Friday, December 19, 2014

Unboxing Secret Weapon Urban Tilescapes

Urban gaming is (in my opinion) one of the hardest theatres to represent on the tabletop when it comes to gaming and without building a table specifically for it (something I will never have the time to do, or space to store) I always feel a little underwhelmed by the results when I try!

Needless to say when Secret Weapon ran their Kickstarter for a new range of terrain tiles I was really excited because they were going to make a couple of Urban sets for 28mm gaming. The tiles were fairly generic and would work for any period (more or less) so I thought they would be great for everything from Dust, to 40K, to anything else I would ever be likely to try.

A few weeks ago they finally arrived....
The box - this one is a "keeper" as it is sturdy enough to transport and store your tiles. Especially if you do a lot of your gaming away from home.
Opening up the box a basic set of 16 tiles doesn't fill the box. Good planning because it means you can fit an additional 8 tiles in there to expand your table. More tiles = more flexibility.
The tiles were really well packed, with each one in an individual bag, then each 4 tiles in another bigger bag.
The underside of the tiles looks like some serious engineering went into working out how to keep them both light and strong. I know it is wierd but I thought this was one of the coolest parts of them!
The tiles looked nice... not much more to say..
Plenty of detail to paint and whilst there was some inconsistency in the texture I suspect you are not going to notice it once it is painted.
Nice cracks to paint and add flavour once finished.
You get a big bag of clips to keep the boards from moving around once you have come up with a layout. It took me longer to figure out how I wanted to arrange the tiles on the table, than to put the clips on and be ready to play.
There is an art to attaching and detaching the clips, but it only took a moment to work out the order to start attaching them. The clips seem pretty strong so I expect them to stand up to a lot of gaming.
Next step, build a quick 4' x 4' table to see how hard it is to do.... not very is the answer. Although I do hope some smart person comes up with a pile of sample layouts and puts it on the internet for those of us that are lazy and just want to copy something.
Once the table was built.... I had to put some figures on it to see how it looked.
Even unpainted I thought it looked good. Definitely going to be using them whilst I find the time to start airbrushing them up.
Closing thoughts
I really like these and if I thought I could sneak another box of them past my wife I would do it in a heartbeat (pity she reads the blog). I just dropped some Battlefield in a Box Gothic buildings and craters on there and had a nice little table in five minutes.

The clip system was easy to use and whilst you will want to put them on in a certain order - for example: from the centre out, or pick an edge and then go across the table when putting the tiles together, then reversing the order when pulling it apart - they were nice and easy to do.

The surface detail of the tiles did have some small blemishes (probably caused by too much plastic on the reverse side) or inconsistency of detail. However I felt that these will work out to not be a problem once painted as no road is consistent across its length and breadth, especially one that has 50 ton tanks, or massive walkers thumping around on it.

What I would really like to do though is get four of the Secret Weapon Rolling Fields tiles - preferably a couple of flat pieces, and a couple with the gentle rolling hills. The sea of pavement got a little much for me and a decent city planner should be incorporating some green spaces so that office workers can pop outside for lunch, walk on the grass, maybe even lay a minefield to stop an invading army. Just the usual everyday activities that we engage in...

So... 2015... the year of the Trollblood army (stop laughing, I know I have said that for the last two or three years, but this time I mean it!) and the year I paint up my Secret Weapon Urban Tablescapes! Also with a bit of luck, the year that Secret Weapon do another Kickstarter for the 28mm Trenchline system that they were aiming for in their last Kickstarter, but ended up falling a little short of. I am sure my Khador would love to fight over a table like that!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Painting a Shahak / Mirage III CJ

With the Fate Of A Nation book coming out, I volunteered to paint a few more bits and pieces and whilst I didn't get as much done as I hoped I enjoy painting up a Mirage...

I airbrushed it with a couple of different silver paints. A solid coat initially and then a bit of panel fading to highlight the centre of the panels with a lighter one. The red on the engine cowling was hand painted and involved a lot of swearing - my freehand work is really not that good but it all came together nicely on this one.

Add in some decals and I found it quite enjoyable to paint! Really got to paint up a MiG-15 one of these days!

If you haven't had a chance to check out Fate Of A Nation yet it is worth doing. My personal favourite list is the new Israeli Sayaret Company - lots of Jeeps with 3+ saves. Going to see them on the blog in the new year hopefully.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

More Plastics At FlamesCon!

At FlamesCon this year Battlefront had a little teaser of the some of the plastics that you can expect to see soon, including some serious teasers for next year!

A new frame with both StuG G and StuG G (late) options
Pre-production rapid prototypes of the Cromwell and Comet tanks due out next year
A British infantry frame. Two frames for a full strength platoon with some figures left over for your HQ
Best of all, after a long break I dusted off my EW French and took them out for three games today, winning two games (both 5-2) and loosing one (2-5) I even managed to take out 3rd place on the back of some pretty strong sports votes and a number of the other generals timing out in the last round and bringing home low scoring draws!
The 2nd day of the Late War GT is on tomorrow and with three games to go the top spots are still hotly contested. Meanwhile I'll be bringing out my SSU to join the Dust players in a 1 day tournament.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

X-Wing Regionals Today!

As the title says today is the X-Wing Regionals so Aaron, Andrew, Victor and I are all heading off to see what we can do. Aaron is relatively new with only a couple of games under his belt so is not putting himself under too much pressure. Andrew is a serious list noodler and comes up with some really unconventional lists and tactics.... I also have no idea what list he has settled on! Victor has been play testing an awesome Interceptor list with the ability to do two actions letting him Focus or Evade, and Boost. The Interceptors dial means he has plenty of green maneuvers to get rid of the stress from the double actions.

I really struggled to come up with a list, play testing a pile of options with Victor (and loosing EVERY game to him). Discussing what ships I liked he pointed me in the direction of this list...

Krassis Trelix (46 points)
Heavy Laser Cannon, Rebel Captive

Omicron Group Pilot #1 (27 points)
Fire-Control System, Mercenary Copilot, Anti-Pursuit Lasers

Omicron Group Pilot #2 (27 points)
Fire-Control System, Mercenary Copilot, Anti-Pursuit Lasers

The idea of the list is that Krassis does the heavy lifting whilst the Shuttles clog up the field. The list also has 30 hit points so in a tourment it should give me an advantage if we time out... I'd neverrun Slave 1 prior to a couple of days ago but the list is GREAT fun. Going to be interesting to see how it runs today.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

On the road to Panzerschreck: Waiouru Army Museum

One of the great things about heading down to Panzerschreck (the Flames of War Doubles Tournament) in Palmerston North is that you have to go past the Waiouru Army Museum. For the last few years we have timed the trip "poorly" and arrived too late in the day to really check it out. However we have managed to look at the hardware outside and this time there were a few new additions.
Always nice to stand in front of a big tank - helps to put the size/scale of the Centurion into context.... its freaking huge!
In the 70's the NZ Army adopted a variant of the US MERDC camo pattern. It looks really cool and at some point I am going to paint up a Queen Alexandra’s Mounted Rifles company and use a Tour Of Duty list to have some games.
One of the new tanks on display was the Scorpion. The Scorpion replaced the Centurion tank (in the NZ Army) and is much smaller, with less armour and firepower. I'm not sure what the camo scheme is? It looks like a really faded MERDC pattern but I'd love the know the real answer...

I took this photo purely because we have been talking about rust effects around the office a lot this year. I thought this was a great example of how rust streaks appear... if only I had the patience to do it to all my tanks!
Next year (assuming I get a leave pass to go to Panzerschreck) we are going to make sure we hit the road a little earlier so that we can actually make it further inside the Museum than just the gift shop... although my son did love the LAV Infantry Fighting Vehicle jigsaw puzzle ("Tank daddy!").

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Its Hammer Time!

Mt Maunganui Club - great venue!
Back in June I headed down to Tauranga with some old friends to play some Warhammer. I haven't played for something like five years and I have a bunch of armies gathering dust and I keep finding excuses to not play. Luckily for me NiCon (North Island Convention) did not have a Flames Of War or Warmachine event, so with no excuses left I had to dig out a 'Hammer army.

A quick read of the 8th Edition rules revealed that GW had done a nice job of tidying up a few things, streamlined a few more, and added a bit more randomness with the changes to charges and movement (and removed the guess from guess weapons... now I wish I had stone throwers for my Dwarves). Taking a step back from any internet based preconceptions I'd picked up over the preceeding years I really liked the look of the rules and I can honestly say I was excited to give them a go.

My two gaming buddies for the weekend (Reid and Mike) are long time friends and 'Hammer players. We have spent a lot of time road tripping round New Zealand and flying over to Australia for conventions "back in the day" so it was great to get the band back together. Of course a lot of the meta discussion over the weekend was above my head but it was fun to get back in to the groove.

I wanted to keep the weekend fairly low stress and thought that the easiest option was to take my Savage Orcs. They are so random I could not be grumpy when I made stupid mistakes and instead I could just focus on the fun of just playing. After a few internal debates I settled on:
Savage Orc Shaman (lvl4)
Big Orc BSB
Savage Orc Shaman (lvl2)
Night Goblin Shaman (lvl2)
24x Savage Orcs
25x Savage Orcs
23x Big 'Uns
5x Spider Riders
20x Night Goblins with Fanatics
20x Night Goblins with Fanatics
20x Night Goblins with Fanatics
2x Goblin Wolf Chariots
2x Goblin Spear Chukka
2x Snotling Pump Wagons
2x Mangler Squigs

I wont go into any depth about the games (frankly because I cannot recall them in much detail anymore) but I had a great time, played some people I have not played in a long time, used some figures that have not seen daylight in even longer and had a "lads weekend". 
Tall gaming tables! These are amazing to play on because by the end of the weekend you don't feel like your back has been beaten up by Mike Tyson!
The only thing I had a bit of a niggle with (in hindsight) was the ETC scoring system. If I was a serious competitor going for a tournament win there were a couple of games where I would have been better off bunkering up behind a hill and just not engaging my opponent to force a 10-10 draw. It just seemed odd to me because in the past (when I took it all pretty seriously!) if I had been trying to win a 'Hammer event I would be going hard to crush my opponents, knowing that I would need 17-3 or 20-0 results in most, if not all games to take out the top spot... 

So, without much further ado here are some deployment photos from each round and a very short synopsis...

Round 1: Blair was running what looked like a fairly cav heavy Empire army with a STank. He did a great job of drawing out my fanatics then throwing in Cavalry charges, whilst showing me that the Version 8 Tank is pretty awesome. If my Empire are coming out of the carry case I'll need a tank and Demigryph Knights for sure!.... and some Light Wizards since I hear they are pretty legit. 10-10 draw.
Round 2: Will had (what I am assuming anyway) a fairly standard VC build. Lots of casters to rebuild units, Terrorgeist and a wall of various flavours of flesh. He was feeling under all sorts of pressure early on but I knew that he already had the upper hand. Once he beat the frenzy out of me he rolled up the line cleaning out units hand over fist. 19-1 to Will.
Round 3: Playing against my road trip buddy Mike I knew I was in some trouble as he is still a pretty serious Warhammer player and gets in a lot of games against quality opponents. I foolishly thought I had the upper hand until his Doombull started to power up and started cleaving through my entire army. 17-3 to Mike
Round 4: Ken is a Kiwi, working in Australia, who comes back for Warhammer and FOW events every now and then. I'd never played him before but I'd seen him round. Round 4 was in the evening and I was shattered (too much thinking during the day) and his list was a Dwarven gun line with all the toys. My Dwarves come across the pitch to "get some!" and I knew that walking into a wall of enemy gunfire was not going to be too fun. Bit embarrassed to admit it but I bunkered up, we killed a few things and that was the end of that. I was happy with a 10-10 draw and back to the motel for pizza, drinks and watching some rugby!
Round 5: Dave and his son and a mirror match with two OG armies, although he had a massive Black Orc unit and big mob of Trolls whereas I had 75 Savage Orcs. Turns out Trolls are not as terrible as they once were! We piece traded for a little while, had a good fight over on the near flank as his Trolls gave a good accounting for themselves but it was all over without too many dead on the field. 11-9 to Dave
Round 6: Bobby is an old school gamer and since I have not been playing any Warhammer I have not seen a lot of him, so it was good to have a final round battle to end the weekend on a high. He was running a massive (and beautifully painted) Empire foot army. We had a good old fashioned stand up fight where the resiliance of the Orcs eventually won the day (narrowly) with a couple of his key units (Knights and Greatswords) getting mauled by Manglers and  sliced by Choppers. 12-8 to me.
I don't actually remember (nor do I care) where I came in the standings at the end. The only thing that mattered was that I had a great time and actually contemplated dusting off my Warhammer armies for some more outings. Of course I'll need to work out how I am going to fit that in... The OGs performed well and any faults were certainly the cause of their general and whilst they will never be a Tier 1 army they are great fun and the "new" army book for them is a nice improvement over the previous edition(s). Part of me is keen to get my Chaos Warriors or Daemons out but there was something fun about the low stress option. Time will tell what comes out of the cupboard for my next WHFB adventure.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

JDS Kashima (TV-3508) in Port

Not every day you see a Japanese Defence Force Warship docked in the Auckland harbour where the Cruise Ships normally dock. According to Wikipedia: JDS Kashima (TV-3508) is a training ship of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). Built to a unique design during the mid-1990s, Kashima is flagship of the JMSDF Training Fleet. The name Kashima comes from the famous Shinto Kashima Shrine in Ibaraki prefecture, located to the northeast of Tokyo. (so now you know!)

Full article...

And if you cannot guess I like Warships almost as much as I like tanks!

Monday, September 15, 2014

I'm Back... and I've been busy!

I've been a bit slack (I say that a lot) on the blog front over the past few months. Between work, home, hobby time... and some World of Tanks I have found it difficult to get act together.

Hopefully over the next few weeks I am going to get caught up as I have a pile of photos on my camera and a quickly fading memory of what I have been up to over the past few months. But to help jog my memory here is the short version:
  • June - The Tauranga Open Warhammer Tournament with my Orcs and Goblins.
  • July - Panzerschreck Flames Of War Doubles Tournament in Palmerston North with Jagdtigers and friends.
  • August - no tournament but a lot of painting for a web Dust Battle Report (my intro, part 1, part 2).
  • September - Lords of Ruin Warmachine Tournament in Wellington with pMorvahna.
  • September - Wayne-Con - the Battlefront Staff Early War Tournament and my French infantry.
  • October - FlamesCon (okay so this one has not been yet but I am painting for it...).
  • And... we have been playing quite a bit of X-Wing at lunch recently.
First up will be the Tauranga Open and my first Warhammer game in probably five years, but in the meantime here are a few photos from the past couple of months...
Tauranga Open - high tables, no post event sore back!
Stopping at the Army Museum on the way to Panzerschreck
Road tripping in the big van to Palmerston North
Sean Lincoln (Lords Of Ruin organiser) and some seriously cool trophies!
Work in progress Somua tanks for FlamesCon

Saturday, August 2, 2014

SSU 179th Steel Guards Battalion

I managed to get the first 100 points of my Steel Guard army finished prior to my big game with Victor for the Dust website. Really happy with how they turned out! Now to finish my captured Ludwig and a few other bits and pieces and I'll be at 150 points before I know it.
The 100 points for our battle
HQ section and Snipers
Assault Squads
A close up of my basing
The whole army with some special effects....