Monday 31 January 2011

The Crazies, Apocalypse Z and Bevo Modern Combat

Apocalypse Z arrived in the post on Saturday. Bought in Mongoose's current garage sale. Not bad, not bad at all. As a result, I couldn't help picking up a copy of The Crazies (2010) when we went down to Tesco in Forfar for the weekly shop later in the morning.

I had procrastinated watching this remake, despite the presence of Radha Mitchell, because the original 1973 movie remains burned into my mind as one of the seminal movies of my life. In this 2010 remake, Breck Esiner has made a scary mainstream modern horror movie, but it's no real comparison to the original.

My only real niggle with the movie, is that a whole portion of the onscreen story seemed to be missing from the moment Timothy Olyphant, who plays the town sherrif, works out the source of the problem, before the authorities suddenly step in with force to contain the viral menace.

Nevertheless, very watchable and an enjoyable movie, with great perfromances from the main cast as they struggle to  understand what's going on and then escape from the 'crazies', virus, feral rednecks and the military. Which together make for a lot of potential gaming fodder.

Having bought Battlefield Evolution: Modern Combat earlier in the month, Apocalypse Z was purchased on the back of a recommendation and I was happy to give it a go albeit at a knockdown price. You'll find a  review (click here) that gives the low-down on Apocalypse Z better than I could.

Got to say that Bevo: ModCombat has tripped something within Matt and myself. As a result, we are now scrabbling to collect 20mm Modern Russian ultra-nationalist forces a la Ghost Recon and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Even used it, admittedly fast and loose, to play a sci fi game mid week with Khurasan's new Ti Mohnid - I just couldn't wait whilst I got round to painting them up and wanted to get the miniatures into action asap.

It's time to shake things up a little.....


Thursday 27 January 2011

Winter Price Buster at Critical Mass Games

Just gearing up to buy some Crtitical Mass Games Naga on this month's payday when Craig send me this email last night:


"January's releases are out now and have seen two additional codes added to the Praesentia Infantry line up.

Praesentia - Phase Shifters - 6 figures, 3 poses (PRPS1 - £3.70 per pack)

Praesentia - Phase Shifters - 6 figures, 3 poses (PRPS2 - £3.70 per pack)

Looking forward to next month we have decided to have a sale throughout February to thank everyone for their support in getting us this far and the patience shown whilst we set up our new workshop.

From the 1st February until the 28th February Critical Mass Games will be offering the following discounts in the online store & at the Hammerhead Show on Sunday 13th February in Newark.
  • 20% off all Infantry Packs
  • 15% off all Buildings & Accessories
  • 15% off all Single Vehicles
  • 10% off all Vehicles Platoon Deals
We will be continuing to offer free Worldwide postage throughout February on all orders over £20.00, however from the 1st March this will be coming to an end and rates will be altered to the following;

Orders between £0.01-£9.99 will have a flat worldwide postage fee of £2.50

Orders between £10.00-£19.99 will have a flat worldwide postage fee of £3.00

Orders between £20.00-£49.99 will have a flat worldwide postage fee of £3.50

Orders over £50.00 will have a flat worldwide postage fee of £4.00"


Last Night's Efforts......

Start to finish. Well, almost....

.....drybrush the rifles, spray varnish and a few clumps of autumn grass flock to complete. Achingly simple but effective all round. Would have had more done last night, but got sidetracked by Sons of Anarchy on the Kitchen TV.


Wednesday 26 January 2011

Man's Best Friend

Long term passengers aboard the Dropship will know that I like mixing troop types within multiple figure bases to represent embedded AI, support weapons or similar in future combat formations.

Earlier in the week, I pulled out Spartan Blue Team - two platoons of GZG's classic New Israelis, with a view to sell on Ebay. But you know, once out of the box and on the table I thought these guys are great. Why would I want to sell them?

So I hoovered up some odds and sods lying around, Maff (Master Chef) kindly gave me a spare pack, and set about painting them up and basing them tonight to reinforce Blue Team.

As I started putting the figures on the bases I though - hang on! And grabbed one of Khurasan's new Ti Mohnid miniatures. The result..........

Master Chef shrugged and said "Well, why do they have to be bad asses? Why can't they be OUR bad asses! Born and bred for their combat power and loyal devotion to man. Cheaper than a mech!"

To which I replied, "Aye, but they make frikken awesome Brutes, Dont they!"

We both agreed "Bad Asses!"


....Gonna Need A Bigger Dropship

The steel plates seemed to ripple as the Ti Mohnid set clawed hoof on the cargo bay decking of SS Beowulf.

Gunnar Hedrickssen cowered behind a plas shipping crate. His MkV blaster quivered as each step forward by the huge beast that now filled bay 5 with their bulk, rang like a bell of doom.

Lornhe tried to lean past him to see the aliens for herself. Gunnar grabbed her arm tightly and whispered one word from his frightened lips, "Grendel!"

The sound of movement stopped. A wide powerful shadow loomed across the two humans. Lornhe instinctively looked up. Gunnars grip tightened like a vice.

Shocked still. Without demonstrating any fear, any emotion, any movement, she calmly mouthed into the open channel, "Now lieutenant! It's your party!"


Tuesday 25 January 2011

......Evil This Way Comes!

New from Khurasan......
Landed this morning......
Do you want to know more?


Sunday 23 January 2011

I Give Up!

I mention towards the end of last year that my intention was to give up 15mm Moderns. I have. The death knell was sounded last week by the release of Under Fire Miniatures' new 20mm modern Russians including a pack of MVD/OMON Special forces in 'mushroom' helmets.

I just got tired of being presented with some Sovietesque motor rifle era figures armed with an AK47 cut-out as 'modern' - after all would you call the Bay City Rollers modern? To me, might as well be Russian Civil War or even Crimean War minis for their relevance.

Add to that, 15mm figures still being produced in  'line dancing', 'just eaten a dodgy kebab' and 'brushing a cobweb off the ceiling' poses. Please.......

Starting in a new scale has meant having to start from scratch with new terrain, new figures - six months worth of wargame budget that could have been spent on 15mm Moderns, Sci Fi etc.

This is just my opinion. My taste. Nothing more. I know there's plenty of folk out there with cash to spend, who are happy to receive a pack of lead as long as the pack title says RUS1 Russian, AK47. Each to their own. I'm going for the figures like the one above, great posing, representing troops NOW, easily migrateable into Near Future or even low tech Sci Fi settings without looking anachronistic.

I guess that's my Sunday rant over. I've got some 20mm C21st Russians to organise........



After a welcome lie-in this morning I hoped to spend the day either 'pushing lead' or a paintbrush, No such luck. Rear brake drum on the Landie was solid. Had to jack her up, take the wheel off, do a good impression of a wheel tapper and shunter, then slap it all back together. Success and massivebut short-lived brownie points with the Dropship Bunny.

Just cleared the grease off my hands when Maff called. His Critical Mass Games 'Blockheads' arrived earlier in the week and we had discussed their potential to become Weird World War Two German power troops or robotic infantry invented by Nazi science. This led on naturally to using Alien Squad Leader v0.2 (ASqL2) for WWW2 and, hey, eureka moment - why not WW2!

We both have middling to large Flames of War armies that are just taking up shelf space - ASqL2 allows us to do WW2 gaming in a controllable and fun way but most importantly, get those models back on the table. As we'd already decided that desert and jungle terrain were going to be our focus this year - let's start then with the Desert Rats vs Mr Rommel's DAK!

Now before you start going "Shock, horrror, where's the armour penetration charts?" If you think with a broad brush and have a slick, fun game as your objective, the vehicle categories within ASql2 should work as is and we're never afraid to tweak if necessary.

We've also been chatting over the past month about downsizing our respective AK47 Republic armies as well. This is in line with our recent "pizza base" gaming concept - so again, why not keep the Political Charts but otherwise use ASqL2?  Maff (MasterChef) is the king of minimalist wargamin, and you can tell I've been on a streamlining and efficiencies kick at work this week can't you....... with my final Lean Six Sigma Ninja exam coming this Wednesday.

Korea. ASqL2 also for Korea! I can't justify doing the Korean War in a big way just now - but it made it to my "bucket list" last year, and Jon's Chinese Peoples "Volunteer" miniatures make this delightfully possible in 15mm. The collateral benefit is a  Pentomic era US Army for fighting alien grey or Martian tripod invasions. The Khurasan Chinese 'burp' gunners might also make decent Sci Fi workers militia or rebels on one of the background planets in Tomorrows War.

I'm not saying that we are having a clean sweep across the board and giving up other rulesets altogether. I still love playing Crossfire, IABSM, Force of Force. The fact is, we enjoy ASqL2. It's fun, unpretentious and provides a focus for mid-week, pick up and play, beer and pretzel gaming.


Sunday 16 January 2011

Up The Blues!

One particular reply to my previous post about an apocalyptic London divided into militant gangs of survivors based on football allegiances, has set the inspiration bus off!

Kobold brought this book to my attention:

"Albion! Albion!" by Dick Morland - England in the 1990s: an England in which the partisan and hysterical hooliganism of football supporters, now completely out of control, has determined a pattern of political life. Parliament has been permanently dissolved, and the country self-divided into four clubs - City, United, Wanderers, and Athletic - all violently opposed to one another.

Think- quick and dirty AK47 Republic style of game. You can design different permutations of coloured strips rather than flag; club names that end in  City, United, Wanderers, or Athletic, which won't impinge on current club loyalties; make up your own club nicknames; terrace chants, we can amend the political charts; the leaders become different types of Club Managers - let's face it there's a few dictators, demogogues and the like out there (Need club manager figures in camel coats).

Battles can be based around the control of 'natural' urban resources, such as petrol garages, fast food restaurants, supermarkets, allotments etc. or key points such as railway viaducts.

London Hackney Taxi-Cab technicals!
Pearly Kings with sub-machine guns "um diddle diddle diddle um diddle aye" 

City ruin templates which can include interchanges, flyovers, or London landmarks, toxic zones, Zombified zones? And any generic ruins you have can be tarted up and Londonified with the simple addition of a Hornby red postbox or telephone kiosk, London bus barricades etc etc

Instead of key players being transferred between clubs we have Mercs or even PA battlesuits (for the more Sci Fi orientated game). Winning resources means greater ability to purchase 'Performers' for your club (in Political Charts for one-off games?).

Please stop me.........

If all you want is the combat side of it, then Alien Squad Leader v2 with it's Outlaw Gang army being the basis of your forces would be perfect with little or no adaptation.In fact nothing to stop you could merging the pre-game elements of AK47 with ASqL2.

It can be as modern, dystopian future or Sci Fi as you want. In fact only a few dedicated miniatures to add team 'colour' might be required and they can be paint or simple putty wooly hat/scarf conversions.


Saturday 15 January 2011

Sniper Scout Idea

Sniper / Scout project for my Neo-Brits: Khurasan Federal Army SAW gunner (and/or Sniper figure), GZG googly visor head, putty cloak.....

The Khurasan Federal Army heads are easy to remove - I'm thankful of this after a week of hacking at 20mm Moderns for Winter of '79. You can twist the heads on most of the standing figures. This one needs a small cut then you can lever the head off with your thumb.

Keep the heads you've removed and can use them again on the likes of Rebel or QRF Modern US miniatutes which will give you Federal Army auxiliaries, Colonial militia or Near Future troopers.  You can also use them as stowage on the side of vehicles or trophies on totems etc.


Friday 14 January 2011

......This is the BBC

Got to quickly brainstorm this Tomorrrows' War  idea whilst it's running round my head. apocalypse, the city is shattered and lays in twisted, toxic ruin.

Dirty bombs - London 2012 Olympics -  famine - civil unrest - breakdown of law and order - Twilight 2000 - blah-di-blah.....

The survivors and remnants of miltary units are now coalesced into the shell of formations, communities and allegiance based on old Football Clubs (seriously).

Stadiums become fortresses.........

Arrrrggghhh!!! Can't get London Calling sung by The Clash out of my head!

"A nuclear error, but I have no fear
Cause London is drowning and I, I live by the riverrrrrrr"



Inception, Inception, Inception. Touted as the biggest blockbuster of 2010......... who knows,or cares, Inception is the sort of twisted mind F@k of a movie I enjoy.

The premise reminded me of some of the Sci Fi anthologies I read as a teenager. It was beautifully shot and more than once had my heart racing as the action intensified. Not what I expected as a movie but that's a good thing. Glad I never saw it at the cinema - it really does take more than one viewing - first to take on the concepts and pce of the movie - second viewing to sit back and enjoy the ride.

I can take or leave Leonardo Di Caprio, but the real character and star of the movie is the team he puts together as a whole. These are the companions you want to have in classic Traveller. Here they are travelling the subconscious but by Crom you'd want them at your side as you took on the universe, any universe.

The film builds up with the first half trying to convince you that the premise of the movie is possible. The second half is rip-roaring action and does have a genuine dreamlike quality of the real and surreal happening side by side. It builds up into an assault on a snow fortress which has all the feel and energy of a Call of Duty: Black Ops mission.

Must admit that I would have preferred Jennifer Connolly in the lead female role. She was excellent opposite Di Caprio in Blood Diamond. That aside - don't sweat the possibilities or reality behind the movie and even just for the last half which is Matrix meets Call of Duty: Black Ops - worth watching.


Kartagrad: Download and Print Ruins

With my mind firmly set in the ruins of London,  Stalingrad on the Thames, I've downloaded KARTAGRAD: Dead City from Wargames Vault for just $7.00, that's £4.44 in old money.

Glenn at Finger and Toe Models was inspired by one of Bill Mauldin's GI Joe cartoons from the second world war to come up with these simple but effective cardstock ruins to download and print. Whether you need a want a ruined village or shattered city it's there ready at your demand and all for less than  the cost of a single resin model ruin.

 With Kartagrad you get a range of single and multi-story ruins, blank textures, detailing and realistic concrete base maps. I really like the textures. The concrete ground textures alone are worth the money to me. There's plenty of variety and potential for making more and more bruins to yoour own design.

Nothing fancy in the construction design. Print, cut, fold, voila! Future Worlds wall set was tabs and folds all over the shop.  If you want a sturdier ruin or thicker, 'more realistic' walls, just print your ruined wall section, lay it on some card/artcard draw round, then cut the card to match and glue on the printed textures.

My only niggle is that it's in 28mm. Glenn tells me to set my print scale to 60%, but, and Finger and Toe are not alone here, what put's me off a lot of cardstock buildings is farting around readjusting the scale. What the hell is wrong with having a 15mm pdf version!

Personally speaking I would buy an awful lot more in the way of downloadable cardstock products if all I had to do, was click and print and not have to worry about printer settings.

Rant aside. Need a ruined concrete city? Give Kartagrad a go.


Thursday 13 January 2011

London Calling: 2024AD

Another example of Khurasan Federal Army goodness converted into Neo British. Inspired not a little, by the excellent Gone With The Blastwave e-Comic.

London calling to the faraway towns
Now war is declared - and battle come down
London calling to the underworld......


The ice age is coming, the sun's zooming in
Meltdown expected, the wheat is growing thin
Engines stop running, but I have no fear
Cause London is drowning and I, live by the river

"OK 417, cut the music......"


Wednesday 12 January 2011

Chicken Supreme

"What's in the bag soldier?"

"Chicken Supreme Sir!"

 "How did you come by it  private?"

 "FN 0.5 cal SLR, Sir!"

"Make sure everyone get's
an equal share private"

...YES sir"

"Let me try that rifle Private"

".Just make sure you set the gas regulator
to 1 before you take a shot sir......"



  P.S. The SLR needs a sight.methinks.....

Khurasan Federal (Neo British) Conversion

In the twisted wreckage of London 2024AD.........

 15mm Neo-British Conversion

Khurasan Federal Army body with head from OOP Elheim modern british helmet with gasmask sprue. 

Works for me! If I can get more heads from Matt - there'll be a whole army of these guys. If not, then a small squad of survivors bolstered by a few tattered remnants of other commands together with those droids with sufficient battery life remaining......


Workbench Serendipity

This morning I'm working away on my Winter of '79 project. Cutting the heads with sidecaps off  Liberation Mins, GDR Workers Militia in order to turn some new Eureka 1970's British Internal Security troops into proxies for the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders.

That left me with several headless armed civilian workers bodies. Not wishing to waste the minis - I first tried some of helmet and gas mask wearing heads removed from the Eureka British. Aiming in the vague direction of a 1979 militia, Zombie Apocalypse survivor, meets Twilight 2000 sort of thing.

Remembering that I had a sprue of Modern British helmets with gasmasks from Elheim, I match them with the GDR Workers Militia bodies to find they are much smaller than 20mm. A loose pack of Khurasan Federal Army is lying on my cutting mat, I pick up a mini to check the size of the Elheim head.......

Guess what? The British gasmasked heads match the Federals! knocked the heads off a couple of the Khurasan minis, stuck on the gasmasked helmets and hey presto have a fireteam that would give 28mm Pig Iron Kolony figures a run for their money! Also make great Near Future Neo-Brits.


Tuesday 11 January 2011

Taxi For Mr Horizon! Taxi Office WIP

I'm revamping Mudd Eisley. There's a distinct lack of domes and I mean to fix that. So I've been collecting interesting packaging - helps working next to the IT department - to replace my current stock of buildings before I put them in for a Sarah Beeney.

Mudd Eisley Taxi Office WIP

L: Star Wars Action Fleet 'Echo Base Trooper'
(makes a decent desert trooper too)
R: CMG Light Recon, Mudd Eisley style

The 'domes'  are mini plastic footballs used for Easter egg hunts (apparently)  - pack of 6 which could be split into 12 halves was £1 from Poundland in Aberdeen. Since seen similar in Hobbycraft.

The underneath of the 'roof' is reinforced by a sheet of card glued into place. I then ran big globs of PVA glue around the inside lip of the dome halves, before repeating on the outside. Once the dome was laid on the roof, I ran the glue for about a centimeter around the base of the dome to ensure that it had a good footprint. It was only at this point I remembered that I had a hotglue gun - DOH!

Once dry - well, once the PVA had turned transparent at least, I mixed sand, PVA and 'quick dry' exterior Polyfilla (1 PVA : 3 Polyfilla) and brushed, yes brushed on with an old Size 2 brush. Took minutes.

Dome Closeup

The garage door is from GZG's Building Fittings. Mike at TheScene has similar, equally good, but I already had the GZG door spare. It would be easy to go mad with windows and door on these scratchbuilt models - but you have to bear in mind this is Mudd Eisley - fierce heat and even fiercer sandstorms.

What does make a difference though is 'industrialising' the building - just one or two accessories such as vents, exhausts, aircon units or pipes. And here can I say that I wish someone would produce 90 degree pipes in a couple of sizes, in pairs and triples, that can be rested against a building.

The 'taxi' is a really nice GEV APC from Scotty at Combat Wombat. It seemed just right to fulfill the role of a rugged desert taxi-bus in addition to it's intended purpose.

Still very much a work in progress but I'll keep you updated.


Khurasan Federal Army 'VDV'

Four more packs of Federal Infantry arrived from Jon at Khurasan today, making a total of 12 packs since they were released.

These guys are destined to form a distinct stand-alone force. Let's call it a platoon for now, with focus for now being Tomorrow's War, and inspired by Richard's 20mm Liberation Miniature Soviet VDV airbourne assault troops - I'm thinking of of recreating this look in 15mm. Here's a quick photoshop test before I put paint to miniature.....

Photoshop colour test

Works for me as a scheme which marks them out as Elite troops or Mercs, but will it work on the miniatures themselves? Let's find out. I'll paint a test miniature tonight.



Hammers Slammers: I Don't Get It!

It's time to stand up and admit...... I don't get Hammers Slammers. What am I missing? I've bought into Jerry Pournelle's Falkenberg's Legion series, Gordon R Dickson's original Dorsai Trilogy. Why not Hammers?

Putting the novels aside, what am I missing from a gaming point of view in Hammers Slammers: The Crucible? I know, lot's of eye candy, but from a putting models on a table point of view is it something I'm missing out on, and if so what? Universe, background, rules, units?

I mean does it give me something that I can hang my hat on and create distinct, concise, personalised units with character (read fun),within a coherent game setting?


I'm Gonna Get Me Some Naga

Not even half way through January and I'm already looking ahead to February. Shocking! I've decided to get me some new aliens. My aliens of choice for feb will be..... Naga!

The Naga will be a rapacious raiding force preying on human colonies, complacent military outposts and generally stirring up trouble wherever there's a wretched hive of scum and villainy. I'm already visualising the first raid on Mudd Eisley.


Monday 10 January 2011

Resistance is Futile.....

Despair and frustration will not shake our belief 
that the resistance is the only way of liberation. 

For humanity to make a stand against alien invaders, Zombie plagues or genocidal machines, there must be men and women in 15mm ready to stand and fight......

 Khurasan Miniatures: TTC-1400

Rebel Miniatures: RMPAS
Post Apoc Survivors

Is that John Connor? We're Saved!

'Mug Shot' with GZG Ravagers for comparison

Rebel Minis: RMAM1
African Militia, Well Armed

African Militia? They carry almost nothing in the way of military kit - no chest rigs,  spare RPG warheads, webbing etc but simply wear a range of modern clothing. Perfect for the Peoples Revolutionary Strike Force.

Rebel Minis: RMGT3
Government Types

Now, I didn't make use of Mike's superb special offer this Christmas, I guess there was just too much to choose from and my brain was fried. But if I had, and definitely included in my next order, would have been the latest pack, RGMT3; 'Government Types'.  There's just something about them in the photo above from the Rebel Minis website, where they look like an ad hoc group of nervous and unsure survivors in the immediate aftermath of an apocalypse. with a couple of guys who are more sure of themselves and tooled up from the local gunshop. The dark blue, grey, black colours.? Look at any group of people getting off a train in the morning and you will see most are in dark, sombre colours from autumn on through mid-Spring. At least in this part of the world, Of course I'll paint one or two in ex-army jackets or outdoor cagoules etc to ring the changes.


INCOMING....... GZG Light UNSC Heavy Weapons

Just a quick taster from GZG's upcoming Light UNSC Heavy Weapons pack.

I personally like this style of Javelin meets AT-4 Spigot man portable Medium Anti-armour Weapon. It takes the modern into the future and beyond. Whilst the power, lethality and versatility of a soldier's personal weapons will increase within our lifetime. let alone the far future, it's likely the counter-measures and protection afforded to valuable military hardware will increase likewise or not more. There's always going to be the need for something a man can carry that will pack a punch against a variety of targets. The bigger the target, the bigger the punch required.

That tube may house micro-missiles, fired individually or in unison, maybe electronic chaff or microbot dispensers, an EM pulse or a single powerful plasma energy bolt.


Communication, Communication, Communication

Certainly not a find on Ebay, but thought I'd take this opportunity to mention the new Comms Tower Objective from Critical Mass Games. I picked one up at the beginning of December along with the Arc Fleet Recon and Drop Trooper Heavy Weapons packs.

It stands out as a really different piece of grungy human or mid tech alien technology. Craig's done a fantastic job weathering it. Mine is going to see additional use in my fictional AK47 Republic setting as Radio Lumbago and as the microwave tower for President for Life Zwolleo's premium chat line enterprise.

The Comms Tower is on the workbench to be assembled and painted this week. This is what it looks like straight out of the bag. The base is 75mm at it's widest and the communication spurs are between 25-30mm in diameter. Two or three of these towers would make a very nice centrepiece on the table and raison d'etre for a game - defended by some bunkers and point defence weapons and you have the makings of a great drop commando raid!


Sunday 9 January 2011

Ramblings from New Cardiff

Working in Cardiff Bay can be a surreal experience; last Friday I walked past three Whoverse fans in fancy dress and there is the outside chance that they were extras. We watched a Torchwood episode being filmed from the office, heck a Dr Who episode was filmed in the office. When the Torchwood HQ was blown up, we walked past the rubble and I spotted that leather clad Govt Agent standing around on the ruins; going for a coffee you see Capt Jack and co waiting for a shoot.

What does this have to do with 15mm sci fi you may ask. Not a great deal really is my reply, except that after you recognise the very set of traffic lights where Torchwood chase a fish headed alien in a sports car, you really stop taking sci fi seriously. Back in school we had quiet serious debates – would the future be Star Trek or Blakes’ 7? I always loved reading sci fi but have discovered that the quite “hard” stuff – where speed is expressed in KPH and whole fleets are ordered to “rotate 125’ and execute manoeuvre Alpha-two-hotel on my mark” really began to make my head hurt. That was annoying because I actually like the Honor Harrington series and The Lost Fleet likewise. Meanwhile, the Serrano Legacy and the Vatta’s War series were both devoured. Lead character female? So what – they don’t tell you how the engines work.

And so to 15mm sci fi. I’m happily looting Xbox games, TV & films, you name it, for ideas for Huw Solo to get into trouble with. Yes, there’s a slight welsh vibe to it but given that most of the Whoverse exists in Wales in some form, there you go. Is it influenced by Star Wars? Yes! But also by “Taff Wars” the brilliant spoof on You Tube. And in Welsh you can hide some quite rude words into place names.

I like a lot of the figures out there but simply cannot be bothered by backstory. If I buy the CMG alien mercs (er, I have, just now) I wont bother giving each a MDRG stat line – they are just going to be Shooty Alien Merc, CQB Alien Merc, scaredy Alien merc etc; from 3 packs there will be a few of each. My games are going to be rip roaring shootouts – plotlines so thin they can slide under a door but when in doubt, have an alien walk in with a large gun.

Ideas include Daniel Graig Agent VII (“licensed to disintegrate”), The Trojan and the awful truth behind the Mullets of Kintyre. Quite possibly Huw Solo will lead a pirate fleet into New Tiger Bay as the Secessionists do something secessionist. Brown coats? Have I got anything to paint as Browncoats?


Huw Solo and The Final Countdown

Huw Solo, former Vidnews caster, unlicenced hyperspace courier ("Never knowingly Imperialy entangled") has just collected CR5000 from a cigar smoking Viper pilotette for the recovery of the Arrow of Artemis, or as it appears on the invoice "serv misc trans". Sadly for Solo as the Vipers takes off, he realises he's been paid in something called "Colonial Fleet Credits" which have a market rate of just above not a great deal. Desperate for cash to install new fuellie heads on his 396 Hurst Drive, Solo accepts a contract from a pair of Aslan from the Muillett clan of Kintire - to recover a data chip, on the history of Muilletts, from the interdicted planet of Llanaucuf - flagged as RED due to the presence of UXBs ("Huh?" says Solo?).

Solo and his sidekick, Gryff the giant Woollyback, sneak into Llanaucuf system and land The Millenium Nova in the lee of a gratuitously damaged factory complex. Large craters dot the landscape. As they make their way towards the ruins a hologram of a floating metallic eye appears and in an annoyingly pedantic voice announces:
"Greetings! I am Iskra, Guardian of All Data, the information that your feline clients require is simply not available for download. My resources will now terminate your access."
In the distance several large explosions could be heard; Solo and Gryff jogged towards the coordinates supplied by the Aslan. As Solo reached the lip of the crater, Gryff howled "GGGGGwuuuuuuubbbbs" as a mob of shambling lumpen critters armed with crude machine guns emerged. Solo realised UXB - Unidentified Xeno Bioweapon! He sprinted ahead while Gryff shot off a frag from his bowcaster; bits of gwub flew in a grey pulp and Gryff growled happily.

Meanwhile Solo was facing down the data retentive artefact and threatening it with a blaster bolt in its interface - Grudgingly the Iskra spat a data disc out which Solo pocketed with a jaunty whistle.

Gryff reported all was clear and the duo sprinted back into the ruins - an avalanche of debris revealed another mob of gwubs lumbering towards them; holding his S&W MiliBlaster in the approved two handed grip, Solo started putting bolts down range and dropping gwubs. With a fierce KRAK another of Gryff's frags tore into the mob, hurling gwub in all directions. The pair were off and running toward the Millenium Nova. As Solo reached the cockpit, a burst of gwub fire parted Gryff's shaggy hair and the Woollyback ducked for cover - pinned down as the Hurst drive began to spool up.....pressing the "HOLD" key, Solo jumped down into the belly turret and pulled the metal of the .750 autocannon; as the heavy calibre slugs ripped into the gwubs, Gryff dashed for it and hurling his heirloom bowcaster into the hatch, swung up into the Nova.

Solo hit the "GO" tab and the Nova began to lurch into the air, it's modified Hurst rattling alarmingly. Neither Solo nor Gryff noticed a small metallic eye settling down in the corner of the hold, slightly scorched from a frag blast.


Thursday 6 January 2011

eBay Goodies

I've  picked up another Star Wars Action Fleet Naboo Hanger on eBay for pennies.  The two Hanger sets can be placed side by side or opposite each other to produce a larger combat arena.

The seller included a Dr Who Universe, Judoon Patrol Ship, pictured below. This was an unexpected bonus. The cyclindrical Patrol Ship stands around 120mm tall (the figure is 35mm) on four detachable legs, can be removed from the scenic base. It makes a great piece of instant pre-pianted terrain for miniatures from 6mm to 28mm.

For us in 15mm, the possibilites only begin with a water or fuel storage tank, an energy converter, a colony defence field generator. It's scenery, it's cover, it's an objective. A simple but versatile piece suitable for Near Future, Post Apocalyptic and Sci Fi gaming. Careful shopping around on eBay or Amazon etc will allow you to pick them up for no more than a fiver, post free.


Critical Mass Games: 2011 Preview

Hop over to the Critical Mass Games forum (CLICK HERE) to get all the latest news with lot's of preview photos about Craig and Dale's plans for 2011.

Februray sees the formal release of the Merc18: Zas Fighters. My new Harkonnens! Together with the beautiful Praesentia Phase Shifters.

April will see Arc Fleet Grav Bikes, sheds load of Protolene walkers and AFVs, plus the awesome Praesentia Drones. Then Praesentia Ancients, RAL robotic infantry, Kaamados buildings, generic building and street furniture, and verym very interesting Vorq La Mercenaries. See below.


2010 In Review

It's very difficult to write a review of a year objectively and more importantly, honestly whilst trying to ensure everyone get's a fair crack at the whip. So, I won't.

2010 was for me, and I know the Master Chef shares these sentiments, a year of the good, the bad and the ugly.

If I have to pick one company that I feel stood above the rest as the powerhouse of 15mm Sci Fi gaming, it has to be Critical Mass Games. At a glance they brought out:
5x   ARC Fleet AFV types plus variants
17x ARC Fleet Buildings/Structures
3x   Protolene AFV types with multiple variants
17x packs of Kaamados Dominion Infantry
3x   Kaamados Dominion AFV types with multiple variants
2x   packs of The Praesentia
4x   packs of Arc Fleet Infantry
Not simply a pack here or there. The Kaamados Dominion alone have what, 4 different troop types, 77 different miniatures! And of course we can't forget the Mercenaries. The Mercs have proved to be a constant delight, ensuring 15mm Sci Fi character gaming is here to stay.

Not everything was to my taste. It doesn't have to be. But everything was well designed, well cast and cleaned at the workshop before it went out or binned if it didn't pass muster.

2011 will be a year of tightening belts. Less jobs, less money to go round. Critical Mass Games brought their casting in house to have greater control over the costs that are passed onto us. It will also ensure the consistency of production quality. Craig and Dale are prepared to put their money where their mouth is, so that we know in advance that each range will be supported by a good number of unique troop types, vehicles and accessories where appropriate.

15mm Sci Fi Praesentia 
Hyperion War Drone

Looking ahead to 2011. I see Kaamados buildings and structures, the RAL robotic infantry, Praesentia drones and much, much more. Above all, I see more of the same. That is, a company that continues to demonstrate a love for the hobby, faith in it's own products, and exhibit a genuine respect borne of professionalism for their fellow gamers and customers.

Critical Mass Games, 2010 was your year. Here's to 2011!


Saturday 1 January 2011

INCOMING....... GZG Hover Truck

Jon at GZG has "first footed" me with the first of a new range of 15mm Sci Fi civillian and para-military vehicles.

This is a low-sling tidy looking hover truck which comes in 4 pieces that slip together easily. There's something Travelleresque about the model that immediately endeared it to me. inducing a quick revisit to Twilight's Peak as you can just imagine your characters loading up and setting off in this.

The hover truck is a very versatile utilitarian model, being able to take on many civilian and military support Near Future and Sci Fi roles.

Not surprisingly, a removeable roof section suggests there are other variants to come. Good stuff! Looking forward to them and the rest of the range as it develops. 

Happy New Year