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!