29 October 2017

This Week's Painting

I got the Rebel counterparts to the recently finished T-55s finished up yesterday. Along with those T-55s, I picked up some Battlefront M113s for the MCC forces.

The kits themselves were a bit fiddly. More model than wargame miniature to be sure, but the went together easily enough and had a wonderful selection of extra bits. I used a couple of trim vanes, a cupola, a recoilless rifle and some side track covers to give the group a bit of a mix and match look. The top hatches can be modeled either open or closed. They really are solid kits. Here's a look at the accessory sprue, of which four come in the box.

There are bits for mortars, flamethrowers, miniguns, grenade launchers, etc. I'm excited about getting together a game of Sabre Squadron to give the new bits a try.

22 October 2017

October Star Fleet Battles AAR

The Space Cadets + 2 got together for an enjoyable, if loooong, game of SFB Saturday afternoon at our preferred locale of Pizza Hut in Brunswick.

I put the scenario together in bursts over the last couple of months. Concept. Ships. Balance. Mike is a fan of both Kzinti drones and fighters, so I included those specifically for him. Loads of fighters and drones does tend to slow down a game which is why I don't go to that well very often. Opposing them were Jindarians, a tough direct-fire only race. I really wanted to see how their bombers performed in a game situation so they were essentially auto-includes.

Y170 Kzinti-Lyran Border
The Kzinti have located a rogue planetoid in an asteroid field near the border. It has been identified as a fine location for a base station so construction was started. It didn't take long before the Jindarian occupants of the asteroid field noticed the continuous activity and decided to take action to send the cats packing.

The Jindarian have sent out two Destroyers, the Rock Lobster and the Dwayne Johnson as well a cluster of four Meteorite heavy bombers to deal with the Kzinti.

Kziniti forces included the Frigate Constable's Daughter, Auxiliary Light Carrier Heroes' Home and an Auxiliary Cruiser Unwieldy. There were also two non-combatant construction freighters in the area.

Mike, and new players Max and Edward took command of the Kzinti, while David and I split the Jindarian.

Deployment. David and I feared the wall o' drones that would be forthcoming so thought it prudent to dart over to the next asteroid cluster, manipulating said drones into smashing themselves on the asteroids.
The plan seemed to be working pretty well. We sent the bombers out to take some cheap shots at the cats.
The squadrons of fighters are fully deployed from the carrier. There are six older AS fighters and six SAS streak fighters.
The Jindarian bombers knock down half the front shield of the Unwieldy with some long ranged railgun fire.
So, at the end of turn 1, the Jindarians had successfully make the trip to the target cluster of asteroids and drawn a decent number of drones off Kzinti launchers. The Cats, however, had many many launch platforms ready and moving in on them would be difficult.
David and I planned to follow the yellow path for turn two, drawing out more drones. We ended up following the orange when...
The Unwieldy got close and presented its thin front shield. David and I unloaded four Phaser-1s and two railguns each into it. The freighter took 12 internals. The Jindarian destoyers then HET-ed and fired their remaining railguns into the unshielded face. Nothing like pouring gasoline on the fire!
Ze bombers do an admirable job of also drawing out some drones. The asteroids continue to be our best friends!
To start turn 3, David and I agree that speed 24 is the way to go. We can outrun the speed-20 drones and continue to fence. These Kzinti are a real hassle. It's like trying to wrestle a porcupine and getting in close is just impossible!
It took little time for the AS squadron to send a collection of drones our way.
These were followed by masses of additional drones. The destroyers were in good shape with their speed up, but the bombers who'd drawn the attention of the frigate and some SAS shuttles were in deep kimchi.
Between the rear-firing phasers and chaff, only one bomber was crippled! The other three prepared to do battle with the pursuers!
Before we called it quits, the Jindarian destroyers put a big dent in the frigate's front shield. That would discourage any pursuit!
It had been three full turns and about five hours of play. The Kzinti were running low of drones in the racks and the Jindarian destroyers were still in great condition. We awarded a minor win to the Jindarians, only because they'd done more real damage. The bomber/fighter fight that was about to develop would have been interesting.
A see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil shot of the Kzinti captains. That's Mike, Max and Edward.

A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon and a difficult scenario for both sides for sure! I was quite happy with how it turned out. The new guys did well. SFB is overwhelming and we had a LOT going on with all those fighters and drones on the table. I hope they join us in the future.

19 October 2017

Please and Tanks

I added a few T-55s to the collection last evening, courtesy of Battlefront. I picked up them and some M113s a few weeks ago as AK47 / Sabre Squadron reinforcements. The T-55s are for President Johnson's army which is typically the one I use.

By the by, I've been shifting the brightness of my painting table pictures up a bit which results in better color translation. So I'm happy with the models except when I put them next to the QRF T-55 and Type 69s I've already got.

The Type 69 on the right looks positively anemic! Granted, it is 20cm shorter, but that shouldn't make it look like Steve Rogers before the super soldier serum compared to Captain America over there on the left! The QRF T-55 isn't quite as bad, but it is noticeable. I'm not sure who's accurate, but I am quite aware of BF's tendency to have slightly bigger models than everyone else.

First world problems for my third world Imagi-nation.

16 October 2017

Seriously Small Spaceships

David picked up some "MicroFleets' ships on Shapeways to use for Star Fleet Battles last week. Because he has very little painting time, I offered my brush. I figured they'd be quick to finish given their size. I was right.

Kzintis in progress. Compare to the 15mm tank and 1" grid squares. They are tiny!

The Kzinti ships were done in the grainy "white strong and flexible" material. The Cardassians are of the Frosted Ultra Detail and are much tighter. Witness the class-lettering on the bases.

This accounts for Sunday's work. The civilian ships and base are essential for good SFB storytelling. Looking forward to putting some of these on the table next weekend.

15 October 2017

Saturday X-Wing

Got in a quick round of X-Wing in Saturday afternoon with David. I wanted to get back to trying out different interesting combinations and just flying for fun. For this engagement, my theme was "bent vanes."

Vader, a TIE Bomber and a TIE Punisher square off against David's Decimator and Firespray.

With his setup off to the edge, I decided to pull him into the asteroids. That part of the plan worked very well.

For the first half or two-thirds of the game, I flew circles around the two big ships. Vader got great position on Kath Scarlett and smacked her for a crit. Somehow, David has put "Determination" on that ship and for the first time ever, it pays off. How irritating.

A move later, the Decimator blasts Vader to smithereens.

And as I get them to chase me into the asteroids again, the bomber gets blasted. A bit later, the punisher would succumb.

Curses! Both of David's ships were stripped of shields and on the edge of destruction. My poor agility bomber and punisher just couldn't hack it as time would down and attrition took its toll.

I enjoyed the ships I used and as usual, David has found a very solid combination.

10 October 2017

Naval Minefields for Dystopian Wars

So, with our first proper games of DWFA over the weekend, it was made plain that we need proper minefields. Sunday, I began whipping some up.

The back of an old frame provided some nice 1/8 inch board. It was surprisingly sturdy.

Liquitex Flexible Modeling Paste - Gel Medium smeared liberally.

I used the flat side of the blade against the putty and pull it straight off to give it a crinkly wavy texture. Process repeats many times until both squares are well-textured.

Like this!

A hosing of blue spray paint followed by a thin black wash to create some extra "shadowy depths."

 A couple drybrushings - pale blue, then white.

And a heavy gloss coat - job's done!

They look purty with the little boats. I'm rather happy with how these turned out. Now I need to make a couple for those land games!

08 October 2017

Dystopian Wars Fleet Action: First AAR

So, about a week before Spartan went under, I started looking through their quick-play rules - Dystopian Wars Fleet Action and Firestorm Taskforce. DW and FSA are terrific games but the fiddly nature of the rules limit how much of a game can be played in three hours. The new rules simplify things significantly but do a fabulous job of retaining the flavor of the original.

Ziggy and I got together for a battle Saturday evening to give DWFA a thorough workout. I used my Honorable Eclipse Company which have been in a box, painted, for quite some time but only minor elements of which have ever seen the battlefield (two years ago!). Zig used his British navy. One unintended matchup problem that Z didn't consider is that his ships rely heavily on torpedoes, which are useless of course against flying machines which make up 85% of an HEC force. Point values were just over 1700 each.

I'd have decorated the islands a bit more, but the decorations would have just gotten in the way of my fliers. Witness yet another bizarre deployment by Ziggy.

After a turn, there had been very little destruction. Lots of moving out and getting lined up.Oh, that white square on the left side was a minefield. I suppose I should craft a couple, more elegant.

A squadron of Hades interceptors takes a run at some frigates.

I'll note at this point that we were listening to 80's heavy metal and Slayer "Raining Blood" came on as I was getting the bombers lined up for a bombing run on the destroyers below. Just one of those fun memorable gaming moments. My bombers whiffed and we quickly turned the song into "Raining Dud."

The noose continues to tighten around the British. Their only element outside that top-right pocket is a corvette squadron visible (barely) on the left in front of the mines.

Turn 3 - I remember to launch the little guys from my undersea bases. Assault submarines make for the Hood battlecruiser and give it a good thrashing.

A view from the top. The immobile killing machine had just mashed up something or other in the distance. Pretty sure the gin & tonic inspired this picture.

Remains of a Hades squadron try to make an impression on the Monarch-class heavy battleship. They'd have done just as well lobbing water balloons.

The mini-subs finish off the Hood. During turn 4, Ziggy actually racked up a lot of kills but it wasn't enough to overcome the deficit. We called the game there.

The final score, just raw kills was 46 to 27 in favor of my HEC. I really do think that the lack of suitable targets for torpedoes was significant. Nineteen points different? Who knows? Next time I'll use something a bit more naval.

We're both very happy with the DWFA rules and they'll continue to be used. The game just plays better with less confusion, fewer rulebook dives and more toys on the tabletop.