onsdag 25 december 2013

And the winners are...

...being revealed in just a little bit. But first I want to show you the results of applying the Dip to the Perry Desert Rats.

The Dip working it's magic.
This is truly the lazy painter's magic solution: the dip has beautifully picked out all the details on the figures, from the pockets on the tunics to the faces. I say again, these figures were just block painted and then had Army Painter's Strong Tone applied with a brush all over. After 24 hours of drying time they were hit with two light coats of Tamiya flat spray varnish.

Now on to the results of my giveaway!

måndag 23 december 2013

4Ground 20mm Hayloft build and review

As you might be aware of, 4Ground are makers of very fine, pre-painted MDF building kits. So far their kits have only been available in 15 and 28mm much to my sadness as they look very good indeed. Now Plastic Soldier Company have released  a line of 20mm buildings made by 4Ground to specifications by PSC. The first release is a Normandy farm complex available either as one large bundle or as individual buildings.

The whole shablooie. The Big Kahuna. The Mother of all Farm complexes. You get the picture.
I couldn't resist ordering one of the buildings when PSC had their black friday sale recently and opted for the Hayloft, top right in the above picture.

lördag 21 december 2013

Test-painting Perry's British Desert Rats

I've been meaning to try and get some paint on the very nice Perry Miniatures British figures I bought and reviewed a while ago. I'm no expert on the desert but I had a bunch of paints from the Coat d'Arms British paint set that looked like they could be useful, namely Desert Yellow, Pale Sand, British Khaki and Faded Khaki.

Have at'em boys!!!

måndag 16 december 2013

200th post giveaway!!!

So, I have written 200 posts on this blog, and I'm going to celebrate it by having a giveaway. Naturally it's just a blatant sham to get more followers and rid myself of some junk from the lead- and plastic mountain that I'm never going to use, right? Well, let's see. I think I have dug out some rather tasty morsels from the pile.

The rules are simple.

  1. You must be a follower of my blog. (See, blatant sham, I told you.)
  2. You must leave a comment on this post, saying that you are in and which of these you would like, in order of preference if it matters. (It's okay to want them all, but you are only going to get one of the lots.)
  3. Mentioning my blog and this draw on your blog, Facebook, Google+ or something similar will get you a bonus entry into the draw. Please leave a link so I can check it out. If it's on your own blog I might follow you back if I'm not already a follower. (You can only get one bonus entry mainly because I can't count further, but feel free to mentioning this draw as many times as you like.)
  4. If you commented on my previous post about depression, I will give you another bonus entry. It's too late to go back and comment now though, I want to say thanks to those who read it and offered their thoughts and support. Thanks guys!
  5. You must get your entry in on midnight Christmas Eve (central european time) at the latest. I will be drawing the winners on the 25th of december. 
That's that, now on to the loot! I hope some of it will appeal to you.

tisdag 10 december 2013

Battling the Black Dog

So this is my 200th blog post, not counting the handful of drafts that never were finished. I promised a give-away when I reached this number, but not today. Maybe tomorrow, or the day thereafter. Soon anyway, I'm currently pilfering around and excavating the nether regions of my lead mountain for suitable items.

The Lead Mountain according to Wikipedia. Yes, it's a real place!!!
But in this post I want to talk about something else; I recently suffered a bout of depression. Churchill described getting visits from "his dreaded black dog" now and then. It's really a fitting description. It's hard to explain how it feels to people who haven't suffered from real depression, but I will try. Feel free to skip the text and only look at the eye-candy at the end if you don't like to read my ramblings. Don't forget to tune in for the giveaway next time, though.

torsdag 21 november 2013

Mirliton Italian Soldiers in Tropical Uniform

In a couple of weeks we will be hosting a Chain of Command game at Flemcon in Stockholm. It will feature a LRDG attack on an italian airfield. We have lots of LRDG vehicles, but almost no Italian defenders. Actually there are very few italian miniatures available. I guess it's because the Italian soldier of WW2 isn't quite hyped up as much as say, the Waffen SS or the soviet Guards Armoured divisions.

Betrayed by higher command and a crappy domestic arms industry, the Italian soldier nevertheless fought with great tenacity in several theatres including North Africa and the Eastern front. Luckily for us, there are some small companies producing Italian models and miniatures, including Mirliton Miniatures, from you guessed it, Italy. I decided to order a few items to try them out, and lo and behold, a few weeks later a package arrived.

Mmm... the golden brown hiding precious treasures...

tisdag 5 november 2013

Kickstarter thoughts, part 2

I'm continuing a post from yesterday about kickstarters. I will talk a lot about the Mars Attacks kickstarter from Mantic games in this post, but if you want the background then read my previous post here.

Mars Attacks! This picture is what initially attracted me to the Kickstarter campaign.
For those who haven't heard about it, Mars Attacks - The Miniatures Game is based on the classic Topps trading cards. It's not based on the Tim Burton movie by the same name, rather it's the movie that's based on the trading cards as well. So while the Martians look the same, don't expect to see miniature versions of the movie characters. I love the movie and the miniatures look awesome, so I jumped on it immediately, thinking that if the game was crap I could use other rulesets for the miniatures, and the terrain and human heroes could do service in zombie games too.
Brandy, Buddy and Joe, ready to kick Martian butt. Or zombies.
I was lucky and bagged an "Early Bird" pledge, meaning my $100 level would only cost $90. This would net me the boxed game and $50 worth of "add-ons". So what are they, you wonder? Well, it's a bit sketchy, and I will come to that in a little while, but basically you get free credits to add stuff to your game. If I had pledged for the $150 level I would have recieved the game and $125 worth of stuff to add. I didn't see any reason to pledge that high as the only thing available then was extra figures and extra terrain sets for $20 and $25 respectively.

Everything included in the base game, so far. I think. It's not very clear.

What about stretch goals? I hear you cry. Well, when the campaign started, and through-out, we have been kept in the dark. We only know WHEN a stretch goal will be reached, not exactly what it is. Early on Mantic released some teasers in form of a free comic that you could download. It featured lots of stuff like Giant Stompy Robots, a Mad Scientist on a Giant Flee (yuck!), Giant Insectoids, Martian Special Troops and what-not. So when the first stretch goal was reached everyone was on their toes, eager to see what it would be. It was... *drum roll* 6 exclusive Topps trading cards. Say what??? And they weren't even included free with the pledges, you had to spend extra credits to get them. Mantic defended themselves saying that not everyone would want trading cards, so including them in the game wasn't fair, selling them extra was better, that way only those who wanted them would have to pay (or use credits) would get them. Fair enough. At the same time they announced the next stretch goal, which would be an upgrade to the boxed set. A fourth hero would be added, free of charge to all core sets regardless of pledge level.

Nice Creepy-Crawly. Too bad nobody knows when he's arriving...
This brings up the question about add-ons and stretch goals. There are three kinds of stretch goals. The first is called Upgrades. These upgrade the boxed set with extra figures or terrain or similar. Nothing complicated, they do what they sound like. The second kind of stretch goal is called Add-ons. They have to be bought either with extra money or the credit included in your pledge, and include stuff like more figures, or more terrain and what-not. The third kind is called Pledge Boosters. They include stuff that Mantic does not produce themselves, so have to be added using real money. They are not included in any pledge levels and they can't be bought with credits included in the pledge levels. Examples are a comic book, Mars Attacks themed memory sticks and terrain items made for Mantic by Antenociti's Workshop. Confused yet? As the icing on the cake, some of the "Upgrade" stretch goals don't upgrade the basic game, but instead they upgrade an add-on...  Confusing as hell, and I think it's a bit cheating to upgrade expansions that you have to pay extra for.

Overpriced USB Sticks and T-shirts? For extra money? How is this a stretch goal?
So, besides the confusion over exactly what would be in the game, when certain thing would become unlocked, I feel a bit cheated by all the add-ons revealed about half-way through the campaign. Elite Martian troops, new scenery, Flying Saucers, gun-trucks and a deluxe gaming mat. Had I known about those things beforehand I could better have calculated how much to pledge. As it stands now I want extra stuff for about $70, which means I have to add $20 to my pledge. What I'm thinking of is extra terrain pieces, the deluxe mat, and some extra heroes (I want that giant flea). Personally I think the deluxe mat is essential as the paper mat included in the game will not stand up to much abuse.

However, adding $50 at the beginning would have bagged me $125 worth of credit which I could use to buy lots of terrain and four mats, turning the board game into a fully fledged miniatures game. Now, since all the Early Bird pledges are gone I need to raise my pledge at least $60, which is no big deal moneywise, but I do feel cheated of the reward for pledging early. Somewhere along the line Mantic also added a $75 pledge level which would get you only the core game and no extra credits in response to backers not wishing to buy extra stuff. But the thing is, the main complaint about the game is that you don't know exactly how much is needed to get a good scenario from it. From the beginning the core set would have 8 human soldiers, 10 martian soldiers, 3 heroes and 1 martian general, as well as some terrain. A lot of the backers (me included) was planning to get some more terrain and a few extra figures for our credits. Now the core set contains 10 human soldiers, 20 martian soldiers, 9 heroes and 1 martian general. So what is needed for the scenarios included? Do we need extra heroes? Human soldiers? What?

What the hell Mantic? A stretch goal only useful to some backers?
Furthermore, some of the tasty stretch goals hinted at the beginning -- Giant Bugs -- haven't been unlocked yet. Instead we have got stuff like a Martian Dreadball team, a crossover with Deadzone featuring an Alien hunter character and card decks for humans and martians, sprung from nowhere. That would be like GW including a Genestealer Blood Bowl Team in Space Hulk! With just five days left this could be a disaster. I think people feel cheated by the way Mantic has set up the stretch goals. Personally I feel like they are trying to lure people to spend more money, drawing them in not just to unlock a stretch goal, but to reveal that sweet upgrade that's never coming. In a desperate last minute response, Mantic has stated that the Giant Bugs will be included in the next stretch goal -- if the total reaches $500.000 -- despite the bugs earlier slated for the stretch goal AFTER half a million. However I think people that wanted the bugs already have given up as some backers are starting to cancel.

This is what we want! Hear that Mantic?
The number of backers has dropped from 2509 yesterday to 2480 right now. So, 29 has left, big deal you say. But the amount pledged has at the same time dropped some 10.000 dollars. This means that not only are backers dropping out, the ones that are left are lowering their pledges -- at a guess I would say people are dropping from $150 (or more) down to the $100 level or just the basic game at $75. (And while writing this paragraph I saw the number of backers tick down to 2479 before my eyes.) As one backer stated: "If I pay $150 for a boardgame I expect all components to be miniatures, not tokens or cardboard markers." This was prompted by the fact that some of the pieces (like a flying car) would be Pledge Boosters, not upgrades, meaning backers have to pay extra for them. Mantic responded by suggesting a $225 level which would include the base game and all 3D terrain extras like burning cattle, crashed cars, piles of bodies and more, but not including any extra credits. So that's $225 for a pretty but basic board game with miniatures. That's not cheap. And yes, I get it, we are funding the development of the game. Except we are not, since Mantic always run their kickstarters like giant pre-ordering systems for games they would be doing anyway.

So where am I getting with all this? I don't know. I think the game will rock, the miniatures look awesome. But the devious kickstarter with many meaningless goals has left a sour after-taste. Combine that with the hit-and-miss experience I have had with other crowdfunding campaigns and I think I will wait a long time before supporting another project. I will at least see this one out as I do want the game. I hope that Mantic learns a lesson and do not bite over too much in their next project. So what do you think?

Kickstarter thoughts and a giveaway heads up

First I want to mention a splendid giveaway over at Loki's Great Hall. Andrew is celebrating 200 followers, and you have until 6 pm today (5th of november) to sign up.

You can win this figure!!!

Second, I want to talk a bit about kickstarter and other crowd funding campaigns. This will be a bit of a rant though, be be warned.

måndag 28 oktober 2013

Systema Gaming Scenery Power generators assembly and review

I've got the power!
Impressed by the Storage Silo I reviewed previously, I bought a pair of Power Generators from Systema. A sheet of 5mm MDF and a small sheet of orange acrylic is enough to build two of these babies. The assembly was -- as with the Silo -- very straight forward. No instructions are included but it's hardly necessary. It would be nice though for the more inexperienced builder I think.

I used ordinary white wood glue thinned with a little bit water and applied with a brush. It gives you a little wiggle-room and enough time to pull the pieces apart if you make a mistake, but dries fast enough so you do not have to wait long periods. All parts can only fit in one way so if you have to shave or file down a lug to get it to fit, you are trying to assemble it wrong!

I did however hit a couple of snags. The first was that glueing the acrylic pieces was harder than I anticipated. The fit is not as good as with the MDF parts so they move around a bit, and trying to align eight pieces of plastic between to circles of MDF at the same time was quite interesting. I thought of using superglue to first glue them rigid to one MDF pieces, but then I wouldn't have been able to adjust any of them if they weren't glued on 100% straight.

The second problem was that when popping out the parts I ended up with a cog-wheel shape that was left over. It was simply superfluous material used between two other parts on the MDF sheet, but I thought it was used to align the acrylic beams. For half an hour I tried to get it to fit before I realised my mistake.

I did a time-lapse video of the assembly and you can see how I try to fit the part around the acrylic beams, and that I try different ways of holding the acrylic. In the end I just held and pressed them in one hand. The acrylic does not absorb the glue like the MDF, so I had to wait a while for the glue on them to dry before I dared touching them. While waiting I undercoated the base with white primer. The whole process took about two hours, including trying and refitting the acrylics, brewing coffee, talking to my wife on the phone and undercoating the base. Next time I will start with the acrylic beams and then I can do the base while the first parts dry, so it should take less than an hour. The "power" assembly can be removed so you can use the base as it is if you like, which gives you a bit more variety.

At 12 Euros for a pair they are very good value for money. As evidenced by the Plague Marine in the picture above they are quite large as well. While not exactly gothic they could be a piece of Eldar or Tau machinery and would also fit very nicely into a game of Infinity or Star Wars. Systema provides good service and are very nice to deal with.

I give the System Gaming Scenery Power Generators 4 out of 5.
Recommended and good value for your money.

torsdag 10 oktober 2013

Systema Gaming Scenery: Storage Silo review

Systema Gaming Scenery is another one of those small businesses that sprouts up here and there; one-man operations benefiting from the Internet making them easier to get noticed by potential customers and the world smaller. This is fortunate because there are lots of creative people out there with access to a stockpile of MDF board and a laser cutter making beautiful things. This one is located in Slovenia, a country I know very little about to be honest.

The Storage Silo in all it's glory.
System Gaming Scenery doesn't have a proper webshop, instead they have a blog with a catalog. If you want to order something you email them and you get a PayPal invoice back. Simple and efficient. Shipping to EU countries is free for orders above 50 Euros, to non-EU countries it's free above 70 euros, and to the rest of the world shipping is free on orders above 100 euros. Not bad considering that MDF board weighs quite a lot. This kit cost only 16 Euro which I think is a great price!

lördag 5 oktober 2013

Kickstarter frenzy, sponsorship and give-away

A bit of mixed bag today. Let's get the elephant in the room done with first.

Some of you might have noticed that I have a banner for Wayland Games now -- it should be visible on the left, please let me know if it doesn't show. This is simply a click-through to try and generate some hobby money for me. The way it works is if someone places an order with Wayland by going through the link here on my blog, I get a small percentage as a kick-back. So if you are going to order from Wayland, please consider going there through my link. Besides, I do shop from Wayland Games myself and am very happy with their service and goods. They have Games Workshop, Fantasy Flight Games, Vallejo... ok, I'll stop the sales pitch. But they are really good. Did I mention they have X-wing?

Yeah, ok, that was the last one in this post. I promise.

So, Kickstarter next. There's a ton of interesting Kickstarters out there, and I wish I could have supported them all. The most interesting is the Winter War project from Baker Company. They are doing 28mm figures for the Finnish-Soviet Winter War in 1939, which as far as I know is a first in this scale. There's three days left and they have blown past their goal by a mile, meaning you get an awful lot of stretch goals. For one platoon you need to pledge £60 but you will get more than double that amount's worth. Just take a look at the graphic on the right. There's just three days left, so hurry up and pledge now! Sadly I do not have any splash money right now, so I will have to sit this one out. Two of my mates are supporting it though, so I look forward to playing with their toys. (Hi Thomas and Jocke!)

A spanking brand new kickstarter that I have pledged to is the Mars Attacks! kickstarter from Mantic Games. It is based not on the Tim Burton film by the same name, but on the Topps trading cards that the film was also based on. It started today and achieved funding in about 90 minutes, currently it's on about $168.000 with a $50.000 goal, so it will be produced and there will be stretch goals. The question is how high will it go? $100 is the minimum pledge to give you the game with miniatures, board and some add-ons, although you can pledge for just a digital rulebook should you wish. The game includes martian and human soldiers as well as a couple of civilan survivors and the evil Martian General Tor, and some nifty looking brick ruins which I bet will find their way into various zombie games.

"Nak! Nak! Nak!" Although the crater is not included, the brick ruins and the martians are from the game.
Lastly, this is my 195th post. I missed celebrating my 100th post simply because I didn't think I had written that many, but I'm thinking of having something of a give-away when I reach 200. I have too much crap anyway, might as well shift some of the lead mountain on someone else.

So watch this space.

tisdag 1 oktober 2013

Warlord Games Ruined Farmhouse Review

As I was proof-reading the Chain of Command rules from TooFatLardies I got inspired to restart my WW2 28mm project. I had a bunch of models already but lacked any terrain. Renedra has a bunch of nice generic stuff, and I was curious about Warlord Games' Bolt Action range. I decided to order their Ruined Farmhouse kit during their Free Postage offer in August. It costs 15 pounds which seems like a fair price, on par with the Renedra houses, and is also available in a "Ruined Hamlet" box with three identical kits for 35 pounds.

A whole house in that little box?
So what are my thoughts about it?

söndag 15 september 2013

You've got red on you.

I've been busy with all things life (work, kids, non-miniature related fun stuff and just plain boring stuff), but I have plodded along with the Caproni I started earlier. All the major sub-assemblies (wings, interior bits etc.) are done, but I have to paint the interior before assembling them. Curse the designer who put so many windows on the cursed airplane.

So when the Guild of Wargamers announced a Speed build with the theme Red I jumped at the chance of doing something different. I decided to paint up one of the Killa-kans I bought off a friend in a bright red sceheme.

"You've got red on you"

söndag 8 september 2013

Wedge saves the day!

Me and a couple of friends played an exciting game of X-wing recently. We wanted to try out the new Wave 3 ships and introduce a new player to the game. At first we were going to play two separate games since we were four players, but decided to play a big multi-player battle instead. Each player could choose 75 points of ships, making the game 150 points in total. Me and Håkan played the peace-loving galactic Empire while Mats and rookie Dave played the terrorist Rebels.

I chose Colonel Jendon in a Lambda Shuttle with Heavy Laser Cannon, Anti-Pursuit Missiles and the ST-321 title, along with Major Rhymer in a Tie Bomber with Advanced Proton Torpedoes and a Proton Bomb. The tactic would be for Jendon to aquire target locks early and then pass them on to Rhymer, who would be able to fire the Adv. Proton Torpedoes at range 2 because of his special ability (they are normally range 1 only). Hopefully I would be able to pull off the sacred Target Lock/Focus combo for maximum carnage.

Meanwhile Håkan chose three TIE Interceptors led by Thurr Phennir, all from the elite Sabre Squadron. He gave the Sabre Squadron pilots the Veteran Instincts upgrade making them Pilot Skill 6. I don't remember what other upgrades he chose, I think Thurr got a pilot skill as well but it didn't come into play during the game.

Mats naturally wanted to play with his B-wing so he chose Ibtisam, tooled up with Heavy Laser cannon and Advanced Proton Torpedoes, along with an Outer Rim smuggler in an old beat up YT-1300 freighter as bait. Mats also gave Ibtisam a Fire Control System allowing her (yes, Ibtisam is female) to gain a Target Lock on a ship she has just attacked. The plan was obviously to fire the Heavy Laser Cannon at long range getting the Target Lock for free and then swoop in for the kill with the Advanced Proton Torpedoes.

Dave was a bit star struck I think as he chose Wedge Antilles -- the best pilot on the rebel side -- along with a Rookie Pilot in an X-wing and a Gray Squadron pilot in a Y-wing. He also bought an Ion cannon for the Y-wing which could potentially wreck the best laid plans if used at the right moment. A solid squadron rather straight forward to use, the biggest problem would be for Dave to keep them together, always tricky to pull off the first few times you play.

Dave and Mats mulling over the set-up.
Find out how the game went after the break. Warning, the page is quite pic-heavy.

tisdag 27 augusti 2013

Chain of Command Morale tracker

I should be building and painting stuff for our LRDG convention game in november, but it seems such a long way off that I'm constantly drawn to other projects. I started to build the Caproni bomber that will serve as a target for the good guys, but building planes is such a bore. I enjoy looking at planes, but not building them. Even worse is painting them, and by coincidence, a large part of the Caproni fuselage is taken up by windows -- which means I have to paint the insides before gluing the fuselage together. Boooring!

The cockpit interior and the two bomb racks that will fit inside the Caproni. And I can't be arsed to paint them.
Receiving the Chain of Command rule book last week didn't help, as I got inspired to do some more 28mm painting. I really enjoyed painting the Crusader British figures earlier, and yearned to paint some more. In the rule book I saw a picture of a rather camp German officer, and remembered a set called "The St. Albans Four" that the renowned sculptor Richard Ansell did as a tribute (or perhaps joke) for Richard Clarke. I got the idea to use two of the figures for morale trackers, mounting them on casualty markers from Warbases. I highly recommend Warbases by the way, great products for good prices, and very good service.

Sid and Rich in metal versions.
The figures depict the four main culprits of the St. Albans wargames club, which was the spawning ground for TooFatLardies. Both I Ain't Been Shot, Mum! and Charlie Don't Surf! started out as their club rules. (Much like Bolt Action started out as a WW2 version of second edition 40k that Rick Priestley and Jervis Johnson used when gaming at the Perry Twins' house.) The figures were included in the Bolt Action range, since Richard Ansell also sculpted their french line. Richard is a very talented sculptor and has done work for a lot of companies, including sculpting a 1/48 scale WW2 range for North Star Miniatures, now available from Scarab Miniatures. Ironically, Bolt Action got sold to Warlord games who then produced the Bolt Action game in cooperation with Osprey. The St. Albans Four were then re-released as a Christmas Truce pack! (If anyone fancies them Warlord Games is having a free shipping campaign until the end of August.)

The dial spins around to reveal the numbers 12 to 0.
I painted Big Rich the same way as I painted the Crusader brits, in fact I had my blog post up on an Android tablet while painting to see which paints I had used. The only difference was that I needed some red and gold for his hat and that I painted the boots brown instead of black. The bottles were painted green and washed with gloss black paint.

Big Rich toasting his great find!

The base was textured the same way as the rest of my brits, but very carefully to avoid jamming the dial.

Hugh Jarce? Nah, I'll paint him later.

The figure is a good likeness of Rich, but apparently has too small feet.
Oh well. Back to the Caproni again...

torsdag 22 augusti 2013

Star Wars X-wing Wave 3 review

One of my friends went to Gencon, yes I'm officially jealous! Before he went I asked him if he could, possibly, perhaps, pretty please with sugar on top, pick up any of the new ships that FFG were rumoured to release. He answered "Sure, it's the Slave 1, isnt it?". I carefully corrected him and sent him links to FFGs webpage along with pictures of B-wings, TIE Bombers, Lambda Class Shuttles and the HWK-290. "Sure" he said again, "I will see what I can do." When he returned I somehow got it into my head that he would have bought four Slave 1's, but my worry was unfounded. Dave delivered.

Mine, all mine.
So, what are my opinions on the ships of Wave 3?

Let's get the cat out of the bag and start with the HWK-290. This ship is from the Dark Forces series of computer games and is a light personal transport from Corellian Engineering Corporation, the same company that made the famous YT series of light freighters. In other words, this is the only ship so far that isn't featured in any of the films. With a two crew and ability to take six passengers the model is smaller than I imagined, on par with an X-wing but a bit bulkier. At first I didn't like the model, but now it's warming on me. I'm actually planning on getting a second model and repaint it.

Gamewise it's an interesting asset for the rebels. It's not hard-hitting as an X-wing, and not as robust as the Millenium Falcon or an Y-wing. The manuever dial is decent but lacks the K-turn, so the ship can't do a 180 like the other ships in the Rebel fleet. It's cheap, however, and can take a crew and a turret. So you can load it up with an Ion or Blaster turret and a Gunner if you want to give it some more offensive capabilities. It's true worth though is as a support to your other rebel forces. The Moldy Crow title card give the HWK-290 the ability to retain Focus tokens after the End phase, allowing you to build up a pool of focus tokens. Not so useful you may think, but Kyle Katarn (the most famous pilot included) has the ability to give a focus token to a friendly ship within 3 range, while the Recon Specialist crew included give you two focus tokens for each focus action. The other named pilots (Jan Ors and Roark Garnet) also has supporting abilities so this ship will change the metagame a bit I think. And as a last nugget you can give the Blaster turret to your Y-wings in case you are tired of ionising Imperials.

I have always thought that the B-wing looked cool and that the HWK lacked a windscreen...
The other Rebel ship in this release is the B-wing, which can be glimpsed in Return of the Jedi, just at the beginning of the Battle of Endor. Sadly despite being über-cool they didn't get any screen time. According to canon it's a heavy assault fighter designed to take on capital ships. It is heavily armed and has a unique rotating cock-pit which allows the pilot to remain in position while the fighter swivels around him. This is carefully recreated in the LEGO models I have, but sadly not on this small model. It is depicted in flight mode with S-foils extended in attack position in the upright "pose" it is seen in the movie.

Promotional composite still released by Lucasfilm. How I wish they had filmed a scene like this.
Gamewise the B-wing is indeed a heavy fighter. It has the ability to take two torpedoes, one cannon and one system upgrade. We get both regular Proton torpedoes and the new Advanced Proton Torpedoes, Ion Cannon and the new Autoblaster included in the expansion. Advanced Proton Torpedoes and Autoblasters are both range 1 weapons which can be devastating if you manage to get into position. So you have the option to kit it out as either long-range or short-range, or both. The system upgrades are a new kind of upgrade introduced in Wave 3 and included with the B-wing is a Fire-Control System, which lets you gain a Target Lock after you have performed an attack, if the target is still alive that is. Two generic and two named pilots are included; the unique pilots can both take a skill and have a different special ability each.

The B-wing is the first Rebel ship that can take cannons, so you can use the Heavy Blaster cannon included with Slave 1 on the B-wing and put the Autoblaster on Slave 1 if you want to. It is also the only Rebel ship able to do a Barrel Roll, to represent its rotating cockpit. A neat way to use a function already included in the game to make the ship unique. Maneuver-wise it's quite slow, but able to make sharp turns at low speeds and it can make a 2 speed K-turn. Combined with the Barrel roll it will be interesting to play.

The TIE bomber in stylish blue-grey while the Lambda Class Shuttle wear 80's computer beige.
Next up is the TIE Bomber. It too doesn't have a lot of screen time, but who doesn't remember when they are Proton Bombing the asteroids in The Empire Strikes Back? This is one mean ship, being able to take two torpedoes, two missiles and one bomb. Although it is probably not wise to fully load the bomber up with everything and the kitchen sink, it gives you the option of customisation. Do I get missiles, torpedoes, or a bomb. One of each? Two kinds of missiles for different targets? Or nothing and just fly it like a decoy and blaster magnet? The choice is yours.

The TIE Bomber is quite maneuverable and able to make a K-turn although it isn't as fast as a regular TIE. While it only has two defense compared to the other TIE:s' normal three, it has six hull points so it should stick around a bit. Two generic and two unique pilots are included. As with the B-wing both named pilots are able to take a skill and have a special ability each; both are useful when attacking with secondary weapons so make sense on the TIE Bombers.

And so we come to the final ship of Wave 3: The Lambda Class Shuttle. Sometimes erranously called the Shuttle Tyderium, but that is only the name of the shuttle the Rebels used to land on the forest moon of Endor in Return of the Jedi. It would have been cool if FFG had included a rebel pilot with the ship, but I guess they are saving it for later.

The Lambda class shuttle is the only big ship in this wave, unlike wave 2 where both the Rebels and the Empire got a big ship each. First off, the ship is beautiful. I have always loved Star Wars for their ship design. Folding wings, hexagonal windows, asymmetric ships, love it. But the Lambda is the most beautiful ship in my opinion. And yes, you can fold the wings up and down on the model.

So what about gameplay? The Lambda fills the support niche. Although it packs a punch with three attack and the ability to take cannon upgrades, the other ships will run rings around it. Put simply, it's manueverability is awful. The hard turns are red, it's top speed is three, and it can't do a K-turn or a barrel roll. Sure you can give it engine upgrade which lets you boost making it a bit faster, but since the hard turns are red you cannot do a turn and then a bank with boost. So you only gain speed, not the ability to turn more. But it can do one maneuver which no other ship can do in the game: it can stop and stand still for a turn. With five hull points and five shields though it can take some damage.

But as I said, it's role is support, not to dog-fight in itself. It can take a system upgrade, a cannon and two crew, and here's where the fun begins. Included in the box are Advanced Sensors, which allow you to take your action before moving, and Sensor Jammer which allows you to change one of the attackers dice when defending. The crew includes among others a Rebel prisoner which give a stress to the first rebel ship each round to target you, and Darth Vader which can cause an extra critical to a ship you attack. The pilots included is a generic pilot and three named ones. The named pilots each have useful support abilites like taking stress off nearby ships or dealing out target locks to other ships. However, none of the pilots are able to take a pilot skill, which I think is a bit odd.

To summarize: If you like Star Wars and X-wing you need all of the ships. At least one of each. (If you are a real die-hard fan you might balk at the HWK-290, but it's a nice ship.) FFG are devious devils and put the most useful cards in only one of the expansions. People have complained that Push The Limit is only in the A-wing expansion, and they will get another gripe in Adrenalin Rush which is included in the TIE bomber. In short it lets you treat a red maneuver as white, once per game. Do a K-turn, target lock and shoot your missiles, blammo. On the other hand they can't include each card in each expansion and I plan to get three bombers anyway. So there. And they did put two copies of Anti-Pursuit Lasers in the Lambda, so they are not all evil.

May the Force be with You.

söndag 18 augusti 2013

X-wing news and starter guide

Seems like Fantasy Flight Games is on a roll with their X-wing games. Right now Gencon is going on and FFG has not only released the highly anticipated ships of Wave 3, but also released info about the future of the game.

The ships of Wave 3; HWK-290, Lambda class Shuttle, TIE Bomber and B-Wing.
The Wave 3 ships are geared towards supporting functions and some slow heavy hitters. Some new upgrades and missions will shake up gaming field, I think. Personally I have always loved the Lambda class Shuttle and I look forward to the B-wing.

Picture taken from FFG's in-flight report slideshow at GenCon. I don't know who took it, sorry.
That's right, FFG will be releasing Tantive IV (which is a Corellian Corvette of course) and a Rebel Transport some time next year. The X-wing is apparently an alternative paint job with alternative pilots and upgrades to the currently available X-wing. It's not clear though if the X-wing will be a separate model or come with the Rebel Transport, there are conflicting reports from different sources about this.

This picture gets a lot of use...
But what if you have just started out with the game, or if you have a lot of friends who are playing and you want to get into the game as well?

tisdag 6 augusti 2013

CoC update and CoC giveaway.

Hi gang!

I just want to throw out a couple of shouts for Chain of Command again.

First, Mike of the Trouble at T'Mill blog has turned 50, and has a giveaway to celebrate. Just go here and you can win yourself a copy of Chain of Command!

Second, Big Rich of TooFatLardies and author of Chain of Command has put up a video detailing force selection in Chain of Command.

If you missed my earlier post, Chain of Command is released on 21st of August and is available for pre-order now.

Happy gaming.  

lördag 3 augusti 2013

Crusader Miniatrures British painting guide

I'm really intending to play Chain of Command in 20 mm since I do have lots and lots of 20 mm troops already. However, the battle reports coming from the Lard Island blog and Sidney Roundwood's blog using 28mm figures and 1/48 scale vehicles look very tasty indeed. So that reminded me that I actually had a bunch of 28mm stuff I ordered several years ago in a bout of "Oooh Shiney"-syndrome.

The British part of the loot; a section of infantry and some serious hardware.
After rummaging around a surprisingly short time I found a small but suspiciously heavy box. Inside were a receipt from Crusader Miniatures dated december 2006, a couple of unopened blisters, two large ziploc-bags with unpainted figures and a few miniatures I had started painting carefully rolled in bubblewrap.

onsdag 31 juli 2013

Chain of Command pre-orders!

Big heads-up today! Chain of Command is available for pre-order here. Wohooo!!!

Bullets, nazis, sinister grey. What more do you want on a cover?
For those of you who have just tuned in, Chain of Command is the next -- highly anticipated -- game from the wargames powerhouse TooFatLardies, Purveyors of well-crafted rules which let "you play the period and not the rules" as their slogan says. The acronym CoC has gotten the lardie mailing list in a frenzy, both from a lot of bad penis jokes ("playing with CoC" etc.) as well as from excitement over the rules themselves.

So do we really need another World War 2 ruleset? I believe so yes. Chain of Command will let the players command a platoon of infantry, sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less, and duke it out using actual period tactics. A game consists of a highly innovative pre-game Patrol phase, where the players try to lock eachother's scout teams down to determine or deny deployment points, followed by a number of turns of combat. Each turn consists of  a random number of phases in which players alternate deploying or activating their forces, following the Chain of Command.

A lot of emphasis has been put on getting the feel of infantry tactics right. You will have to think about your plan of attack, how to use the terrain to your advantage to achieve local superiority, and how to utilise your leaders in the best way. Weapon ranges are not truncated, so if you see something you can kill it. Likewise a lot of thought has gone into the victory conditions. Each force has a moral level which drops as units and leaders become casualties, but also when the enemy captures ground.

This is very much an infantry game, where tanks and support weapons are like supporting actors in a movie; your infantry platoon is the star. Tanks may be powerful, but they are lumbering behemoths that are nearly blind without help from the infantry. Support weapons have their assigned targets and won't waste ammo on a paltry couple of grunts unless they have a lieutenant screaming in their ears to do so. No more scouting with empty trucks, sniping forward observers with an anti-tank gun or grabbing last-turn objectives with your anti-aircraft tank.

Dice, dice, baby!
To celebrate the launch, TFL has made a lot of nice add-ons for the game. Stuff that aren't essential because you can knock something up yourself that will do the job, but that will make your games look extra nice. First, there's dice. No you don't need special CoC dice. You will need to keep track of your CoC tally, and when it reaches 6 you get a CoC point to spend on something special, like an interrupt or ending a turn. Using a D6 is a very handy way of doing that, and using a special D6 with the CoC logo on makes it easier to tell it apart from any old ordinary D6 laying around on your gaming table. I think we have all at some time rolled a dice that were placed next to a unit as a reminder of something...

Tokens! Not just a token marker, but genuine tokens!
In Chain of Command you will need to keep track of units' statuses, if they are moving in a tactical stance, are placed on overwatch by a leader, or just plain have been hit. You can use whatever markers you want, but special tokens are always better, avoiding confusion. I remember playing a game many years ago where my opponent placed dice next to units on overwatch, these were the same dice he used for rolling with and there were dice lying around everywhere, making it impossible to know which were used as markers. (Yes Anders, I'm looking at you!)

Jump-off point markers. The bits in the foreground, the rest is a Sherman and a German. (Ooh it rhymes!)
Lastly we have a set of Jump-off Point markers. Jump-off Points are places on the boards you can use to deploy your units from. They represent spots in the terrain where the scouting teams have marked out a safe approach; here your leader knows he can send his men without them being attacked. Outside those points there might be crawling with enemies. Since these are more or less permanent on the board (well, they can be captured and sometimes moved) they need to look good. So TFL has commissioned top sculptor Richard Ansell to make a set of resin 28mm markers. And yes, you can make your own, but as I'm completely useless when it comes to sculpting I gladly pay for such fine items.

The rules will be released on the 21st of August, and can be pre-ordered now. Until the release date you can get some very nice bundles with the dice and markers shown above, or just the rules if you prefer to make your own. There's also a bundle with the dice and tokens, but not the Jump-Off points in case you don't play 28mm. All the pre-order bundles includes the rules in hardcopy as well as on PDF for free, which will be emailed to you at the release date. If you only want the PDF version of Chain of Command you will have to wait until the general release and order it separately then. As for the extras they will be available only as long as stocks last, so hurry up and pre-order!

So what are you waiting for? Get ready for Chain of Command!

fredag 26 juli 2013

British Steel -- Revell Churchill

In a bout of nostalgia and inspired by my mate Jocke's blog posts about his Normandie trip, I decided to kick off my summer holiday by building the old Matchbox Churchill AVRE in 1:76 scale. This is of course the re-released version by Revell. It comes with a folding girder bridge but I decided to build it without the bridge, as I don't think I will be playing many bridge-laying scenarios.

British steel in form of the Churchill AVRE close support tank.

 AVRE stands for "Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers" and was a collective name for a number of variants used by engineers for various purposes. This version carries a 290mm petard mortar for demolishing bunkers and strongholds. Just what I need for Chain of Command. (But of course I can use it in IABSM too or any other WW2 game.)

måndag 22 juli 2013

Renedra Medieval Cottage review

As promised earlier, here are my thoughts of the Medieval Cottage from Renedra.
18 pounds RRP, but can be found for less if you shop around.

måndag 15 juli 2013

Renedra Ramshackle Barn review

G'day folks! A quickie here, it's Renedra's Ramshackle Barn. Today I'm trying out a Time-lapse software for my phone, so without further ado here's a video of me assembling it. 

Like their Dark Age cottage (which I will review shortly) this comes on three sprues of grey plastic. Read more after the break.

fredag 12 juli 2013

Chain of Command is coming!

I haven't updated in a little while since I have been busy. I do have lots of material for further blog posts, including terrain from Renedra, Dwarves and Chaos Warriors from Avatars of War to review. The reason I haven't written anything is partly because I have been doing some house painting in 1:1 scale, but mostly because I have been proof-reading the final draft of Chain of Command. That's right, it's nearing completion -- or rather, it is finished but the problem is to translate the rules from Rich-speak into something resembling English. Anyhow, the project is steaming along with the 21st of August as the planned release date. Read more after the break.

A playtest game of CoC under way in the TooFatLardies studio.
You can read the full report here.

torsdag 27 juni 2013

PSC Stug WIP Progress!

I have been making progress on my PSC StuGs. I managed to find the side skirts which I had placed "somewhere easy to find" -- which of course meant it wasn't. But I digress. I bought three sheets of the GW Kampfgruppe Normandy transfers when they were on sale but of course I can't find them now either. Luckily I managed to find some transfers in an old Esci StuG kit.

The skirts camo pattern and decals done. Now they just need fading and weathering.

The Esci kit had four sets of crosses and different numbers but in the same style. This meant that they were sufficient for all my PSC StugS and I will have one set left for the Esci kit. Eventually it will be the fourth StuG in my unit.

fredag 21 juni 2013

Midsummer's eve surprise

In Sweden everyone is celebrating the midsummer solstice today by dancing naked around a phallic summer idol, consuming alcohol, mushrooms and copulating in the woods. Just like in ancient Viking times.
At least I wish it was so.

In reality we do dance around something vaguely phallic-shaped, although you have to have a dirty imagination to really see it. And while it is a fertility symbol it's mostly for children and everyone have clothes on. Although it is true that a lot of people get drunk and a lot of babies are born nine months from this weekend.

Swedish midsummer according to the germans (sure it's a commercial made for IKEA, but it's made for a german target audience and panders the myths I think):

Swedish midsummer according to the british:

There are some truth in both clips but you have to come here to find out for yourself.

Instead of staying out partying me and my family went to visit my wife's parents today for a quiet dinner instead. There my father in law presented me with a bag of Revell boxes as a nice surprise!

A Stummel! I have been thinking of buying this myself. Now I don't have to!
I have been helping him a bit with his computer. He's a real die-hard computer gamer but he's not so well versed setting everything up, especially not the home network, and occasionally he gets stuck at a point in a game. It's something I gladly do since he's a real nice guy and we both like to play games. Last time I visited I showed him my blog and he was curious -- he's interested in WW2 as well, allthough he doesn't build models -- but I didn't think more of it.

And some troops! Reinforcements are always welcome.
Turns out he wanted to say thanks for all the help. Although it wasn't needed I was genuinely thankful for the gifts. Now I just have to fit these into my current projects... oh dear...

Until next time, have a really nice midsummer.

Wayland games

Wayland Games