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!

The ‘Chains’ That Bind Us: Further Progress with the Templars!

In which I attach more chains to things!

My new Primaris Lieutenant draws a bead with his pistol, safe in the knowledge his sword is not going anywhere…

In my last Templar post, I had begun the arduous task of painstakingly attaching chains to the wrists and weapons of the Indomitus box contents. While it was a slow start, it was addicting; the new models have many places where the chains like to fit and hang naturally.

I had a decision to make, in both a time, money, and logic sense. Where would I draw the line on what weapon would get chained or not? On my previous models, I had done ranged weapons as well as their various melee weapons, but such a thing seemed a bit much going forward. As well, as a gamer on a budget (that printer, and the money sunk into maintaining it and keeping it running, are initially quite high) I had little in the way of chain left. For visual consistency, I wanted the whole box to have chain cut from the same source, therefore I was a bit more miserly then I would be normally.

In the end, I decided to only do the melee weapons; this is a melee focused box, and I made a decision that if a Black Templar had to drop a weapon, it would be the ranged one. After all, while you can pistol whip someone quite hard when your a 9ft tall demigod, you can do so even better with a sword. And the sword features heavily in the lore of the Black Templars, and I imagine, viewed with some reverence.

Mind made up, I started with the Bladeguard Veterans.

They received custom Black Templar Chapter insignia on their shoulder pauldrons, but the main event is the chains on their wrists. The crosspiece can easily accept glue underneath, and the chain ‘likes’ to get stuck there, allowing you to easily and naturally wrap the chain around the arm.

Maybe it was the practice I had with the previous models, but the chains went on quite smoothly! A good tip here is to let it hang naturally once you have found a point to anchor the chain; gravity will help you make it look good. Using gel superglue, dabbed on very slowly, I then went along the chain-links, setting each link in turn. I took care to not let the glue ‘dribble’ into places that had details I wanted to retain. The chains are to improve the look, not obscure it!

I then did the Primaris Lieutenant (Castellan, if we are being Black Templars, here), shown above. His was an interesting case; his sword was sheathed! I contemplated breaking the rule, but figured it would be visually interesting having the chain loosely draped across the front of his body, as he shoots his Volkite (Think martian heat ray, for those of you not familiar with the weapon).

I thought it through from the models point of view; he holsters his weapon as the Tyranids close in, then draws his sword, carefully wrapping the chain around his wrist as he does so, a picture of calm on a chaotic battlefield. Finally, the relentless xenos crash into the shield wall, and he is prepared. His weapon is not leaving his hand, not until he draws his last breath…

Next up was the Primaris Captain (Marshall, if we are being Black Templars, and we are, at least here!), who luckily is wielding his sword normally. This was a fun little thing to do, little to no effort expended, even if it took a bit of time.

A brutal, broad-blade, for a butcher masquerading as a Knight.

Having made decent progress, I then turned my attention to the Ancient. The Bladeguard Ancient has no weapon to speak of, besides the skeletal hand Games Workshop thought would count. What would I chain in this case? I had to think quite a while on this, and eventually decided to run the chain through the standard he bears. After all, he has something more important then a weapon that could fall; He bears a reliquary, and should it fall, the line of Marines very well could follow.

This was a harder task, and took some serious time to think of the logistics of how such a job would be accomplished. In the end, I let my gut and gravity decide.

While I was at it, I glued a Chain-sword from the MK-III kit to his belt on his back. Every Templar should bear a melee weapon, and no, the sacred hand does not count!

Of course, I then turned my attention to the Assault Intercessors. Finally, Primaris melee troop choices! As a Black Templar player, my heart sung with joy when I saw these models, and was quite happy to bring them into my crusade properly.

Luckily, my task was mostly an easy one. The crosspiece on the chain-sword made my life incredibly easy, and I simply put on some music, and went about the task at hand. The only challenging model was the ‘not sergeant’ from the second, five man sprue. Since he was not a sergeant, I equipped him instead with a drawn pistol but holstered sword. I took the same approach as the Primaris Lieutenant, and had it drape naturally across the body to wear the sword sat on his hip.

Proper Templars; No silly Bolt Rifles here (Although, those have their place, and I will elaborate in a later post…)
Ready to rip and tear, until the job is done. And in the 41(2nd?)st Millennium, it is never done.

Of course, this leaves the Eradicators and the Chaplain. The Eradicators, while a stupidly good unit, are going without chains; They are ranged warriors not out of choice, but out of a job that needs doing. Temporarily putting honour aside to focus on killing; the Black Templars don’t have to like it, but at the end of the day, we are here to kill Xenos, Heretics, and Mutants. A melee weapon is preferable…not needed.

On the other hand, the Chaplain is not done simply because he deserves more. With such a badass pose (finally, a Primaris Chaplain without a stupid, Dark Angels style, robe!), he deserves only the greatest of what I can do. With Grimaldus being added to my Crusade roster, the Indomitus Chaplain represents a ‘line’ Chaplain of the most zealous, loyal Chapter around. And that cannot be a rushed, or half done job. He must be an exemplar for all his Primaris brethren of what it means to one of Sigismund’s Crusaders.

And with that massive, evil tease, I shall leave you. Hopefully, I have something before long to show you. But for now, Ave Imperator, and Happy War-gaming, wherever in the world you might be!

No Pity, No Remorse, No Fear! Converting Indomitus!

The Templars charge into the new Edition!

Yours truly, in the centre, surrounded by boxes. Tyler makes an appearance!

Like many others on the blogosphere, and as I have previously said in a previous post, I got myself Indomitus on release. I was lucky! If your just reading this post, a quick recap: a good local store was able to secure enough copies for our surprisingly large rural community, and no one who pre-ordered went without, and until the 28th of July you can get one made to order. Go buy that if you missed it, if you want one that is!

Now half the world has done an unboxing of the contents, so that is not what I’m going to talk about. Instead, I will mention my plans for the contents of the Space Marine portion, of which I kept. The rest went to a friend for a reasonable cost. But I would be amiss if I did not share how much I love the Crusade system. It is a glorious, buggy mess, and is fun beyond anything Narrative 8th offered. It is far from perfect! First thing though, some pictures, for those only here for the “articles”.

The Vostroyan 78th take a severe beating at the hands of the Necron menace, but manage to win the day through bravery…not really. It was Lascannons. All the Lascannons.
The Leman Russ Annihilator was the MVP of the match. I paid a significant outlay in Requisition Points to make it an Ace. It has now got an Elite Crew, and Enhanced Targeting, allowing it to re-roll ones, and hit on threes. A devastating combination. However my opponent also gained a large amount of Experience killing the rest of my army, and thus it all evened out.
Living in a low Covid-19 affected area lets us take our chances, and get some games in. But we still TRY to have some caution…

It is horribly convoluted, and and I’m going to link a video by a Youtuber I follow who explains it far better. (If you are reading this by chance, Zorpazorp, thank you so very much!) It is a great tool for getting people not usually into Narrative into that side of the hobby, and as already converted many in my local area. They are even making less game only decisions, and ones based more on ‘feelings’ that their units might carry out. As well, units gaining perks and flaws based on events in-game is something hard to make work, but so far, it has been pretty good! My Tank Ace certainly feels like an Ace, and now plays even more like one. A Pask in the making? Maybe! It also doesn’t overly punish failure or over reward success, and also allows for an in-built command point buff to armies with a lesser Crusade total, something I greatly appreciate as someone who loses a lot….

Figures it takes an Australian to explain upside-down rules!

My personal two Crusade armies will be my Templars, which are a work in progress, and my Vostroyans, fully complete and ready to go. That way, I can take pretty pictures with one, while the bare plastic is never seen on camera!

Back in December 2019, I traded my old Citadel castle set for a full Black Templars army. At the same time, I helped a friend do some work, and instead of pay, I asked for some of his Black Templars. Long story short, I got a lot of the crusading Space Marines.

A blast from the past of December 2019, three centuries ago.

This has been added to, with the addition of Dark Imperium models and a whole wack of Primaris Marines and the Space Marine Heroes Terminator models. This helped bring the force more into contention with other, stronger, lists I’d face.

Loud, proud, and deadly. A Redemptor carrying a Hero of the Black Templars is a force indeed…especially if he looks the part!
A much simpler addition; just a few chains to properly move the model into the Chapter.

I was however faced with the small, niggling issue…I hate painting power armor. I’ve always been fairly awful at it; the large flat or curved areas with smooth detail confounds me. To show that I have both made at least some attempt to paint some models, and that I kinda suck at painting black, here is my work in progress ‘Sergeant Jovan’, now a Castellan in the Black Templars. Using the Lieutenant Stat-line with a Master-Crafted ‘Power Sword’, and Bolt pistol, he should be fine; He’s representing a new Primaris recruit who has proven himself sufficiently zealous and angry enough to earn his place among his Firstborn brothers!

He’s not taking a break; He’s simply catching his breath before tearing another Ork apart with his bare hands.
The tilting shield is the only new part added to the original model; I also added damage to it, to bring it inline with the rest of the kit. The Crusade badge will be applied to the whole army, eventually.
A torn gash on his face, earned in close combat. The orange is supposed to be fresh, hot rounds still burning in his ceramite. I admit, its not worked as I hoped, and will probably go back to a lighter grey, representing chipped armor.
I don’t paint eyes; I suffer from badly shaking hands from nerves, and that is beyond me at my current skill level. However, this is my favourite face I’ve painted; I think it looks suitably gritty! There is a lot of room for improvement…

The problem in completing the army was two-fold; I was having trouble playing such a radically different army then my usual gun-line, and the weaker, older marines, outside a few very strong units, both lore friendly and not, meant I had trouble competing. On top of that, since the Black Templar upgrade kit was rather dated, I couldn’t make some of the new units look sufficiently ‘Templar’ enough to justify the amount of time I’d spend working on them, and that killed a huge amount of my interest. As a primarily fluff gamer, the looks mattered a great deal….

However, Indomitus looked promising right from the get-go; the models had all the gothic, baroque styling I missed from previous iterations of Marines, and the new 9th edition rules favor melee a lot more then 8th did. I managed to split the box with a friend, and got myself a full box minus the Xenos scum. If I had left them alone, and just used decals, they would have made damn fine Templars right away, but such a thing was such a waste of potential. Granted, they don’t need a lot of work, a chained weapon here, a reliquary and Maltese cross there, and I would be set. As well, as we are starting with Combat Patrol level games of Crusade, getting a force painted up is a breeze. A few models is far easier to pull off and motivate yourself to paint then a full, 2000 point behemoth of a list.

I started with the Judiciar, whose helmet I hated, and the Bladeguard Ancient, who I love in almost all respects, minus his skeletal hand being a weapon.

I wear a mask in real life, I don’t need a model with one! He’s got a Chaplains helmet since he is a member of the Reclusiam. He’s a Chaplain in training, or a different branch, depending on what you read. But he can have the vow of silence and still don the scary skull helmet; if Reivers can, so can they! I chained up his executioners sword…you really don’t want to drop the weapon that defines you, and Templars don’t like to so much they attach the damn things to themselves!
A quick 45 minute print on my 3D printer, and I have a suitable helmet! I picked this one since it bears a resemblance to Grimaldus in his depiction in the Helsreach animation on Youtube! The lines usually disappear under my primer, no worries there!

The Ancient was an easy model, all I did was give him an appropriate Templar cross on his shoulder. This was a custom file I had made for me by a member of our Clubhouse, and is not publicly available. However, Pop Goes the Monkey does a very good version, even if shipping is a bit rough depending on where you live(not his fault, blame external factors!)

60x Maltese Cross : Shoulder Insignia pack

Not bad looking from a distance! It adds a 3D element that decals simply can’t match. You can objectively prefer one or the other, but I prefer the 3D design from a painting angle.
Again, the lines will be far less apparent once painted. I could paint them off the shoulder, but I will be painting my Bladeguard Veterans and Ancients as Sword Brethren, and a red cross on a black shoulder is a piece of cake. On my normal guys, they will be primed and put on after painting is done.

These two models needed very little conversion, and most of the others won’t either. The models look sufficiently Templar out of the box as is, and don’t need heavy work to look the part. However, that is not the case for my Outriders, or for those not aware, the new Primaris Bikers.

While I always liked Templars, I like them for both their lore and “black tide” approach of waves of angry zealous Marines charging across open ground, butchering all who stand in their way. But bikes, while a part of Templar lore, aren’t a huge part of it. Dark Angels do ‘Knightly’ bikes better, and that look is distinctive and very awesome. But, as I am not a traitor in waiting, I chose not to make them Dark Angels, and instead make them something totally different! Something…more….Eastern.

Oh no. I shouldn’t have listened to this.

Yeah, my bikes will be White Scars. I decided this early, upon release of the pictures of the bikes, and before everyone and their second cousin twice removed on their mothers side figured out they are death on wheels in the rules. I will not complain, but I want to make clear this is not a meta decision, instead a badass decision.

While I have yet to assemble mine, that is because I await the delivery of White Scars upgrade packs, and the printing time of additional Mongolian themed flavours of weapons, insignia, and overall awesomeness. I will keep you good folks informed! While I cannot take both Chapters together, not without losing Doctrines and other awesome flavour, I will be building up an all mounted detachment for Crusade and beyond of angry, space, Mongolians. For the Khan!

After extensive reading of their lore, I love them for entirely different reasons then their Templar cousins. Both are melee Chapters, both have a big emphasis on honour. But where that honor comes from in both cases vary wildly, and neither Chapter particularly likes the other….

Anyways, that is all I have for today. 40k was a big part of this blog in the past, and while it won’t be the only focus by far, it will be a more common sight again, among other, more niche topics. The hatred and brutality of the far future is back!

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoyed the read! I will have more pictures in the coming days. In the mean time, Happy War-gaming wherever you are, and may the Emperor keep your dice rolls high!

A Return to Warhammer, and(not related) a whole lot of Blackshirts…

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Oh Boy! One copy for me, one for an unlucky friend who got beaten by several hundred bots on pre-order day.

For those of you new to this blog, it may surprise you to hear that this started, originally, as a 40k-centric blog. While over time this has evolved, I always did play it, in the background, as well. I just get very focused on my passion projects of the moment, presently Zona Alfa, Very British Civil War, and many more.

That never diminishes my love of the lore of the distant future, but while 8th Edition was a great time, it had started to wear me down with constant FAQ’s and meta shifting. While my Clubhouse peers are not an overly competitive bunch, we do like to play hard with what we have, and we do have a fondness for shiny gubbins, which means a lot of Forge-World. Which, let’s be frank, hasn’t been always the most balanced of toys. So a new edition, promising balance tweaks, new Forge-World indexes done by Games Workshops own rule team, not the chaps who ought to be writing Horus Heresy stuff, and a spiffing new Crusade system that promised a lot of narrative goodness, was obviously going to cause a bit of a local hype-fest. My local store, the Giddy Goblin in Hanover, Ontario(No, I am not sponsored LOL) was awesome, and managed to secure a copy for everyone that wanted one.

My Clubhouse hosted(socially responsibly, in a low Covid-19 area, I’m talking one case here, and fully masked at all times…) Launch Party, which kicked off at 12:01. The boxes were dropped off by our friendly local store Manager.

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A whole lotta boxes, for a whole lotta people. No one left unhappy!

We did a quick overview of the rules, then jumped fully into the new Crusade system. As a Narrative gamer, this makes my heart jump for joy(Or, is it the 3 Monster energy drinks coursing through my system….) and I am very happy to report my Vostroyans, Praetorians, and new Black Templars, which I purchased more then a Crusade’s worth from two people in December, will be seeing the table, and covered in more depth later.

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My buddy, defiling my new rulebook. Disgusting.

 

While I was mostly busy building my new models, I did take time to do several things. Firstly, I took a few action shots of the games in progress, shown above. One guy was the painter for the stores demo copy, and thus had Marines from that set ready to go. However, they stayed in their Impulsor(think a weird floating Rhino if you haven’t been around 40k in a bit…) and thus I got no pictures of the dang models in action!

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Trevor, a friend of mine, filling out his campaign roster post-game. This whole new mechanic is awesome! I can’t wait for later today when I head out again to have a go myself.

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My part of the workstation, temporarily abandoned while I scarfed down donuts and drank a frankly unhealthy amount of caffeine.  The new models look great, and will be covered in greater detail in a longer post later today.

Of course, work continues on Zona Alfa. While I personally didn’t get much done, my friends have made excellent progress on 3D printed monsters and terrain. Some truly disgusting horrors await in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone…

But, as I am very easily distracted by my most recent project, I was reminded by a certain picture in the Clubhouse….

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Salutes-God Save the Queen?

And remembered I had a veritable horde of Fascists for A Very British Civil War show up the other day, and that the faster I paint them, the faster I can play that game.

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A whole lot of Blackshirts looks a lot less imposing when they are in silver…

 

I had brought along the whole lot to paint at the Clubhouse, so after priming them all black, I decided, while we counted the hours until 12:01, to paint something to pass the time. A Sergeant model was selected for the honour, and I set to work.

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His Enfield arrived broken, and beyond repair. I gave him a spare Bolt Action Thompson, and a magazine pouch so he had a few reloads.

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Of course, this makes the bandolier entirely useless. Think of it as full of random utensils, cigarettes, and a picture of Mosley in a compromising position that he keeps for those long nights alone….

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A good comment I got on the guy online is that I should increase the contrast between the bandolier and belts with the black uniform, as they are too similar. I’m inclined to agree, after seeing it on camera.

Not perfect, but I now know what to improve for the full batch painting run. Of course, this does mean I have Zona Alfa crews, Canadian modern in…wait, didn’t talk about those did I!

For my Canadian Zone project, I needed modern Canadian military. A company in Canada called Full Battle Rattle Miniatures does a line of them! Representing ISAF forces in our countries foray into Afghanistan, they will do great work representing a uniquely Canadian Cordon Defense Force…

 

Of course, this means I need to paint CADPAT, which is going to suck. A lot. I hate painting camouflage, and this is one of the hardest to get right. I sure do pick em, right?

To finish the thought, I have Zona Alfa, Canadians, Black Templars, Praetorians, etc to paint. But I like to be too busy. These days, any distraction is welcome, and if one painting project bores me, I can simply paint something else!

But as I’m pulling an all nighter, and possibly longer, to fully cover the release of the Indomitus box for our Badly Painted Minis website, I should probably drinking a nice calming up of peppermint tea, and steady my nerves for a long day of hopefully eventually fruitful tabletop Journalism. If you guys want to check out what I did over on the other site, here is a link!

The Era Indomitus: Bringing in the new Edition!

For now though, Happy War-Gaming, wherever you might be! From the distant future of a galaxy at eternal war, to radiation sunsets in the Ukraine, to rainy ole England in the throes of an abdication crisis, may you enjoy any hobbying you do today! Have a good one folks!

Waiting: The Hard Part of Pandemic Hobbying…

Waiting. It is never really the fun part of our hobby. Waiting for washes to dry, waiting for stuff in Post. Waiting for that base-coat to finish so you can, finally, crack on.

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When I’m not distracted by Doggo. Yes, that is a horse toy. She kept losing the smaller dog sized balls in the bushes.

In this lovely, hot, Canadian summer I find myself in, I’m doing a lot of waiting. Honestly, it makes for awful content; I have little to show for it, as much of what I had in the wings primed, ready to go, I’m simply not interested in painting! And on the hobby front, I really want to start on Zona Alfa.

But, as I imagine it is worldwide, mail has slowed considerably. I don’t blame my local Posties; They are fantastic people, and once it actually gets to here, I get my stuff promptly. But I have a lot I want to write about, and unfortunately, it just isn’t here!

I can hear you now “Mate, go paint. under-coat something.” Herein lies the next problem. Unlike my Australian friends down under, I am unused to scary insects. And we have several nests of Wasps, and they sneak in every-time a door is opened. We take care of one nest, and several more crop up. So, until they decide to piss off, my family and I tend to not go out much, and staying outside longer then I have to with Sir Stings a Lot and his merry buzzing men about, I tend to avoid. So no mass-undercoating either!

I miss winter…

But all is not lost! I did get something neat done, and I can talk to you fine fellows about what is coming!

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“Do I have to go up, again?”

This is a Forge World Thunderbolt Pilot. He was available in 2007 at Games Day, and of course, I wasn’t there. Someone who was decided to part with it on eBay, and after deciding it looked legitimate enough, I pulled the trigger.

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He’s quite a character! Quite a lot of detail on this model, it is a fantastic sculpt.

He sat, languishing in my collection for years. I was simply terrified to mess up a rare model, especially one that is resin, as that is a notoriously difficult medium to strip. But after getting well and truly sick of trying to paint Space Marines, I used him as a palette cleanser. I was also inspired by the “spirit of the blitz” attitude of Vera Lynn, and cued up Cliffs of Dover and There Will Always be An England. She sadly died last week, and while I’m sure this means nothing to most, this is my tribute to her, and in turn, the RAF. I was tempted to go for 40k style, Phantine colors. But in the end, inspired by the Royal Air Force flight uniform of the early 40’s (1940’s, not 40,000).

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The uniform I’m quite happy with; It was a simple matter of shading in the correct hue for each part of the model, something I don’t bother with on “mass” production models.

So this is my humble tribute to the late Vera Lynn, in my own way. I have a Bilbo Baggins in the wings to pay homage to the late Ian Holm, so watch this space!

Of course, because I can’t stay on track for long….my buddy did it again. Seriously, I should leave his stuff on “read” sometimes. He asked if I was interested in war-gaming the Spanish Civil War.

It took me by surprise, as this was one setting I never thought I’d get the chance to do. But I knew that his heart wouldn’t be in that setting for long. So I counter-suggested.

“What about The Very British Civil War?”

This is a setting close to my heart. I had followed it for years, but knew, deep down, that there simply wasn’t a community to play it here in Canada. But, he did some digging, and really liked it! I was in! We will be using seriously adapted Bolt Action rules, for ease of using something we know!

Now, I don’t want to rouse the copyright gods, despite my gut-feeling that the lads behind the setting wouldn’t care, so you’ll have to wait until I get some models and books of my own to truly cover it. Suffice to say, he is playing the plucky “Middle England” Anglican League, and their allies in Canada, the Albertine’s, wanting to put Prince Albert on the throne.

Meanwhile, as is my custom, I’m playing the “bad” guys, the British Union of Fascists (those jackbooted jerks!) and King Edward’s loyalists in the Army. I’ve put in an order from Gripping Beast for a significant force of Territorial Army Royalists, using the Woodbine Design Company WW1 British, a model line I’ve been keenly interested in for years. This will be followed up by an order from Footsore Miniatures, of “BUF” troops, to represent His Majesty’s unsavory and backstabbing allies. My buddy will be fielding a force of Warlord and Footsore miniatures, to represent regular Canadian Army and Local Defense Volunteer’s. 3D printed tanks, something I’ll show off soon, will round out our band of modern day Cavaliers and Round-heads!

Of course…this means yet more waiting! I never learn, do I!

I do apologize for the lack of content; My next article will hopefully, Canada Post willing, have more substance! But in the mean-time, Happy War-Gaming, wherever you are!

 

 

Aeronautica Imperialis: For Real this time!

Hey folks! It has been a while, hasn’t it? Honestly, I’ve been busy with a new puppy, but in the end the real reason I haven’t blogged in a while has been a simple case of hardcore writers block. However, inspiration has finally returned to my addled brain! So without further fanfare…

“We had planes. We flew them. They had planes. They flew them. There was some shooting involved. All that mattered, really, was who was still flying at the end of it.” – Major August Kaminsky, (73 Kills)-Dan Abnett, Double Eagle.

In March, I wrote a post about the Aeronautica Imperialis, the sub-division of the Imperial Navy dedicated to atmospheric aerial combat. In it, I mentioned my deep love of the lore surrounding this very particular branch of the Imperial Military, and how I had amassed quite the little collection of aircraft. The idea of owning a full squadron came up.

Despite what I said previously, owning a full squadron is actually quite a mad idea, with each fighter costing me a significant chunk of change! However, it wasn’t like Games Workshop was going to release a new version of their original aerial combat game, Aeronautica Imperialis(by Forge World), anytime soon.

Oh, how wrong I was. How happy I am to be wrong. With surprisingly little fanfare, a new version of Aeronautica was released, now played on a hex board as opposed to free-form movement. Now in plastic, and in glorious detail. I was sold pretty much immediately, and on a quiet Saturday in Hanover I picked up the starter box, and started to assemble the contents.

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Interestingly, the box cover features the full-scale versions of the little plastic versions inside…just a funny observation!

I’m happy to report that the miniatures are absolutely gorgeous, lacking little if any difference other then size to their big brothers in 40k proper.  While quite fiddly to assemble, they were by no means hard, and 3 hours later I had a wing of combat aircraft ready to make Ace status. The Orks, which didn’t really interest me other then as an aggressor squadron to demo with, were actually the highlight of the assembly process, as much of the smaller sub-assemblies can be put together in various configurations; this has no effect on stats, but goes a long way in making your Dakkajets and Fighta-Bommas look distinct from each other.

Now as far as scale goes, I can go a little further then most and show a side by side with the Forge-World versions! My hobby space looks like the Blitz has been through it, so the pictures are not as great as I hoped, but the reconnaissance photos will have to do!

And some more…

 

Now of course, these aircraft are not just display pieces, so I wrangled a couple of guys to play with at the clubhouse. One was not as enthused about the rules, something I will go into detail about later. The other took to it like a duck to water, and was soon shooting down my poor Navy fly-boys in droves! Tyler, my second opponent, had also just made some flame markers for Dungeons and Dragons, which pulled excellent double duty in making the battlefield come to life!

Now, while I don’t mean for this post to be an in-depth review, it would go against what I believe to say its all sunshine and roses at 40,000 feet; there are some pretty major things that ought to be said.

Mainly, the rules in the starter box; They are not the complete rules needed to properly play the game, nor is the included play area particularly durable, or even a good size. The rules are more of a quick start, with the core rules, including ground attack objectives and certain upgrades for aircraft being in the Rynn’s World Campaign supplement, available separately on release. This is particularly odd, considering that the starter set comes with 2 Marauder bombers, which while far from useless, are definitely not dog-fighters, could certainly do with having something to bomb! Even the Ork Fighta-Bommas could do with having another job to do, other then dog-fighting.

Secondly, the included play area is also a little too small, and isn’t very sturdy. The far superior Rynn’s World board, also a separate purchase, is far superior in quality and is a much better size to play up to 100 points on.

The rules are playable, just lacking. If the Rynn’s World Campaign book didn’t have the rules in it, and a separate rule-book was available with full content, I would have purchased it, had I known. It was only days from release when it became known that the starter, while an excellent value for aircraft and tokens alone, was not the full experience. I did end up purchasing the board, as it was far more playable. The Campaign book is reasonably priced, and I will be picking it up. I don’t feel cheated as much as I feel underwhelmed.

Beyond that, I found the game engaging and fun, as did Tyler, my primary adversary so far. Paul, the owner of the clubhouse I attend, made the observation when we played that the game feels less tactical then X-Wing, as maneuvers are far more lenient and forgiving. Tyler found the opposite, finding them fun and engaging to use. This is an interesting observation, being that Tyler isn’t a tabletop gamer outside of Guild-Ball, and Paul is a veritable tabletop veteran, having played many games. This differing outlook is very interesting, as is something I will study and report on more once I get a few more games under my belt!

Now, to wrap things up! I know I have lapsed on my blogging lately; the writers block and my sudden lack of motivation to build and paint as prodigiously as before came fast and hard after Miniwargaming, but as I am returning there in December I need to bring something with me to play with them, and it has to be painted! Hopefully this means more regular content, at a more constant volume. For those of you checking in occasionally, I hope you will enjoy what I’ll be putting out! But for now, Check your six, and happy war-gaming, wherever you are!

 

 

End of the Road: My Trip to Miniwargaming!

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Well, here I am!

It was quite the early start, leaving at 6:00 am, and after our 3 and a bit hour drive we arrived at the Bunker in Welland, Ontario. When we eventually got there, my excitable nature took over and I didn’t take a lot of pictures, so you’ll have to take it on faith that the Bunker is amazing. It really feels as if nothing was done cheaply, and the whole ambiance of the place screams 40k.

My first opponent was Vito, his Thousand Sons vs my Guard. It is a very interesting feeling, knowing your being filmed, and the game does take quite a while longer to do as we would discuss our moves, then film them. Other then my first hour or so of jitters, you really do end up just playing a game of 40k, albeit against an opponent who plays the game for a living, and therefore really knows their craft. I will say, despite what the Youtube comments tend to suggest, the game IS fair, and there is no sense of it being rigged; I used the same dice as my opponent, and it really did come down to him just being the better player. I won’t spoil the game suffice to say that I lost, and that it will be in the MWG Vault. As soon as it goes up I will notify you good folks so you can see it, if you have a membership that is! The free trial is a thing though!

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Sorry for the blurry photo; that happens when your super excited! Lots of LOS breaking terrain on mine and Vitos table.

You do take a break for lunch, and they do order food from the local tavern for the guests, and I enjoyed a plate of wings each day! After the break I completed the game, and I decided to look at the attached store, run by Max Aggression Gaming out of Niagara. I got the MWG T-Shirt, as you do, and then talked to my opponent for the second day, Steve.

Steve “The Mountain” noticed immediately my rather crazy amount of flyers, and suggested something a bit different then your usual 2000 points, matched play game. We decided on something with loads of aircraft, and using the Death from the Skies rules from the back of the 40k Core Rulebook to do so. This little known game-play variant adds a dogfight phase, and reintroduces the idea of leaving combat airspace and coming back. As well, during the dogfight phase, aircraft have arcs, and you get modifiers to hit depending on your angle to the target. Our demo game, not filmed, did not go well to say the least. We used a double table, which meant filming in the Studio was out of the question…

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Not pictured: every plane leaving combat airspace!

Without a ground based objective, the game-play variant simply doesn’t work. We then decided to do the mission it suggested. There were 5 objectives, each Toughness 6, with 10 wounds and a 4+ armor save. I needed to kill 4 for a major victory. Flyers got an additional +1 to hit and wound the objectives.

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2000 points a side, on double tables. Was a blast to play.

I won’t spoil the outcome, but it was a fast and brutal game. If the video does go up, it will be in the Vault. We played in the tournament hall, an amazing gaming space.

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As for accommodations, they now have onsite facilities. These rooms are fantastic, and are either 40k of AOS themed. I forgot to take pictures, to my detriment. But they are amazing, beds being incredibly comfortable, and with free Netflix on the provided HD TV. Best part was being able to roll out of bed, shower, and then immediately get stuck in playing.

The hosts, and to be frank, everyone at the Bunker were amazing people, really easy to talk to, and perfectly happy to play pretty much whatever you want in terms of list building. The feeling that it is a competitive only environment is entirely wrong; I brought on both days lists that were not hyper-optimized,  and they brought a list that would make for a fun video, not a complete smashing of my face in.

I learned a lot, and I am very happy to have gotten the chance to play there. I do intend on going again, and it may even be with something different, an AOS army or even a Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game list. I never felt out of place, and the friendly environment had everything to do with that.

Now, to be entirely fair, with all the practice games I did for 40k in preparation for this…I’m a little burnt out on 40k. This happens sometimes, and so, for a change of pace, I will probably be featuring alternative content until the burnout passes. If you don’t like that sort of content, that is perfectly OK, you can come back and chime in when I come back to the 41st Millennium.

But, that is all for today…so Ave Imperator, and  happy war-gaming, wherever you might be!

The Road to Miniwargaming: Part 2….and a detour to 1944…

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They may look majestic, but keeping these mighty stallions of the air on the table is a game unto itself!

Finally, the light at the end of the tunnel. A hurried rush to get everything painted before the big day, but…its done. My list is painted, varnished, and safely ensconced in protective foam for it’s long journey to Welland, Ontario.

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The last stragglers cross the finish line. I ran out of my preferred brown paint, Army Painters Oak Brown, and had to use GW’s Dryad Bark; Similar, but not the same! However, they still rank up nicely with the rest…so I guess its fine?

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Ready to roll poorly, at my command, at the worst possible time…now on Youtube for all to see!

This has been a hectic last week, as the clubhouse was a hive of activity. I managed to get another practice game in. I decided before that game to remove one Lascannon squad and Ratlings to bring in a Leman Russ Annihilator, a unit I’ve had for a while. It saved me one squad of painting, and its durability and firepower paid off; It was the right decision to amend the list. I’m still not bringing the best possible list in the world, with my Imperial Navy assets still front and centre, despite the FAQ making them far harder to use. I don’t want to spoil who I’m facing; Suffice to say, I hope to make for good sport!

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The last practice! I lost, but learned some tricks and tactics to use for later, and learned I MUST fly in careful patterns or risk losing the 300+ point model in a very embarrassing way…

This whole thing has got me terribly excited! If I am allowed, I will take as many pictures as I can, and I’ll try to keep you guys informed as to what is going on.

Now, I would end here, but a rather surprising turn of events happened at the Clubhouse this week. During the middle of my practice game, Paul, the owner, walked in, hands full of Warlord Games Konflikt 47 starter sets! Turns out, while not a fan of historical gaming, the simple addition of “weird” elements has convinced him….it was all downhill from here. The Clubhouse, while having a couple of lapsed Bolt Action players, mainly played 40k and AOS, and we didn’t have the drive to play that we would normally have. But suddenly, at least 4-5 people have committed to playing Konflikt 47, purchasing starters and assembling in mad haste. And with Konflikt 47 being an offshoot of Bolt Action, using much the same rules, us WW2 fans found ourselves suddenly experts. At least two of the new players want to do Bolt Action as well! I helped run a demo at the Giddy Goblin in Hanover, Ontario, and played a few games at the Clubhouse as well.

Unfortunately my primary Bolt Action force is the British 8th Army, specifically in the North African campaign. Being a 1941-1943 force, they lack heavy armor by 1944(and onward!) standards, and also lack firepower. Luckily, I did just happen to have a British Airborne starter army just sitting on my shelf, and a plastic Sherman to temporarily give them a wee bit of a chance against any Tigers or the like! One frantic day of assembly gave me 1000ish points of plucky British Paras, ready to take the fight to Jerry!

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A plucky British Paratrooper, freshly assembled.

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Major Allison Digby Tatham-Warter, a real life paratrooper who fought at Arnhem, 1944 . Known for his distinctive umbrella, which he carried because he couldn’t remember passwords…and figured no British soldier would mistake him for a Jerry, as they were sensible enough not to carry umbrellas! He’ll be acting as my Major in my army, granting significant buffs to my Paras.

Now, none of my WW2 stuff is painted; why would it be? No-one locally played at the time, and my only opponent was my friend in the city, and at least he had started on the painting part. However, I now find myself in the position where I need to paint up my British 1st Airborne for engagements in 1944-47, and so begins yet another intricately detailed miniature army to paint. The cycle continues! As I finish work on them, I will post updates!

Until I post again, Ave Imperator, and happy war-gaming, wherever you might be!

 

The Road to Miniwargaming!

Hey folks! It has been a while, hasn’t it? As life tends to do, I was saddled with a lot of non-hobby related stuff, and had to clear that hurdle before I could throw myself back into the fight (Lest the Commissar get riled!). As it so happens, I can do even better…

About 5-6 months ago, a friend of mine at the Chesley Gaming Clubhouse, a guy named Kyle, offered to have me tag-a-long on his next jaunt to Miniwargaming, a major Youtube channel in our community. Suffice to say, you’ve either heard of it, and are waiting for me to get to the point, or you haven’t heard of it, in which case prepare to be enlightened.

Miniwargaming mainly produces Battle Reports, and the production value of these videos is extremely high. It is safe to say that before I played regularly, this was my primary way of getting 40k knowledge, and many people watch them, somewhere in the tune of 300,000 subscribers!

Of course, such an offer couldn’t be turned down. I have been in contact with them, and my game(s) is set for August 1st and 2nd. My Vostroyans, probably my most painted army, is set to fight an as yet unknown opponent! I’m excited beyond belief….but there is a problem. A not insignificant one. That is, my army isn’t….actually….fully painted yet.

Luckily, I don’t need the whole lot done, just my army list. This week and last has been full of frantic painting.

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This week and lasts completed work; Not pictured: 6 lascannon teams and 1 more infantry squad, whose bolter team IS done.

 

Not too shabby. I’m by far not the greatest painter, nor the fastest. But I am fairly proud of my work. I can always go back and add some details when the mood strikes me, and nothing is set in stone. Vostroyans, luckily, take well to my painting style. As I have mentioned before, I paint my army in a very lore focused manner, and this is why my Vehicles are not painted Vostroyan colors; as per the Imperial Guard operating procedure, no regiment can have troops outside of their typical role, and therefore they belong to the Pardus Armoured Regiments, a planet in or near the Sabbat Worlds. In-game, they can either function as Vostroyans in rules, representing their close teamwork, or run as a separate detachment of say, Valhallans or Cadians, giving them a lot of versatility.

Of course, going to MWG without getting a lot of games in as practice will make for a relatively boring video as I lose without any consequence, or look foolish as I get rules wrong! So I have been getting in as many practice games as possible. Below is one of my games against a local, Cody, and his Tyranids, played to perfection by him. Tyler, he watches. Doesn’t actually play, but somehow by osmosis knows more about the game then we do!

What followed was a brutal turn one assault by a large force of Genestealers, killing all 6 of my Lascannons and a Command Squad. The losses were a bad look at what was to come, as the Genestealers cleaned house until I finally rolled well enough to kill them, but far too late to change the course of the game. It was a fun match, and is making me reconsider taking the Lascannons in their own squads, replacing them with some Leman Russes?

Anyways, I must go back to the grind of Sleep, Play, Paint, and Paint some more. So until next time, Happy War-gaming, and Ave Imperator!

The Trial of the Golden Thumb: A “Tournament” Recap

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Plucky Ultras face a Leman Russ Tank Platoon, with the expected results. The Golden Thumb trophy rules the centre of the table.

A couple of weekends ago, I was invited by a good friend of mine to a laid back, casual tournament at his place. The idea was that we could bring the lists we usually wouldn’t because of their relative strength, going full out, but at our own pace and in a far more laid back atmosphere.

It was a great time to be had, and while it certainly wasn’t a serious tournament it was good practice! All four of us learned valuable lessons about our armies strengths and weaknesses.

All lists were to be made at 75 power level, and that was for a good reason; Instead of objectives, kill-points were to be used, and having everyone have the same power level made it trivial to figure out who was winning. Mind you, every game ended in a concession around turn 4 because of both time constraints, and the fact most of us in the losing scenario could not turn the game around quick enough to bring it to contest.

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My friend Conrad, poring over his Ork Codex. Fairly new to the game, but with a keen tactical mind and ruthlessness that carried him into the finals.

The first match up was between an Ultramarine player, named Chris, and Ty’s lethal Tank Company. This match was mostly a blowout; the Tanks proved too much for the Ultramarines, consisting of mostly primaris and therefore a low model count list, and by turn 3 the game had been easily decided in a most violent of ways.

I was up in the second bracket, with my 75 PL of Vostroyan Siege troops, vs Conrad’s Ork Horde. With 45 Guardsmen to his 90+ boys, I was in for a right slapping unless my artillery killed enough. To try and ensure this, I brought an Emperor’s Wrath Artillery Company from the Vigilus Defiant book.

This match was a closer one than the previous, but a timely Da Jump into a folding flank rolled me up like an old newspaper. My artillery did a number of big casualties, including a flyer and a Battlewagon, but the ITC building rules rendered the hordes of Orks immune to shooting until they got too close to deal with. This might have been a consequence of using too much urban terrain, and was something we are considering altering in the future, but it did allow melee armies to stand a chance.

After a break for dinner, the Finals began. Ty’s tanks now faced the Waaagh.

The Orks had the pick of the deployment, and made the best use of it, allowing for turn 2 charges. 80+ Boyz in close combat all across the line rendered the Leman Russes vulnerable, and after a brutal couple of close combat rounds, Ty conceded, acknowledging that while he could continue to the bitter end, firing only overwatch due to retreating made victory a far off and distant goal. In the end, the vast Ork Waaagh was too much for all 3 opponents….

 

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A hard-fought and well deserved trophy!

Conrad, having bested his 3 opponents through tactics and good old Ork numbers, had won what we called Ty’s Rough and Tumble Suburban Rumble! A good time was had by all, and a new respect for Ork mass melee was gained by all of us. We learned many lessons, chief of which was we could have done with starting a little earlier, as we only ended our games at midnight! But, given the distance between all the participants, this hurdle might be quite difficult to overcome. In the end, this sort of thing is a testament to how fun small, at home tournaments can be, and while no replacement for the real thing…is still dang fun!

We had so much fun, we have decided that each of us will host a mini-tournament, each with our own twists and objectives! More on that when my turn comes up.

But until then, Ave Imperator, and Happy War-gaming, wherever you might be!