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!

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Xenos Rampant

Dan had a coupon with Osprey and got me a copy of the Hot New Rules, Xenos Rampant. So I gave them a try today with my 15mm "Firefly in the Expanse" kit. It seems I don't have as many Belter guerrillas as I thought. Or UN Marines. Loads of Martians though.

But I tooled up a 24 point Belter detachment and tried them against two different MMC detachments. The points values of basic heavy and light infantry are deceptively low. Once you start adding upgrades the units become expensive. I tried a Recon team (That's "Scouts" in old money) with sniper (giving them a range out to 24"), infiltrator (free move before first turn) and Fire support (they can call in off board fires on an 8+ that hit on 4+) which ended up costing 9 points! My MMC Force Recon marines in the power armour were 10 points per fireteam; elite infantry plus mobility (adding 4" movement for a total of 12"!) and armor piercing (reduce target armour by 1).


  • 2x teams heavy infantry with antitank and guerrilla
  • 1 team heavy infantry with guerrilla
  • 3x teams light infantry with guerrilla
  • 1x support weapon with armour piercing


  • 2x teams heavy infantry with antitank
  • 2x teams heavy infantry with assault
  • 1x Recon team with sniper, infiltrator and fire support

  • 2x elite infantry teams with mobility, heavy weapons and armour piercing
  • 1x heavy infantry team with antitank

Of course, writing this out I realize I forgot all about the heavy weapon upgrade, any 6s rolled cause 2 hits instead of one. That could have inflicted a few more Belter casualties. Of course guerrilla allows them an additional +1 armour upgrade in soft cover. Not there this much soft cover. Maybe I should save the points for something else next time!

If you've got the rules, then you'll notice I'm giving some units upgrades the rules don't allow. But carrying a missile launcher seems to be an antitank weapon to me. 

For both games I played the "VIP Extraction".

The Target. An important scientist just going about his day

Belter guerrillas move through the cargo dump, trying to keep out of LOS

Belter heavy infantry with antitank upgrade

Recon team on high ground

MMC platoon advancing to contact

Recon team calls in a fire mission on Belters by the ship, killing two of them.

Belter partisans have grabbed the Target and are hustling him away!

Covering the exfil

MMC fireteam advancing cautiously

For game two, the Belters won the roll and had a dilemma. Defender picks table edge, but Attacker moves first. So the Belters rotated things 90 degrees, hoping that the longer fields of fire might give them a chance against the power armour.

Belters advance over the hill

TF 2 advances from the other hill

Team 2Bravo secures the flank downtown

Team 2Alpha snatches the Target

"Contact front!"

Hustling the Target away to the extraction point. His 6" move slowing them down.

2Bravo caught in a cross fire. Support gun on the hill takes out 2 of them and fire from the guerrillas in the workshop takes out a third.

Belter partisans rush forward

2Alpha stops to fire and kills 3

2Charlie performing overwatch on the hill has taken some casualties while engaging two teams of Belter heavy infantry across the valley.

MMC exfiltrating off table with the Target suffering 5 casualties while inflicting 10.

So far, so fun. Will try vehicles next I think. Or maybe the Orbital Drop scenario on my Forward Operating Base.

I should get out the glue gun and some bark mulch and make more scatter terrain though. Finish the buildings I started a few year ago too.

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Concerning Hobbits

Every self respecting Tolkien gamer wants hobbits in their collection. I mean, Elves and Dwarves are cool and very well armed, but Hobbits know what's really important. 

But getting halfling figures that look like how I imagine the characters in the books is problematic. 

The Games Workshop hobbits are pretty good, but awfully dear. Although maybe that's my age. Is Cdn$5/ figure that bad anymore for metal? Yes, really it is. Conqueror Model dwarves are half that price even without the bundle discounts. Also the poses are terribly repetitive.

Mantic halfings are well, just odd. Plus you've got to buy them in sets with different units and I don't want dog riding hobbits, thank you.

Copplestone Castings are excellent, but pack assortment makes unit building problematic. They would mix well with the Games Workshop hobbits I think. Although there is a very nice option to buy unit packs through Northstar Games.

Wargames Atlantic plastic halfling militia are a good price, but suffer from Big Heads and are, in my opinion, very well equipped for how I imagine a Shire levy would look. I got a sample sprue through Wargames Soldiers & Strategy magazine a few years back.

Patrick remembered me musing about using 1/72 scale/ 20mm figures and gifted me a box of the Airfix Robin Hood figures as a late Christmas present. I was happy to notice that they are the same height as my Merry figure, and very similar builds too. Although getting more of this Out of Print set would frankly be impossible unless I wanted to pay stupidly high eBay Collector prices.

L-R: Wargames Atlantic halfling militia, Airfix Robin Hood figure, GW Merry. See what I mean about Big Heads?

A lot of figures have very exaggerated feet too. In 3d printing land there is the Halfling Modular Bundle from Minihoarder. The poses are kind of stiff and have rather ridiculous feet. Costuming is on point though.

For now I can get a couple of units of skirmishers and a unit of light infantry out of the Robin Hood set. Perhaps once I've finished painting Dwarves I'll splash out on some Copplestone figures. Perhaps this is all just an excuse to build some hobbitholes?

Thursday, January 5, 2023

All That Jazz


Velma honked at the coal truck that cut her off. "Hey, watch it buster!"

She pulled to a stop in front of Cohen's Deli. Roxie was waiting out front, looking like she was ready for a golf date and checking her face in a compact. She put a big bag holding her 12 gauge pump in the back seat and climbed in the front. She held a paper sack on her lap.

"What's in the bag?"

"Lenny made us a couple of Reubens. We should eat them before they go cold." The bag clinked.


"Uh huh. And some sodas."

Lenny always packed the girls a nice lunch ever since they helped his cousin out of a jam.

Velma pulled back into traffic,  getting honked at by a delivery van.

"Sure thing. We can park by the river and watch the ducks. Lester the Lecher ain't goin' anywhere."

Roxie looked in the back seat. "Bring your gat?"

Velma smiled and flicked her cigarette out the window. "You bet your bippy. Les ain't gonna be a lech for much longer."

These are a couple of figures from the Pulp Figures Gangland Gals set that a good friend gave me last summer. I painted Velma, the fedora wearing one, pretty quickly but was stumped by shotgun wielding Roxie. The definition on her clothing was soft and I wasn't sure how to approach her outfit. I didn't want to do a plain solid dress and trying to paint a floral pattern was intimidating.


Then inspiration struck and I gave her a sweater vest. I'd wanted to give her ironic knitted hearts, but Mrs Rabbitman says knit patterns like that weren't a thing in the 30s, however Argyle was the height of fashion. So this is my attempt at a pink and white Argyle sweater vest. The fashionable knitwear and the yellow blouse also tie her in with Velma.


With all these bright, possibly anachronistic, colours I decided that they should have a bright yellow car with whitewall tires too.

I've named them Velma and Roxie because I quite like Chicago and their hair reminds me of Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renee Zelwinger from the movie.

The thunderous roar of Velma's Tommy gun stopped suddenly when the breech block sat open on an empty magazine. Roxie ejected a spent shell from her 12 gauge. Velma tossed her cigarette on the bloodied heaps that had, until a few moments ago, been Lester and his four heavies.

"C'mon Roxie, I need a drink."

Roxie looked down. "Gosh darn it! I got a run in my stocking!"

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Holy Mary, Queen of Shepherds

As I said about last week's Sharp Practice game, my German church wasn't finished, so we went to Russia instead.

In fact, the Mad Padre had only just delivered the final piece to finish the steeple. The steeple, as sold by Sarissa Precision, is made from mdf discs stacked up. Which is OK, but really I could do better.

Church parade, or the Sergeant is steering his flock away from the Communion wine. The door is a bit small but won't really be noticed during the game.

I had been talking on Twitter about perhaps using a foam craft ball, or drawer knob to replace the steeple when Paul Edwards of emailed me an .stl file for a lovely steeple cupola which the Padre printed out for me. 

Soon after Mike left on Thursday I had it glued in place and continued painting.

While painting, I was looking at a lot of Google images of "German Rural Church" and I decided that I really did not like the board effect on the steeple or the pronounced gap created by the mdf meeting the roof angle. So with some careful measuring and cutting I made a paper skin and glued that over top.

Offending details


You will notice that while I was at it, I also decided to redo the roof s as grey slate. Many pictures show church spires a dark grey, but I didn't want to lose the detail of the arches on the cupola, so I went with the creamy mocha that I did the walls in and made the dome a bright Vallejo bronze.

So now my Austrians and Bavarians have a tiny little Catholic church to attend, or loot, or fight over. I should build 'Our Lady of Goats' a church yard wall too.

I'm now trying to source appropriate clergy.

Saturday, December 31, 2022

2022 in Review

It's not been a bad year gaming wise, even with schedules getting busy again. The pictures are in roughly chronological order.

A couple of good projects were finished, started or expanded upon.

Finished the Bavarians. Well, I finished everything I've bought for them and they're big enough to play with. But I'm not ruling out a 3rd brigade or some dragoons for 1809.

Painted a Prussian army.

Introduced my Grandson to toy soldiers. Hopefully that will grow as the years pass.

Started some WW2 naval with 3d printed miniatures, but haven't gotten anywhere with them.

Knocked these Swiss off the leadpile.

Significantly added to my Rohirrim with 24 more riders mustered to the host. 

Dusted off my Bag the Hun for a convention game which went quite well I thought.

My Bavarians naturally saw a lot of action this year. They did well in their Sharp Practice games, but not so good in General d'Armee against Scott.

Starting an Austrian army was unexpected. But their arrival coincided nicely with reading John Gill's Thunder on the Danube trilogy.

Significantly increasing the Dwarves wasn't exactly unexpected, but long delayed. Expensive being all metal, but well worth the price.

I finished the year with a flurry of games. Solo:


And in person:

Games were up 15% over the last two years, ending with 23 in total.

1 virtual -Dragon Rampant
3 solo -Sharp Practice, Victory at Sea and Dragon Rampant
19 Face to face, including 7 at conventions.

9x games were Napoleonic
3x were WW2 (1 in each of land, sea and air)
4x were fantasy
3x were ancient or medieval games using Lion Rampant 2.
The rest were one offs of Cold War, Cowboys, Gangsters, and Vietnam.

Last year I outlined my objectives as the following:

So for 2022, I'd like to

  • Play more Napoleonics, or air, or Middle Earth, or WW2 or anything really 
  • Build a castle for Middle Earth and Medieval
  • Build urban ruins for 15mm WW2
  • Build SF corridors and Off-world Colony terrain 
  • Sort out my ideas for a SF/Contact Front hybrid
  • finish the Bavarians and Prussians
  • keep smashing the leadpile down
  • buy less, but keep painting output up

I did play more, especially Napoleonics and Middle Earth.
I did finish my Bavarians and Prussians. I've got a few battalions of Prussians to paint, but all major elements that I've bought are done, and it's a big enough army to play with.
I did knock some of the leadpile down, but I think I've bought or was given far more. So net increase to the pile.
I never did get to the BIG terrain projects which are still on my "to-do" list: castle, urban ruins, SF corridors/space colony.
But I did do some smaller terrain projects; autumn trees, big trees, added some churches to the Napoleonic terrain.
Didn't get my "Contact Front in Space" idea sorted. 
So not bad, bit of a mixed result. But not bad.
The table is cleared off from the holiday gaming frenzy so maybe I'll crack on with trying out my game ideas while I glue Austrians, Russians and Dwarves together.

So this year my objectives are:
  • keep playing!
  • try and get some under played collections on the table again
  • sort out the SF rules and something for the naval and perhaps even the forgotten Samurai
  • build up Russians and Austrians for Napoleonics
  • paint Dwarves
  • if a castle happens to get built, that'd be grand
We'll see how get on. Watch this space.

Happy New Year.