Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Another T2000 Blog

I have been following this one for months, but forgot to mention it before now.  This is an excellent and highly interesting blog that focuses on a Twilight 2000 campaign in Poland.  You'll find it a good read as well as a source of inspiration.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Moongrunt - A Few Extras

When I first decided to put together a Moongrunt project using the GZG excellent range, I wasn't planning on using rocket-armed troops as part of my forces, but after reading Luna Marine from the Heritage Trilogy I decided that adding what is a fairly common weapon system in the books made sense.  So off to the GZG I went, and ordered a pack of rocket-armed troops for both the Marines and the Chinese.  Of course, while there, I just add to add a civilian element to the project, so I grabbed a pack of crew in vac suits, a pack of survey team personnel (also in vac suits), a Surveyor II tracked vehicle, and a couple of tracked gunbots (although I am having a heck of a time getting the latter put together due to their small and fiddly pieces - a lack of modeling skills on my part).  Jon, as he often does, threw in a couple of freebies, in this case some stowage cans and ammo/supply cases, along with a pack of Moongrunt Marine rifles. Jon is an excellent dealer:  he offers wonderfully cast figures, fast shipping (although this latest order took a bit longer, which is why I think he threw in extra freebies), and will often throw in something for free that will meld with your order.

Two of the Chinese rocket figures
For the rocket troops, I am attaching one to each squad leader as a support weapon.  The Chinese rocket will be slightly inferior to the American version, in terms of accuracy, but a bit superior in punch.  Therefore, when firing the Chinese version, it will use a D6 on its attack dice, an anti-personnel rating of 2M, and an anti-vehicle rating of 3M.  The Marine version will use a D10 to hit, an AP rating of 2L, and an AT rating of 2L.  Of course, these will need to be tested.

The Surveyor II is not a combat vehicle, but does have a rating of 1D6 on all faces.

I used the various cases to create some terrain bits.  They could factor into a scenario as a victory condition as denying the enemy of supplies on Luna could be a devastating blow.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Modern Austrians - Part V

Eureka, CP Models, Terrain4Games
Something I forgot to do, take some comparison pictures of my Eureka proxy Austrians as compared to the CP Models Taliban (and a Terrain4Games Pole, The Scene special forces, GZG Moongrunt Chinese, and a CP contractor, all for good measure) that I have as a potential OPFOR.  As you can see by the pictures, the two companies are decently matched, certainly good enough on the same table as opponents.  Actually, most of the companies do fine together.  The GZG and CP figures are a bit heftier, but not noticeably so from a few feet away.

Eureka, CP Models, Terrain4Games, GZG, The Scene, CP Models

Saturday, April 28, 2018

The Poles II

Just a quick blurb about getting the modern Polish I picked up from Terrain4Games based (infantry) and built (vehicles).  The infantry are mounted on Litko bases, 20mm round in this case.  The M1114 and Rosomak both went together easily, with a touch of filing to make everything fit a touch more cleanly.  I filed the bottoms of the wheels as well to ensure that both vehicles would sit flush on the tabletop.

Next step will be priming!

Friday, April 27, 2018

The Poles!

Okay, another one of those purchases that I think "that's cool, I can use them for...."  I really have to stop doing this!

For months, off and on, on and off, I have made some visits to the Terrain4Games website to look at their modern Poles.  What kept me from buying any of their figures was the shipping cost to the United States from overseas for a small amount of resin figures.  However, some of their listings on eBay actually have reasonable shipping costs, so I ordered the "full" kit of eight soldiers, an M1114 (HUMVEE), and a KTO Rosomak.  

The eight soldiers are carrying a mix of weapons as follows: five with the wz.1996 Beryl assault rifle, two with the wz.1996 Mini-Beryl, and one with the UKM-2000, which is an updated PMK machine-gun, firing the 7.62 NATO round.  

I placed my order on April 5th.  Expected delivery date was given as after May 5th.  Actual delivery was April 26th, a nice surprise.  The medium sized box was packed well with plenty of bubble wrap to protect the vehicles and figures.

The figures measure about 16M on the Barrett Scale.  They are decently animated, with just a smidgen of clean-up needed to remove some resin "flakes."  The bodies are in good leg/torso/arm proportion, and the weapons seem to be scaled correctly and do not suffer from bazooka-like size that can occur in 15mm figures.

The M1114 comes in six parts.  Detail is good, casting is fairly clean with some cleanup needed, but a few seconds with the X-ACTO will take care of that.  The wheels glue onto axle posts, the grill needs to be added to the front, but the machinegun seems to have an issue as the bottom of the MG has a small round post that should go into a corresponding hole on top of the M1114, but there no corresponding hole.  I might have to file down the post.  The MG probably has the most resin to clean up, but again should be a relatively quick chore.  (picture shows comparison with an Irishserb M1114)

The Rosomak (wolverine) comes in eleven pieces - chassis, turret, gun, and eight wheels.  Detail is excellent.  The wheels have giant tabs on the back that align with slots on the chassis, ensuring an accurate fit.  The gun mounts cleanly onto the turret.  This is one nice looking wheeled armored vehicle.  Two issues though - the turret is slightly loose when positioned on the chassis, allowing a bit of slippage, and the gun was cast with a slight upward gradient as it moves away from the turret.  Being made from resin, I am not going to be able to align the gun back into proper position, but one has to really look at the vehicle to notice.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Urgent Fury - Preliminary Planning

Marine Corps Welcoming Committee
Come to the islands!

Some scattered thoughts regarding a Grenada project, you know, that thing called Operation Urgent Fury?  Some years ago I had some 20mm figures for this conflict for skirmish gaming, but as I have mentioned previously my space is limited so 15mm is the preferred scale...oh, sorry scale snobs...preferred size, for most of my land gaming projects.  And Grenada calls out to me every couple of years.  So today I spent some time doing some searching on blogs and gaming sites trying to find figures that would be somewhat accurate.  I will state it is going to be a chore.

Let's jump to buildings and terrain.  This is a bit easier to tackle.  First, I have some hand made shanties that should add a suitable slum element to part of the tabletop.  I also have tropical trees and plants (well, they are mostly desert, but they'll do in a pinch), along with some Flames of War Vietnam foliage and trees.  I have some green tiles from The Terrain Guy (now defunct) for the gaming base.  But I do need some additional buildings, and in doing some searching there are plenty of pan-tiled roof buildings on Grenada, shades of the Mediterranean.  Empires at War make a series of prepainted mdf and laser cut Spanish/Italian buildings that should do nicely.  Okay, terrain really isn't much of an issue.

Back to the figures. I own three packs of Quality Castings modern Americans.  Given the fact that these figures were probably sculpted well over twenty years ago, the term modern fits a bit more with late Cold War.  Do they have the correct weapons?  Let's try a bit of pass/fail.  The weapons pack has the M47 Dragon (pass), the M60 machinegun (pass), LAW antitank launchers (pass), Stinger missiles (no need for these), and the figures are wearing the kevlar helmet (fail for Marines, pass for 82nd Airborne).  The basic infantry packs have M16s, some with M203 grenade launchers (check), but again with the kevlar helmet.  And the Quality Castings range is so small in height (or should I say SCALE?) compared to other 15mm figures, with some figures showing strange poses.  I cut my WWII 15mm teeth on Quality Castings, but I am not 100% sold on there modern offerings, with so many newer ranges out there.

Photo from Khurasan website
I found a few pictures of US Marines wearing the steal pot helmet with their sleeves rolled up, so perhaps Vietnam era figures might work after all.  I already own some Flames of War Vietnam figures, but they have things like cigarette packs and what not cast on, so they have a decided 'Nam feel.  Then I stumbled onto the Vietnam range from Khurasan.  You have to know the secret handshake to find them (or this link) as they do not appear under the historical figures listing, so I am not even certain they are available for sale.  I'll have to send an email to Khurasan to check availability.

Okay, so perhaps Vietnam figures will work for the Marines.  What about figures for the bad guys?  A bit tougher.  The Cubans could be handled via Peter Pig.  Their hardened militia look the part of Cuban military, even if they might not be in proper attire for Grenada.  Peter Pig also make Soviet helmeted African troops, which might work for the PRA.  There are also some militia packs that might be suitable.  I like some Peter Pig figures, and others I could do without.  Their modern Marines are excellent - chunky in heft, the open gaping mouth that is Peter Pig's signature feature not nearly as prominent, and they have animated sculpting.  Some of their other ranges are not as good (mostly from being older sculpts).

For vehicles I am going to keep it super simple, perhaps one BTR-60 for the bad guys and one AAVP7A1 for the Marines.  Butlers' Printed Models make both in 15mm for a pretty decent price, even though the shipping is a bit high (more than the cost of the two vehicles).  Irishserb makes an AAV7A1, wonder if I can get him to do a BTR-60?

More to follow!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Grunt at the Moon

Just a short post with a piccie or two as I prep my GZG Chinese Moongrunt figures.

Heavy pulse laser and two laser riflemen with grenade launhers
Unlike most GZG infantry packs, the Moongrunt packs are of six figures instead of the usual eight.  This because there are two sprues of packs in each pack that need to be cut from the sprue and glued onto the back of each figure.  The figure has a small hole in the back and the pack has a small pin for fairly easy alignment.

The Chinese are organized into three man cells, with three cells making up a squad, with the addition of a squad leader.  Each cell has two riflemen with a laser rifle/grenade launcher combo, and the third man carries a heavy pulse laser.  (see my Moongrunt Ratings for Tomorrow's War post).

One squad of three cells, with a squad leader
In total I have four squads organized in this fashion.  I have yet to purchase the rocket launcher pack for either the Marines or the Chinese as I just do not have a use for six of these for each force, but mostly likely next time GZG runs a special I'll grab a pack of each.

Of course, being GZG figures, the quality is high while sold at a very reasonable cost (these figures are 58 cents each due to being in packs of six; a pack of eight infantry would yield a cost per figure of only 42 cents.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Bazaar Updated - Added 15mm Sci-Fi

In an effort to pare down the madness a bit, there is a widely varied offering of figures and magazines now updated on the Bazaar page.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

White Dragon MTU

A couple of piccies and some thoughts on these figures that actually arrived several days ago.  That is the first thought...from order date to arrival was just a week and a half, excellent shipping time from the U.K. to the States.

Casting is...interesting.  As you can tell by the pictures, the figures are cast by fireteam with a lot of resin being used for the base piece.  I am wondering if White Dragon could cut costs by reducing the amount of extra resin being used for that piece.  While it might be neat to see there name of the unit on that bar, it is very unnecessary and about half the resin used is going to be tossed in the bin.

The figures are excellent, some of the most realistic proportions I have seen, particularly when it comes to the weapons.  That also might be a downfall as the rifle barrels are thin, and one will have to be careful when removing the figures from the base piece so as to avoid weapon breakage.  I am hoping that once removed from the base that a coat of Gesso will help protect the weapons, but as an added precaution perhaps only game with these figures with fellows you know will be more careful in use.

There is a nice round base on each figure, but the base is only 12mm in diameter, so a bit small (for me at least) to use as is, so these figures will be mounted onto some Litko bases.

There is some flash on some of the figures, but as these are resin the flash is easily removed with a flick of the X-ACTO knife.

Standing figures measure about 16mm from sole to eye, and with their correct proportions I would rate them a 16L on the Barrett Scale.

Monday, March 5, 2018

New Vietnam Blog

A new blog has made an appearance, and in this case the blog is focused on 15mm Vietnam gaming.  I am looking forward to following the exploits over at Boots on the Ground - Eleven Bravo's in Vietnam,

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Novus Design Studio - Russian Buildings

A few weeks ago I took advantage of a sale at Novus Design Studio for some resin 15mm Russian/Eastern European buildings.  As I am a sucker for quality buildings, a sale, and buildings that have lift off roofs (a must for the amount of skirmish level gaming I want to do), I just HAD to buy them, right?  

The buildings are cast in high quality resin, no bubbles or incomplete casting.  They are fairly large buildings as well (the workshop for example is about 4" square and 2.25" tall), which is even better for skirmish level gaming.  

I can see these being used in a few settings, including X-COM, Cold War, and modern conflicts.

A couple of piccies of the workshop, with a Khurasan Late 21st Century figure for scale purposes.

Comparison Shots

A few comparison pics showing the Khurasan Alien Invasion and Late 21st Century figures recently purchased for use as X-COM proxies (since I have been playing the old version a lot recently).  Two types of aliens, one for the sectoids and the other for the mutoids mentioned on my Tomorrow's War page.

The figures are excellent.  The humans share similar styling to the Peter Pig modern U.S. Marines.  Not as chunky, I would rate them as 16M on the Barrett Scale, meaning that they are of medium heft and measure 16mm from sole of foot to eye.  There is one advancing pose that is a bit off, one leg hiked in the air like a dog leaving his scent (not shown in the picture).  There was also some flash between the legs on some of the figures, which I found to be a bit odd for newer castings.

The war caste aliens, which I will use as Mutoids, are 14M on the Barrett Scale.  The science caste aliens (which will be the sectoids) are 13L.  I like the fact that the war caste figures are a tad taller and slightly heftier.

The first picture shows the section organization.  Two fireteams, each team with two riflemen and two energy weapons, led by a section leader.

The next picture shows a science and war caste alien with a human.

Lastly we have the aliens shown for comparison.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

White Dragon Marine Tactical Unit

Picture from White Dragon website
Why?  Because I got bored at work.  Lord knows I do not need any more 15mm sci-fi figures, but I decided to order a few of the White Dragon Miniatures Marine Tactical Unit figures just to check them out.  Made in resin, purported to stand 17mm tall, the detail looks amazing (from the website pictures).  Put the word Marine next to a figure and I am a sucker.  Put a bit of a background (canon) in place and I can't resist.  Give me a good price for shipping from the United Kingdom and I am sold.  

Therefore, I picked up one each of the infantry teams (Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie) along with the injured pack (gotta have one of those to denote wounded and killed, right?). 

Alpha and Bravo have four riflemen, one SAW, and one designated marksman.  Charlie has the heavy weapons assets - two man portable missiles, assistant gunners, and two riflemen. 

What will I use them for?  Who knows?  My Zombiesmith Aphids need some opponents, but the Aphids are kinda cartoonish.  That could be the hook, the serious looking Marines and the Howard the Duck looking Aphids.  

Monday, February 26, 2018

Grunts on the Moon...Revisited

Just a quick post about the Moongrunt project.  I kinda sat these excellent GZG figures to the side (was going to send them off for painting with Micropanzer but never made the arrangements) and in a fit of organization a couple of weeks ago came across them again, bagged up and ready to ship out.  As I have also been playing a lot of X-COM lately, the whole period is capturing the imagination once again (can one consider a future event a "period" for gaming?).  Based on some comments on one of the gaming forums when I first posited the question about rules, today I ordered a play copy of GDW's Azhanti High Lightning (just the rules book) for a low price, so those are on their way for future perusal.  The G Dog has offered to get together and run through the rules, so I will try to set up a gaming session with him and Dances with Clydesdales some time this spring (the Walking With History side job is starting to pick up some steam and I have several talks and a couple of tours booked).

Thursday, February 15, 2018

X-COM - More Thoughts

Potential Mutoids - Picture from Khurasan website
Recent chatter on The Wargames Website about what Nordic Weasel rules would be suitable for X-COM has me thinking once again about my own X-COM project and rules that would give a good feel for the original game, but would still be easily learned for my gaming group and for convention games.  While I have leaned towards either the X-Com Tactical rules I found on the interweb, or Tomorrow's War, I believe the former might be a bit too fiddly for a convention setting, and the latter has its own quirks as gamers have to get used to the reaction system.  There was some talk about using Nordic Weasel's Clash on the Fringe.  As I know nothing about the NW products, I still may order a copy of CotF as I can obtain a printed copy (I just have an aversion to multi-paged pdfs).  

For figures, I have those nice Eureka German sci-fi stormtroopers, but I have also been eyeing some newer ranges from Khurasan (not with X-COM in mind, but just because I like them) and realized last night that they could work for my Sectoid/Mutoid idea mentioned on the Tomorrow's War page here on the blog.  Also, their late 21st Century figures look really ideal for an advanced tech X-COM team.  As much as I like the Eureka castings, the Khurasan offerings really look the part to me. To that end I have ordered a few packs from both the alien and 21st Century ranges.  Some comparison shots forthcoming once I receive them.  While I really did not want to buy more figures or even rulesets, adding a few aliens and the advanced tech boys won't hurt the lead pile that much.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Ambush Alley Games - Kinda Dead

Ambush Alley Games has gone through a lot of transformation the last couple of years.  They had a forum, a very active one, which blew up.  They started another forum on a newer website platform, which was kinda decent, got blew up.  Their current website hasn't been updated for some time, many of the rules and supplements are out of print or close to it.  They carry the official line of GZG figures for Tomorrow's War, but have priced themselves so high that it is cheaper for me, with shipping included, to order direct from GZG.  They have their own forum space on The Wargames Website, but haven't teased us with any updates for months.  They said they are going back to their roots with Ambush Alley (before the Osprey adventure), but that has been months ago.  

Is this the slow death of yet another great gaming company?  I certainly hope not.  Luckily I was able to grab print copies of Ambush Alley, Force on Force, Tomorrow's War, all the FoF supplements, and By Dagger or Talon before most of the aformentioned went out of print, so I am fairly set with AAG products, but like many gamers, I do like new content from time to time, and AAG seems to have hit a snag.  'Tis a shame, because they had/have a strong following and have been decent people to engage with.  I certainly understand real life situations getting in the way of the hobby, but at least post once a month on the forum to keep the fans updated, and update the website now and again so as to stay relevant within the market.

Will AAG arise, or will they fade away?  I hope that soon (and I mean this year) they will have new product for us while staying actively engaged with their customer base.  We don't want to lose AAG!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Modern Austrians - Part IV

Olive drab green, or...
Unit structure - I am still tinkering around a bit with the fireteam/section/squad structure.  Including the GPMG at the fireteam level seems to be a bit of overkill, and I do have a couple of extra SAW figures I could use and replace the GPMG.  Have to give that one more thought before reaching a final decision.  I would still have to purchase a few more figures to create a few of the seven man sections mentioned in Part I as I did not purchase any LAW carrying figures from Eureka (or Carl Gustavs and sniper teams for that matter).  

...tan with green equipment?
Uniforms - I made mention of uniform choices in Part I, but now it is time to get a bit more serious.  While searching the interweb for uniforms I have come across a variety of possibilities, but the solid olive drab green uniforms are pictured the most.  I was thinking about painting up one squad in tan and the other in olive, although the latter would be most likely used in a more temperate/Euro environment and I do not have enough terrain or the OPFOR for that type of game setting.  Therefore, most likely I will go with a plain tan to use in an arid climate, much like the second picture (I do like the offsetting green helmets and body armor).

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Modern Austrians - Part III

I took a few minutes today to base the modern Austrians (Eureka proxy Australians) and snapped a couple of pictures of two of the fireteams (I have four total).  Their ratings for Force on Force/Ambush Alley are as follows:

Initiative Level: D8 to D10
Confidence Level: Confident to High
Supply Level: Normal to Abundant
Body Armor: 1D
Troop Quality/Morale: D8 to D10/D8 to D10

L to R: SAW, two riflemen, rifleman with GL, team leader
Feuerwehrteam A
One fireteam leader with StG 77
One rifleman with StG 77 and GL 40 (Lt: AP:1/AT:0)
One MG4 SAW gunner (Lt: AP:1/AT:0)
Two riflemen with StG 77

L to R: GPMG, two riflemen, rifleman with GL, team leader
Feuerwehrteam B
One fireteam leader with StG 77
One rifleman with StG 77 and GL 40 (Lt: AP:1/AT:0)
One MG 5 GPMG gunner (Med: AP:2/AT:0)
One assistant gunner with StG 77
One rifleman with StG 77

One fireteam will throw seven dice, which the team with the GPMG will toss eight dice).  

Friday, January 19, 2018

Modern Austrians - Part II

Picture from Eureka website
The figures have arrived!  I placed my order on a Friday evening, and had the figures in six days.  These are some of the nicest 15mm moderns available today, great proportions, weapons that do not look like bazookas, crisply cast with little to no flash, with animated but not overdone poses.  Little gems to go along with the as usual great service from Eureka Miniatures USA!

I ordered a couple of command teams, two GPMG teams (Heckler & Koch MG5), one pack of infantry with Minimi (in this case used as the Heckler & Koch MG4), a pack of infantry with grenade launchers (Steyr GL 40s), and a pack of standard infantry with AUGs (StG 77s).

I plan to use this for the organization (a bit of a change from the original post about modern Austrians):

Two Squads, each with:

Feuerwehrteam A
  • One fireteam leader with StG 77
  • One rifleman with StG 77 and GL 40
  • One MG4 SAW gunner
  • Two riflemen with StG 77
Feuerwehrteam B
  • One fireteam leader with StG 77
  • One rifleman with StG 77 and GL 40
  • One MG 5 GPMG gunner
  • One assistant gunner with StG 77
  • One rifleman with StG 77
For transport I am actually in a bit of a quandary.  I have two of the Panther vehicles (Iveco LMV) from Evil Bear, but I have four fireteams, so I actually need to buy two more Panthers.  But, they are a bit expensive considering their base price ($12.50 each) on top of the shipping from the U.K.  The Austrians use the Ulan, the Pandur, the Dingo 2, along with the Iveco, but try finding any of the first three in 15mm!  I am open to suggestions for transport.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

The Contractors Are Here...Oh, and the CIA!

They arrived yesterday, fifteen wonderfully painted 15mm private military contractors and CIA operatives, painted by Just Jack.  These bitchingly awesome figures are made by CP Models, and even before Jack put brush to metal I really liked CP's range of modern figures.  They are chunky, cleanly cast, with great animation.  And Just Jack captured them all with some fantastic paint jobs!  I cannot thank him enough for these great figures!

CIA Operatives - Picture from CP Models website
Trying to match the above picture, here are the two groups of CIA guys Just Jack painted.

Next up, the contractors:
Contractors - picture from CP Models website
And what I received:

These figures could also be used for special forces for operations in which they need to blend in a bit more with the local forces.

Just a wonderful experience all around.  And now it is time to get these onto the table!
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