A Moment To Myself, Then Back To The Grind

Well, another few weeks have passed and I’ve not been too active in the shed.  Part of that is my own depleted motivation, part is the weather being slightly colder and part is the fact that 6 new internal doors won’t paint themselves.

I have had a slight boost to my motivation due to the almost summer like few days we have just had in the UK and the fact that the end is in sight when it comes to this batch of DIY.

I gave myself an evening of mooching about in the shed recently and came across this chap. I actually came across a bag of small bits and had no idea what it was until I trimmed and glued most of it together and found he was a Mantic Games Deadzone Strider model.

That prompted me to dig out an even older, this time completed, model of the Rebel variant of this figure.  It had an open, shattered, cockpit which would not go well with my slowly expanding Mechanical Steam Wars Army. (Yes, my Martian force is likely to be having a mutiny on its hands as their robotic slaves break free of their programming and forge themselves an small empire of their own).

Anyway, the cockpit needed filling so, as I am not a gifted sculptor, I have bunged in enough green stuff to fill the hole and plan to trim and file back any that has my fingerprints in it when its dry…

This beast is more hands on than the first with a weapon that I can profile up as some sort of flamer and a meaty chain saw.

I can see a third recruit for the mechanical force in the background, but more on that later.

For now though, back to the grind…

Fistful Of Kung Fu Protagonist – Blaine

After staring thoughtfully at the new Boiler Suited Minions that I painted for A Fistful of Kung Fu, I decided that they needed a slightly more imposing leader.  Not to say that the grumpy veteran, in the neat uniform, that they came with hasn’t got his own charms. I just needed a figure with a little more…  Something…  to act as my protagonist.  That way the grumpy sergeant can be my teams bruiser (second in command).

As the team is human, and by that I do mean that they are very much ‘year 2000 human’, they needed a human to lead them.  An almost human might do, but not too futuristic or alien.  Looking through the old bits box for ideas, I came up with little in the way of inspiration.  A rummage through the selection of neglected figures that I had collected over the years was no more useful.

So, not wanting to buy a new figure and then having to wait for delivery, I decided upon an alien figure that was: a) not too tall,  b) not too futuristic and c) could be painted in a way that hid his alien heritage…

Meet Blaine…

Blaine is a Mantic Games Deadzone Figure that has been discontinued, but a chap that still features in a number of their other games. He seems to be a semi legendary character in the warpath universe.

Their current versions of him include this chap in a similar pose, a jet bike riding option and the oddly proportioned chap below.

He is a tan coloured alien mercenary with a bony forehead, that I have painted up as having a very human skin tone and a metal mask to hide his identity.

Burley and mean looking and a head taller than the sergeant he is imposing enough to fit the bill.  Not perfect, but perfect enough for now.  I am still on the look out for another alternative but for now he can lead them with head held high and matching cloak colour.

Scrappers – Rounding Off The Crew And Some Truly Dodgy Painting

So after a very satisfying win in our first game, I was all a flush with points to spend after the campaign stage of the game.  Enough to buy some new kit and at least 2 new crew members.  Therefore there was more hurried painting in the days between games, so as to be ready on time.

Luckily a quick paint job was all that was needed for the first of them.  I don’t know about you but when I look at this chap, I see a cyborg electric eel! So he is half machine, half shock inducing mutant eel-man…  With a gun…

In that moment of creativity and bouncing along with the first real win for me in months I feel I may have got carried away.  Stay with me as I explain the horror that is the paint job above…

As these are birds, and birds have feathers, and as feathers are usually bright (in my mind anyway…) I thought I would try a bird of paradise look for the first of these chaps.

Now, I have had some bad ideas in the past.  None was as obvious as after adding the first colour and noting that the figure doesn’t actually have feathers exactly but more of a fur ruff and woolly pant suit.

What made things worse was that a second one needed painting in a similar style or they would not look matched…

I think that I last painted things like this when I was 3 years old. When I used my fingers not paint brushes…

That was before I discovered ink washes though.  One heavy coat later and its almost hidden.

If birds of paradise were hooked on drugs, grumpy and cranky due to poor working conditions, and didn’t wash more than once a year you might see the resemblances.

All in all they fit the crew quite well.

Anyway, if you had such shocking feather/ fur colourisation you would be reluctant to wash too often as well… Wouldn’t you?

Scrappers – More Crew Members

As 3 figures does not make a well rounded scrappers crew, the next 3 were lined up to be finished off.  Three specialists (grunts with jobs) make up the next lot.

The first is a ‘tank’ slow, thick skinned and heavily armoured.  Second is a close combat specialist (although a read through of the rules makes me think that he maybe making a mistake bringing a knife, or two, to a gun fight…). Last of this lot is my little tinker.  Small lightly armed and quick mind and feet.  Who knows if I will need a tech boy but always worth bringing some brains.

After totting up the crew roster for the first six chaps, I found that I still had enough points left for a low tech, crossbow wielding dog boy.

As I finished planning my force for our first official game, I already had their reinforcements lined up ready in the painting queue.  As Scrappers is a campaign based game I expect to have enough points after the first game to hire a fresh faced new recruit (or replace a dead dude).  These three are from CP models.

Scrappers – First Crew Started

So, after owning the book since it came out, we got to play scrappers for the first time recently.  First impressions are good and a little more play will likely secure it as a go to game for quick and dirty gunfights.  Even after just the one game we were left thinking armour is a key requirement in this game.

Before I could play though I needed a crew.  These guys have been sat on the shelf of shame for far too long and it was nice to get them started at least.

My crew is a band of mutant Freelancers, all themed on animal traits (at first anyhow). They are a mix of figures that I have shown off before. Some are Hasslefree miniatures, some from the Rogue Stars range and a couple of Mantics Deadzone figures. The odd chap out is Tinboy Tim their trusty synthetic service bot (an Astropolis figure by Lead Adventures).

First finished were the Hasslefree chaps and Tim. Simple colours this time as these guys are the professionals in the team and therefore not wanting to be shot up because of any gaudy space suits.

The next guys might get a slightly brighter or more exotic colour choice.

Warhammer 40,000 – Daemon Prince With Wings

Something I have been looking to doing for some time (ever since I read the rules in the Chaos Index) is adding wings to my proxy Daemon Prince.  The model is an old Mantic Games Plague figure from Deadzone.  As a Daemon Prince, with twin malefic claws, he has been very effective on the battlefield.  The option to add wings seems like a no brainer. With them he can charge into combat sooner, and avoid being shot at quite so much.

Coronasan recently ordered some items from a company in Eastern Europe named Wargames Exclusive.  These wings are in their range and are perfect for this conversion.

It has been a few years since I painted the original model and a cannot match the colours that were used as some have been discontinued.  So some repainting of both the original model and the wings was called for.

I think that it will take a further coat of ink to the model, in its finished state, before the old and new parts are sufficiently blended to my satisfaction. Even so, he is good to go as he is, and will be flying in to a game real soon I suspect.

 

At Least I’m Doing Something – More Rogue Stars

Skirmish games appear to be the way forward. At least in my small world anyway.  Smaller figure count games are great for quick start up and often provide fast paced, effective and cinematic games.  Most of what we do these days is smaller armies games.  Even Coronasan’s Steam Wars (probably the only big army game I play at the moment) fields units of only 5-6 figures.

Rogue Stars is just like that as it offers a fast paced small force skirmish game that is also quite detailed and characterful at the same time.  I know its not everyone’s cup of tea but the detailed character building makes each and everyone of your crew into an individual.

At first read it appears a very complex game for only about 8 figures to a table.  the many smaller rules and layout of the book can make it seem overly rules heavy.  My advice is to hold off judging it until you have tried it out though

We have tried a few games now and have found the system to be more intuitive than we expected.  A good cheat sheet with a few of the more often used tables copied out on it is a must though.

We have played games where we just go out and try to kill each other, try to steal wheelie bins full of new tech from under our opponent’s nose and the usual sort of hold terrain while trying not to get killed type games.  All work well.

As we look forward to our next games I have rooted about in the back of the shed for all those Deadzone figures I collected and never got round to painting.

Smaller scavenger types good at hiding and stealing Tech…

More aggressive alien types.

These are my first choices so far, obnoxious blaster wielding alien, quiet spoken tank like bodyguard, tech savvy sniper girl.  Whoever said stereotyping was a bad idea is wrong.

Gutteral, gruff voiced brutes (only because their guns are so loud and they shout all the time…)

Fast, sneaky and likely to dodge in and out of cover given the chance.

Now, what else can I find..?

Other Unplanned Stuff Done – The Rogue Stars Distraction

As expected our gaze and gaming focus has been drawn in a new direction again.  Osprey have released Rogue Stars (some might say finally). After a long build up and some delayed publishing dates the book was released before Xmas and then promptly stolen from me by the beloved great lady so that it could be given back to me covered in glittery paper.  Xmas traditions can be great and frustrating at the same time.

This time before our first game I have managed to get some painting done to flesh out the old Sci-fi scenery in the shed.  Some freestanding MDF stairways add a little extra access to some of the industrial buildings and my older Deadzone scenery that I have.

The Deadzone stuff makes up the majority of my Sci-fi scenery but its a good mix of heights and allows easy figure placement so I can’t fault it at all. Mantic have hit on a winner here I believe.

A simple paintjob was all it got a couple of years ago but even that was enough to get it looking good.

I have now read the rules and picked out my first figures for a 4 man crew of bounty hunters.  More of the Sci-fi scenery is on the painting table so should be finished up and on show here soon too.

Wolsung, In The World Of Deadzone. 

A while back I ended a post with the words “more to follow…”  Seems a long while since that post, and until now, but the game I predicted did happen.

One game of Wolsung was all it needed to show that we would enjoy these rules.  Simple but effective.  Short but conclusive.

I was concerned at first at the three turn game limit in Wolsung, but this is actually enough to feel like you played a whole game, and it helps to focus your actions in a way that guarantees you try to get the most out of each and every move.

Although our newly constructed Deadzone scenery was not exactly the table we expected to play our first game on, it worked well.  Wolsung seems to favour dense scenery and height differences to add an extra layer of complexity to a simple kill the king style of mission.  Most of the missions in the basic book are assassination games where a varying number of victory points are placed on the heroes and awarded for killing them.  The new rules (post Kickstarter) seem to add more mission types but we have yet to attempt these.

Wildly differing height differences and raised walkways are something our scenery has lacked in the past.  I am now considering how I can add these features to the Victorian town and other scenery in the shed without adding a too far out effect to the overall look.

For the first game I played the Triad crew and my opponent played the Inventors.  2 heroes, straight from the starter sets, and we were on our way.  Our cat and mouse tactics were the result of not knowing how effective each others forces would be.  The Inventers appear to be full of close combat specialists (heavily armoured Golems…) and magical buffs. While the Triad starter is all about staying in cover and completing surgical strikes, as they don’t seem to excel at either close or long ranged attacks.

Whatever their obvious strengths, the synergy between all members of a crew is a key factor for success in all the clubs it would seem.

Game two showed the need to hide high value assets and commit hard with henchmen.

Game three was Triad Vs Ash and Oak.  The Ash and Oak club seems to favour long ranged snipers but can dish out the damage, up close, with their bruisers too. We proxied in figures for this game, as we didn’t have the starter, but we wanted to play the third club to see its worth.  I never expected to find a use for the old man in a wheelchair that I bought at Overlord about 5 years ago.  I think he is from the Dystopian Legions range. Great figure and a steal when I got him…  The other members of the club were from various Empire of the dead crews and a couple of Wyrd Miniatures from Malifaux.

One lesson I learned early on is that my ranged Triad henchmen are not meant to try to fight in close combat with anything other than a mouse…  Here she was mashed in one action by an Ogre Bruiser

Overall Wolsung will most likely dominate the table for the next few weeks. Until I go to Salute at the end of the month, which is when all manner of new toys will be likely to descend…

Deadzone Scenery – Bigger And Bigger

A friend of mine popped over recently with his scenery pieces from the first Deadzone Kickstarter.  He has never managed to get this built due to now having 2 small girls in the house and lots of other commitments.

We spent the last few weeks toying with this and putting the pieces together in our usual haphazard way.  Mantic have managed, as usual, to send out loads of stuff but also miss out some vital parts.  An example of this is the landing pad, which came packaged as about 30 pieces but without 2 or 3 main parts and no instructions what so ever…  

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We managed to build a suitable structure (with only a few blisters and sore fingers).

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A couple of towers and 2 storey buildings later, we were well on our way.

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Not too sure about the stairs we built but the overall effect is good.

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My original Deadzone scenery is only a couple of storeys high and not too wide.  This stuff was delivered in quantities that allowed us to build larger structures.

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The stuff is flexible enough to allow many shapes.

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Lots of firing points at varied levels.

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We are about to play a game on this stuff so I have set it up as a 3’x3′ board. Lots of cover and lots of height differences.

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The game… Wolsung…  Not the most obvious choice of game for a set of sci-fi scenery, but the game should benefit from the mix of height and concentration of cover.  As we have also never managed to play this game (my crew has been painted for ages and gathering dust) it ticks two boxes at once…

More to follow soon.