Society Meeting 11th December 2021

Andy rounds up the last meeting of the year.

Our last meeting of the year saw three “periods” in progress:

First up, our FOG contingent (John, Paul and Mark) ran a couple of games of Early Carthaginians vs Dominate Romans.

6mm Cavalry and Light Horse
The infantry get close
A bird’s eye view of the combat
Roman Legionaries
Africans and Romans standoff.
Carthaginian cavalry charge the Romans

Next up Alan ran a game of Fief, France 1429, a game of dynastic ambition. You can probably guess where and when it is set. Boardgames are not unknown at the Society, but they are not that commonly played either. Alan, Marcus, Dave, Chris, Peter and Mike were the contenders for the control of France.

Playing pieces
View from the North West
Player’s resource cards
Fief Playing pieces and cards

Alan and Peter formed an alliance and had a narrow lead at the end of the game, so they are claiming victory. Mike, Marcus, Dave & Chris wouldn’t necessarily agree with that assessment though

Finally, Tony & Phil combined their efforts to put on a 15mm Star Wars game, using slightly adapted Stargrave rules. Jeremey and Phil each took a squad of Stormtroopers, while Stephen and Andy had a squad of Rebels. Both sides were searching the village for a pair of droids who had concealed plans to a top secret Imperial Weapon System (the Death Star). Tony ran the unaligned Jawas and was in charge of resolving the players searches and random events.

The village, the lull before the storm
The Rebels disembark from their U-Wing assault ship
The Jawas minding their own business.
Jeremey’s Storm Trooper squad and their shuttle.
Andy’s Rebels find what cover they can
Rebels search a building
Stephen’s Rebels take up positions to fend off the Imperials
Phil’s Stormtroopers take cover behind a water extractor
Rebels have found the droids and try to get them back to the shuttle, The Jawas are not happy!
The droids and their surviving escort almost at the shuttle (and that’s as far as they got).
The remnants of Stephen’s squad form a last line of defence.
Jawas and Stormtroopers pursuing the Droids and Rebels
Andy’s Rebel squad (now deceased)

We will (hopefully) be back in the New Year.

Society Meeting 27 November 2021

Andy’s short roundup of games at this weekend’s meeting.

First up Stephen and I tried out Barons War rules for the first time. As it was our first outing we decided to go small, and had 500 point armies. We managed two games in around 5 hours, with much referring to the rules. All in all we thought the rules worked quite well.

Andy’s green bowmen thinning out Stephen’s Welsh Knights
Welsh archers draw bows to shoot Andy
English knights skulking around the back
Spearmen charge each other
Knights and sergeants urge the crossbows forward
Stephen’s Welsh Knights run from the field.
Andy’s spearmen force back Stephen’s archers

Meanwhile Jeremey and Tony were playing a War of the Roses game using Sword and Spear.

Elsewhere in the hall six of our Field of Glory players (John, Peter, Brett, Paul, Mark and Colin) fought out a tournament. Final results to be confirmed…

Yes, 6mm vs 15mm. But they all follow the same basing system.

Painting a 6mm English 100 Years War army

Mark J guides through his painting technique for 6mm HYW figures.

This article follows on from my first 6mm painting guide, “Painting 6mm Romans” which appeared on the Maidstone Wargames Society Blog in May 2020. So, it’s been a while since my last blog, but I’ve been busy painting more 6mm over the last 12 months or so. This article covers my English 100 Years War army. This is another FoG army, we still play 2nd edition at the club, however I have also built the army to use with MeG and you could use it with any rules system that doesn’t stipulate base sizes.

The army is loosely based on that which fought at Crécy, very loosely as I just wanted to pick a point in history to use, my army commander is painted as the Black Prince.

The figures are from Baccus, while they are listed as 6mm, they’re closer to 8mm. I really like them and there’s a wide range of periods available which continues to expand. The painting method I’m going to take you through is block painting, which begins with the application of a dark undercoat and then adding brighter colours to bring out detail, while retaining some of the dark undercoat to emphasise shadow.

Longbows

I use a black undercoat as I find it works well at this scale, however you need to be careful not to overuse the base colour otherwise your figures will look like dark blobs on the battlefield. The idea with block painting is to trick the eye; this is where the brighter colours come in, as you’ll see below, I’ve used quite vibrant colours on the longbowmen. This would look odd on a larger scale but is a must at 6mm.

So, start by washing your figures in warm soapy water and then gently dry them off with a tea towel or just leave them somewhere warm or in sunlight to dry; this will remove any casting residue which can interfere with the paint and stop an even coat forming. I then spray my figures black with an acrylic spray, I use a matt black spray from a national hardware chain, it’s cheap and works very well. Always wear a mask and ensure you’re in a ventilated room when doing this.

I’m going to start with a unit of longbowmen, there are 64 figures in each unit, I find I can paint one unit in a couple of hours, ready to base. Once the figures have dried I, begin by painting the main part of the body, in this case the tunic working with a strip of 4 figures I paint the front of the tunic remembering to leave some parts black, the belt, collar quiver, scabbard and under the arms. You don’t need to be really accurate here, paint your first strip and then look at the figures from about 3 feet away, if they look right then you have accomplished the first part of the ‘trick’.

Longbows and Command

Carry on painting each strip and then repeat the process on the other side of the tunic, you’ll notice that Baccus longbowmen are not all the same, some carry their arrows to the front others to the back, some have small shields. Just follow the principle of using the undercoat and leave these black for the moment. Remember to go bright, a general rule of thumb is to go 2-3 times brighter than you would at 28mm. You can see from the picture below how I’ve used a bright pale blue and yellow with one unit and an orange with the other. Both can be seen from the battlefield and don’t look out of place. They would look out of place at a larger scale for this period, but the rules of painting are different for 6mm, trick the eye with bright colours.

Once you’ve completed the tunic it’s now time to move onto the bow, quiver and scabbard. I use the same colour brown for these, again this would not work with a larger scale but is fine for 6mm. You can use differing colours, but they won’t really stand out and will take longer. I find a light yellowish brown works very well. Again, follow the front and then back method that I describe above, I find this gets me into a good rhythm, which gets me through a unit quickly but means I achieve the effect I’m looking for. This method also works well if you’re painting multiple units. I tend to do 3 at a time and can complete three units, fully based in around two evenings, 1 evening at a push.

Massed Longbows WIP

Once you’ve completed the bow and leatherwork it’s time to work on the metal parts, for the longbowmen this is their helms, shields if they have them and sword hilt, note that the sword hilt is optional, the figures will look fine without this. Again, apply to each strip front first and then back. With the helms it’s really important not to overdo things, too much silver and it will look like a huge silver blob, this is where your skill with a brush comes in and using the undercoat to provide shadow. I tend to use a semi dry brush when applying the silver, not as dry as I would when dry brushing, general rule of thumb is to apply enough paint to your brush to cover a couple of helms lightly.

Close up of the Longbows, showing the effect of leaving parts of the undercoat visible

It’s now time to move onto the flesh, I use a light pink flesh colour, those often used to highlight larger scale figures’ flesh. Again, front first then onto the back, you’ll see with the longbowmen that most of the work is covered from the front of the figure but it’s worth checking the back just to ensure that the flesh can be seen from all relevant angles. Paint the flesh in the same way you painted the silver, less is more. Try and keep a gap between the hands and cuffs and face and neck, this is where the dark undercoat really works well, this sounds hard, but it’s easily done with a little practice. Don’t worry if you don’t achieve this on every figure, remember you’re looking for an overall effect that will usually be viewed from the battlefield, tricking the eye with shadow and bright colours.

Once the flesh is done, then figures are complete, I usually quickly check each strip as you can miss some parts when painting large numbers of figures. Once dry, I then varnish the figures with a matt varnish. I spray my figures, if you do the same then make sure you’re not doing this in a cold room as the spray reacts to cooler temperatures and can fog, giving your figures a dusty look, which is a complete disaster at this scale as it obscures all your hard work. If this does happen, let the figures dry and then apply gloss varnish and another light coat of matt. I find a quick spray does the trick, again less is more. If it feels too cold don’t spray!

Basing next, I use a similar method to the Baccus basing, I apply a ready mixed earth texture paint first, make sure to apply up to the base not over it. Once this has been applied it is time to highlight. I use the Baccus 3 colour system, which starts with a dark beige colour moving up to an almost bone white, simply dry brush the bases. Once this is done it’s time to add some static grass, you’ll need the smaller grade, 3mm I believe. Apply some watered down PVA to the front and rear of the figures and where there are any gaps along the line. Once done sprinkle some static grass over the figure; what you’re looking for here is enough to hide any of the metal base while not covering the figure. The picture below shows how it should look.

Massed longbows, the bane of French Knights

OK so that’s how I paint 6mm longbowmen, for the men at arms use the same principles but when doing the armour ensure to use the undercoat well, leaving gaps works really well with armour. Use the same brown for any wood or leather and the same method for flesh. If you have any troops with padding, then apply this using the bright colour and shadow approach, you can see some mine below.

Billmen WIP

Finally, I painted the generals and camp using the same method, took a bit more time on some detail, but the same rules apply re tricking the eye. Up close they look a little messy, on the table they look the part.

The camp was done using a white undercoat and special contrast paints for the tents, the pigs, fires, well and baggage have a black undercoat with a block technique applied.

The Camp

The next few photos provide some completed units, in all there are 6 of longbow (8 bases each) and 6 of men at arms (4 bases each).

A selection of the retinue

Archers and their stakes

You’ll also notice some stakes placed in front of the longbowmen, these were scratch built using wire and Milliput. I cut the wire into 10mm long pieces, placed some Milliput onto a base and then added the wire to the Milliput at around a 30 to 40 degree angle. It was then a case of painting the stakes dark brown with bone white tips, and then basing using the same method described above. The stakes are bigger than they would have been relatively speaking but this is required to catch the eye and look right on the battlefield.

I hope this has been helpful, I hope to have another guide out soon covering my 6mm Spanish Napoleonic.

Salute 2021 Trophy and Society Meeting 13th November 2021

The Society has been busy this weekend jut passed, a small contingent ventured to ExCeL for the delayed Salute 2020 (or 2021?) whilst others attended the normal society meeting. First up, Salute. Andy’s thoughts with pictures by John, Mark and Andy.

Five of the membership, John, Brian, Mark, Marcus and Andy, attended Salute putting on Marcus’ Pulp participation game “Biggles and the Island at the Top of the World“.

The theme for the show was the Battle of Britain. The 2020 show was intended to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the battle. Centrally displayed in the hall were a replica Spitfire and Hurricane, with some RAF reenactors making an appearance after the photo was taken.

They say ExCeL looks like a hanger…

I got the impression that Salute hired more of ExCeL than usual, to space us out more, although I also understand there were fewer games and traders scheduled to attend than in “normal” years; and there were a few “no shows” in both categories.

Salute General view. More spaced out than usual, and perhaps fewer attendees?

In Marcus’ game Biggles is searching a lost Artic island for a missing Professor and the strange artefacts he was studying.

Biggle’s party deplane from their Walrus

His party discover a secret labyrinth, with ever changing chambers and passages.

The labyrinth awaits the explorers

However he was not alone, a party of Nazis with unworldly weapons were also trying to recover the Professor.

The German’s advanced submarine

The Russians had also sent an NKVD team to prevent the Nazis securing their objective.

The Soviet NKVD disembark from their Aerosan

And finally, a lost tribe of Vikings were hellbent on preventing anyone from leaving the island with the Ragnarok Stones, the phenomena the Professor had been studying.

The Vikings patrol the labyrinth

We ran several games throughout the day, with up to four members of the public taking control of one of the four parties.

A selection of photos from the games:

Vikings find the secret chamber
Biggles faces down the NKVD
The Germans find themselves boxed in

We are pleased to announce that the game won the Jim Clarke Memorial Award for the Best Science Fiction / Fantasy game at Salute.

The Jim Clark Memorial Award for the Best Science Fiction / Fantasy Game

Meanwhile, back at the regular Society meeting, other members were running a series of games. Photos courtesy of Mark J and Stephen.

First off Mark J and Pete ran a game of Fields of Glory, pitching Mark’s Hundred Years War English against Pete’s Hungarians.

FOG Ancients – HYW English vs Hungarians
FOG Ancients – HYW English vs Hungarians
FOG Ancients – HYW English vs Hungarians
FOG Ancients – HYW English vs Hungarians
FOG Ancients – HYW English vs Hungarians
FOG Ancients – HYW English vs Hungarians
FOG Ancients – HYW English vs Hungarians

The first battle was won by the English, the Hungarian Knights couldn’t cope with longbows and stakes. The Hungarians won the second battle by focusing on the men at arms and drawing the longbow fire away from the knights. So, honours even.

Alan ran a Star Wars X-Wing game.

Star Wars X-Wing
Star Wars X-Wing
Star Wars X-Wing

And finally Stephen ran a Stargrave game – A Hive of Scum and Villainy:

‘A Hive of Scum and Villainy’ – a Stargrave adventure
‘A Hive of Scum and Villainy’ – a Stargrave adventure
‘A Hive of Scum and Villainy’ – a Stargrave adventure

Club meeting 23rd October

A quick round up of the games at the recent club meeting, four scales, four periods.

First up, a 15mm War of the Roses game between Stephen & Tony (Lancastran) and Jeremey and Andy (Yorkist) using Sword and Spear second edition rules.

Jeremey added some flavour with some random event cards, one to be drawn by each player. The four used in this game were:

Jeremey’s random event cards

Jeremey will write up the game, so I won’t go into detail on how the cards were used here.

Andy’s Yorkist Archers and Crossbows occupy hill as the Lancastrians approach
Andy’s command.
Tony’s Border Horse take on Jeremey’s Men at Arms (with the banner)
The Yorkist line seen from the Lancastrian’s perspective

Next up Mark, David and Alan fought a battle in the War of the Spanish Succession using Mark’s 6mm collection and his own rules.

The battle lines are drawn
The Grand Alliance Lines
Alliance infantry and train.

Cavalry advance
Local firefight

Moving on several centuries, we come to 2004, Fallujah, using Force on Force rules. This 20mm collection was put together during the lockdown by Peter, this is its first outing at the club. Peter was joined by John, Brett, Colin and the other Mark.

Marines on the roof
Marines take casualties while advancing
Pilot’s eye view
Insurgents
The Ruins of Fallujah
Insurgents around a skip
Insurgents in the open

And finally we move into the near future, with an excursion into Zona Alfa. John (another one) took Eric through the rules with a series of short scenarios using his 28mm collection.

Stalkers encounter some mutant dogs
Hostiles approach
Zombies in the smoke
Close encounter of the gruesome mutant kind
Where did everybody go?
Start of the next mission, all seems quiet… too quiet!
Creeping through the undergrowth
Objective taken, but man down.
Anomalies abound

What A (Grav) Tanker! (Part 2)

Marcus gives us the next instalment of his Sci FI adaption of What a Tanker!

I have continued to develop my WA(G)T ideas since the first outing and this is the third time on the table. Well actually on the floor again, but I did at least get to use the table for game 2.

I have introduced some changes, and there are more ideas to come. Firstly, I went back to the original Lardy allocation for the dice orders. On reflection I didn’t feel much was gained by that change.

Secondly, this time I added in a command group each. I tried this in the first game but adjusted how they worked this time.  For simplicity I gave both command groups four dice. The idea behind these is that they can (apart from making nice objectives for the enemy maybe…) use their dice to cancel enemy orders or supplement their own units die rolls. I played it that the command units needed to roll at least one 6 to use as a comms/data link. At first it was too easy to disrupt enemy shooting by allowing any dice rolled by a command unit to cancel an enemy order dice. This time I went for the following options:

      1. Cancel one enemy move dice or substitute a friendly unit dice
      2. Cancel or add an acquisition dice
      3. Add/Improve aim
      4. Add a shoot dice
      5. Add a defensive dice
      6. Comms/data link

I also added in missiles in both games. However, in the first game they didn’t work satisfactorily. In the second, well, you’ll see.

I added in a wider selection of cards than in the original WAT game, to add some sci-fi flavour. Some were successful, although those relating to missiles need to be revised.

Finally, influenced by PSC’s “Red Alert” which I have written about previously, the biggest change in this iteration was the number of vehicles on the table (sorry, floor!) with a shift to multiple element units. Essentially these employed the same stats as used previously with a hit just removing one vehicle.

There were a few new or adjusted vehicles. The “attack boats” were a Callisto class boat, as seen in the previous game, but with a change to a missile launcher in place of the forward twin gun. It is a modular design (the turrets on the models are magnetised). The two smaller boats notionally have vertical launch cells under the bow cover. These still acted like one unit, although in retrospect I think I should have upped the defence value and/or the hits that could be taken, especially on the larger Ganymede.

Additional units:

Core Dice Max Attack Defence Movement
Attack Boats 6 Ganymede 8 missiles; Leda & Ersa 4 each 8 6
Pz 35 “Hornisse” 5 15 9 9
Command Units 4 0 8 7

The British started with 2 groups of 4 Chieftains, one of 4 Ferret’s and the naval group of Ganymede, Leda and Ersa plus the command group, see the header picture.

The NAU had 3 groups of 4 Wespe, 1 group of 4 Hornisse  and the command group.

The Hornisse models are envisaged as earlier models which have not been completely replaced by a later version, but are ideal for service in a riverine/swamp environment (maybe they should be better than grav vehicles over this kind of terrain. I always envisaged grav vehicles having more “mushy” responsiveness over wide stretches of water)

Ersa and Leda are also from GZG. The Hornisse is from the Osario from the Scotia range. As an objective I thought about both making this the command groups or taking the previous route; the British was to get the Callisto off the far river edge with the NAU needing to prevent this. In the end I went for just targeting the naval group and playing out a few turns.

Activation worked as previously, but I forgot about the “exploding 6’s” for hits. It seemed likely to be a more destructive game anyway…

Here is an “drone” shot of the initial set up:

With shots from the British perspective:

And the NAU positions:

Turn 1:

The NAU took the initiative moving the green Pz 37 unit up, seen at the bottom of the drone recce photo,  and the corresponding yellow unit to the top. The yellow unit benefited from a stealth card requiring an additional 2 acquisition dice. The British Ferrets activating next were unable to move, but prepped for future activation with the idea that they would designate targets for the missiles on the naval units if possible. The Ganymede group also moved up and were able to acquire and aim at the NAU yellow group having rolled three 6’s.

The cautious positioning continued since the British had no data link and the GBR yellow group were therefore unable to acquire the stealthed NAU yellows. No firing took place this turn.

Turn 2:

The NAU again gained the initiative (on exactly the same number of dice as the GBR), continuing a theme from the last game.

NAU command had rolled two 6 (one of which could be used as data link) and two “shoot” dice last turn. The dice rolled for the last turn continue to be available until a unit activates in the subsequent turn and rolls a new “hand” of dice.

The NAU orange “Hornisse” hover tanks moved forward in the centre, but were unable to find a target in line of sight. However, NAU blue had no such difficulty. Moving to acquire the naval group they launched a 15 dice attack. Despite the GBR side using a card for a D6 firer systems down, resulting in a reduction of only 1 attack dice to 14. A roll of 6655 didn’t seem too threatening, until the 8 defence dice yielded no blocks! A further desperate defensive systems card for the GBR took out one of the critical hits, but under the new rules either critical (6) or a double hit (55) would destroy a target. While the card saved the Ganymede the Ersa and Leda were destroyed.

In response the GBR yellow Chieftain unit moved out of cover and launch a retaliatory attack on the more exposed NAU yellow unit.  With 13 attack dice -1 for range attenuation, the Brits roll 666655. Despite playing an “All power to shields” card, the NAU rolls only a 65 against the incoming fire, seeing three of the four vehicles in the unit destroyed. The remaining vehicle rolled a test and stayed in the fight (D6 higher than the number of vehicles destroyed)

GBR orange Ferrets attack the “Hornisse” unit, having rolled 6543 (using the wild 6 as a 2 to acquire), but hits of 665 were all blocked . The Ganymede went into stealth mode with a card.

Both command units now activated successively and maintained comms/data links.

The turn concluded with a GBR Green Cheiftain attack on the exposed NAU yellow over the river with a 6555 on 13 dice. With only a defence of 4 the unit still blocked with 65 resulting in one tank destroyed.

Turn 3:

This proved to be the final round of a vicious confrontation.

The NAU maintained the initiative and their yellow unit used an extra command unit acquisition dice to make 3 allowing them to target the Ganymede in stealth mode. 15 dice resulted in a 66666. A defensive systems card d4 roll resulted in two of these being cancelled. The Ganymede’s defence dice only took out one of the remaining hits, resulting in a mighty explosion as the last two critical hits crashed home. BOOM!

The NAU red Hornisse unit rolls 65511. However, despite being unable to acquire or aim, using a “snapshot” card, they are able to make a reduced level attack. A ten dice attack results in an unlikely 66655. The green unit with all power switched to attack is unable to stop any of these critical hits, although a damage control card cancels the non-criticals.

NAU command rolls a 5321. Without a data link it cannot use any of these dice to support its units. NAU Green rolls 633322  continuing the paralysis on the NAU left flank as without a shoot order, they cannot get into the fight.

The GBR command group still has data link and the GBR yellow unit uses a command unit 2 to acquire NAU yellow. With a 13566 and the 2, the GBR unit can make two attacks using the wild 66 as 44 shoot orders.  A 66655 followed by 65555 leaves the NAU unit doomed, having only two for defence against each attack.

That effectively ended the action for the round and the game, with both sides more or less suffering equal damage and choosing to retire.

As alluded to earlier, the missile rules didn’t get tested and the cards need further development given the rule changes. Overall though, I like the changes; having the extra vehicles on the board “Red Alert” style and the command unit rules, although these could evolve further.  While the game was excessively destructive I think that was a function of the lack of defensive allocation and a need to restructure the cards  to reflect rule developments. The cards are a key thing to work on going forward.

However, missiles still need work. I am thinking of rolling one dice (probably a D6 but maybe others depending on missile characteristics) per missile and in the spirit of using the same dice in a different way, rolling the defence dice to block the specific number rolled (i.e. a defensive 6 would take out any attacking rolls of 6, a 2 would take out any attack rolls of 2 etc.)

I hope to develop the command group idea and use multiple groups (2/3 perhaps depending on the size of game).

I have an idea that I might do an Antarctic game going forward. I have a suitable shower curtain that I used as a mat for a club show game. However, I have no suitable vehicles or other terrain. In the interim I may break out my island terrain (a couple of pictures of which can be seen here) for the next game and hopefully some future blogs might cover painting vehicles (probably striping and re-painting old vehicles) in snow camo and creating some terrain.

Look out for further developments!

What a (Grav)Tanker!

Marcus presents a Sci Fi rules adaption and game report…

Ever since I picked up “What a Tanker” (WAT) from Two Fat Lardies I have been thinking about a sci-fi adaptation. I have always felt something lacking in the various large-scale sci-fi sets I have played. Ground Zero’s Dirtside Two was the first, and is probably still my favourite, but none quite deliver what I want. This may have more to do with my personal tastes than any merit in the various rule sets I have tried.

I have been playing WAT with my children using sci-fi vehicles as my 15mm World War Two western desert tanks have languished un-painted for years. The boys really like this game and we have played it a few times with around three vehicles a side. The time now seemed right to try out my sci-fi ideas.

My inspirations for this version stem from two sources. Firstly, Jon Tuffley’s “Full Thrust” source book “More Thrust” which contains the first rules for the Sa’vasku aliens. From the first time I read them I was intrigued by these. They feature a simple system of power allocation based on a number of dice rolled for the size/power plant of these “living bio-ships”. Perhaps because my first exposure to Sci-Fi was “Star Trek”, the idea of switching power between the three core systems; attack, defence and movement resonates strongly with me.

Secondly, “Silent Death” a system for space fighter combat by Iron Crown Enterprises utilizes a system in which the same dice are read in different ways to determine hits and resolve damage.

I set up a very rough proof of concept game based on these “back of a postcard” ideas. One minor difference was to change the roles allocated to the dice in the WAT “hand”. I didn’t want 6 to be wild; rolls of multiple sixes would be increasingly powerful. I opted for the following:

        1. Wild
        2. Acquire target
        3. Aim
        4. Shoot
        5. Reload
        6. Move

For Sci-Fi games, I am not sure reload is the right option, but for the moment I left it in.

Vehicle stats:

For my previous games, I just chose the stats from particular WW2 and assigned them to Sci-Fi models. This time each vehicle would have a max level of power that could be used by each system with a +/- “free” bonus. The concept was that the bonus applied as soon as any power is allocated to that system. In fact, I somehow ended up playing it that the bonus applied only when the maximum allocation was applied. Special characteristics can also be added, but in this game, I only assigned one.

British:

Core Dice Max Attack Defence Movement
“Callisto” Gunboat 6 15 (+5 bonus) 8 6
Chieftain 5 13 (+2 bonus) 7 11
Ferret* 4 8 5 (-1) 15 (+3)

*Manoeuvrable. Doesn’t pay for turns

New Aryan Union (Sci-Fi Nazi’s):

Core Dice Max Attack Defence Movement
Pz. 37 “Wespe” 6 15 (+2 bonus) 10 (+2) 10

The British started with 3 Chieftains, 2 Ferrets and the Callisto.

The British forces, the Chieftains follow up Callisto flanked by the Ferrets.

The NAU with 2 sections of three Wespen.

The NAU Pz 37 Wespen

The notional objective for the British was to get the Callisto off the far river edge. The NAU needed to prevent this.

To decide activation order I used a set of dice, one for each vehicle on each side. All vehicles were marked with a coloured sticker which corresponded to a dice. Each side rolled its individually coloured dice to determine precedence. In the spirit of reading the same die in two different ways. I added up each sides dice. This determined initiative. In the case of any draw (e.g., vehicles on both sides rolling 6’s) the side with the initiative would move first (or defer, although I didn’t choose to use this option in the game)

As I was using a simplified system, the defence dice were considered energy shield which had the same effectiveness from any angle. I would probably develop this along the lines of Full Thrust and say that due to drive mechanics, the rear cannot be as effectively shielded, but not this time.

Vehicles were considered to be able to take up to half their core dice value in critical hits (6’s), although I didn’t give critical hits specific locations/effects this time in aid of simplicity. More than half the core value in critical hits destroys the vehicle. A hit of 5 would just reduce the current core dice level. 5’s could be repaired but not 6’s. In addition, any 6 rolled could “explode”. Each was re-rolled to see if a further 6 resulted. If so, a further roll would be required, and so on.

Firing within 6 hexes resulted in a close-range bonus of +1 to each die rolled.

The mat I used for this game was a present bought for me a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, I haven’t previously used it as my table isn’t big enough. Today it was pressed (apologies that it wasn’t pressed beforehand, and you can see the fold lines. It was an impromptu game!) into service on my eldest son’s bedroom floor while he was at school. It is from Tiny Wargames. I hoped it would be a useful generic mat for air games either around the Pacific or Far East. I also had half an eye on games like this where I could use my gunboats.

A note on the models. They are a bit vintage. The Callisto is from GZG (slightly modified with a turret from Ral Partha which has again been converted from a single to dual cannon). The other vehicles are all from grav versions of miniatures from Scotia Micro Models sci-fi range. The Chieftains are Abrams 4000 (SF0022); Ferrets are Merkava 4000s (SF0031) with Bradley 4000 turrets (SF0049). The Wespen are Challenger 4000s (SF0028). The stands were home made many years ago. I usually use clear Lego or clear acrylic bases now.

A drone shot over the delta at the start of the game.

A drone shot over the delta at the start of the game. British forces on the left, NAU on the right.

And from the British perspective.

The British Ferrets leading the Chieftains and Callisto

Turn 1:

The NAU took the initiative and on their third activation “red” Wespe opened fire on the British orange Ferret achieving a 665, however, these were all blocked by defensive die rolls. Subsequently the “Callisto” opened fire on the white Pz37. A 66665 from 20 destroyed the target. However, the NAU hit back with the green Pz37 destroying the British blue Ferret.

Blue Ferret destroyed

NAU orange gets a 6555 on British red Chieftain, of which two are blocked leaving 2 hits. The NAU blue Wespe gets a very big roll of 30 (665544), but with no acquisition or aim dice it is not worth much except to power a solid defence. By contrast, British yellow Cheiftain rolls a 66111. With 3 wild dice, and a total of just 15 energy points, the Brit can post Att: 9 Def: 4 Move: 2. Those 9 dice yielded a 66665. Despite a defensive roll of what would normally be a respectable 6555, NAU blue loses 3 core dice.

At the end of turn one it’s about even. Only the Brits have lost a vehicle but also have one damaged, while NAU have two damaged.

Situation at the end of turn 1

Turn 2:

Early on neither NAU orange Wespe nor the “Callisto” make significant actions despite big rolls. British green Cheiftain then gets four hits on the red Pz37 with a 6655, but these are all blocked. This then launches a fierce attack on the British red Chieftain with a 6665. The Chieftain can’t block any and explodes into an incandescent ball of gas. Neither NAU green nor yellow can engage a target, but the little orange Ferret moves within 6 hexes of a target to get a bonus of +1 per dice and 6655 for 4 hits, but these are all blocked! The yellow Chieftain inflicts 2 hits on the yellow Pz37 to wrap up the turn, although NAU blue Wespe manages to repair a core die at the end.

The turn ends with another loss for the Brits; now down to a Ferret and 2 Chieftains plus the “Callisto”. The NAU have taken damage though, but it isn’t enough when some of that is being repaired. It’s not over yet though.

Situation at the end of turn 2

Turn 3:

The green Wespe is blocked from targeting the British yellow Chieftain and turns on the orange Ferret: A roll of 555211 gives two wilds allowing an acquisition, aim and shot. With an attack of 17 (max dice of 15 plus 2) the NAU gunner gets a statistic busting 66666555. The target can only block a 6/5. BOOM! Another Brit gone. NAU Wespe blue now acquires and aims at the “Callisto”, but can’t open fire. It is a similar story for The British green Cheiftain. NAU red inflicts a 66555 on the British yellow Chieftain. It blocks 2 hits but leaves the 2 crits and another hit!

British Yellow Chieftain takes damage

“Callisto” now gets to respond with a 665421. The wild is used as a 3 to aim with a shot of a maximum 20 dice (15 max allocation +5 bonus; it’s a twin turret!)  But the 666555 are all blocked by the maximum 12 defensive dice.

As the turn ends there is finally something to cheer for the Brits. Yellow Cheiftain, already having an acquisition and aim on his NAU opposite, adds an additional aim for a bonus. A 15 dice attack results in an astonishing 666666 5555. 6 defensive dice just aren’t going to be enough…BOOM!

NAU Yellow Wespe brews up

Turn 4:

Despite the earth-shaking destruction of NAU yellow Wespe, things are slowly deteriorating for the Brits.  As turn four begins NAU orange, having previously acquired the Brit yellow Chieftain rolled a hand of 533311. Using both wild dice as 4’s allowed a shoot, reload, shoot action. Amazingly, of the 20 dice rolled resulting in 6666 5555, only one 5 wasn’t blocked for one damage on the Brit. And now Callisto responded in kind. Having previously acquired the orange aggressor a 655443 allowed another double shot, but this time at 20 each. Of the 66 5555555 resulting hits, only two were blocked for another titanic explosion!

For a moment it seemed like the Brits could claw their way back into the fight as NAU greens attack on the Callisto is blocked and red can’t get a shot. However, NAU blue rolls up a 543221. This means that blue can acquire, aim, shoot, reload and shoot again with the wild die as an additional 4. Two crashing volleys later, although the Callisto blocked 7 hits, 2 criticals and another hit landed.

Turn 5:

With the Callisto damaged and the initiative never having left the NAU, the red Wespe weighed in with a 655443, and having already acquired and aimed last turn the inevitable double shot resounded across the turgid green waters. Callisto was able to block the only two hits from the first volley and generate a repair, but hope turned to despair for the Brits when the second round of fire resulted in 666 5555. Could Callisto’s 8 defence dice hold up? BOOM! That would be a no.

Callisto is hit and destroyed.

I think that was a very interesting and quite exciting test of the basic mechanics of this variation on the Lardy rules. There are some things I might like to add; Range attenuation for the powerguns. I was thinking maybe reducing the power by one for each increment of range beyond the power level (i.e., Attack power 17. At 18 range the power would reduce by 1. At 19 by 2.) Also, WAT has some cards which are awarded for on table success. I didn’t use them this time but this feature could be used to add sci-fi flavour. Finally, Full Thrust utilises a capacitor where some power, probably equivalent to core dice level, can be held over to the next turn.

I remain unsure about the reload option, but less so. It worked quite well in the game, and I saw it each attack not as a single shot, but as a volley, which would fit in with automatic reloads. So, the reload is less actually reloading than preparation to fire another fusillade.

The three surviving NAU Pz 37 Wespen

As I failed to clearly define in my own mind whether vehicles could take half their core dice value or need to take more than half, this was an error on my part that impacted on the game. Deciding at the point in turn 1 where the NAU blue took 3 hits that it would survive (that hits should exceed half the core dice level) weighed significantly in the NAU’s favour.

The game came in around the three-hour mark, but then I was having to work it out as I went along and write it up, while moving about on the floor instead of a table. Overall, I was very pleased with how this variation on the rules worked. Maybe another test soon. Hopefully on a table…

Painting 6mm Armour using Contrast Paints

The latest innovation in hobby paints has been Citadel’s new Contrast Paints. These are fairly dilute acrylic paints, like a thick wash in consistency but with more pigment than a wash. The idea is to speed up the painting of armies by getting your shading and highlighting in one coat. Having tried them out I’ve been impressed so far, although they do need to be used on areas of heavy detail – they don’t really work on large flat areas when they can result in a very patchy finish.

I thought I’d give them a try on some 6mm AFVs to see how they worked and if they did speed things up. I’m using some Brigade Models 6mm Hammer’s Slammers vehicles to try them out on – nine Prosperity National Army tanks and APCs. These have plenty of surface detail so should be ideal.

All of the models were cleaned up, assembled and then given a good solid base coat of Halfords white car primer.

Stage 1 – Base Colour

The first colour I used was an overall coat of Agaros Dunes (desert sand, essentially). With the Contrast paints you need to take care that the paint goes into all of the nooks, crannies and panel lines – if not, when it dries you can be left with unsightly white spots. So make sure you brush along the direction of the panel lines, not across them. Try not to let the paint pool too much in one place either.

Stage 2 – Camouflage Coat

When dry, I followed this up with a camouflage coat of Militarum Green in irregular stripes across the hull, 3-4 stripes per vehicle. This needs to be reasonably thick, too thin and the colour doesn’t stand out enough.

Stage 3 – Tracks

I then used Gore-Grunta Fur (an orangey-brown) on the tracks – I painted one track on each vehicle, then went back and did the second track – it just gives the first one a chance to dry a bit and reduces the chance of finger smudges.

Stage 4 – Weapons

The only other painting on these models was to pick out some of the guns in silver, followed by a Nuln Oil (black) wash.

And that’s it – battle ready 6mm vehicles using just five paints (plus primer and varnish). I did consider giving them an overall drybrush of a pale stone colour (Citadel Terminatus Stone would be ideal) but they really are fine as they are. Excluding drying time, these took less than an hour so it’s a great way to paint large forces quickly.

Painting 6mm Figures

**This post has been updated as the steel paper originally recommended for basing is no longer available**

We have a 6mm Napoleonic game at the club tomorrow and Mark has added a Brigade to his French Army for the occasion.

6mm figures are ideal for large battles, but many people think they must be difficult to paint – like anything it is easy if you follow some simple rules and don’t make the mistake of trying to paint them like larger figures.  Here is a quick guide on how.

The figures are 1/300 scale Heroics and Ros and the units are the 4th and 46th Line Regiments comprising GB Dalesme’s Brigade, belonging to GD Carra St. Cyr’s Division of the French 4th Army Corps in May 1809 as well as the General’s of GD St.Hilaire’s Division.

Here are the 2 packs of French Fusiliers (FN26), half a pack of French Voltigeurs (FN4), half a pack of French Grenadiers (FN27) and some assorted generals (from FN 17 and AN8) that need to be painted, straight out of the packs.

It always pays to rinse the figures in warm soapy water before starting to get rid of any mould grease, then work round the edges of the figures with a sharp hobby knife to get rid of flash and any casting mismatches.  There is some surgery on the general staff figures to removed unwanted plumes, marshal’s batons, etc, as they were all to be used as French generals.  The figures date back to when most people painted their flags and the old style metal flags need removing – good flags really do make or break 6mm figures, so this is worth your time – don’t skimp and put paper flags round the metal – the results don’t look good.  Small nail clippers are a good tool to nibble the flag off the flagpole.  Try to avoid the eagles, but you can always glue them back on with superglue if they break off!

FIRST TIP – Now base the figures, as they are easier to paint this way.  The figure in this post used mounting card with steel paper underneath, but steel paper is no longer available.  Instead I now use 40thou plastic card with self-adhesive non-magnetic ferrous sheet on the bottom – this needs to be the thick variety as sold by First4Magnets product code FFU620(SA)-1M. The infantry are on a 1″x.5″ base for our house rules, four bases to a battalion.  One battalion is on an open order base (combined Voltigeurs of the Brigade) and this uses a 1.5″ base.  There is one combined battalion of Grenadiers and four Battalions of Fusiliers.

SECOND TIP – Now undercoat all over with a black undercoat, making sure that every cranny is filled.  You can use spray, but for this size an old brush can be quicker and less messy.  DON’T USE WHITE FOR UNDERCOAT – if you do you give yourself a massive painting headache trying to cover the undercoat and then shade the figure to avoid it looking like a paint blob – this a technique for bigger figures!  Your black undercoat on 6mm means you have already painted anything black on the figure and you have already shaded it – don’t worry that all you have at this stage is a load of black blobs:

THIRD TIP – It is essential on 6mm to use lighter shades than the colours you are depicting.  This is partly to offset the black undercoat and partly to ensure the colour looks right at a distance.  Your eye perceives small objects as darker than they really are.  If you use dark ‘correct’ shades, all of the figures will simply look like near black blobs when you have finished.

There are three key colours we now need to add.  First Dark Blue for the coats and some of the horse furniture.  Citadel Ultramarines Blue was used, which is a middish blue pigment.  When you paint the coat use a fairly small brush (for these a 101 was used).  Work down the line painting the same feature on each base.  From the front do a stroke down the left arms of all figures, then the same for the right arm, shoulder to hand (don’t worry about paint getting on the hands).  Do another stroke to join these up under the chin, then fill in the lower chest, leaving the black undercoat showing in the crevices between the chest and arms.  Repeat round the back.  The horse furniture was also painted now (light crimson for the French generals, Vallejo Carmine was used) again don’t paint right up to the next colour – leave black showing around the furniture:

Second main colour is white (and white is – well white, Humbrol white here), for the trousers or breeches (both were used, so for a bit of variety I have done one regiment in each here), as well as coat lapels, which are a prominent feature on French line infantry.  Paint up the leg from above the footwear (all left legs from the front, all right legs, then reverse and do the back – a final tidy up to join the legs at the front.  Breeches are best done with a horizontal stroke around the leg as far down as the knee.  Leave some black showing between legwear and coat.  A simple stroke down the middle of the chest for the lapels.  Also touch in the drumskin on drummers.  To make the command figures stand out a bit better white scabbard and drum supports have been added, but you can omit this!   Regimental plumes and pompoms were also done at this point (a simple dob on the pompom):

Now for the last main colour; red/scarlet.  Before doing this the Voltigeurs plumes and epaulettes were painted (both regiments used green plumes with red tips and green epaulettes for their voltigeurs at this time) in Citadel Goblin Green – another strong middle shade.  Humbrol scarlet is used for the red here, which is a nice bright shade.  Paint a red line above each hand for the cuffs (again don’t worry if the paint slops onto the hand).  Then paint the grenadiers plumes and a dob on each shoulder for the prominent epaulettes.  A dob of red added to finish the Voltigeur plumes and the fusilier plumes are also quickly dabbed in (one base each of dark green, sky blue, light orange and violet for each battalion):

You are nearly there now!  Paint the back of the rawhide knapsack with leather – leave the sides black (this is Humbrol Leather) then a stroke horizontally along the back and a touch in from the front on each end of any grey you have to hand for the rolled greatcoat on top of it (shades varied enormously for this item)  Brass for the drum body and Voltigeur horns.  Masses of gold lace to finish the generals (worth taking some time over these as they are few in number) and the eagle on the flagpoles.  Optional extras are a small dob of brass for the helmet plate at the front and the visible sword hilts on the voltigeurs, command figures and grenadiers.  Senior generals horses are painted white with a black bridle.  The colour makes them easy to pick out.  Regimental command horses are painted leather and brigadier’s horses left black.  You can leave the underside of the horse as well as the mane and tail black for contrast, a few white flashes on the noses of some of the horses also make a lot of difference.

Lastly a stroke of silver along the top of each musket and any bayonet and drawn swords all over.  Leave the rest of the musket black (it really is not worth using brown for the woodwork – the black keeps it looking thin in scale and most musket wood was in any case quite dark, but you can paint the body brown first if you really want to).

Finally add a dob of flesh on each hand and a stroke of flesh across the face to finish the figure.  Don’t overdo the face and leave black around it.

Finally finish with an overall coat of matt varnish to protect the figures from handling (I use Vallejo which sets with a good clear finish):

FOURTH TIP – Don’t skimp on basing, as bad basing really ruins any figures and especially 6mm – you would be better off cutting corners on the figure painting.  Flock also is not good with 6mm – it tends to make it look like the figures are moving through a patch of dense scrub!  These figures are finished with Basetex.  DON’T USE TOO DARK A GREEN.  If you do it will kill the figure painting.  Use a light spring green for both the basing and the terrain.  Basetex green is way too dark for 6mm, so a mix of about half and half green and sand is used here, stored in a sealable sandwich box.

First work the green around the base of each figure with a small old brush:

Now use sand to cover the bases (and the sides).  A cocktail stick works well to pick up and poke the Basetex into place.  Make sure you ‘bury’ the sides of each figure base.  Some printed labels are added at this stage for the generals:

Once dry use a really old big brush with a few bristle left to work over the top of the sand with your light green mix – working quickly using a mixtures of dabs and strokes and leaving the sand showing through the green:

That just leaves the flags, which really finish off each unit.  The ones used here are adapted from those available free online from Warflag, reduced to around 20% size.  Print these on a printer using pigment (not inkjet ink which will run if it gets damp).  These were printed on an Epson printer as all Epson printers use pigment based cartridges.  Use thin 80g/m paper.  The flags are glued with simple PVA, which lets you work with the flag to line up the sides before it sets, then given a ‘crinkle’ to give the flag some life before the glue sets (easier with thin paper).  A pair of tweezers is useful to ‘pinch’ the flag around the pole.  Once dry it is well worth running round the edges of the flag with a matching colour to get rid of the ‘white edge’ effect – use a little thinned paint for this.  Finally flag poles are finished in a dark blue, covering up any glue stains.

Here is the end result:

Each close order battalion sits on a 2 inch by 1 inch piece of magnetic ferrous sheet (which is why the bases have steel paper/ferrous sheet on their bottom – allowing them to grip the magnetic sheet).   As the magnetic sheet looses its magnetism over the years, it is easily replaced.  This is why you should not use the magnetic sheet on the figure base – not so easy to replace!  The four bases on each sheet can be re-arranged for the required formation (those above are in column).  Finally the whole lot sit on a brigade manoeuvre base (8″x3″), which is simply a sheet of steel paper with some Woodland Scenics Spring Green mat stuck on top.  This allows the brigade to be quickly moved until it gets into contact.

 

 

A Small Start

Andy finds his painting mojo again…

First items finished this year are some reinforcements for my 6mm English Civil War forces.

We’ve played quite a few games of Sword and Spear recently, these are Ancient & Medieval rules, but on the publisher’s forum there were some discussions about adapting them for the Pike & Shot era, so I thought it might be interesting to try these out. To do this I needed to paint up some Commanded Shot, Firelocks and Camps.

My ECW forces are based for Polemos on 6cm wide by 3cm deep bases, either 24 foot (in varying proportions of pike and shot) or 9 or 10 horse to a base. I’ll be using these for the Sword and Spear try out, so needed to keep the same size bases.

The figures are from Heroics and Ros, painted with mostly Vallejo acrylics. Once painted they were stuck to the bases, labelled with unit description and flocked.

Commanded shot were detachments of musketeers taken from regiments of foot and attached to cavalry brigades to augment their firepower. Not always a successful idea, as the horse were slowed down by the foot, and if the horse routed or went off in pursuit the commanded shot were left on their own.

For the Commanded shot I decided to have 12 figures per base, painted as if they were from 2 or 3 different regiments (above).

Firelocks were foot equipped with early flintlock muskets rather than matchlocks and usually assigned to guard the train of artillery; lighted matches and gunpowder not being a good mix.
For the Firelocks I decided on 16 figures per base.

For the camps I bought some tents from Bacchus, and raided the spares box for various figures to add to the bases, some are from H&R and some from Irregular Miniatures. I built the camps on 6cm square bases.

I also had some carts and wagons, so did some baggage bases.

Finally some group shots, the Parliamentarian camp and troops.

And their Royalist opponents