30 Aug 2014

Concrete walls

Hello guys,

I just posted some better photos of my walls (and some of my WIPS "accidentally"!). The walls are nothing but a simple metal equipment case dividers stuck to some cork and painted. Those cases used to be popular for transporting miniatures around here and I bought one myself - I later invested in KR case instead and I am really happy with that one.  They dividing walls come in three sizes. I didn't bother cutting them or anything, so I got two long sections, one medium  and two short ones. They come just a bit over 3 feet long combined.
As much as I'd like, the idea is not mine. Guys at our club used those to make terrain for WH40k, but I don't know if they came up with it.

I gave them a coat of PVA to seal the foam they are made of and sprayed them black, then drybrushed them with greys. This was a great opportunity to paint some graffiti on them, but I unexpectedly ran out of ideas very quickly. I settled for some shameless advertising of the people that helped me bring my moderns project to life in the first place.

Grekwood miniatures:
Project Zeke, with an old "Evergreen" graffiti next to it:
This one started as a  plain red star (I was thinking about converse snickers, honestly!) and it turned into an ex-state flag (mind the white-blue-red order, it matters :D).
And the one that started it all, a very lame "Free EG (Evergreen)!" slogan.
I am quite happy with them, they were a fast build, but I should put some more effort in the graffiti I think.

I left other sides blank - the idea is I'd use them for military base and I'd want at least one side to look "professional" :D.

Below is a "scale" shot, with one of the crew members I keep showing. As you can see, he will get a helmet, too. Looks like finished conversions weren't all that finished after all!

Thanks for looking,

23 Aug 2014

Half-a-game report

Hey guys,

Nothing spectacular to show today. I played another game of Breaking news the other day.The idea was that Yellow Jacket (who featured in this game as someone else, naturally) leaked info about a location of a weapons cache.
Special forces are called in to find it - the idea was they'd have to search the buildings until they find it. I was thinking about using cards to see where the cache is (1 real and the rest blanks in a deck, obviously), but as my brother wanted to play he took the insurgents and picked a building himself.

SWAT force was the same as in last game, 4 SMG guys and a sniper. Same quality, same everything.
 Insurgents, on the other hand, were boosted from 8 to 10 and were given 3 support weapons (2 RPKs and an RPG).

 We set up a table using my new WIP concrete walls you can see on most of the photos. I'll show them in more detail when I will finish them. Let's just say I think they are good enough but I MIGHT went a bit over board with the graffiti as every single section has one side painted.

Below you can see the table before the start. Insurgents were sprinkled around the table (which I think is what makes SF so overpowered, as they are always together!) and had to protect the cache. I didn't knew where the weapons were, but as my brother wrote it down I saw when I was packing the terrain that it was in black one.  There were some "zombies" on the board, used as civilians. We forgot to account for them in first shooting so we simply took them off :D.
SF could start on any edge and I started in lower right corner, hoping the walls would save me from some flanking fire.

 Not much to say about the rest of the game, we played for some 3-4 turns and quit when little rebel had enough :D. In kills, it was 4-1 for SF. RPK has a lot of firepower, which was nice to see and RPG never got to fire in this game. We missed a lot of things out as rules are a bit more elaborate than I'd first think.

I came to a conclusion that fight would be much more balanced if both forces would start grouped - SF only die on a roll of 1, but with enough hits forced on them, this can be achieved easier than one might think. I have to say I can't wait to get my regular army guys ready as it might be all much more interesting with some heavy weapons and humvees. I also think I need to get some pickups for technicals!

Thanks for looking,

16 Aug 2014

Vehicle crew - finished?

Hello guys,

There is still nothing painted, but I was converting my Empress figures in the past week. I have mostly finished my SAW gunners, I only have to fill in some of the helmet holes (sculpted this way!) and fix something around the weapon. Other than that, unless I get an inspiration to do SOMETHING to them, they are done and will be showcased in the next post. I am a bit reluctant to keep showing them as you'll see them over and over again. I should get my guns later this week, which means I will be showing a lot of similar stuff!

So, it is no secret that I wanted my Empress British downed pilots to look like a crew members of some sort. This were options I considered:
a) Helicopter/Plane pilots. This would work, but I wasn't sure about having pilots with the vest and armed. Now that I am not satisfied with my work, I might want to add some putty to the helmet and make them pilots after all.
b) Tank crew. They wear overalls like the two miniatures, but, again, I'm not sure about the rifles. I'd imagine they'd have some sort of weapons as Scorpion automatic pistols were used back in the days. I just never saw any photos of them with rifles.
c) APC crew. APC are the most modern vehicles we got in our fleet and the most used. So they would make sense. Plus, they got a crew of 2 so the numbers add!

It's a minor thing, but I like to overthink stuff like this, makes me feel really involved. Yoo-hoo.

Below is a bad photo of tank crews in one of ours M-84s (it's a Yugoslav T-72 and they have been in and out of operational use. New tanks are sort of expensive venture, but no tanks means the knowledge dies, and this is bad. Very bad.) They got one colour overall, which is what I want to paint my miniatures as (for the sake of diversity), and they got those cool looking soft helmets. I  always liked the goofy look of those.

 You can also see them on Svarun 8x8 APC (or Patria AMV if you wish), our newest vehicle. Some 120 were ordered in all sorts of armaments. Something went wrong, we got some, none armed with anything heavier than 40mm GL or .50 cal (so no mortars and 30mm chain cannons for us!). The "funny" thing is, we just might return them all now, as politicians involved in the purchase got convicted. As I'm in the mood for telling you jokes, one of them ran on the parliamentary elections and now goes to parliament debates from jail. Really.
 Those funky hats look even cooler with a hard shell on top of them, which is what I went for in the end:

Below on Valuk 6x6 APC (Slovene version of Austrian Pandur):
 And here a closer look of the helmet. As you can see, they are armed, which works for me, but as those crews are actually part of infantry platoon (or at least they were, last year infantry battalions were reorganised into regiments (but still regiments that consist of companies, it's complicated), and vehicles were pooled. So a platoon doesn't have it's vehicles anymore, but they "borrow" them along with a crew. This makes crew and infantry less coherent, but it saves infantry platoon a time they would spent taking care for vehicles and they can do more push-ups instead!). Anyways, it looks cool so I decided to give it a go.

It didn't really work out as I wanted, but I have attached a bad photo below. If I crack and decide to call them "pilots" after all, all I'd need to do is add a visor and bulky up the headset area.  Decisions, decisions.

Well, just a "short" post for today. I will hopefully muster enough courage to start them painting as soon as I'm done with what I'm painting at the moment.

Thanks for looking,

9 Aug 2014

Local terrorist cell discovered!

Hello guys,

With all the modern stuff I have going on, I was really eager to play a game. I went trough my (what looks like very limited, now that I think of it) collection of modern figures and I decided I am going to use my TAG SWAT officers versus some of the insurgents I was so busy converting and painting a while ago.

Rules used were Breaking News, a free set or modern rules that have clearly been out for quite some time. By reading through them, I figured the idea isn't bad, but while playing, I found out there are lot of things that are either unclear or don't seem to work out that well. Still, it's a free set of rules and they should do for now. Other thing I've realised is I don't like my houses. When making them, I had an idea of putting interior in, so they are on the large side. This makes my way too tiny 2x3 board filled up very fast. I should really make an effort and get another 2x3 plate for a 4x3 board that would give me some space to maneuver on the field.

 I decided to play a simple deathmatch game and see how mechanics work.
I calculated points very roughly. I had 4 special forces (creme de la creme) officers with SMGs, supported by SF sniper.
I matched their points with as many of "commando insurgents", all armed with automatic rifles, that I could fit in. It was eight. Lead by everyone's favorite The King in Yellow. Jacket.

8 criminals barricaded themselves in their compound (note the garbage truck/drive in block that rises and drops as needed!) and as being a criminal is bad, Police special operations unit (PSU) was called in (right short table edge) to save the day.

In Breaking News, initiative is rolled for on every turn. The player that wins is an active player, who can move his miniatures and the one that losses is confined to reacting - either by fire or taking cover. So with SF, being so awesome, it was mostly them moving and attacking while the terrorists were shooting at them and they rarely got to actually move.
A reacting player (the one that lost initiative roll) reacts to EVERY action. So, while an active player can move each miniature separately, it can limit the number of opposing player's reactions by activating groups. This means I can effectively move fire teams in groups, which is one of the things I love about Force on Force rules. For this game, I decided that officers would always (if possible) operate in three groups: two SMG pairs and a sniper.

Special forces won the initiative and started their assault.
PSU-1 (one pair) moved closer towards the terrorists and fired. They managed to score two hits, while terrorist's return fire scored 6. One terrorist died and none of the SF were harmed. But because of the fire they received, they were suppressed (yellow beam).
PSU-2 (second pair) did more or less the same thing, they, too, got suppressed and another terrorist died.
PSU-S (sniper) didn't move from his position on top of the SWAT van and did what snipers do, fired a shot and killed a guy.


This turn was no better, Special forces class is just too powerful and my next game will certainly see the officer "only" being Elite (this means they lose their to hit bonus and invincibility). They actually didn't kill anyone now, but have managed to suppress one of the bad guys.
This is not clear in the rules, but I assume you can only regroup from suppression on your ACTIVE turn, which means the terrorists, even while being the best you can get, were mostly just keeping their heads down. They can not react to enemy movement and fire while suppressed.
Magically, terrorists won the initiative on third turn (every turn that same side wins the initiative, they get -1 to their roll, so the opposing side gets to win it sooner or later). Their regrouping doesn't work as flawlessly as SF guys', so some still kept their heads down.
They tried doing some shooting but it mostly ended up in a criminal being killed by officer's reactions.

Police won the initiative again, regroupped and sort of killed a lot. 
Police wins the initiative (as I've said, being SF really, really ruined this game!). PSU officers fired for the last time and - I kid you not! - suffered a casualty! Man down, man down!
They pretty much killed everyone, except for the Yellow jacket, so I concluded he gave up and was taken into custody.
 A close up on a downed policeman:
 And a horrible photo of Yellow jacket, being suppressed after the sniper's bullet failed to hit.

I can only apologise for such a boring report. The game was very, very one sided and it was really no good for anything, except for learning how the rules (probably!) work. I will give it a re-run eventually, with 1 class lower police officers. This will still keep them better than what my soldiers will game with, to keep the idea of an elite unit, but it will take the easier hit chances and their absurdly awesome saving throw from them.
After that, I would like to try a game with some RPGs flying around Evergreen troops, supported by a humvee and by then I might even get some Slovenes finished to see if they are any good on the table top, as well.

In other news, I am still working on the SAW gunners, so that's probably what I will show you in my next post.

Thanks for looking,

4 Aug 2014

SAW gunners WIP

Hello guys,

While I am waiting to get my various assault rifles back from Carl, I am spending time converting SAW gunners. I started working on two at a time and I have almost finished the first pair (finished as with swapping weapons, not actually converting a miniature).

Ever since Slovenian army was modernised, our fire teams' SAW gunners use FN Minimi (much like the rest of the world). Our version is a "para" one with a folding stock and a short barrel.
I made mine out of Ebob's version for his Australians, which only needed a cloth instead of box ammo pouch, a different stock and an optical aiming device (ELCAN if anyone cares, the same that Canadians put on their assault rifles).
The thing is, Americans use licenced produced Minimis. The one Empress figures have got a new stock and that usual American barrel guard (perforated cover above the barrel) - so basically what I am doing is cutting up a miniature to swap it's weapon for the same one.
In my defence, Ebob's minimi is a tad slimmer and I think looks more realistic, so that is a plus.

On the photo below you can see (from left to right):
Pilot getting an armoured vehicle helmed (I regret my decision, yes).
A SAW gunner that has new weapon installed already - this one was converted from an actual SAW US infantryman.
An ex-sniper figure that got SAW. This for some reason (must be the pose!) is by FAR my favorite miniature from Empress so far. He just looks plenty cool.
A SAW gunner yet to get his weapon, but mostly prepared (to show you how it looks like before he gets a new one installed!)
A SAW gunner that will need a lot more work and has turned into a nightmare.To answer your question about how I will cut away the weapons that are sticking to the body, Pete - with an iron will :D.
Once I am done with those, this will give me SAW gunners for four fire teams, so I will be able to build two squads. Looking at my tiny 2x3 feet table, that's twice as much as I'll ever need, but then again I also have around 30 insurgents.
 There is one thing I have noticed about that sniper crouching miniature, however. While, again, he looks really awesome, his firing position is not correct (according to what we've been taught, at least). If you look at his left arm and left leg (photo below), you will see that his elbow is on his knee. Now, this is wrong, because it's a "bone to bone". What this poor fellow should do is put his elbow either a bit further up front (to rest his upper arm on the knee) or a bit down, to rest his elbow on a tight. Not that he deserves a -1 to hit, but I found it interesting!

Well, that is it for today. I am trying some modern rules out so there is a high possibility of an AAR in the future!

Thanks for looking,