Sunday, 29 September 2013

Delaques and scratching that RPG itch

ooof! Due to dealing with "them" who never go to sleep i've not had much time to get any gaming or much painting done this week, although I did get round to finishing of a quick paint job on the rest of the Delaque gang:

With the rest of my time i've been able to look in to scratching that RPG itch again, a looooonnggg time ago I walked in to model shop while on holiday and used my pocket money to buy a copy of the Dungeons and Dragons Basic, the Red Box, never really quite sure of what I was getting but fascinated and curious all the same. From there I went on to the Expert box and some other RPG's such as Runequest but i never really "got" them and so just let them fade away. Since then I keep wondering and going back to see what is on the market and taking a peek but never taking the plunge, until now, knowing I wanted to get in to something again and having friends mention they were interested in trying something I went looking for a starter box for a new system and found......just how hard it is to get one!

My first try was the Pathfinder beginners box, looked like a good bet with rules/maps/cardboard figures of every character and monster, the perfect package to get it to the table quickly but no, it's unavailable from every games/book store in the UK! Paizo have mentioned on their forums that distributors should be getting stock soon but no dates.
Secondly I thought why not go back to the good old Red box, i'd seen it on the shelves of my local waterstones last year and although some strange things were being said about 4th edition I want to try it for myself, but again it's out of stock everywhere in the UK and the odd one appearing on ebay is fetching up to four times the original value!!
Finally i'm a big fan of Will Wheatons tabletop series on youtube and on one of the recent episodes they were playing Dragon Age, after some research I found it has a beginners box set as well, but alas it too is out of stock everywhere! I did find one store with a copy but after ordering they refunded my money as it was a mistake :/

It's a bit crap really for anyone wanting to get started in RPG's when publishers cannot get their product out to those wanting to buy it. Anyway, I downloaded the quick start rules for Dragon Age and they look pretty good to get a session going :) Still looking for the experience I had all those years ago I came across Labyrinth Lord, a so called retro clone based on the original red and blue basic boxes, the rules are available to download for free or to buy a printed book with illustrations. It's a good read and has all the old charm of the dungeons bashes years ago and it's compatible with all the old basic modules available on the market :) definitely excited to try a game out with a group of friends over a few drinks!

In other news something very exciting happened this week! ok, perhaps not that exciting and probably downright boresome for anyone reading this bit look, look!

Is it not just the most exciting thing to happen in wargaming this year?
:) previously I had no heating in my little hobby room but now with this beauty it's going to be used all year round. Good stuff.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Warpath - 2.0

Had one of those lucky?! days last week where I had to take a day off to recover from a minor operation, as it was planned I was rubbing my hands with glee at the thought of being able to spend a whole day at home with no wife or kids and being able to indulge in some painting and gaming :)
Unfortunately things never turn out as planned and just before my wife left for work she handed me a big list of things that needed doing round the house! but i'm ill! then sit down while your doing it then!.... anyway once all the work was finished and I had finished hobbling around I sat down to paint some of the backlog and ended up grabbing a Mantic Marauder Raptor off the shelf and slapping a quick paint job on:

Mantic Raptor alongside a GW buggy

The Mantic vehicles that are available surprised me at just how chunky and solid the parts are, although these retail for over a tenner you can pick these up for great prices elsewhere. Compared to the GW equivalents these are quite large as well but I like them and no, i'm not going to get drawn in to what they are made of! is it Resin/Plastic/Restic or PVC? who cares, does it look good, do I like it, yep.

Anyway, i've been putting off playing Warpath for a while so got the mat on the floor (i've been "removed" from the dining room table!) and put down two 900 point armies. I used the latest 2.0 rules and army lists and each side got the following:

  • 2 x Raptors
  • A Warlord
  • 4 Squads of 10 Maruader grunts with an anti tank gun and ripper claw.
Forge Fathers:
  • Huscarl leader
  • 2 x Jotunn Hailstorm Cannons.
  • Squad of 5 Stormrage Veterans
  • 2 x Squads of Steel Warriors (one with 10 men another with 5).
  • Iron Ancestor
The first game went fairly well, the rules are still light enough to pick up after a quick read or two (although the transport rules could do with all being together) and the alternate activation works well, it adds a layer of strategy when choosing which units to activate and the push your luck nature of activating units can really pay of or leave you stranded depending on how your luck goes!
The Marauder raptors were fast, very fast, on a single move they can get across the table and then some although their armour is pretty weak and falls pretty easily to the forge father fire (I liked how units transported in destroyed vehicles still have a fair chance of not being wiped out).
The Jotunn hailstorm cannons provide a HUGE amount of firepower, 12 shots each, they can effectively hold back any squads on foot and they both caused the most destroyed units in the game. The marauders on foot found it really hard to get across the board in the face of all that fire!
One of the big things that came out was just how less effective characters are, more suited to a support role, your not going to see any characters taking out whole units in close combat for example, quite the opposite.

If there was a major criticism of the rules it would have to be close combat, that the only models that can attack are those in base to base combat was a bit of a pain with some larger units being penalized by not being able to get so many troops in to base combat. I prefer the more simple nature of kings of war and so we played the house rule that if a unit enters close combat it enters close combat and all unit members can fight, simples.

Someone nicked the table!
In the first game the Marauders were almost wiped out before they got across the table so to even it up we replaced a squad of Marauder grunts with some stunt bots (GW killer kans) and took advantage of the Marauder Raptor speed, it certainly made the difference and the game was a lot closer.
It was interesting listening to the latest Mantic podcast with Ronnie hinting that Warpath may be changing direction again with multiple based troops and big games, around 20 units a side! I guess that they are still trying to find that magic formula that made Kings of War so good to play, anyway i'm certainly looking forward to whatever's coming in the future. :)

Thursday, 19 September 2013

The games that never make it..

Here's a sad story, sat on my shelf is this fleet:

A few years ago a friend and I decided to build some fleets and play Battlefleet Gothic so we picked up a few models to get ready and printed out all the rulebooks, made up our templates etc and set to work painting up our least I did, my friend fell behind and could never find time to put his fleet fully together let alone paint it so we kept putting off playing. It's also worth mentioning that when we get together for games he prefers to only play when all the models on the table are painted, no bad thing per say as when we do get games in they looks great all finished and ready to go. But it does mean that this fleet may never see the table :(

It just got me thinking that with a small mountain of unpainted minis, whats the point? Would I prefer to never play these games or just fill the table and go for it? So i'll apologize in advance, you might see some naked models on here once in a while but i'm going to get my game on!

Friday, 13 September 2013

Down in the Sump

Every now and then a part of me keeps going back to my teens when we used to play a skirmish game on our dining room table fighting across buildings and spending the evenings reading through the background of this dirty world. The game was Necromunda and I absolutely loved it, unfortunately a number of years ago I was trapped for cash and had to sell my mint boxed set along with all the models I had collected along the way!
Cut to now and after my recent run in's with army painting I wanted to try something on a much smaller scale and so looked to the Necromunda rulebook and fell in love with the game again. It wasn't the gameplay itself per se which was fairly straight forward GW fare with a few extra's thrown in but it was the campaign rules and the fact you could guide a fledgling gang from a lowly start all the way through to being top of Spire with the latest weapons and grizzled veterans. There was a lot of John Blanche's art as well throughout the books that really helped to give the impression of a corrupt underhive feeding upon one another.

So I picked up a couple of Gangs (Cawdor and Delaque) that I had always wanted years ago and a copy of the original ruleset (prefer a hard rulebook to a PDF) along with a few buildings and got to work.

Along the way I came across the fantastic blog: The Tears of Isstvan, which has sadly now appeared to of ended but it's a great source of inspiration, although focused on Inquisitor it still fits in perfectly with the Necromunda universe and the idea of every model/character having a full back story and identity before taking to the board. A lot of the work involved in creating the models they used involved kit bashes from a large number of sources so this inspired me to pick through the bits box and make up..:

The Scavenger, a veteran of the sump and a quiet genius with robotics and cybernetics, his violent past is reflected in his arms being replaced and the addition of some wicked appendages. He always travels across the waste with his two scuttling robotic gun droids that help flush out anyone that takes on the Scavenger while he rummages through the sump looking for a useful find. They were made up using parts from Mantic, GW, Khurasan and GZG, he still needs more working filling in the gaps etc but I can't wait to get him painted up and brought to the table!

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Couple of 15mm bits

Things have been really quiet here on the 15mm front, i've not really been able to get stuck in to any rulesets or get any games in so the models have been sat waiting to be painted but I did manage to finish off a couple of units.

First up is a group of GZG USNC Hardsuit troops, I honestly don't remember ever ordering these! but thought i'd have a go at painting brown and yellow together, they came out ok but i'm not sure how well they will fit in with the other USNC troops.

Next is a great Resin/Metal mixed kit from Khurasan miniatures the Corporate Marine L-HAC (Legged Heavy Assault Cyborg), this unit towers above all the over 15mm miniatures and Mechs I have and even works really well as a 28mm Mech unit. I always thought the model was familiar and it does appear to have more than a passing resemblance to Robo Cain from Robocop 2...

The unit stands really well on it's own so I left it off a base, I just need to get some buildings/city to scale it up against! :) Here's a comparison pic of the L-HAc against a few other minis to show it's size off:

Zvezda 1/100 WW2 Tanks and Armoured car

I had seen the name Zvezda knocking around the model world on the Internet for some and they appear to go hand in hand with cheap plastic kits, I was put off a bit by just how low cost they were originally and so stayed away. It was only recently when I started looking in to getting some 15mm WW2 bits that I came across some pics of the Zvezda models painted up and they looked half decent, so I found a great supplier on eBay and ordered up three kits, a German Panzer III, German Armoured car and a Soviet T34, trying to order the most widely used vehicles used by both sides during the war and these seemed to fit the bill. All three kits came to only £8.66 including delivery and I was really impressed when they arrived the day after ordering them!

My first reaction when opening the box was that they were packaged in some pretty small boxes but then I kept forgetting they were 15mm so were going to be small anyway, it's weird but I've never really put together a 15mm model "kit". All three vehicles came on sprues with some assembly instructions, flags and a stat card, I gather this was to support some game that Zvezda have released.

15mm Forged in Battle figure for scale
The two tanks went together a breeze, they were low on parts and were capable of being snap fit, the Armoured car on the other hand came in a fair few very small pieces on the sprue that needed to be carefully removed and put together, it's one thing to buy a single piece metal or resin 15mm model and another to try and build one from its smallest components! Needless to say I made a pigs ear of it, there were gaps in the build and several bits needed re glueing back together before assembly....fat handed tw@t!

But even after this they were all really easy to paint up ready for the tabletop, they had just the right amount of detailing to pick out but were still really quick to finish, I think I spent 45 minutes on each one starting with a black base coat, sloppy coat of brown, dry brushed the main base coat, couple more dry brushes getting lighter then picked out the details and worked in the shading using brown and black washes, finally dry rushing some mud to the bottom of them.

Overall I'm really impressed with these kits and i will be ordering more soon, at such a low cost I can pick up a few different kits here and there and just enjoy putting them together without ok much stress...and they should fit in well with a new gaming project I've been working on....... :)

Tuesday, 3 September 2013


I must admit I do have a bit of a soft spot for Mantic Games, I enjoy playing Kings of War and recently backed the DeadZone kickstarter so it followed that I was going to check out their Sci fi range Warpath.
I remember signing up to Beasts of War membership almost two years ago now to gain access to the alpha rules release and getting excited about a possible true competitor to 40k, over the years its been interesting to see the rules develop and while they've not yet reached the same level of simplicity/strategy of KOW I still keep my eyes open for any updates etc.

The bigger problem with Warpath has to do with the range of models available, the initial box sets were based on the KOW sprues and did the job (apart from that awful dwarf firing a weapon model) and over the years the ranges have been expanded but there are still large gaps in the army lists that need proxies. The DreadZone kickstarter although being based upon its own game looks like it is going to fill a few of these gaps with its own range of models, and in some places looks to hint and expand upon the army lists. Also rumored for next year is another Mantic kickstarter to fill out the Warpath range and add vehicles/finalized rulebook etc, exciting times ahead.

The Forgefathers were the first faction that drew me to Warpath, like most people it was exciting to see the return of "squats", I picked up the Fate of the Forgestar boxed set and added a few extras to build up a small force. The Huscarl in particular is a great metal miniature with nice detailing and the Iron Ancestor adds to the nice chunky feel of the army:

Moving on to the Marauders, I have a ton of plastic sprues shelved away, I think close to 60 or more models but as I already have a 40K Ork army and having learnt my lesson with trying to paint armies these have yet to be put together. The Marauder army is one that really needs to be filled out by Mantic as at the moment it just feels like a huge group of foot sloggers with the odd vehicle thrown in. Along with the boxed sets I picked up the Marauder Ripper Warlord metal model, this really is a great sculpt and was fun to paint, it really shows that when Mantic produce individual metal models they come out really well.

Lastly is this oddity from Mantic, Mortis the Zombie Apocalypse hero. This metal miniature is basically just a head swap of the Verr-myn Night Spawn and i'm not sure where is really fits in to the Warpath universe/range, there are no rules for it and Mantic have hinted that it does not fit in with the new Plague army lists, maybe its going to fit in with the Warpath kickstarter next year or maybe its just meant to be a proxy for a certain 40K Chaos Lord (it was released shortly after the Chaos codex). Either way its an okish model and came with a box of other kit from ebay so didn't really cost anything: