Thursday 29 April 2010

North American Combine Vehicles


The vehicles that make up this force were originally painted as dual purpose wargame miniatures, as I've always intended to use them both for games of BattleTech and OGRE/GEV. Let me talk you through them.

First off is Alpha Company, which is pure Ral-Partha BattleTech goodness tasked up as a Combine armour Company. They made up with models from  the second issue of the Vedettes and the Demolisher tank. 

Then there is Charlie Company, there is no Bravo at the moment, with up of light tanks I made by simply putting a 1/300th Merkava turret on the chassis of a Bradley IFV, both from the Heroic & Ros range. 

Golf Company has the early version of the Striker armoured car from BattleDroids, with Hunter missile tanks at the back. 

Finally, there is Hotel Company, which is hover tanks. The command vehicle for this is a Stan Johansen conversion of the U.S. Army Combat Hovercraft "SK5" Gun Boat, or PACV. 

NB: Originally I labelled these, and this post as a 7th Demi Brigade Légion Etrangère unit, but I've decided that as they are in the colours of my North American Combine force that I use for OGRE/GEV, it would be easier to just relabel them.  Of course since this original post and the re-issue of the miniatures by SJG and my working as an MiB I've stripped all these down and plan to use them for another project.

PS: Since posting, and therefore adding to the confusion, I've renamed this force 7ème Brigade Blindée, just in case you're reading this and are confused by the names I'm using for my Pan European force.

Tuesday 27 April 2010

Toyota Technicals

Where ever there are Somali fighters they inevitably have Toyota Technicals in support.

It's not Toyota unless it says Toyota on the back. I wonder if Toyota have a military sales division? Both models are inspired by pictures on the web of what is an ubiquitous field expedient modification of local transport assets.

Sunday 25 April 2010

Salute 2010: ExCel Centre

I'm a long time attended of the Salute show and remember it when it was at Kensington, but think the last time I went to a Salute was in 2004 at Olympia, so it has been quite a while since I've been to what is arguably the premier wargame show in Britain. Since I last went it has moved again to the Excel Centre in the Docklands. I had intended to go last year, but was too ill to cope with the travel, and I think the previous year the Docklands light railway was offline, so I passed going because of the travel time. Yesterday though, the trains were working, the sun was shining, and it was a beautiful day.

I got there at 09.30, having risen at my usual sparrow fart time that would indicate it was a work day. I'm not a morning person at the best of times, and going to a show probably is the best of times. Luckily one can nap on the tube. Anyway, got there and the early queue was winding itself into another hallway, and was paralleled by an almost equally long queue of people who had not bought cheaper early bird tickets. There was a delay due to the fire marshal not clearing the hall as safe, but the Salute crew were on the ball handing out the goody bags and pre-stamping the tickets and the backs of our hands. I commented that this would be a good way to infect everybody with experiment viruses, if one were so inclined that is.

Got in the hall, having had a jelly baby off a Chris Tennant Dr. Who look-a-like, see Darth Vader wheezing along with three doughty Storm Troopers in tow and passed three members of an StarGate team, which included a woman who had made a sterling effort to look like Sam Carter. Well done to Vikings, WW1 Germans, the WW2 British and any other re-enactors at the show and any I didn't see for all the effort you put in to entertain me.

I then commenced Operation Buying Frenzy, as I had a little list. Peter Pig was visited for a pair of Toyota technicals for conversion (watch this space as they say), a pair of Gaz 469 jeeps (that I will mount recoilless rifles on), and a pair of Unimogs (one with a tilt, the other open) all for my Somalian AK47R project that I'm making, which was my third largest purchase of the day at Peter Pig.

I also stopped at Dom's Decals and bought some German turret decals in both 10 & 15mm for my mechs, and also bought three aircraft from him too. Nice to meet him very briefly and put a name to a face, though I don't think he will remember me, given how busy it was. After this I passed a stand that had the Wings of War Balloon Busters with nearly £10.00 off, so I bought one, which was my second most expensive purchase of the day.

Then I found Pendraken and picked up my pre-order, which was my biggest single spend of the day. Two Spanish Civil War starter armies (Republican & Nationalist) with a full German & Italian armour contigent with various assorted sundry items, and three hot out the casting machine MkVs tanks for my World War One project. I was a happy girl, if a bit poorer.

Then it was mooching around for bargains and on the Gamers shop stand I found some MechWarrior goodies. I bought the three Ares Class mech box set for £10.00, and the Poseidon Ares for £7.00, which I though was a bargain. I also found at Leisure Games shop stand some MechWarrior booster packs marked at £2.00 a pop, so I thought I'd buy five. When I came to pay the guy said they were on a special show offer of buy five and get three free. After counting out 16 booster packs, there were only 7 left and he did me a deal of the remainder for £4.00. Score, or what? (when I got home, opening them and sorting them out kept me occupied for five hours, which is cheap for the entertainment really).

After this the frenzy I met up with Trevor and his son Oliver, around 11.30. They got to Salute late, due to travel difficulties. I then showed Oliver my cache and told him and his dad that the stand still had some more MechWarrior Poseidon Ares mechs left. So we went over and bought the last remaining two he had, and the nice man behind the stand smiled at us. Trevor and Oliver have played a game of MechWarrior and both father and son seem to be enjoying themselves.

Trevor and I then went to have a coffee and a snack as it was lunchtime. Oliver meanwhile was frothing like a good one, over all the things to see at the show. However, it was nice to sit down and chat and while we were drinking our coffee and having a snack, Dov Rigal, another long time old friend of mine turned up, with his son Sam. So had a good natter about stuff. After a suitable time and feeling more refreshed we went back into the show.

We then spent the rest of the afternoon mooching for stuff, and Oliver bought a Monsterpocalypse starter set at half price. We then got him and his dad into a participation game of zombies and power armour trooper running through an underground complex, which they both enjoyed. Meanwhile I perused the show and saw some great looking games. I especially like the C. J. Cherryh Merchanter/Union universe space game with scratchbuilt models as per the book descriptions. So good I bought a set of the home made rules for a pound. I also like the two Dr. Who miniature games that were being run, and which were both grossly over subscribed with children of all ages being turned away. Bought the starter rules they had for the games too for £3.00.

I also bumped into a few old friends, but not Martin B. who had emailed me to late to let me know he was down from up North, and talked to Laurie from the South East Essex Military Society, which I used to be a member of many, many years ago. So, I had a really nice time and was totally revved up from the day, even if at the end of it my feet were killing me, and I felt totally exhausted. However, sitting at home and opening 21 boxes of MechWarrior boosters, while drinking wine and chatting to friends was most relaxing, especially as they only cost 66p per box.

Somali Regulars

I've been meaning to post something more about my progress with creating my first AK47 Republic rules army. It has just taken me a whole lot longer to get anything painted to my satisfaction, and I've not yet played anyone, because I don't have enough figures, even using proxy figures, to run a game.

Okay, perhaps I have enough proxy figures if I use all my Traveller and Dalek figures, but that doesn't quite float my boat. Call me a pedant!

Cruel enlargement.

The AK47R rule-set has some interesting mechanisms, including the use of reserves, which you don't often see in games.

What you might not at first notice is that the basing is not the standard AK47R base size. When I was going through the rules and the base sizes, I thought that the abstraction inherent within the basing assumptions were too extreme for what I wanted from a miniature wargame. So I experimented a bit with the frontage and decided that five figures on 40mm wide by 30mm deep looked good.

I also imagined that rather than representing a platoon, the base in my game would represent squads, or section. I imagine YMMV on this, especially if you are an ardent Peter Pig fan, or the writer of the rules?

Cruel enlargement.

Their are some differences between the two platoons that the picture doesn't show. The first platoon jackets are painted brown, while the second are painted khaki. It was by the way of an experiment to test whether or not one can tell the difference, and which one looked best.

The answer is they both look good and the difference is very minor. I'm now working on the militia platoons, which will be shown in due course, so Martin B, you can rest assured knowing that I have been working towards getting enough together to invite you down for a game.

Thursday 22 April 2010

House Steiner Über Alles: Updated Photos

My House Steiner mechs are the third Company I've painted up forBattleTech games. like my Pink Panthers, the mechs are mostly drawn from Fang of the Sun Dougram.

First up is an old school unseen Goliath assault mech, which was called Abitate F44A Crab Gunner in Dougram. This model is pretty much as it comes out of the packet, with just the usual clean up to get it ready for painting. Some people don't like the look of the Goliaths, and it is certainly true that quadraped mechs get very little love in BattleTech.

Next up is another Goliath, this one has however been extensively reposed. I've not seen any other reposed Goliaths around, which doesn't mean a lot in the bigger scheme of things. but probably goes to show the lack of love for this "tanks on legs". I have plans for another Goliath conversion in due course, which will be based on the Abitate F44B Tequila Gunner.

Finally, a Scorpion medium mech, which has had its legs reposed as the original model makes for quite a static look, and to me a bit stilted. Again this mech come from the Dougram show where it was called the Abitate F35C Blizzard Gunner.

I plan to add, at some indefinite point in the future Abitate F44D Desert Gunner, but have yet to make my mind up whether or not to kitbash one using parts from Goliath and Scorpion models, or converting a plastic Gashapon that I have?

Sunday 18 April 2010

Mud and Blood WW1 WIP


It has been a while since I posted anything about my Pendraken 10mm WW1 figures, Truth be told they are slowly traversing the log jam that is the painting schedule on the Paint-it-Pink workbench. I have this tendency to get caught up by the latest shiny thing that catches my eye, and therefore wonder from one thing to another in a haphazard sort of way. However, it at least keeps my interest in painting and model making fresh.

I've managed to prime more since I took this photo, and even started drybrushing the base colours too. The tanks need to have their barrels replaced, as I find them a bit too easy to bend, which has slowed me down on getting them painted. I also intend to paint one Whippet and MkIV in German colours.

Monday 12 April 2010

Somalia AK47 Republic

As I mentioned quite a while ago, I went to SELWG and bought some Peter Pig 15mm figures after playing in a demo game of AK47 Republic. When I got home I couldn't resist playing with the new toys I had bought, and I started sorting them out and basing them up.

Though in the latter case I've gone off message, as I wasn't totally convinced by the basing in the rules. So I've chosen to base professionals as per AK47, but I have increase the frontage for regulars by 10mm and 20mm for militia, which will allow me to put more figures on each base.

Why I hear you ask? Rhetorically that is, because I haven't got spy-ware that allows me to hear anything you say, but you can always leave a comment.

Well, for me, when using miniatures they must represent something more than just being a pretty counter or game token. I'm a firm believer that if you are not encoding information for the game into the figures, and the terrain, then you are missing out on the benefits of using figures in a three dimensional landscape. AFAIC you might as well use counters for your game.

Your mileage may vary on this one, but it's a thing for me that adds to the visual and textural experience of playing a game, which for me adds more than the sum of its parts.

Friday 9 April 2010

Marik Marauders: 1: Updated Photos

The Marauders are the second of my battlemech company's that I can field. I was hung up about calling them Marik's Marauders, because I wasn't sure I want to tie myself that tightly into the BattleTech universe, but eventually went and decaled them up as House Marik.

The core of the Company is going to be three Marauder battlemechs, two of which you can see above.

The Marauder mechs are of course from Super Dimensional Fortress Macross aka Super Spacetime Fortress Macross, or more commonly known in the West as Robotech: The Macross Saga. The mechs were based on the Zentradi Glaug command battle pod, which later caused FASA and its successor companies no end of problems over copyright. 

These were originally painted in pink, but when I got back into BattleTech, a couple of years ago, I decided that I would build my companies around the visual differences between human bipedal mechs versus chicken leg walkers. Hence these got stripped and repainted. The camouflage is based on German aircraft WW2 splinter pattern.

Above are three Locusts that were taken from the Crusher Joe anime series by FASA, where they were called Ostall's (Note: not to be confused with the FASA Ostsol's, which were originally badly rendered versions of the Macross Zentradi Esbeliben Regult battle pods). 

These Locusts are used to represent the 1V machine gun version. I have also used these in the past to represent the 1S SRM variant, but I'm now building up three more original unseen Locusts to more closely represent this variant. I'm using the SRM pods from the current Locust that IWM sell, since the parts looks chunkier. 

Finally, the last Locust is a 1E variant with two medium lasers and two small lasers, except it's a custom variant where the small lasers are mounted in the center torso.

The reason for doing this is that without the medium laser turret that usually sits there I thought the model didn't look right. When I originally made this Locust I kept the main laser, but the design causes too much armour to be dropped, but YMMV.

Monday 5 April 2010

North American Combine OGRE

I've played Steve Jackson's OGRE/GEV for many years, and have a bunch of OGRE miniatures too. So I thought it was about time to post some pictures, especially as I've been busy this afternoon taking a whole load of them of various things that have been finished. First up my OGRE Mk5 with Combine hardened Command Post, which I painted up a hell of a long time ago, as this is not the Ral-Partha reissue that was made in 1992, but one I was given by my friend Glen several years before, which I refurbished.

Back in the old days the Martian Metals
OGRE miniatures were a semi-mythical range of figures that people would have given their eye-teeth for. Having seen some I can say that they are really only of interest to collectors, as the re-mastered 1992 range superior in both casting quality and that the designs were better executed in miniature for. 

Back in the 1980s, if one wanted to play OGRE with miniatures your were considered pretty lucky if you could field a genuine Mk5 OGRE on the table. Nowadays people talk about proxy miniatures, back in those days there were only proxy miniatures, but we got by, and the long winter nights use to fly by! All my opposition vehicles for OGRE were taken from other ranges, or were simple conversions based on turret changes on 1/300th modern vehicles. Also, everything was dual purpose and my yellow peril regiments also served as a BattleTech vehicle force too.

No waste here in the Paint-it-Pink household. However, I'll post pictures of the vehicles another time.
Finally, in the time before now, which is the forgotten country that we call the past, I really, really wanted an OGRE Ninja. So I made one, but as is my won't never quite finished it. Now of course you can get the official miniature from Warehouse 23, but I though I would at least show mine off here for you all to see. Maybe, just maybe, I will get around to finishing it off one day and painting it too.

Thursday 1 April 2010

Press Release: BattleTech New Era

In a surprise announcement today a spokesperson from CGL said that the decision had been made to relaunch
BattleTech, whose working title in house had been BattleTech  V2.0. Sources outlined the proposal development into the forthcoming BattleTech New Era relaunch. The first benefit to old, current and new players will be the revitalization of the franchise from the impending release of the completely rewritten rules that were in the first four volumes of CGLs core set. The plan involves sedgewaying the game rules by using the Universe book as the pivot point to link the transition from old to new. Herb Beas is reported to have a big hand in this project, which will allow him to write what he describes as "three really big books full of BattleTech goodness".

Using feedback from out of house game designers, and getting low key feedback from participants on the forum through the use of polls, and game balance discussions around medium lasers and autocannon game imbalance,BattleTech New Era will revise and expand the rules to be scalable and internally consistent across the game universe.

This will be achieved by the game rules being separated into three streams, that can be crossed without breaking any underlying in universe concept, which will cater for different players tastes. The first product to be released for Origins 2010 will be BattleTech Skirmish. This is a re-development of BattleTech Quick Play, with updated record sheets for all the current battlemechs that exist in universe. The game focus will be on Company level combined arms actions.

Following this release the fourth quarter release by CGL will be BattleTech Duel. This game will be instantly recognizable to the fan base, as it will set the action around small units of mechs, with vehicles and infantry as required. It will fold into its purview the Solaris rules, and in doing so will ratify scale and time inconsistencies that have existed between the original BattleTech and the Solaris rules.

Finally, the third book, scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2011, will be called BattleTech StrikeForce, and this will take the BattleForce Quick Strike rules to a whole new higher dimension of play, while bringing the concepts used by the MechWarrior click base game, to allow players to use their MechWarrior: Age of Darkness miniatures. Our reporter noted that Randal said that "while we cannot foresee the imminent re-release of the MechWarrior product line due to financial constraints and the conditions in the market, we wanted all our players to know that we support the franchise across the various formats and incarnations of the universe".

To support these three new core rule books CGL will dropping the living history story line in its entirety, and instead launch the new multiverse era specific campaign books.

The first campaign book will be called the Neverending War and it will cover the end of the third and the transition to the fourth Succession Wars; including the classic "Mad Max" feel of the original Battledroids game from FASA. The second campaign book, called Brothers Divided, will cover the Clans and the rise and fall of the FedCom alliance. The third book will cover the Word of Blake Jihad, being called simply The Jihad. The fourth book, to be called Renaissance, will reconcile the rupture between BattleTech and MechWarrior Dark Age & Age of Destruction universe, which will be eased by the introduction BattleTech StrikeForce rules. Finally the fifth book, to be called New Era, will take the BattleTech  universe forward into a future setting where the new challenges to the inhabitants of the Inner Sphere will generate conflict that can only be settled by the giant battlemechs so beloved by the fan base. A spokesperson said that the New Era setting will be driven by new artwork so that BattleTech will appeal to a new and younger generation of players. Feedback on artwork will become interactive by the use of forum polls and market research

Global release authorized for the 1st of April 2010.