Recent Brushwork

Trying to change my palette if not my technique to achieve a different look on my minis. I read a ‘How To Paint Military Miniatures’ book ages ago, and settled on the ink wash/Shade Down method rather than the Highlight Up all the cool kids do nowadays.

Whippersnappers! Back in my day, a real painter had messy fingers from all the run-off.

40 years on, I still don’t have an airbrush. Maybe someday. But until then, here are several new figs from the painting desk.

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Trying for that Arabian theme.
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A Kev White sculpt according to Reaper. I like that he’s tough but normal looking.
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Great fig. Very subtle. The pic doesn’t quite show it but I went for a weathered duster feel to his cloak and jacket.
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Nothing really special about these four – except they’re a bunch of Do-Gooder, Avenging Paladin-types. (Sounds like a 90’s Christian metal band) There’s a fifth member of the band on the way.
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Brightening up a Thief defeats the purpose, but his gray clothes and lighter tone than usual armor works nice.
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“I told you what would happen if you got up.”
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Iconic Investigator investigating a mysterious rune stone. (Or a new FB Profile picture)

 

Primaris Marines and Vedros Objectives

A root canal and a light work schedule for a couple days gave me some time at the painting desk.

First, here’s my take GW’s new super-sized Primaris Marines. Stock color schemes, I have to say they paint up easily and make a table top quality painter like myself look good. Blue with darker shoulder pads for the line troops, stealth blue/black for the Reivers, add a Command type and they’ll make a nice little recon force to face the Space Hulk genestealers I picked up off eBay.  Time to break out my Interior Boards.

Next are some fast-n-easy Objective markers for my grandsons’ Battle for Vedros set. A tarted up Ork glyph and UM banner swiped from the internet, they’re basically plastic sprue, cardboard, and a few bitz on 50mm bases. It’s ‘Capture the Flag’ time now, fellas. That should introduce more fun plus a hint of tactical thinking to our slugfests. They came out alright and should stand up to repeated use.

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That’s it for now. Have a great day.

3:10 to Yharma

A Song of Blades and Heroes Bat Rep

***

“That’s a ‘4’!” Brynar insisted. 

“No you thick Northman, that’s a ‘3’,” the grizzled cleric replied. “It says the caravan leaves at 3:10. The caravan we were paid to escort.” 

The barbarian shrugged his massive shoulders. “It’s not my fault the attendant scribbles. You’re the educated one in this crew. You should have deciphered the note sooner.”

Lazarus Stern bit his tongue. He looked into the faces of the rest of the party – Hrodor the Druid, the two Rangers, Quinn and Terryn, his own comrade, the Paladin Jorgen. 

“Nothing to do for it now except get a move on, he sighed. “They’re only a half hour down the Yharma road.  We hurry now, we’ll catch up before supper. I mean, what can go wrong in a half hour?”

***

A new player joined us for this week’s gaming session, bringing the total to five. He’s an old hand at DnD, so I opted for a quick ASOBH scenario. We all enjoy the rules, are very familiar with them, they’re easy for a first-timer, and we have plenty of terrain and a variety of miniatures.

We split up, 3 v 2. John and I would play the Baddies while Derek, Matt and Anti-Patrick each controlled two members of the adventuring party.

The game area was split into two sections. The first was the now looted caravan at the turn in the road. The second section was the ruined abbey. Each would trigger attacks by hostiles (Me and John)

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While Matt took his Rangers strolling through the woods toward the Abbey on the right, the other four gathered near the first wagon. This kicked off the first attack, with a small Gnoll warband coming in from either side of the table.

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While fast, ugly, and very smelly, the Gnolls failed to do any serious damage to the party.  The older Ranger (that Matt insisted on calling ‘Grandpa’) took down three attackers by his lonesome in the woods on the left, while the other Ranger watched from the hilltop. Meanwhile, the other Canines were easily dispatched near the wagon. A quick search showed signs of a struggle, as well as a trail leading to the old Abbey.  Oh and a couple of recharges for the members’ Healing amulets.

Supremely confident, the party hurried down the Abbey Road to rescue the survivors.

The second set of Hostiles rushed out from the ruins the moment the the first Adventurer neared the stone gate: a Death Priest, two Warriors of Chaos, two packs of ghouls, and a giant Were-Rat.

“Oh look, they have a Were-Rat.”

 

The battle was quickly joined. The Death Priest sent one pack of Ghouls to swarm Grandpa while the rest of the Tainted surged out of the gates and attacked in a head-long frenzy.

 

Fierce combat raged back and forth inside and outside the Abbey. The air rang with clashing steel, savage howls, and ferocious battle cries. Both Rangers died under the filthy, blood-soaked claws of the Ghouls, selling their lives dearly and buying precious time for their comrades.

Barbarian met Barbarian. Mage fought Mage. Blinded by a murderous frenzy, the monstrous Were-Rat launched itself tooth and claw at anyone in it’s line of sight.

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Slowly, surely, the Adventurers’ skill and discipline drove the forces of Darkness back, first slaying the evil barbarian. Then the Chaos Champion Gurn Gravehand fell under Jorgen’s the Paladin’s flashing coldsilver blade. Victory teetered on a razor’s edge. But it was the Druid’s Gruesome Kill of the foul Death Priest that sealed evil’s fate. The wretch’s death-scream shook the remaining forces of Darkness to their withered, blackened souls and they fled the field of battle.

Victory.

***

There’s a reason why Song of Blades and Heroes is our go-to fantasy skirmish game: fast, versatile, robust, easily learned, fun… Anti-Pat picked it up by turn three and jumped right into the flow of the game. His Druid and Barbarian were brawling it out alongside veteran players figs in no time. It was a good fun with good people. We’re all looking forward to doing it again soon.

If you’re in the market for a fast and fun fantasy skirmish game, pick up a copy of Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes. You won’t be disappointed.

Thanks and have a good week.

 

 

Battle for Vedros armies

Recruiting the next generation of wargamers

 

battle

40 years wargaming and playing with toy soldiers, I’m still not a WH/40K tabletop player. I tried several times and it never took. But when Grandsons 1 and 2 caught me playing the PC game “Warhammer 40,000 : Armageddon”, they were so taken by the epic battles between Space Marines and Orks, I seized the opportunity and grabbed the “Battle for Vedros” starter game to see if I couldn’t channel some of that interest from the screen to the game table.

Well it worked. We’ve been playing very simple slugfests when they visit and they love it. They split command of the mighty Space Marines while I Warboss my way into their fields of fire and lose with all the appropriate sound effects and over-dramatized anguish.

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All things considered, the Battle for Vedros set is the perfect starter for something like this: decent price point (especially if you find it on sale) a good amount of easy-assemble models, dice, a simple rule book. Terrain would have been helpful, but hey… The models have nice detail but are robust enough to stand up to rough play by 6 and 7-year old boys. Now of course I had to ‘reinforce’ the box armies, which meant a Killa Kan and an Attack Bike for sheer coolness quotient. Then a few more infantry to round out the foot sloggers. But that’s just me…

There’s lots to be said about getting kids to play a table top or board game: it gets them away from a screen, interacting with other actual people. They learn about fair play, taking chances, planning moves, accepting loss when the dice don’t roll their way, being gracious when they win, and most of all, having a blast with friends and family over little army men. They’re already leafing through the booklet, pouring over the pictures, and lobbying for more reinforcements. (“Grandpa, that tank looks cool.”)

Yes it does. It does indeed.

But I better buy some decent terrain first. Something cool looking but simple and robust, without fiddly bits that break easily. I’m open to suggestions here.

Anyway, Hats off to Games Workshop for a great little starter set. The Battle for Vedros made my grandsons quite happy.

 

Sosnovy Bor Garrison Run – ZP Test Game

On the western fringe of the Exclusion Zone lies the deserted military garrison, Sosnovy Bor  – Pine Forest. Classified as Threat Level One/Relatively Stable, it is a great training ground for experienced Stalkers to acclimatize new crew members to the hazards of the Zone, as well as a frequent destination for Zone guides to bring their ‘tourists’ in order to give them a taste of danger without too much trouble.

Well scavenged, there is little by way of salvage and equipment, but its proximity to roads and trails make it favorite jumping off point for excursions deeper into the Zone.

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A recent emission prompted four STALKERS – Timur Bok, Vitya Laska, Ilya Nikitovitch, and Sava Urakov – to chance a quick trip in search of possible new artifacts and salvageable gear from any unlucky visitors.

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Slipping under the Cordon fence, the four of them made their way briskly along a well-worn path to the old garrison. Detecting movement, they did a quick radio check then split up and approached the base each from a different corner.

The leader Timur Bok, scanned the grounds with his monocular. “Two bodies,” he said. “With packs and weapons still on the ground beside them. No local distortions that I can detect though. Appears the emission didn’t generate any anomalies. That means no artifacts.”

“But loot, yes?” Vitya responded.  “So I say we pop in.”

Carrying a heavy CETME battle rifle, Ilya Nikitovitch grunted. “For a sack of old gear and a couple surplus AKs? Meh.”

“It’s money laying on the ground,” Vitya protested. “If you’re scared, don’t worry. I have extra med kits in my pack to patch you up. Unless you want to sit this one out, Mr Big Shot. Then we’ll split the money three ways. Right Sava?”

He heard Sava spit. “If there’s anything of value down there, I’ll find it,” the scrounger said. “Besides, I think Olga deserves some extra magazines after she was so good to us on our last outing, no?”

Sava Urakov’s old AK-74 had saved their collective bacon three days past when the four of them had been jumped by a pair of Snorks outside the bus stop on the old south road.

“OK. We go in,” Timur decided. “Eyes up though. I got two Rotters shuffling by that office building and movement behind the garage.”

Ilya sighed and chambered a round in his rifle. “You know, if you see one…”

Vitya jumped to his feet. “…there’s a dozen more you can’t see,” he finished. “Whoo hoo. We’re off to see the wizard.”

***

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GAME SUMMARY

Very straightforward game to test the combat mechanics and the Hostile NPC AI rules. Area had Two Hot Spots (locations with probable loot. And hostiles) and five enemies already visible. The players decided to cooperate rather than compete, coming in from the four corners of the base/mission area.

Timur the leader promptly climbed to the top of a large fuel tank. Vitya the medic skirted the far side of the garage to flank the zombies and approach one of the Hot Spots.   (symbolized by a Dead Stalker scenic) The Scrounger Sava ducked and weaved his way past the ConEx containers toward a truck, while Ilya lugged his battle rifle around the fuel depot at the rear of the base.

 

The game itself unfolded swiftly and without surprises: seeing Timur on the fuel tank, the zombies promptly lurched forward, allowing Vitya and Ilya to approach unnoticed. Sava made the first kills of the game, dropping the two office zombies before they knew he was around.

Jealous, Timur lobbed a grenade at the shuffling trio, only to miss and tear up the cab of a nearby Ural 4320. The zombies pressed ahead, coming within 4″ of the second Hot Spot and triggering a pack of feral dogs, who ran to the fuel tanks rear ladder and began barking.

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With this distraction as cover, Vitya tossed a bolt to trigger the Hot Spot directly in front of him. (Two Bandits!) Meanwhile, Sava gave Olga a quick kiss on the bolt cover and sidled over to the barricades and began picking off the distant zombies. Ilya ran to help Timur, who was prepping another grenade.

Timur dropped the grenade on the dogs. (“Puppy burgers over the camp fire tonight, comrades!”) Sava took down the last of the zombies which allowed Ilya to climb on top of the damaged Ural and dispatch the two Bandits before they could turn on Vitya.

 

All threats dispatched, the Hot Spots were clear for salvage. Sava, being a Scrounger, can check each location twice, virtually guaranteeing the STALKERs a decent haul for their effort. Game over.

THOUGHTS

Only Two Hot Spots, a few Shufflers, some Dogs, and a pair of Bandits, players cooperating and coordinating their moves, the game went smoothly with no drama at all.

Nail-biting it wasn’t but as a test game for the rules? I’d say it Passed. I’ll be tweaking the ZP rules to get the conclusions on paper this weekend and that’ll be another step toward the finish line.

Thanks for reading.  Have a great day.

 

ZP Sample Character Sheet

STALKER4

SAMPLE CHARACTER SHEET FOR ZONE FIREFIGHTS

 

CHARACTER NAME: Leytenánt Timur Bok

CORE PROFILE

MOVEMENT COMBAT ABILITY ARMOR WILL
6″/Action 5 Mil-Body Armor (4) 6

WEAPONS

WEAPON TYPE RANGE FIREPOWER DAMAGE
MP443 GRACH Pistol Melee -12″ 1 0
AK74 Assault Rifle 1″- 36″ 3 1

OPERATIONAL SPECIALTY/ABILITY

SCROUNGER: May SEARCH Terrain item twice.

HUSTLE: +2″ Movement Bonus for two consecutive Move Actions in the same turn.

 

GEAR

Military Body Armor: Armor 4 PLUS counts as Obscured Target from Ranged Attacks when in Cover. Med-Kit: (2) Self-administer. No Action Cost. Automatically replace Wound Result with two Pin counters. Hand Grenade: (2) Range: 1″ -18″  FP: 1   Dam: 2/model. Small Blast Template

Another Zona Perestrelki crew

The 4th of July weekend is upon us so this is a short post.

Another squad for ZP. I painted up five more Eureka Soviets with Pig Iron heads. A simple modification that’s easy and works well to provide loads of appropriate looking Zone denizens is no time. This squad can be unaffiliated STALKERS, a rival crew, perhaps even successful Bandits out to rob players of their hard-earned salvage and artifacts.

The old VOR Union Power Armor Commander makes for a good random event for those missions deep in the Zone. He could be an enemy or an ally – it all depends on how the players react once he appears on the board.

Speaking of which… Each ZP mission can be played at one of three Threat Levels: Blue, Yellow, or Red. (TL 1, 2 and 3 respectively) Lower level areas are more secure with fewer hostiles but offer less salvage. Sure, you can scrape out a living pecking around the relative safety of the perimeter areas, but it’s only when you risk a Red/TL 3 well inside the Cordon that you come across truly valuable gear and artifacts. But beware! Mercenaries, Bandits, and Mutants guard those areas and would gladly kill any who trespass on their territories. A player will want solid experience under their belt, a fair-sized crew with decent gear before venturing too far in.

But as they say in Russia – кто не рискует, тот не пьет шампанское.

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Breech and Clear an abandoned building
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RPK Support
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Cheeki Breeki, baby
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Military Power Armor. Very rare, expensive to maintain, but absolute top-of-the-line for scavenging the Zone