Sunday, June 29, 2014

Earth Force Marines - 15mm Sci-fi

I would like to introduce you to my Earth Force Marines.  All of these models (except those noted below) came from Rebel Minis.  They are all from their 15mm sci-fi selection.  I have quite a few of their models and have had great experiences with the models and the customer service provided by Rebel Minis.

Here you can see the infantry platoon.  This includes a command team, 4 teams with missile launchers, and an assault team.
 Below is a close up of the command team.  Lieutenant Carl Walton serves as commander of this battle group.
 Here is one of the infantry teams.
 Here you can see 4 heavy machine gun support teams.  (Night must have been falling when this photo was taken.)
 Here is a close up of one of the HMG teams.
 The platoon has been  assigned 4 suits of power armor.  These guys can really add some needed punch when push comes to shove.  (These will be rebased to match the rest of the platoon.  They had been previously assigned to a different command serving as a strike team specializing in boarding actions.)
 This Walker provides some mobile anti-tank fire.  (This unit also need to be rebased.)
 The unit has been provided with a unit for ground transport.  This unit typically is used to move supplies to forward operating positions.
 The unit also has access to a unit for air transport.  This allows for rapid redeployment of units during combat or precision insertion of a unit when needed.  (These flyers will probably be based to match the reset of the force, but I might also leave them black.)
 Access to a gunship is also available and can be used to take down heavy armor or dug in positions.

These models were painted with a base coat of Fabric Tan (Model Masters).  The weapons were painted with cold grey (Game Color) and the face shields were painted blue.  The whole model was then washed with Agrax Earthshade (Games Workshop).  The bases where painted Khaki (Game Color) and then I used watered down wood glue to attach the flock.

I have a few new additions to the unit, but I have not finished painting them yet.  They will hopefully be making it to the paint bench shortly.

The new recruits include another walker to add some additional anti-personnel fire support and several sniper teams.
The other addition is more transports for the unit.  These are not Rebel Minis models.  I'm not sure where these came from as a friend gave me these models.  I think they will look very nice once I get them painted up.

These guys have seen action in a few Tomorrows War battles and I plan to assign them to the field using Future War Commander skirmish rules.

What do you think?  How would you like to face off against this force?

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Future War Commander - First Game

I am a big fan of big armies.  I like the idea of commanding ranks upon ranks of infantry and having tanks everywhere you look.  With many of the games I have played I end up using the armies with lots of troops (goblins in Warhammer Fantasy, Guard in Warhammer 40K, etc.)  So for a long time, I have been eyeing 6mm models and armies.  I just feel like you get more stuff on the table with this scale.

About a year ago, I purchased a large lot of used Epic 40k models that my local game store Gauntlet Games acquired.  There were large forces of Eldar, Marines, Guard, Tyranids, Chaos, and Squats in the box.  I had high hopes of using this new collection for epic conflicts where I could defeat my enemies on the field of battle.

With models in hand, I started looking for different rule sets to try out.  I looked at Epic 40K (and its varients), Exodus Wars, Dirt Side, Command Horizon, Strike Legion, and a few others.  Some I got rules for a read through them, others I just read reviews on.  I decided to try Future War Commander as I like the idea of using whatever models I have available and the ability to create my own unit stats.

I purchased a PDF of the Future War Commander rules about a year ago and read through them.  Other shiny things distracted me, but now I have pulled the rules out again and decided to put some lead on the table and wanted to give the game a try.

I called my friend Randy and asked if he would be up for trying a new game.  "Is it miniatures?" he asked.  "Of course," I said.  And Randy was in.

I decided to keep things simple for my first go at this.  Looking through the scenarios, I decided to use #5, Colonization Relocation.  Next, it was time to put some armies together.  I have not yet painted up all these models yet.  (Okay, I admit it, very few have seen the business end of my paint brush.)  Some came painted decently and other not so much; mostly they were bare metal.  I put together two forces of mostly decent painted troops with only a few proxies and just one model with no paint at all.

I cheated a little and just used tanks and walkers.  I didn't use the required minimums of infantry.  I will add more variety in future games, but wanted it to be simple in the first go.

The Marine Corps commanded by Randy.

CO, HQ, 8 Bad Dawg APC (carrying 1 colonist each), 4 Tank Destroyers, 4 Assault Walkers, and 4 Big Mama Assault Tanks

The Eldrich Caste commanded by yours truly.

CO, HQ, 12 Raptors, 6 Walkers

The Marines would be attempting to transport the colonists to a new colony away from the fighting.  The Eldrich would be trying to kill them.  Our battlefield was pretty wide open .  The Marines would enter the table on the left.  The Eldrich split their forces and decided to deploy half of their army midway along each long side of the table.


Turn 1

The Marines placed their command units and then proceeded to fail their command rolls for both units.  I guess they were still trying to get everyone packed up and on the road.

The Eldrich were able to bring both formation on the table.  However, with only the command units on the table, there were no targets available.

With no targets available, the Eldrich move into position to blast away at the Marines as they enter the battlefield.

Turn 2

The Marines decided to divide up their forces and started with the Tank Destroyers.  They were able to destroy one Raptor with their ability to move and fire.  However, they then failed all further command rolls and were unable to bring any more forces onto the table this turn.

The Eldrich are ready to launch their assault on the enemy when communications fail (Command Blunder - with all units under command making a full move toward their table edge) and 6 of the Raptors flee off of the table and the walkers run to the table edge.  The breakpoint for the Eldrich is 9 and they have lost 7 units so far.

On the other flank, the CO orders the walkers and Raptors there into firing position and open up on the tank destroyers.  The Raptors are able to destroy one destroyer.  I probably would have suppressed a few more, but I forgot about that the suppression rule until it was too late.

Turn 3:

The Marines ordered on the Big Mama Assault Tanks and advanced the Tank Destroyers. All of these opened fire as part of their move and destroyed 2 walkers and another Raptor. 

The Eldrich were now at their breakpoint and had to test in order to stay in the battle.  The dice were rolled and 11 pips came up.  Yikes!  We are doomed!!!!  Run!!!!!!!

Marines: 8 points  Eldrich:  0 points  (My army ran before the objective even got on the table.)


Okay it was a pretty quick game.  The Eldrich failed some key tests that ruined their day.  Next time I will do my best to get further from the table edge more quickly.  

Randy has not read the rules so I was responsible for making sure things worked here.  It went well and things were starting to make sense as we moved forward.  If we would have had more than 3 turns, we might have gotten an even better grasp on the rules.  I can't blame the game for my poor roles though.  If I had used some infantry to boost the number of units then the breakpoint would have been higher and we might have had a little more fighting to do.

We both enjoyed this quite a bit.  I like that both sides have things to do on both player's turns via opportunity fire.  I need to re-read that bit of the rules to make sure I understand how it works.  I am looking forward to playing this again and hope I will have a better showing than I did here.

Have you played Future War Commander before?  What did you like/dislike about it?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Formula Motor Racing - 17 Race Circuit

My favorite racing game is Formula Motor Racing (published by GMT Games).  I enjoy some of the more complex games like Formula De, but for a game that is easy to learn, allows up to 6 players, and can be played in about 30 minutes (an hour if you have 6 players) you just can't beat this one. IMHO.

The thing I like most about this game is that you are just moving positions.  There isn't a concern that the guy in front gets some lucky rolls and pulls so far into the lead that no one can catch him.  Here, he is in first place.  It just takes a card to move somebody up a couple of places or to slow somebody down a few places.

The game is a series of 3 races.  Each player gets 2 cars.  You randomly determine player order to start the race.  The player in 1st has his second car in 12th place.  The player in 2nd has his second car in 11th place.  Etc.  Each player gets a hand of cards that will effect the car's positions.  You play through the deck and when the cards run out that race is over.  Points are awarded for the top 6 positions. You add up the points for the 3 races and you have your top finisher.

A group of friends and I decided to play a full circuit.  According to the rules a full Formula circuit is 17 races long.  (I think that might have changed since this game was published.)  So we set about racing 17 races and kept a running total.  We played over multiple lunch breaks at work when all six of us were available.  We had a great time (I did at least) and alliances ebbed and flowed as one player would pull ahead in points only to be pulled back by a team effort from the other players.

At the end of the circuit the top 3 finishers were only separated by 3 points.  Talk about a close finish.

If you haven't played this, I would encourage you to give it a try.  I have introduced many people to this game and all of them have enjoyed playing it.  Formula Motor Racing works well with adults or kids (and even works with a mix of both, which can't be said of many games).

The final standings were:

1st place:  Topher - 81 points
2nd place: Bryan - 80 points
3rd place:  Sean - 79 points
4th place:  Mark - 77 points
5th place:  Christian - 75 points
6th place:  Ben - 50 points

Thanks guys.  I had a lot of fun with this.  I'm looking forward to introducing you all to Formula De.

What racing games do you like?  Any suggestions for ones that I should seek out?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Big Shots Practical Shooters June 25, 2014

Last night was the final night of our Wednesday night league at Big Shots Range.  We will be starting up again the first Wednesday of September.  

The stage had 16 paper targets with 4 firing points.  I enjoyed the stage even though I shot horribly.  Good thing I have fun with this sport.

Some of the target were further away than we are used to shooting and you could see the results of that in many people's scores.  I had 5 mikes and 2 no-shoots.  Certainly not my best performance.  I just need to slow down and focus more on my sight picture and trigger pull.  More practice needs to be in my future if I hope to perform decently at the upcoming USPSA National match.  

I shot the stage in 26.76 seconds and earned 95 point of a possible 160 points before I deducted the 70 points of penalties.  My hit factor was 0.9342.  Yikes!!!

I finished 5th out of 5 in production and 16 out of 21 overall.  I will be working on some dry fire drills and live fire practice on targets at 25 yards and further.

Have you been to any great matches lately?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sci-fi Barrels

No battlefield is complete without "stuff".  You need stuff to hide behind.  You need stuff to fight over.  You need stuff to block lines of fire.

There are tons of companies that will sell you stuff to put on your battlefield or you can find your own stuff.  I go both ways.  I have purchased lots of stuff over the years, but I also like to make my own stuff from time to time.

Recently, I had a friend give me some stuff from the company he works for.  It is some kind of medical thing-a-ma-jig.  I don't really know what it was supposed to be, but it didn't meet specs so was being thrown away.  He gave it to me since he knows how much I like stuff.

To start with I just painted these white.  That was easier said than done.  These are small and very light.  So when you spray them, they just fall over and roll away.  So I ran a couple of strips of masking tape out on a board with the sticky side up.  I tucked the ends under so the tape was attached to my paint board.  Then I stuck these barrels to the tape and then sprayed them.  After they dried I flipped them over and painted the other side.

I started by painting a few blue and then washing them with a blue ink.  I decided that was too much work so thought I would just see how a wash alone looked.  I think it turned out well and did a variety of colors.  The dark blue ones in the back on the left were my first attempt.  The others are just washes.

These look good with 15mm guys and would also work with 28mm guys.  Here you can see some Earth Force Marines (from RebelMinis) taking up cover behind a few barrels.

These might also work for 6mm guys but they will be a bit big so you might want to keep them in an industrial complex.  I might convert some into some kind of industrial storage containers for 6mm.  Here are a few GW Eldar stands taking up position next to a few barrels to protect them from some invading force.

I used pretty bright colors to paint this batch, but you could go with more muted tones depending on the look you want.

What do you all use for the "stuff" on your battlefield?  Do you buy items or do you re-purpose items?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I got a new AR lower

Happy Father's day to me.

My wife and kids got me an AR lower for Father's Day.  Thank you very much.  I went and picked it up this weekend.  It is a Stag Arms and included a Stag Arms parts kit.

I have wanted an AR for quite some time.  I will be able to use this to compete in 3-gun competitions.  It will replace the M1A Carbine that I had been using.

Thanks again Amy, Olivia, and Samantha.

Any thoughts on what I should do for an upper?  Let me know.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Building buildings for SAGA - Part 2

I managed to get some good quality time working on my buildings for SAGA.

I finished adding all the planks to the building's exterior.  Once that is done, you will need to trim any overhang.  I just set the building on its end and took my exacto and cut off the overhang.

Now it is time to frame in the door and window.  This isn't strictly necessary, but I think it gives the building a good look and makes it appear more "finished".  To do this, I cut short pieces of balsa to fit inside the cut outs.

Then I cut strips to be glued onto the exterior.  No fancy cuts.  I notched the header on the door for fun.  You will follow the same process for any other doors and windows.

Now that I have the walls all finished it is time to start on the roof.  I cut a piece of foam core to the correct size for the roof.  I trimmed a gap in the middle so it would fold onto itself and glued in a piece of balsa to help it hold its shape.

Now I took the roof and dry fit it onto the building.  I needed to trim it a little along the eaves so that it would fit nicely on the building.  I just trimmed a bit and fit it again, trimmed a bit and fit it.  Trim a little each time.  You can always take more off, but adding material back on is difficult.  Once you have a good fit, tape up the edges as you did with the main building.

I wanted to add a bit more detail to this building since it will be the main building in the settlement.  So I decided to add timbers to the ends of the roof.

For this I just cut a few pieces of balsa so that they would extend from the peak of the roof.  Once I had the length right, I notched out the pieces so they would fit together smoothly.  Again, trim a little bit at a time.  You can't add material back once it is cut off.

I ended up adding a second strip of balsa to the inside of the peak to add a bit more structure.  I did the same thing for both ends of the roof.

Now it was time to start on the thatch.  I decided for this building to do a thatch roof and I would use an old towel for the material.  There are a few different tutorials that I looked at for this.  One used teddy bear fur and the other a towel.  Here is the link for the tutorial I used:  

Thanks to The Goon from the Moon from The Miniatures Page for these links.

I modified how I did it a bit as this was for a Japanese building, but the basics are the same.  I decided that since I am lazy I would just cut 3 strips.  One for each side and then one for the peak.  You might be tempted to do this with just one piece, but think about the grain of the towel before you do that.  How does the material lay.  The towel I used had a definite direction that the material lay and if I had just used one piece, it would have layed up one side of the roof.  However, I'm not sure how noticeable it would be at the end.

Once you have the towel cut, it is just a matter of gluing it into place.  I watered down some wood glue and used a paint brush to apply it.  I put the towel onto my table with the bottom side up.  I applied the wood glue with the brush until it was nice and wet.  I then put the towel in place on the roof.  I moved it around until I was happy with its placement and then took my brush and wet down the top of the towel.  I soaked it pretty good as I think this will help when painting.

I then did the same thing for the opposite side and the peak.  Here you can see to two side are done and I'm dry fitting the peak piece once more before gluing it down.

Once all three pieces of thatch were in place I took a toothpick and made sure the fabric wasn't overlapping the wood beams on the ends of the roofs.  I just used the toothpick to push in the fabric at the ends to give it a nice clean look.

Here the building is done.  It just needs to dry and it will be ready for paint.  There is a lot of glue in the roof, so be prepared for it to take quite a while for it to dry.

Let me know what you think.  I'm happy with the progress and think this will look nice on my table.

Do you think I should add a base or leave it how it is?  I could go either way.  I think the base will give it more stability, but it is pretty solid as is.  

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Fields with crops

Farming is an important part of any civilization.  As such I thought I would make some crops to fight around and over.  These will work for 28mm, 15mm, or 6mm.

I will be using these for my Future War Commander games as well as my 15mm games.

I picked up some carpet at Menard's as the base of the field.  It has ridges that I thought look close to plowed fields.  Then I went to Hobby Lobby and bought some floral stems with lots of small blooms.  I got red, green, blue, and yellow blooms.  These will give me a nice variety when I get them all done.

I pulled off all the blooms and used wood glue to glue them to the carpet.  I glued the blooms in the low parts of the rows.  I just put a drop of glue down and stuck the bloom on.  Let the glue dry completely before moving these around.

You can cut different sizes of depending on what you want.  I have finished 3 pieces and half of a 4th.  Two are 8" x 5" and two are 5" x 5".

Do you have fields in your games?  What do you use?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Star Trek: Red Alert

Last night, my buddy Bill broke out an old game (but new to us) that he got in a trade.

It was Star Trek: Red Alert.  This is a Disk War style game set in the Star Trek universe.  Neither of us had played before so we just made up small (50 point) fleets.  Bill had Cardassians and I had Klingons.  We both ended up with 2 ships with a few upgrades each.

The mechanics are pretty simple, but overall it was a fun game.  With the basic mechanics under our belt, I think the next go around will go much quicker and we could play with much larger forces.  Through the game we were learning some basic tactics and getting ideas on how to make better use or our orders and ship upgrades.

Below you can see my ship (the IKS Dok'vas) has just launched a torpedo at the Voln.  It was ultimately blocked by the enemy's deflector shield (a ship upgrade).

I lost a ship early to a focused pounding by the Cardassians, but then Bill's luck turned for the worse.  He got plenty of shots off on me, but couldn't get much damage done.  I managed to steadily do damage to his ships and got a couple of critical hits on the Voln.  He decided to disengage instead of being blown to oblivion.  I expect to see him again once he licks his wounds and repairs his damaged ships.  I just hope I can get some reinforcements to replace my lost ship before we face off again.

This game is no longer in print.  While it was fun, I don't think I'm going to run out and start searching EBay for packs for myself, but I would be up for a few more games the next time Bill pulls it out of his closet.

Have you played any Disk War games?  What did you think of them?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Big Shots Practical Shooters June 18, 2014

We had a fun stage last night at our Wednesday night league.  8 paper targets with the best 3 hits per paper scored.

I got 96 out of a possible 120 points.  I had way to many D's, but at least I didn't miss anything.  My time was 19.80 seconds.  I earned first place in the production division and 5th overall.  Those open guys are really fast.

Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Building buildings for SAGA - Part 1

I've been playing SAGA for a little while now.  It is a pretty good game.  If you aren't familiar with the game it is a Viking era skirmish game published by Gripping Beast in 2011.

My group has used just basic terrain for most of our games.  You know stuff like hills, trees, rocks, and the occasional river.  Well I decided I wanted to add a little more flavor and have decided to build a few Viking buildings.

My plan with these is for them to be usable in a miniature game and have a generally historic feel, but I don't plan for these to be exact replicas.  This is an idea of my inspiration.

To start with, I drew out some rough sketches for my buildings.  This gives me a place to write down rough dimensions and think about different options.  I plan to build 4 buildings of similar, but different sizes.

The next step is to draw out the design on foam core board.  Once the layout is drawn on, I grab my trusty exacto and start cutting.  Make sure you use a sharp blade and cut slowly.  Don't try to muscle through and cut through the board in one swipe.  make multiple cuts a little deeper each time.

With the shape cut out, I go back and cut out a gap where the corners will fold onto themselves.  This means that I will only have 1 joint to attach.  To do this, I measure the thickness of the board and draw another line on to tell me where to cut.  I then cut through the top layer of paper and the foam, but I am careful not to cut through the opposite layer of paper.  Again, GO SLOW.  You don't want to cut into the opposite side of the paper. 

Now you can fold the building together.  I use masking tape to join the ends together.

Now, I use masking tape and cover all the exposed foam.  This will protect the foam from glue and spray paint.

Now I start adding in the wood.  The first thing I did is cut strips to be glued into the interior corners to give the building a little more rigidity.  When you do this, try to make sure the corners are squared or at least close.  The I started with the exterior of the building.  I have thin strips of balsa, probably around 1/16" or 3/32" thick.  I cut the pieces for the side walls all at once as they are all the same length.  I just put a couple of dabs of glue on each end (for longer pieces i will use more glue along the length) and then stick it onto the building.  I leave a small gap so it will be easier to see the planks with the project is finished.

If I really wanted to spend some time on this, I would get a couple of different thicknesses of balsa and alternate between then.  Then I would butt them up against each other, but I'm not that worried about this and this method takes less time.

The end of the wall can be a bit tricky.  You likely won't have spaced things perfectly so that a piece fits at the end.  So what I do is glue the end piece on before I do the last few pieces on the wall.  Then I can trim on piece along the wall to fit and the end piece isn't just a sliver of wood.

With the first side finished, I moved onto one of the end walls.  This takes a bit more time, but not much.  I hold my stick up to the wall and mark the length leaving some overhang.  I glue that piece on and repeat.  I will trim the tops when I finish the wall.

I'll keep you posted as I make progress with these.  Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.