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!

For King and Empire: More Royalists, and Reinforcements from India!

More VBCW goodies!

A fancy picture for the Defenders of the Realm!

Wow, what a crazy month. While I can’t get into too much detail, suffice to say I had a medical issue, compounded into a family one. All is resolved now, but it was a harrowing few weeks. I’ve drastically culled my sugar intake, as well as caffeine, and the crash is pretty harsh.

As one can imagine, this does impact your ability to keep up the momentum I had going. But, King Edward expects and I obey, so lets show you what I did get done.

Tally ho!

Now some of you might be coming from the VBCW Facebook page, in which case a lot of this is stuff I’ve posted already. Sorry!

What you have here is a section of Fusiliers, and their attached Peerless armoured car. An excellent example of combining 3D printing and old school models to good effect. I had a great time painting the infantry; crisp detail, and easy to do detail makes the figures a joy to work on. They are by Woodbine Design Company, which you can get through Gripping Beast in the UK. The Peerless is from Wargaming3d.com, and is by Deweycat. A paid for file, and you get in return excellent detail and a model meant to print well.

The Sergeant. I want to add Sergeant stripes, but just need to get some decals. In the interwar period, the British had a low opinion of submachineguns, so this man is using his SMLE.
At the charge, this Fusilier is making a “point”. I had issues with my superglue of choice being quite heavy, and leaving marks. I decided to paint these as scarves, in royal purple to show their allegiance, along with their armbands.
His rifle somewhere off the base, this Fusilier is throwing Mills bombs, and has many more in his pouch of many things.
And the old classic, the Lewis gun. I have one per squad, as per interwar theoretical allotments. This Fusilier is crucial to my fire support, having the firepower of several of his fellows in one gun.

As for the Peerless, I was quite happy to see this file pop up. I love the utter ridiculousness of the design!

I love this model. A great looking inter-war vehicle, the Peerless was less effective off-road then its Rolls Royce equivalent. But in did good service in Ireland.
With a armoured body meant for a smaller chassis, the Peerless has a section of the back completely unarmoured.
However, its twin turrets, each with a Hotchkiss machine-gun, make it fairly deadly in Bolt Action, using the VBCW rules available on the Facebook group.

Now, I have also been using my printer quite extensively, not only for VBCW but for other things. But occasionally, a tank finds it way onto my build plate…

This time, it was a Vickers 6-ton, the export variant. This is a file from Thingiverse, by Tiger Ace. I’m super glad he did one, as this is possibly my favourite inter-war tank! This became in Soviet service, the T-26 as it was called was quite famous! In Polish service, it was heavily modified.

In my army, I have imagined that the Government has impounded any foreign exports, and these tanks have found their way into Army service, despite being denied by the Army before the civil war. They have proven most effective….

For an upscaled 15mm tank, the detail remains sharp. It looks great!
With a short, stubby, 37mm cannon, this vehicle is meant for infantry support. But it will still be somewhat dangerous fighting equivalent tanks.
With either a Hotchkiss or Vickers machine gun, this tank can also provide some machine gun fire.

Pretty neat! I’m happy with it, and want to slap some paint on it, once my sugar and caffeine crashing subsides.

Now, when I did my Gripping Beast order, I didn’t realize that by replacing four men in each section with specialists, I’d end up with a large amount of spare riflemen. While some of these will go to be adjutants to officers and such, this still left me with ten spare bodies…

Now originally my idea was to make a unit of Grenadier Guards, but the lack of ‘proper’ bearskins bothered my perfectionism a bit. So, I had a think. What kit did I have spare heads from?

The British 8th Army kit from Warlord offered a solution. It comes with enough heads to outfit all of the models the same way, and it left me with Sikh, Rajput, and Scottish heads. The Scottish I have plans for later, and the Sikhs are well represented in the Very British Civil War setting. So I decided to make a unit of ten Rajputs, from the Rajput Regiment. I imagine the 1st Battalion has been summoned by the King to offer the military its experience from the Frontier.

Some muscle from the from the East! These men have served on the Afghanistan frontier, and have plenty of counter-insurgency experience. A good skill to have, when fighting a civil war!
I had mostly charging poses, and that works really well with these guys. I’m going to give them a separate rule then their British counterparts.
The Vallejo English Uniform really ties the plastic head and metal body together. They look like they are meant to be, not some slapdash conversion done by a rural Canadian.

Now, I have to catch up on all this painting! I’m excited, but I have to get my anxiety shakes out of my system again, as well as get over the crashing. But I really enjoy this little(little? HA!) side project I have, and I want to have a painted platoon to fight my friend soon. I’ll post his Albertine project progress as I get them.

But for now, that is all I got. Some of it, most of it, is already been spoiled on Facebook. But for those of you who haven’t seen it, I hope you enjoyed this. I’ll have more progress done when I can!

For Zona Alfa, I have a new scenario written up for this weekends shenanigans. I shall share with you that when I have some pictures!

Happy War-gaming, wherever you hail from. For the King!

For King OR Country: First Steps into A Very British Civil War!

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They aren’t perfect. But I printed them at home!

In my last post, I mentioned that my 3D printer was arriving the day after. As one can guess from my utter lack of posting since, I have been busy enjoying my personal resin miniature machine. It’s a not insignificant learning curve, and I can’t claim to be 100% proficient at the process yet. But, for my stated goal of printing tanks, it has not failed me.

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The Phrozen Sonic Mini, doing its black magic. In goes liquid resin, out comes Tanks!

On the other hand, a few weeks ago, I mentioned that a friend and I had bought into A Very British Civil War, a setting based on King Edward VIII’s abdication crisis in 1936. Before I give you a quick synopsis, fair warning here, I’m not a Britisher myself, I may get some details wrong, but lets carry on with it, shall we? King Edward had attained the throne upon the death of his father, King George V.  However, the young king was sort of a playboy, and had fallen away from his womanizing ways by wanting to marry Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee. To our modern eyes, this doesn’t seem so bad.

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Prince Edward in the First World War. He was a member of the Grenadier Guards, but never allowed to see service. Admittedly a rather handsome young man, and his leave in Paris was…educational for the young Prince on the art of wooing ladies.

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However, he met his match in the 30’s in Wallis Simpson. An admittedly pretty lady, who proceeded to nearly cause a country to crumble!

But back then, it was a massive deal, and one that threatened to cause a serious issue in the United Kingdom. Parliament, to not go into too much detail, had said they wouldn’t support such a move. King Edward deliberated for pretty much the entirety of 1936. During that time, he showed an inclination towards supporting Fascism, which is probably the more dangerous part of this whole crisis. He was friends with Hitler later on!

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The Duke of Windsor, as Edward was styled after his adication, during a trip to Germany. He did the whole touristy thing, did as the Germans did. Which, in 1937 was Nazi Salutes and meeting good Ole Hitler.

Now, in our history, King Edward abdicates the throne in order to marry Wallis Simpson, and while a thorn in the side of British foreign relations, he played no serious further part in history. In the timeline of A Very British Civil War, however, he decides he’d like both, please. By keeping the throne, and marrying Simpson, Parliament collapses on itself. Some stay loyal to King Edward, but most resign. The government is on the brink of collapse. In order to keep things going, King Edward decides to invite someone to take charge, and appoints a Prime Minister.

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King Edward opening Parliament during his brief reign.

He chooses Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union of Fascists, and confirmed absolute jerk, who then proceeds to fill Parliament with a heavily Fascist majority, and placing his Blackshirts as an actual, legal, paramilitary. This does not sit well with a large part of the country, but he still manages to keep a lid of things. This is, until, a royal parade.

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Like a British Hitler, with a much more stupid mustache!

Traveling via armored car out of fear for his life, King Edward was being escorted by the Guards regiments, and several columns of British Union of Fascist “police”men. Someone fires a shot. Utter pandamonium reigns as King Edward makes his getaway, but the British Union Fascists turn their guns on the crowd. The Guards, in part but not entirely, fire at the Fascists! No one knows who shot first. In the aftermath, the country falls into collapse. The non-English Guard regiments are disbanded, and the Welsh, Irish, and Scots Guards are sent home in disgrace. The perceived insult leads many of these men to join the ever increasing and violent opposition to Mosley and his King. The many, many factions start to group together into loose coalitions.

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The Anglican League, middle class England, starts to form militias out of cricket teams, former soldiers, and various parts of your typical British village. They rally around Anglican dioceses, and start to form a mild-large religious front. They are a loose federation, all fight Mosley, but few groups agree what happens after. Some even consider working with the Socialists for a greater say in post war reconstruction.

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The Socialists get a huge shot in the arm, now convincing many lower class workers that the time is right for vast social reform, a revolution! Support from the Comintern is forthcoming, and many veterans of the Spanish Civil War join the ranks. They too differ in ideology; Some are more Leninist, some prefer hard-line Stalinism, and a few broach the dangerous territory of being Trotskyites. Some are willing to work with the Anglicans on broad goals, some refuse on principle. Some actually don’t want Soviet help, while others jockey to please Moscow.

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The Royalists are in a bad spot; They control most of the Army, and the Royal Air Force overwhelmingly supports Mosley and the King. The Navy is actually not touched upon in great deal in the setting, but I’d like to think that, inspired by global events elsewhere, some go Socialist, as mutineers rise up on their ships. Some go to follow the other claimant to the throne, Prince Albert, to Canada. And some stay loyal, but probably with the least amount. What they do maintain is extremely well trained Regulars, a good Territorial Army system, but with some of the major arms suppliers being now in rebel hands, they are fighting a war of attrition, in both losses of men to bullets or desertion, or difficulty maintaining supplies.

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The Fascists, while nominally on the same side as King Edward, are jockeying and using the turmoil to make themselves more and more ingrained into every part of governance and warfare, a move that Royalists can’t stop but don’t have to like. Mosley recruits fanatical youth, forming a military around his BUF. His new Legions take the name of famous kings and folk heroes of Britain. But really, the jackbooted thugs find themselves in a gamble; if they win this war, Fascism is entrenched and the UK saved from undesirables. If they do not, the reprisals will end them. Simple as.

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The Scots, having had quite enough of this silly stuff, turn into a self governing Republic. They suffer from internal issues as most of their officers wish to reunify upon Scottish victory, and become part of a Union again. Jacobites in the Highlands bring up the Stuart claims to the throne…again. The Scots really just want to defend their ancestral lands, and force a peace deal to secure this.

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The Welsh, ever fractious, can’t form a national resistance, and naturally form into similar groups as the English did. A few want an independent Wales, however, and are willing to fight for it. Now if only they could all agree on how to do that….

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The Irish, wisely sensing they can get away with it, occupy Ulster and Belfast. Ireland is now united, albeit temporarily. Ireland now sits, and waits to see how the sides respond. Eamon de Valera might be able to keep Ulster if he backs the winning horse, but will the luck of the Irish help them choose right?

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Finally, Prince Albert, in exile in Canada(from this point on, this is conjecture. And this is the lore we are using in my games among friends.) seeks the aid of the Canadian government. An Expeditionary Force is authorized, and while badly under-equipped in aircraft and armoured vehicles, a few of each are attained. Fellow British exiles join this Force, and they make for the coast of Wales. Upon landing, and setting a defensive perimeter, they are approached by envoys of the local political factions. He dismisses the Socialists outright, unwilling to work with a party that seeks to abolish the throne; He will fight them as hard as he will Mosley. The Anglicans are a much more interesting case; interested in fighting for a claim to the throne, back the Albertines. However, some talk in the Anglican ranks seems to push them to ask for concessions, and perhaps stricter religious laws. The Canadian bulk of the Expeditionary Force is seen by some as foreign invasion; to alleviate concerns, detachments of local Anglicans are embedded into the command structure of the Force. The Canadians are eager to restore who they feel is the true King to the throne, and bring a staunch professionalism and grit to the otherwise undertrained militia flocking to the Albertine banner.

Okay, now that the ‘brief’ summary is out of the way, for those of us unfamiliar with the setting. I honestly got carried away writing it! It was an absolute blast. I really enjoy the setting, what can I say?

As I said last time, My buddy is playing the Albertines, with Anglican support. A very traditional faction, with some cricket teams and some other goofy stuff planned for late. Here are some pics of what he’s started on!

A BEF box, Command, Vickers Machine gun, and a boat to carry them home to the Rainy Isle. He’s got more coming!

As for me, I did two large orders of infantry, one from Footsore Miniatures for my BUF, and another from Gripping Beast for WW1 Infantry, to be used as Territorial Army(Reservists) serving the Royalists. They have not yet arrived; Hopefully soon! Both companies have been in touch to ensure that they do.

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A whole of bad dudes; And, what I presume, is a large amount of black primer!

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The good ole Territorial Army. Going to war with what their father’s would have, and dressed pretty damn close. I have 4 platoons in there! so I should be set for both BUF and Territorial Army.

 

Of course, what is clearly lacking here is vehicles. Having already got a 3D printer, I decided to try scaling up two 15mm models, and adding in a 28mm tank on that as well. Now this is a learning curve, a lot went wrong at first until I learned my machine a little better.

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The Assembly Line of Resin Goodness!

My first prints were a couple 40k and Fantasy related things, but I wanted to print an armored vehicle. I settled on the Rolls Royce Armored Car, model of 1920.

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Hmmm, something doesn’t look right.

After this failure, I fixed the issue with the supports, and produced my first battlefield ready model! It is far. far from perfect. And I can tweak it to make it better! But let me show you!

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Much better! A few issues with the tires, but very gameable.

 

With a nice solid coat of a nice green, it is ready for painting! I’m quite pleased, even thought its far from perfect. These were a common vehicle, and it’ll serve as a fairly quick machine gun position, moving along roads to secure key positions.

Morale restored, I decided to do a small Vickers “Dutchman” tank, an export model meant for the Dutch East Indies. Meant for police and enforcement, this tank was woefully under-equipped to fight the Japanese in 41-2. But in the VBCW setting, they will be nimble, small, decently well equipped gun platforms. My intention is that General Fuller has requested as many fast, light, tanks as he can get a hold of, trying to prepare for a blitzkrieg across the English countryside, and the Dutch order gets cancelled and vehicles pressed into service.

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It’s so widdle!

Finally, feeling confident I could tackle something larger, I started on a Vickers Medium Mk2. This tank is a key part of many VBCW armies, as it was common in service and training roles, and many could see service on any side. On this tank, the Turret Peg simply didn’t print, and as a large piece to hold the turret in, it was kind of important. This was fixed by a convenient off cut of plastic pipe a plumber left behind; perfect fit, and cut to size!

As well, the 3 Pounder Barrel didn’t print entirely. I decided to replace it with a pen tube. I can always print more, and I have gone back and fix the print. The real disaster came when the tracks came out seriously warped; it took a lot of rubber bands and hot water warping tricks to get it to this not entirely satisfactory result. But, it’ll serve just fine, and while very noticable, won’t affect my enjoyment of using it in a game! I love this tank, and this will form the core of my tank force. with a 3 Pounder gun, it is actually well equipped to deal with other armor it might encounter.

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Tissue armor, slow, slab sided. I wouldn’t want it any other way. I love this model.

Now since two of these models are scaled up from 15mm, I needed to see if they still looked the part! So I did a scale test with a Bolt Action plastic 8th Army soldier.

No major issues, and consulting the internet shows that while a hair too small, they are perfectly usable. 1/56th scale is common for Bolt Action, and seeing as we are using that rule-set, we decided to keep the vehicles that size. As well, my infantry in the mail are much smaller and finer in detail then the Warlord plastic model I’m using here. It should, altogether, make a striking force to look at on the table!

That is all I really got for today! But look on Monday for some sweet Zona Alfa related content!

This has been a fun experience, the printer. For printing obscure models from the Interwar years, it has been invaluable. I will continue to collect store-bought and boutique models, but as a tool to make some cool stuff, color me happy and impressed.

If you are a old school veteran Very British Civil War player, please let me know if I’m off to a good start. As a foreigner, some concepts here might escape me. And If anyone can help with flavour, I’m all ears! Happy to be joining a setting that has interested me for almost seven years!

Until next time, Happy War-Gaming, where you might be! I’m off to watch some Blackadder Goes Forth, Bertie and Wooster, and some Peaky Blinders to get into the flavour of things. Have a wonderful day!

 

Soviet Steel: 3D Printed BTR-70

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Great detail, low cost. Is this the way of the future?

When I needed to procure terrain for Zona Alfa, I looked at a great deal of Soviet armor on many websites. Some, like Empress Miniatures, offered beautiful sculpts with great detail, but it had one issue; price! I needed abandoned vehicles, not wrecks, but simply left to decay in the Zone after their crew disembarked and never returned for some reason or another.

While talking this over with a few of my fellows at https://badlypaintedminis.ca, one guy, Cody, offered to print me up a few. I was skeptical, as I thought the resulting model would look like trash. I had seen his own 3D prints before, and while frankly amazing, it was primarily bits for his 40k army to lend flavour, nothing on this scale. But, it was for terrain, so I decided I didn’t care if they didn’t turn out perfect; after all, I’d be covering the thing in rust, mud, moss, and other detritus.

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Damn, that looks good? What is this?

After a while, he sent me an in-progress picture, shown above. I was astonished, this looked considerably better then I imagined. Especially since we had decided to scale up a 15mm print to 28mm. The details, gun barrel, and vents especially, came out sharp and extremely detailed. Sure, it wouldn’t hold a candle to a dedicated 28mm model such as what Empress offers, but it was still incredible!

(for reference, this is the file we used: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4062110, go check it out! Thank you, Ollie1269! )

It took several weeks for Cody to make his way up from the City to come over to the Clubhouse, where we have a limit of ten people currently at a time. Finally, we did meet up, and I took possession of two great looking BTR-70’s!

They weren’t perfect of course, but honestly? They still looked far and away better then I thought. And the cost, as I had paid for the resin used as a courtesy, was minimal. I was looking at a much higher budget for one, and instead got two, with plenty of change to spare. Now the usual scale for Zona Alfa is roughly considered anywhere from 1/56th to 1/43rd for vehicles, so these are a little smaller then you might expect. But on the consumer-friendly printer Cody has, we couldn’t go much bigger!

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Here, shown in scale with three Lead Adventures miniatures. These BTR’s will look even better with my smaller Eureka sculpts. This is still a very reasonable size!

While Cody was in the City, I asked him to buy me a couple cans of Vallejo Spray, one color being Russian 4BO. I wanted to get these primed quickly to see how they would look, and I rushed to do so. After all, I had a game lined up for Zona Alfa and these would be far better then the Sherman hull I had used previously.

This color worked great! It filled in the very small print lines, and left models with a very smooth, almost store bought quality, finish. Suitably dressed up with some moss, and thrown unto a table, they turned our Citadel Realm of Battle table into the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone quite effectively!

The game we played was fun, fast, and violent. As we are testing the waters and rules before going in deep for a campaign, this was a one-off game, and all sides were therefore incredibly reckless and trigger-happy, something I don’t anticipate will continue once we start for real.

All in all, we are quite happy with the game! One of us with an FDM printer is printing a full Soviet Bunker complex from Black Site Studios, a process he believes will take a couple weeks. https://blacksitestudio.com/bunker-16, if your curious. It’ll be a great set-piece for our final campaign excursion.

This whole thing has also convinced me to purchase my own Phrozen Sonic Mini, and quite luckily a supplier in Taiwan was having a screaming deal, and I managed to get it at a decent price. It arrives tomorrow! It’ll be a learning curve, but being able to print some terrain and bits for all my games will be nice. And tanks, a lot of tanks. Frankly an unneeded amount of tanks. So. Many. Tanks.

Of course, as you may see, there are three BTR’s in the above picture. Not everything goes perfectly each time when you print something. And the third BTR…well it suffered a bit of damage.

The nose of this BTR has warped and broken off a bit. Again though, this minor issue was easily overlooked for the purposes of making terrain, especially Zone terrain. Something clearly sliced through this with a massive claw, or it drove into a temporal anomaly. It’s easy to imagine a scenario where this could happen!

These miss-prints are sort of a learning error, and in this case it was because it was a new resin to Cody and he hadn’t worked out the kinks yet. His other two are practically perfect, for the purposes I’m using them for at least.

I’m quite excited to get my printer, learning mistakes be damned. I found quite a few Patreon’s, Zona Alfa related or otherwise, and I’ll be doing prints from them as soon as I can. You will still see lots of classic, metal miniatures on this blog, I simply love them too much.

But the times, they are a changin! I’m going to be trying this new part of the Hobby, with gusto! I really think this will disrupt the industry, in both good and bad ways, and with easily available, and affordable, 3D printers now commonplace, will we see the demise of certain parts of the hobby?

But, to leave you on a happy note, I will continue to document my progress in the Zone, fellow STALKERS. For now, Happy War-gaming, wherever you might be! Have a great day!

 

Zona Alfa: Preparing for a Zone Excursion!

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Ah, another radiation fueled sunrise.

I said come in! Don’t stand there!

Okay, now that I got that out of my system, welcome back! In my last post, I expressed frustration that I didn’t have much to write about since, well, nothing had arrived for my current passion project, Zona Alfa. Well, as the saying goes, good things come to those who wait, and I got the rest of my needed models to play Zona Alfa in two days of package delivery goodness. A village from Sarissa Precision, their Russian one to be specific. I had also ordered a bunch of Lead Adventure miniatures, and this had turned out to be quite a laborious task.

You see, Lead Adventures, because of Deutsche Post having issues shipping to North America and elsewhere, currently only ship to the UK and the EU. Luckily, I have family in the United Kingdom, and I had an order ship to them, and them to me. This combined with a prior order from Magister Militum in the UK, would give me the bulk of my Pripyat Stalkers. The latter order was split in half, since they didn’t have all of what I ordered…

All three orders shipped weeks apart. They all arrived almost together, in a span of two days. Honestly, it was kind of awesome.

This first batch is particularly ragtag. They would not be out of place in Metro 2033, a distinctly post-apocalyptic experience. As I’ve said before, STALKER, and in turn, Zona Alfa, is not inherently post-apocalyptic, since it is both localized and people come of their own free will to the Zone.

However, these models still fit in perfectly; They look like a bunch of unaffiliated individuals, perfect for an Independent team. I will focus on painting these as individuals, with no real unifying theme other then being very, very grubby. I’ll point out my favorite of the bunch, and talk about why I like this one so much.

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“They say the Zone is a harsh mistress. That implies that you had any control in the first place, tovarishch. The Zone simply is.”

This model is simply perfect, at least in my very personal definition of what that is. A rugged, veteran Stalker who has clearly been around the block (or Reactor, as it were), and I can see him leading teams of Cordon-fresh rookies to their demise. The model itself tells a story quite well, and is full of character. The trench-coat and well-maintained rifle, a sturdy gas-mask and pouches full of goodies. This guy is simply cool, and probably why I bought the whole set.

On the other hand, these guys are far more equipped. I would hesitate to call them military, but that in-game distinction for Zona Alfa probably fits them the best. To use a faction from the STALKER games, they look a lot like Duty, the paramilitary group dedicated to eradicating the Zone and its various dangers.

With not quite uniform equipment, but with a heavy Russian/Ukrainian military influence, these guys feel like trained soldiers. I particularly like the the two Stalkers with AS VAL assault rifles, larger-bore integrally suppressed weapons that pack a mean punch over short distances.

I really like these guys, and I’m looking forward to using them as a more elite team.

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“Deadly anomalies, dangerous mutants, anarchists and bandits… None of them will stop Duty on its triumphant march towards saving the planet!” –Duty Propaganda

Of course, these are some very “old school” models. Chunky, with large weapons, hands, feet, etc. I actually love models like these, as I find they take washes well, and look great once painted. But they are definitely not for everyone; Anyone looking for more “realistic” models will probably be happy with other miniatures.

I believe these are hand-sculpted, which also is a very traditional style. Modern models are quite often designed in CAD and 3D-printed to produce a master, from which are made either resin models or plastic sprues. Models of this type are getting more and more rare, with most being older lines or in this case, specifically made to fill this niche.

I do in fact like both styles, and I only care about consistency for models within a team, not across the collection, so there is a little bit of room across the board for any style of models in my Zone.

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Scale Comparison! From Left to Right: Spectre Miniatures, Lead Adventures, Eureka Miniatures. Even with the base on the Spectre guy being shorter, he is still quite tall! This Eureka miniature is one of their newer ones, and as such holds up pretty well scale wise, their older line up of NBC suited soldiers are quite a bit smaller.

Like you can see in the above picture, my collection is quite eclectic! But none of these guys will rub shoulders in the same camp, only venturing to fight the Zone or each other, and in that case, it won’t matter overly match if they don’t match.

Now I do have a marked preference for metal miniatures; I like their heft, and the fact that they remain stupidly easy to strip of paint if I mess up. Playing a 2000 point metal Imperial Guard army in 40k has set me up for working with this materiel quite well. But it does require a bit of work.

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Going for a swim! Unfortunately, Dawn Dish Detergent will not remove horrible radiation burns.

I soak all the models for a few minutes in soapy water, then scrub them with a toothbrush. Then I rinse them in a new source of soap-free water, then take them out to air-dry. It doesn’t take long, and on some manufacturers it isn’t essential, but I find it greatly increases the strength of the base-coat’s adhesion to the model. If your going to paint them, you might as well give them the best possible start!

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Looking clean, and ready for some paint!

Now, I’ve got a lot of work to do, getting crews painted, terrain assembled and painted, and various other tasks. However, this won’t prevent me from getting my first game of Zona Alfa in tomorrow! After all this build-up, I’m really excited to get an idea of what the game plays like.

We have a lot of terrain at our communal clubhouse, and with local conditions being favorable to cautious social-distancing gaming, it should give me a good idea of what else I need play a full-scale campaign. I’ll be using a basic, low threat first mission, and I can start tweaking things to my preference as I go. There is a bit of local interest in the game, and I’m hoping to have it take off a bit!

Now the rest of this article has substantially less pictures…so bear with me, or tune it if you’d like, I won’t hold it against you!

My last post about Zona Alfa on this blog, was, frankly, an outrageous success. I got a really warm welcome over on the official Facebook group, so if any of you are coming from there, thanks gents! You guys rock!

Now in terms of my eventual Canadian Zone expansion, I’m still waiting on a company here in Canada to ship me my 28mm Canadian Military models. They are a small, one man operation, so they tend to take a bit of time. But to fill that specific niche is worth it. As well, while most of the monsters will carry over, I do want some local, specific nastiness. Some guys had some great ideas over on the Facebook page, and I’m going to use some for sure!

Mutated Raccoons may be a thing…(side note, I hate the damn things. I used to work behind the scenes removing them from places they shouldn’t be at an amusement park, and that cute factor is a lie!), as well as some bears, coyotes, and the occasional Listowel redneck who had a bit too much radioactive moonshine. It is kinda fun to do local research for a game, and my friends here like the idea, despite how dark a subject matter it can be.

I’m leaning toward a more “free” zone, with the Canadian government selling licenses to harvest materiel from the Zone, and a healthy black-market in weapons cropping up around it. We do share a border with the United States after all! The “hook” as it were, in this case, is the fact that Cobalt-60, a rare resource, is actually produced quite a bit in the reactors near me, and the “medical gold rush” of cancer-defeating artefacts produced by this Zone draw a wide array of Stalkers. Your average Canadian Stalker is a far-cry from a dour, sombre Stalker from Pripyat though! Medically aligned Stalkers from major pharmaceutical companies will be my specific neat thing for this Zone.

Finally, while it may be a while before I get to Canada in the campaign, quite conveniently from a recent history stand-point, is the deployment of the Canadian Army in a training capacity to the Ukraine. It won’t take much of a jump in logic for a few, special operations trained soldiers, to venture into the original Zone for some training of their own, with the backing of the local Government. Perhaps paving the way for a future Canadian Army Stalker detachment?

Now, today’s article was focused on old school, metal models. But the way of the future is far different, and I am now the proud owner of a resin 3D Printer! (Or will be, once it arrives…) I am going to use it for producing a lot of cool monsters, smaller terrain, and yep, Stalkers! And that is just for this specific game. But not even that will truly diminish my love of the older style, hand-sculpted models of yesteryear. Raise a glass, if you will, to the old breed! But I will be featuring some 3D printed stuff in the very near future, since a friend of mine has printed some stuff for me to use in this game, that will add a certain Post-Soviet feel to my Exclusion Zone.

But, until next time, Happy War-gaming, wherever you are! For such is life in the Zone.