Thursday, 31 January 2013

Re-purposed robot/walker vehicle

 Came aross this old beastie whilst rummaging through boxes of gaming stuff in the loft last weekend.  Although designed for 25mm gaming I think it'll do as an addition for 15mm (though the pilot might be rather cramped - unless I still treat it as a robotic vehicle).

It's a Ksirus Fury Helcat CBU (Cybernetic Battlefield Unit) from Fantasy Forge's Kryomek games system.  The authors did love their acronyms and abbreviations as shown by the description of the Helcat [with my explanations in square brackets]: "The Ksirus standard BWP [Battlefield Weapons Platform] is built around the MOA [MOA is a subsidiary of the Hajunka Megacorp] BBC ([Bipedal Battlefield Chassis] mk VIII-2 chassis".

The Helcat comes with two front-mounted HAK A20 submachine guns and a pair of side-mounted hardpoints.  This is the "Fury" variant, equipped with twin Kotor ACG 5  II assault chain guns on each hardpoint.  It is controlled by an ACM series X2 Active Cyberneural Matrix, powered by a Tokamak ring reactor anc carries Iridio-steel plated Weave-Shell.

As you might be able to tell from the colour scheme, this was part of my Crimson Fist Space Marine detachment, created circa 1992 using the 1st edition WH40K robot design rules ("Chapter Approved - Imperial Robots and the Legio Cybernetica", Warhammer40,000 Compendium, 1989).  You calculated the points cost for the robot, then added additional points for the robot programme which you assembled from little cardboard squares.  The more advanced and flexible the programme, the more effective the robot would be in battle, but the more it would cost.  This one was, of course, armed with 4 assault cannon, making it a fearsome opponent.  Or at least it would have been if I'd managed to use it in more than the one game, where it got into an altercation with a Land Raider which resulted in both of them being taken out of action!

A quick coat of an appropriate camo mix and my Helcat can stride into battle once more!

I've got bits of another one somewhere that I got from the second hand bin in a games shop, missing a leg and an arm but might prove useful as an objective marker or something.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013


 IAs well as the zombie horde, I've also finished the Rebel Minis werewolves that I based and undercoated at the same time.

All received a base coat of Vallejo beastly brown and a wash of Vallejo sepia ink.  I decided that wasn't dark enough so I added a further wash of black ink too.  They were all drybrushed beastly brown to start, then the one on the left (female) received extra GW vermin fur drybrushing, the centre one (male) Vallejo stonewall grey and the female on the right a very light drybrush of Humbrol 94 desert yellow.

Detail is good, although I do think there might be a hint of goat about the male's face as well as wolf!

They're nice figures though, and I'd recommend them.  Oddly my order from Rebel included only 3 werewolves (there should have been 6 according to the web site), but I received extra modern military contractor figures that offset that defecit so I wasn't to worried.

I think a few Blue Moon werewolves from Old Glory UK might be a good addition.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Zombie Reinforcements 7

 I've finished the latest zombies and also completed a few final touches for my earlier zombies.  They've taken me quite a while because of the wide range of different colours and styles I've been using to paint them.  I've added a few different skin colours for variety, using Vallejo charred brown and beastly brown.  You'll notice that I haven't followed the greenish skin with lots of blood approach, I've tried to go for more natural coloured skin with the occasional splash of Vallejo flesh wash around exposed bones and damaged fleshy bits (it's rather too red for me to use as an actual flesh wash!).  Most of the zombies have had a light drybrush of grey and/or GW rotting flesh to give a dead flesh highlight to their skin.

Old double-based zombies have been completed (bikinis coloured) plus a new lone bikini-zombie (all Rebel Minis).
 I've mixed them up - with bases filed down, the zombies aren't too much bigger than the Rebel Minis.
New triple-base (2 and a Rebel Mini) plus a fairly "armless" one (arf!)
 I have a good mix of single, double and triple bases now, which should offer good flexibility for the horde during games.
My earlier school zombie double-base completed with their new friend (all Rebel Minis)
 I think the zombie cheerleader has to be one of my favourite ones - a great little figure!  I love the skateboarder too, with his underwear showing over the top of his shorts.
More school zombies, this time from the new batch (all Rebel Minis).
 I don't know why one of the Rebel Minis zombies is so much taller than all the rest.  He's even taller than the zombies, and it looks like he was made by a different sculptor.
Rear view of the zombie skateboarder plus a very tall zombie (both Rebel Minis).
Triple base of 2 zombies plus another Rebel Mini tall zombie.
Rebel Minis - fireman, "Syntho-Burger" employee and small child.
I felt that GW Red Gore and Rotting Flesh were appropriate colours to use for the Syntho-Burger employee's uniform.  I think a Syntho-Burger franchise should be the next piece of scenery that I build.
Rear view (note the "Syntho-Burger" logo on the jacket!).

Old Rebel Minis zombies finally completed - double-based sisters plus office worker with telephone.

Rebel Minis triple-based office zombies.

A rear view of the office zombies.

Double-based uk zombies (note the intestines repainted as a satchel!)
 Some of the zombies have their intestines spilling out in a slightly unrealistic way.  I've painted one lot brown instead and painted in a strap to turn then into a shoulder bag.
..and a side view.
 It doesn't take much effort to turn the fantasy zombies into modern/sci-fi zombies.  A hooded smock becomes a normal hoodie, an odd pointy hat is easily trimmed into a sort of beret/cap and hey presto, lots of inexpensive zombies who look fine with the real modern ones.
Three fantasy zombies.
 The zombies are in a worse condition than the Rebel Minis zombies.  Skin is sloughing away, their faces are rotting and sliding off, jaws have gone missing.  Great detail!
Zombie head close-up 1.

Zombie head close-up 2.
Zombie head close-up 3 (my wife says he looks like a mutant dog crossbreed!?!)

And finally... the horde shuffle into action!

Monday, 21 January 2013

I need more buildings! (Part 2)

I've been working on my buildings on and off for a couple of days now, and they're coming together nicely.

Desert buildings with a few extra details added.
The desert buildings have some internal walls and some buttresses to make them a bit more interesting.

Medium-sized building assembled.
My medium-sized building has been assembled.  I realised that the foamcore floors I had planned would cause a problem - they'd protrude their full thickness into the top of the doorway on each side!  That'll teach me to make my doorways too grand...

Medium-sized building from behind.
The card I used to create the blind arcading along the exterior walls is very sturdy, so I decided to use this instead.  It will also provide more finger-room for manoeuvring figures in the spaces between floors.  A 5mm wide strip of foamcore has been glued around most of the walls to give a shelf onto which the floor is glued, giving a sturdy join so it won't collapse when hordes of metal figures gather upon it.

Large building assembled (but no floors yet!)
I have a larger building too, the walls been assembled but I still need to make some floors.  You can see the back corner has some little stubby floor sections - these will be landings for stairs I'm making.  I decided that I'd paint the outside too, to finish off the last little bit of paint in my pot before it all dried up.

Large building showing how paint has warped the walls!
Unfortunately as it dried it warped the fabric of time and space - well, the fabric of the foamcore building walls anyway.  Since I took the photograph I've painted the inside and the curvature of the walls has been counteracted so the building is square once more.

Friday, 18 January 2013

I need more buildings!

 Although I have plenty of figures, I'm aware that buildings are something on which I'm rather short, especially for zombie games in an urban environment.

The basic sections with doors & windows cut out.
 This post was going to be about building the cityscape (well, a small part of it anyway), but instead it's ended up being about an off-cut that I removed from my sheet of foamcore before I started work on the city.

Edges "distressed" and ready for assembly.
I decided that they were just large enough to use for some ruins to go with my desert dwellings, all of which have been built as intact structures so far.

Building 1.
They'll provide some extra cover to bulk out the desert games but shouldn't take nearly as long to build as the multi-storey intact buildings.

Building 1 alternative view.
Note how I made use of the slightly shorter bits of wall by adding a doorway in the middle so the building is still a regular rectangle.  Windows are 10mm above ground level and are 10x10mm or 5x10mm in size, doorways are 15x20mm.

Building 2.
And finally a view of the first of my big city buildings in flat-pack pre-assembly form.  It's foamcore with thick card (1mm, quiet tough to cut!) used to add surface detail. I've tried using cork tiles in the past but I don't really get on with it so these days I just use foamcore as the basis for most structures.

City building.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Zombie Reinforcements 6 (sort of...)

 I'm sure that even with the extra zombies I'm painting and the others I still have waiting in the wings, I'll still run short during games.  Mum and Dad asked if there were any other small bits I might like for Christmas and I suggested a few items from the fantastic range of bits that eM-4 miniatures have available.

Lots of goodies...
 I now have lots and lots of D8s and D10s for Tomorrow's War / Force on Force, thus enabling me to roll attack and defence dice at the same time rather than having to constantly re-roll 5 or 6 D8s/D10s, hoping that I can remember what was rolled the first time to compare against!

  I also have a bag of 50 red counters and 20 red pawns as pseudo-zombies.

Not so scary (but rather unnerving nevertheless)
The pawns can stand in for individual zombies where required.

Not at all scary
 I'm thinking of using the counters in a similar way to blips in space hulk, marking 1, 2 or 3 zombies underneath (and maybe the occasional "false alarm") to add to the tension of the game.

A worryingly large amount of potential scare!

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Game ideas from Malaysia conflicts

Over the Christmas holidays I've been reading "The Malayan Emergency & Indonesian Confrontation" by Robert Jackson.  Both were wars where Commonwealth troops were involved in supporting local forces against communist guerrillas to help ensure their transition to independent democratic states.  Both have also been used as textbook examples of how to successfully complete a counter insurgency campaign in a jungle environment.  The situation in Malaya was very different to that in Vietnam.  In Malaya there was no neighbouring state harbouring the guerrillas, and the approximate number of guerrillas was fairly well known throughout the campaign, so despite some similarities the 2 wars came to very different conclusions.

John Chynoweth's book "Hunting Terrorists in the Jungle" describes his time as a National Serviceman in 1953-54, (the Emergency ran from 1948-1960) when as a Lieutenant he was assigned to the Malay Regiment.  This is a very interesting read, full of little anecdotes such as the time he was trying to use a smoke grenade to mark a helicopter LZ and the phosphorus set the grass alight and burned out a large part of the valley!

Freddie Spencer Chapman's book "The Jungle is Neutral is also an interesting read, telling of his time in the jungles of  Malaya during the Second World War, fighting against the Japanese.  One of his allies at this time was Chin Peng of the Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army, who received an OBE for his contribution to allied war efforts against the Japanese.  Chin Peng later became a leader of the Communist Party of Malaya and thus the main enemy of the allies during the Malayan Emergency, resulting in his being stripped of the OBE.

The Indonesian Confrontation took place 1962-1966.  Malaya, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak were preparing to combine to form Malaysia.  Sabah and Sarawak (along with Brunei) form the Northern part of Borneo.  President Soekarno of Indonesia was opposed to this because he had hopes of making them part of Greater Indonesia.  The war involved both guerrillas and regular Indonesian army troops in cross border raids and naval landings.  Commonwealth troops included British, New Zealand and Australian forces supporting local units.

The Indonesian Confrontation provides a lot of inspiration for wargaming.  The cross-border raids which were such a feature of this war provide ideal small-scale actions.  In many cases the local police station was the objective for the attack (for instance the attack on Long Jawai, 50 miles inside the border of Sarawak) and at the start of the conflict battles were also fought for control of airfields and oilfields.  In January - February 1965 B and D squadrons of 22 SAS undertook operations on the enemy side of the border - they ambushed troop and supply boats on the rivers.  "One patrol tapped an Indonesian telephone line several miles across the border, spending five days tape-recording enemy messages and narrowly escaping capture by a patrol of Indonesian paratroops; another, in the course of a dawn skirmish, snatched important documents from a hut that was being used as an advanced HQ by the enemy." (Jackson, op.cit p.133).

A range of naval vessels were included in the confrontation at various different times, the commando carriers HMS Albion and Bulwark, light cruiser HMS Tiger and the carriers HMS Centaur, Victorious, Eagle and Ark Royal.  Air support was readily available including Hunters and Javelins, plus Sea Vixens and Buccaneers from the carriers and Australian F-86 Sabres.  Even Victors from Britain's V-bomber fleet were available!  Canberras proved extremely valuable throughout both conflicts, particularly in the photographic reconnaissance role over these inaccurately mapped jungle countries.  The Indonesians were equipped with MiG -17s, also Il-28 and Tu-16 bombers plus C130s for transport duties and the dropping of propaganda leaflets.