Friday, 30 August 2013

Heroes of Normandie review

One of the Kickstarter projects I backed this year is 'Heroes of Normandie' a WWII 'as it is in the movies' board game. The game should arrive in November but I've just found this review by someone who played it at Gencon. It sounds just as good as I'd hoped it would be, roll on November!

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

My first painted Buntai for 'Ronin'

I've finished painting up my first buntai for Ronin so I thought I'd go through the list and look at the options I've chosen. First up is the Bushou who is the leader of the buntai.

He is a rank 5 samurai, which is the highest rank you can take, costing 34pts. He's armed with a katana and a wakizashi. I decided to take all three of his optional attributes for another 9pts. I've given him the following:
  • Kenjutsu, which gives him a dice re-roll in combat
  • Tough, which lets him ignore Light Wounds
  • Powerful, which gives him +1 to attack rolls
This should make him a real badass in combat.

All lords would travel with an escort so I have added two rank 3 samurai to the buntai.

One is armed with a naginata for 27 pts and the other with a katana and wakizashi for 24pts. I've also taken one additional attribute for each of them. I took
  • Naginatajutsu, which gives a dice re-roll in combat, and
  • Kenjutsu, which gives a dice re-roll in combat
I decided to boost their weapon skills as I think it will give me the best bang for my yen. However I may re-think things after I've got a few games under my belt.

Rounding out the buntai are five rank 1 Ashigaru at a cost of 18 pts each.

I've armed two of them with teppo (arquebus), two with nagae-yari (pike) and the last one with a yumi (bow). Again I'm not sure how they'll work out in practice. The yari fires every turn but the teppo, which fires every other turn, ignores some armour. The nagae-yari are there to protect the missile troops.

The points total for this buntai only comes to 190pts so I've bought two 'Fearsome Kiai' for 5pts each to bring it up to 200pts. A Kiai or 'spirit shout' is something used by martial artists to momentarily stun a opponent. In the game it allows you to use a 'Fearsome Kiai' to automatically gain priority in a turn, which is a nice touch.

So that's the first buntai done. I'm not too happy with some of the painting and colour choices but they'll do for now.

Monday, 26 August 2013

My 500 pt Germans for Bolt Action

I've finished painting up my 1/72 Germans for Bolt Action (BA) so I thought I'd post a few photos and have a look at my army list.

I decided to make the force a late war Heer Veteran Grenadier Infantry unit. The main reason was that I wanted to try out assault rifles because they look cool. Here is the list I've chosen.

1 x 2nd Lt + 1 Rifleman, (Regular) 60 pts
1st Squad, (Veteran) NCO + 7 men (1 SMG, 7 Assault Rifles) 142 pts
2nd Squad, (Veteran) NCO + 7 men (1 SMG, 2 LMG, 5 Rifles) 147 pts
1 x MMG, (Regular) 50 pts
1 x Medium Mortar, (Regular) 50 pts
1 x Sniper Team, (Regular) 50 pts

Total 499pts

I went veteran as I think it's the best option for Germans. Their morale is better and they're harder to hit. I see the 1st squad as getting stuck in, although they have the firepower to defend if necessary. The 2nd squad with it's two LMGs will be used to hold objectives and provide covering fire for the 1st squad. I added a rifleman to the officer so a lucky hit doesn't take him out of the game. I would have preferred a 1st LT but just didn't have the points.

Support comes from the MMG and medium mortar, although I'm not convinced they'll be particularly effective. I'll see how they go and may look to replace them with some cheap armour or a half track. Rounding out the force is the sniper team which I'll use to pick off NCO's or just add pins.

The figures are all Valiant Miniatures 1/72 figures which cost me £8.24 for a box of 68 figures. So this 500pt force only cost me £3.15. You've got to love 1/72 figures.

I have enough spares left to go to 1000pts but I'll probably add some armour and/or transport first. I also want to add enough figures to give me a force I can use for Chain of Command. Here's some other photos of the finished figures.

1st Squad with Assault Rifles

Tripod mounted MG42

80mm mortar

2nd Squad with 2 LMGs

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Colour scheme test figure for my Samurai

Having sorted out my buntai for 'Ronin' I decided to paint up a test figure to see how my planned colour scheme worked. I also wanted to see if the dip obscured the detail on these 1/72 figures.

It turned out better than I expected and took hardly any time to paint as I was just adding detail to the sprayed on base coat. There's a couple of minor things I'll change but I should have both buntai finished soon.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

My Buntai for Osprey's 'Ronin' skirmish rules.

My Zvezda Samurai arrived Thursday morning along with my copy of 'Chain of Command' (more on this next week hopefully).

I'd decided to go 1/72 plastic because they're cheap (£7.57 inc p&p for 44 figures), particularly when you're buying both sides. Added to which I'm not sure how often I'll get to play Ronin. The figures themselves are nicely detailed and I'm interested in seeing how they paint up. The back of the box has a nice shot of the painted contents which can be a help if you can't decide on a colour scheme. My only gripe is that I would have preferred more Ashigaru, particularly one with a bow.

I had a look through the army lists for Ronin (Buntai) and I decided to keep it simple and go for two Bushi buntai at 200 pts. Bushi are the professional forces, Samurai and Ashigaru, of the various lords.

The first buntai is composed of seven level 3 Samurai. (Well it had to be didn't it!) Even if the Seven Samurai were actually ronin. At this point I should mention that each buntai has limitations on its force composition, some more rigorous than others. So make sure you've carefully read the limitations for your buntai before buying the figures.

The blue is a sprayed on base coat.

The points total for these figures is 168 which left me 32 pts to spend on attributes and more exotic weapons. Attributes are basically buffs that aid combat, morale or movement and weapon choice can alter things like initiative. (Pikes have a bonus first round because of their reach but have a penalty in subsequent rounds because they're unwieldy). I imagine this buntai as a 'hit squad' of trusted retainers sent out by their lord to achieve some task.

Their opponents, although also a Bushi buntai have a very different composition. There is the lord himself, a level 5 Samurai with three additional attributes, two level 3 Samurai each with one attribute, and five Ashigaru two with a pike, two with arquebus and one with a bow. I see this force as the lord travelling with his escort.

I chose red as a base coat for this force.

As for tactics I imagine the seven samurai will charge in to attack while the Ashigaru will shoot them as they approach from the cover of the pikes. The lord and his guards will then move in to finish off the interlopers.

I watched 'Kagemusha' again a few days ago to give me some ideas for colour schemes and decided to go with one main colour for each force as they used in the film. (Great film for inspiration, if a little long at 3hrs 40 mins)

I'll post up some pictures when I finish painting them and I'll do a review of the rules when I've had a chance to try them out.

Friday, 23 August 2013

My 1/72 German assault rifle squad

I've finished the assault rifle squad for my 1/72 Germans now. So I decided to post a few 'work in progress' photos as it seems that's what all the big kids do these days.

So how did I produce these decidedly average figures? Well, I start off by spraying the figures with the appropriate base colour. As these are late war Germans I used grey. I then block paint the detail colours for the skin, webbing, weapons etc. The end result can be seen below.

They're not brilliant, and I miss out some of the detail as well as painting outside the lines but the dip covers a multitude of sins. Lots of people may be aghast at my approach but I'm not a painter I'm a wargamer. As long as the end result looks ok on the table I'm happy. Once the block painting is finished I brush on a coat of Army Painter dip. In this case the 'Dark' tone which is black. I'll be using the 'Strong' shade, which is brown, for my Brits as I think it will go better with the khaki.
The figures after a coat of dip.
Once this has dried overnight I give them a spray of Army Painter Matt varnish, which I think is an excellent product giving a really nice flat finish. Then I attach them to the mdf bases which I paint with Coat D'Arms 'Sandy Brown' Brushscape textured paint before adding GF9 Green static grass. The end result can be seen below.
The finished squad
You can see the other squads here and here.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

I have to stop buying new stuff

I'm a bit like a dog in a lamp post factory at the moment. I don't know which leg to cock. I've recently bought the new fast play Battletech rules Alpha Strike and the old Attactix board game Victory at Waterloo, and I want to play more of both of them. However I also want to finish painting my 1/72 Germans and Brits for BA/Chain of Command. Then the postie brought my copy of Osprey's new Ronin skirmish rules and my copy of Longstreet and my copy of Chain of Command should be here in the morning along with my 1/72 Samurai for Ronin.

I've just about got my 1/72 Germans done now, only 4 left to finish and I've primed all the Brits. I used the new PSC Warsprays Khaki primer. It covered the figures well and is on a par with my usual Army Painter sprays. Plus I have 150 10mm Rebs ready for a basecoat as a start on my Longstreet forces.

Just some of the figures awaiting paint.

I'm just all over the place at the moment. I want to get my Brits finished so I can play CoC. But I really need to get a start on the 400 or so figures I need to paint for Longstreet as I really want to give the rules a try, particularly the great looking campaign system. But Ronin looks fun and doesn't need many figures painting up to play and who doesn't like samurai and ninjas.  But if I do all this painting I won't have time to read all the new rulebooks or play Battletech or Victory at Waterloo. Then, just to make matters worse, my 2-player starter set for Dropzone Comander will be here at the end of September. Decisions, decisions.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Re-reading rulebooks is a good idea.

I've played a few games of Bolt Action and feel I have a pretty good handle on the rules. In fact I rate the rulebook very highly indeed. As I said in my review it's the only set of rules I've ever been able to read through in one sitting. Usually my eyes glaze over after a few pages as I try to assimilate the masses of detail.

But, unless you're Sheldon Cooper, you can't remember all the rules from one read through. So generally you just check things as they come up in a game. However doing things that way means that you can miss things. So I like to keep a set of rules handy and read a couple of pages when I have a spare minute. This way it helps reinforce things in your mind but also it highlights things you may have missed.

As I said I feel pretty confident with my understanding of BA but in my latest quick foray into the rules I noticed this little gem regarding the special rule that some weapons have called 'Assault'. I've always thought that it just meant that those weapons got to roll two dice instead of one in close combats. But I just noticed that you also don't suffer the -1 for shooting while moving.  Somehow I had completely missed this and it hadn't come up in any of my games. So without re-reading the rules I might never have found this out and playing with the same group of people means that rules pretty soon become locked in as we 'know' how things work.

So keep a copy of the rules handy to dip into when you have a spare couple of minutes. You never know it might mean the difference between victory and defeat in your next game.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Longstreet on its way.

After much anticipation Sam Mustafa's new rules for ACW gaming have been released. I placed my order with Northstar this morning. They have a free p&p offer and bundle deal for the first week  which helped me a little as I splashed out big time.

The rules are £25 which is about par for the course. The extra expense came in ordering the cards needed to play the game which are another £12 for a pack of 151 cards (bundle deal saves you £2). As you need a pack for each player I ordered a second pack so I can try and get some locals interested in playing. That brought my total order to £47, ouch! I think it's time to sell some more stuff on eBay.

Now all I have to do is paint up 300 infantry, about 40 cavalry and 6 guns with crew before the rules arrive!

P.S. I've also just pre-ordered Dropzone Commander so that's another £54!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Saturday update

Just a quick progress report today. Looking at Dropzone Commander has put my painting back a few days so I've still got to finish off my 1/72 Germans. I've also been distracted by 'Ronin' the Samurai skirmish rules from Osprey. I've read a couple of reviews and AARs and it sounds interesting.

As I found 1/72 to be really cheap for doing forces for Chain of Command I had a look on Plastic Soldier Review (a great site btw) to see if there were any good 1/72 Samurai and I found these from Zvezda. You can see their review on PSR here. They rate them pretty highly.

You get 44 figures in twelve different poses as can be seen below.

Easily enough for two forces and only £6.76 from Amazon. If I buy the rules from Amazon as well for £9.99 I can have the rules and two forces for only £16.75. That's less than the price of most rulebooks alone. I probably won't get the chance to play often but at that price it doesn't feel like I'm wasting money.

I've also, at long last, made a start on my 10mm ACW armies from Pendraken. I'm hoping to get them ready in time for the release of 'Longstreet' from Sam Mustafa. I'm steadily working my way through the first batch of 150 Confederates cleaning up the bases. After I finish prepping them I have another 150 Union troops, 60 cavalry and six guns and crew to do. That is if my thumb holds out. Those bases can be sharp!

Friday, 16 August 2013

Dropzone Commander 2-Player Starter set

I've done a bit more digging into the new 2-player set as I now intend to buy at least one set.

Box Art

Box Contents

The first thing to note is that the models that come with this set are injection moulded plastic rather than the usual resin. Does this make a difference to me? No, I could care less what they're made of as long as they look ok on the tabletop. Hawk are saying that there's little difference visually between the plastic and resin models anyway. The models for each faction come on three identical sprues as shown below.

UCM sprue

Scourge sprue

The contents of the starter armies are basically the same as the existing resin starter armies (£68 each RRP). The only differences are that you get one extra APC for each faction (because there is one on each of the three sprues) and that you don't get the set of Command Cards. Apparently the extra APC can't be used although I don't know why, maybe because of army list limitations. So I guess you could use it as a wreck marker or an objective. The Command Cards are not needed in a starter set game as you have no command vehicle. But as you will no doubt want to expand your forces you will need the Command Cards, they cost about £4 for each faction specific deck so not a big deal.

Next up is the card terrain included in the box. The card buildings are the same as the ones you get in the Cityscape terrain set (£30 RRP) except you only get ten buildings not twenty. Also you get a 6'x4' urban street system made up of 1'x1' tiles in the Cityscape box while in the starter set this is replaced by two paper 'posters' to give you a 48"x33" playing area. But this is quite adequate for starter set games.

So you have two armies plus all the terrain you need to play a starter game. But wait there's more! You also get the updated version of the rule book (£15 RRP) which also has army lists and fluff for the four factions, over 300 photos and 12 scenarios plus variants. In addition you get UCM and Scourge reference sheets with stats, army composition and quick reference tables. A starter scenario and turn sequence prompt sheet. As well as ten 14mm D6 black dice, a 1m/38” Hawk Wargames tape measure keyring and a full set of card templates and Scenario Objective tokens. No wonder the whole thing weighs in at a hefty 4.4lbs/2Kg.


This is a starter set that literally contains everything you need to play a starter game of Dropzone Commander. It's scheduled for release on September 28th for £60 RRP. To whet your appetite here's a few more pictures of the set's contents.

And finally a few photos to give you an idea of the actual size of the models.

As a starter set this can't be faulted. I'll be buying one or maybe even two sets so watch this space.

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