Monday, June 15, 2020

Boat-Building Program for Cruel Seas

(Image from:  Shoofly Magazine)

When it comes to naval warfare, I've always been fascinated by small ship actions.  My primary thoughts on this are:  Small-scale surface actions were the most common, so you can create and play scenarios that don't necessarily run the risk of delving into alternate history.

When it comes to the Second World War, you don't get much smaller than small boat actions (PTs, MGBs, MTBs, E-Boats, etc).

(Image:  Cruel Seas cover art from Warlord Games)
And when it comes to land warfare games, you don't get much smaller than micro armor (1/285th to 1/300 scale).  I've been playing and collecting micro armor since I was a teenager.

So in late 2018, when Warlord Games announced it was launching, Cruel Seas, it's 1/300 scale line of small boat miniatures and rules, I became an eager customer once sets became available here in the US in mid-2019.

I figured with this, I could play coastal, or river combined arms games.  (A couple other gamers I had on-line discussions with got into this for the same reason).

What I Bought So Far:

I started with the starter set...

...which includes a copy of of the rulebook.

My purchases were primarily through The Miniature Market or Noble Knight Games.  It was only near the end of my 6 month shopping spree that I went directly to the Warlord Games website for items that were sold out.

My next big purchase was the US Navy set.

I spaced my purchases subsequent purchases out over the next few months, and tailored them so as not to break my budget and to take advantage of free shipping offers ($99+ for The Miniature Market and $149+ for Noble Night Games).

In no particular order, I acquired the Axis powers, starting with the German Kriegsmarine...

...the Italian Regia Marina...

...and the final Axis fleet was the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN).

Since a lot of my micro armor collection is centered on the Eastern Front, I figured it wouldn't hurt to acquire boats from the Soviet Navy.

Over the years, I've collected a lot of shoreline and riverbank terrain pieces and game mats.  So I thought this MTB pen would make a great shore installation for raid scenarios.

Oddly enough, the only boat set I haven't bought was the British Royal Navy (RN).

The reason for this was that during my shopping spree I'd purchase individual boat & ship packs with each set in order to qualify for free shipping.  So I ended up with the same RN vessels--actually more--without having to by the RN set.

The basic rulebook includes several generic scenarios while the supplement, Close Quarters includes 11 historical ones.

Another source for game scenarios is the Mighty Midgets, Volume 5, of Clash of Arms Games Command at Sea series.

I have a lot of ship building--and painting--to do.

What I Just Finished Painting:

I decided to start off small.

Tiny, in fact.

I just finished painting all 96 of my accumulated torpedo markers, which I divided them into 8 groups of a dozen each. 

I also tried to subtly color-code each group by painting the warheads copper, gold, bronze, silver, gray, red, and yellow, while leaving one group plain.

Here's a sample of one torpedo counter from each group:

I painted the torpedo counters using the last of my Michaels-brand Craftsmart acrylic paints

The torpedoes were painted Charcoal for that sinister look, while the base was painted in a combination of Aqua and Pool Blue; along with my attempt at dry-brushing White.

Here's what the torpedoes like "in the water" using Cigar Box Battles' Ocean Game Mat:

And here's the same swarm of torpedoes in Cold Water:

It isn't much, but it's a start.

My Upcoming Project:

My next tiny-sized projects will be the three sets of landing craft that I assembled and primed...

...British LCM-3s...

...US LCM-3s...

...IJN Daihatsu-class landing craft.
I'll post pictures and details of these craft as soon as they "come out of the shipyard."

Friday, June 5, 2020

Pass in Review: Astra Militarum's Temestus Scions

(Image found on Comic Vine)
The bulk of my Warhammer 40,000 (WH40K) collection consists of the rank-in-file Astra Militarum.

However, I do have one squad of Tempestus Scions, from the Militarum Tempestus, available for special missions.

In honor of my assignment to the  82nd Airborne Division in the late '80s, I'll call this unit 2nd Squad, 3rd Platoon of the 504th Stormtrooper Company, (inspired by the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment).

Introducing my squad from the 504th Stormtrooper Company (CO) from somewhere on the Sector Fronteris... Imperial Valkyrie lands...

...the ramp lowers...

...a squad of Tempestus Scions debark...

...spread out...

...and secure a vital facility in the name of the Emperor of Mankind.

I purchased these painted figures from Peter Wort, the proprietor of Peter’s Games and Things.  

They’re suitable for use as a Kill Team, or as part of a task force in a typical WH40K battle, or maybe even an apocalyptic-level conflagration.

What follows is a look at each individual Scion:

Scion with flamer.

Scion with plasma gun.

Scion with power fist and hot-shot laspistol.

Scion with hot-shot lasgun.

Scion with hot-shot laspistol and medi-pack.

Scion with hot-shot laspistol and vox-caster.

Scion with power sword and bolt pistol.

Scion with chainsword and hot-shot laspistol.

The Tempestor Prime.
The Tempestus Squad's standard bearer.

Next, I plan on introducing my Astra Militarum mechanized infantry unit.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Pass in Review: WH40K & Sci-Fi Objective Figures

(Somewhere on the Sector Fronteris a critical objective must be seized, or safeguarded)

Warhammer 40,000 (WH40K), and wargames in-general, often represent struggles to seize or safeguard critical objectives (key terrain, facilities, etc.), rather than simply smashing the enemy's army.

Some sets, like my Drop Force Imperator contain cardboard counters to mark objectives, usually 6, spread out as evenly as possible on the game table. 

Like this:

Additional points are usually awarded to the player acquiring these cardboard counters.  However, these can look rather boring and detract from the visual appeal of the game.

Games Workshop makes a variety of supplement kits that provide miniatures, which can be used as objectives that blend-in with the terrain, such as these ammunition crates:

This crate has a removable lid... players can discover the contents--if and when they capture the item.

In some games, capturing an objective may be easy, but holding them is another matter.

While a number of kits will contain an item or two that can be used as an objective, the Sector Imperialis Objectives Kit contains several Imperium-based figures.

Here's a rundown of my objective collection, painted by myself or my friend Dan:

1. Three types of ammunition crates, two of which are featured here.

One crate for small-arms ammunition, like for Bolters...

...or large-caliber ammunition such as for the Basilisk self-propelled artillery vehicle.

The ammunition objectives also include a couple of bombs, which for Narrative Game Play could provide a plot twist as Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) that needs to be disarmed.

A close-up of one of the bombs/UXOs:

2. Speaking of UXOs, they don't come any bigger than an undetonated Exterminatus Device:

Here's the back view:

3.  If your force needs to call-in reinforcements, or are in need of a dust off, if things are going horribly wrong, there's the Orbital Vox Array to call for help:

The back-side view:

4. Your force may be tasked to download/erase information stored in a Cogitator Shrine, or carry off the entire device.

The cogitator's back:

5. It may be necessary to secure a working Field Medicarium, to treat your force's wounded--or to experiment on your opponent's.

6. Speaking of experimentations, there's a "stasis crypt" containing what looks like a Tyranid or Genestealer Cultist specimen:

The back-view of the crypt:

7. The final item in the Sector Imerialis Objectives kit, is a Lucius Pattern escape pod for scenarios involving capturing, or rescuing stranded VIPs:

A side-view of the escape pod:

I've assembled several additional miniatures from a few other kits to use as objectives.

These promethium barrels, along with many of my ammo crates, came from the Battlefield Accessories Set and my failed attempt to build Munitorum Armoured Containers:

Now one can play a WH40K version of Battle of the Bulge.  That is, seize desperately needed fuel to keep the offensive moving.

The Sector Fronteris Environment Expansion Set also contains a couple of forgotten Inquisition crates:

Since these are solid pieces, only the Inquisitor may know what's inside.

Or maybe not.

These pieces can be a classic MacGuffin for a game, or even a campaign.  The boxes could be shrouded in mystery until one side can obtain the proper access code, which may be found on the cogitator, or transmitted via the vox array, etc.

There are numerous possibilities of tying one objective to another in order to win--or at least survive.

One of more mundane, but versatile pieces is the cargo pallet from the Battlefield Accessories Set:

Here's some additional ammo crates and containers:

While this post primarily focuses on WH40K, there are numerous science fiction wargames and role-laying game people play.

So I've added a few items that could serve as objectives for these games as well.

Here's some sacks...

...and barrels I bought years ago from Dwarven Forge kits.

While they're primarily for fantasy gaming, they could represent goods from low-tech worlds.

Here's some barrels I painted, although I can't remember who made the basic figures.

Speaking of my faulty memory, I also bought these resin sci-fi cargo containers that I sloshed on some paint along with ink wash to give them a grungy look.

I have several more in various colors, but the yellow ones stood-out the best for these pictures.

Some more Dwarven Forge crates:

Another Dwarven Forge product...

...along with an early Games Workshop product, Hero Quest (video):

Either could be used to contain Throne Gelts of a paymaster, or governor's treasure chest.

Or maybe gold bullion is stored in nondescript, wooden crates...

...for a Kelly's Heroes-style campaign.

In addition to pre-painted resin figures, I'm a fan of paper models as well.

Some of the easiest items for me to assemble are cube patterns, like these boxes from Top Solitario...

...or these storeroom props from Genet Models (formerly Ebbles Miniatures):

Most items are of a serious nature, like these hazmat containers...

...but if you ever need to lighten-up your campaign's grimdark, there's a few humorous items provided by Top Solitario:

Whether your gaming tastes are grimdark, noblebright, or somewhere in-between, it's worth collecting items "worth fighting over."

But only on the table-top level, please.