Saturday, 19 December 2009

Fifth Frontier War: The Imperials

Turning now to the imperials. Here are my thoughts.

Clambo's excellent rendition of the 4518th Lift Infantry - the Duke of Regina's Own Housecarls - was a big inspiration for me, so I'll be producing something similar for the provincial army. The troopers are these RAFM (ex-Citadel) Traveller figs.

The vehicles are from GZG.

The figures in the last shot are GZG's UNSC marines.

They match very nicely with the image of Imperial Marines from the canon.

Rumour has it that the GZG UNSC troopers will be getting some extra packs soon too, which is good news.

Alternatively, this other pack from RAFM matches quite nicely with the marines on the cover for TNE supplement 'Survival Margin'.

The classic vehicles from the canon are the Trepida Grav tank...

... and Astrin APC.

The GZG vehicles above are a reasonable match but these 'coming soon' vehicles from Topgun marketing are even better. Thanks to DropshipHorizon for posting the pics.

They look to match well with the GZG vehicles I plan to use for the Zhodani too.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Fifth Frontier War: The Zhodani

The Zhodani are the bad guys in the story, so they have to look mean. I've always liked the classic image from the early artwork but nobody makes a really suitable miniature.

These Japanese corporate troops from Ground Zero Games (GZG) are probably the best fit visually as they have similar ribbed effect on their armour but sadly the line is pretty limited in variety. I may still use them for second line or local units though.

My current top alternative are the New Israelis, again from GZG. These look more like Spartans from Halo than anything truly Traveller inspired but I think they look the part and the line has recently been expanded with several new packs, including heavy weapons.

For vehicles, GZG have again come up trumps, with a tank model that will nicely represent the Zhodani's Z-80 grav tank and a variant that will do nicely as an APC/IFV.

Fifth Frontier War: The Inspiration

The inspiration for my Traveller project goes back to the little black books, especially the classic Broadsword adventure and its iconic W.H.Keith artwork. Back then I didn't have the cash to do much about it but I kept on revisiting the idea until these photos dealt the mortal blow to my resistance. After that I've been picking up bits and pieces and checking out Dropshiphorizon to keep up to date on what's new.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

2010: The Nostalgia Continues

I've just committed myself to the Guild's 2010 project build and coincidentally to the next phase of my teenage nostalgia trip (or is it mid-life crisis). I will be continuing my Sci-Fi theme but instead of 40k, this time I will be going even further back into my gaming roots to Traveller, the granddaddy of Sci-Fi RPGs.

My plan is to build some forces based (loosely) on Classic Traveller's Third Imperium background, specially the Fifth Frontier War in the Spinward Marches.

I intend to build a battle-groups of both vehicles and troops (probably multi-based) for each of the major powers, with extra stuff thrown in if I get around to it. I'll sort out rules, troop stats and scenarios as I go. If I get really carried away I might do some naval forces too.

My five tasks are:

Task 1 : The Zhodani - Due Feb 28th
Task 2 : The Imperials - Due Apr 30th
Task 3 : The Vargr - Due Jun 30th
Task 4 ; The Allies & Mercenaries - Due Aug 31st
Task 5 : The Rest - Due Nov 31st

Tasks 1-3 will be a mix of vehicles and troops for the appropriate force, plus any related bits I get done. Task 4 will add additional allied and mercenary forces, such as the Aslan, Droyne, Ine Givar rebels and Sword Worlders. Task 5 is a catch all for anything I've got done that didn't fit under a previous category, wasn't finished for an earlier deadline, or wasn't released in time.

More details to follow.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

40k Game Day

As I previously mentioned, the chaps were running a 40k game day at the club today. Sadly, I couldn't make it down to play but I did manage to pop in and take a few photos.

Here are a few as a taster.

Check out my photo bucket album for the rest.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

My 40k Revival

Since my last post, I've mostly been working on my Warhammer 40k project. My ambitious aim is to actually paint a full 1500 point force and maybe even play some games. The lads at the club are running a big 40k event this weekend, and while I can't make it to play, it has revived my enthusiasm to get these finished. I used to play 40k, back in the mists of time when 40k and I were both young, but I abandoned such frivolity in favour of more serious historical wargaming. I grew a beard and everything.

However, a while back some of my club mates started to whisper of such dark pleasures again, and even though I not been in a GW shop for the best part of twenty years, I succumbed to their temptations. Such is the power of the evil empire.

So, for my 40k renaissance, I have chosen to build an Imperial Guard army and after much internet browsing I decided upon the Armageddon Steel Legion as my regiment of choice. In days of yore I liked the gas mask wearing Imperial army troopers that graced the pages of White dwarf but sadly never bought any at the time. Now though, with a steady job and ebay as my friend, such past crimes could be forgotten and my service to the emperor made good.

Many months later, I am finally approaching having an army I can play with. As the Steel Legion are a mechanised force in the fluff, I have gone for lots of vehicles, and I've tried my hand at some simple conversions to add variety to the excellent, but limited, set of metal figures available. Fortunately for me, the new rules edition and IG codex have made mechanised armies considerably better than they were too. So I may even win some games with them. Although, my min-maxing fu is very weak, so I wouldn't count on it.

Here are a few shots of progress so far. More to come soon.

I have converted one of my Russes to be a Punisher, which looked like fun when just a rumour but is, I understand, actually quite rubbish. Never mind, I'm pretty happy with the model anyway.

I have got six Chimeras built so far and I've added Steel legion crew to several of them. I've gone for a simple grey scheme, for fighting in ash wastes or urban ruins, rather than a more colourful camouflage pattern.

Here is a close up of one of my Russes with the tanker shown.

These plasma gunners will hopefully give me something to stop the more heavily armoured enemies I'll be facing.

In the end though, the stalwart infantry will have to take the objectives.

Here are some simple conversions I've done to add variety to the officer models.

I've also got these very old style sentinels and have added Steel Legion crew. They will be my scouts.

There are no Steel Legion Melta gunners available but I have easily converted these using parts from the Apocalypse Comms sprue.

Likewise, these flamers were easy to do and give me some pyrotechnical options.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Age of Pre-Dreadnoughts

A few weeks ago my SSWG comrades and I tried out David Manley's new 'Age of Dreadnoughts' expansion for Mongoose Publishing's Victory at Sea.

We were just testing the rules out, so plonked down some ships without much ceremony and set to for a quick bash. Usually the best way to learn a new rule set. The lack of real conflict in this period should not cause a true gamer any concern and so we opted for another 'what if' conflict, this time between the circa 1905 British and Italian navies.

The British had four of their new (in 1905) Formidable class Battleships and three cruisers, this comprising only about half of the British Mediterranean fleet's capital ships. The Italians had a similar force, but this represented virtually all their major ships.

Benedetto Brin
Regina Margherita
Ammiraglio Di St. Bon
Emanuele Filiberto
Guieseppe Garibaldi
Francesco Ferrucio


The ship sheets we used are here

The Action
Each navy's cruisers were deployed in a screen ahead of the main battleship squadron, with the Royal Navy in conventional line abreast and line astern style, while the avante garde Italians tried out a fancy echelon formation.

Seamanship was far from impressive to start with. The British Battleships missed their turn and the Italian Battleships turned badly masking each others guns. The Monmouth took some nasty early hits and ended up breaking out of the line to starboard, while the rest of her squadron headed port. The Italian cruisers followed the two more seaworthy British cruisers and began a duel that initially went well for the Italians. The British cruisers are huge though and can take a lot of punishment. The British battleships then proceeded to steam up the middle of the action, lending some long range support to their beleaguered slimline comrades. The main event was by now underway however, as the battleships pummeled each other with their big guns and the Monouth limped along trying desperately not to be noticed. It soon became obvious that the Formidables were aptly named as they tore apart the pride of the Regia Marina. The Brin was quickly sunk for little damage in return and the Italians found themselves outnumbered four to three, two of those being elderly ladies of dubious virtue. To make things worse the Italian cruisers were now in no state to assist, the Italians struck their colours and rued the day they had foolishly challenged the might of Britannia.

The rules were rather good fun and everyone enjoyed the game. There was a reasonable amount of dice rolling and record keeping but the pay off was enough colour to make things interesting. Much cheering ensued as the critical hits landed and one particularly nasty set of multiple explosions drew a wince as the Brin's crew suffered. Overall the game flowed quickly and we had got the hang of the basics after the first few turns. We'll definitely be trying them again before long.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

SELWG 09 Report

Okay, so finally I'm going to kick things off with a post.

Last weekend, was the triumphant return of the South East London Wargamers Group's show at Crystal Place. It's been a favourite outing of ours for many years and it was good to see its return.

So we dusted off the '1984' game we had intended to take to the last, cancelled, show a few years ago and set off in cars and vans, at some ungodly hour last Sunday morning. That's my back on the left and the evil mastermind of our club, Andy 'Prince of Darkness' Finch, on the right.

Our scenario was a hypothetical Soviet invasion of West Germany. Forward detachments of the Russian 3rd Shock Army are probing for weak points in the British sector when one such force receives intelligence of an intact river crossing to their front. With fortune supposedly favouring the bold, the Soviet commander launches his advance guard in a direct assault to capture the bridge. Unfortunately for Ivan, just as he begins his advance, elements of the British 1st Armoured division are also moving into the area.

The Soviet forces consisted of: A detachment of 12 VDV infantry - forward scouts and the source of the intelligence on the bridges - 6 T-72 Tanks, 6 BMP-2 IFVs and some motor rifle infantry

The British forces consisted of three squads of Infantry and a Milan section plus a pair of Chieftain Tanks.

We used Ambush Alley's Force-on-Force rules as standard, except for dropping the survival roles in the vehicle combat, as we felt in our play tests that things needed to be more dangerous.

The main Russian force started their advance in two columns. The tanks moving towards the main bridge whilst the BMPs moved on the smaller road. The VDV were already on the far side of the river moving cautiously into the suburbs.

The British had one Chieftain deployed behind a small copse of trees just off the main road and the second in a side street, set back but able to cover the exit from the main bridge. The Milan section was also set up covering the main bridge but had only just arrived and so were not dug in. The British infantry were entering the suburbs and moving towards the river.

The Soviets were the aggressors and things were quickly under way with the opening defensive shot from the Milan section taking out the lead T-72.

Undaunted the Soviets pushed on, quickly losing a second tank to the first British Chieftain, but the third T-72 returned fire crippling the Chieftain's main gun and wounding two of the crew.

On the other flank the VDV were almost immediately pinned down in a garden. Their sniper team moved across the road to try to give covering fire but were soon taken out by GMPG and SLR fire from the gardens and houses opposite.

The BMPs pushed cautiously across the small bridge, opening fire on the gardens. The lead BMP was knocked out with a Charlie G and the squad de-bussed into the woods nearby.

Meanwhile the Soviet armour, now racing forward to try to make themselves a harder target, had made it across the bridge but not by much.

The remaining T-72s still edged forward, now using the burning wrecks for cover, and took out a Milan team, and a GMPG team in the gardens. They didn't last long though and the tank force was soon were reduced to just a single damaged tank.

Back in the village a second BMP was brewed up by another Carl Gustav shot but the squad got out okay and joined their comrades in the small copse. After several initial hits and a series of very lucky casualty rolls, they turned the copse into a fortress, laying down withering fire from PKMs and RPGs on the gardens and houses around. These six man teams had a surprisingly large amount of firepower and with repeated shots from reaction fire were making swift work of the more numerous but smaller British teams around them.

At this stage the show was drawing to a close and things had reached an impasse in our game. The Soviet attack had stalled but the British casualties were too high for them to easily push the Russians back any further.

Overall the game flowed smoothly, moved at a good pace when we didn't keep stopping to talk to people, and everyone enjoyed it. The change to the vehicle rules certainly made things more deadly and better matched our preconceptions. The difference in quality between the British regulars and the Soviet conscripts did make a noticeable difference, with the tanks particularly struggling to make it across the bridge due to generally losing the reaction tests. Larger, or at least the more tooled up, units do seem to be powerful as they can react more and generally come closer to matching the attacker's firepower.

The pics are courtesy of my club mate Simon at essexwargamer

Cheers for reading,