Monday, 17 December 2018

Heavy Metal

More big dwarves.

Love this guy.  Huge (for a dwarf) chunk of metal.  The growth in plastics has been great for the hobby overall, but this is the sort of hefty model you can only really do in lead.  I like to think this is the general's bodyguard, or similar.

Mugged a polar bear for the cloak...

Not sure what design to put on the banner at the moment.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Airfix Battles Scenario 2 - Rescue the Colonel

The better half occasionally drops off on the sofa of an evening, usually when the little miniature has exhausted her.  Good news for me (unless I’m snoring too), as it gives me a little painting or gaming time.  A couple of nights back, I used that opportunity to pull out ‘Airfix Battle’ by Modiphius, for another try.

After the first couple of goes at the first scenario, I was quite taken with this little rule set (a pity it’s had so little support, although I understand they are working on a more generic version still).

This time it was scenario 2, ‘Rescue the Colonel!’ and I decided to try out the proper solo play rules, with me playing the US and the Germans controlled by the draw of order cards against the table in the back of the rulebook.  I was interested to see how well (or not) this would work.

Here’s the basic set up, both sides also got two pieces of terrain to place.  The US had 1 Captain with a squad of four veterans, 1 infantry squad, and a team of snipers.  The Germans had 1 Captain (also with 4 veterans), a pioneer squad, and an MG section of two MG34s.

Both sides set up more or less as mirrors to the other, with the snipers and MG team positioned to be able to fire on the objective in the middle of the table, and their main squad in direct line of advance to the objective, with the veterans to the side.

First positions. US to right

Victory conditions were simple, hold the objective for two consecutive turns; rescue/capture the colonel, whose command post has been overrun.

Turn 1

The Germans had the initiative and started with the ‘Dig in’ card, which was playe on the MG teams.  The US cards initially didn’t look great; ‘Stay Frosty’ at least put the snipers on overwatch.  The next German card was ‘on the double’ (triple move) allowing the pioneers to move straight up and occupy the objective!  However they didn’t get away scot free, as the ‘Stay Frosty’ card allowed the US snipers to fire on the pioneers with no cover save allowed, causing three casualties and pinning them in the farmhouse.

First blood to the US snipers, pinning the pioneers

Suddenly the US cards were looking a bit rosier.  The ‘Infantry Assault’ card allowed the US infantry squad to advance and try to push the Germans out of the objective, only for them to fluff their attack rolls and take three casualties and end up pinned.  However the one casualty they caused was enough to reduce the pioneer squad to half strength; they duly failed their own morale test and fled.  Now pinned, the US squad was unable to occupy the objective, but at least it was open again.

The rather messy US assault.  The attacking squad is now pinned
but the german pioneers are just about to leg it!

The German Captain and veterans used a ‘lightning strike’ card to move up adjacent to the farm and fire on the US squad, driving them off with three casualties, then took one casualty to fire from the US captain’s squad.

So the first turn ended with both sides having their largest squads in retreat, and the objective unclaimed.

Turn 2

The Germans won the initiative again.  The pioneers failed to rally, but gained back two soldiers through an interrupt card and hunkered down behind cover on the baseline.  With options limited, the German MG team rapid advanced to place themselves behind the objective.

The US responded with a ‘Sweeping advance’ (two units can move with +1 movement and fire).  Combined fire from the snipers, Captain and veterans wiped out the German vets (the US veterans were using SMGs, which get to re roll misses within 1 square), leaving the Captain alone and pinned, although he subsequently rallied.

After initial successes, things were looking tricky for the Germans.

Turn 3

The Germans won the initiative. Again.

The pioneer squad failed to rally. Again.

The US snipers finished off the German Captain with a fusillade of shots (the ‘open up’ card allowing misses to be re-rolled). 

The MG team attempted to occupy the objective, but the US snipers got there first by playing a sneaky interrupt card (the aptly named ‘move’), leaving the MG team no option other than to assault.  This was a bit of a quandary as MG teams cannot move and fire usually, but I assumed they would still have various small arms so attacked using the usual one die per soldier).  Although they successfully pinned the snipers, it wasn’t enough to push them out.

The US re-captures the objective

The Germans were running out of troops unless those pioneers could rally.

Turn 4

German priority again.

The MG teams attempted to assault the objective again, but it ended in a stalemate.  The US Captain and veterans flanked the MGs and wiped them out with their Thompsons and Grease Guns.

Would the pioneers rally and keep the Germans in the game?


The US had now been holding the objectives for two consecutive clear up rounds, so it was a US victory; the Colonel was back in their hands.


I found the solo rules worked well.  The enemy drawing cards keeps things unpredictable, but their actions never felt completely random.  If they had been a little luckier with die rolls they may even have pulled off a victory in the second turn!

The scenario is interesting.  Both sides need to move quite aggressively, but with forces that look better designed for defence (MGs and Snipers)

YMMV, but I really like the orders mechanism using the cards.  In some games its very easy to end up playing the rules (including Warhammer, which I still love), ie: knowing the movement distance and range of every unit you face, you can plot your own to a fraction of an inch.  Whereas here, you can be all ready to pull off your assault, only to suddenly face an unexpected flanking manoeuvre.

Friday, 30 November 2018

Droids, Dwarves and Dudes (with big sleeves)

A bit of a mixed painting bag this last week.

First up, a battledroid for the next instalment of the Five Parsecs from home campaign.  Just a star wars micro machine painted up.

It scales up quite well at 20mm. Imposing, but not too big.

Yet another dwarf.  The last of the generals from the Grenadier 'Dwarf Generals War Council' set.  I have most of the parts for this now, but haven't tackled the banner or map table yet.  I like this guy, nice pose and plenty of character (and a fantastic hat).

 Playing around with the War of the Roses (originally Citadel Men at Arms, now in Foundry's late mediaeval range).  No starting a new period (I hope), but just enjoying painting and trying out different techniques.  Two methods of highlighting red here: the first using a black wash shade, then a brighter red to highlight; the second mixing in ivory for a slightly more faded look.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Lads with big Choppers

Yet more Nick Lund Dwarves, this time some elites with massive axes.

The leader has lost his axe head, which I need to replace at some point.

In close up it looks like I added the highlight to the cloak with trowel rather than paintbrush, but I'm pretty pleased overall with the appearance at table distances.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Chop, chop!

Yep, another Dwarf.

Phenomenal sculpt from Nick Lund and a joy to paint, the face and beard really are spot on.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Five Parsecs From Home - Turn 2, Escort Mission

Five Parsecs from Home, Turn 2.  Escort Mission against four bounty hunters, three with shotguns and one with a hunting rifle.

What looks like a simple job is about to get complicated.  Unbeknownst to our crew, the VIPs mission has been deliberately leaked to try and identify a security breach in the patron's organisation.

The encounter area, The VIP needs to get from bottom right to the VTOL at top left.
Opposition will come in form left and right 


“Jak this is Reece, VIP’s  all done here, we’re on our way back to you now.  All clear for pick up?”

“Receiving you.  This end is all cle… Shit! Correction.  We have armed hostiles coming from north and south, looking to cut you off!  Proceed with caution, we’re engaging…”

“copy that, good luck! Heading your way now”

The escort team receive the news

“Crap . Job’s gone south already!” Reece exclaimed.  Nat instinctively took point, covering the alleyway to their left as Reece and Anul closed in around their charge.  From ahead came the distinctive ‘burp’ of Jak’s Shell Gun, followed by the thump of a shotgun being fired.  “Well that wasn’t one of ours” said Reece, “let’s get moving!”

Jak, Mila and Kari guard the extraction point

“Kari, two hostiles to our left!” Jak shouted, crouching by the VTOL and unlimbering the heavy shell gun.  He peered down the length of the stubby barrel, adjusted slightly, and let the explosive round fly at the two bounty hunters coming down the road at them.  One dropped like a rag doll, thrown aside by the blast.  The other staggered but didn’t fall, discharging his shotgun in return.  Out of the corner of his eye he saw Kari drop to the ground.  Not good…

Hostiles move in as two teams

One down!  victim to Jak's Shell gun

“Two more to the south!”Mila yelled, sprinting past Jak to take cover behind a truck, closing the range to the new targets coming out of an alley.  Jak let the shell gun drop and unlimbered his auto rifle.  Mila and the others would need to keep the new guys busy.  He needed to deal with the first hunters for now.  Aiming carefully, he let off a controlled burst and watched with satisfaction as his target dropped like puppet with its strings cut.

Kari's down, but another bounty hunter follows

Spurred on by Mila’s warning over his comms, Nat sprinted down the alleyway.  There, just behind the armoured truck, a figure with what looked to be a shotgun.  Pointed right at him!  Nat had time for one wild shot before he slammed into the side of a shipping container.  The shotgun’s blast hitting the other side at near point blank range rang it like bell.  Taking a deep breath, Nat slung his rifle and pulled a short, heavy blade from under his trenchcoat...

Reece and Anuk stay with the VIP while Nat covers the alley

Another threat comes in from the south

Jak and Mila to the left, with Nat coming down the alley to the right

The shotgun blast made Jak rock back on his heels, feeling like he been kicked by a mule, but his sturdy flak jacket prevented anything worse.  Regaining his balance, he brought the auto rifle back up to his shoulder to return fire towards the bounty hunter hiding behind the armoured truck, only to find his target wasn’t there anymore.  Instead he heard shouting, followed by a brief, sharp yell. “what the hells?” he muttered.

Nat disposes of the two remaining hunters in quick succession

Nat leaned panting against the warm metal of the truck.  He couldn’t quite believe that he’d got away with charging straight at a shotgun armed bounty hunter, let alone dealing with his angry partner, who’d come charging straight at him from the other end of the truck.  “Please tell me that’s all of them!” he rasped into his mic.

The VIP reaches the extraction point intact

Reece watched as the VP got into the VTOL and triggered its return protocol.  Mila gave him a thumbs up from where she was knelt next to Kari.  A still somewhat shaken Nat walked up to him and offered him a flask he’d produced from somewhere in his trademark long coat, “Well, I guess that could have gone worse”.  He took another swig from the flask, “How much are we getting paid again?”.


Another really quick game ,lasting only three turns in total!  Kari turned out to only be knocked out, again (this is becoming a habit).

The crew made no new enemies this turn, and got paid seven credits (a D6 roll of five, +1 for a parton job and a further +1 for it being a 'wealthy benefactor').  Feeling bad about the deception, they also threw in an Alien Artefact, some 'upgrade goop' for one of the weapons.  I also rolled a campaign event; Nathaniel was offered an opportunity too good to be missed, resulting in gaining and enhancement implant (offers additional XP) and some alien artefacts to trade.

Next turn looks like it will include battle-droids.  What fun!

Five Parsecs from Home - Campaign Turn 2

Reece walked stepped into the what had once been the Envoy's Conference Room, but which now did duty as the crew's rec room, galley and, by the looks of it, general storage area.  Everyone was there now: Nathaniel and Mila were in the far corner, stashing the supplies he'd secured, while Jak was out of the sick bay now and stripping and cleaning his auto rifle.  Anul seemed occupied reading what looked like a comic book, while making notes on his data slate in whatever language was native to his species.  Kari was, well, sulking was probably the best word; she hadn't taken well to being knocked out unconscious on her first mission.  

He rapped his knuckles on the bulkhead for attention, "listen up guys.  Good work on the last job.  Finances look good and we've got a decent stash of supplies for a few weeks.  Better news is I've got us another job.  We have an off-world guild member sending a VIP here to conclude some business, and they want local security.  All we need to do is babysit them to and from their meeting and it's easy money."

For campaign turn two the Crew stayed on their current planet (I really must give it a name).  The last missions had delivered some good loot rolls, including supplies, and Nathaniel successfully traded for more, so there was no cost for upkeep.

Jaken had to rest in sick bay for a turn, but would be ready for the next mission with a leg wound.

Kari and Mila both used the campaign turn to train (+1XP each)

Reece and Anul went looking for work, rolling up a Patron job; a Wealthy Benefactor, which would lead to an Escort Mission against 4 bounty hunters.  Write up to follow.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Five Parsecs from Home - Turn 1

Reece traded (gaining 2 credits), Nathaniel recruited Mila; Anul and Kari Explored (gaining a rumour along the way), and Jack trained.

The crew were then given a mission by Nathaniel’s Patron.  A group of raiders had stolen a military grade Nano-fabricator machine during an attack on a Unity convoy.  Unfortunately, contrary to standard protocol, it had been left with its memory bubble installed whilst in transit.  In the wrong hands it could be used to construct anything from a handgun to a tactical nuke.  To make matters worse, the officer responsible for it is politically well connected and suppressing information about the incident, hampering any attempt at recovery.  Time for our heroes to step in…

The raiders had been tracked to an abandoned agri-research station out in the red wastes.  The job was to get in there, find the fabricator, and enter the kill code provided by the patron to reduce it to a useless pile of junk.

Former Agri Station R1101

Facing them were four raiders, with rifles and a shotgun, rated as ‘aggressive’.

As the encounter started, the raiders were holed up in the agri station’s hab unit.  Half the crew, armed with rifles, would cover it, while the remainder searched the three storage sheds (needing a 5+ to find the fabricator, with it being in the last one searched if not found before; the raiders would hear something was up and leave the hab on a 5 or 6 in any turn).

Taking up position covering the entrance to the Hab in the distance

Jack, Nathaniel and Kari took up position behind the abandoned harvester, watching the hab unit door; while Reece, Anul and Mila went to search the stores.

 Sneaking the side way, but Reece has been spotted

Unfortunately, Reece was spotted crossing open ground in only turn two, and the raiders came spilling out looking for trouble.  Jak took one down immediately on opportunity fire, and Nathaniel another, but Jak was knocked down himself by the raider with the shotgun (rolling a lucky 6 to hit).  Having taken casualties, both sides took morale tests, racking up one failure each.

The raiders sally ahead
 "Man Down!!!"
A short, but deadly exchange of fire (for both side) over the abandoned station

The next turn saw Kari taken down by another lucky shot from the raiders, but Anul evened the score, taking one out with his blast pistol at short range.  Nathaniel hit the raider’s leader, but failed to wound, only stunning him.  With the choice of either moving or shooting, the last raider attempted a last stand, but was obviously too shaken by his near miss to hit anyone.  Nathaniel had no such problem though, and bagged his second raider of the day.

Blast pistol to the face, nearly don

Just four turns and it was all over.

Checking afterwards, it turned out that Jak had taken a leg wound that would put him in sick bay for one campaign turn, while Kari was only knocked out.  The team gained another rumour, but also another enemy (the raiders weren’t going to take this humiliation lightly).  Loot rolls went well, gaining a total of 12 credits, rations (no need to pay for upkeep next turn), a repair kit, and an alien artifact (which turned out to be a suit of flex armour once 10 Cr had been spent analysing it).

A quick and really fun game.  Th campaign system encourages a strong narrative, gaining a new enemy seemed just the right result.  The crew were lucky not to come out of it worse though.

Which brings me to the combat system.  It’s pretty basic, but that also makes it very quick to resolve, so it depends where your priorities sit.  One thing I struggled with a bit was the initiative system.  The turn is split into three phases, quick, normal and slow actions, and you roll a number of dice equal to your crew size then distribute them to determine who acts in what phase, which is a nice idea.  The difficulty was that, as I read it, any dice roll over your highest reaction score is discarded.  As most crews will start out with a reaction score of only one, there would be a good chance of none of them acting during a turn, giving the enemy free reign.  I got around it by assuming that anyone not acting in the quick phase would act in the slow, regardless of dice.  Of course it could be I’m just mis-reading it.

I have to say it wouldn’t be difficult to use whatever your favourite combat system is instead (for example I was tempted to try using the Rogue Trader one, simply because it’s engrained in my thinking ) as the real strength in this game is the narrative created by the character generation process and campaign system anyway.

The worst part of it is that I also want to be having a go at Five Leagues from the Borderland as well…