Saturday, 31 July 2010

15mm.co.uk Octopods


These models from 15m.co.uk are sculpted a little bit crudely compared to what I've been painting lately, but are full of character and very fast to paint. I decided on drab uniforms so they would fit into pulp or weird war games one day. These are very versatile figures in that way.
I have a command and heavy weapons pack still to go, and am now quite looking forward to finishing them off.

I've got some Shark-kind on the way from Khurasan and am torn between combining these forces into an aquatic army or doing a sea-life civil war.. No reason not to do both though I suppose. ;)

Blue Moon Manufacturing Orion Republic Heavy Infantry: Squad complete.


The finished squad. I really enjoyed doing these, even though the camo meant about double the work. I'm going to have to either figure out a great way to do powered armour rules in CR, or perhaps use a different set.

Blue Moon Twanax Horde


I was considering doing these with white fur and blue skin, but changed my mind at the last minute. I'm glad I did, because these models look great, but have some pretty confusing detail on the claws, which I don't think would have worked as well without the deep shadowing. They will make great space-monsters or werewolf-alien proxies.
These guys are pretty big, as seen in the comparison photo below.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Blue Moon Manufacturing Heavy Infantry


Here is the test-paint I did for my newly arrived models from the nice folks at Blue Moon Manufacturing.

Faced with the huge domed helmet, I went for a military style MaK inspired camo scheme. Below are the rest of the unit, at the base-coated camo and Devlan Mud wash stage. One remarkable thing about these figures is that there are no duplicates in the 10-man squad.. Each model is unique.
(I did cut up the Bipod that came with the heavy weapon, and used it to beef up the underside of the SAW pictured above.)
I'm enjoying taking my time and really working on the highlights for these figures. I tried out a technique using little white dots that Inrepose suggested in his latest painting guide.


I've got some Twanax from the same range on the go as well, and will have some pics up tomorrow I expect.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Forest Sections And Update

After quite a break from hobbying, I managed to get some time to base and undercoat some Octopods. While doing this I decided to pull apart the square forest sections I'd made and replace them with "classic" organic shaped ones.

I used some thin plasticard to make the new bases, and just cut them out with scissors. I then glued on a slab of perspex to the middle to keep them stiff, and puttied in the little step this created.

A quick black undercoat and they were ready to paint and attach the twist-tie trees I made earlier.


They look a lot better on the table than before. I think I may still sand/flock the edges of the 25mm bases on the loose trees to help blend them in.

This method of making forest sections is a good compromise between permanently fixed and re-positionable ways of building them and allows a great deal of flexibility. I'll use these in my next game for sure and see how they affect play.

Update on other things in the works:
I'm still working on the spaceship modular deck plans and have gotten quite distracted starting to write rules specific to them (without really meaning to) but they are not far off.

I'm expecting a bunch of Blue Moon manufacturing figures in the post, and am making another Khurasan order tonight. I am getting close to having too many figures now.. 

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Quiet week

I've had a lot of real-world work on this week and haven't had any hobby time. Later on though, I hope to get stuck into the deck plans, cards for Inrepose's game "Gruntz", some non-square forest sections, and even some miniatures ;) I got my big bag of bases and Octopoda so there will probably be some of those done soon.. Plus some conversions.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Painted for unpainted swaps!

Check out my swap page for the painted models I am willing to trade for new UNPAINTED figures. Not bad eh?

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus

I just remembered this incredibly silly movie  and found a reason to buy Khurasan's Karkarines.. So I can pit them against 15mm.co.uk's Octopods!!!
The Octopods will have one of THESE...


A while ago I bought a bunch of Monsterpocalypse models via eBay. The intention was to use them for Ganesha Games' upcoming ruleset. As that isn't published yet, I think I'll paint some of them as 15mm super-monsters (Tank proxies?).
The nice thing about MonPoc figures (if you don't want to use them for the actual game) is that when you buy them you get 1 Normal and one "Ultra" form in transparent plastic. Which translates as 2 for 1 to me, so I'll still have a spare for when the Ganesha Kaiju game is released. Excellent!
As a side note, the out -of-box paint jobs on these things are really good. They have made clever use of airbrushing and glazes to get some really respectable effects.

I don't know if there's a MonPoc Shark creature, if not then I'll have to do some converting...

UPDATE:

Yes, there is a Shark monster. I bought it. Ebay, you bastard.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Scratch-Built 15mm Trees


I took a break from the deck plan this weekend and made some trees. I found a great article on Terragenesis.co.uk about making plants out of twist-ties. There's a lot of tutorials on there about how to make great looking terrain out of inexpensive materials.

I got a pack of 100 twist ties from the local shops, and set to work clipping them to length, then snipping in detail with scissors before twisting them together and bending to shape. Once I got the hang of it it was very easy and almost relaxing.

I stuck the finished trees into blobs of miliput and fixed some to my terrain squares, some to leftover 25mm bases. (I prefer trees you can move about in a forest section to fixing them down). At 15mm, the round based ones can also be used as they are for clumps of LOS-blocking vegetation. The rocks are cat litter.

They were simply painted with Knarloc Green foundation paint from GW, then washed with my Kleer recipe and dry-brushed for highlights.

(Figures are OUDF infantry by Ground Zero Games.)

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Final 15mm Paper Door

I adjusted the lighting on the frame side panels, shifted the bits a little to allow for the paper thickness and shifted the control panel to the side to double as a support tab. This has made the model more solid as the door is now fixed from all 4 sides.  A quick bit of sharpie work backed in the frame interiors nicely. Some of it blurred through to the other side.. Just looks like grime though, so I'm not bothered by it.
Quite by accident, all the surfaces requiring glue ended up on the same side. Once cut and scored, you could spray-adhesive the glue on in one hit.
I'm pleased with the final result. Not bad for a first foray into paper modeling.

New 15mm Door Design


OK, this door design is the winner.
It's much easier to cut and build than my earlier attempts, as seen in the first photo. It's also got far less exposed glue edge than the previous ones.

I printed this one on matt photo paper. The height of the door frame needs a tiny adjustment to allow for the thickness.

The saving in assembly effort makes it worth not having door frame interior detail.

15mm Paper Doors

Last night I tried making some print and stick paper doorways for my deck plans. The goal was to make single-piece models that were easy to make. It didn't go especially well.

The first prototype's door was too fiddly and the slot ruined the structural integrity. It also took ages to cut and assemble. It looked OK, but was too flimsy and annoying for my tastes.
The second one solved the flimsiness problem, but was still kind of irritating to assemble, and didn't look as much like a door as the first one.

I think what I will actually end up doing for my own games is make a custom order to Jim at Litko and use something like this:


They are going to need a thick base to look good with my minis, and this product (if they can do square bases) solves the problem neatly.

I will work on a 3rd paper design today though, as if I sell the deckplans I'd wan it to be a complete paper terrain solution. I think if I do a single-thickness 2.5d doorframe and an integral door, a lot of the fiddlyness will go.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Hobby out of control!

So Today: I've been needing to order some more 20mm bases.. 15mm.co.uk sells 80 for £3.50, which is the best price I know of.
UH OH.. Dropship Horizon just won't let me rest with the news updates.. 15mm.co.uk has released a whole bunch of cheesy Squid-man aliens. They look fun and easy to paint. Excuse made! Purchased!
Khurasan's upcoming Lhurggs are also too good to miss. The big K just keeps pumping out increasingly incredible figures, and I'm doomed to another order very soon. 

They got me thinking of doing additional deck plans for  'Pointy aliens' (Kra'vak/Klingon types) and for 'Squidgy Aliens' (Octopods/Reptiles types) as well. Same basic layouts, just different art. Better finish the first lot I guess. ;)

I'm also going to be working on some art and playtesting for Inrepose's 15mm skirmish rules he's developing. His Blog is packed with really fantastic painting and terrain photos (even tutorial videos) so you should check it out if you haven't already.

15mm Spaceship Deck Plans


Today I tried making some modular deck plans for playing boarding actions with. This is a fairly big project, but still a lot easier than making 3d modular terrain.. Plus this will be something I can store in comfortably in a 20cmx20cm box. :)

This is the control room, which is 5x10 squares. All the other pieces are 5x5, inspired by the tiles on the Battlestations website, and the ideas Mel Ebbles came up with his for his long awaited Guncrawl 2.0.

If I make a deck of cards that match the rooms and corridors, I can do a WHQ/Guncrawl style games using CR which ought to be lots of fun.

For maximum scalability (and just as a fun challenge) I did my best to make every part of the image out of Vectors. The only parts that aren't vectors are the dirt layers, the checker-plate and the monitor details.

The dirt was painted onto a layer, and the screen images were game screenshots from google.
I did make the glowing control panels though.. Which were surprisingly easy. What this means is that the image can be scaled up (or down) with no loss of detail.

It was fairly time consuming, but because of the way I built the file, I will be able to make the rest of the ship pieces extremely quickly. I'm planning to mount the completed tiles on the back of self-adhesive Linoleum tiles. This will make them nice and weighty, non-slip, and mean I don't need to faff around with spray-glue. Well that's the plan anyway.

(If they come out nice enough I might try my hand at selling them as PDF's for people to print themselves. I will replace the monitor images with ones I make myself in this case.)

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Mini CR3 Battle Report: Mercs vs Zeig

P.E.F Deck at the ready, I took my Mercenary Squad into some ruins on patrol with Zeig Forces reported in the area.

The P.E.F markers (White dice in some of the photos) immediately clustered toward the rear of the board.. All except one.
Capt. Duke (REP5, AR) and Slick  (REP4, AR) moved up the right flank while trooper Miller (REP4, AR) Moved up and peeked around the corner while Horowitz (REP4, SAW) and Jones (REP4,AR) Took up position behind some crates.

Miller gulped. The P.E.F was an equal number of Heavy Warbots.  "It's never a bloody false alarm is it." He muttered. A roll on my homebrew enemy disposition chart showed that the Heavy Warbots were unaware in a line facing away.

Forgetting that Warbots (using the scourge rules) don't in fact take "Man Down" tests, Miller figured he wasn't going to get another shot in the back in the open again, so let rip with all 3 dice into the nearest Warbot. Rather unexpectedly, he nailed it right in the cortex and it dropped like a rock.

Ignoring their comrade, the remaining 2 Warbots passed their received fire test, spun around emptied 8 dice of LMG fire into him. Shielded somewhat by the corner of the building, Miller went down in a shower of blood.. Still alive, but out of the fight. Another marched relentlessly around the corner, right into a withering hail of fire from Horowitz's SAW. Sparks showered, but it was only knocked down.

While Horowitz covered the corner from behind the crates, Jones ran out and dragged Miller out of the line of fire.

Meanwhile on the other flank, Slick crept up and got a bead on the only enemy P.E.F not clustered in a ruin.. Main Force! 3x as many in 3 groups.
Bugger.

The activation dice left both sides rooted to the spot for a few turns but eventually the Warbots marched toward Duke, their impact 4 guns blasting Slick into chunks.

Badly outnumbered and with enemy closing in from both sides, Horowitz lobbed a grenade around the corner to try and break up the column of 'bots and Zeig Troopers ready to walk around and overwhelm him. The resulting blast only knocked over the warbots, but stunned one of the Zeig.

Now fully aware of the grenade rules (Which I really like BTW) Jones tossed one as well. It messily killed the stunned Zeig and his bunched up squad completely panicked (rolled boxcars) and lit out of there. Jones ran to support Duke, leaving Miller with Horowitz.

Back on the other flank. Enthused by the success of his squad, Duke lobbed a grenade into the midst of the oncoming warbots. knocking one over. His second attempt led to a fumbled grenade which unfortunately took Jones out of the fight, but left Duke merely dizzy but prone.

By now the Mercs had only 2 uninjured men left and were facing four times their number of heavily armed zealots ad robots. Dragging their bleeding buddies, they were able to make use of the refinery to make their way off the table edge.

Result: Zeig Major Victory.

Considering what they stumbled into, I think the Mercs got off pretty lucky in the end.

Post Game Observations

I had a much easier time figuring things out this time, and I'm pretty sure I got everything right. It was typical that I managed to run into the maximum possible enemy opposition as soon as possible.

Most of the casulties occurred at the "corner of death" as waves of enemy walked around into SAW fire and those that lingered were messed up by grenades. Duke's double 6 grenade fumble was the death knell for victory this game, but pretty funny.

The Warbots/Scourge were difficult opponents. Their predictability somewhat offset their toughness though, which seemed "right" for merciless robots.

I forgot to do the armor rules, but figured that since the non-robot forces had approximately equal armor on and the robots had the "Brick House" rule it was no big deal.

I'm now convinced that the THW rules are a great fit for my solo games. If I keep making card decks for things (an events deck for use when rolling doubles on activation will be first) and organize my various rules sheets it's a very quick game with plenty of surprises.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

CR3 Enemy Forces Cards


Last night in an effort to further streamline the already excellent CR3,  I decided on a card-based system for resolving P.E.F's (Potential Enemy Forces). There's nothing wrong with the rules as written, but I am incredibly lazy and don't like slowing down the game for any reason if it can be at all avoided.

Instead of rolling for what and how many (if any) enemies each PEF represents, I made a set of cards for my Zeig army that list that information, as well as the stat lines of those forces. This means I can find out who, how many, and what the stats are of the enemy with a single card draw. Now that's lazy. :)

I decided the Zeig Empire uses Warbots, to give them some variety (The Titan Marines all have the same equipment) and made up some crazy special rules for the enemy Villains. I threw in a minefield event as well. When randomly mixed in with a set number of "All clear" cards, it should provide an excitingly unpredictable enemy force generation system, with the added bonus of reference charts.

I adapted the free CR3 scourge rules for the Warbots and put the relevant changes onto a card as well.
Once I'd made all these in Photoshop, I printed them out on matte photo paper via my ink-jet printer, cut them up and put them in some CCG sleeves.

I also made up a system to randomly determine what this paticular enemy force are doing when you resolve the PEF.

 If the system works well, I will go back and add some extra art to the cards, some of which are a bit plain (I'm looking at you, "All Clear").

For Terrain I'm going to use the old classic "Set up a good looking board then roll to see what your entry side will be" system. It's been saving time and producing nice layouts for years. I can't see my non-opponent complaining.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

CR 3.0 Mini Battle Report: Adventurers vs Kra'Vak.

Now that I have completed all the terrain and figures I need to run through an full encounter, I got stuck into a small game of Two Hour Wargames Chain Reaction 3.0 tonight.

I took a group of 5 adventurers with mixed small arms and a SAW.
  1. Jack Fayte REP 5 (Leader, Agile) AC1, SMG, Grenades
  2. Diaz  REP 3 (Engineer) AC 0, Heavy Pistol
  3. Dale REP4 (Nerves of Steel) ac 1, Shotgun, Grenades
  4. Kranski REP 4, AC 1, Assault Blaster
  5. Jonson REP 4, AC 1, Heavy Blaster
I set up the board rolled random edge for entry and placed PEF (Potential Enemy Forces) markers. The system for these is excellent, but involves quite a lot of dice rolling. I think I'd like to try and figure out a way to streamline it using a Space-Hulk-Like counter draw system.

It didn't take long for fireworks to start. In the first turn, I activated first and moved Jonson into an elevated firing position in cover. Next, Kranski scaled a platform and immediately resolved a PEF about 18cm away in cover, which turned out to be the Main Force...With Commander in tow. I rolled 7 (1.5x as many) Power Armored Elite Kra'vak. Whoops.

Kranski promptly failed his "in sight" test. (The rules aren't very clear about wether you take one when you resolve a PEF, but it seemed to make sense so I did it) But Jonson managed to snap fire with the heaviest gun in the group.. And miss.
The Kra'vak Splattergunner snap fired back and blew Jonson's head off. The rest of the group (still in their deployment positions) only passed 1 dice on the "Man Down" test and all ducked back... Or more accurately threw themselves screaming against the nearest wall. This ended my activation as far as I could tell. (Duckback status confuses me a bit.. I think the idea is it disrupts your turn if it hapens during your activation.)

As the fight progressed, the Kravak kind of fumbled around a little bit after doing badly on a received fire test as Kranski ineffectively laid into them with his assault blaster. This stunned one and had enough of them duck back from the Man Down test that it gave the Adventurers a slim, desperate chance to whip around the side and try to use the "Auto Kill Or Capture" rule to take out some enemies.

Diaz was up first, and rather impressively used his heavy pistol (and the "Pitiful shot" rule, as his REP of 3 made his chances against a Kra'vak elite zero) to blow the head right off the Kra'vak Heavy weapons trooper who missed his snap-fire oppertunity. Lucky!

A messy exchange followed, that saw the humans blown apart one at a time until only Jack Fayte was left. When the smoke cleared, only 2 Kra'vak and their commander remained. Jack dashed through the reeling Kra'vak, knocking them down with his SMG and ruthlessly dispatching the fallen. What a guy!

Finally, it came down to Jack and the Kra'vak commander.. Who was armed only with a power axe and managed to get the drop on Jack due to a particularly bad activation roll, and charged him in the back just as Jack put a burst of SMG slugs into the last Kra'vak soldier.

A REP 5 Alien with a Power Axe against Jack got 5 dice to 2 and got an immediate Obviously Dead result. The Alien Commander was the last man standing.

Jack, as a Star, used the "Cheat Death" Rule and would be reduced to REP 4 for further games in a campaign.

Post-Game Thoughts

Overall, it was a great game.. It had some real shocks, highs and lows. Here are some observations.

Despite being assaulted by a superior enemy at close quarters,  my crew did very well, inflicting 80% casualties before being power axed into oblivion. This was entirely down to the Star kicking ass. This is fine by me.

Freakishly, all the Kra'vak were taken down by SMG and pistol fire then dispatched during movement. (The Kra'vak heavy weapons were quite effective however.)

The home-brew space armor rules from the THW Yahoo group I was using (built into the shooting chart) were not very good/fun. They basically meant that most models needed a 6 to hit their targets 99% of the time.. Which didn't really "feel" right for science fiction. I think in future I will use the normal CR shooting chart and just use simple GW-style saving throws for heavily armored models.

I totally forgot to use the attributes (nerves of steel etc.) of the characters. I think in most cases they weren't very relevant anyway, as my guys got their faces blown off in short order. I'll try harder next time.

The turn sequence is great and I love it, but it's very easy to forget who has activated and who hasn't. My first 2 turns got so messed up that I had to Mulligan and start over. I ended up using little plastic counters to mark activated figures.

The rules worked very well, and I only had one big question:

"If an inactive model is fired on and forced to Duck Back.. Does he get to take an In-Sight test when a second, active model runs around the corner and tries to shoot him?"

I ended up deciding no. Inactive models forced to duck back basically cowered until their next activation. If they were fired on and survived they were allowed to make a received fire test and shoot back though.

I don't know if this is correct, but it played pretty well.

To sum up, the rules are really brilliant, but have a lot of grey areas due to the language used in them. I'm ok with this, and I imagine I'll just tweak them until I'm happy.

Monday, 5 July 2010

What a weekend!

Lots of great stuff coming up as a result of this blog.. Going to paint some VERY cool models for one of my favorite manufacturers (!!!) and work on some rules with a fellow UK denizen. How exciting!

Also a big high five to Blue Moon, who have been amazingly helpful and will be shipping me out some Galactic War figures after Historicon.

I also had an idea for a new semi-tile based movement system for CR 3.0.
My large game terrain bases are 80mm square.. Which for 15mm is one normal THW move. I don't think it would be too tricky to write down some very simple rules to basically eliminate measuring from my CR 3.0 games.

Normal move
  • Move into anywhere in the neighbouring space by any route you wish, following normal in-sight tests etc.
  • Reposition to anywhere on a higher level in the same space
 If a terrain base is smaller than 80mm2, it counts as a half move, regardless of it's size. This is to represent them as difficult ground, as there are no "empty" 40mm terrain pieces in my collection.

Any day now I'll play some games...

Sunday, 4 July 2010

More 15mm Terrain

Having built some more ruins and platforms, I wanted to start decorating them a bit beyond plain colours. I spent some time in photoshop making little posters and signs and printed them out on photo paper. The quality isn't amazing, as my printer isn't very expensive. For the scale though, they look fine.
I've started calling my Titan Marines the "Zeig" so made some of this look like Space Nazi propaganda and signage.

This has unintentionally begun generating background fluff for my games. The planet the battles will be taking place on is an old mining and refinery frontier world. It was recently attacked by the Zeig Empire and has been thrown into chaos as a result. The Zeig are being fought by rebels, alien profiteers and mercenary companies looking to further their employer's aims in this time of upheaval.

Friday, 2 July 2010

GZG Armed Civilians and new buildings


These are 3 of the Armed Civilians/Colonists (Pack A) from Ground Zero Games. I'm going to use them as spaceship crew or civilian security contractors. I must have been overzealous with the matt varnish as it seems to have dried pretty glossy!


And here are 3 new buildings I made tonight. I couldn't help it.. Foliage will have to wait :)

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Easy Terrain Building For 15mm

Here is a photo of the terrain I have built so far. It's a bird's eye view so you can see that I've based everything on squares measuring a multiple of 40mmx40mm. The smallest pieces are 40x40, the longer ones are 40x80 and the big ones are 80x80.

I had no exact reason for doing this initially, except that I could get the MDF already cut from Warbases.co.uk for peanuts and wouldn't have to cut anything myself.
However it's quite useful as a lot of the time you can eyeball the terrain for measuring. Also, if I make up a bunch of open-ground 80x80's, I could potentially build a whole board out of just terrain sections like a jigsaw. The clearest benefit to me is that it makes this lot very easy to store, as they pack into a box very neatly. Much of this was inspired by my happy times playing Necromunda, followed by my sad times struggling to store all the huge, oddly shaped terrain. This lot is more than a 2'x2' table requires and fits into a space a little larger than a shoebox. Did I already say I love 15mm? My old gaming group kind of shared terrain responsibilities, and was pretty lazy. We played on ugly tables as a result. I think that (like bases) good terrain compliments good miniatures while bad terrain detracts from them. Ordinary paint jobs with good basing and terrain will make a more attractive game than the reverse (IMO anyway).

What you see here is a mix of stuff built from Urban War "Hexagon" and "Bio-Toxin plant" packs, some metal crates from GZG, and lots of scratch-built ruins I made myself.

The Urban War/Imex stuff is designed for 28mm models, but if you're careful it works very well for 15mm. It is also relatively inexpensive. I got mine from the Urban War website for £7 a box, but you can get it in various forms from many different vendors.



Urban War Kits/ GZG Crates



I chose these packs because I thought they would be useful to make scenery for a war-torn mining planet. What I really wanted was Stalingrad style ruins, but could find none I liked.
I brought home several big sheets of perspex I had left over from building a lightbox and thought I'd use it for making bases, as I'd run out of MDF ones and wanted more 80x80 ones for the larger structures.
As I began to cut and snap it into squares, I realized that it would probably be pretty easy to make some ruined corners with it using just plastic glue. It worked a treat. I used some sprue cutters to tear up each bit and then use the offcuts as rubble. It was surprisingly fun.

Scratch-Built Ruins


I used a tube of ready mixed poly-filler and PVA/sand on the bases, painted, washed and drybrushed the sections, then stuck on some of my static grass to help tie them into the infantry figures. I'm very happy with how it all hangs together. I think it's certainly worth doing a lot of terrain at once so it comes out consistent.
I'm looking forward to building some more, but I need some foliage pieces before I churn out any more hard cover.