Having a Blast!

Jeremey takes us through some home made blast markers.

Having recently started repainting my old 6mm Sci-Fi forces my thoughts turned to the different types of blast markers used in various wargames, you know the ones, they are often made of hard translucent plastic in the shape of a flame. Wargamers use them for marking the spot they are calling artillery down on or even to show destroyed and burnt out vehicles.

The first thing I thought of was could I make my own? Having made many things out of EVA foam for my gaming I turned to that first as a very simple material to work with. I knew you could get the foam in thin sheets and in bright colours. As luck would have it I popped into a local Poundland store to pick up some things for a bit of DIY I had to do, and discovered in the crafts section a packet of foam rocket shapes.

The packet had 5 foam rockets shapes for each colour

So I bought a packet at the predictable price, thinking I could make blast markers out of the red and yellow rockets.

Blast marker templates cut from a piece of cardboard

I made myself two flame shaped templates out of cardboard. One smaller than the other and made sure the smaller one fitted inside the silhouette of the larger one.
It was then just a matter of drawing round the templates, trying to fit in as many of the markers as I could. To make 3 blaster markers I would need 3 of the bigger flames in red and 6 of the smaller yellow flames to go on either side.

The first cut out flames, bit short on the yellow bits though

of course at first I completely forgot I’d need twice as many of the smaller yellow flames as the red, which is why there are only 3 of each in the picture!

A smaller blast created during assembly

Rather than waste the foam I experimented with a smaller blast marker cutting out from the red foam using the smaller of the two templates I’d made. I used standard PVA glue to stick the yellow smaller flame to the red foam and then repeated the process for the other side of the marker.

Incoming!

The final (sort of) stage involved me supergluing the marker to a thin wooden base that I had, which I then just painted to blend in a bit better. There we have it, very cheap, simple and quick blast markers for games.

However as you can see from the picture I took it a stage further. I added or rather smudged on some black miniature paint in that way explosions are often depicted. Nice simple effect that stops the blast marker looking too cartoonish. I also turned to the blue foam from the packet and wondered if I could make a splash marker. I don’t often play naval wargames but fellow club members do. I cut out a more splash like shape and as with the black on the blast marker I dabbed white paint on the edges of both the main shape and the smaller splash shapes, and of course I painted the base blue.

Now all I need to do is think up a way of using the green foam from the packet. Hmmm alien weapon blast effect …

Down to the Wire – Zona Alpha Battle Report

John presents us with another Zona Alpha battle report.

A Zona Alfa Solo play battle report, a continuation from The Hostage in bunker c7.
It had all been too good to be true. With half a kilometre travelled the BPM 97 coughed and spluttered it’s last and came to a grinding halt.
‘Where are we?’ Kovacs asked. ‘Strelets’ replied Leila, ‘The fence is just beyond the village’. He picked up a cluster of hotspots in the village and with the zombies in pursuit He needed to think fast.
‘Ice Queen, booby trap the doors, they’ll smell our sweat first’. Cover us whilst we check out the village.’ ‘Leila, grab the wire cutters and stock up on grenades everyone’.
Kovacs headed out first followed by Leila. They’d reached the outskirts of the village as the zombies arrived. Sure enough they triggered the Booby trap and the doors were well and truly blown off.

Four of the zombies are caught in the blast zone. With an ‘armour’ of 6 minus 2 for the grenade blast, they need 4 or less to survive. Two down!

Ice Queen takes aim at the zombies.

Ice Queen aims 3 shots at the zombies but only hits one (needing 7 or less).The Zombie is downed. She has no further actions fortunately, the zombies have activated twice this turn.

Whilst she could, Ice Queen ran around the building to Kovacs and Leila. ‘This will slow us down’ muttered Kovacs as Leila attempted to take out the zombies unsuccessfully. Kovacs lobbed a well aimed grenade in their direction and all three fell dead.

All three zombies are caught in the blast zone and all fail their armour save rolls, needing 4 or less

Picking their way through the village, it was clear that other hotspots would be triggered. ‘Better choose ourselves’ said Kovacs as he tossed a bolt at the building in front triggering the hot spot
‘Holy Cow! Four mechs’ groaned Kovacs.

Between Kovacs and Ice Queen, two mechs are destroyed.

‘Drat!’ shouted Kovacs as one of the mechs aimed at him. Luckily it missed, the second mech fired and wounded Ice Queen before it too was downed.
Having disposed of the Mechs and administering a med pack to Ice Queen, Kovacs weaved between the village buildings and clambered onto some farm machinery to get a clear throw for a bolt toss to trigger the hot spot near the fence. It was then that Kovacs noticed the sensors.

A good throw triggered the hot spot, revealing a huge Man eating plant

‘What the …’ ‘Ice Queen, here now!’ shouted Kovacs.

A skilful shot from the sniper rifle takes out the mutant who rolled a 10 needing a 3 or less to survive

‘Leila, run to the fence and cut a hole in the wire – don’t worry about the alarm’ ordered Kovacs. Without a fumble, the bolt cutters easily made a hole in the fence as the alarm started, waking up some Ghouls – tortured irradiated souls who had escaped from the Sanatorium.

Kovacs opens up first and between him and Ice Queen, the ghouls are eliminated

As Kovacs makes a run for the fence, the mayhem roused a group of zombies near the bath house.

Ice Queen was stranded, deserted by her comrades. With the alarms going, there was only one course of action to survive. Her Sniper rifle weighed too much, she had to ditch it to stand a chance and run for the wire before the zombies got to her. At the wire, Kovacs handed her a bottle of Electric Juice . ‘Here take this’. ‘Now run for that Sewage drain to the left’. They made it into the cold damp darkness of the sewage pipe before the first drone came over. ‘You owe me’ howled Ice Queen.
Some people say you can never get rid of the smell.

 

Fist-Full Of Lead: Galactic Heroes

Marcus takes us through a recent game of Galactic Heroes.

Fist-Full Of Lead: Galactic Heroes
The boys and I have played a few skirmish games of late, and Fist-Full of Lead (FFOL) is a great option for a quick set-up bit of fun. Galactic Heroes is a stand-alone product in the series for space opera style action. It is produced by Wiley Games in the US and available in the UK from Oshiro Models.

A week ago I threw together a scenario which my youngest, Sun Two, and I blundered through (because it wasn’t that well developed, as a spur of the moment thing), but I forgot to take any photos! This week I wrote up a more complete treatment and we decided to give it a go on Saturday.

With some obvious inspiration (hint for those who didn’t grow up with the obligatory Cold War fiction) I pulled out my home made skirmish board with a surface that works for anything from an arid planet to the ocean depths and broke out all the sci-fi scenery (cue aquarium plants and buildings (some home-made from coffee jar tops) and some geodesic shelters from the lovely range by Alternative Armies Ion Age).

FFOL games rely on a deck of playing cards for activation. A player can use their own ordinary deck or use the bespoke ones available. These not only have some appropriate art, but also include on the relevant prompts with benefits that accrue from activating on certain cards. (e.g. +1 to combat (Jacks), heal a wound (Queen of Hearts) or (Sixes) reload). A player is dealt cards for the number of models they control. Then one player calls out the cards in rank order. When that player calls “kings” a player with a king can activate one of their models. If two or more players have kings, activation is completed in suit order. Each activation gives two actions. The models mainly use 1d10 for shooting and close combat, but a wide choice of traits vary the characters. Crews all receive one common “crew” trait (e.g. advanced comms or camo), leaders get three traits plus leadership, a specialist two and a regular one.  The traits provide a lot of character and variation to the crew.

Planetary Research Station Zulu
The war for control of Galactic Space is the coldest war of all. The mighty, technically advanced fleets of both the Rim-Ward Confederation and the Core Union conduct an unceasing ballet of probe and counter probe, patrol and surveillance in the effort to accrue the slightest advantage should the fragile peace fail. Unfortunately, this peace is threatened as a Union stealth probe has crash landed on moon Zulu. Before it crashed it transmitted critical information to a receiver on the planet. But the only occupants of this arid dustbowl are a group of scientists. Communication has been lost and a violent sandstorm rages.

Each side has inserted a team of specialists with instructions to bring back the critical information. Each side needs to contact the remaining civilians and roll successfully to gather information (tokens). After turn five each side has an opportunity once each turn to roll under the number of tokens gathered, which will provide enough evidence to recover the crucial data cache. The side which gets off the board first secures the vital data. However, where there are secrets there are spies! It is unclear how either side came to infiltrate agents into the expedition, but needless to say they did. No-one knows the identity of the spies. When questioning civilians, on a 9+ the subject is a proves to be a spy and attacks the team. The spy is then controlled by the other side, which is dealt an extra card next turn for the additional character. If an opponent’s spy is killed, deduct 2 from their intel total.

There were also some random events in the scenario, including weather changes (the game started with a lull in the storm), buildings blowing up and the dreaded sandsharks…

Finally, I controlled the Core (entering from the left in the layout picture). Sun Two the RimFed.

Turn 1
The game started with a brief lull in the storm. Both teams approached the research station from opposite sides, failing to make any contacts during this turn.

Turn 2
The first random event produced…nothing! No-one was wounded, so despite a sandshark roll, none appeared on the board. The Core Sniper having advanced toward a civilian was, ironically, picked off from a hill to the south east by a RimFed sniper. Out of action immediately! Snarot (a snake-parrot hybrid) struck back with a shot similarly wounding RimFeds Catman.

Turn 3
The weather closed back in with visibility cut to 12” and short range up to 6”.   A RimFed trooper interrogated a mechanic (Picture 3), gaining 2 info. with a roll of 7.

The Core leader, Sharon (looks a little bit like an ‘80’s Sharon stone-every collection should have one!), approached a venerable orange robot to interrogate it, but on a roll of 9 it turns out to be a deadly spy, rolling an 8 to wound. Sharon however is “Lucky”, so forces a re-roll…9! Sharon is not so lucky after all and out of action for the game.  Core forces have already lost two figures and have no information. RimFed’s Silva Slither (metallic sheathed worm) encounters another civilian and rolls for information, only to uncover another spy. The spy shoots but misses. By co-incidence both spies roll the trait “sixth sense” from my short “spy” list. They can re-roll one shot each turn (but the Core spy overlooked this at the time)

As the turn closed, Snarot tried to finish off the orange spy with a couple of shots, but missed. The Core’s own red worm (red and silver worms have a deep-seated enmity!), Slippery, again tries to shoot the orange robot, causing severe damage (a wound) and shock. For the Core, Spartan closed with Silva and engaged in close combat alongside the Core spy in support, wounding the metallic nematode.

Turn 4
Surely things would improve now for the Core? The random event indicated two information points in a random building. It turns out they are almost immediately adjacent to RimFed’s Antman. He not only collects these but encountering a civilian in the building, also gets another token from him! Slippery tries to finish off the robot, but fails. The RimFed uses a Queen of Spades to activate the robot, shaking the shock off but failing to return to action from the wound (You can attempt to recover; stand up and function after a wound. However, you need a medic to attempt to heal/get rid of it).  Snarot again fails to finish it off.

Snarot and Slippery finally finish off downed robot

Elsewhere, the Core spy shoots RimFeds Kanga, putting him out of action. RimFeds Hawk tries to get more information out of a yellow robot to no effect. Silva overcomes his wound, and while he remains injured, manages to stand. Antman, sensing the tide of the game is flowing substantially in favour of the RimFed, moves toward their edge of the board.

Turn 5
Visibility clears again. With a staggering 9 intel., the RimFed roll a 6, meaning that they have enough information to recover the secret data package. While slippery finishes off the orange robot spy costing the RimFed two intel., it is too little too late from the Core forces. As the RimFeds forces pull back they callously leave two of their team and their brokenspy behind. Snarot and Spartan try some long range sniping at the retreating forces to no effect. Hawk, Antman and an injured Silva (who makes a sliding equivalent of a limp) make it off the board for a substantial, if brutally efficient win, even while the Core spy puts Catman out of action.

A very bad result for the Core. No intel gathered and their leader out of action. The fact they knocked out the enemy spy and two combatants is cold comfort in this cold war. And no sandsharks. Again. Very disappointing.

RimFed robot spy and Union leads down. Slippery and Snarot survey the scene.

FFOL provides a very quick, interesting, narrative game with very little effort. It took no more than 90 minutes, if that. I am thinking seriously about a future campaign in a post-apocalyptic setting using FFOL – Wasteland Warriors and a road race element. This would allow a series of micro-games in a campaign where a number could be played in a day at the club.

One day…

Every Cloud …

Jeremey gets plastered (it had to be done, AK)…

Sometimes I do worry about us miniature wargamers. Faced with the challenges of everyday life, their outlook can be slightly different to the non-hobbyist.

Recently there was a crashing sound and on investigation the utility room ceiling was no more. There were plaster board fragments everywhere. Dealing with reality first I cleaned the area up and started looking for someone to repair the damage.

Remains of the Ceiling and Collected Detritus

Not the sort of expense I wanted (but quite fitting given how 2020 was), however during the clean up operation I kept picking up bits of rubble and thinking how the chunks of plaster reminded me of concrete.

Proof of Concept

Before you could say “how much!” to the plasterer, I’d put together a proof of concept to turn the plaster fragments, into rubble for my 28mm troopers to fight over.

But I paused at this point when someone pointed out that old plasterboard could contain Asbestos! Well regardless of using the plasterboard for scenery I still had to tidy up my utility room. So I sent a sample off to be tested which came back as negative. So please do be cautious if you’re thinking of doing a similar project as this.

The plaster board rubble was very weak and dusty so I used a genuine DIY tip and painted the plaster with a watered down PVA glue solution to seal it. This made the plaster more like concrete and stopped it from crumbling while being handled.

Glue Gun to Stick it Together then more PVA

A lot of the rubble still had all the layers attached to it which I left in place to make it even more authentic looking. In the pictures I’ve done nothing but glue the pieces together and coated everything in a second layer of PVA glue.

These pieces have become very solid and are still very light, as light as resin would be. As you can imagine I have quite a lot of material to work with and so will be returning to the blog with an update on building an entire destroyed settlement.

Sci Fi Objectives

Stephen puts on his Sci-Fi modellers hat…

You can play games with sides who have equal points and just happen to turn up and have a smack up in the middle for no particular reason only so many times.

So to create a bit of variety I decided to make some objective markers so that games can have a bit more variety and meaning.

Of course, you can use simple tokens, or even dice, to be objectives. But I decided to make some sci fi themed objectives.

These are made from a variety of bits – some from odds and ends out of the spares bag, some from other household items, and some from good old fashioned modelling and sculpting.

This first one is a comms station. The core is a bit of balsa. This was then skinned with Miliput and some details etched in. When the putty had hardened I gave it a quick whizz on some fine wet and dry paper to smooth it out. The radar dish was from the spares bag. I’ve no idea where it came from – I have a few of them, so must have ordered them from somewhere but for the life of me I can’t remember ever buying them.

Comms Station

The next one is a supply cache. These bits are all from the spares bag. The gas cylinders were freebies with an order from Scotia/Grendel. Not sure who the crates are by. I must confess, I wanted more ‘sci fi’ looking crates, but I had none and wasn’t in the mood to make any – I just wanted a fourth objective marker and wanted to throw it together sooner than later.

Supply Cache

The other two are what we’ll call ‘gubbins’. Or ‘tech’. Or something like that. They were made from oddments I had around. The cylindrical one is made from a sewing thread bobbin. It has a couple of round slotta bases stuck together on top, half a bomb from a Stuka model on top of that, and I glued some plasticard to the barrel of the bobbin. The other one hasn’t had so much done to it. It was a weapon pod that came from a toy spaceship bought in The Works. I just put it on its end and then some plasticard bits to cover the slot where it attaches to the model. 

Gubbins, before painting

On to the painting.

The two ‘tech’ objectives were given a once over with grey and then a dark brown wash. They were then dry-brushed with grey that had a little bit of brown added to it (to take off the harshness of the grey). I went down quite light with them. I wanted the blue sections to represent internal lights and power generation. So a royal blue base, and then taken down with pale blue and a final white section. To try and give it a glowing effect I dry brushed the surrounding parts of the model with one of the paler blues to represent the light reflecting on the surfaces and glowing.

Gubbins, after painting

The comms station was a simple paint job – field green. I decided to do the cylinders on the supply cache in different colours to represent different contents. For no reason that I can think of I just went with white crates. Glad I did because I think it looks good.

Supply Cache and Comms Station, painted

The models were decorated with some spare decals and the computer screens were found on the internet, printed off, and glued in place (I’m sure you can identify the X Wing targeting computer).

So that’s it – some objectives for scenario games.

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”.

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.

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.