Wednesday, 5 December 2012

A BIG announcement: Forming the Asia-Pacific Dust League/Club

It's official, I'll be starting the Asia-Pacific Dust League here in Hong Kong. To start, for the first 6-9 months, we will be running monthly Dust days with different themes (Desert War, Eastern Front, Western Europe and when the miniatures are finally released, the American front. We will game Giant Walker and tank battles, Air war).

The club will be able to provide a large number of miniatures and models to members. If you're in Asia and plan to visit Hong Kong, please look us up!

Monday, 8 October 2012

Dust Tactics AAR: Recon in Force

The game was the very first game of Dust Tactics attempted by Tom and me, we wanted to iron out any questions and get a good feel of the rules before embarking on a larger scenario.

The AAR is told from the Allies perspective because I was playing the Allies.

The mission was simple, reconnoitre the area for suspected Axis activity, a part of town with a small, one storey building, like a hundred other towns and a thousand other buildings he had seen since signing up to make a difference in the war effort.

The Allies had the 'Death Dealers' squad, a Ranger team with a light machine gun and a Bazooka which could take the fight to anything the Axis might throw at them and the light walker 'Blackhawk' for extra anti-armour support.

The Axis chose the 'Sturmpioneer' squad and the Hans walker.

Turn 1:
The Sergeant gave the signal for the squad to hold, as they monitored an Axis patrol of Sturmpioneer moving to the left of the building. The sergeant signalled for the Blackhawk walker to take up an ambush position to the right of the building behind cover.

The Sergeant watched in horror as the Hans walker moving much more quickly than he had expected any Axis walker to be able to do, outflank the unsuspecting Blackhawk and blow it to smithereens with a well aimed one shot.

Realising his blunder, he ordered his men to make a break for the building, moving into the area, his squad stayed out of sight from the Axis walker's deadly rockets, he fired into the Sturmpioneer squad, effective rifle and MG fire reduced the Axis squad to three men.

Turn 2: 
The Sturmpioneer opened fire, a stray bullet went through Pvt. Kowalski's helmet, killing him instantly. The Death Dealers returned fire, killing the rest of the Axis squad. The pilot to the Hans walker stepped back and took up a position to fire on the Rangers.

Turn 3:
The Rangers rush into the building, thankful for the protection the building brought from the walker outside. Without their supporting mech, they had to rely on their Bazooka. The Hans fires a rocket into the building but with no effect.

Turn 4: 
The Rangers pop out and snapshot with the Bazooka, the Hans explodes as the other Rangers cheer. The Sergeant breathes a sigh or relief as he and his men live to fight another day.

Apologies, I only remembered to take a photo AFTER the game had ended.

My Thoughts & Two Cents
The game was great fun, short and deadly for both sides. I won initiative but let Tom go first, I wanted to see where he would deploy his walker but he deployed his Sturmpioneers first, I didn't want to give the game away that I had planned for my Rangers to rush the building in the centre, so I moved the Blackhawk to what I thought was a safe position.

Completely forgetting that the Hans had 'Scout ability', it rushed onto the battlefield and fired one rocket (One roll, one hit, one dead Allied walker!)

Fortunately for me, two good rounds of shooting followed and I was able to wipe out the Sturmpioneer before they could do too much damage. The game of 'cat and mouse' between the Rangers and the Axis walker made for two tense rounds, the hard cover from inside the building kept the boy alive for long enough to get a good shot on the walker.

The Death Dealers are great, the LMG combined with rifles means a good round of shooting will neutralise an enemy infantry squad. While the Bazooka makes the team self-sufficient and able to cause problems for enemy walkers that get too close.

The Hans is definitely nasty and a game changer, the fact that it can rush onto the Battlefield with its scout ability will take your opponents by surprise!

Up Next and Coming Soon... My thoughts on the rules and the AAR to the second game!

Monday, 24 September 2012

Dust Tactics Rev. Core Set (Prem. Ed.): Allies Review

What's in the Box (Allies Miniatures)?
The Allies miniatures add up to 128 points out of the box.
Compared to the Axis miniatures, only the hero Rhino, the Hammers and the Blackhawk mech, can really be considered to be unique to the revised core set, the rest are modified Inf. 2 units that are already available as expansions

Rhino (Inf. 3 hero armed with a jump pack and 'Rocket punch') and 'The Hammers' (Inf. 3 jump troops also with rocket punch), they are pure close combat troops and can do a lot of damage up close and personal, with the potential ability to destroy any hapless infantry squads and enemy mechs that lack anti-infantry weapons. (Out of the box, I would send them after the Laser Grenadiers). Rhino like all heros paired up with squads will add his number of wounds to the squad, making them much more resilient.  

The Death Dealers consist of five Inf 2. soldiers, they are essentially a Recon boys unit with a Bazooka added to the squad while keeping its MG. This is a a great unit to form the backbone of an allied army allowing it to deal with anything and everything the enemy can send their way. But as a 'jack of all trades' unit, they are a master of none and can potentially be overwhelmed by a massed infantry assault or heavier mechs who can shrug off the bazooka. Out of the box, they would do well pairing up with the Blackhawk, benefiting from using the mech as cover while providing longer range fire and protection for the short ranged light mech while it closes on heavy mechs or dug in infanty positions.

The Hellboys, are an Inf 2 squad with 2 flamers and 3 shotguns, they are great for holding objectives especially if supported by something that could whittle down incoming troops from a distance. i.e. The Pounder Medium mech. The fact that they have two flamers and 3 shotguns also make them the perfect squad for dealing with units like zombies and gorillas. 

The Blackhawk is a Walker 3, it's a nice and cheap all-rounder mech with accurate weapons (You get to roll lots of dice increasing the chances of hitting) that can damaged anything on the field (and on a good roll, destroy anything on the field). It is unfortunately severely limited by a range of only two squares. Like I said, I would pair it off with the Death Dealer infantry squad. 

Dust Tactics Rev. Core Set (Prem. Ed.): Axis Review

What's in the box (Axis Miniatures)?

The Axis miniatures total up to 127 points out of the box.
All the Axis miniatures, more so than the Allied forces, can be said to be unique and limited to the Revised Core set. You can't buy any of them separately from the shops as individual units, but you can find them on eBay.

Lara is an Inf.(3) hero(ine) armed with massive MG's, her weapons mainly allows her to deal with infantry hordes and gives her the ability to deal with any light aircraft. As an Inf. (3) heroine, she can join any Inf. (3) unit at the start of the game, as a hero she will add her wounds to the unit and add to their survivability on the field of battle. However, as mentioned in the other blog post, she is my 'all but one', a combination of issues, mainly to do with how her head is sculpted, (With the massive forehead, she looks like Peter Weller in Robocop!) as well as the lack of detailing in the gap between her torso and legs, the figure looks a little off, especially when you compare her with what's in the rest of the box.

The Heavy Flak Grenadiers, heavily armoured troops armed with Rocket launchers make them an ideal Anti-tank hunter-killer team, stalking enemy walkers or holding flanks and objectives by making the enemy commander think twice about moving walkers and aircraft towards them. They're beautifully painted and there's lots of detailing and shading on these figures making them 'better than what I can do' and justifying the painting costs.

The Heavy Laser Grenadiers like all 'experimental technology' troops in the game (Phaser armed Allied troops and Tesla weapon armed SSU units), have the potential to be game changers and game winners or incredibly frustrating. They have the potential to take out walkers and heavy troops dug in behind cover (Laser weapons ignore cover)

Out of all the troops, these capture my imagination the most. They're beautifully painted, look incredibly sinister and let's face it, they're armed with friggin' laser cannons!

They will definitely have a place in any army list I make!

The Sturmpioniere, are Inf. (2), they are one of many types of the PBI in the Dust universe and will form a backbone of any army, what make them special and different from other Dust units is the flamethrower. Apart from the Axis hero Stefan, Axis Inf. (2) troops don't have access to flamethrowers. However, as far as the makeup and miniatures go, it is basically a Recon Grenadier squad with its MG replaced with a Flamethrower. I would use them to hold objectives or escort the Light Walker that is in the box, as the walker lacks Anti-infantry capabilities. The 3 Panzerfausts that it carries will also give enemy walkers problems.

Hans is the centrepiece, it's a Light Walker, so it doesn't have a lot of wounds, the range of its weapons are relaively short and it's not very well protected, an enemy Inf. 2 team with a few anti-tank rockets would be able to take it out. However, this walker carries a very heavy punch with one of its rockets capable of knocking out any enemy walkers with one good accurate shot!

Also, this walker is incredibly well painted with some great battle damage and faux 'peeling/ bubbling paint/ rust' effect added to the body of the walker!

There's some really great stuff for the Axis side in the Revised Core set, anti-armour units, anti-air assets, a hero capable of taking on a few infantry squads by herself, a very interesting and nasty walker and heavy infantry unit that could change the game with a few god rolls, but it's far from a complete army. It's a great introductory set and everything here will be useful to most Axis commanders, but you will need to invest in a few boxes of PBI and a Medium Walker or two give the army more survivability and flexibility.

Dust Tactics Rev. Core Set: A General Review

I have decided to split my review of the Dust Tactics Revised Core Edition boxset into 4 parts (The general review that you're now reading. Two separate reviews into the Axis and Allies miniatures and a review into the rules after a few games have been played). This first part will deal a bit more with issues that might be on the mind of those who are thinking about buying into Dust Tactics or Dust Warfare and my thoughts into the game and the system as a whole.

Two things should be said: Firstly, Paolo Parente's DUST universe was first introduced to me back in 2007 through my friend's purchase of the Dust boardgame, I didn't get to play it, although the mecha and 'tank girl' inspired stylings interested me, the fact that is came across as a Sci-fi version of Risk meant I acknowledged it as something interesting, but not my type of game.

Secondly, since moving on from GW games, I have played what can mostly be described as 'indie miniature games'. Rulesets developed by creative individuals like: Arty Conliffe's Crossfire, Geezers Shut it! and Ambush Alley/ Force on Force/ Tomorrow's War, Phil Barker's DBMM/ DBR. I also dabbled in Flames of War before it became a juggernaut, I now use my FoW collection for Crossfire. Most of the games I enjoy, for the most part require individual and separate sourcing of miniatures online. Allowing me to pick and choose what I'd like to go into my games. Apart from Geezers, FoW and the odd 'boardgame with miniatures' like Hour of Glory and Space Hulk, I really haven't bought into a ruleset with a dedicated line of miniatures.

One of my friends based in the UK had started to collect Dust tactics, but being in HK I wasn't going to collect a bunch of new toys for the occasional game when he came out to HK. Then my local HK gaming buddies start to talk about it, about the gorgeous giant mechs and a few demo games being run at the LGS, but again I try to ignore it because I really, really shouldn't spend another chunk of change on a new game.

Back in August, I go into my LGS  to pick up a few pots of Badab black and Devlin mud before they run out. I decide to have a look at the Dust Premium Edition, put there to try and drive up interest and orders. Long story short, I was hit with shiny new thing syndrome and I am drawn back into the world of 'plastic crack', I placed my order for a pre-painted Premium boxset, justifying it as a one off out of the box game like Space Hulk and Hour of Glory that can be played over a rainy Sunday afternoon and that I can use the miniatures and 3D buildings for Tomorrow's War and other Sci-fi systems.

So yesterday evening, I went down to my LGS to pick up my box of goodies, having spent the morning and afternoon painting some Recon Grenadiers I had picked up from the Book Depository.

The miniatures were just begging to be reviewed and blogged about and I have dedicated two separate blog posts!

What's in the box?

As the LGS took their sweet time in placng their order, I spent a few weeks talking to my friend Russ and researching online about Dust Tactics and what else I needed to turn the starter armies into a more cohearent force. But what was difficult was finding a single site telling me what was already in the starter set and what they were, so I have taken it upon myself to fill that gap.

  1. An LP sized rulebook containing the basic rules and additional rules that can be found in the Operation Cyclone and Operation Sealowe expansions. The additional rules from Operation Zverograd and Operation Cerberus can be found online on the FFG website, the scenarios for obvious reasons have been removed.
  2. An LP sized scenario book called 'Victory Bridge' which contains 6 scenarios.
  3. The miniatures; I would say all but one (more on that later) of these figures are beautifully painted, the walkers (mechs) are done to a really high standard and the troops are done to a wargaming standard. Beyond what we saw with the AT-43 and Battlefield Evolution line of pre-painted miniatures.

    • The Axis miniatures add up to 127 points: Lara (Inf.3 heroine armed with Machine guns); Heavy Flak Grenadiers (Inf 3. with rockets, good for anti-aircraft and anti-tank); Heavy Laser Grenadiers (Inf 3. with Laser cannons, good for anti-tank and anti-heavy infantry or anything dug in behind cover); Sturmpionere (Inf 2, PBI (Poor Bloody Infantry) with rifles, they carry 3x single use anti-tank Panzerfausts and a flamethrower, the flamethrower's good for assaulting heavy units and allows the unit, along with its Panzerfausts to take out armoured units) and Hans (Walker(3) with some great anti-tank weapons that can change the game and take up mechs way above its weightclass, but unfortunately is extremely limited in its range.).
    • The Allied miniatures add up to 128 points: Rhino (Inf. 3 hero armed with a jump pack and 'Rocket punch') is 'born' to lead 'The Hammers' (Inf. 3 jump troops also with rocket punch, they are pure close combat troops and can do a lot of damage up close and personal, can potentially destroy hapless infantry squads and even enemy mechs.). The Death Dealers (Inf 2 PBI, 5 soldiers, one armed with a MG and one armed with a Bazooka, a very nice backbone unit that can deal with anything and everything.) and Hellboys, (Inf 2 squad with 2 flamers and 3 shotguns, great for holding objectives especially if supported by something that could whittle down incoming troops from a distance. The perfect squad for dealing with zombies and Gorillas). The Blackhawk (Walker 3, nice and cheap all-rounder mech which is unfortunately severely limited by range).

  4. Some 3D terrain pieces in the form of two giant tank traps and some ammo crates
  5. A double sided terrain poster, basically, 'the board' and a collection of cardboard tiles to change the terrain makeup of the posters.
  6. 8 dice for the game and an odd little plastic token that says 'Loaded' on one side.
Like I said, I justified the purchase of the boxset originally as a one off out of the box game like Space Hulk and Hour of Glory that can be played over a rainy Sunday afternoon and that I can use the miniatures and 3D buildings for Tomorrow's War and other Sci-fi systems and I will review the game based on these criteria.

Is it a complete game out of the box?
With Christmas another 3 months away, this may be a consideration for many parents/ grandparents out there. So, for the lay person, yes, the miniatures are already pre-assembled and ready to paint in the basic edition or pre-painted in the premium edition. The box comes with everything you need to start playing (Rules, scenarios, dice, terrain (Well, the poster map) and miniatures) on Christmas morning once you've put the wrapping paper in the bin and cleaned up the dining room table. 

For the more experienced gamer who knows his D6 from his drybrush, no. You can have lots of fun with these miniatures and get a good taste of the game, but there are balancing issues. Out of the box, the Allies are extremely good at close combat and when they get within 1 square of the Axis, they can cause a lot of damage. But they are crying out for something to provide covering fire from afar as they close in. You will find yourself wanting/ needing to buy more troops at some point, which is probably the idea in the first place!

The revised core set is like the difficult second album that fails to live up to lofty expectations set by its predecessor. There's no denying that the bigger 'original' core set that was released in 2010 is a better bargain and a more balanced set with four medium walkers (2 per side), 6 squads of PBI and 2 heroes. (It's still available here and there online or at your local hobby store.) 
But the revised core set does the job it's supposed to, introduce the gamer to the Dust universe and allow the gamer to have fun and want to buy more toy soldiers to add to his or her collection.

Can you play it over a rainy Sunday afternoon?
Yes, Dust tactics is a quick game, the rules are simple and a game can be played over an hour with an entire campaign done over an afternoon.

Can you use it for other game systems? i.e. Tomorrow's War
Yes definitely, with a wide range of troops varying from Inf. 2 groundpounders to Inf. 3 in power armour and 3 obvious classes of mechs and things like armored transport, Helos and flyers on its way, the miniatures can easily be adapted for Tomorrow's War or any other Sci-fi game.

The 3D tenement blocks are also a great cheap source of 28mm buildings for urban warfare.

For my thoughts on the miniatures themselves, please see the other, later reviews!

Monday, 27 August 2012

Geezers Shut it! Scenario: Means to an end

The idea from the previous post had some positive feedback on the Geezers, Shut it! Yahoo group, (Special thanks to John Daley for the name of the scenario!) so here's a rough idea for anyone looking to have a game based on the previous post. I am making use of  what I have available in my collection:

Terrain setup is relatively simple:
A 4x4 foot with a big two storey manor house in the middle, the manor house is surrounded by a garden, lots of trees for cover, big marble flowerbeds and pots for the troops to hide behind. A Roller or Jag parked in the driveway along with a truck for the troops and a gardener's shed. (Think the end game in the first Beverley Hills Cop).

The Baddies consist of:

Lord Mountbatten
Lord Mountbatten's Aide De Camp
FOUR MI5 rogue agents
THREE thugs/ muscle seen previously doing all the heavy lifting.

The MI5 agents and Lord Mountbatten must escape off the table. His ADC and any Mercs will stay behind to cover their escape. 

CI5 will have:
TWO Top Geezers:
Riding in their trusty Ford Capri.

FOUR CI5 agents:
Riding in a Land Rover.

All CI5 agents have radios and are wearing body armour.

Here are a few extra rules to make things interesting:

  1. Lord Mountbatten is a member of the Royal family, he's a war hero and we're not entirely sure of his involvement in this sordid affair, under no circumstances is he to be fired upon! (Yes, even if he shoots at you!): No shooting at the Lord, if going into rough stuff, characters will only get bonuses from their stats (assumed to be Martial Arts training ), so no weapons allowed.
  2. Possibly have FIVE MI5 agents and make one of them an Undercover CI5 man.
  3. In the 'Word on the street' phase, don't deduct each others' troops. Instead, the baddies get a truckload of 'Private army mercs' armed with semi-automatic rifles. They arrive on D6+1 turns.
  4. The good guys get the boys from Hereford flying in via. helicopter. Not too many of them, maximum FIVE, but they will be well armed and extremely dangerous. They arrive on D3+2 turns.

I will dig up some stats from **REDACTED** I received from the Guv'nor a while back, towards the end of the week (Probably Thursday/ Friday) when work calms down a bit.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

A scenario idea: The Mountbatten Coup

Apologies for a long absence!

Here's a scenario idea inspired by a discussion between Craig Rowlings of Kiler B games and John Daley on the Geezers Shut it! Yahoo discussion group.

The discussion of the alleged Mountbatten plot came up and I thought it would be an easy translation into a 28mm game!  

Scene: A hill overlooking a country estate, two young men, one with short dark hair (Bodie) another with curly dark hair (Doyle). Doyle is sitting in the car, a Mk 3 Ford Capri, looking through a camera fitted with a giant telescopic lens. Bodie is standing outside the driver's side of the car with a pair of army issue binoculars, he is wearing a shoulder holster.

Bodie: This was supposed to be our day off.
Doyle: Yes, but I don't think he really cares about that.
Bodie: So what are we supposed to be looking for?
Doyle: Anything suspicious
Bodie: And what does that look like?
Doyle: I dunno... suspicious...
**Bodie rolls his eyes**
Bodie: You can tell you were a copper.
Doyle: Look, he didn't say much, just that all CI5 agents have their leave cancelled and that he is in an emergency meeting in Whitehall and we are to survey this estate and report back anything suspicious.
Bodie: You think one of the royals are being indiscreet? We could sell the photos and make millions, quit this lark.
**Doyle grins**

A truck pulls up outside the manor, two large, mean looking chaps jump out of the back and unload several large crates and boxes. 

Bodie: Well that looks suspicious

Doyle:  starts to take pictures. One of the workers slip and a crate crashes into the ground, several rocket launchers tumble out.

Bodie: What do you think Mr. Detective?
Doyle: Unless they're hunting a massive fox, that certainly looks suspicious.

Bodie grabs his radio

Bodie: This is Three-Seven, tell Mr. Cowley that we've just spotted something suspicious, very suspicious!

**Cue the music**

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Geezers Royale: Seven minutes to midnight

Good evening, the man you are looking at is Jacque-Jean Nemard,
a millionaire industrialist and financier to the nefarious organization H.A.R.M. He has recently stolen from this country, a specimen of a new and lethal chemical weapon- Drago and kidnapped the world renowned Biochemist, Dr. Fleming.

He is holding London to ransom for £10 million pounds. Unless his demands are met, he plans to fire rockets containing the deadly toxin into London, Liverpool and Birmingham.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to infiltrate Nemard's island base, stop the launch of the Drago missiles and rescue Dr. Fleming.

As always, should you or any member of your UNITY force be caught or killed, the Minister will disavow any knowledge of your actions.

This message will self-destruct in five seconds.


Ever since I bought my copy of 'Geezers, Shut it!' and the release of the Kiss, Kiss, Bang Bang range from Artizan Designs and Copplestone Castings, I've taken an interest in the advertisement promising the release of 'Geezers Royale', after bugging Craig from Killer B games for a year or so, he has very kindly sent me an advanced copy of the rules to run a playtest session with.

As it stands, I plan to run the game with 6 people at the HKSW AGM on the 19th May with a range of 28mm miniatures from Killer B games, Warm Acre, Artizan Designs, Copplestone Castings, Forlorn Hope, Eureka,  Urban Beat miniatures and The Assault Group.

The volcano base will be designed using the base design rules contained in Geezers Royale, the Nefarious organization H.A.R.M will be split into 3 groups:

1) The Evil mastermind, Jacque-Jean Nemard and his No. 2 commanding a private army of minions;
2) The Deadly Irish Assassins backed up by a former KGB Colonel and his team of Spetznaz mercenaries;
3) Femme fatales, Ivana Desire and Lotta Totti and their deadly fembots.

UNITY will also have 3 teams:

1) British MI-6 agent Sir Atherton Smythe;
2) CIA agent Verity Flexible both will be supported by a group of Royal Marine Commandos
3) SAS commander Major Price and his SAS detachment were captured in an earlier operation and are being held hostage, they will need to be rescued or will need to break out of their cell to participate. (In anticipation of any late-comers).

The famous mini-Gryocopter 'Little Nellie' will make a special appearance along with several other surprises [As long as I can get them painted up before the 19th!].

Thursday, 12 April 2012

How to take decent pictures of your miniatures with your camera phone

For anyone who looks at my blog, I would say 99% of my photos on here are taken with my iPhone (How did I ever survive without this gadget?!), the quality is never as great as it could or should be, and there are more saved on my phone that are too blurry, grainy or fuzzy to publish, but until someone releases a decent reasonably priced camera with an application that allows you to upload photos with the touch of a button, I think like many other gamers and miniature painters, we will stick with photographing our little soldiers with our camera phones.

For those of you who are like me, here's a great little guide on how to take great pictures of miniatures with your camera phone here

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Painting: And it was all yellow! A catalogue on a disaster that turned out fairly well in the end

A sneak peak of what I've been up to over Easter...
After a successful Pirates game on Easter Saturday, I was knocked down with a nasty cold/ flu bug that ensured I was bedridden/ homebound for Easter Sunday and Monday, leaving me with nothing to do except paint and rewatch Burn Notice and inspiring myself to getting some spies painted. [I also watched Sharpe's Waterloo while painting these while humming o'er the hills and far away (Great song!). NO! I refuse to sink time and money into 28mm Napoleonics!!!]

Anyway, I digress... Before being distracted by Pirates, I had ordered and prepped these lovely Henchmen by Artizan Designs from North Star Miniatures, I was picking up one of everything from the Urban Beat Miniatures range (you can see them in the background) just before they were purchased by another company and taken offline (Lucky Break!).

The colour scheme of the henchmen is mostly based on what is on the Artizan website, although it was pretty much what I had in my head to start with, as they will follow the colour scheme on the minion hierarchy in the absolutely fantastic videogame Evil Genius.

So there will be some tougher guards, complete with body armour painted in a red, orange and brown colour scheme.

The MI-6 agent in the foreground was the miniature I painted between layers of yellow (The story continues below the photo). 

Any GW player with an Imperial Fists army or anyone who has ever painted a 30 years war Swedish Infantry unit will feel the pain that was to come, which I hadn't realised I was entering as I undercoated the miniatures in Tamiya Grey Surface Primer between sniffles...

Having been spoilt witn Vallejo whites that would cover black undercoats in one layer, I had assumed that this would be a lazy and simple exercise, after seeing the streaky mess that stared back at me after my first attempt, I soon realised it would take a lot of time and many, many thin layers of GW Golden yellow I would need to apply.

[I checked the online forums after the initial disaster, a few painters who used GW paints pointed out that the best solution for painting yellow would be 1. A white undercoat 2. A basecoat of  Citadel's foundation paint: 'Iyanden Darksun' and then many thin layers.]

Being too sick (and too lazy) to take a 15min ride into WanChai to pick up the foundation paints, I decided to just lazily layer on the coats while watching TV and painting other miniatures. So I began working on the 'not-James Bond' miniature while watching TV and eventually they turned out quite well, once the other detailing and flesh was coloured in.

The lesson learned for me here is that while things might look terrible on the first coat, if you follow the techniques and advice from the many master painters on the web, and if things still look dreadful, paint in the details, the webbing, pistols and fleshy parts to allow your miniature to look more complete and things will begin to take shape! Oh and thin coats... really thin coats and patience make a lot of difference, something didn't quite realise at the age of 13, but now make more sense at 28.  

Painting: The new Citadel paints

We all make fun of GW being the big bad corporate monster of the wargaming world, but then a lot of us started with GW games when we were young, and they do occasionally make a product that I still want to play. (Space Hulk, Dreadfleet is definitely something I want to look at and I've been resisting the charms of Lord of the Rings for many years now!)

But now, they may finally have released something that will mean I pour more money into the GW machine!
Being in Hong Kong, we have a dearth of Local Gaming Stores, in fact, we have one... Which stocks Vallejo and GW paints, most of the time, I use Vallejo paints, but I've had issues with Vallejo paints sinking to the bottom and forming a congealed block I can't squeeze out.

And also, starting out with GW paints, I still have a preference of "painting off the lid". So I am very interested in the new Citadel paints.

I will post a review of the new paints as soon as they become available in my LGS.
But the review found on other parts of the web appear promising:

Monday, 2 April 2012

Painting: His Majesty's Marines

A short break from Moderns and the Falklands project. 

I recently purchased some 28mm Pirates, 3 ships and a Pirate fort from TMP, it's been a project I've wanted to do for a long time. It's silly, potentially outrageous and a great distraction from the usual fare down at the club. Also, it's the perfect excuse to paint up some Horse and Musket era figures, which I've always wanted to do.

With a game organised over the Easter holidays, and these great miniatures having arrived from Black Scorpion Miniatures during the week, complete with a lazy Sunday recovering from a Friday night that involved far too much alcohol, painting miniatures by the numbers was the perfect cure. (Also, I'm taking a break from Mass Effect 3 in-order to make it last longer, and also to ensure I'll have something to play over Easter. =P) 

The miniatures are from the new batch of figures from Black Scorpion, which means they're cast from resin rather than metal, the casts are fairly clean, only one figure had a noticeable bad mold line down his breaches, also, as you can see, one of the marine's swords is quite jagged.

I did the miniature cleaning and undercoating the night before, having never worked with resin miniatures before, and assuming they'd be like plastic miniatures, I made the mistake of filing down a subborn blob of resin from one of the marine bayonets, with promptly snapped!

Realising the difference in properties between resin and plastic, I put my files away and basically just snipped off any obvious bits  of flash and just left it at that. 

With the majority of colours on the miniatures being red and white, I decided on using a grey primer by Tamiya for my undercoat.

The basecoat for the jacket was 'Black Red' by Vallejo, Vallejo 'Camo Black Brown' was used on the swords, muskets, pistols, hands and faces as well as the boots and hats.

The tunic was given a coat of 'Buff' after I couldn't find my bleach bone, all the white was 'Ivory' by Vallejo.
On top of all that, I added, Dark Flesh on the skin, Blood Red was on the jackets.

Here's a photo of them 'near completion: 

And here's a photo of them completed: I painted the bases black at around 11pm, but that's them in their completed state.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Objective for Operation Mikado

Originally, the idea was to recreate the Pebble island raid by the SAS, unfortunately, for whatever reason, 1/72 scale models of Pucaras are extremely difficult to find and the one available has a reputation for being extremely fiddly to make. However, I did manage to find several 1/72 scale Super Etendards!

The word Exocet is synonymous with the Falklands conflict, the threat of the 5 French made Exocet missiles and the Super Etendard jets that carried them were a constant threat to the British naval task force and the carriers HMS Invincible and HMS Hermes.

There were several plans hatched to destroy the stockpile in Argentina and there is probably a game of Geezers Shut It or 7TV involving spies and the plot to stop the Argentines from acquiring more Exocets.

The news story covering one of the aborted operations can be found on the Telegraph website.

With my SAS painted, although we will probably need another 6 for the game and the Argentinians being painted, we needed mission objectives. I was lucky to win this lovely model from eBay for only 7 USD (Although the P&P was quite expensive).

I am extremely pleased with the work done by the eBayer and the model is absolutely stunning! (I really need to get a better camera for showcasing my models.)

There are also some excellent photos from the Falklands War on the Daily Telegraph website here

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Research: Books for ideas for the Falklands

Just received some interesting scenario ideas from the Ambush Alley Games forum for the Falklands campaign.
The ideas include:

An SAS/ SBS raid on Stanley Airport with the mission objective to destroy an Argentinian Hercules to block the runway.

An Argentinian landing of paratroopers from the Argentine 2nd Airbourne Infantry Regiment near San Carlos to oppose the British landing. (The regiment was apparently put on standby at Menendez's request.)

Some reading material that was also suggested include:

Razors Edge by Hugh Bicheno
Nine Battles to Stanley by Nicholas van der Bijl

Monday, 20 February 2012

Painting: Sounds like the buggers mean it! (Argentinian Conscripts)

Another quite Sunday with the sniffles and no real motivation for any outdoor activity. (Plus, Mass Effect 3 is not out for another 2 weeks!) 

I had 9 Argentinians by Platoon 20 that had been undercoated with black and a thin dark green basecoat that was just waiting to be painted.

The miniatures are very much inspired by the Argentine miniatures on Sapper Joe's website, like his figures, I prefer my miniatures to be painted in a darker shade. Plus, if you look at the photo (Taken from the Daily Telegraph website) at the top of the page, their coats are mostly dark green. I'll have to paint a few of them in brown though! 
As a basic guide, the figures were Spray painted with a GW Chaos Black undercoat followed by a light spray of Dark green similar to the German Dark Green Camo by Vallejo. 

The flesh areas and are painted with German Camo Dark  Brown, before painted over with a coat of Dark Flesh, a heavy ink wash of Ogryn flesh and a touch up/ drybrush of Sunny skin tone.

The furry buts of the Parka hoods and the flaps on the 'crap hats' are also base coated with German Camo Dark Brown like the faces and hands and then dry bushed with English Uniform.

The rifles, boots and goggles are painted with black and the uniform is given a Green ink wash.

That's pretty much it, I'm thinking about giving the rifles a dry brushing of dark grey.
Also, I know the figures haven't been based, but I couldn't find my PVA glue.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Research: Falklands Scenarios

I just came across this on my travels through the internet. A series of scenarios for the Falklands campaign.
I will probably use these as a base to create some Force on Force Scenarios.

Monday, 6 February 2012

AAR: Soviets in Afghanistan: The Wounded Beast

I read this scenario a while back on Donogh McCarthy's excellent Land War in Asia blog and it looked like it would be great fun.

As Peter, one of the participants in the game pointed out, the scenario appeared to be based on a 1988 film called 'The Beast' or 'The Beast of War'.

Taken from Donogh's briefing:

"A punitive column has been sent deep into Qandahar by the Soviets. A T-62 is with them, in order to test how it can cope with the green zone. It’s thrown a track when making a tight turn inside a village, and due to a command oversight, the T-62 was left behind. A single BMD carrying an engineer team has been sent back to get it moving again. "

3 out of the 4 man tank crew accompanied by a sharpshooter take up an overwatch position in the house next to the tank, the other crewman is on overwatch with the DShK on the tank.

It is assumed that the Mujahadeen have been hostile for some time before the arrival of the engineering team and that the area is declared a free-fire zone by Soviet high command.

The BMD (Yes, I know the scenario says BMP, but I don't have any BMP's in my collection just yet!).

The Mujahadeen and Russians were excellently painted by Piers Brand. 


My dear comrades, welcome to the Malinovsky Military Armored Forces Academy, what you will see today, will be a textbook mission on the repair and extraction of a broken down armoured vehicle with a small, mobile and aggressive fighting force.

A T-62 tank breaks down during a show of force against an Afghan village harbouring anti-government militia, its escorting units had been extracted before the commander realised the tank was in trouble.

The tank crew and a VDV sharpshooter setup a defensive position and await assistance from an incoming engineering team with VDV escorts. The tank team ensured that firepower was on their side by employed the DsHK on the tank.

The local militia converge on the village and prepare to ambush the incoming Soviet reinforcements. 

The VDV squad were split into two fireteams, with one fireteam and the engineers stowed safely in the BMD while a Machine gun team (Which we treated as an independent weapons team with all the bonuses that carries.) and the second fireteam proceeded on foot as an escort for the BMD.

An RPG gunner was perched on top of the BMD, limiting the BMD to cruising speed but giving the vehicle additional firepower.

The exposed MG team and the escorts are peppered by shots coming from the fields to its left and insurgents converging on top of a hill. However, the fire is inaccurate and the combined firepower of the BMD, the RPG gunner on top and the escorting fireteam eliminate the resistance in the fields. While the Mujahadeen on the hill are engaged by the MG team. 

As the group advanced towards the village, two members of the VDV are caught in the crossfire coming from the hill and insurgents emerging  from some of the buildings in the village, the combined firepower of the ATGM on the BMD and the RPG gunner destroys the building. The wounded men are loaded into the BMD and replaced by two troopers in the BMD. The escorting fireteam fixed bayonets and charged screaming into the still smoking rubble, terrifying its occupants, breaking their morale as they fled from the elite warriors of the Soviet Union.

The tank crew, maintaining constant radio contact with the incoming engineering team, warn of an AT-RPG team waiting in ambush within the village. 

The DshK gunner maintains overwatch as the BMD team take the risk of drawing out the RPG team, the strategy is successful as the dangerous AT-RPG team is gunned down. 

A second insurgent team in the village decide that they cannot afford to wait much longer and that assualting the small group of tank crewmen would give them a better chance than facing a group of VDV paratroopers.

They are quickly gunned down as they made their way through the village streets towards the well entenched tank crew.

The VDV fireteams take up defensive positions around the village as the engineering team finally reaches the tank.

The resistance and reinforcements from the local Mujahadeen was less than expected, with only one Mujahadeen cell emerging on the outskirts of the village, who were quickly dealt with by the vigilent VDV and the firepower of the BMD's main gun.

The engineers quickly repair the tank with no problems, a second Mujahadeen cell emerge on the hills overlooking the village exit, but with the additional firepower of the tank and a still combat effective VDV squad, the Mujahadeen are suppressed as the Soviet team leaves the village.


Th scenario was great fun and one I wanted to play since I read it on Donogh's blog back in 2008/ 2009.

The VDV and Soviet mission was almost textbook, hence the tone of the AAR itself.

It was Michael's (The VDV commander) first ever game of Force on Force and he played really well. The BMD sped off towards the objective, leaving the VDV exposed and without cover or armoured escort as it came under inaccurate but heavy fire from two and later three sides. This would lead to the two casualties for the Soviets. 

The tank crew, commanded by Peter, who has appeared on many of the other AAR's made exceptional use of overwatch and kept the Mujahadeen at bay. The elimination of the lurking AT-RPG team also ensured that there were no late surprises.

The Mujahadeen, commanded by me, we unlucky with the reinforcements, with nothing arriving until late in the game and in all the wrong places. But the important thing is, we all had fun!

COMING NEXT: Cold War Gone Hot! American Special Forces Operatives killed and captured in Afghanistan. Senator Charlie Wilson to appear before Grand Jury.