The USMC squad return fire on the DPRG in the building and score two casualties.

USMC Squad 3, on the far right, moves up to the edge of the woods and fires on the DPRG in the buildings, and scores a couple more casualties.

In the end phase the two DPRG squads on the left move up.

Here is the situation at the end of turn 1.

The first thing we did in turn 2 was make first aid checks for the DPRG casualties. The squad in the woods was in bad shape, with four casualties. Three of these turned out to be serious wounds, and one light wound. The squad in the building were better off as they had the medic with them - who hadn't been hit. They managed to get only 2 light wounds out of five casualties - clearly the medic was earning his pay. For turn 2 we needed to roll for initiative. The DPRG had more units, so were rolling more dice than the USMC, but the US's greater quality meant they still managed to draw with the DPRG. On a draw whoever held initiative last turn keeps it, so the US continued their advance.

The first squad advanced across the crop field and opened fire on the remains of the squad in the woods to the north, easily turning the last two figures into casualties.

Squad three, on the far right, opened fire on the DPRG squads in the building and caused another five casualties. The remaining two DPRG soldiers returned fire for no effect.

Squad two in the centre moved out of the woods and headed for the river bank. The DPRG squad on the left in the river tried to react to the movement, but weren't quick enough and the marines managed to get out of their line of fire before the DPRG could open up on them.

In the end phase the last DPRG squad moved up behind the building.

Situation at the end of turn 2 (actually, it's the start of turn 3, after we did the first aid rolls but before anybody had moved):

Turn 3 started with first aid rolls. The medic was a casualty in the building, so the basic first aid table was used. In the building there were two deaths and three serious wounds, which reduced the squad from 7 to 2 operational figures. The medic, the squad leader and both heavy weapons were lost (and nobody else was able to use them after failed quality checks). In the woods there was another death and a light wound, reducing this squad to 2 men.

The DPRG lost the initiative this turn, again, despite having more units and thus initiative dice. The USMC elected to put squad 3, in the woods, on overwatch. Squad 2, in the river, moved along the riverbank and opened fire on the DPRG in the building. The DPRG again lost the reaction test and the last two figures became casualties. USMC squad 1, in the crop field, opened fire on the DPRG squad in the woods and again the DPRG lost the quality check, and the last two figures became casualties.

At this point we elected to end the game, as the DPRG player was feeling pretty glum, after having two squads wiped out without even landing a single shot on the USMC.

So, what were our thoughts after the first run through? Both of the players liked the initiative and response mechanic, and could see how it related to real world experiences. Only one Fog of War card came up, which wasn't relevant, so we had no real feelings about that. The fire combat worked well, and we were quickly used to toting up the number of firepower and defence dice each side had.

However, there were three areas that we though were major shortcomings.

Firstly, whilst it probably was an accurate reflection of how a firefight between the Marines and "North Korean conscripts in space" would have run, it was no fun for the DPRG player to be continually losing each quality test to the marines. The DPRG had quality of D6 and the marines D8, but the DPRG just seemed not to be able to get a break. Even if they scored maximum on all their dice, the USMC could still do better.

Secondly, even though the DPRG had more men, the combination of the USMC tech level advantage (the Marines had better guns and armour, which meant the got an extra dice in attack and defence) and their higher quality meant that even when the DPRG did get a shot out at the marines, it was easily negated. UPDATE - I've re-read the relevant sections in the rules and noticed a couple of things we did wrong. Firstly, I missed off some of the modifiers for shooting and defence dice, so the DPRG troops who didn't move and satyed behind their cover should have got the "in cover" bonus, in addition to bonuses from actual cover. So, for instance, the troops in the building would have got +1d for being in cover and +1d for the cover from the building. I also capped the defence dice pool at 10 the same as the firepower pool, but there is no upper limit on defence die that I can see. Also, I didn't reduce the firepower pools for movement or reactions.

Thirdly - and this could be me reading the rules wrong - there seemed to be no penalty for having figures as casualties for morale rolls. The DPRG at one point had 5 out of 7 figures down in a squad, and had to take a morale test, but there seemed to be no penalty for all the casualties? Once the first aid roll is made and the extent of the wounds known then there may be effects, but morale rolls are made at the point when fire is taken, and thus before the first aid roll is made and thus before casualty effects are taken into account. It seemed to us that there should have been a penalty for casualties to the rolls. - UPDATE - Ambush Alley games confirmed that this was an editing error on The Miniatures Page. Apparently the wording should indicate that only combat effective troops can make morale tests, which would exclude those taken as casualties and those with Serious Wounds.

Despite those drawbacks we enjoyed the game and will have another go next time we are together again. This time we'll try with a couple of vehicles and maybe some more closely matched troops and see how we get on.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Older 15mm stuff

Some shots from the archive now. AGG took these pictures as part of a photography course she was doing about 18 months ago. These are the first ever 15mm figures I bought YEARS ago. The chaps here in green were part of a Laserburn set that came in a giant ziplock bag with figures, dice and maps, Assault on Tarim Towers, I think. The paintjob is a simple green ink wash with brown camo splodges. Details picked out in chainmail, black, flesh and a few other colours.

These chaps are more guys from the Lazerburn range, now carried by 15mm.co.uk. These are the Blackguard (DUM DUM DAH!). I took the name literally and painted them black. The skulls motifs were picked out in bleached bone with a brown wash. metaly bits are the ubiquitous chainmail. Very eeeevil looking.

The next lot are GZG Kra'Vak that I bought to be Kafers from 2300AD. The paintjob here is even simpler: white undercoat, old GW Armour wash on body and old GW flesh wash on the heads and hands, pick out the guns in Chainmail. I was going for speed, clearly. They aren't great paintjobs, and I'd undoubtedly do better now, but it got them on the table fast.

The next lot are GZG UNSC hardsuits. I painted these in two batches. The first half were sprayed with a light blue that I got from somewhere and then ran out of. I then had to mix a batch of matching light blue to hand paint the rest of them. I got a pretty good match, I think. They then got a wash of grey-blue to pick out the details and some black and chainmail accents on visors and guns. The light blue was supposed to be like the modern blue helmets and berets that troops operating under the UN banner wear. Again, not a great paintjob, but it got them on the table fast.
I used all of these guys in a number of games of Stargrunt II. I loved the rules, but everybody else hated it, especially the chits on the table to mark quality levels. Oh well, horses for courses and all that.

The last picture is of a Brigade Models dune buggy. At the time it was part of their Israeli forces, but now it's French. Its brown. And spotty. My camo patterns (and ability to paint the right bits - look at the over paint on the side of the canopy - shocking!) have improved since then.