Friday, November 23, 2018

Canadian Painting List?

As I mentioned in a previous post I've found myself quite energised about Team Yankee after FlamesCon 2018. One of the outcomes of this is a desire to paint an expansion pack for my Canadians. Right now I have a solid 100 point Force but looking through some of my options about how to expand it I found a wealth of options that I have previously discarded, but now with a little game time I find quite desirable.
So what's has me wanting to pull out the brushes?
I really enjoyed how my single platoon performed in-game so adding a second platoon, and therefore a second Formation, is looking really good as a tactical choice. In fact a lot of my painting requirements stem from this. I have the Formation commander painted already, so this just means adding 4 M113s and the full strength infantry platoon.

SP Mortars and an OP
Adding a cheap battery of M125s are a no-brainer as far as I am concerned. They count for the Formation morale, have smoke, and best of all I have two painted already (for some unknown reason).

The OP is as much about the hobby opportunity as anything. I figured I guy either crouching on top of the M113, or high up in the commanders station with some maps on front of him would be fun.

TOW Launchers
The ADATS is great (with a capital G) but also quite expensive. An infantry Formation can pack a lot of M150 TOWs and they are fairly cheap, but quite lethal vs most enemy tanks. Plus I get to shoe horn a few more M113s into my army.

Leopard 2 tanks?
The Canadians didn't get Leopard 2s till fairly recently but that is not to say they wouldn't have acquired a platoon somehow during a hypothetical WWIII. If I painted 5 I could run them as an allied Formation....

I have four F-18 Hornets at home assembled and ready to paint, along with some period correct (more or less) Canadian decals. Plus Hornets are cool.

More ADATS and Blowpipes?
Not on the list, but very tempted to fill out the platoons. After-all if I am going to paint this many things, what is another 5.

There you have it, I just want to paint another 35-40 things to round out the Army... hmm, lets hope my newfound energy lasts long enough to even build all this stuff!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

4CMBG Canadians For Team Yankee - Finished?

Not long before FlamesCon 2018 (9 hours before if I am being precise) I finished my Canadians Force for Team Yankee. I am really pleased with how the army turned out, especially since I experienced a few "speed-wobbles" during the painting where I thought that the Leopards were going to be way to dark and boring. Luckily a combination of a little remedial dry brushing and a decent matt varnish pulled them back.

To find out more about the vehicle numbers check out this excellent article by Dan McLean on the Team Yankee website.

Scroll down past the images to find out why I say "Finished?" in the title.
The HQ Platoon (minus 1 Leopard 1)
There are another 16 more Leopard 1 tanks, all looking like this... so many tanks!
The Company Commander with the "39" tank.

Some of the M113 APCs
Canadian flag on the front, vehicle numbers on the side in low-vis black and high-vis white on the rear
M150 TOW Platoon
And a look at some of their markings
Crowd favourite, the ADATS
Blowpipes, for a little extra AA support
Two units of Recce Lynx
And a closeup of their markings.
And some of the infantry (as used in Free Nations)

So why did I say "Finished?" A couple of reasons really. 
  • Firstly, I found that even though I applied fresh gloss varnish under my decals, and then put two coats of DecalSol on them I still got quite a bit of silvering. I did a little experiment where I used a very sharp blade to pop a few small holes in the decals, as well as cutting them along panel lines, then reapplying DecalSol and this seems to have helped. 4 vehicles down, now I just need to do the other thirty-something.
  • Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, I really enjoyed running this army at FlamesCon and so now I found myself wanting to add a bit more to the force, just to round it it. Stay tuned for more on this topic.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Unboxing BSG: Starship Battles from Ares Games

Battlestar Galactica (or BSG) was one of my favourite TV shows growing up as a kid. When it returned to the small screen in 2004 I was pretty excited - I can still remember watching the Pilot whilst my nephew fell asleep on me (he was a pretty small toddler at the time). The combination of outstanding story lines, brilliant "WW2 gun camera" style space cinematography and deep characters made it a must-see each week for me.

Fast forward some years and the FFG Board Game came along and it was equally brilliant. I've played many games, lost more than I have won, and been excited to play it each and every time. 

Now we get a chance to scratch that BSG itch again with a new spaceship game (from Ares Games) that promises a lot! Best of all I've managed to get hold of a copy thanks to some friends that went along to Essen SPIEL last month..
The box.... it is just a box.
Lifting the lid we find... some amazing ships (more on this at the end), flight dials and stands
The flight dials are pretty cool and give a little heads up on the complexity of the game
Next up we find the rule book, scenario book and ship ID tokens
A quick look at the Index. I've got some early thoughts to share (in a later post) about the rules
Tokens and templates. I wondered why the Asteroids were on a thinner cardboard stock. Presume it is because of the movement mechanics?
The bottom layer is filled with movement cards, pilot and ship cards and upgrades. Not a single square piece of paper in sight...
And now what you have really been waiting for....

The Raider:
A surprisingly impressive paint job. I expected much less detail if I am being blunt.

Apollo's Viper:
Apollo's ship looks nicely battered and weathered. I didn't even see some of the detail till I took these photos and looked at it at 400% size on my screen.
A bit blurry... sorry.

Hardball's Viper:
Hardball's ship is much cleaner, but no less detailed.

Viper Comparison:
A top down view of the two ships to see the major differences.

Thinking about the components (excluding the ships) they are nicely printed, stored in some useful vac trays, with really high quality pieces. You can see why the game has a higher RRP than X-Wing.

The ships however are where the game truly shines, and shines brightly for that matter. They are absolutely fantastic. I don't mean that in a "oh these are mass produced so how high a quality can you expect" kind of way. I mean it in a "these are painted better than I would paint them" kind of way. By comparison they are as good, or better than ANY FFG X-Wing model. I guess I should have expected this high level of quality given their Wings of War aircraft, but I was still blown away.

Now for the rules.... stay tuned. I've read them once, didn't quite "get" them and watched a couple of the GENCON videos to help.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

FlamesCon 2018 Report

Well another FlamesCon has come and gone... and this one has left me really buzzing!

The Turnout:
This year was (I think) the beginning of a resurgence for Flames Of War in New Zealand. Going back a few years we could comfortably count on 45-50 attendees to a FlamesCon, but as V3 became more convoluted and bogged down with contextual rules and clarifications the numbers began to drop.

The release of V4 certainly saw the event (last year) take another hit, much like other events around the world as there just wasn't enough Mid War lists to make the period interesting.

This year the organisers decided to run Late War, with (hopefully) an eye towards Mid War next year. It was really heartening to see so many players coming out of the woodwork to see what V4 was like. Best of all, everyone had good things to say about the new version. The numbers were still down on the days of old (with about 30 players across Flames Of War and Team Yankee) but I finished the weekend with a good feeling about the turnout for FlamesCon 2019.

The Gaming:
Team Yankee is taking its own good time to build up momentum in New Zealand (looking forward to Panzerschreck 2019!) as there are plenty of people with armies but not as many coming out to play. One positive of this was that with an 8 player event, I got to play everyone except the eventual winner, Andrew Duncan. It was quite nice to face off against almost everyone over the course of the event.

I can say without shadow of a doubt it was also one of the most enjoyable events from a gaming perspective. I really enjoyed all my games, felt like I had a chance of winning, felt like I had a chance of losing, and thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with my opponents. I cannot recall the last time where I finished an event and could honestly say that.

Two thumbs up!

The Army:
"I starting building my Canadians before they were cool" was my catchphrase for the weekend. Long before Free Nations was on a writers schedule, I was planning to build the army. Sadly, is an indictment on how long it takes me to finish an army these days that I was doing the final painting and varnishing at 11.30pm on the Friday before the tournament. My list was simple (click the image for a bigger version) and built around a lot of Leopard 1 tanks, some infantry and anti-tank assets. It was a blast to run!

The Leopard 1 tanks were awesome at killing things and burnt so brightly when they got lit up by anything (Carl Gustavs, Milans, 120mm AP rounds, as well as the odd HESH round from a Scorpions 76mm gun). The ADATS was fun, but tended to be targeted quickly once people realised how good it was! My star performers were probably the infantry, mainly because;
  • I like how they turned out (paint job wise), 
  • they are fairly useful on the table, 
  • and they are great for taking (and holding) ground when the Leopards couldn't brave the enemy RPGs and Charlie G's!

The Final Word:
Great event, great opponents, middling result (5th, I think, out of 8), but with a Best Painted award! Believe me when I say that has been a topic of much good-natured abuse around the office.

Roll on FlamesCon 2019 I say!

If you want to check out my photo dumps from the event, including army shots click the links below.
Team Yankee Armies...
Flames Of War Armies...
Day One Gaming Shots...