Sunday 16 May 2010

Militia & Technicals Part Deux

Not only technicals, but the two Company's of militia to go with my Somalian regulars too.

First off are the Toyota conversions I did. Both have the rear gate dropped down, as Martin of Peter Pig suggested that this was quite a common sight to see. In addition to the gate in the down position, I ordered some spare wheels from him and added those against the outside rear wall of the cab. I've seen this done, and I liked the look.

Finally, for the right hand pick up, I added double wheels at the back and sculpted wide wheel arches for it. This might be a bit too technical for an African Technical, but it is a common conversion when you want to put large payloads in the back of your pick-up, or pull loads. If I'm lucky someone may send me a link to a picture of something similar?

The Mercedes is for the Taxi I need for my Blackhawk down scenario, and as you can see I've not only primed it and the Technicals, but dry-brushed them ready for the main body colours to be applied.

One of the Technical's is going to be painted grey with red doors, while the other is going to have a three colour small round splodges scheme applied. The taxi will be white and blue I think? Not sure, might go for silver?

Above is the mostly fully organised 1st Company of my militia, though I'm missing two RPG and one general AK47 armed infantry stands to complete the unit.

I've bought all the figures for the above units, but have not as yet had time to sort them out, clean them up, base, texture and prime. I plan on just getting the 1st Company complete and start painting that, and catch up later with the 2nd Company in due course.

I also bought another two Peter Pig Toyota's at Salute to use as the basis for an extended crew cab version. The spare parts will go into making a cow drawn rear half, based on a photos I have of such a vehicle in Africa.

After that I have two Gaz jeeps for recoiless rocket launcher technical's.

Once I get all that lot done then I can start painting on the USMC Company I have.

Monday 10 May 2010

Republic of the Sphere


As I said, when I first started buying MechWarrior: Dark Age/Age of Destruction miniatures, my only interest was in gaining enough infantry and battle-armour figures to fill my needs for BattleTech. In the process I acquired a small Republic of the Sphere force, which you can see below. After reading some of the tie in novels I've come to appreciate the RotS and after playing a game of MechWarrior clix I've come to really appreciate the game mechanisms, which make for a quick fun filled game.

The big thing about BattleTech and the MechWarrior universe is the richness of the background. Up until quite recently I was very much an Old School Retread, having started with the game back in dawn of time. Measured as 25 years of my life having passed by. A long time indeed. Back then it was the end of the 3rd Succession War and the beginning of the 4th, which of itself was quite a big shake up from a post apocalypse Mad Max universe, to one where new battlemechs were being produced and large wars became a possibility. However, the invasion of the Clans was for me a step too far. Twenty years later the Clans are integrated much better into the universe and the game.

After the Clans came other stuff, like the FedCom Civil war. I like civil wars as a background for generating conflicts, because it allows for factionalism and politics. I missed most of the fun though, since I had fallen by the wayside and only came back for the Jihad. A name to strike fear into one, and certainly an apt description for a game of conflict. I love the way that the über weapons that the Word of Blake have such appalling consequences, which seems to me to make for a balance of sorts, but the promise to return to the roots of BattleTech in a future Dark Age really intrigued me.

At the beginning of the Dark Age we have a universe which has been Balkanised by the previous century of warfare. I especially liked the setting for the game in the impending breakup of the Republic of the Sphere. The premise being that after a number of years of peace and prosperity the interstellar communication network goes down, which reduces everyone to only being able to communicate at the speed of the jumpships. Law and order breaks down as a result of fear and opportunism.

The RotS is split into 10 districts called Prefectures, which were formed of planets that had been seceded at the end of the Jihad by the major powers of the Inner Sphere. This means that each prefecture has a mix of their former factions citizens who do not necessarily think that being ruled by the RotS is a good thing. These groups form factions that are effectively in revolt as they take advantage of the loss of centralised control. A very clever way of setting up conflicts in the game universe.

So we get to see the introduction of proxy forces like the Dragon's Fury, the Storm Hammers, and the Swordsworn, which represent House Kurita, Steiner & Davion interests in the RotS. In addition, we have Bannson's Raiders, a mercenary unit funded by a wealthy RotS magnate, and some Clans too (Steel Wolves & Spirit Cats). Finally, we have the Highlanders who are a RotS faction in their own right, but loyal to the RotS. Really, what more can you ask for when setting out to fight games in a time of war? You have reasons for fighting, opportunities to fight, factions to fight with and for me this really works.

I understand that a lot of the old time BattleTech fans rather disliked the abandonment of the classical House politics they were use to, but for me this future was fresh, and allowed new players to get in on the action without feeling that they needed to know 20 years of in universe history. Of course now, with the closure of WhizKids, MechWarrior has been left high and dry, but I'm a firm believer that it is the players who make the games live, not the the publishers. So long live MechWarrior: Age of Destruction.

Friday 7 May 2010

Mud and Blood WW1 WIP 2


Like most well laid plans of mice and men, my intention to use my
booked annual leave to paint some of the projects that have been waiting for me to get stuck into finishing them off, didn't go according to plan. However I am still able to show some progress on the remainder of the figures I have to paint to mostly finish my Pendraken WW1 British infantry Company.

In support I plan to have an HMG section, a battery of field artillery, and some mortars. The figures in front of the beginnings of the support forces are the individually mounted "Big Men" required for TFLs Through the Mud & the Blood rules.

As I mentioned before I also have some MkV tanks and some additional assets to add to the as yet unstarted French Company I've bought. Being the butterfly that I am I tend to flit from one shiney project to another, but OTOH I do enjoy what I end up doing.

Sunday 2 May 2010

Northwind Highlanders


Here is a selection of the largest of the three MechWarrior: Dark Age/Age of Darkness forces that I acquired when buying infantry and battle-armour figures for my BattleTech support regiment.

I actually now have quite a few more since I took the above picture, as quite frankly buying MechWarrior Booster packs is, I imagine, a little bit psychologically like taking crack cocaine. You get the rush of the hit and then afterwards you want another hit again.

As those of you who have been following this blog know, I only bought a load of MechWarrior infantry figures so I could make up squads of infantry for playing BattleTech. Little did I know then that I'd get bitten by the bug that is MechWarrior frenzy, and I've just played my first ever MechWarrior Dark Age clix game this weekend. Clive and I set up a training game with 200 points per side. We each had a battlemech, two vehicles and three stands of infantry. Including reading the rule book through from cover to cover, It took us a couple of hours to play the game from set up to finish. By the end of the game I had got my head around the order that the stats were on the dial, after initially confusing myself with the order that the damage and attack values were placed on the dial.

The combat dial is a fabulous idea, because the information density is high, while paperwork is low. However, MechWarrior is not BattleTech, well no surprise there as one is spelt MechWarrior, and the other BattleTech. Seriously though, MechWarrior is actually a Command & Control game, whereas BattleTech is a game of battlemech dueling. When I get around to playing BattleForce Quick Strike I will be able to compare all three systems and feedback here what I like. So to sum up. MechWarrior has some really interesting game mechanics, and a nice balance of play from the game mechanisms. I'm really looking forward to playing another game sooner, rather than later, and I'm even more motivated to buy stuff.