Monday 29 July 2013

Ramshackle Games Brothers of Iron Kickstarter


I spotted that Ramshackle Games is running a rather good little kickstarter campaign to launch Curtis's new faction for Nuclear Renaissance.

I must admit I do like the Ramshackle range as its one of the few that has sculpts with real character that hark back to the Rogue Trader days. Yes some of them can seem a little rough around the edges but each has a real personality that many of the slicker sculpts seem to lack.

I've backed the campaign up to the cost of one of the rather fantastic APCs as it will make a really nice addition to my Rogue Trader Imperial force and suspect that I may even shell out for a squad of infantry too!

After this though I am going to put myself on a ban from purchasing any more figures for the rest of this year and am attempting to work my way through my lead pile by the end of the year.

This isn't as big a undertaking as it once was as my unpainted lead pile has decreased from a mighty mountain to a more manageable amount following my great clearout when I went to university.

Still I have a fair amount to keep me entertained and will try to add at least a couple of finished figs to the blog every week and who knows, it may give me enough figures to actually play a game or two!

All the best!

Friday 26 July 2013

From the Lead Pile: Imperious Minion and the Undead!


Heres the latest paint jobs in my ongoing attempt to clear my lead pile!

 Sergeant Wallace: GIVE ME CHEESE!

I don't know why but I seem to be painting an awful lot of gurning and grimacing types at the moment!

I must admit he reminds me somewhat of Wallace from Wallace and Gromit fame and I think I will be adding a dog as a sidekick at some point!

Next up theres a plastic Skeleton from the Darkworld boardgame:

Dem Bones!

While the game isn't anything to write home about, it does have some rather nice and old school miniatures. The skeletons are particularly good as they've got the Evil Dead style heads.

I'm off on holiday from Sunday so doubt I will be able to get anything else finished but hope to be refreshed and ready to crack on when I get back!

All the best!

Monday 22 July 2013

From the Lead Pile: Dwarf Spearman


As I have a small stack of unpainted lead and plastic kicking around, I thought I would start painting up some bits and bobs and adding them on a semi regular basis on my blog and to get the ball rolling heres an old Heartbreaker Dwarf spearman!

 Dwarf Spearman

I've actually had him sitting in the lead pile for ages before deciding it was high time to get the little fellow painted up! I experimented with washes on top of his usual skin tone and I must admit I am rather pleased with how he turned out. Sadly I think I might need to add some more highlights to his beard as its a little flat looking at present!

I'm actually starting to get a fair number of the stunties done now and almost have a small unit ready:

Who are you calling Stunty?!

Despite my plan to go 15mm for Oldhammer, it looks like I may yet still stumble through in good old 28mm after all is said and done! In the meantime they make a rather decent skirmish force for the likes of Song of Blades.

I still need to paint up a couple more that I have undercoated including some crossbow wielding types and another two handed hammerer but its been a really nice change from Sci-fi!

All the best!

Sunday 21 July 2013

Imperial Guardsman


Once again I'm about to head off to work but have taken a quick pic of an old Cadian Imperial Guardsman I have rummaged out of my lead pile and slapped some paint on!

For the Emperor!

I didn't spend a huge amount of time on the little fellow but went for the classic grey and black uniform as seen in the days of Rogue Trader! It has to be said, while painting him, its the first time that SKULLZ seem to be popping up everywhere on a guardsman. There's four of them on him alone, including on his water canteen, making you wonder why anyone would want to drink out of it!

Here's another shot of him, this time in the company of the bulkier Heartbreaker Capitol figure:

Lets all Sneer!

I actually have just enough assorted Guard troops to put together a half decent skirmish force for Rogue Trader so expect a few more to be added in the coming weeks!

All the best!

Wednesday 17 July 2013

Heavy Gear Peace River Defence Force Patrol Group, A Review


Well I went to pick up my Heavy Gear parcel yesterday at 7.30am before heading out to work only to be told that it had been put into my recycling bin! In a mild panic  (recycling is picked up on a Tuesday morning here) I rushed back and discovered it secreted amongst empty cereal packets and newspapers!

Not the most auspicious of starts but at least it hadn't been taken away for recycling! Sadly this meant I didn't have chance to even open it until I got back that evening and after opening the box, I thought I would post a mini review on the miniatures themselves!

The first thing I noticed once peering into the well packaged box was just how small the actual box of miniatures are! They are presented in a rather nice little box with full colour photos of the Gears themselves slightly confusingly they also show a stand of infantry which isn't included but hey ho!

Upon opening the package  itself I found the miniatures themselves each in its own little plastic compartment (I must admit I rooted through it so its not as well organised as it was!)

The Gears themselves come in a surprisingly large number of pieces for such a small kit, for example the body is in two parts, the head and arms and backpack, not to mention weapons and even armour plates all come in separate pieces, mounted on a central sprue.

I do feel that while this allows for greater posability, its also making it a bit unnecessarily complex, which in turn I am also guessing is also putting up the cost of production. I must admit I would prefer each Gear to come in fewer parts, possibly with the body cast as one piece and the guns already mounted on the hands as it will require quite a bit of faff to pin and stick them all together.

The Gears are themselves really nice sculpts but theres a fair amount of mould lines needing cleaning off and the metal itself is a little bit pitted, resulting in a rather rough finish on the otherwise smooth panels. Once its been cleaned and painted, I doubt it will be noticeable so its a minor quibble.

All in all they are nice models but my main reservation which would put me off buying them again was the sheer price of them. The pack I got usually costs £27 which works out at almost a fiver per figure which stands about 23-25mm tall. No matter how well detailed it is, I just dont think my budget would stretch to buying them again without the hefty 50% discount that Waylands was offering.

While the Gears themselves are quite pricy, the vehicles themselves are just stupidly expensive for a 10-12mm scale piece of resin, especially when many of them are essentially boxes with wheels and guns and even with the 50% discount, I just dont see them as being value for money!

I can understand why Heavy Gear has struggled to gain much of a foothold in the UK as despite the quality of the rulesets with their lavish illustration and the miniatures quality, the cost is just unreasonable, even when compared to GWs price gouging. Many folks will probably say AHA! But you only need one squad a side to play but for me, they're just too expensive!

With all that said and done, I am quite glad I picked them up though as they make decent battle armour for my now fully 15mm scale Battletech project and will be seeing action as the first elements of my Capellan Confederation armed forces!

In related news, I played out a small skirmish between my Federated Suns mech lance and some marauding Wilsons Hussars and much to my surprise the Hussars wiped the floor with the poorly trained Davion March Militia. The high point was a Hussars Forestry Mech burying its chainsaw in one of my Fed Suns Stealth Light Mechs heads.

I did manage to get some pics of the action so will post a battle report in the next day or so!

Till then all the best!

Tuesday 16 July 2013

Shoulder Pads 80's Style


Just a quick update as I'm about to nip off out to work but heres a quick pic of a rescued miniature from my leadpile!

 Sanchez, 1980s Survivor

He's a Capitol infantry Captain that I had in my bits box for years with a missing hand and a really bad and terribly chipped paint job (done by me about ten years ago!) and will be forming the basis for a small Post Apocalyptic collection but more on that later!
I must admit I didn't even bother stripping him, just whacked on a new coat of spray white primer and slapped on some paint. Despite this he turned out surprisingly well and has lots of character and a rather Doom-eque face too. The goatee and mutton chop sideburns were added to cover some unsightly blemishes in the paint and I must admit he now reminds me of John Travolta a little...

I have decided to continue working through my lead pile as time allows too so there should be a bit more getting added from time to time!

All the best! 

Thursday 11 July 2013

Wilsons Hussars: Captain David Wilson


Heres the latest addition to my Battletech project, a rather beaten up looking Cougar called Ella piloted by David Wilson, the current commander of the rather hapless Wilsons Hussars!

 Wilsons Cougar

Wilson is only forty years of age but looks ten years older due to the strain of keeping his misfit outfit up and running.

Having been stranded on the Periphery for over a year, the Hussars have become desperate enough to take service with the Draconis Combine and are being used as pawns by their Kurita masters to cause disruption to the Federated Suns defenders without having to commit loyal and expensive house units of their own.

 Eat This!

For their part the Hussars are happy to just have work again and Captain Wilson has hopes of raising enough to put his badly mauled Mechs back in proper operational order.

Rear View 

Despite is forlorn appearance, Ella is actually in fairly good working order other than having to have her shot up medium lasers replaced with a pair of medium autocannon while out on the Periphery where parts became increasingly scarce for the Hussars after their last contract ran out and left them stuck in the boondocks.

 Despite being run down, Wilson pilots Ella with great skill and determination 

Thus far only a lance of the Hussars have arrived dirtside as the rest are in need of extensive repair before they are remotely capable of seing combat. Fortunately for them, their Kurita paymasters have offered them a generous line of credit with the Combine supplies division. Thus far Wilson has resisted the temptation to put them into the debt of the Dragon as he is fully aware of the difficulty of climbing back out of it and some surreptitious raids on some of the Federated Suns stockpiles and some underworld contacts have managed to furnish his Mechs with just about enough to keep them going.

Wilson is ambushed by Kitty DeVries while on patrol

I did a small amount of conversion to Ella, reposing her legs to give her a slightly more dynamic pos and greater height and replacing her puny lasers with a more substancial pair of Autocannon along with ammo bins and a small laser mounted on her left flank, one of the few pieces of high tech that Wilsons Hussars have managed to lay their hands on.

Things seem to look grim for Captain Wilson as DeVries's lancemate Mac arrives to back her up

I hope to get the rest of the Hussar lance sorted soon as I have three modified civilian Mechs lined up to  provide a cheap and interesting lance for my Davion forces to fight against!

All the best!

Wednesday 10 July 2013

Old School Battletech Update


Well I am sat literally waiting for paint to dry as the first of my Wilsons Hussars mechs is nearing completion (only the base left to do!) and it should be finished this evening!

While sat at work yesterday I got an email from Waylands Games saying that they were having a rather tasty 50% off sale on their Dream Pod 9 stuff, including their rather lovely Heavy Gear stuff! Now I have had quite an interest in the figures for some time but the price of them is, frankly, ridiculous!

This gave me the opportunity to pick up a few bits and bobs at a more reasonable rate! Sadly I couldn't get any of the North or South stuff as it had mostly already sold out but did pick up these fellows for the princely sum of £13 plus change!

Peace River Defence Force Patrol Squad

While on the Battletech theme, I have been giving it some thought and am pondering moving up to 15mm scale for my games. The plastic clicky mechs fit and with my revised setting, I quite like the idea of fielding smaller mechs of a slightly higher tech level... It would be more like using Dreadnought armour than huge stompy robots!

The Heavy Gear stuff would make for a fantastic light mech/heavy battle armour that could see the successor states fielding machines more suited to the limited wars that they tend to fight as so much vital industry and equipment was destroyed during the first two succession wars.

Speaking of which, having found sources for classic Inner Sphere designs increasingly difficult to get hold of, I have cheated and sculpted my own Jenner from a mixture of plasticard and sculpey and am once again awaiting some bases so I can get him painted up!

Sadly I am off to Dundee and St Andrews tomorrow for the day so I doubt there will be much painting done but I will try and get the first of Wilsons Wimps photographed and added to the blog!
All the best!

Saturday 6 July 2013

More Old School Battletech!


Well during my week of commuting back and forth to work, I've managed to churn my way through another classic Battletech guide, this time to the Draconis Combine and House Kurita!


Published in 1987, the book went out of print for quite a while before being re-released through Drivethru RPG which is where I picked up my digital copy from! Sadly it seems to have been on the receiving end of some fairly serious editing to remove some of the illustrations which feature the Robotech and Dougram mechs which are ironically now some of the most iconic mechs associated with Battletech!

Saying that theres still a good mix of fantastic and poor illustration work in it so I cant complain too much!

Stompy Robots and Alien Worlds!

The book itself is another really interesting read and quite different from the Davion one I have already reviewed. While the Kurita book covers the rise of the house and eventual empire, it also covers a considerable amount of detail on the day to day from religion to ritual and even information on the society as a whole, which for anyone interested in Battletech is a real boon!

Again, the fantastic felt pen illustrations feature heavily and give a bit of an 80s vibe but the tone as a whole is more akin to some sort of futuristic feudal Japan with Samurai, great lords, ninja secret societies and geishas!

What a great villain!

While the military stuff is really interesting in itself, the attempt to portray Kurita and the Combine as something other than a parody of a bunch of Japanese baddies is what really grabs me. The Draconis Combine is militaristic and has done terrible things (up to and including wiping out entire planetary populations for the death of their ruling Coordinator!) but what they do is in a genuine belief that they are working towards something bigger and better and even with famine, crushing laws and sinister secret police, the people are genuinely proud to be doing their part.

This makes for a more complete group of protagonists, rather than the cut out villains one sees so often in wargames and indeed movies. The Draconis Combine is powerful but also remarkably human and even honourable.

The rise of the Kuritas to rule such an empire is covered with a biography of their Coordinators too, accompanied by the slightly shifty portraits I've become accustomed to with the old Battletech:

Bubba Toothed Shiro Kurita

Interestingly the 80s vibe for this volume is rather less than the Davion one, possibly because it deals with a more ancient culture. This is a little bit of a shame but at the same time is rather fitting for the Kurita book.

Is it just me or is this chap a bit similar in looks to the Space Marine from Space Crusade?

The military background and uniform guides also provide some really useful stuff, such as the Draconians relying on more light and medium mechs than heavy and the lower class that their armour and infantry are seen as when compared to the mechwarriors which could lead to some interesting scenarios. These lower classes are still utterly devoted, often brainwashed and always indoctrinated into the Combines beliefs making stuff like human wave attacks against mechs and uprisings on captured worlds a real possibility.

In Space its always the 1980s!

I will be adding all the bits and bobs together to form a bit of a campaign set somewhere in the Draconis March which will be featuring an ongoing series of skirmishes and raids between the Federated Suns and Draconis Combine and whatever Periphery and Mercenary units I can think of and reading this book has also got me thinking about playing out some RPG lite games in 15mm featuring the Kurita ISF or secret police engaged in a shadow war with Comstar ROM agents and Davion spies!

Kurita Special Forces Ninja!

As with the Davion book, I would highly recommend that folks interested in Battletech or just a really interesting setting to game in should have a peek at the Kurita book as even if the giant stompy robots are removed, its still got absolutely tons of useful stuff for any gamer to peruse!

My next target will be the Periphery book which I also have and after a quick leaf through, its looking like its going to be a veritable cornucopia of 80s greatness!

In other news, I have almost finished a rather beaten up Wilsons Hussars, or Wilsons Wimps as they are more commonly known, mech and will post a pic or two in the next few days as it is rumoured that the Hussars have become so desperate for work they have hired themselves out to the Dracs and are taking part in raids on the Federated Suns world of Farpoint!

All the best!