In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

August Update- in which Capt Rabbitman Narrowly Avoids a New Period

It's been a not that bad month on the gaming front actually. A fellow whom I met via Twitter turned out to live fairly close, so I had him over for a get to meet each other game of Lion Rampant. For the first time in a long time I tried a Burgundian vs. Swiss matchup and it was hard fought and bloody. Makes me feel like I need to pay more attention to my neglected Swiss.    

I've also done more playtests for my SF game. I think I'm on draft 3.2 now.  But at least I'm not totally trashing things and starting over each time. Mikey and I had a very unbalanced game featuring angry miners supported by Belter extremists vs. UNMC Marines and Corporate Security goons. The expected outcome but the highlight was some workers in heavy work suits fighting hand to hand against UN power armour and winning. The main objective of testing rules was achieved, and a better activation idea was thought of.

Then the Mad Padre came down with his son for a flying visit. We played my SF stuff again, trying out tanks and the new activation idea this time. Martian Marines overran the base but took heavy casualties. After pizza it was our usual game of Dragon Rampant but I was the Good  Guys for a change, and the Padre's son and I managed a narrow winning draw that featured my Elf king charging the orc legions alone. The Padre conceded the game when he realised he may have fudged a critical courage test.

The Padre's legions of Isengard 

Elf king about to get a long sad song composed about him
The next weekend, it was a fun day at Broadsword 6 in Hamilton. This is a one day event held 3 times a year as a fundraiser for the Legion Branch that hosts the Hamilton Tabletop Gaming Society. Lots of games and catching up with folk. After lunch I sat in on a Flames of War Vietnam game,  leading some Armoured Cavalry into the muzzles of an appalling number of dug in recoilless rifles and NVA Regulars. I blew up in spectacular fashion. The .50 calls on the M113 ACAVs were not as effective as I'd thought, plus my Sheridan tanks were out ranged by the 85mm recoilless rifles and got killed before getting a shot off. Plus we had no artillery or air support and the NVA force (quite a mass of them and not a VC in sight) included tanks. Yes tanks. The NVA team were also rolling incredibly hot dice. So we were doomed.

Marines have problems landing on Tarawa at Broadsword 

Battle of Britain at Broadsword 

Armoured Cavalry painting it black

Frozen French and Cossacks fight for the last pig at Broadsword 

Painting wise not as productive. While digging out rare earth magnets for my Martian tank I found the Battlefront Centurion tank I'd bought for $5 a few years ago and assembled it since I was busy assembling things. In the process discovering that my old Roskopf mini tank Centurions are also 1/100th scale! This explains why they  were dwarfed by the 1/72 scale Firefly they fought beside. But I was 10, so what'd I know ? Everything was "HO" scale, right?

I thought about doing the Martian armour in red, but thought a grey camouflage scheme looked kinda cool too. Plus I have red WW2 British tactical markings,  so they'll show better.

Martian armour in action

Painting the Centurion also got me finishing the company of T34/85s that has been stalled all summer because my green armour mojo was off.

T34/85s ready to drive to Berlin 
Painting the Centurion and seeing that I had THREE 15mm tanks got me thinking of uses for them. The Indo-Pakistan War of '65 has an attraction, but I'd need M48s and infantry (maybe in 6mm?).  But I also remembered my old African Imagi-nation, Ruanda, who fielded Centurions and upgraded Shermans against the People's Republic of Simbaziland with T34s and T54s (played by an Airfix and a broken diecast JSIIs). But I'll wait until PSC releases their plastic Centurion kit before I order some infantry from Peter Pig's AK47 range. But I do conveniently already have Shermans and T34/85s.

The Padre also gifted me a spare Nazgul. Black prime, highlights, dark grey dry brush on cloak, black ink on horse, silver highlights on armour and sword. I gave the sword edges a green ink wash to try and give it an ethereal evil magic look.

I'll play him as reduced figure elite rider causing fear and the wizardling upgrade, giving him 3 spells to effect courage tests and prod his legions forward. 

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Mars Needs Tanks!

It's all the Mad Padre's fault. Really.

I loved the Space Cat adventures when I was a kid
He thought my space stuff looked kinda fun, and being a cat or so away from being a Crazy Cat Chaplain, he bought some of Khurasan Minis space kitties (he's a fan of the Kzinti in the Ringworld books) and a tank.

A tank?!

Now I needed a tank. Ground Zero Games ran a mid summer 20% sale, so I used the chance to round out my troops and oh, get the Martians a couple of tanks.

I've always like the look of GZGs high mobility wheeled equipment with the big knobby tires. When I did Dirtside in 6mm I had a squadron of Paladin and Phalanx wheeled AFVs. They look very high tech and spacey, so Mars needed one.

The assembly was pretty straightforward, although those sexy knobby tires required assembly too. The tight fit involved a lot of filing and scraping.

The Paladin cones with 2 weapon options on the remote turret. A cute stubby high energy laser, or a big farking rail gun. The rail gun looks the business to me and aesthetically ties into the MMCs gunship too.

But it's heavy, so the turret needed to be glued in place. Oh well. I tried futzing around with rare earth magnets, but realized after some hazardous drilling that counter sinking a hole into the remote turret/cupola would be too hazardous, I opted for glue.

I also like that the scout vehicle looks similar to my gunship too. I added the laser to the side of the rail gun as a secondary weapon/targeting suite. Or something. It's Science Fiction, so rule of cool.

The MMC rifles have been rounded out to two platoons with command and support weapons options too.
But don't worry, the UNMC have gotten more grunts and rocket launchers too.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Raid on Hyperion

The MCRN John F. Collins didn't look like much. It's transponder identified it as the Accidental Optimist, one of thousands of hard luck independent freighters scrabbling for contracts among the outer planets. It drifted towards the small rock on a fuel saving and low-energy signature ballistic course just like any other small freighter on a barely profitable contract to deliver supplies in the Jovian system.
The pilot's soft feminine voice came over their helmet speakers "Approaching target in three zero minutes. Final checks."
Captain Rodriguez and Staff Sgt Gurung checked the strike force one last time. Going over armour seals, battery charges, ammo loads and equipment. Radio checks and water packs. They had briefed and gone over the plan, memorized timings, memorized individual jobs and everyone else's job too during the long transit. The Lieutenant, the Gunnies and the fire team leaders had already checked everyone, but the Captain and Staff did it again, themselves, just to be sure. It was their lucky habit every mission.
"10 minutes kids. Depressurizing." A red light clicked on and they could hear the air being pumped out of the troop compartment. Once they were in vacuum, the big cargo doors opened to space. The grey rocky surface of Hyperion slid by a kilometer below.
"Drop zone 1 in... three, two, one!"
"Chalk one go!" Captain Rodrigeuz commanded over the helmet speakers and nine heavily armoured figures stepped over the abyss, dropping towards the moon's surface in the low gravity.

Master Corporal Nakata was on duty watch in the command bunker.  She squirmed with an itchy butt cheek that she couldn't scratch. Her hardened combat suit was uncomfortable but regs said duty personnel had to wear it just in case. She monitored the displays and had another window open on the monitor for her course in Introductory Psycho-Economics. May as well work on her degree while sitting in dark, cold postings for the UN Navy. But once her term was up there were a lot of good paying jobs moving stuff around the system and her degree plus experience in the UNN would help her get one. Better than sitting around on Basic watching the water stains grow on the walls anyway.
Sergeant Ouanga cycled through the airlock and removed his helmet. "All quiet, yeah?" He was here to relieve her so she could grab some chow and get out of her suit to scratch her butt. "You logistics REMFs ready to take us Marines in Golgola?" He was referring to the Belter version of bocce ball, played in low gravity and often with the Coriolis effect of spin gravity, it had it's challenges, and could be played anywhere in the system. Any Forward Operating Base or ship in the UNN had a Golgola league set up right after the coffee maker went on line.
"You know it! You Marines just don't have the delicate skill required." She paused. "Everything's quiet. A Belter freighter, the ...uh... Accidental Optimist swung by on a ballistic course to somewhere. I painted her until she dropped over the horizon."
Just then an alert chimed and the perimeter sensors flipped from green to red. "Uh oh!"

SSgt Gurung bounced to the top of the rocky hill, his thrusters barely firing to break his descent. This far out from the Sun he couldn't see a thing without Ladar and IR scopes. His HUD displayed a pattern of red dots squares and  triangles converging on the target. Now that he was on top of the hill, his suit started picking up blips switching them from unidentified yellow to Earther green  as it collected more data. To his right the red dots of the more lightly armoured rifle platoon were moving by fireteams into the blue rectangles marking the original Belter settlement. The random assortment of shipping containers were pure Belter, cables everywhere, sealant bubbling from seams. Many of them probably worked contracts in the UNN supply yard. But they weren't the target and killing civvies would look bad in the news feeds. A klik from him, by the landing area and refueling tanks his HUD showed 9 friendlies moving in. That was the Captain.  Dropped in a semi circle as the ship passed over the surface, the three elements of the strike force now converged on the target, a small listening post and communication relay.

The blue aurora of energy discharged by a rail gun firing announced the arrival of their Close Support. "Hammer Five Three on station. Going in." The gunship was like a maintenance skiff, except heavily armoured, improved sensors suite and a big assed rail gun and missile pods instead of articulated claws and welding gear. The gunship popped over the hill and snapped a shot at the missile launcher on the target, a near miss sending up a spray of rock and ice. As the FOBs targeting laser started to paint it, the gunpod slid to the right and dropped behind some stacks of shipping containers. Another pop up and the launcher exploded in a shower of sparks and metal.

Gurung's HUD lit up as everyone started shooting. On visual the darkness was punctuated with flashes of light from tracers  and explosions. Another flare of explosive light as the gunship knocked out an automatic rail gun turret that could have shattered their power armour with ease.

Gurung's threat display was alive with green dots. A trio of more urgently marked threats, a team of heavy power armour, moved towards him and started putting out heavy fire. "Stacey! Your team lay down cover fire on the supply crates. Tony, engage the stunty heavies! Team 1 follow me." He did a long bounce to the firebase spraying fire and popping grenades as he sailed over the Earthers.

On the other flank the Captain was doing the same thing, except sending in two teams while the third provided overwatch from the silos. Gurung keyed the command channel "Cap watch your flank! You've got-" but too late. A devastating salvo of fire from another UNMC power armour team shredded the Captain's fire team as it touched down just outside of the FOB.

Gurung landed on the lip of the missile pit, his targeting optics getting confused by the sparks and heat from the railgun strikes on the defensive works. Some small arms rattled on his chest staggering him a little. They started hopping over the trenches firing down into them at the UN defenders. Grenades fired at close range dropped a couple of his assault team. His display told him some were kept alive by their suits, but combat ineffective. They'd have to sit patiently until recovery.

With the Captain down and the Lieutenant with the riflemen in the center, Gurung took over. "Bartha! Kampur! take the bunkers, jack in and download any intel you can."
"Aye Staff! --unnngh!"
Through the disruption caused by the destroyed weapons turrets, Gurung saw two UNMC power suits by the comms bunker. He shifted his team to get a better shot blowing them over the edge of the berm.

The Last UNMC defender died hard, firing grenades at the giants around him. Breaching charges blew in the doors of the bunkers. Gurung stepped into the command bunker. Two suited Earthers stood against the wall, hands up. Kampur covered them with his rotary cannon, a bit much in the confined space but Gurung wasn't going to complain.
"They were wiping the data cores when I blew the door but we've got a partial" Kampur reported.
Gurung pulled the hard drive out with his armoured hand.
"Yeah But they didn't get a chance to fire the demo charges. Maybe the tech wonks can recover some more. Plus we've got prisoners. "
Since they didn't have a common channel he leaned in and touched helmets. "Listen up pardners, you're now prisoners of the Martian Congressional Republic. Don't make a fuss and well treat you square.  Okay?" They nodded their assent and he stepped back switching to the command channel.
"All One Niner call signs targets secure. Cease fire and prepare to move to Romeo Victor Alpha. Good work boys and girls."
His HUD showed him the red shapes of the Strike Force gathering up their casualties and setting demolition charges before the extraction.
He keyed the channel to the Lieutenant. "Hey there El-Tee, Cap's down. Suits says he's alive but. So you're in charge.  Everythings going to plan and we're on schedule. Wanna call the ship?"
Back on the Collins heading home to Mars at a comfortable point 9 gee acceleration, the slight brown form of  Staff Sergeant Gurung moved around the troop deck seeing that weapons were cleaned, armour repaired and prepped, ammunition inventoried. He dispensed encouragement, fatherly advice and gentle reproofs where needed.
As he passed Lieutenant Mitchell's cubby, he saw her staring at her monitor. "You've got a knot in your face, ma'am, what's up?"
"Oh, hello Staff." She shock her head. "Just trying to write up this After Action. Can't help thinking I messed up on my first drop."
Gurung suppressed a smile. So like his own daughter, serious and perfectionist.
"If you'd messed up more than is to be expected from green Junior Officers, then Gunnery Sergeant Paczk would have let you know very firmly." He paused. "Here, let me show you" Scrolling through the data file attachments to her report, readouts from every Marine in the action, he brought up a HUD of the firefight. "See here, and over here."
Lt. Mitchell nodded.
"You contained this threat with an economy of force and maneuvered on this flank to clear the supply dump. Both actions kept bad guys off my flank, meaning I didn't have a bad day. You aren't Napoleon but you did okay in your first action."
"But the Captain..."
"People get hurt in our line of work. The docs on Mars will grow his leg back and he'll be kicking ass with it by next year. Send me the report and I'll look it over for you before you submit. Okay?"
"Okay. Thanks Staff."
Gurung chuckled. "All part of the service. Now, how 'bout I buy you a coffee and then we go check on the folks in Sickbay?"

Monday, July 23, 2018

So This Happened....

Doing a solo playtest of my SF game. I'm trying for some hard SF  here, definitely not Warhammer 40k. 
Then mid-game, what happens but two power armoured Marines end up in hand-to-hand after blasting ineffectively at each other.
"Where's our chainswords?"
Oh bother....

Monday, July 9, 2018

Painting the Space Force!

I've been bashing on with the SPACE FORCE and made good progress.

For the MMC (Martian Marine Corps), I wanted red. After much pondering and discussion on the 15mm SF Wargaming Facebook Group I decided that in low light in deep space coloured suits wouldn't matter, and red is cool and very Martian. Doing dirty grey or khaki camouflage was just kinda boring, and I had to consciously make an effort to keep this project different from becoming Afghanistan with rayguns.

Initially I outlined all the detail on the suits with black and then painted the panels a dark red. But I decided something had to be easier or it would take forever to get the figures done. So bright primary red suits, black boots, pouches and weapons. Thinned black ink wash and then grey dry brush on black bits. Yellow visors. Came out the same with less effort.

MMC Rifles advance with Support Gunbot

MMC Fireteam in light armour

MMC Fireteam in heavy powered armour

For the UNMC I used some Tamiya NATO Green. It went on thin enough that it acted as a wash and formed natural highlights. So I just went over the bigger panels on the power armour, weapons and back packs with an olive drab to give some contrast.

UNMC Power armour

UNMC Rifles advancing with APC (from RAFM)

I also tried the terrain out for looks too. The ground sheet is some grey fabric I got on sale and then sprayed liberally with all the spray paints I had to give it a mottled effect.

GZG worker with cargo handling claws
The cago containes aren't super, but they're fast and easy. Stenciling logos and ID numbers would be alot of work. I need to finish up the rest of the MMC first and the three more buildlings that are in various stages of painting.

And rules... need rules...

Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Marines Have Landed!

The first contingent decided that a South African safari was in order. But Jon at Ground Zero Games quickly dispatched another box who hit my work bench in 7 days.
I've got two forces. One I'm thinking of as my Martian Marine Force and the smaller as the UNMC.
For the Martian Marines I chose GZG Outer Rim Coalition troops. I think they look closest to the suits in The Expanse. 2 packs of riflemen and a pack with squad automatic weapons gives me 24 marines in 8 fireteams. Each 8 figure pack has 4 different sculpt giving you quite a lot of variety. The castings were all very clean and minimal filing or trimming was required. I also like their big round bases.
Although the detail on the SAWs is so subtle that I'll have to mark bases so we know who  the big shooters are.

Supporting them are 18 Marines in heavy power armour. I used the Japanese power armour sculpt.
The arms and jump packs are separate.  For every three suits you have the option to do one with a heavy rotary barreled cannon.
The arms being separate allows some variety in pose as well.
Also in support are 3 gun drones. I will probably paint them fairly neutral so either side can use them. But I'm also thinking adding the sensor drones or pack of grav drones would make cool Patrol Markers or just recce assets.

For armoured support I got thinking that instead of a tank, something like a small shuttle or work pod with missiles and a rail gun would do the job better. The alien Kra'vak range has just the thing in their Strike Skimmer. The sharp, angular Kra'Vak design aesthetic makes me think it looks armoured up and utilizing stealth tech or something.

For the UNMC (United Nations Marine Corps), I picked the slightly older tech looking US Marine troops from GZGs intriguing Moongrunt range. These come in packs of 6. Two packs of riflemen and one pack of heavy support weaons giving me 18 men in 6 fireteams. The large life support backpacks are separate castings.
The riflemen all have automatic rifles with UGLs which is cool. But again the heavy support weapons are pretty subtle and I'll  need to mark the bases.

To support them I chose a pack of the ESU "Black Bear" power armour. Again one figure in 3 can have a big support weapon.

To round things out and look busy on the landing pad etc. I got a pack of Industrial Powered Work Suits. These are heavy vac suits, as big as power armour but the sets of arms come with a tool box, some kind of welding/cutting/drilling tool and pairs of cargo handling clamps. I'm sure they'll look great in dirty safety orange.

We'll see how this does for me. Later, adding some Command to the Martians and perhaps some more support weapon drones might be an option or they have kinda cool jet bikes. But since I'm imagining fighting in fairly low gravity, indirect fire weapons don't seem like an option.