Day of the Jackboot: The BUF gets reinforcements!

The BUF get buff!

Finally, some BUF progress!

When my friend and I first decided to play The Very British Civil War setting, it was I who suggested I play the bad guys. I will be up-front: I prefer to paint my Royalist contingent, in their old WW1 style uniforms, as opposed to the more striking British Union of Fascists(BUF) paramilitary uniforms.

For example purposes only, a picture of said Royalist uniform.

This is for two reasons, firstly since the Royalists are fairly easy to paint! Nice chunky detail, an easy basecoat, and they take well to washes. The BUF, in black, suffer from all the problems of painting black uniforms: contrasts and an overall flat feeling.

Secondly, my primer. I used Rustoleum Flat Black, which went on a bit satin and overly smooth. Nothing likes to stick to it! All my BUF were sprayed in one go, and all will suffer this problem unless sprayed over with a flat black from a different manufacturer.

Of course, all this complaining is very much a case of a bad craftsman blaming his tools, and it isn’t getting my Fascist jerks painted any faster. So after doing important housework….

Hard to say no to this face when she wants walksies.

And I had at it! Now, I was given some good constructive criticism from members of the Very British Civil War group on Facebook, namely to punch up the contrasting colours to make the black less flat. I’ll let you, dear reader, decide if it was worth the effort.

These guys fought me tooth and nail to get done. It’s almost like they knew they were the awkward cousin no-one wanted at the party. I went for grey jodhpurs to strike up the contrast, and khaki coloured webbing. Their helmets are a nice shade of grey, just for contrast purposes.

Khaki puttees and blond wood Lee Enfields give a splash of colour.
Not my cleanest painting ever, but serviceable. Ready to fight the Anglican League!

Now my painting isn’t as sharp as it used to be, which I suspect is a combination of the bad primer causing issues, and more frighteningly an issue with my hands from medication I’m taking. Hopefully this passes in due time, I got a lot of unpainted models!

Now for comparisons sake, here is a picture of one of my BUF Yeomanry models, compared to a regular paramilitary BUF soldier. I’d like some thoughts on the comparison, especially with the increased contrast! Be harsh!

Left, a BUF Soldier, Right, A BUF Yeomanry constable.

I think the difference is a positive one, but I think for consistency the Yeomanry lads will stay in that colour scheme.

On a different note, I’d like to weigh in on a discussion that seems to come up whenever the BUF miniatures range gets brought up. That is, historical accuracy.

The British Union of Fascists: Newspapers and Secret Files, 1933-1951 |  British Online Archives
The bastard himself! I may hate fascism, but man those uniforms are spiffy.
Australia & the Fascist Idea of Greater Britain – Imperial & Global Forum
However, the average joe made do with a black shirt and pants. Hardly a military organization!

In real life, the BUF were little more than thugs, with a very basic uniform, and they certainly weren’t toting rifles around! For miniatures like this, the range from Warlord for their Operation Sea Lion expansion works really well! And for some people’s Very British Civil War setting, this works. For me, it doesn’t. Allow me to explain why!

BUF Fifth Column – Warlord Games Ltd
Warlords great offering of BUF miniatures, a much more realistic take then the route I took.

In the Very British Civil War, Mosely is Prime Minister. I’m extrapolating here, but I like to imagine that the BUF goes legitimate; an armed paramilitary force for both policing and bodyguard purposes, with elements trying to integrate into the British Army or stand apart as an armed, military wing of the Party in general. For this, Footsore Miniatures offerings are fantastic, a much more wild extension of the historical record, and very ‘Waffen SS’.

For my friend and I’s VBCW, we have gone with the latter interpretation, to make for a neat enemy for his Albertine forces to fight. I’ll be running them as inexperienced, badly trained fanatics using the Bolt Action rules, brave but not particularly well drilled and prone to breaking off an attack if it goes south. Maybe using the Italian rules? They’ll be backed up by Royalists using the British rules, stiffening the back of the army I play as a whole. I want the BUF to be dangerous, but not overpowered.

Anyways, I’ve said my opinion. If you disagree or want to debate it, I’m more then happy to! Just comment away.

In other news…and a little teaser of what’s coming. I’ll leave you with a model to ponder over…

Redcoats? On my blog? Its meant to be!

As well, my battle report from a while back for Zona Alfa was very well received! I won a prize in the associated contest, and got a signed copy of the rules from the author, Patrick Todoroff! I’m quite chuffed with my win, and hopefully I can get back to Zona Alfa fairly soon!

Signed by Uncle Vanya himself! Maybe another Zone expedition is coming?

But for now, that is all I have. Happy wargaming wherever you are, and God Save King Edward!*

*Not Prime Minister Mosely though, he’s an absolute jerk!

Lest we Forget: A small tribute to a man I never knew.

I’ll keep this brief, as this is not supposed to be a post solely to get views. Remembrance Day is very important to me, but I also just started a new job today, and had to mark my moment of silence while working. I don’t have a lot of pictures; My grandfather burned them after the war to spite the British.

In 1939, Austin Turner went to war. A youth, from middle upper-class gentry, and schooled in the British fashion, the reason he went to volunteer is unknown to us. As an Anglo-Indian, considered to be a “Non-Warrior” race, he wasn’t actively sought out. A sort of reverse racism. But nonetheless, as the Empire went to war against Nazi Germany, he found himself in military service.

Eventually, he found himself in the Western Desert, fighting against Rommel and his Afrika Korps as part of the 8th Army, the famous ‘Desert Rats’. In fact, he was an Engineer, helping clear the minefields of El Alamein.

Now this is where the story gets weird. He ended up as a navigator on an LRDG truck, (and in actual fact, this is where I got the name for this blog; Their unit motto was “Non Vi Sed Arte“, Latin for “Not by Strength, By Guile), and this is where the trail goes cold, and difficult to follow. He was in one of the English/South African patrols, according to family folklore.

He recalled serving in Yugoslavia, and was wounded in action in 1943. Returning to Egypt, he helped open a Singer sewing machine factory(which, if I recall correctly, is still there today!) and was quite a character in the Egyptian yacht community. Finally coming back to India in 1945, and in 1947 was bitterly disappointed with how Britain handled Partition, burned his passport and British citizenship, and became an avid Pakistani patriot. Running a salvage operation, breaking down ships, he finally died sometime in the 70’s from complications due to smoking. (My dad, who knows the exact date, is always broken up when asked, and for the sake of an internet article, I won’t ask).

A replica set of medals, given to each of the grandchilden. The full set is in Australia with my family there.

This man, who I never met, was apparently a gruff, stern, built like a truck individual. The polar opposite of myself. Yet his influence on my upbringing was staggering. I spent much of my formative years tracking his progress across the Western Desert campaign, and told tales of his exploits to my schoolyard friends. His bayonet, ground down into a fighting knife during his posting to the LRDG, is a unique heirloom exclusive to my family.

My interest in history, the Second World War, and the Western Desert campaign all comes from a man who in 1939, went to war, and was never the same again. He was not alone in my family; A great uncle went to Burma, and was captured and worked in prison camps not far different then the Bridge on the River Kwai, and if I’m not mistaken, WAS actually where he ended up. My Grandfather on my mothers side didn’t serve, but worked in the news, editing articles and getting them up for the evening news.

My family now finds itself in two Commonwealth nations, remembering our veterans quietly, as to not take away from the fact we are honouring Canadian and Australian veterans in our respective nations. But we remember our contribution to the Commonwealth and Britain in general. While my Grandfather may have been bitter about Partition, he was still an outstanding soldier, and that is how I choose to remember him. As I do all my family’s veterans.

Lest we Forget.

Royalist Reinforcements: Vickers Medium for VBCW!

Vickers Medium Mk2, reporting!

A section of Royalist infantry take over my painting desk, supported by a Vickers Medium

Sometimes, you just need a palette cleanse. An easy paint job to brighten your spirits and fire you up for additional painting.

I chose for just such a task a Vickers Medium Mk2, a very interesting interwar design. Large and slab sided, and not particularly fast, these tanks are out of date by the Very British Civil War timeline, and in our timeline only saw use in small numbers in Africa in World War Two*.

This was one of my earliest prints that I have done, and the bow-legged tracks betray my lack of skill at the time. Still, painted up, I’m hoping it will do sterling service on my gaming table, and look good doing it!

I primed it Vallejo Russian Uniform, a colour that seems, for some reason, to really resemble the off-green the British Army used.

Even with its wonky tracks, it still is an imposing mass of steel.

The tracks I did in an Eshin Grey, and the metal components Army Painter Plate Mail. I then sponged Plate Mail around the tank as severe weathering. Finally, I used Nuln Oil to fill in the metal details on the tank, giving them a more worn appearance.

Free-handing is hard!

I found the free-hand detail to be quite difficult, but serviceable. In my excuse for painting, I have decided that these are hand-painted by the crew, and this crew is particularly sloppy!

Going to have to fix that free-hand here….
The bow-legged tracks are particularly noticeable up front and rear!

Still, for a quick paintjob to get it on the table, its not the worst! I can always go back and add more later.

Behind the tank you can see a section of infantry! Those will be next, bringing my force to twenty royalists and a tank. An HQ section is after that, and I can start fighting for King Edward VII in style! Of course, for such a battle one needs an opponent, and luckily my friend has been working hard on his Albertines! For those fresh to Very British Civil War, that is our timeline’s King George he’s fighting for, to put on the throne.

Quite awkwardly, he too has decided to use Woodbine Design Studios WW1 figures as his base for his army…meaning the only difference is our paintjob!
He has gone for purple puttees instead of armbands for his army. Purple accents show up quite regularly!
And unlike me, he has gotten his officers ready too! I have some catching up to do!

As lockdowns and shutdowns, and other various bits of stressful news come in, I will admit I sometimes find it hard to work up the hobby energy. But I’m really keen on getting my Very British Civil War guys done before I next see my friend next. Goals keep us going!

But for now, that is all I got. Happy War-gaming wherever you are, and God Save King Edward!

*Note, I may not get my history right. Don’t quote me without doing your own digging first!.

The Empire’s Time…Has Come!

Imperial Special Forces for Legion!

“I see a white Stormtrooper and I want it painted black…”

I was visiting my friendly local gaming store, when I noticed something; a nice stockpile of the new Star Wars Legion expansions. Did I go there for them? Goodness no, but given my recent paycheque and the very real possibility of a better job in the near future….I couldn’t resist leaving with something. While ARC Troopers are the coolest choice, I am not playing the Republic(yet). So I instead walked out with Inferno Squad!

Now for those of you not in the know, Inferno Squad is from the much maligned Star Wars Battlefront 2 game by EA. While I definitely had my problems with it, I did enjoy the single player experience, which focuses on the exploits of Inferno Squad, from the Imperial Special Forces.

The box set by Fantasy Flight allows you to make these characters except for their leader, Iden Versio, who got rolled into a Commander/Operative class model. However, as I can see myself buying a second box of these fantastic models, I decided to be a bit daring and make instead my own custom Special Forces team.

Taking a page from my Black Templars from Warhammer 40k, I primed black, then drybrushed lightly with Eshin Grey. This was followed by a drybrush of Dawnstone. What this did was introduce some gradients to the black uniform, so that a shade, Nuln Oil, would actually add some depth.

I’ll leave it up to you to decide if it worked or not, but I was quite happy with them. This, to be entirely honest, is where I left the black uniform; A lot of the colours are so similar and my collection of black and grey paints is running thin. I did however repaint the E-11 and DLT-19 blasters in Eshin Grey fully, to add some different tones. I have come to quite enjoy painting weapons in that color, its actually closer to what colour the weapons are in films and cartoons, instead of being painted with metallics.

A DLT-19 toting Special Forces trooper, with a sharp looking weapon.

I decided early on that I would use Army Painter’s Electric Blue as my insignia colour, to make them distinct from Inferno Squad’s red details. On most of the troopers, this was just on the small blue discs on their shoulders.

However, for interest, I decided to have on three troopers a stripe running down their legs. I did this on the Squad Leader, and the alternate builds for Gideon Hask and Del Meeko. This brought in some much needed visual interest.

Is it practical on ‘stealth’ uniforms? Goodness no. Is it cool? Yes…I think.
The drybrushed highlights really worked on the back armour plates.
Another model, this one being the alternative Gideon with helmet build. Here you can see the gloss coat I added to the eye-lenses.
And here is the alternate Del Meeko build. I’ve based these models to fit my Mimban campaign idea.
And the whole squad coming together. I really enjoyed this little project.

I’m quite pleased with these models! I was pretty happy with the fact Fantasy Flight has moved to a plastic sprue for their newer kits; this extra detail really helped the drybrush along.

As a happy accident, one of my friends had picked up a can of Vallejo Spray for my Team Yankee stuff. However, he had accidently grabbed a German Field Grey can instead of my Russian Uniform! I decided to try it out on my General Veers to see if it was a good match for the Imperial Officer uniform, the olive-grey seen in the movies!

“The shield will be down in moments. You may start your landing”-General Veers, Empire Strikes Back.

Its…admittedly not a perfect match. But it’s not entirely terrible either, and I decided to press on regardless. The uniforms are a tough nut to crack, as they were made in an olive-grey materiel but the colour grading makes them appear more grey in the films. I feel like this leans a bit on the green side….

This is an older Legion model, from Wave 2. It shows; the face isn’t up to par with the newer sculpts and it’s features are quite chunky. Still a great model and really fun to paint!
He still looks the business leading the troops!

All in all, a good days work! My Legion stuff seems to find its way to the top of my painting queue quite often…I can’t seem to figure out why! In any event, I’m making decent progress at being able to play a game with fully painted models!

The whole, unhappy, imperialist, Jawa-murdering, family!

This was, to be entirely honest, a deviation from the content I meant to have done this weekend. Seeing as I have a day off between today and my next class, I might try and sneak in a VBCW article! My friend in the city has been making good progress on Albertines, and I have a most royal project waiting in the wings.

But for now, that is all I have! I hope you enjoyed! I’m still in the process of trying to find a name for my ‘not’ Inferno Squad, and if you have any suggestions, let me know! Happy War-Gaming, wherever you are, and may the Force be with you!

Pimp your Russ: Tank Overhaul Part One!

Building a Better Russ!

Once upon a time, this was a primarily 40k-centric blog. Over the years I have adapted and switched to new games as they have come and caught my fancy, but it isn’t like I have stopped collecting or playing in the mean time.

The Chaplain would like to have a word with you…at 120 MPH.

However, my tastes over time have changed, and looking back at my old, reliable Russ fleet, and having played games with more realistic stylings recently, they didn’t hold up well. I now own a 3D printer, but printing whole alternate tanks was still a difficult task…a print-bed is still a limiting factor. I wasn’t really looking all that hard, when I caught wind of II GARGOYLES STVDIO, a patreon who had done in the past a T-34 styled upgrade kit.

Nice and Soviet. I particularly liked the Cannon!
Their Chimera alternative sides kit is also looking great, with excellent(if difficult to print for newbies) suspension detail.
Their Maxim-styled Bolter replacements will find use in both 40k and Historical settings. I’m planning a Double-Decker Bus for VBCW with broadsides of these things.

However, this kit was meant for the newer styled GW Russ, which I only have one of. My fleet mostly consists of older, early 2000’s and 90’s Russ hulls, and that meant the back extension would not fit, as the engine bay on the older models is offset instead of centreline.

Curse you! In actual truth this makes a lot of sense; Who even owns these older tanks…except me obviously.

However, all the stowage will fit just fine, as well as equipment and other paraphernalia. What particularly interested me was the main gun; a replacement for the notoriously large calibre Leman Russ Battle Cannon goes a long way in making the Russ ‘work’ better from a realism angle. I really liked the T-34/76 style it has going on, and took one of my older kits apart.

Much better!
The tank almost looks MORE menacing with a more sensible gun; While the Russ will never be a ‘realistic’ tank, this goes a long way to making it more reasonable. The profile looks more like a predator of a tank, instead of a cartoon caricature.
Loading shells will still be a problem in the cramped turret, but at least now it is physically possible to carry a few rounds…
The cobbled together look of the tank lends it-self to my lore; Being that these are Sabbat Worlds Crusade era tanks, this could very well be a local Urdeshi variant of the parent design.

However, because the upgrade kit was designed for a newer kit, some modification was needed. This was actually doable as opposed to the rear hull extension. Since I am pointing people toward the Patreon, I figured I’d show you quickly how I did it.

Before gluing(or regluing as the case is here), you will need to trim away some of the bottom turret plate.
Using the front protruding part as a guide, trim away the parts where the cannon hangs too low. You won’t be able to adjust elevation, but given that this is a gaming model that might not be a problem for you!
Then simply slide the new, sensible cannon down into where the Battle Cannon used to be. You can see here the cuts I have made, to allow the new cannon to sit well. Use a good superglue with a good bond to make sure you don’t lose your new cannon during play, as nothing but the glue will now be holding it!

This is the first step on my Russ overhaul, and I won’t be stopping here. I am also going to ‘try’ and undo the side-pieces on my Chimera APCs, but I did too good a job the first time and I don’t think they are coming off! Luckily, a friend of mine got me a Chimera a year ago I have yet to build, so I will be putting the new suspension unit on that kit soonish!

I highly recommend checking out the Patreon for II GARGOYLES STVDIO at https://www.patreon.com/2gargoyles, as they have a lot of really cool stuff! They have this month a Dino-Riding Rough Rider unit, and in their backlog you can grab regular, horse mounted Rough Riders and various other bits and bobs, like the Tank Upgrade I got here!

Including this Dshk styled Heavy Stubber! I have asked them to make a simplified version for my shaky hands, but you can make the current one available totally posable!

I will have some more, non-40k content for those who enjoy that later this week! Covid-19 has well and truly entered a new stage, and I am skipping my local clubhouse visits until the situation in Canada gets a little better. More time for hobbying and blogging, and anyone who finds this content interesting is in for a treat!

Until then, Happy War-Gaming where-ever you are, and stay safe and positive as best you can in these trying times!

Shortcuts make Long Delays: Temporary Hiatus!

Just a quick note, I have some great content in the wings, but I have run into some rather more boring problems: I’ve reached my WordPress picture cap! Rather then ruin my older content, which actually gets a decent amount of traffic for a pokey little hobby blog, I’d rather pony up and get the upgrade.

It’ll take me a few weeks until payday, then I’ll pull the proverbial trigger and get some content on the go again! Not that anyone is too fussed, but it shan’t be a long wait. Until then, Happy War-gaming!

AK-74 Sunrise: A Zona Alfa Battle Report!

Mysterious Foes from within the Zone!

To the Director of CIA Field Operations, Kiev, Ukraine. Some important events have transpired in the Zone in the last month. I have directed one of the field officers in the Zone to compile this document.

The following report regards the events of September 30th, 2020, Exclusion Zone, Pripyat. Compiled from multiple sources, this report details the action at the Lisove, a village near the Red Forest.

On or about 0630 local time, a group of scientists from the Ukrainian Government task force found themselves under attack by an unknown group of hostiles. Said hostiles are the first non-zombified human contact coming from the Duga Array since 2003. They put out a distress call, which attracted the attention of two teams of Stalkers.

Group known locally as the “Zone Rats”. Experienced Stalkers, on their second expedition into the zone. Their Leader, Lebedev, is known for his obession with salvage….
Bandit group calling themselves the ‘Cheeki Breeki Boys”. Known for their callsigns, all based off Russian politicians. Cutthroat but fair, but always with an eye for undercutting the ‘other guy’

The two teams descended upon the zone to find it under heavy fire. The hostiles were described later by the scientists as ‘wearing western equipment and firing western weapons, with distinctive blue helmets’ The UN has disavowed any knowledge of this group, and we are inclined to believe them…no group UN funded is this well equipped.

Long range photography of known group now called the ‘Blue Helmets’

The following timeline has been established from local interviews, drone photography, and sources on the ground who witnessed the event. By breaking the events into distinct parts, ‘Turns’, if you will, we can now go over what transpired.

‘Turn One’: Both teams arrived around 0730 local time, with the ‘Zone Rats’ arriving first to the scene. As they arrived, Lebedev, the leader of this team of Stalkers, took down a Blue Helmet with his rifle from range.

Firing on the move, Lebedev gets first blood.

Meanwhile, as the ‘Cheeki Breeki Boys’ arrived, one of their number, ‘Gorbachev’, likewise fired upon the hostiles, taking down one of their number, while the other took it in the kevlar and was still combat effective.

The Blue Helmets take rifle fire from the CB Boys, and return fire in turn

The hostiles return fire from an elevated position. Lebedev avoids the fire, while ‘Putin’ from the CB Boys takes a flesh wound, treating it with a medical stim.

Meanwhile, another Blue Helmet fired an M72 LAW(where such weapons were acquired is a mystery, and will be an additional report) into the bunker containing the science team, killing one of their security detail.

The report of such heavy ordinance draws attention, even in the Zone.

Machine gun fire from both teams of Stalkers killed one Blue Helmet, and forced the ‘leader’ into cover. Vorobev(Zone Rats), fired at the LAW-wielding BH, and here we have our first verbal communication from these mysterious foes. “Try again, loser!” in perfect English!

Other members of the teams moved into cover, prepared for the next phase of combat.

Shpatsky(Zone Rats) puts armor between him and incoming 5.56mm

At this point, driven by an unknown compelling force, several Blue Helmets got up despite apparent fatal injuries. They would usually proceed to fire one last shot at their attackers before expiring.

This Blue Helmet was observed taking heavy fire, and yet surviving what should be a fatal wound to fire again!

‘Turn Two’ began with Lebedev, who moved forward toward a Hot Spot, throwing(and missing) with a bolt, a common thing in the zone to trigger such anomalies. Apparently infuriated by his lack of luck, he fired a wild burst into the LAW gunner, killing that Blue Helmet. Driven by some base compulsion, he ran to loot the Hot Spot, tripping into a pile of Rad Ghouls hiding in the rocks. (Lebedev has an obsession with salvage, leading to such incidents like this. I will go over this in another report).

It is said among witnesses that despite the gasmask, a loud BYLAT was heard.

‘Lenin’ from the CB Boys fires at the hostile leader, downing him, however in the last few shots his antique DPM machine gun jams, forcing him to take time clearing it.

‘How many times have I told that cyka to replace that old piece of pizdec!’-Putin, interviewed 2 weeks from this incident

One Blue Helmet, struggling with blood loss but compelled by some force, fired two bursts of M16A1 fire into the scrum of Ghouls surrounding Lebedev, killing three, Lebedev shrugging off the incoming fire but throughly pinned down. The Blue Helmet then expired.

In any other circumstance, this would be a heroic moment.

The Rad Ghouls attacked, their numbers weakened but their claws sharp. Lebedev fought off his attackers, and killing one with his knife. His comrades were reported as saying “This is why we follow the man, he may be a salvage monger but he knows how to fight!”

Bayonets with some guts behind it!

‘Stalin'(I think you can see how the names in the Cheeki Breeki Boys work now) takes fire, however his body armor takes the hit and protects the meat.

A comment from the Youtube video uploaded of the incident reports a famous influencer saying “Boris Appoves” over ‘Trotskys’ yellow tracksuit.

Shpatsky attempted to extract Lededev from the mess he had gotten himself into, not wanting to chance the flamethrower shot.

The flamethrower not useful unless he wanted to roast his leader, Shpatsky dives into melee.

This attempt was unsuccessful, and the would be rescuer had to apply first aid to himself.

Zakharov, the shotgun wielder of the Zone Rats, managed to aim and splatter a ghoul, rescuing Lebedev from himself finally.

Zakharov earned a pay raise for his actions. In the words if this CIA agent, it was one hell of a shot!

‘Gagarin’, the most recent and psychopathic addition to the Cheeki Breeki Boys, ran up to a hot spot, and awakened a nest of Zombies. However, he was prepared for such a situation..

“And…” Asked Putin as he set down the gun he was cleaning and regarded his compatriot with a raised eyebrow. “Did you ask this new cyka about that gigantic thing he carries strapped to his back?”
“I did indeed comrade” responded Yeltsin, who was stoking the coals to a camp fire.
“Well, I’m all ears.”
“He said that it is a chemical weapon.”
“A chemical weapon?”
“Indeed, a chemical weapon.” Affirmed Yeltsin “Apparently it sprays the area with acid, which then reacts with oxygen in the air and catches on fire.”
“Did you not suggest to him that might be an inappropriate choice of weapon, since we hired him to help us kidnap some scientists comrade?” Questioned Putin, visibly irritated beneath his ushanka.
“I did indeed suggest that” Responded Yeltsin, unfazed, opening a can of borsht to heat on the fire.
“And..” Growled Putin “What did our new comrade say, when you made that suggestion.”
“He said that by making that suggestion, I betrayed my ignorance of the zone, and suggested he might be a better leader for the team. Now do you want some borsht?”
“Well…” sighed Putin, eyeing the can of soup “The man may be walking pizdec, but he has a point.”- Conversation overheard by Field Agent.
Gagarin’s chemical thrower made short work of the Zombie swarm.

‘Turn Three’ began with yet more Blue Helmets emerging from the Red Forest, and the leader getting up from his horrific wounds.

‘Putin’ jammed his AK47 trying to kill the BH leader, however the effect was the same, as the Opfor was downed due to bleeding out.

The Blue Helmet pitches into the forest earth, his wounds too heavy to sustain anymore.

Lebedev, obsessed with needing to know what lay in the anomaly field, triggered an Inker anomaly, covering the area in thick clouds of black living smoke.

Lebedev can’t catch a break.

‘Gagarin’ on the other hand has much greater luck, finding a valuable artifact in the centre of the hot spot.

Gagarin clears the anomaly field, and leaves a richer man.

Zakharov decides to spare Lebedev his obsession, and tried to clear the hot-spot in the BTR convoy. However he instead awoke a sleeping Zone Bear!

“Oh pizdec”
The common Zone Bear, a mutated and ruined form of the common Black Bear. Scary, and behind the deaths of many rookie stalkers.
“Three times I have seen those radiated Cykas, and three times I have seen this madman shoot them down like vermin. This man has khabrosht!-Lebedev, leader of the Zone Rats, in a recorded conversation 3 hours after the incident.

Two more Blue Helmets arrive, and take up positions, and several ‘dead’ ones get back up to fight again! However, ‘Yeltsin’ fired a rocket into the tree-line, using an old Panzerfaust tube with an improvised explosive warhead, taking out one and the other was saved by the tree.

‘Gagarin’ and Koralev both took fire from Blue Helmet positions, and were forced to take cover and tend their wounds, using valuable medkits to do so!

The Cheeki Breeki Boys, in effective cover of the dense bushes.

Zakharov tried to investigate the now Bear-clear hotspot, and instead triggered a magnetic anomaly, sticking his gun to the spot. He eventually cleared it, taking a great deal of time.

Putin downs another Opfor.

‘Putin’ advanced to the ‘ever burning tank’ anomaly and gunned down another Blue Helmet.

It is at this point, ‘Turn Five’ that things get more heated.

More Blue Helmets arrive, however the incoming fire from the Cheeki Breeki Boys is effective and downed one.

Shpatsky advanced to the bunker, and yelled for the trapped scientists to leave. However, none respond to the massive man with a flamethrower!

Lebedev is more successful, and convinces one to leave safety, only to be cold cocked by ‘Putin’, eager to kidnap the scientist for ransom!

one rescued scientist(actually a member of the security detail)…
Only to be taken by ‘Putin’ at Obrez-point. These Cheeki Breeki Boys are not to be trusted. It is of note that no casualties were sustained in the scuffles for the scientists between the teams, as both did not want to actually kill one another…

‘Lenin’ manages to further suppress the Blue Helmets, killing another. However, as ‘Turn Six’ begins more hostiles arrive. One armed with a LAW attempted to rocket a large pocket of rescued(or kidnapped!) scientists!

A melee ensues between the two teams, as they punch, bite, and grab each other for control of the Science team. They avoided lethal weapons but many ice-packs were used afterwards!

Control of the lead scientist was crucial to both teams payday!

Two Blue Helmets fire M16’s into the scrum, but land no effective hits. The LAW is efficiently suppressed by incoming fire. Vorobev is unsuccessful trying to wrestle away the lead scientist, however Shpatsky is not, and leads the scientist away from the ‘Crazy Gopniks’

Incoming fire prevents the Blue Helmets from completing their objective.
Another rescued scientist!
‘Gagarin’ leads, at gunpoint, another scientist away.

Leading into ‘Turn Seven”, more hostiles arrive, and the LAW gunner manages to collect his wits enough to fire at Shpatsky, but not enough to aim well, instead ruining a jersey barrier.

A lucky miss! And a good look at ‘Trotsky’, who attempted to wrestle control of the other scientist.

‘Lenin’ returns fire, and both his and the return fire is ineffective. Both teams eventually collectively end the threat from the Blue Helmets(for now), and having moved away from each other, choose to break away with their hostages/rescued scientists.

The Cheeki Breeki Boys make for the hills, their hostages secure.
Discretion is the better part of valour, and having secured the lead scientist, The Zone Rats allow the security detail to get taken by the Cheeki Breeki Boys.

At this point I must report the action breaks off. Both teams managed to secure a few scientists, but the Zone Rats having gotten the Lead Scientist away are the ones making a bigger payday. The interesting angle for us at the CIA is what followed…

Once the Scientists were returned to their protected bunker, they made a radio broadcast over open channels.

Fellow Stalkers, we have made a most excellent discovery. The Duga Array need not hold us back any longer. Due to our research, which lead to an unprecedented attack from inside the Zone, we have discovered a way to ‘block’ the signals emanating from the inside of the Field. We are working on prototypes, and need a team of willing Stalkers to wield such devices. If the Duga Array, the Scorcher, could be turned off, the centre of the Zone will become open to all of us. Report to our bunker. You will be paid well.”

I recommend dispatching a team, or funding one, immediately to make use of this discovery.

Yours, Agent Blackwell.

AUTHORS NOTES:

This battle report was an experiment in writing narratively, and may have succeeded in some ways, and failed in others. The impetus behind this was the STALKER 7 Battle Report contest, a contest I can’t see myself winning, however I hope it remains entertaining!

This was a custom scenario devised by a friend and I, to recover scientists from the field while under attack from hostile, Monolith, like forces. This is greatly inspired by the events of the STALKER video game, and may work in some ways and not in others. We had some custom rules I will go over now.

There were 5 Scientists in a bunker on the other side of the field, and the winner was the player controlling the most of them by the end of Turn 7. You could escort the scientists by moving into base contact, wrestle control away by doing a melee fight(lethal or not) or try to convince them to follow you with a Will-check.

There were two opposing squads of hostiles on the board, controlled as if they were a player. Due to Zone influence, they had 7 Will, and could get up on a 5+ for one final action before dying.

Each Turn, d3, minus what was already on the board, hostiles would arrive from the Red Forest. This ensured there was at least one hostile on the table on each side at all times.

The last hostile activated each turn had to shoot at the bunker and the scientists within, to act as an incentive to move up the table and act as a timer.

We used three Hot-Spots, using the expanded Anomaly table and any results of Bandits was rerolled when hostiles showed up.

We are not sure how well this worked, but it was a great deal of fun to play regardless. I hope you guys reading enjoy it as much as we enjoyed playing it. As always, Happy War-gaming where-ever you are, and beware, for Such is Life in the Zone!

An Old Dream, Long Remembered: Childhood Goals in Dark Times

A new, grand goal.

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
-JRR Tolkien

Fair warning, this is minis lite: This is something I plan to do, not currently have ready! It reads more like an essay. This is the beginnings, the first steps…the first stones that start an avalanche. It’s not going to be for all of you! And that’s okay. Its a bit depressing too, at first.

It has been a rough year for all of us. Between Covid, Lockdowns, Quarantines, Restrictions, one could get tired of it all. I can be tough to cope.

Frodo Baggins' entire backstory explained
Buckle up Frodo, you got a long way to go!

For myself, especially, and for the first and last time I’ll mention on this blog, it has been a particularly close run thing. My mental health has taken serious blows, and it brought myself closer to the brink then I’d like to admit. Let me be perfectly blunt. I’m happy to be alive. I’ve come out of the darkness with a pretty renewed sense of purpose, drive, and motivation to not let the little things pass-me-by.

J. R. R. Tolkien quote: I will not say, do not weep, for not all...
Sometimes a hard-lesson is the only way to learn what matters.

In the midst of all of this, Games Workshop quietly announced Quest for the Ringbearer, a supplement for the Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game. Having received my copy yesterday, I finally got a chance to sit down, and read it. A pretty good supplement, barring some minor spelling errors and potential rules gaffes. The campaign is akin to the journeybooks of old, but updated for the most current ruleset and party to some of the more balanced versions of the included scenarios I’ve seen.

Middle-earth SBG - Dunlendings - Page 34 - Forum - DakkaDakka | Roll the  dice to see if I'm getting drunk.
Finally, worthy tomes exist to replace these great but long since out of print epics

If it was just that, I’d have been happy, but included were a couple additional treats; a full fantasy Fellowship campaign modification, and most crucially to me, an up to date way to fight ALL of the Fellowships battles using all currently released books. This is something brand new, and very exciting!

War Comes to Rohan™! - Warhammer Community
This, and the Gondor at War book, complete the whole Trilogy of epic content.

Indeed, it brings me back to a childhood dream of a much younger version of me, twinkles in his eyes and full of naivety as I fought battles across my living room floor. I wanted to do the books AND the movies justice, nailing the feel of both. A full Fellowship playthrough, with bespoke terrain, painted armies, and good company.

I dreamed in my youth of taking the Fellowship, all parts of it, across Middle-Earth on an adventure to end an age.

For the first time in living memory, I have both the drive and willpower to see it through. I have the collection my thirteen year old self couldn’t even dream of owning. I have many good friends willing to go on an adventure, lending me their Sword, Bow, or Axe to the cause. From Bag-End to Mount Doom, from Rivendell to Rohan and Gondor, to the Black Gate itself.

I'm Going On An Adventure! | Know Your Meme
Adventures are better with friends!

It fills me with joy and excitement, something that can be difficult to muster in this age of uncertainty. It could take years for me to complete such an undertaking. It could see missteps, mistakes. But yet my excitement holds true. I work best with a goal, however distant, in mind.

The man I have become these last few years isn’t the one I thought I’d be, better or for worse. But for the kid I was, that happy go lucky pre-teen who broke the seal on the Return of the King Starter Box back in 2003….I’ll follow Frodo and Aragorn’s journeys across Middle Earth. A dream, now a future.

Image for post
And its WORTH fighting for.

I hope you good folks out there can forgive a man getting a few things off his chest, and finding hope in the smaller things in life. I don’t like to dwell on such unhappy, if motivational topics, and your regularly scheduled dose of wargaming content will continue on Wednesday evening! But in the mean time, Happy Wargaming where-ever you might be, and may you find some inspiration in the strangest places!

Waltzing Matilda: Finally, a return to Team Yankee!

Aussies in 15mm!

Oh my goodness, so tiny! These little bastards are finicky.

Back around March, when Covid-19 lock-downs first started hitting Canada, a bunch of my friends and I decided to do a lock-down game, a project to get done before we saw each other next. We decided upon Team Yankee. This initial period is documented on my blog! However, as new games and of course 40k 9th Edition came along, I got really, really distracted.

Still, I wanted to play Team Yankee. My issue lay in the fact my opponents lived a good 2-3 hours away in the Greater Toronto Area, so it was getting hard to muster energy up for a game I wasn’t going to play for a while. Then, because I needed to get through my backlog, I took all my stuff to my local Club.

The sudden interest generated by my sizable collection led to a few people locally buying in, which is great news for me playing the game, bad news because I had nothing done!

Pictured: Stuff finally getting done. These are British Chieftain tanks, finally assembled and primed!

Now my British force for Team Yankee is arguably my better army; new book, hard hitting super tanks, Milan teams…etc. But my Australian/New Zealand army kept calling, and since their infantry, which I decided to do in “Jungle Greens”(the issue of Auscam was slow and ponderous…), were considerably easier to paint then my horde of Brits in camouflage, I decided to tackle them first.

I primed them with what I had, Russian Uniform by Vallejo. I’m hoping that since its a good olive color I might get away with it.

Blocked in the main colours! Sculpts are really detailed for 15mm, and could be done by an experienced painter quite well!

I decided quick and dirty. These Australians are tired of sitting in a box…they want to fight! I blocked in the main colours, unfortunately that meant a lot of greens on greens. Still, that is the colour of the gear, so that is what they had to be. I took as many opportunities to get some additional colour in there.

Post-wash and Stirland Mud, these Aussies look like they are in Passchendaele, not untouched German soil. That had to get fixed!

They took the wash, Agrax Earthshade, quite well. Stirland Mud was applied liberally to the base. Once dry, I asked my local group if I should add grass. All it took was one person to comment to get me to do so…and I’m glad I did, it looks considerably better! Thanks Nick!

The finished Command stand. The most dangerous thing in warfare…A junior Lieutenant and a map…
They honestly look pretty good! For 15mm I can’t see going into more detail, my hands will simply not let me.
The grass is pretty sparse: this place has been driven over by tanks. The untouched flower bush adds some colour to the base.

Of course, I still have the full mechanized platoon to get done. And another. And my Milan teams(In the Australian list, it is probably my best chance against the T-80’s I’ll be facing soon…). I have my work cut out for me!

I might give the DPM on my British troops a try soon. These Australians were not as hard as I thought they would be, so I’m eager to see if I can successfully paint camouflage.

With a new Soviet, American, and Canadian player locally, my ANZAC’s will be busy in both exercises and live action against the Warsaw Pact.

For now though, that is all I have. I do have a King Edward model I’ve been cracking away on for VBCW, but until it is just right, I don’t want to post it! Happy War-gaming where-ever you are, and crack open a Foster’s with your mates! G’day!

Different Galaxy, Different Empire: A foray into Star Wars Legion

The Galactic Empire makes its first appearance on the blog!

I love Democracy as much as this guy! Wait, hang on…

It occurs to me lately that I talk about Empires and Emperors quite a bit. It’s a bit of a bad streak. I love Democracy, but I’m a sucker for fictional authoritarian governments.

I don’t know why I find the Jackboot so interesting but, given a choice, I tend toward Humanocentric factions in games. Be it Warhammer 40,000, the British Empire of our world, any sort of absolute monarchy or dictatorial government grabs my attention.

Of course, Star Wars is a favourite here. I grew up in the 90’s watching the Original Trilogy, and was a youngster when the Prequels hit theatres. I don’t dislike the Prequels as much as most people do, and I was a big fan of Legends material when that stuff was ‘Canon’.

Time to be evil, baby!

The Galactic Empire was one of the original ‘evil’ factions I liked, and even when I got into 40k, there was a lot of cool Star Wars stuff I wanted to do. I was big into the Star Wars Miniatures game by Wizards of the Coast, and had many, many models. But being a blind buy, collectible card game style system meant I never really had enough of one faction to play the ‘big stuff’.

X-Wing was a game changer. Pre-painted, and with my particular interest in space combat in Star Wars, I was hooked. I still play a lot of it, but being that it was a pre-painted system, there wasn’t a lot to talk about on this blog.

Some of my X-Wing big ships, waiting for a chance to be played again…

With both X-Wing and Armada, the movement tool made sense; abstracting distances into range rulers and having movement dictated by templates made the dogfights feel real. The proprietary dice helped speed up gameplay too. But I was unsure when Legion came around, as to me, a ground combat game needs normal dice and tape measures.

A few weeks ago, my friend and I hatched an idea; playing a homebrew Star Wars systems in Legion scale, using either Bolt Action or 40k to do so. Having access to both Fantasy Flights models and terrain, and third party stuff, means we won’t have the lack of terrain that older Star Wars ground combat games had. There is a lot of support. We are focusing on the Clone Wars, with an eventual move into the Galactic Civil War period.

For the Galactic Civil War, I wanted to collect both sides, and do the conflict on the muddy world of Mimban to it’s completion, as a fun campaign. For those of you not in the know, I’ll link a video…

The most 40k thirty seconds in Star Wars. Ever.

Solo wasn’t a great movie. But the fighting in the Empires early days, on the planet of Mimban, was fantastic, and captured my imagination. A showing from non-stormtrooper elements of the Imperial Army was a great call-back to older Legends material.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that FFG had made an excellent AT-ST model, and once I saw it, I had to have one. Combined with 3D-Printed ‘Grunge Troopers’ from a store on Gumroad, I had everything needed to make that scene from Solo a tabletop reality.

The AT-ST went together really well! Took less then 5 minutes once I planned the build properly.

This thing is massive! A 3D-Printed mudtrooper on the base, in Legion scale, really shows the imposing height this model possesses.
And here it is, compared with a GW Redemptor Dreadnought. This thing is MASSIVE.

Now I’ve been in and out of hospital the last week, and I needed a win. So, I took a risk, and jumped straight into painting this monster. I posed the model quite aggressively, making sure the laser cannons still pointed ‘forward-ish’ in the frontal arc. I then primed it in grey.

This was a speed-painted piece, and probably won’t hold a candle to most other painters attempts. But it certainly looks the part, and I hope you’ll agree its not that bad of a first go at it…

Muddy, and ready to fight the brutal trench-war on Mimban. I wanted this thing to be absolutely filthy, but not streaky.
You can see here the pose, walking forward, taking a few pot shots at the Mimbanese.
The base is nothing special, just filthy mud. This was achieved with a vigorous application of Stirland Mud. I made sure to keep the mud going up the sides of the leg, and used Agrax Earthshade to shade that part in a distinctly brown shade.
I heavily washed the head, then drybrushed the grey back on. I used a sponge to chip on some spatter and carbon-scoring on the lower plates. I also heavily sponged on black on the muzzles of both the laser cannons and chin blaster cannons. This thing has seen heavy, sustained combat!
The rear of the head has these two fans, which are working overtime. They are almost burnt out, and are ejecting detritus onto the surrounding area.
The AT-ST cuts a menacing figure, and provided there isn’t any small, teddy bear like creatures, should hold up in any game I play.

I was really happy to put this together! A real joy to paint and work on, and a much needed victory after my hospital visit!

Now…as for Legion. I was holding off, but it is looking more and more enticing. As I need Stormtroopers, Rebels, and all that anyways I figured I’d do the usual Fantasy Flight Star Wars thing and buy two core sets. And, since I’ll now have them….might as well try the game they are intended for, yes? I’ll only be supplementing my forces with 3D printed elements, not replacing it wholesale. That feels the most ‘fair’, and seeing as the stuff I’m printing is usually not available any other way, I don’t feel too bad about it.If any of you have tried Legion, let me know your thoughts on it! My homebrew 40k Star Wars ruleset for private use is still in the wings, but Legion has a lot of that flavour baked in, and I do like alternate activation systems…

For now, as I make progress I’ll share what I got! I do have for VBCW Mosely and the King himself ready to be painted, and I hope to share those with you shortly! And I’m playing Zona Alfa tomorrow! The Irish are staying home, but the Zone Rats and the Gopniks will be out in force!

For now, Happy War-gaming where-ever you are, and may the Force be with you!