Black Ops – Into The Junkyard

Stephen gives an unredacted report on a Black Ops mission…

Thought I would have a game of Black Ops.

It’s been a while since I played it and having enjoyed it before I decided to have another go.

I decided not to use the stealth rules and have a simple encounter game – just to refresh myself with the rules and because I just wanted a simple face-to-face scrap.

Each side had 75 points. On one side was a group of droids and on the other a section of special forces troops. The game was simple enough – seven turns to see who can cause the most amount of damage. Both sides comprised a leader, a heavy weapon, and 5 troopers.

I used my smaller (3’x2’) board and set it up as a huge junkyard/recycling plant with loads of cover. The humans deployed in 3 groups (two lots of 2, and one lot of 3) and the droids deployed in 2 groups (one lot of 3 and one lot of 4).

Into The Parking Lot

Due to the amount of terrain both sides managed a couple of activations before shots were fired. The humans, deployed on a wider front, managed to get some troops around the flanks, forcing the smaller droid unit with the Leader into the middle. However, the large droid unit had deployed on a different flank and their numbers looked strong against the 2 man human team facing them.

The Droid Leader Commands

The humans came up through the parking lot and took fire from the droids. No casualties this time – the blasts struck the assorted junk and barricades. Locking and loading, they took up their positions and returned the gesture – one of the droids went down so it was first blood (Ed: oil?) to the humans.

Ctrl-Alt-Del

The droid leader had found himself in a difficult position. With two of the droid troopers (one of which went down under fire) he was taking crossfire as one human team took up position behind a large piece of junk and another team edged around behind some trashed vehicles. Then, bang! Down went the droid leader.

Droid Down!

And then in the following round, down went a couple more of the droids. I wasn’t convinced this was going to last 7 rounds. That said, the droids had managed to squeeze themselves into a good position and it was hard to see how the humans could advance on them without taking casualties. So a firefight ensured with both sides digging in.

The Droids Dig In

This firefight didn’t last long though. One the human teams took a casualty, and then so did another.

Man Down!

With the human position suddenly weakened the droids were able to move up and advance on the humans, despite having taken more casualties and losing their leader.

Working Around The Flanks

The game was starting to change. The droids managed to hit another human and down he went as well. On one of the flanks the humans had made good headway, but they now needed to fall back and consolidate or they would be picked off. The human leader ordered his men to take cover behind some barrels and crates. The droids moved on them, and a lucky shot took out the human leader! Just two troopers left.

Droids Bypass the Bodies

Then crafty shot from one of the human troopers dropped a droid and he rushed round, to outflank the final droid. As he did, his colleague put in a fresh clip and with gun at his hip, let rip and down went the last droid.

Game Over

Victory went to the humans. Just.

Black Ops is a great game. Once the shooting starts it can be quite deadly. A modelling project for early 2021 is to make some sci fi themed objective markers.

Petrified Forest

Jeremey adds more ‘real’ trees to make a Petrified Forest.

After building my large spooky dead tree , well I say building but it was more like nature built it and I just based it. I also took a dozen or so other cuttings from the dead bush to use as trees in a Dead or Petrified Forest.

Additional dead branches to act as trees

I started by basing these in exactly the same way as the large tree I did. A round wooden base appropriate to the size of the stick with a metal washer stuck on top to provide some weight. I’ve started to add weight to a lot of my terrain projects. It helps to stop taller pieces from being constantly knocked over during games.

Using the hot glue gun I then stuck a piece of the dead bush to each base and covered the whole base with the coloured bathroom sealant mix. If you saw my other post about the large tree you will remember I mixed far too much of the sealant, so it was useful to have these additional trees to base.

Just a bit of dry brushing and some flock

Once the base material had dried I dry brushed it with two other lighter brown colours to give some contrast. While I had the paint brushes out I also used a watered down solution of brown ink wash to go over all the freshly snapped of parts to make the wood look like it had been broken for a long while. The appearance of fresh sap wood is a dead give away, just ask any experienced tracker … ahem I then added a bit of flock and a few grass tuffs for good measure.

The cheapest dead forest you will see this year

Here is a wider shot of the whole forest complete with a unit on patrol. I’ve put them on my lighter desert mat but they go just as well on the grass one and I have some darker brown mat pieces to put the trees on to define an area of forest in games. Although I will also put these on my swamp mat as they look just the part for those areas you see in fantasy films were rising water as killed the trees, sort of the forest of doom or swamp of despair.

Zona Alfa Office

Club member John L takes us through the complete build of his recent office block.

This post is in response from a fellow club member regarding the buildings I’ve made for Zona Alfa, a sort of ‘How to’ guide. I wouldn’t profess to be a good terrain builder, but this method worked for me.

Planning
First check out photos on the internet for the type of building you want to use then draw the plan on A4. If you are going to use a storage box, check the plan against this allowing sufficient spacing around the building to get it out of the box. Simple enough but if you add on a detail later, it can prove frustrating! Plan how many floors you are going to have and if you want to be able to take it apart later (I did as I wanted the space inside the building shell to add another building).
In 28mm I work on 5mm to a foot scale and allow 35 – 40mm for door heights, depending on type of building. Door widths 15 – 20mm. Windows are 15 – 20mm from ground level, adjust until it looks right.

Materials
5mm Foam board – Hobbycraft
Mounting Board – Hobbycraft
Lolly sticks – Hobbycraft
Clear plastic (optional for windows, I used food packaging material)
Cereal box cardboard
White card A4 pack from ASDA
Fine sand
Builders sand
Tools
Snap off large and small knives – B&Q
Resin W PVA glue
Bulk PVA Glue – B&Q
Set square
Steel ruler
Pin

Step 1
Cut out the base from mounting board. This needs to fit on the box if using and should include a 5mm border around the building. It’s probably better to radius the corners of the base to prevent a ‘dog eared’ look.

Step 2
Draw out the walls onto foamboard, taking into account the joins at the corners. I used simple lap joints so the long walls were 10mm shorter than the plan, use a set square to make sure all is square. Mark the sections you want to cut out so that you don’t remove the wrong bit!. I then take a pin and push through to the reverse side of the foam board.

Step 3
When cutting foam board I use the large snap off knife and steel rule, making a shallow cut. If you try a deep cut, the foam will tear. It’s a material that will blunt your knife blade quickly so snap off blades are ideal. I use the smaller knife to cut out the window openings. To get a clean finish, flip over the foam board and check the backing of the foam board is cut through, you can use the pin holes as a guide. By keeping the blade vertical against the rule, you should get a clean finish.

Step 4
Once the wall panels are cut out, I added detailing from strips of mounting board to the front faces. On the interior faces, I added strips of foam board which would be supports for the roof and first floors. I then created slots for the cross walls.

Step 5
To assemble the building, I used Resin W PVA. This is quick drying which helps prevent the whole building collapsing as it’s drying. Use the set square to check all is square.

Step 6
At this point, I decided to add a staircase (should have been in the original plan!). I used 1cm x 2cm pieces of foam board to build the spine and then 1 cm strips to build the supports. Then used lolly sticks to add the treads.

Step 7
I decided to add broken windows to the building. To do this I added 3mm strips of cereal pack card as the outside frame for each window. This was the most time consuming bit but now the basic building was done.

Step 8
To achieve the concrete look, I painted the exterior with a thin layer of PVA and then sprinkled fine sand over this. If a bit is missed, it’s better to let the whole thing dry before touching up. It’s important to have the cross walls in place for this stage as the PVA will cause the foam board to bow in at the centre. For the base, I used Builders sand which is courser. When the whole thing is dry, I painted the base using acrylics – dark brown/black followed by a light dry brush. For the walls I started with a base coat of Wilko Mineral Stone, then mixed this with Wilko Biscuit Crunch to paint over everything except the recesses. I’d picked this up from Terrain Tutor. From the same channel, I’d seen tips on applying washes to buildings, by prewetting the surface first so I added a dark wash to the recesses and a Sage Green wash to the lower panels to the ground for Algae. I then added brown stain on some sections and I think this worked well. I then painted the interior using acrylics.

Step 9
I cut the windows from plastic by cellotaping the plastic to my cutting board, then cutting out strips which I gave a jagged edge. These were secured by 2mm strips of cereal card on the inside of the windows. Another long job, when finished. I used a dab of superglue in the corners to secure the panes in place.

Step 10
To finish, I made the door adding part of a cable tie for the lock. I added graffiti and then made up some signs to hang over the doorway. These can be changed as required.

Encounter at Cwm Gwyn

Stephen reports on a battle twixt Good and Evil in the Welsh Valleys…

On the border of Shropshire and Denbigh there is a lonely valley that is known locally as ‘Cwm Gwyn’ (White Valley). It has long been said that it is a haunted place. At the head of the valley there is a single stone tower – the White Tower.

For services overseas, fighting against the French, King Richard II gave the land to Sir Ursus ‘The Bear’ FitzArkus. All that was left was for this worthy knight to explore his new holdings and find out exactly what lay at the heart of the mystery of Cwm Gwyn.

This was a game of Dragon Rampant. Each side had 24 points.

Sir Ursus had with him two contingents of billmen, a contingent of crossbowmen, and his household knights.

Slowly they made their way down the wooded valley. It was only when they came to a mountain stream, the Afon Ddu, they heard the sound of a warhorn.

It would seem that rumours of a haunting would be more accurate than anyone dared imagine…

Knights advance down the stream
Crossbowmen take aim from the hill
Zombie horde
Zombies and crossbows clash
Billmen check the zombie advance
Skeletons advance
Lord Ursus descends upon the skeletons
Charge!
Things are starting to look dicey
Kluruch holds the field

Revisiting Snowfall

Back in 2015 club member Marcus put together a James Bond themed game for that years show circuit. The game had secret agents being chased down a snowy mountainside pursued by numerous bad guys.

Marcus demonstrating an early mock up of the game

There were many challenges to putting on a game like this, constructing the mountain, sticking magnets to it to stop the miniatures sliding to the bottom as well as many action cards, unit stats and rules for the game.

But another challenge was a real lack of 28mm modern era skiing miniatures. Marcus could find plenty of WW2 winter troops but wanted this to be modern. Marcus did manage to find suitably positioned troops to act as the bad guys, and converted them to be on snowboards.

Modern troopers on snowboards

However Marcus needed skiing miniatures to represent the secret agent, their love interest and a final miniature for the main bad guy (well bad woman in this case).
Having dabbled a bit with sculpting miniatures I volunteered to see if I could convert some existing miniatures for the starring roles.

The man himself

Marcus provided a number of miniatures, so I started with the main character, the body was an artic trooper miniature with a head swap from a Copplestone Castings Man in Black miniature. I chose this miniature because it needed to be holding ski poles and have their feet in a suitable position for ski’s, and this one was already in a good pose.

I had changed the left hand because of the original weapon being held, repair the detail on the miniature and added a fur collar to ensure it looked suitable for cold weather.

The Female Agent before and during the conversion

The miniatures Marcus was hoping to use for the female characters I struggled to get to work, after a few failed attempts I went looking for substitutes. For the good female agent I went with the Vampire Hunter also from Copplestone Castings. After removing the weapons and replacing them with ski poles I repositioned the arms and legs into a skiing pose. Marcus wanted them to look cool so I also added a pair of sunglasses. A bit of fur for the top of the boots and jacket collar added the winter feel, rather than the leather style of the original.

The enemy agent before and during the conversion

The enemy agent proved to be the most difficult to create. After a lengthy search I found a suitable miniature from Reaper Miniatures.

The miniature came with separate hands holding different weapons. These were tricky to remove and I had to pin the hands to the main body. I decided to do a head swap on this figure since the original was wearing desert style garb. The next step saw a twist of the arms and legs, again to get that skiing pose. I also bent the cloak to give the impression of it being caught by the wind as the agent sped down the hill. Sunglasses came last with the same added fur to winterise the miniature.

The finished conversions

Here we have the finished converted miniatures. The ski’s were cut from a plastic cover off a note pad, with the final stage just to add the ski shoe binding points.

The agents in action

Tony F from the club volunteered to paint the agents and we can see them in action. This was an interesting game to create things for and a popular choice at the shows that year.

 

Work in Progress Wednesday

It’s Wednesday again, so that means a quick look at what everyone has been up to.

First up Andy has finished his Saxon, Viking and Welsh Princess. I suspect these are going to make an appearance in quite a few games.

picture of miniatures
28mm Saxon, Viking and Welsh Princess

Steve has been taking advantage of the season’s availability of various plastic creepy crawlies to paint up some monster miniatures.

pictures of spider miniatures
Various plastic spiders and scorpions accompany a few other creatures (from Ral Patha)

Tony has finished painting up a new force for Hammers Slammers. This time the New Ukrainians, apparently they’ve already seen action (successfully), vanquishing the Thunderbolt Division.

picture of miniature tanks
Tony’s new force of 15mm miniatures for Hammers Slammers

Lastly for this week John L has finished painting his scratch built bunker for Zona Alfa.

picture of a bunker
Finished Bunker for Zona Alfa

The club members are definitely getting quite a bit done at the moment, next week it looks like we will have more Panzer action from Mark J and sea creatures from Marcus.