Thursday, 29 March 2012

Empire of the Blazing Sun - Fleet Pictures

Finally, Finally, FINALLY finished up my Empire of the Blazing Sun 800 point fleet for Dystopian Wars.  In fact, the varnish was applied about 21 hours before we leave for the tournament (wow, flashbacks to university!)  I originally planned in this post to explain a bit about what each squadron did and what my tactics would be with them, but, to be honest, I'm sick of the sight of them!!!

The Flagship - Hachiman Class Dreadnought

Although they were only painted to a "tabletop" standard, they took a hell of a lot of work, being covered in lots of tiny details and textures.  If you're unfamiliar with any of the Spartan Games resin models, I'd heartily recommend you check them out, the level of crisp detail on them is really impressive.
Tsukuyomi Class War Gyro

From this distance, about three feet, I'm quite happy with them and I think the look is cohesive over all the ships.  If you get any closer however, you'll see a couple problems and some of the details I've missed.  The War Gyro in particular just wouldn't hold the drybrushed paint, so it got a thicker coat than the other ships.
Tanuki Class Gunships

Still, its not good manners to post pictures on your blog and then criticise them yourself (that is the readers job.)  So I'll just say again that I'm happy with how they've turned out.  Hopefully they will continue to perform well on the tabletop now that they're finished...
Yurgi Class Destroyers and Uwatsu Class Frigates

Tiny Flyers - Torpedo Bombers

My own personal Agincourt - Dystopian Wars

Or, perhaps, not their finest hour.

We had the last warm up game of Dystopian Wars last week, in preparation for this weekends tournament.  I used my Empire of the Blazing Sun list I talked about here, while Gaz's British fleet consisted of a battleship with escorts, a carrier, two submarines, two bombers, three frigates, three destroyers, three squadrons of dive bombers and one spotter plane. 

The British had the advantage of more squadrons to activate, but I won the deployment role to balance things out a little.  I put my Dreadnought and War Gyro opposite the British Carrier, while the Gunships and Destroyers faced the battleship and bombers.  The British Subs, my Frigates and lots of aircraft kept to the centre.

The battle, just after the first few shots.

I took the initiative on the first turn, so made the British move first.  Gaz moved his Submarines up and one fired at my destroyers, missing.  The Submarine then attempted to dive under the waves to safety, but failed the test to do so.  Things didn't get any better for the Brits.

The British left flank, things looking ok so far.

On my right, the Dreadnought and War Gyro took two turns to destroy the Brit carrier, frigate squadron and all but one destroyer.  The Gyro took a lot of damage from the dive bomber squadrons, but was still functioning.  My Destroyers put some damage on the Sub opposite them and a dented one of the bombers to their left.

Gunships & Destroyers, just before a flurry of rockets!

The Gunships on my right took a little damage each from the battleship, but managed to destroy one bomber, capture the other and started putting damage on the battleship.

Halfway through turn 3, everything heads toward the battleship.

At the end of turn two, Gaz only had his damaged Battleship, one Sub, one damaged Destroyer and some aircraft (without any bombs) left.  To his credit, he carried on for a few more activations, but facing with three big threats closing in, we called the game half way through turn three.  In case anyone didn't notice, total casualties for the Empire of the Blazing Sun: zero.  Not even a single tiny flyer token.  Nice.

The Kingdom of Britannia derelict area.  Heh, heh, heh.   

So a great warm up game for me, not so much for Gaz.  Still, it was a good reminder that who you're playing is often far more important than what you're playing. 

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

First outdoor pint of the year!

This is getting ridiculous.  21°C at the end of March in Aberdeen is just crazy.

I had some free time this afternoon, but instead of getting some time in with the paint brush, I was compelled to head out for a pint in the sun (medicinal reasons obviously, dodgy back still.)

This is the Ferryhill Tavern (although they've changed the name to something else apparantly) and, although not that busy today, on sunny days is usually packed with folk.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Another Sunday in the Sun

Roasting hot, but still not Spring yet - notice the distinct lack of any green
Some record temperatures in our neck of the woods yesterday, 22°C inland, but about 18°C in Aberdeen.  We went for another trek, inland this week, along the river Dee.  The Mrs, who isn't a tech head at all, wanted to try out a new app that tracks the distance and route you walk.  It seems to work fine, the distance seems about right  (12.76 miles) and the statistics available are really interesting (average walking speed of 3.16 mph with 19 minutes where we were stationary.)

The view from where we had lunch, not a soul in sight!
Sunday was a marked improvement on previous days.  I treked down to Glasgow for a job interview, only to have them announce that the position has been filled internally and that they're interviewing "with a view for future expansion."  Tossers.  Then, to increase the joy, I've pulled my back again so am in constant discomfort (I'd like to say constant agonising pain, but it's not that bad.  Just extremely annoying!)

However, earlier in the week, we had our final warm up game of Dystopian Wars (it deserves it's own post, soon) which was great fun AND my fleet is almost finished, with just some details to paint and then seal everything.

I defy anyone to see a llama and not smile
Hopefully I'll get the painting finished tomorrow and can then decide what to work on next. . . I haven't bought any new models in about six weeks!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Empire of the Blazing Sun - WIP

Managed to get a few hours painting in today, mainly trying to get the last of my Dystopian Wars fleet finished.  These three Tanuki Class Gunships are almost done.  The white hull, decking and metallics are all finished, with only the windows, red detailing and lower hull needing work.

The Tsukuyomi War Gyro has proven a bit of a problem.  After the first coat of paint, I couldn't decide whether or not to cut out the gaps between each individual turbine.  If I'd left them in there would be plain flat panels that wouldn't (in my opinion) look right painted or left black.  On the other hand, the way the model is cast, you can't cut out all the flat panels (some are too close the main structure, others are just too small,) which might still not look right.

I've still to cut out the two leftmost panels
I couldn't find a painted example anywhere in a quick search online, so just decided to hack away at it.  Although it took a while to make any progress (the resin was deceptively thick) I'm happy with how it turned out.  It won't stand up to close scrutiny, but for the quick paint job I'm doing, I think it will look fine.

I just don't know how you would paint the panels and have it look good.
After these guys, it's just ten tiny flyer tokens and the fleet is finished.  

15mm German Pioneer Platoon

I finally got round to finishing the German Pioneer Platoon I've been working on.  They're all Battlefront miniatures, painted to my "B" standard i.e. they look fine on the table, but don't bear too much scrutiny close up.

My aim with these guys was to worry less about each individual detail and focus more on the contrast on and between each figure.  I think it has worked out well enough.

I also used some new basing materials, namely the Gale Force 9 blend range and some Army Painter tufts.  Although the balance isn't quite right (the bases are a bit too green) I'm still fairly happy with them.

I've started work on another SS Platoon and a British Mortar platoon, I want to try painting skin differently and practise camouflage at 15mm.  If these both work out I'll make a concerted start on my Fallschirmjager force.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

A laaazzzy Sunday

Aberdeen beach on a warm March day, well warm for Aberdeen in March. . .
I awoke this morning with every of settling down and finishing my fleet Blazing Sun for Dystopian Wars.  However 10°, little wind and direct sunshine is shirt off weather in Aberdeen.  Well it would have been shirt off if not for the ten or eleven pounds of winter "girth" I'm carrying.

Although, these guys were still well wrapped up.
So after a few hours out walking and then cooking a hefty Sunday dinner, I really wasn't up to doing anything productive.  In fact, I consider staying awake to be an achievement today. Instead, I watched a bit of sport, read for a bit and played Mass Effect 3 on the XboX.  In other words, a great way to spend a Sunday.
It took him a long time to do this properly, but he looked pretty cool!

Friday, 16 March 2012

Flames of War Version 3 Rulebook

My hardback copy of the new Flames of War rulebook arrived yesterday.  It's comes in at a hefty weight and in three parts.

No surprises with the main rulebook as it's identical in content, barring a brief history of the war and some maps, to the small A5 paperback edition.  The page numbers also match up perfectly - not a big deal now, but as more and more rules questions are answered, this will prove very handy.  Another nice touch is that each page has the topic covered printed along the outer edge, helpful while flicking through the book.  It's of the same high quality to other recent hardback rulebooks (Grey Wolf, Red Bear etc) so I've no complaints there.  It does smell a bit weird though. . .

The Forces supplement looks like it's a straight 100 page update of Fortress Europe. Thirteen army lists ported over from the old supplement with updated points costs.  My knowledge of the Flames of War isn't encyclopaedic enough to spot all the changes, but there's nothing obviously amiss here.

Having said that, all non-German lists are rated Confident Trained, whereas I thought there was more variation in FE.  There are no surprises in the choice of army lists (no Commandos, Fallschirmjager or Guards lists for instance,) but there are small arsenals for each nation with updated mortar and breakthrough gun profiles for the British and Americans.

The Hobby pamphlet is a scant 40 pages covering all the usual hobby stuff, choosing an army, painting, playing a game, FoW website etc.  It is nicely laid out and very well written, but there's absolutely nothing here for an existing player or experienced wargamer. Actually, for this reason, I think it was a great idea to include this separably from the main rules.

I really like the aesthetic Battlefront have chosen for the new edition, the red and stone scheme is much more atmospheric than the old scheme. Although there is a lot of recycled content, there is some loverly new artwork here and the hobby section in particular features some great photos. The design and layout of the new rules is also a great improvement over the previous book, the text is easy to read and the overall layout is much more logical than the last edition.  Both Battlefront and the community have talked about the number of  diagrams and summary/checklists used in the rules, but it's worth repeating here that they greatly improve the process of understanding and using the rules.

Overall, a nice package at a nice price.  I'm not sure how much use I'll get from the two supplements, but both are well done and I'm happy they're there (remember there were no army lists included in the V2 rules.)  And although I have an A5 rulebook, I much prefer having the hardback to actually study the rules properly, but that might simply be due to a combination of age and eyesight!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Empire of the Blazing Sun Tournament List

I've been presured into submitting my fleet list for the Dystopian Wars event I'm attending at the end of the month.  It's a 800 point naval tournament with a cap of 240 points on air units (the tiny flier squadrons are free.)  So I've gone for an Empire of the Blazing Sun list:

Hachiman Class Dreadnought
Tsukuyomi Class War Gyro
Tanuki Class Gunship x 3
Yurgi Class Destroyer x 3
Uwatsu Class Frigate x 4
Torpedo Bombers x 5
Torpedo Bombers x 5

I'm fairly comfortable with the list.  The only real dilemma I had was choosing the War Gyro over the Sky Fortress, mainly because the Sky Fortress gives you three activations instead of just one.  However, I went for the Gyro due to the better quality firepower.  I should get in two more games before we go, so will hopefully get to iron out any issues.

There's not been a lot of activity on the blog this last week, as real life has rudely kept me busy.  I have got a bit of painting done though, namely some Flames of War figures and some work on my Great Italian Wars project.  Updates soon.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Dystopian Wars - Battle in the Baltic

We had another Dystopian Wars battle at the club this week.  This time, we were trialing one of the scenarios planned for the upcoming tournament - a battle for control of the Baltic (although what the Japanese are doing contesting the Baltic Sea is beyond me!)

A large strut of land stuck out towards the centre of the table, with sand banks blocking any gaps (I really need to make some more terrain,) and deployment zones stretching out from opposite corners.  The ultimate goal was to move a ship or squadron off the table via your opponents deployment zone, but we realised very quickly that this was unfeasible.  It looks like the scenario will change to awarding extra victory points for intact ships and squadrons in the opposite table half.

So far so good.  The Brits move out, lead by their gunships and carrier.

Gaz changed his Kingdom of Britannia list by replacing the Dreadnought (yay!) with both carriers and a lot of medium ships.

The big hitters move out.  Sjy Fortress, Gunships and Battleship head straight for the Brit carrier.
I swapped out the Dreadnought for a Battleship and extra frigates, but was still lower on activations compared to the Brits.

Due to the strut of land, I was able to deploy close to the middle of the table edge, but at the same time keep my gunships and battleship hidden from most of the Britannian firepower, in particular the torpedoes.

The Brits in disaray.  A Sky Fortress, Destroyer and unarmed bombers all that remain.

The Brits pushed the carrier and gunships forward, followed closely by the cruisers.  The carrier, however, pushed just a little too far forward and became the target of every big gun in the Blazing Sun fleet.  The following turns saw the Brit fleet decimated for the cost of only a couple frigates, a destroyer and a couple points of damage on the Battleship.

So from my point of view, the scenario was perfectly balanced. . . Only kidding, it was fairly skewed in my favour as I was able to deploy most of my fleet hidden from view, while Gaz had to sit his big ships out in the open.  A little bit of adjustment to the deployment zones and a little more terrain should solve both these issues.

  Dice. The cause of, and solution to, all wargaming problems!

My crushing victory was not purely down to dodgy deployment however.  The Brit fleet had nowhere near enough regular gunnery attacks, relying instead on aircraft and torpedoes, both of which allow defensive measures to limit their effectiveness.  There was also the fact that Gaz couldn't roll for shit the whole night!

Four weeks until the tournament.  Need to get my existing fleet finished, order and paint some gunships, try and make some terrain and, if there's time, make sure my liver is in good shape for a bashing!

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Black Crusade Announcement - Tome of Fate

It's like I'm psychic (or a Psyker!) Days after Hand of Corruption arrived in the Man Corner, FFG have announced the next book in the Black Crusade series: The Tome of Fate.

Instead of releasing separate player/GM/adversary and adventure books, the next four supplements seem to combine aspects of all these books, but focus on each of the Chaos Gods in turn.

I'm pleasantly surprised to see that Fantasy Flight Games have taken a different direction with Black Crusade than previous 40K RPGs. 

From their website:
The Tome of Fate introduces four new Tzeentch-centric Heretic Archetypes, as well as foul daemons, arcane weaponry, mighty daemon engines, and vile minions for followers of the Master of Fate. Players of all alignments will also gain potent new psychic powers and daemonic rites to fuel their struggle against the hated Imperium. The fallen forges of the Hollows, the mutants of Dread Korvaska, and the ancient Necrons awakening from within the Pillars of Eternity: these and other secrets of the Screaming Vortex shall stand revealed. All this and more lies within The Tome of Fate, including a dangerous new adventure on the sorcerous world of Q’Sal!
So a largely, but not exclusively, Tzeentch book that sounds that it covers all the Black Crusade bases.  What immediately caught my eye was the Daemon Engines.  Do they mean the same thing as the old Epic Daemon Engines?  If so, although the Tzeentch engines were rubbish, I'll be looking forward to the Khorne book for these guys:

Well I'm really looking forward to this next release, love the direction FFG have taken and will be interested to see more previews over the next few weeks.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Black Crusade - Hand of Corruption

I was stoked to finally get my copy of Hand of Corruption, a supplement for Black Crusade by Fantasy Flight Games.  FFG seem to be following their usual 40K RPG release practice of a rulebook, GM kit then campaign rulebook.  Now this is out, hopefully Black Crusade will get it's own players handbook and GM Guide soon.

   Lots of this on offer. . . . . text
Hand of Corruption sees your group of heretics infiltrating an Imperial prison planet, Saint Annard's Penance, with a view to conducting an aracane ritual and converting the planet to Chaos!  The three linked adventures try to hit the sweet spot for a Black Crusade campaign; infiltration, insurrection and, of course, action!

   Hello, How may I pervert you?  (Anyone get the reference?)
There's a fair amount of content, lots of background and info on Saint Annard's Penance, plenty of GM advice, a decent proportion of written dialog and scripted events.

Like most of the 40K RPG books I have, production is to a really high standard (with zero typos spotted so far!)  Hand of Corruption has a really nice mix of artwork, including new material, older/existing GW artwork (including the classic Necron Codex cover) and in plenty of different styles.

I'm glad that Hand of Corruption has finally been released, as the whole process has been surprisingly drawn out.  As I recall, both Rogue Trader and Deathwatch had their first two full supplements out in the first few months.  Black Crusade has been out for close to six months now so should have had a bit more support than it has.  I hope that any delays were due to the Collectors Edition release, which took an absolute age.

   Haven't seen this image anywhere before - Chaos Lord on pile of dead guardsmen
The problem with getting a campaign book first (or reading it first) is that you're going to have to run the adventures yourself (because, well, you know what's going to happen.) Fortunately, I've ran most of our Black Crusade sessions and am looking forward to seeing how our group of heretics fare in this campaign, particularly against the big guy in act three!

Three more followers to say hello to as well; Headologist (a nice mix of historical and sci-fi,) Monty (historical gaming - with some great looking armies) and Lee Hadley (more commonly known as BigLee and for his Miniature Adventures!)