Royalist Reinforcements: Vickers Medium for VBCW!

Vickers Medium Mk2, reporting!

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

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

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 Large and slab sided, and not particularly fast, these tanks are out of date by the Very British Civil War timeline, and in our timeline only saw use in small numbers in Africa in World War Two*.

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

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

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

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

Free-handing is hard!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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!

Zona Alfa: Crossing the Cordon!

“No one said anything about bears!”

Welcome to the Zone, Stalkers. Enjoy your stay. Your going to be here a while.

After several weeks of waiting for models, printing more models and terrain, and the little distraction that is Warhammer 40k 9th Edition, we actually started out campaign!

It was nothing too crazy, and actually was fairly uneventful. I went quite wide of the regular mission requirements, but as the author says to use the rules as a toolbox, I did so!

First, a little bit of a briefing. I do swear in here, and if you are not a fan of that, I apologize. I don’t use it outside of a narrative context when I blog, but I felt the need here!

The Crossing was easy. The Ukrainians must have been napping, as we have enountered no military patrols as of yet, since we slipped into the Zone. Stupid debils. We were near another group, and in fact, had went to the same bar the night before. Heavy Irish accents, and singing songs about rebellion. I remember watching the television as a kid, and hearing about the Irish Republican Army. Seeing these older, hardened men sing songs about fighting the British gave me pause. What were a bunch of Ex-IRA men doing all the way in the Ukraine?

We kept our distance, wary of these foreigners. We had heard from a drunk Cordon officer about an armed convoy carrying rare goods out of the Zone when it had gotten hit, and our route took us right past it. Unfortunately, the Irish had the same idea, as did a group of local trash. Fucking gopniks.

The map was a typical 4×4 square, with us starting in the corners. The Irish and my Zone Runners started Cordon side, making for the other table edge. The Bandit player had his jumpy thugs on a corner edge on the other side, and got to pick which one. Three regular hotspots, at low threat levels dotted the table, and one in the BTR, rated at the very highest threat.

The prize, if one was daring enough to risk it, was in the centre BTR.
My squad of Zone-Rats move to cover, wary of both the Bandits and the Irish on the other side.
The Irish (represented here with Bolt Action minis as Lucas works on getting his guys together) are hardened vets of the IRA, and are here to get rich. Or so they say…
The table layout; The Bandits started in the top left, as we figured they live in the Zone. They didn’t need to get off the table for the scenario.
The Gopniks fan out, eager for loot, but not eager to get shot or bunch up.

Everyone played this game far, far more cautiously then our trial, one-off games. Gear is expensive, med-kits are pricey, and reloads are not cheap. Lucas(playing the IRA vets), moved cautiously up his end, wary of eating fire from my side. Equally cautious, I leapfrogged up to the cover available…but my eye was on the prize.

Throwing a bolt, Lucas hits the helmets of a passing Ukrainian Army patrol! They take cover behind the sign….

We had decided upon some pre-game rules, and one was that since this is the Cordon, any ‘bandits’ rolled would actually be threat level 2, and represent the Ukrainian Military presence. Lucas got unlucky, and triggered four of them!

However, after surviving some incoming AK fire, he tossed a valuable Satchel Charge…

BOOM! Ah, a bullet may have your name on it, but a satchel charge is addressed to whom it may concern…

Lucas got lucky, and killed his problem squad of Cordon defense force in one go!

Meanwhile, on my end of the table, I also managed to roll for ‘bandits’, and four more Ukrainian troopers emerged from a bush. Bad place for a nap, suka! They made for cover, and I brought up my flamethrower…

“Dude, did someone just throw a friggin bolt at my head?”
Fire. It solves a great many things.

Leaving one Ukrainian trooper alive, he decided to take his chances with the actual Bandits.

“Man, it is not my day!”

The bandits made a cautious move into the building near the BTRs, and I shuffled up to attempt to secure both the leftmost salvage and the centre goodies.

“Wonder whats in here, too bad I forgot my can-opener, ha!”
“Uh oh!”

Nesting inside the hulk of the wrecked BTR were two grotesquely mutated bears! We had custom stated these, tough hide(armor) or simply immune to pain makes this beasts tough to down. But they only have a low combat ability: They have lost some speed and their claws are falling out.

My Shotgun-equipped Stalker managed to survive, and even kill, both bears! I rolled fantastically well! He certainly has a blessed life ahead of him if he keeps this up!

“I will give a Buckshot sandwich, you poor creature!”
Having killed one bear, and surviving a bandits attempt to intervene with an RPG, the Stalker kills the last bear!

Of course, after doing the hard-work, the bandits make their play! However, the Gopnik assigned to loot-stealing fails to open the door!

One of the Gopniks rushes forwards, and attempts to open the back hatch. Failing to do so, my Stalker clambers in the top hatch and secures….old military gear. Wherever the real treasure was, it is gone now…

Unfortunately, the BTR failed to pay off, even with the threat level 3 table, all that was secured was a fair amount of rubles, a scope, and a chest rig.

The Bandits had secured their loot, and now a stand-off threatened to ensue. We all had gotten decent loot, and with my Stalkers and the Irish needing to get off the far board edge, the Bandits formed up in such a way that I had to go through them…

But, the art of the good old bribe was in effect. One of my Stalkers waves the chest rig around in the air, and says “Stupid debils, let us through, and this is all yours. If not, we will fire and you get nothing but bullets!”

The Bandits accepted the trade, and no player vs player combat ensued…this time.

The Bandits, having been mauled by zombies, and now staring down the barrel of a flamethrower with shots left, accept my bribe. The game ends on a whimper, not a bang.

This first outing, with not fully painted forces or terrain, was more to finally get things going; no more waiting! We decided to paint as we go, and while the two other players must make their Cordon crossing, and also get an attempt at the loot, for now, the crews return to their new homes.

The Irish and my Stalkers retire to a rookie village, a safe location. Sharing a drink, they forget that tomorrow they may try to kill each other. For now, singing songs they don’t quite understand, my Stalkers celebrate life, and another day. The Irish ask a few questions…

Tell, me, ‘Comrades’, how does one get to the CNPP? We are in search of certain…things.

Ha! You silly Britisher, the Scorcher will get you first! No one gets past the Array with their mind intact. Those who survive get zombiefied…or worse.

You call me a Britisher one more time, Ruskie, and your going to have a fuckin problem. You got me? What in the fuck is a Scorcher?”

You people call it the Russian Woodpecker, but its known simply here as the Array. The Duga Array. The Soviets claim it was for nuclear weapon warning, but we know better. No one can get to Pripyat now. Its an invisible field, and no-one really wants to test it, you know what I mean.”

We’ve gotten past British blockades in the past, mate. This is just a more…esoteric version. Who do we talk to about a solution, instead of this commie quitter talk you lot keep jabbing on about?”

Your gonna want to talk to the Scientists. But they are a elusive bunch. A few are holed up in another village nearby. Check with them, you stupid Micks.”

Everyone playing is fairly excited now. It is hard to get momentum up when your not playing and a new edition of 40k rears its head. But it won’t take much for my to paint my squad, Kurt(the Bandit player) to paint up his, and for Lucas to get models he feels represents the IRA veterans he wants to play as. But we are now locked in; the shashlik is on the grill!

For myself, I have to knuckle down and get the MDF Russian village I got assembled. We all have to work on monsters! We have purchased Bunker 16 from Black-site Studios, and Kurt is printing it for our escapades underground. 3D printing has opened many doors for us!

But, that is all I have for today. I have some more Royalists, and a neat Armoured Car on the agenda, and will make a post shortly on that! As always, happy war-gaming, where-ever you are. And stay alert…for such is life in the Zone!

Fighting for the Crown: The Royalists Arrive!

The King commands, and we…half-heartedly obey?

Ah, another package from across the Pond. What could be in this one?

After a brief interlude into Warhammer 40k, we return to 1938. I have some background lore I have thought about for my force, and without further ado, lemme bore you with it!

King Edward VIII rallies his armies after the Civil War begins, and across the United Kingdom and her Dominions and Possessions, local loyalties are being tested.

For an initial period, the British Army is in ruins. Whole Regiments turn-coat and join the Anglican League, taking both precious equipment and trained men over to that cause. The Socialists poach a few, causing desertions, when they offer a more equal future for a soldier who could expect little in life beyond being told what to do by his ‘class’ superiors. Scotland takes a great deal of regiments home, and they form the nucleus of the Republic’s military. Wales is in open, if not organized, rebellion. The Irish, holding Ulster hostage, remain neutral, but with the Irish Guards back home, they at least cause issues with the occupying authorities as Catholic fights Protestant once again in open warfare.

Horrendous fighting south of London, in Anglican controlled territory (Real photo is of the London Regiment in the First World War. No disrespect is intended. From the Imperial War Museum.)

The Regiments that remain loyal are rarely loyal as an entire body. For the men of the 1st City of London Regiment (The Royal Fusiliers), they find themselves at around 70% percent fighting effectiveness. With little time to do proper training and recruitment, the Territorial Army (reservists, to us Canadians, or Militia back in the day.) Regiments find themselves thrown into battle along the loose border with the Anglican League, and the Royal Fusiliers finds themselves fighting a tough, but undertrained foe. They also have the backup of the BUF Legions; Tough fighters, but ill-disciplined, prone to heights of cowardice and heroism in equal measure. Worse, the Fascists prioritize reinforcements that show particular zeal toward Mosley into the BUF, leaving the Territorials with unwilling ‘recruits’.

An old, WW1 Recruitment Poster for the 2nd Battalion. Touched up, this will see further use in 1938. (Public Domain)

However, despite all of King Edward VIII many problems, he was a soldier, and aims to be a soldiers king. In an inspiring speech, he extols the virtues of loyalty, country, and duty, as well as understanding the difficulty each man must face in staying loyal when many have not. It works, and overnight flagging enthusiasm for fighting for Mosley’s Parliament is replaced by increased enthusiasm in fighting for the Monarchy. While not as fanatical as Mosleys Black-shirts, the Regular and Territorial Army now fight as a counter-balance; Stoic, and professional, and well trained behind the lines before being blooded properly in minor engagements. And holy terror once fighting for real!

The revived colors of the unit, going into the later part of 1938. (All Copyright belongs to the author, and will be removed upon request.)

This has led to issues in the field with the more fanatical Mosleyites, and fractures are starting to appear in the once united Government front…

Now with all this lore and background out of the way…lets see the men of the 1st City of London Regiment, Royal Fusiliers, eh?

These fine fellows are from Gripping Beast, more specifically, the Woodbine Design Studio WW1 British. Splendid models! Always wanted an excuse to buy them, but as war-gaming World War One in 28mm sounded less fun then just getting my friends to shoot me with pellet guns as I crest over a trench, I never committed.

I’m using the conceit that the the Army in 1938 was in the changeover period to Battledress, and it was not yet complete. As such, my men in the Territorial Army fight in stuff their fathers might have, but with a greater supply of grenades, Lewis Guns, and Vickers Machine Guns available. About the lack of helmets…I chose instead to order Service Dress Caps. No reasoning here…I just liked them!

Finally, all characters in the army, despite the real Regiment, will be fictional. I do not wish to step on anyone’s grandad! That is, unless they want me to include them!

After opening the box, this is what I was left with. A whole mess of pewter, and perhaps lead?

I make a point of washing all my metal models. Given that I was going to use a primer known for flaking off metal models, I made sure to be thorough, just to be safe. No broken models this time, so I set to work finding my bases and gluing the separate heads on.

This took hours, not because it was hard, but because it was tedious. Well worth it, and I have the perfect color picked out to paint them too!

All scrubbed up, assembled, and put into formations. Four Infantry Sections, each with a Lewis Gun, provide firepower. A Vickers offers a fixed emplacement, to make ‘beaten’ zones. Two sets of officers, one at the company/platoon level and the other at battalion. Two vignettes offer something neat to paint/fight over. And a whole wack of extras…
Two Sections; Each Corporal model is unique! I love the simplicity of these models, but they don’t lack for detail either. Just a joy to work with.
The other two Sections. Same sort of deal.
A nice, simple, if not a bit fiddly to assemble, Vickers. Going to add some shrubbery to the front part of the base, once its basing has begun!
The company/platoon commanders. They will get names, and ranks, shortly. I love the guy ready to punch some Anglican League traitors with his walking stick!
The battalion/regimental command. The guy learning on his cane will be the Regimental CO, while the man holding a truncheon will be the Regimental Sergeant Major. Finally, the man loading his Webley has to be something, he’s just too cool NOT to use!
My two favourite models from the collection I have got. They both have loads of character! They will probably recieve the most attention painting and lore-wise.
Two privates making improvised explosives. At this point, supplies are running thin, and jamming a bunch of nails in a tin and packing it with gunpowder is an old trick. Lots of First World War veterans in the regiment who have taught them how…
The regimental surgeon offers the best he can do to this not overly serious injured young man. “Chocolate, you’ll feel better” The boy will live, but will hate the taste of Frys going forward.

Now when I purchased the sets from Gripping Beast, I failed to take into account how much of each Infantry Section would be replaced with specialist models. As it turns out…quite a few.

I’ve heard of losing your head, but this is just silly! No, I have enough heads to outfit the whole ragtag bunch, but I have an idea…anyone got bearskins?

If anyone has any, or knows of a manufacturer of Bearskin Grenadier Helmets, I’d love to know! These headless chaps will become my elite backbone of my army, a section of Grenadier Guardsmen, sent to stiffen their resolve. I might be able to organize a cross-channel trade, in the spirit of Global VBCW….

On another topic, how do these lads rank up next to my British Union of Fascists thugs? Glad you asked that incredibly specific question, here is a scale photo between two very similar models.

Footsore BUF Yeomanry on the Left, and the Gripping Beast WW1 on the right! Hope this helps!

And that is it, until I go spray some models. I’m waiting for a low humidity and heat day, something you wouldn’t imagine would be an issue in Canada, but certainly is, at least where I live.

Misha too wishes for some colder weather, otherwise its simply too hot for the poor doggo!

Anyways, that is all the Very British Civil War goodness I have for you today! I hope you enjoyed it, and if you did feel free to comment! And if you didn’t, actually, comment why you didn’t too! All feedback is appreciated. I’d like to thank the VBCW community on Facebook for the warm reception. My buddy and I in Canada will aim to please!

Look for our landing in Dorset; We will arrive with Mounties on Moose Cavalry, Machine Guns, and Tim Horton’s for all. Oh, and King George. The real King!

Happy War-gaming, wherever you might be. And God Save King Edwar….even I can’t commit to it. Sorry! You guys have a wonderful day!

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!

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!

Prinz Harrys Urgroßonkel Herzog von Windsor traf Hitler
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?

1024px-Coat_of_Arms_of_Albert,_Duke_of_York.svg

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!