Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Review Aeronautica Imperialis: Wings of Vengeance - 2 The Models

Fly Boyz

Inside the starter set are models for two factions. Lets start with the Orks. Inside the box are two Fighta-Bombas and three single seater Dakka Jets.

The models are easy to assemble unlike some of GW's recent offering. Details are astonishingly crisp with wing panels well delineated. The Dakka Jets, in particular come in modular form giving a huge potential variety between planes. There are also a variety of rockets, bombs and shootas to hang under the wings.

The photo is high res so do click on it and blow it up for a better look. I have exaggerated the contrast slightly with Paint Shop Pro.

I undercoated in light tan and then used Citadels Bright Red contrast paint (the runny stuff that collects in the hollows) for the topcoat, and Citadel Contrast Yellow Ochre or VJ Metallic Brass for wing panels, decoration etc. The Contrast Paint didn't make the panels stand out enough so I dribbled black wash along the lines.

These are enough planes for a decent evenings two hour game. Additional boxes can be bought off GW in squadrons of six Dakka Jets and Four Fighta-Bombas. That would give 15 models and is as much as you might ever want. I probably won't bother unless I split the models with a friend.

An additional Ork Eavy Bomba is on the way which I will buy as it will round out Deff Skwadron nicely - remember them?

Imperial Navy

The Imperial Navy's are the second faction, the starter set including two heavy Thunderbolt Fightas and two Marauder heavy bombers. Again the detailing is superb. Again the photo blows up if you click on it.

I undercoated the fighters with a Humbrol light grey spray can and liked the finish so much I decided to use it as a top coat. The engines are in metallic dark steel liberally coated with black wash, which I also ran into the panel lines.

The bomber are coated in Citadel Contrast mid blue-grey, again with the panel lines marked out in black wash.

As these are elite Imperial Navy squadrons I thought they would have squadron flashes on the wings and tail.

Underneath

The high level of detail is continued on the undersides, even though you probably won't get to see them during play.

I am way too impatient to be a good painter - hey, I'm a wargamer not a modeller - so I did a quick minimalist job. Washes cover a multitude of sins. The models are so easy to paint that they look pretty good with very little effort.

Transfers are provided and I put a few on the Orky planes but I'm not a great fan. Somehow they never quite look right. The Ork planes in particular have very little in the way of flat surfaces.

Scales

GW commonly don't give scales on their models so I photographed a Marauder Destroyer against a 1/144 Lancaster and a 1/300 Canberra early jet bomber.

I would guestimate the AI models at somewhere around 1/200. They do apparently match the scale of the new Adeptis Titanicus game......stand by for a crossover.

The Marauder incidentally is the first of the add-on models released separately. Five factions are apparently waiting in the wings. Given the Rynn's World expansion book, I would guess that they are going to follow the campaign-in-a-box-with-models formula.....but I could be quite wrong about that. 

I will probably buy one box of every release.

Highly recommended models.

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Below are some photos of unpainted planes to give a better look at the raw plastic model.













Saturday, 21 September 2019

Review Aeronautica Imperialis: Wings of Vengeance - 1 Overview.

Image result for wings of war
Wings of War

The story of Games Workshop's Aeronautica Imperialis game doesn't start with GW at all. It starts with an Italian game published in 2004 depicting World War I tactical air combat. Wings of War used an innovatory semi-board game mechanism where players chose hidden manoeuvres in advance which were revealed when a player moved a plane. The manoeuvres were depicted on the card and the player just moved his plane along whatever track was depicted, making such changes in facing as necessary.  'Extra' movement could be used in front and/or after the manoeuvre giving the player some flexibility.

Wings of War was taken up by Fantasy Flight and became a big success. They duly dropped it and it is now sold as Wings of Glory.

Image result for aeronautica imperialis
Aeronautica Imperialis

In 2007, Forge World published Aeronautica Imperialis, a 40K air game.

The mechanism of AI was a straight knock-off of Wings of Glory. You could move a bit, lay down a manoeuvre card and then possibly move again. The problem is that Wings of War was a pretty decent simulation of fragile wooden biplanes armed with light machine guns. An attempt to translate it into a WWII version was much less successful because WWII monoplane air warfare with cannon armed fighters was fought very differently. We will return to this point.

Image result for aeronautica imperialis
Aeronautica Imperialis: Wings of Vengeance

The first thing to notice is that the models in Wings of Vengeance are the wonderful plastic models. They are much bigger than the old Epic scale stuff from Forge World and are beautifully sculpted. I cannot speak too highly of them. 

What is in the rest of the box though is not a game, but a taster for a game. The playing mat is too small, the rulebook is a cut down paperback version, and no playing cards are included - there are useful counters.

The game mechanism is virtually identical to Forge World's AI, and hence Wings of War except that the 'expensive to print' movement cards are gone and replaced by a sheet depicting available manoeuvres. To make this work, the game is played on a hex grid - hence the concern about the small size of the playing area in the box. As an aside, My friend, David S. claims that in some places in the cut and paste they have forgotten to turn cm into hexes.

Now this is a problem because what worked well as a simulation of fighting canvas biplanes with Lewis guns comes over as pretty damn odd when translated into supersonic jets. For example, although height is recorded in the game, ALL manoeuvres take place in the horizontal. After Polikarpov introduced the Rata in 1933 (until the rise of BVR missile combat, anyway) manoeuvring in the vertical has been way more important for tactical combat than the horizontal. The classic tactic from 1918 SE5a to MIGs in Vietnam is fast in, shoot, fast out: he who shoots and runs away, lives to get home for tea and medals.

And here is another strange example, or at least it seems strange to me. A plane in Wings of vengeance achieves its maximum safe speed in level flight. Diving to go faster risks structural damage. That seems more suited to canvas biplanes than jet planes. Also the weapons are strangely ineffectual. Modern missiles and cannon just smash planes out of the sky but Wings of Vengeance planes can survive multiple hits - well most of them, anyway.

Okay that's enough from me for now: more reviews on the models and a test game to follow.

So first impressions?

Great models, not sure about the game - but at around £50, it is worth buying just for the models. If you end up throwing the game away and just keep the planes, you still will have got value for money.






Saturday, 14 September 2019

Aeronautica Imperialis: Fighters

Dakka Jet Makes A Run On A Thunderbolt

Picked up a copy of AI at the weekend and have managed to paint up a couple of fighters.

Dakka Jet Rolling Out

The detail on these plains is fantastic. I would estimate the scale at around 1/200. This follows the current trend for bigger models: 1/200 planes rather than 1/300 - the scale of the old game.

Going In To A Vertical Scissors

The models are easy enough to assemble and the modular construction of the Dakka Jets allows a fair degree of uniqueness for each plane.

Painting is easy due to the sharp-edged nature of the panelling.

More on this to come.


Thursday, 29 August 2019

Betrayal At Calth

Word Bearers Legion

I keep wondering whether to sell my Betrayal at Calth boardgame as I have played all the scenarios.

And Yet the models are so nice. I used Tamiya metallic red spray for the Word Bearers. It is pricey but gives a deeper true red than any other acrylic on the market.

Ultramarine Legion

Sprayed with Tamiya metallic blue.


Thursday, 22 August 2019

Warlords of Erehwon - Hunt for the Golden Fleece

Jason and the Spelling Errors

Jason himself, four units of hoplites and, of course, an avatar of Athena. All you can cram into a Penteconter raiding party.

The hoplites are plastic, Victrix?, and Athena is a collectors' model from a Gods of Greece range.



King of Colchis

The King and his Bodyguard are Wargames Foundry metal models, the three units of men-from-the-earth are Warlord Games plastics, and the Hydra is from Reaper Bones.

Two cheap, simple armies of six units each that I can play around with and get a feel for the Erehwon system.

Hmmm, the name hasn't got anything to do with Sam Butler's Nowhere.....or Erewhon....would it, Rick?





Monday, 19 August 2019

Goblin Loonboss


I have a very old Goblin army I mostly bought in second hand pieces off eBay for a few quid that started as a Warhammer faction. Since then it morphed into a Kings of War faction, and now is being rebased for the second time as an Age of Sigmar fraction.

I have bought one or two new bits as they took my fancy and this is the most recent; da LoonBoss.

I mean who can resist.


Monday, 12 August 2019

One Hour Skirmish Wargames – SF Urban Dystopia

One Hour Skirmish Wargames – SF Urban Dystopia


By

John Lambshead


The Core Rule Book

Backstory

The One Hour Skirmish Wargames (OHSW) fast play diceless wargame rules are designed to be a toolkit to allow players to create gun-orientated skirmish scenarios that can be played at ‘film speed’ because the various probability ranges are subsumed into the game system. The effect of this is to create a game with minimal mental arithmetic where players concentrate on fire and movement, using just a simple army sheet in front of them as a memory aide.

OHSW scenarios are specific to certain genres with their own special rules, musket era, rifle era, etc. Here, I provide a new genre for the game that is very popular among SF fans and wargamers (groups with a fair overlap of members) – the SF Urban Dystopia.

IN OHSW, each genre is illustrated by a scenario, and I continue to follow that pattern here. I have chosen to use Citadel models for this example because they are inexpensive, easily available from Game Workshop itself and many independent outlets world-wide, and because they are great urban dystopian models. My Bright Lane Mob uses models from Citadel’s Goliath Gang kit, and my Limehouse Collective mob uses models from Citadel’s Escher Gang kit. These gangs are in the “Necromunda: Underhive” starter set so are likely to be widespread among wargamers interested in dystopian SF games. The models are built ‘straight from the box’ as they are shown on GW’s website and box art.

Legal Note: ‘Necromunda’ and other names such as ‘Gangs of House Goliath’ and ‘Gangs of House Escher’ are either ® or TM, and/or © Copyright Games Workshop Ltd, variably registered around the world. All Rights Reserved. They are used without permission and no challenge to their status is intended.

Londinium

Londinium is an industrial city that expanded rapidly from a small service-industry town due to rich finds of olueum in underlying geological strata. Oleum is an organic soup of complex metalo-organic molecules that provides cheap starting points for many chemical processes. Londinium expanded rapidly with vast industrial plant built to mine and refine oleum – and to service the needs of the itinerant workforce drawn into the city.
Unfortunately, the oleum beds are all but exhausted and the large Consortia have moved out, leaving behind hectares of decaying industrial infrastructure and those who for one reason or another have been unable to emigrate. Wildcatting on a small scale is still possible. And various unregistered operations process raw oleum into high-value chemical ‘substances’ that are worth a fortune in more civilised societies – all the more valuable because they are completely illegal.
Although a City Authority nominally still exists, real power at ground level in Londinium is held by the assorted street gangs who have carved up the city into small territories, often based around a single street. Skirmishing along the borders of gang territories for control is endemic as gang fortunes wax and wane. Above the street gangs are the ‘Firms’ and their enforcers, who control import and export into the city and own the municipal authorities – such as they are.
Note: this happy set up is based on our fair town of London, it’s gangsters, street gangs and the massive illegal drug trade.
All the rules in the original OHSW book stand unless specifically modified.

Scenario 7 – Protection Racket

Introduction

A group of wildcatters have discovered a forgotten underground storage containing several decabarrels of unprocessed oleum that must have been overlooked when the refinery was abandoned during the Londinium mass riots. They bring one of the semi-derelict refineries on the site back into use.
The local area, Dustville, was a completely depopulated zone of largely burn out buildings and wrecked industrial machinery claimed by no gang so the wildcatters assumed they could operate with impunity. Unfortunately, nowhere in Londinium is completely unoccupied. There is always the odd itinerant passing through for reasons known only to themselves so it was not long before word leaked out to both the Limehouse Collective and the Bright Lane Mob.
Both these street gangs had technically claimed Dustville but it had never been worth fighting for: now it was. The objective is to impress the Wildcatters that your gang can provide security and hence should be paid the usual Protection Money.

Battlefield

The battlefield consists of a dense agglomerate of burnt out buildings and industrial plant, leavened with discarded vehicles barrels and spiced up by the odd uncrossable toxic dump. In the centre, place a large container representing the reactivated refinery. The Limehouse Collective set up within 6” of the southern map edge while the Bright Lane Mob set up within 6” of the northern map edge.

Game Length

The game lasts until an army breaks or is destroyed.

Objective

The objective of each gang is to impress upon the wildcatters that they, and not their opponents, are best placed to protect the vital refinery by keeping potential thieves and vandals away so players get victory points for holding the refinery rather than destroying opponents.
Players get 1 victory point for every ganger within 6” of the refinery at the end of each turn.
The player with the highest number of victory points at the end of the game wins.

Limehouse Collective

The Collective are an all-girl street gang operating in the rundown Limehouse region of Londinium. They have an agreement with the Canning Cartel to supply the Firm with high grade narcotics from Limehouse distilleries.

Motivation: 4

Special Rule: the Collective use chemical stimulants to avoid fatigue – their movement rate is +2

People

Gang Leader
Sonata: tubro-carbine, electric whip, leadership (3)

Enforcers
Poppy: turbo-pistol, leadership (1)
Kalee: two pistols, ambidextrous, leadership (1)
Ash: flamethrower

Gangers
3 X shooters with rifles
3 X fighters with pistols

Cost: 41 points

Weapons
Turbo-Carbine: range 24 inches, 1 shot, AP(1)
A target in hard cover gets only 1 card for defence against a turbo shot: this represents the shot smashing bits off the cover in a blast of ‘shrapnel’.
Turbo-Pistol: range 6 inches, 1 shot AP(1)
A target in hard cover gets only 1 card for defence against a turbo shot: this represents the shot smashing bits off the cover in a blast of ‘shrapnel’.
Pistol: range 6 inches, 1 shot
Rifle: range infinite, 1 shot; range 12 inches 2 shots
Flamethrower: range 6”, automatic knockdown on target model plus draw one card for every model within 3”, ignores cover – one card only for defence
Electro-Whip: (i) range 3 inches, automatic knockdown of target, (ii) in close combat draw one extra card

Skills
Amidextrous: can fire both pistols together at the same target using only one action point. 






Bright Lane Mob

An all-male street gang that hire themselves out as muscle to such Firms as are willing to pay them. The Dustville Job is a step up for the Bright Laners as they are trying to carve a little biz of their own.

Motivation 3

Special Rule: Bright Laners use heavy duty anabolic steroids: the resulting extra muscle mainly allows them to carry and use weapons that are too heavy for normal humans to employ comfortably such as (i) large two handed close combat weapons (wrenches, hammers, axes - LCCW) used one handed and (ii) pistols and carbines firing massive slugs so count as turbo weapons.

Gang Leader
Yellow Eye: Turbo Pistol, LCCW, Tough (1), Leadership (2)

Enforcers
Martini (up for a bust any time, any place, anywhere): Turbo Pistol, Grenades, Tough (1) Leadership (2)
Smacker: AGL, LWCC, Tough (1), Leadership (1)
Shog: Industrial Stapler

Gangers
3 X Shooters with Turbo Revolver Carbines
1 X Basher with Industrial Cutter
2 X Basher with Pistol and LCCW
1 X Basher with Two LCCW

Cost 41 points

Weapons
Turbo-Pistol: range 6 inches, 1 shot AP(1)
A target in hard cover gets only 1 card for defence against a turbo shot: this represents the shot smashing bits off the cover in a blast of ‘shrapnel’.
Turbo Revolver Carbines range 18 inches, 1 shot, AP(1)
A target in hard cover gets only 1 card for defence against a turbo shot: this represents the shot smashing bits off the cover in a blast of ‘shrapnel’. Models within 3 inches are also attacked by ‘shrapnel’, draw one card for the attack, one card for defence. Note that this effect only applies if the original target was in cover and was knocked down.
AGL: range 24 inches, 2 shots, two cards per shot – ricochet rules apply but only for the second shot, if appropriate.
Industrial Stapler: range 9 inches, one shot, ignores cover
Grenade: range 9 inches, one shot, blast radius 2 inches
LCCW: draw one extra card in close combat
Industrial Cutter: two extra resolution cards in close combat.

Skills
Toughness: one extra card drawn when defending against a gun or blast weapon (not the electrowhip)

New Weapon Notes

Guns can be projectile or energy shooting. It is a distinction without a difference in game terms.
All fighters carry ‘shanks’ (blades) of some sort that are simply factored into the close combat rules.
Turbo: some weapons are upgraded by the word ‘turbo’ to indicate that they are heavy duty with Armour Piercing 1. Heavy duty in this sense means that they fire an exceptionally strong burst of energy or a large projectile that might be rocket assisted, discarding sabot dart, or otherwise high velocity, and/or a shaped-charge exploding warhead. A target in hard cover gets only 1 card for defence against a turbo shot: this represents the shot smashing bits off the cover in a blast of ‘shrapnel’.
+1 point cost
Electro Whip: can be used as either a ranged weapon or a close combat weapon.
+1 point cost
Large Close Combat Weapon: one extra resolution card in Close Combat per LCCW.
+1 point cost
Industrial Cutter: two extra resolution cards in close combat.
Plus 2 points


Play-Through


The Bright Lane Mob

I played the Bright Lane Mob while my regular playtester Shaun M. took charge of the Limehouse Collective.

The Mob started by cautiously advancing through the industrial wasteland.

Limehouse Collective Snipers

The Mob were almost immediately picked up on the Wildcatters surveillance cameras and Collective snipers moved into position on the ruined gantries high over the refinery to make use of their rifles' long range.

The area around the refinery had been cleared so gave zero cover. I couldn't win a firefight at long range (or short range come to that) with the Collective so my tactics were for my assault gangers to close as fast as possible while my shooters moved into the open to blast the snipers off their perches.

I was relying on my gangers toughness to protect them in the open, the cover-blasting ability of my turbo-guns, and the close combat strength of my steroid-jacked lads.

Down he goes

This little vignette shows what went wrong with my strategy. Unfortunately, I had overlooked the high mobility of the girls. As my first ganger moved in clutching an industrial cutter Sonata dashed down the ladder, ran across the polluted concrete and smacked him down with her electro-whip. 

And anuvver one

Things went from bad to worse as my next ganger moved in and promptly lost the combat against a slip of a girl with a knife.

A pattern emerged: Sonata knocked them down and then the girl with the knife cut their throats.

The End

Meanwhile, as predicted I lost the firefight and all my gangers legged it after Yellow Eye was knocked down by multiple laser blasts.

Shaun won by Four Points to One

Good Game and it actually took an hour.