Sunday, 3 December 2017

Death Guard Blightlord Terminators

I have a rather large Deathguard army, including a Titan, but somehow never got around to acquiring terminators - so I was pleased to see the release of the Blightlord set.

The models are nice but one thing struck me upon building them. If one compares one of the new terminators (left) with a Deathguard Plague Marine (right), then the relative lack of stature of the termies is clear. By making plague marines so big, GW may have created something of a problem for themselves. Their terminator equivalents look a bit unimpressive, somehow, in comparison.

And here is the full set.

This laddie comes with his own muckspreader.

The squad leader with combi-weapon and plague sword. He is a bit on the fly-blown side.

Another chance to see, showing his best side for a close up.

This guy has come over all steam-punkery.

I love the cape on Lord Zorro the blubberback.

And it's goodbye from them.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Thursday, 23 November 2017

A Soviet Steamroller? The Soviet 9th Guards Mechanised

The release of documents to historians after the fall of the Soviet Union has given a new insight into The Eastern Front in WWII. It turns out that German General's memoirs written after the war for their new NATO allies were about as reliable as official publications of the Russian Communist Party.

The image given by said general is of supremely capable German Divisions of √úbermensch slaying all around them but being swamped by a sea of Untermenschen, like hosts of mice bringing down elephants. But how real was this?

Well, the Soviet 9th Guards Mechanised Corps was ordered to concentrate on the 4th January, 1945, to break through the German Hungarian defences in a night attack in the fighting around Budapest and then to exploit deeper in axis territory to capture key points.

The heart of a Red Army Mechanised Corps were its three mechanised brigades, and its single tank brigade – note that a Soviet Corps is closer in strength to a western division.  The paper strength of a mechanised Corps in 44/45 was:
246 Armoured Fighting Vehicles (183 T-34, 21 SU-76, 21 ISU-122, 21 ISU-152)
16,438 personnel: about 6,500 infantry in nine motorised rifle battalions and a single tank rider battalion
3 Tank Regiments and 3 Tank Battalions
9 Motorised Rifle Battalions and 1 Motorised Submachine Gun Battalion
3 Motorised Artillery Battalions

Given that Budapest was a key theatre of war, and the 9th was to spearhead this attack, one might expect the Corps to be close to paper strength, and possibly even reinforced above paper strength – yes?

Well this was its actual tank/infantry composition for the battle:
18th Guards Mechanised Brigade: 3 Shermans, 6 Valentines, 3 SU76 SPGs and 620 infantry
30th Guards Mechanised Brigade: 2 Shermans, 2 Valentines and 45 infantry
31st Guards Mechanised Brigade with: 14 Shermans, 4 Valentines, 2 SU76 SPGS and 420 infantry
46th Guards Tank Brigade: with 29 Shermans and 91 infantry
14th Guards Motorcycle Battalion: 3 Shermans, 1 SU76 SPG, and 118 infantry
31st Guards Engineers Battalion: 260 infantry
15th Guards Signals: 2 Shermans
Grand Total: 63 tanks, 6 SPGs, and 1554 infantry
And this was a reinforced break-through unit.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Warlord Games African Warriors

I needed some general-purpose, late nineteenth century African Warriors to test a scenario for the new Skirmish book  am currently writing for Pen & Sword so I bought one sprue each from Warlord Games' Natal, Zulu-married and Zulu-unmarried ranges to get a nice mix.

They sell these as one offs without bases at shows and on eBay for the princely sum of £2 a piece - which is a great deal by anyone's reckoning.

The photo above shows spear and shield armed warriors.

Another photo showing warriors with various firearms.

Wargamers for both artistic and entirely practical reasons do like any army/regiment to have a unified style that defines it as distinct from other armies/regiments on the table: GW are masters at this. But photos of African warriors from various armies in the field, as opposed to in dress regalia, suggest they were neither uniform nor necessarily particularly distinct so it is not entirely unrealistic to use a mixed appearance, general purpose force as a money-saving fudge.

Except for artistic and practical purposes of course.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Adeptus Mechanicus Galvanic Servohauler 2 - Mobile Crane

This is a a great model of a crane on a rotating platform attached to what looks like a railway wagon low loader. I chose to attach the claw to the end of the chain as being more 'Grimdark' but a standard hook is also supplied.

The Techpriest is there purely to show scale but the fire extinguisher and toolbox come with the kit.

I glued the fire extinguisher onto a corner of the bogie.

I can see this looking good in a Steampunk or Weird World War II setting.

This whole kit set is great value for £25.

Highly recommended.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Adeptus Mechanicus Tractors - err - Galvanic Servohaulers

Adeptus Mechanicus Tractors from the Galvanic Servohauler Box.

These are great kits with a limited degree of exchangeable bits, although I have to say they look best the way you are supposed to construct them according to the plan.

They are easy to put together and chunky and tough so very robust to play usage.

The back of the small tractor cries out for a rear platform and enginseer or servitor to be added as a controller.

The full boxed set is great value at about Twenty Five of our Brexit Pounds.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Dark Ages and Britain's Rivers

I have just had accepted a Dark Age Hail Caeser supplement by those delightful if somewhat crazed chaps at Warlord Games.

It struck me when I wrote the book how important the waterways were in Dark Age Britain. One is struck by how many battles took place near rivers, probably for reasons of logistics and navigation.

But it goes deeper; the kingdoms formed in river basins and of you ignore the rivers and draw imaginary lines between them from coast to coast then you start to see the shadowy outlines of the kingdoms themselves.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Infinity Engine's V(ictoria) 2 Secret Weapon

Infinity Engine were back at SELWG.

Their display always looks great with unusual brightly painted Wellsian and Fantasy miniatures.

I was taken with their new Steampunk missile launcher and bought the first one they have ever sold!

And here it is sitting in the low sun of a Martian summer - other wise known as my lounge carpet.

Production is decent with just a few rough bits to sand and air holes to fill. I strongly recommend cleaning thoroughly before painting. I didn't which gave me issues at the primer stage.

I modelled it with the rocket loose as if it's at the point of being fired with the arms swinging away - that way I can get the missile off during a game.

You can buy one here.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Hawk goes under, TTC is their White Knight.

The clearout amongst the small wargame manufacturers continues. The latest victim is Hawk who produced Drop Zone Commander.

Their Dropfleet Commander Kickstarter ran into serious trouble with many complaints about late and undelivered pledges.

Hawk follows the pattern set by Spartan of a retailer buying a manufacturer, in that the company has been acquired by Troll Trader down in St Columb Major. As an aside, being a Newquay boy, I used to go hurling in  St Columb.

Spartan Kickstarter backers lost their money when the company went under.  The situation at Hawk looks more hopeful...

This was just posted on Kickstarter:

'Hawk Wargames Creator about 3 hours ago
Hi everyone! Lewis here from TTC. I'm having a read through the comments and updates. I'm here to answer some questions. I don't have ALL the information at the moment (things are rather hectic here!), but as the dust settles I'll know more.
@OldNick: It's true!
@Nick (new Nick?): Hi! I'm communicating! We try to stay on top of things with our customers. Transparency is key, especially in a time like this. Hopefully once our production and distribution facilities get DZC and DFC up and running we'll all see an uptake of interest in the games, and stores can finally keep product in stock!
@Thierry: DZC 2.0 is getting pushed back a bit. The rules I think are all done and ready, but with all the upheaval we'd rather launch it properly, and get everyone's DFC stuff to them first before galloping ahead.
@Draccan: I think he'll have a personal note published soon.
@Andrew: Yep! And the credits will be usable on the TTCombat webstore once all the Hawk products are listed. You'll be able to use them on Hawk products or TTC products.
@Michael: Oh umm... yeah. What you said. :D'

I have a copy of Dropfleet Commander. It's a good Andy Chambers design so it works.

Here's hoping.

Death Guard, The Flyblown, Flylord

Meet the Flylord, leader of the Flyblown, my unit of Blightlord Terminators.

He has been well 'blessed' by Nurgle for his devotion to the cause of entropy.

A sword crackling with rust and the power of Nurgle.

Combi bolter.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

New 40K Army: Adeptus Mechanicus

To celebrate the arrival of a playable version of 40K, I decided to paint a new army. My family gave me an Adeptus Mechanicus starter set for my birthday. As a STEM person, I have always had a hankering to the theocratic engineers.

The starter pack includes an HQ character, the Dominus. This is a great model which would appeal to steampunk gamers as well as 40K-ers.

The troop choice in the set is ten Skitari figures that can be built as Rangers or Vanguard. I liked the look of the Rangers. I tried to give them coherent weapons, fluff wise, rather than an optimum gamer mix, as you get quite a choice.

And finally the heavy support in the set, a Dune Crawler. Again there is a wide range of weaponry available but I decided on the AA version with a general purpose Icarus weapon system.

I bought an additional set of heavy battle servitors to act as a bodyguard for my Dominus, as per the fluff.

Again, I went for a weapon system that supported army coherence without worrying about optimum gaming strategy.

A view showing the engine mix. These are great models and the set is great value for money.

I've had this somewhat knackered metal Tech Priest for at least a decade. He was a stalwart of my Imperial Guard.

Four old metal servitors from the same era.

These are OOP 'Iron Brotherhood' figures that I bought years ago because I thought they looked cool. I believe MicroArts (?) made them. I have never used them but now they make a nice alternative servitor unit.

And finally, the whole army in all its glory: it makes up about 40 PPs so is fine for small games or as a detachment in big multiplayer ones.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Kings of War - Dwarves v Spidergrots

Some while back I played a game of KoW against well known author, competition gamer and man about town - Dr Simon Elliott - in his war bunker.

Can't remember who won now but I know it was close.

You always get a good game with Mantic's Kings of War.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Review Adeptus Mechanicus Dunewalker

The Business End

I really didn't like the look of the photos of the Dunewalker when it first came out but when I actually got to see one I found that I liked the real thing a whole lot more. I was fortunate to be given a starter set for my birthday.

Rear Threequarter View

It is one of those new highly detailed kits that I suppose date back to when GW deluded themselves that their main market was modellers rather than wargamers. In fact it is over-engineered for a wargame model, but that is a not uncommon problem with kit manufacturers these days.

Showing The Icarus Weapon System

The legs, for example, have a number of joints which one is advised not to glue, which does make for a very posable model. But it also results in it collapsing in a heap like a dead spider so one ends up gluing the joints in position one by one after the event. Some of the detail is a pain to put together - the tiny rods connecting the turret rail to the turret for example. Also there are some very delicate bits of plastic that are unlikely to survive long.

Come In No. 74, Your Time Is Up

Nevertheless, the finished product looks very nice indeed and there is quite a choice of weapons and equipment for those who must have one of everything.

The Radiation Doomed Crewman

The Dunewalker comes with a base which I chose not to use as it is rather large to decorate
and the model really doesn't need one.

Recommended: but be patient with all the small components.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Civil War In Ruralshire

Ye Ruralshire Echo

Fighting Breaks Out In Ruralshire

 by our own Royal correspondent - Lunchtime O'Cider

Upon hearing that Prince Rupert was leading the Royal Army was marching down the London Road, the Parliamentary host under Milord of Essex ventured out beyond Emtyfive Lane to impede their entry into the city.

Essex took up a strong position on a ridge to the east of the village of Muckspreader. Price Rupert deployed his army on a similar ridge adjacent to the hamlet and the two sides exchanged insults and the occasional ball.

The two commanders could be seen riding out to their cavalry on each wing, waving their arms and delivering stirring speeches, but the aforesaid cavalry refused to move.

The parliamentary cannon were usefully engaged bombarding the village, where it was later reported that they killed two chickens and a pig belonging to Parson Noseworthy, when unhappily one of their balls went astray and caused divers wounds to a company of Royal Horse, believed to be the King's Own Waterboys. Said company immediately retired from the field at a brisk gallop.

On the Royal right wing the horse, hearing the sound of galloping, mo doubt assumed that their left was charging so they charged too. Twas a stirring sight to see the parliamentary horse countercharge in response. The thunder of hooves and clash of arms fair made your correspondent spill his refreshment in excitement.

One of the Parliamentary company of horse retreated behind the foot, closely followed by the Cavaliers but the other pushed back the Royalist horse despite the being supported by curassiers.

With high spirits ye Roundheads charged into ye foe who flee.

After some confused milling about behind the line, ye Cavaliers retreated followed by our Roundhead troopers [A - a blue marker indicates a blown unit] but neither seemed keen to continue the fray.

Prince Rupert personally lead the charge of the Royalist troopers against the exhausted Roundeads [B - note blue marker].

And a fine sight they made, polished armour flashing in the sunshine. Indeed, they made just as fine a sight as they promptly u-turned and retired from the field.

A friend of  Rupert reported that the prince was 'disappointed' by his horses' performance.

On ye right flank absolutely nothing moved until the King's entire army departed.

'Tis your humble scribe's opinion that although  Parliament was left in possession of the field celebrating a victory that the issue had not been decided. I predict more trouble to come.

The troops were 25mm minifigs belonging to my friend Shaun and we used Warlord Games Pike & Shot rules by Steve Morgan.