Work in Progress Wednesday

During this holiday period we still have a bit of progress being made by club members.

John continues building up his Zona Alpha city with some more progress on the warehouse.

A roof and windows next for the warehouse

But John has also teased us with the beginning of construction on a mill/ironworks.

The beginning of the iron works

Feeling like I should also be making stuff, I’ve turned to that icon of art and crafts, the egg box.

Finally doing something with an egg box

Despite looking like some sort of sci-fi power station I’ve never bothered to use egg boxes for fear that on the tabletop they still look like egg boxes. But having used this one over the holiday period I felt I should see what I can do. It was a box of 15 eggs so avoids the dozen/half dozen look. But lets see what I can do with it.

And finally Steve has almost finished his new Dwarven army most likely to be used with the Dragon Rampant rules.

Just a couple of units to go

That’s it for 2020’s WIP Wednesdays. Let’s see what 2021 projects the club members can come up with.

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.

Slam! Dreadball: Kalimarin Ancients Versus Z’zor

Christmas Special!

Marcus reports on a Dreadball game with some teams he prepared earlier …

Recently you may have seen that I have been painting up some new Dreadball teams. I am a notoriously slow painter (this is partly because I don’t have a dedicated painting/modelling area), but I did promise a report on the game, so while the second coat of varnish is drying on the Nemion Oceanics, I broke out two teams I painted a while back: The Kalimarin Ancients (alien crustacea) and  the Z’zor (alien insectoids) for a game with Son Tzu.

A bit of background. Dreadball is a sci-fi sports game from Mantic games. I envision it as a bit of a cross between American football, there is a lot of rough stuff, notably slamming, and basketball.  As can be seen from the picture above, the game is played on a broadly rectangular pitch composed of hexagons. In fact the pitch actually looks more like one hexagon that has been stretched lengthwise. There are three strike zones in each half with the target hex at the furthest extremity from the centre. The two closest to the centre line can generate scores of one point from any hex except the furthest from the target, from which two points can be scored. Similarly, with the remaining zone, the hexes are worth three and four respectively.

A typical team has three types of player; Guards, who don’t hand the ball but are good at blocking and tackling; Strikers are good at stealing, passing and scoring; Jacks, do a bit of both. However, not all the teams have all the players.

In common with many games, each player has a stat-line. The stat line features values for movement, strength, skill, armour and speed.  The stat line values give a target figure for a success on a D6. A number of manoeuvres are available to the player, some of which may depend on a test against these values with a varying number of dice depending on circumstances. These include shooting, passing and slamming; a kind of tackle that you can do on opponents whether they have the ball or not. Often, if you double the target number, or for opposed rolls like a slam, double the opponents successes, you gain a positive result. These include a free move for a double on picking up the ball, additional fan checks on scoring (which may yield extra coaching dice) and temporarily or permanently removing an opponent from the field. Coaching dice are one use dice which may be added into any test at the players discretion, but are then lost.

Each player turn is called a rush in which the active player gets five actions. Players can add actions through the use of cards, which opponents might also use to interrupt the rush. Cards can also introduce random events. None more frustrating when having orchestrated a four point shot, you find that your opponent lays “The ball shatters” just when you are about to shoot! Finally, there are a number of special rules relating to individual players or teams.

In this game the Kalimarin Ancients have two types of guard; one good at holding opponents to make slams even nastier. They don’t have any jacks and are probably one of the better teams. The Z’zor have the usual mix, although both teams have a special MVP (Most Valuable Player, of star quality)

The set up varies at the players discretion but six players is the maximum legal number of players on the pitch. Note the word legal, it is not uncommon to sneak on extra players and if you can get away with it…

Scoring works on a net basis. If one team scores a 3 pointer and the other team replies with a 2 in their next rush, the net score will be +1 to the first team. Play continues in the manner of a tug of war in an attempt to either reach +7, when a team wins outright, or to have the best score after 14 rushes.

It was the Z’zor rush first (rush is a term from American football for your “turn” or series of plays during which you retain the ball). A striker picked up the ball launched down the centreline easily, but lost the ball on having to evade around an opponent twice. Unfortunately for the Z’zor, losing the ball so unexpectedly ended their first rush. Son Tzu, who thinks of himself as something of a genius, picked up the ball with a throw of 555, resulting in an extra action for the player in possession (three successes against his skill stat. Only a double is required to give an extra action).

Moving down pitch, with his second normal action he moved another player with a sprint action (double move value but each facing change also counts as against the move total as well as hexes moved). A 6 hex pass to the sprinting player, passing the throw and catch skill checks, and the Ancients are in the near three point zone, and score, (the 4 point hex being currently blocked).  He picks up some fan checks. (Three can be traded in for coaching dice)

On the third rush the Z’zor pick up the ball which scattered into the Ancients half.  A sprint up the field by a guard results in a slam on the second action in an attempt to clear the 4 point strike hex.

With a 5 dice check at 3+, surely the way ahead can be opened up? The 5 dice yield a paltry success, against the defenders roll, with the two guards squaring off. In the meantime the Z’zor take an action to slam a pesky striker in their own strike zone; but this time a glorious 5 successes is answered by the Ancients 4, so the striker is only pushed back. Unfortunately however, this left the defender out of position…But at the other end the Z’zor striker goes for a 3 pointer, scoring easily with 2 successes. He picks up a fan check for the extra success too. It’s all square!

Rush four, and the Ancients gain possession again, slicing down field into the now undefended 4 point zone. An Ancients guard attempts to put a put a Z’Zor out of the game, but falls over in the process. However, using a card from his hand for an extra action, the Ancients are able to move up and make a point strike, with two successes on a 551, and gains fan checks for that double.

At 4-0 to the Ancients, it’s not looking too healthy for the Z’zor, but a single strike in the 4 point zone can level things up. Having picked up the ball again, he Z’zor look to open up the 4 point zone, but 6 successes (any 6 rolled “explodes” to add an extra roll) are met by an opponent slam-back and another 6!  Foiled. The Z’zor MV, Ludwig, uses a card to get into the zone and go for the 3 point strike, but requiring 4 misses on a single dice with a 3! The ball scatters off the strike zone…

…from where the Ancient’s pick up the ball deep in their own half. A scything move of a sprint followed by a throw and a catch with just one success by a striker sets up a chance. The striker evades successfully and makes it to the zone, but loses a dice for moving and shooting in the same action, making a 3 point attempt; Good enough for a sudden death victory, on 3 dice with a success on 4+.

Rolling a 621 the Ancient’s just manage a score for the win.

So another lucky win for Sun Tzu, confirming his own opinion that he is the greatest. My dismal performance at this game continues. Surely I can do better? Will the newly painted Nemion Oceanics or the anarchic (read cheating; maybe that is the right style for me?) monkey team that we have named the Golden Banana’s prove my salvation? The Oceanics are now painted despite my glacially slow painting skills. The Banana’s are well on the way…or maybe I should just break out Red Alert again?

In the meantime here is an action picture of the completed Oceanics posed with a robot team; the Chromium Chargers including MVP DBR7 “Firewall”.

Work in Progress Wednesday

This week Steve puts us all to shame with his continued hobby output.

First up he has already finished painting up his dwarves and heavy support in the form of a giant bear.

He’s behind you!

And out of the blue he has also found time to make himself a neat dice box. Bought for just £2 from the shop ‘The Works’, Steve created some compartments and a tray insert.

You can never have enough dice.

Next up John’s Zona Alfa city continues to expand with the start of a new warehouse. I’m sure this will look as good as the previous office block.

A warehouse for the Zona Alfa city

And finally I’ve started the plastering stage for my 15mm Tudor style buildings for Wars of the Roses games. As per my normal method they are made from EVA foam with the wood beams cut from coffee stirrers.

Tudor buildings soon to echo with the clash of swords and arrows

I thought I’d go for bathroom sealant to plaster in between the beams but it’s a nightmare so will need a rethink as I have seven buildings to do.

Given the current lockdown status we may well have another WIP post next week.

 

Work in Progress Wednesday

The club is definitely slowing down production as we approach the Christmas Holidays. And quite right given this year, although I suspect a few hobby related presents might see a resurgence in the new year.

First up Mark has made more progress with his Panzers.

More panzers get the camouflage treatment

And out of the blue mark also mentioned starting to slap some paint on a hundred years war project.

The English start to assemble

Steve shared this picture of a dwarven force on the painting table, but there was no mention of last weeks 6mm sci-fi force. After saying he had nothing to paint it seems Steve is queuing the projects up.

New Dwarvern Force on the Way

Steve got these Dwarves from Conqueror Models.

Meanwhile I’ve been busy using some old rock style clay I had for rubble piles. After using the hot glue gun to stick them together I coated the whole thing with PVA glue.

Air Drying Clay, left to dry and broken up for industrial style rubble

I’ve also resurrected my old 10mm dungeon to finally finish the project.

One half of the 10mm Dungeon

Slightly embarrassing that this project was started 17 years ago! Still made some progress at last.

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.

Work in Progress Wednesday

It was troopers and gaming aids for this Wednesday.

Steve finally managed to get around to rebasing some troopers, as Steve himself says “A while ago I decided to strip and re-paint some EM4 plastic colonial marines. I also cut away the old guns and bought some replacements.

EM4 Plastic Troopers with Weapon Swaps

John L has also been painting troopers in the form of a group of Spetsnaz he actually won in a Zona Alfa competition.

Footsore America Spetsnaz

And finally this week Tony F has created for himself some stat trackers for Lord of the Rings.

Lord of the Rings Stat Trackers

Tony explains these far better than I could: “I’ve made some gaming aids for Lord of the Rings games; these are stats trackers to record the special abilities of heroes and commanders using small D6. The original was 3D printed and then I’ve made moulds and cast them up in resin. The lettering and army badges are raised to make them easy to paint. I’ve painted some in appropriate colours for each army, and I’ve painted the ‘W’ for Wounds in red to differentiate it from the ‘W’ for Will (the other stats are Might and Fate).”

It will be interesting to see how these work. Tony is still looking at how to add the heroes name to the tracker.

Chickamauga – 1863

Stephen takes a break from his War of the Roses games to revisit the American Civil War…

I fancied an ACW game, and since I had a scenario for Chickamauga already written out for play at the club (whenever that will be) I decided I’d have a solo game and give it a go.

I don’t have enough models to do the whole of Chickamauga so I decided to concentrate on one small part – the Confederate attempt to outflank the Union left on 19 September. This would be a challenging battlefield – nearly all wooded! Normally a piece of felt on the table indicates woodland, but not this time – the felt indicated open spaces. Everything else was woodland, so would be difficult going and all engagements would be at close range. So a potentially deadly battlefield (as indeed it was, both historically and in my re-fight).

The objective was simple – the Confederates had to get a brigade on the opposite side of Lafayette Road and take fewer casualties than the Union. The Union had to stop them. During the course of the battle fresh brigades would arrive on both sides.

Let’s see how it played out…

Brannen holds the river

The Union won the initiative in the early rounds, allowing them to dictate the course of the battle. I pulled Croxton’s brigade back – he was on his own, far forward, at the junctions of Alexander Bridge Road and Walker’s Road and staring down two Confederate divisions on his own. But on the next turn I realised I’d made a mistake – an uncontested advance is just what the Confederates wanted, so I decided to push him back forward to stall the Confederates and to bring up Baird’s Union division and Turchin’s brigade (and feed in the rest of Reynold’s division when it arrived). This would hold the Confederates back.

The Confederates advance on the road

Up on Reed Bridge Road Pegram set up his artillery and got his cavalry ready for a charge against the Union line. In hindsight I should have dismounted the cavalry, but I was carried away by the romance of a cavalry charge. Whilst the cavalry got ready Pegram’s artillery started a duel with the Union artillery to soften them up before the cavalry went in with their sabres.

Confederate corps commander, Leonidas Polk, along with Cheatham’s division arrived on table in the area of Alexander Bridge Road, meaning that flank was heavily loaded against the Union. Liddell’s division led the Confederate advance and with bayonets fixed and a wild rebel yell they charged Croxton and Turchin. Surprisingly, they were bounced back – the Confederate charge didn’t go in.

The Confederates go in

Inspired by the infantry’s zeal the Confederate cavalry did likewise, and charged in. The effect was just the same – repelled by the Union line.

The Cavalry go in

Meanwhile, to the south (the Union right flank) Baird’s division still moved up slowly. This was caused by the need to keep the artillery in line with the foot brigades.

Baird’s Division moves slowly

Further south, as the rest of Reynold’s division came on, they found themselves all that stood in the way of two aggressive Confederate divisions.

Battle for the right flank

Wilder’s cavalry brigade launched a daring and foolish charge against the Confederates – outflanked and outnumbered they were shot down and cut down.

Confederate numbers start to tell

It started to dawn on the Union that the right flank was looking very weak with not much (a lone artillery battery) between the confederates and Lafayette Road. Further north, Brannen’s division held firm against Pegram and Forrest. Pegram’s cavalry had taken a mauling so were pulled back and Forrest’s infantry were pushed forward.

The right flank opens up

Baird’s slow advance actually paid off here because he hadn’t moved too far forward and was able to pull back Starkweather’s brigade and an artillery battery into an enfilading position to try and do something about the Confederates who realised how close they were to victory with little to stop them securing Lafayette Road with a mad dash.

Wright’s brigade is sacrificed

Starkweather’s repositioning proved successful. The Confederates had used Wright’s brigade to screen Jackson’s brigade’s dash for the winning line. But Wright took a hell of a pounding and paid the price – his brigade was obliterated and routed off the field. Sure enough, Jackson had made it to Lafayette Road, but the Confederates had taken quite a few casualties and lacked the oomph to assert control over the road.

Too little too late

In the end it was a historical outcome – the Confederates moved on Lafayette Road but didn’t have the manpower to completely take it. Further north, the Union troops held firm and stopped Forrest’s advance. Neither side could really claim a convincing win at this stage (the full battle went on into the 20th Sept and would ultimately be a Confederate victory).

Paintbrush Maintenance

I’ll be the first to admit, I treat my paintbrushes very badly. I buy cheap and hammer them until they are no longer usable. It’s a bad habit that I really need to change.

Then while glancing through YouTube I came across a video on repairing brushes on a a Channel called Midwinter Minis and thought I should really give that a go. Fellow club members had mentioned ways to clean brushes before but I needed something for poorly treated ones.

The first surprise was in digging out all my paint brushes I discovered no less than 57! This is what they looked like.

The Used and Abused of the Paintbrush World

The method for cleaning was very simple, first was to apply some washing up liquid. While doing this stage I started off just swishing the paintbrush in the liquid but then found myself massaging the liquid into the brush more which seemed to work better.

Washing Up Liquid then Hot Water and Vinegar, Finally Drying on a Cloth

Then the brushes are put into boiling water that contains vinegar to wash off the soap. Finally to then dry the brush by drawing it across a cloth. While doing this I rotated the brush to help a new point form.

Before and After Using this Technique

I took a before and after photo of a selection of my brushes to see if this cleaning method made any difference. As you can see I had a degree of success with this. I managed to get a good point on quite a few of the brushes while for others it made absolutely no difference.

I’m being somewhat unfair with the flat brush in the middle as it did clean up nicely, but there were still lots of bristles that didn’t straighten.

Rescued at least Half of my Brushes

The end result was at least half of my brushes improving back to a point or close to. The technique did also suggest using a hair wax to get a point but I didn’t have any of that (or hair!), but I might revisit that idea at some point.

Here’s hoping cleaning my brushes will restore my lost painting mojo at the moment.

 

%d bloggers like this: