Work in progress and review of some Khurasan Miniatures Space Demons

August 29, 2013

I recently had some time available and decided to add to my 15mm miniatures.  I succumbed to severe temptation and purchased some expansions to my “Space Demons” army from Khurasan Miniatures. http://khurasanminiatures.tripod.com/    I was very pleased with what I got!

What did I get?  The “Space Demon Great Queen” and the “Space Demon Trolls”.  The Great Queen is a resin and metal mini and the Trolls are all metal.  These are all giants in the 15mm scale.  They would be greater-than-human-sized monsters in 28mm.  Khurasan’s web site has some comparison pictures with different scaled minis for size – that way his customers can make informed purchasing decisions.

So – reviewing the pieces.  Well, the service from Khurasan is outstanding and the shipping was lightning quick.  I was even able to add an additional mini to my order (more on that later) that he was able to toss in by reopening the already packed order.  Already packed on the same evening I ordered it online! 🙂

When the pieces came I was very impressed with the quality of the basic components.  The quality is outstanding, with very few lines, minimal flash and easy-to-remove sprues.  The combo of resin and metal for the Great Queen is good quality and the pieces fit together very well.

Great Queen parts right out of package. Regular Space Demon in picture for scale...

Great Queen parts right out of package. Regular Space Demon in picture for scale…

Great Queen parts closer look

Great Queen parts closer look

Pieces for the Space Demon Great Queen and both Space Demon Trolls

Pieces for the Space Demon Great Queen and both Space Demon Trolls

The Space Demon Trolls are also neat sculpts and are massive hunks of metal.  They come with their own metal bases with uniquely spaced mounting holes for the pegs in the feet.  Unpainted they are hard to judge, but the molding and sculpting looks very nice.

Close up of the parts for Great Queen - sexy gribbly-licious stuff!

Close up of the resin parts for Great Queen – sexy gribbly-licious stuff!

The quality of the sculpt in the resin is quite high.  No molding issues of any consequence.  A couple of “almost bubbles” that blend right in with the gribblies on the sculpt.

Now then, if I was going to have a Winged Space Demon Queen, well, she would need some winged troops to follow her.  After digging through my bits parts in despair of wings I chanced to pick up one of my son’s new Tyranid Gargoyles.  The wings were too big to use whole but were shaped right for trimming down.  No…I did *not* start carving his Tyranid Gargoyles apart while he played “Eve Online” in his room.  Tempting, but…well, thank you bits sellers on E-bay.  I order 5 pairs of wings for a little over $10 with shipping.  They came in the mail 2 days later.

Space Demons with Wings!!!

Space Demons with Wings!!!

Luckily I had some unfinished Space Demons from a prior order.  A little trimming of the wings, a little Green Stuff and Superglue and – presto – five Winged Space Demons!  Now that is exceptionally scary!

After a few days of painting I now have some cool-looking, scary and Super-gribbly sexy Space Demons to add to my forces!

A "posed" picture of some of the Space Demons meeting a group of lunch...uh, humans

A “posed” picture of some of the Space Demons meeting a group of lunch…uh, humans

Okay, if you look in the picture above you will see the additional figure I ordered from Khurasan that got tossed into the same package.  The lovely lady with the M4 machine gun for a right leg – Miss Sheri Amour!  Why she was traveling with those scientists digging in the ancient ruins is a mystery. Miss Amour normally is seen hobnobbing with zombies as she blows their frakking heads off with her leg…

A closer shot of the Winged Space Demons now that they are painted.

A closer shot of the Winged Space Demons now that they are painted.

I put some colors on the black undercoat of my Space Demons.  It helps them stand out on the table a bit and makes it easier to differentiate groups of them during games.  I gave the Winged Space Demons a reddish drybrush color reasoning that they may be trying to “stand out” to impress the Queen…if they have eyes.  Hmmm…I’ll have to ask them how they see sometime…

The Space Demon Trolls are gargantuan smashing monsters, perfect for ripping through buildings and armored vehicles

The Space Demon Trolls are gargantuan smashing monsters, perfect for ripping through buildings and armored vehicles

I painted the Space Demon Trolls in a lightly applied grayish color.  It seemed to emphasize their brutish powerful appearance.

The Space Demon Great Queen and some of her Winged Consorts

The Space Demon Great Queen and some of her Winged Consorts

I painted the Great Queen with several colors – predominantly reddish on her wings, spine and head crest and gray-green on her arms and legs.  Some purple for her extensible jaws and gribbly belly parts and some bone white for claws.  Ain’t she sexy!

Painted, the Space Demon Great Queen and the Space Demon Trolls look pretty darned neat – even with my sucky paint jobs.  I am very happy with them and am planning some games of “Tomorrow’s War” around them.  It will definitely take armored vehicles to take them on!  I don’t know whether Sheri Amour will show up but you never know…

Thanks!

Sheri Amour vs the Great Queen

Sheri Amour vs the Great Queen


Back after a Long time – some work on “Axles & Alloys” minis

July 23, 2013

Axles and Alloys cars 05

Greetings to everyone who figured I lost interest and dropped out of doing fun gaming things.  Not true (sort of).  I did cut back a lot due to lots of real life happening. However, inspiration and -rarest of all- more time has given me a chance to do some things and get rolling for more!  [Heh – “get rolling” – that’s a pun for later in this blog post 😉 ]

Current project is a fun one:  While searching the intarwebs for Giant Monster Gaming rule sets after seeing (and loving) “Pacific Rim” I ran across a mention of a game involving “post apocalyptic car combat in the desert wastelands of the future”.  I am the kind of person whose eye is caught by such phrases [be worried] and my curiosity bump slugged my cerebrum in the shoulder and said “Hey!  Look into this!  This sounds like fun!”  [be more worried that I think my cerebrum has a shoulder].  Links led me to this game: “Axles & Alloys” by Coopdevil in the U.K.  Here is his blog/website for the game:

http://axlesalloys2.blogspot.com/2010/01/welcome-to-axles-and-alloys-ii.html

The rules are in sort of a fossilized beta – since around 2010.  However they look fast to play and are light-spirited for a set of post-apocalyptic car combat rules.  The author refers to it as Axles & Alloys II: Dork Future.  It apparently was all the rage a few years ago on “The Miniatures Page”.  Well, figures that I am continually behind the curve.  Still gonna dive into it!

So, the core components for the game are cars, trucks and such.  While there are suppliers on the web where you can purchase miniature cars and trucks already designed for “future vehicular combat” (example: http://www.stanjohansenminiatures.com/Road%20cars.htm ) the real fun described by the game designer involves purchasing “Hot Wheels” and “Matchbox” toy cars and the like and then kitbashing them into your post-apocalyptic-machines-of-DEATH!  Uh…sorry, got carried away there.  Anyway, like a lot of gamers who have a few (hundred) Games Workshop models and minis lying about I have a reasonable “bits box”.  Sure enough, spending about $7 on toy cars and delving through my bits box I had the makings of, well, miniature mayhem.

Below are a few pics of my mostly-finished first batch of Axles & Alloys combat vehicles.  Right now in my basement the textured paint is drying on some simple pieces of desert terrain that I have been needing an inspiration to work on for a long time.  Gaming will come soon!

My first six cars - 2 heavy vehicles, 2 medium vehicles and 2 light vehicles

My first six cars – 2 heavy vehicles, 2 medium vehicles and 2 light vehicles

A medium car with rocket launchers and a heavy armored car with a heavy ram and a gun turret

A medium car with rocket launchers and a heavy armored car with a heavy ram and a gun turret

A medium armored jeep and a heavy truck with guns, turbo-boost and a heavy ram

A medium armored jeep and a heavy truck with guns, turbo-boost and a heavy ram

A medium car with a flamethrower and a light car with guns

A medium car with a flamethrower and a light car with guns

Thanks for looking!  I will hopefully have some batreps up soon!

p.s. – I haven’t forgotten about the giant monster gaming thing either yet.  Or zombies (ATZ!). Or Tomorrow’s War.  Or…


And some additional work – a vehicle for the Nirs Empire forces…

January 8, 2012

Hello again!  We made it to 2012! Happy New Year!

I was worried that it was going to be the end of the world.  My calendar for 2011 ENDED at the end of December!  There was nothing after that.  That just HAD to mean it was the end!  Then my sweet wife came back from grocery shopping and – lo and behold – she had a calendar for 2012!  The world was not ending just because the calendar did.  How silly of me to think that an arbitrary end of a calendar cycle would herald the end of the world…nobody could be that silly.  Could they?

Anyway, my work on miniatures progresses.  I saw an exceptionally cool posting on the 15mm Sci Fi forum of “The Miniatures Page” about using some Matchbox “UFO” models from the late 1990’s as miniatures.  I just had to try it and…one (or two, you know how it goes) E-Bay orders later I had a basic one to work with.  Some super-glueing and repainting left me with this:

Some Nirs Empire infantry backed up by one of their Dropship/Grav Tank/APCs...

The Matchbox UFOs come in a gold and purple scheme – I repainted it but kept the theme gold and purple, which just happened to fit some of the Nirs Marines quite well.  In  the “Tomorrow’s War” rules these would be Tech Level 3 grav vehicles and would mix dropship with tank with APC.  When you get to a certain point with grav vehicles they kind of lost the distinction.  You define them by the role they are currently serving.  The photo above shows it on a stand, acting sort of like a vtol or a grav tank with pop up capability.

Now the vehicle is acting like a grav tank or Infantry Fighting Vehicle

I did do some modification to the Matchbox UFO model.  It had no visible weapons – so I searched through my various bits until I found something I could use for a “main gun”.  What I found were some small space ship minis that I had used as part of a fleet for  “Full Thrust”.  They were perfect!

I used some “green stuff” epoxy to secure magnets to the “main gun” and to the ufo body and there you go: instant turret!  The gun can come off for storage and swivels in the game, just to let the enemy shudder in fear as it points at them!

My workspace is pictured below where I will be painting up 3 more of those beauties!

Nirs grav vehicles under construction

I thought I would share this.  I will have some more cool (well, cool to me) stuff to show soon!  Have a great day!


Some of what I’ve been working on lately…

December 31, 2011

Greetings everyone!  I hope this new year will be great for you all!

I *was* going to enter the Ambush Alley Games “Strike Force” contest with these forces.  Then I saw the paint jobs on the competition and realized I was sorely outclassed in painting skills.  However, I will provide a band-aid to my vanity and show the pictures off in my Blog.  I paint things so they look okay on the table for gaming.  I don’t think I will ever be a contest-winning artist.  However, I do have fun with it and that is what really counts! (I keep telling myself that…)

Here is my first completed force: A strike force for the “Order of St. Mauricius”, the military arm of the “Primacy of Alterarum Terrarum”, also known as “church space” in the “Tomorrow’s War” rulebook.  This is a region of space with worlds colonized by the Catholic Church.

I am preparing a campaign on a planet where the Order of St. Mauricius is being used as the “bad guys” to overthrow a successful colonial rebellion.  Thus, I needed a coherent-looking armed force.  I wanted them in reddish colors and found that “rust red” paint ended up looking pretty good.

The Order of St. Mauricius Strike Force

The forces of the Order of St. Mauricius, at least how I am developing them, include “Indoctrinators”, armed deacons who work to keep the morale of their squads burning at a fever pitch.  Sort of like “”Commisars” from the Soviet Union and certain “not-to-be-named” games…  I used Rebel Mini’s “Gun Clerics” for those figures.  The rest of the OSM infantry figs are Rebel Minis “Earth Forces Drop Troopers”.

Closeup of 2 Scout Squads and their Grav Scout APCs

The vehicles in the force came from Combat Wombat Miniatures and from Matchbox Cars.

Closeup of Scout Squad Baker 9 - note the military crest for the Order on the nose of the Grav APC

Closeup of Recon Squad Able 5 - including Armed Combat Bot

My force needed some infantry heavy weapons and Rebel Minis didn’t provide anything suitable, so I added some “combat bots”  by raiding my supply of re-based power-armored figures from “Mechwarrior Dark Age”.  The arm/leg length ratio on the MDA figure is not really proportional for a 15mm scale human, but if you say it is a humanoid combat drone carrying heavy weapons then it fits right in.

Note the small gun poking out of the lower front of the wheeled APCs.  I added this to make them “armed” as opposed to “unarmed”, plus it fills a rivet hole in the Matchbox “Armored Response Vehicle”.

The "Armored Fist" of the Strike Force - Grav Tanks via Combat Wombat

The heavy punch of the strike force is provided by two Medium Grav Tanks and three Heavy Grav Tanks.  These units can be either hammer or anvil as needed.  They are also fun to paint.

A look down the line of the Strike Force

Now, I have been playing around with “alien” concepts too.  I had some lucky finds when shopping at “Recruits” and bought a batch of “Battlestations” miniatures.  I thought they would make great “Tomorrow’s War” aliens that did not look like “men in rubber suits”.  Thus I created the “Nirs Empire”, a multi-species polity that human space is just about to start bumping up against.  None of the species in the Nirs Empire are humanoid at all…

Exploratory force of the Nirs Empire

The “Battlestations” “Canosian Marines” are heart of the Nirs Empire forces.  They are backed up by the physically stronger, six-limbed “Xeloxians”, who even have some power-armored figures.

The Nirs Scout Marines (from Battlestations Canosian Marines)

Closeup of the Nirs Heavy Weapons units (from Battlestations Xeloxians)

Another Closeup of the Nirs Heavy Weapons Unit, because I liked the picture

So that is some of what I have been playing with.  There will be more soon!

Thanks for looking!


Tomorrow’s War After Action Report – Scenario “Tigers by the Tail”

December 31, 2011
Greetings everyone!  I hope the holidays are being good for y’all!

I have been busy with lots of things in life and haven’t gotten much gaming in.  Today I managed to play a game of “Tomorrow’s War” with my friend Mike.  I chose the scenario “Tigers by the Tail” from page 121 of the “Tomorrow’s War” rulebook.  It seemed like a fairly simple “tanks only” scenario and would be good to keep trying to familiarize my friend with the TW rules.

The scenario takes place on the colony world of Glory, during a war between the “Democratic People’s Republic of Glory” or “DPRG” and the “Republic of Arden” or “RA”.  The DPRG is a reincarnation of North Korea, only worse.  The Republic of Arden is a growing, free country.  Expansion on the planet of Glory has led to conflict between these two powers.  The United States has chosen to aid the Republic of Arden and has sent a Marine Expeditionary Force to help.  This scenario is based on the first contacts between the advancing armored columns of DPRG tanks and the point scouts of the USMC forces.  It also represents a clash between obsolete tanks fielded by the DPRG and the most advanced tanks fielded by the United States.  The DPRG tanks are Tech Level 1 and the USMC tanks are Tech Level 3.

Overview of the battlefield for "Tigers by the Tail".

Here is the battlefield setup for the game.  The trees go right to the edge of the road, actually slowing the vehicles down as they pass through.  Vehicles can go no faster on the road through the woods than they can in the woods off road.

Two of my "Hammer's Slammers" blowers are used for the "Perkins" Main Battle Tanks for the USMC

The USMC sent a force of two tanks to try and delay and disrupt the advancing column of DPRG tanks.  The “Perkins” grav tanks are armed with 180mm fusion guns and gauss machine guns that have some anti-tank capability.  They are deadly customers and very heavily armored too!

Two of the DPRG "Chonma-Ho III" Main Battle Tanks

The “Chonma-Ho” Main Battle Tanks fielded by the DPRG were considered obsolete when they were used in this conflict.  Their armor is light and they are uparmed with Tech Level 2 Advanced Ballistic Main Guns.  They are outclassed in every way by the USMC tanks.

The DPRG column on-road at the beginning of the scenario. Platoon Leader Bai's tank is #65

The scenario starts with the DPRG tanks in column on the road and the USMC tanks starting somewhere within one foot of the west edge of the map.  Mike played the DPRG forces and I played the USMC forces.  I set one of my tanks in the little clump of woods in the northwest and the other deep in the western woods.

At the start of Turn 1 the USMC tank gets its fangs pulled

At the start of Turn 1 the USMC tank in the small clump of woods executed a “Fire and Move” command.  The rearmost DPRG tank was the target.  That tank chose to react with fire.  When we rolled our troop quality checks that tank go to shoot first.  Wham!  Main Gun destroyed on the USMC tank.  The “move” portion of the “fire and move” turned into a pull back. My dice hate me!

I moved the other USMC tank out of the woods to get a shot at the middle of the column. One of the DPRG tanks reacted to my movement by trying to get a rear armor shot on me. I responded to the fire, losing some of the distance I intended to cover in the process.  A quick exchange and “BLAM!”, the DPRG Platoon Leader’s tank went “kablooey” (that’s an ancient military technical term for “blown up, sir”).  Some of the other DPRG tanks had reacted with movement and so were further down the road. My tank ended up not close enough to the road to see it through the trees.

Not the glorious ambush I had intended...

The Perkins MBT didn't quite get close enough to see through the woods.

When things go right they are singular.  When things go wrong they come in clusters. My tanks were no not where I wanted them to be.  It was the DPRG (Non-initiative player) turn to move things.  The lead elements of the column moved down the road to get closer to their exit point. Then one of the DPRG tanks went on the offensive and charged up right behind the fully armed and undamaged USMC tank in the woods.  He was executing a “move and fire” command.  I intended to return fire.  We rolled our Troop Quality rolls – he rolled a “6”, I rolled a “3”.  He shot first and got one hit through my armor.  A quick roll on the vehicle damage table produced an “8”.  Sigh…vehicle brew up and casualty check.

The DPRG tank zooms up behind the USMC tank and delivers a knockout shot!

OUCH!

The rest of the DPRG column was heading for the exit point.  I had one tank left with a Heavy-Duty Machine gun on it that had an anti-tank firepower of 2D8.  Not exactly fear inspiring.

The rest of the DPRG column rolling down the road.

I was not able to do a move and fire with the remaining USMC Perkins tank (no targets) but I did perform a rapid move behind the woods to see whether I could get some luck long shots at the column as it emerged from the woods.  The crafty DPRG player used his successful killer tank to chase mine down by cutting a diagonal through the woods.  He took a shot at my tank so I responded as best I could with return fire.

The DPRG tank that made the first kill tries to make another one

This time the DPRG shot went “clang” off the armor of the USMC Perkins Main Battle Tank – as it should.  The shot from the Perkins HMG (heavy machine gun) scored one hit on the Chonma-Ho III tank.  The resultant roll on the damage table was “Main Gun Destroyed”.

Hmm, what's wrong with this picture?

The DPRG won the initiative for the remaining turns of the game.  My only other shots with my HMG were futile, just clanging off armor.  The DPRG scored a very decisive victory in this engagement.

Game end - Decisive DPRG Victory!

The Victorious DPRG Tanks

The Battlefield Carnage!

The game took only about an hour to play, flowed well and was lots of fun.  The scenarios in the “Tomorrow’s War” rulebook are pretty good and I enjoy playing them.  I must admit I was concerned with the game balance on this one.  I thought it would be unbalanced in the USMC favor.  Well, that turned out to be hubris on my part.

Oh, and did I mention that my dice hate me?  I’m sure I did…

😉


A mixed post – A couple of pictures from a weekend game and some “Work-in-progress” pics

September 27, 2011
Hello everyone!

I thought I would write up a brief post on what I have been up to.  Let’s see…I woke up at the crack of 4:00 am, neck was a little sore.  Brushed teeth, combed hair (lamenting about its continued thinning) and then…oh, sorry.  😉  You’d probably rather hear about what gaming and miniatures stuff I’ve been doing!

Sunday I went to “Ambush Sunday” at Unique Games and Gifts in Grayslake, Illinois.  The game was, once again, “Tomorrow’s War” by Ambush Alley Games.  The theme was a little different this time: Aliens vs. aliens.  A totally non-human themed scenario.  Cool, actually.

This scenario, which I am only briefly covering, pitted the “hard-to-kill” Crusties (minis by GZG – attributes by “Tomorrow’s War”) against [cue ominous, deep, echoey voice] “Spaaaccce Buuugsss!”  Uh, “Space Bugs”, also called “Spugs” for short.  Okay, they aren’t the official “Rattlehead Games” Spugs models, but they are very buggy, and from space, so…

I don’t know who made the space bug minis.  Check with Beast’s Wargaming Blog; Jim will be happy to tell y’all.  He painted them up VERY nicely though.

The Space Bug force, complete with a Gigantic Vehicle Tank

The Space Bug force was all gathered up in a “Zerg rush” format, strategy right out of “Starcraft”.  Sadly, the poor Crusties, who had already deployed, had set up a great position to fight an opponent who used something resembling normal human tactics.

Beautiful terrain and tactically deployed Crusties

Interlocking fields of fire and defense in-depth don’t do squat against a “Zerg Rush” at one spot.  Now I know how it was to face the Posleen (John Ringo book reference).

A Crustie squad helping guard the cat food factory

The Crusties did not have a good day.  Do these guys look happy? 😉

Seriously though, we experienced what sometimes happens when you put a scenario together on the fly – the Space Bug side ended up way overpowered.  It happens sometimes.  We figured out how to correct the scenario but got sidetracked before we could replay it.  It was still fun and, as always, I still state that every wargame tells a story.  This was the story of a seemingly victorious force of Crusties who drove the humans out of the town and took over the cat food factory only to be overrun by vermin.  Vermin that stood 6 feet tall and wielded plasma rifles!  “We’re gonna need a bigger flyswatter!”

On other topics, I have been working on the cool stuff I purchased from Scott of “Combat Wombat Miniatures” when I met him at the “Recruits” gaming convention in Lee’s Summit, Missouri.

http://www.combatwombatminiatures.com/

Combat Wombat has occasionally been bringing his collection of “factory seconds”, models that end up sub-standard during the molding process, and selling them at a discounted rate at conventions.  I got lucky enough to stalk him at “Recruits” on Friday night until his booth was open enough for me to start pawing through his “seconds” box.  The pictures below are some of the minis.  I have been working on them, patching a few bubble holes and sanding down some warpage.  Some people pay a premium for minis in worse shape than these.

Some of the minis I purchased from Combat Wombat

Yeah, it’s a mixed bag, but I am trying out several different ideas for forces.

If this is his "substandard" you should see his good stuff...

He would have normally thrown these away as rejects.  Scott has very high quality standards and his customer service is first rate.  He’s also fun to hang out with!

I thought I would show how I magnetized some of the turrets

More pieces.  These with turrets flipped over to show how I magnetized them.  I am silly enough to like having rotating turrets on my tanks so I can point them at the enemy vehicles and say “BANG!”  Magnetizing turrets on epoxy vehicles is dead easy.  A little *careful* drill work, some epoxy or super glue and the right sized neodymium magnets and away you go.

These minis ought to paint up marvelously.  Yes, they took me some more time and work but it was fun.  The “Combat Wombat Miniatures” standard products are gorgeous and quite affordable.  I am saying they are a good deal.

Note:  I am a customer of “Combat Wombat Miniatures”, not an advertiser or payed flunky.  I am saying these good things about him because I am pleased with his product.  I believe that if you buy his stuff you will be pleased too.  As always, your mileage may vary.

Thanks for reading and I hope to have more stuff to write about soon!


After Action Report on gaming at “Recruits” Gaming convention in Lee’s Summit, Missouri

September 12, 2011

Greetings everyone!

I am back home, relatively rested and have transferred the pictures off my Droid.  Time to write up how things went at “Recruits”.

It was great!

Okay, maybe a wee bit more detail is required… 😉

We (my son Thomas and I) made the 9 hour drive to Lee’s Summit from Elkhorn, Wisconsin.  The drive was blessedly uneventful.  We met up with Shawn, Peggy and Jim of Ambush Alley Games and followed them over to the event site, Lee’s Summit High School.  There Thomas and I helped them haul stuff in so they could get set up.  Peggy had the amazing timing to have us haul the stuff in during a strong rain shower that stopped moments after we got the last load inside.

Shawn and Peggy of Ambush Alley Games hard at work getting their tables organized

My slightly damp son Thomas, after hauling stuff in the rain.

Of course there was method to my madness! The sooner the AAG folks got set up the sooner I could buy my copy of “Tomorrow’s War” from them.  Hee-hee, it worked!

A very happy Walworth County Wargamer. Got my copy of "tomorrow's War" and a set of "Tomorrow's War" Fog-of-War cards.

Later on that evening I spent time and money by “Combat Wombat’s” table buying 15mm scale sci-fi vehicles.  Now I have some future projects.
Saturday came bright and early and we had a frustrating time trying to get to the darned high school.  There was a marathon being run and the police had blocked off all the routes we knew to get to the site.  Geez, wouldn’t the marathoners get much better times if they were running away from cars?  Oops, that was not my “inside voice“… 😉  Anyway, we finally made it and I got my game set up.

My "Tomorrow's War" game layout for Saturday at "Recruits"

The “Tomorrow’s War” scenario I was running was one of my own design, based on material from David Drake’s book “Paying the Piper”.  It is one of his many books about “Hammer’s Slammers”,  a future mercenary armored regiment.

The book is available as an e-book for free from the Baen Free Library:

http://www.webscription.net/p-316-paying-the-piper.aspx

To keep it simple, the scenario involves a platoon of Hammer’s Slammers heavy hovertanks, known as “blowers” and a short platoon of Hammer’s Slammers “Combat Cars” all trying to make it to a river crossing.  The blowers may be air-cushion vehicles but they are too heavy to cross the river anywhere except a ford.  The combat cars are light enough to cross the river directly or go over the river bridge.  Sounds simple, right?

The opposing forces are locally-manufactured armored vehicles in the service of the city-state of Solace on the planet called “Plattner’s World”.  These vehicles are built by slapping an armored frame on top of a mining crawler chassis and mounting guns and/or turrets to them.  They have one gunner/commander and an Artificial Intelligence unit to drive the vehicle.  Though mounting fairly strong guns they still epitomize the concept of “a hammer, protected by an eggshell”.

River Crossing Scenario

Hammer’s Slammers Forces – Tech Level 2 – Troop Quality: D8/ Morale: D10

3X Blower Heavy Hover Tank armed with a 20cm Energy Gun

Heavy Energy Tank Gun – AP:4/AT:6 (Heavy) (Slow) (Heavy Hitter) – Turret
Mounted

Against Armor: Roll 6D8 plus 1D8 for Heavy Hitter plus 1D8 for Tech Level
Shift, Ignores 2D of Defender’s Armor (Defender rolls 2D less on defense roll)

Against Troops: Roll 4D8 plus 1D8 for Heavy Hitter plus 1D8 for Tech Level
Shift

Slow Firing – Loses 2D8 each time it fires after 1st time – 8D8, 6D8, 4D8, 2D8

Front Armor: 4D12 Side Armor: 3D12 Rear Armor: 3D10

6X Combat Car, 4 armed and 2 “Trucks” hauling infantry

Three 2cm Rotary Energy Guns, Combined Firepower AP:4/AT:4 (Medium)

Against Armor or Troops: Roll 4D8 plus 1D8 for Tech Level Shift

Front Armor: 3D8 Side Armor: 3D8 Rear Armor: 3D6 (Open-Topped vehicle)

Troops: TL2, Hard Body Armor (+2D), TQ/Morale: D8/D10

Slammers Fireteam Alpha

3X Rifleman, 2cm Powergun (TL:2, AP:+1) Ignore 1D of armor or cover

Gunner,  2cm SAW Powergun (TL:2, Ap:+2) Ignore 1D of armor or cover

Slammers Fireteam Beta

3X Rifleman, 2cm Powergun (TL:2, AP:+1) Ignore 1D of armor or cover

Gunner,  2cm SAW Powergun (TL:2, Ap:+2) Ignore 1D of armor or cover

Combat Drones assigned to the Slammers (TL:2): (not in the novel)

2 Hover Drones, Troop Quality D8, “Dumb” Bots (-1 Reaction Roll)

Cautious move 8”/Fast move 16”  Hard Armor: +2D

Armed with Advanced SAW and Grenade Launcher: AP: 4D8, AT: 2D8

All Bots survive on a 4+ of a 1D6 roll.

————-

Solace Government Forces – TL1 – Troop Quality: D8 / Morale: D8 Troops/D10 Vehicles

6X “Trencher” Light Tracked Tank (Medium Vehicle) armed with a Medium Gauss Cannon

Medium Gauss Cannon – AP:2/AT:5 (Gauss) – Turret Mounted

Against Armor: Roll 5D8,  Ignores 1D of Defender’s Armor (Defender rolls 1D less on defense roll)

Against Troops: Roll 2D8

Front Armor: 4D10  Side Armor: 3D10  Rear Armor: 3D8

Also armed with 3 Gauss SAW Machine Guns: AP:2/AT:0 (Gauss)

Against Troops: Roll 2D8, Ignores 1D of Defender’s Armor (Defender rolls 1D less on defense roll)

2X “Stalker” Tracked Tank Destroyer armed with fixed mount Heavy Gauss Cannon

Heavy Gauss Cannon – AP:4/AT:6 (Gauss) – Fixed Mount

Fixed Mount requires successful Troop Quality roll for every shot after the first. Front Arc Only.

Against Armor: Roll 6D8, Ignores 1D of Defender’s Armor (Defender rolls 1D
less on defense roll)

Against Troops: Roll 4D8

Front Armor: 3D10  Side Armor: 3D8  Rear Armor: 3D8

1X Stalker with an “Ultra-Class” Heavy Gauss Cannon

Ultra Class Heavy Gauss Cannon – AP:4/AT:6 (Gauss) (Slow Firing) (Heavy
Hitter)

Against Armor: Roll 6D8 plus 1D8 for Heavy Hitter, Ignores 1D of Defender’s
Armor (Defender rolls 1D less on defense roll)

Slow Firing – Loses 2D8 each time it fires after 1st time – 7D8, 5D8, 3D8, 1D8

Solace Troops

Troops: TL1, Soft Body Armor (+1D), TQ/Morale: D8/D8

Solace Fireteam One

3X Rifleman, ACR (TL:1, AP:+1)

1X Rifleman, Buzz-Bomb Rocket (TL:1, AP:2/AT:2)

Solace Fireteam Two

3X Rifleman, ACR (TL:1, AP:+1)

1X Rifleman, Buzz-Bomb Rocket (TL:1, AP:2/AT:2)

Solace Combat Drones (TL:2) (Off-Planet Purchase): (Not in the novel)

3 Walker Drones, Quadruped

Troop Quality D8, “Smart” Bots Cautious 6”/Fast 12” Hard Armor: +2D

Armed with Gauss Squad Support Weapon: AP: 3D8, Ignores 1D of Opponent cover

Also armed with RPG: AP:2D8/AT:2D8

All Bots survive on a 4+ of a 1D6 roll.

———–

Those are specs provided for the gamers to use.  The “Hammer’s Slammers” vehicles are from Old Crow Models in the UK.  http://www.oldcrowmodels.co.uk/

The Solace vehicles are from Proxy Models.  http://proxiemodels.com/

The infantry is all from Khurasan.  http://khurasanminiatures.tripod.com/

The combat drones for both sides were modified from WizKids “Mechwarrior: Age of Destruction” miniatures.

The Slammers forces

The Solace forces

One may notice that there are COWS in with the Solace forces?  What’s up with that?  Are we playing “To-moo-row’s War”? In the words of Inigo Montoya “Let me asplain…no, that will take too long.  Let me sum up.”

I wanted to try a different mechanic for “hidden forces”.  In most miniatures wargames each side sees all the other forces already on the board and can react to their presence by how they deploy and move.  I wanted to present one side with a different tactical problem: you know something is there but you aren’t sure what it is.  It could be a tank, a squad of infantry, a tractor or just nothing.  So the Solace forces deployed numbered markers on the game board.  Their minis were placed behind a wall on boxes that were numbered matching the counters.

The Markers for the Solace Forces are placed on the battlefield

The Solace minis were placed on the sheets with the numbered boxes.  Cow miniatures were used as “nulls”.  We decided the cows were wandering around with small radio transmitters on collars around their necks.

The Solace minis are hidden from the view of the Slammer's players

For the markers to be “hidden” they had to be placed out of line-of-sight of the opposing force, either behind a building or hill or more than 3 inches inside of the forested areas.  The trees placed on the gameboard outlined forested areas in the battlefield.  These areas limit visibility and provide cover.

In order for a Slammer’s player to “reveal” one of the hidden markers they had to move a unit to within 8 inches of the marker and then make a successful troop quality roll.  Alternately, they could simply move into line-of-sight of the marker.

To keep the markers from “revealing” themselves the Solace player could move them no more than 3 inches.  The markers would also be revealed if they moved into line of sight or performed any combat activity, like shooting.

So, some markers would be revealed as combat units and others would be revealed as cows.

The four players, 2 on each side, figured out their strategies and the game started.

The Slammers forces enter the battlefield

The Slammers forces entered the map and made a right to check out the woods.

The Slammers forces enter the forest and uncover a cow.

The Slammers uncovered their first “blip” only to reveal a cow.  They had a beef with that.  They considered it a cheesey maneuver.  Some of the infantry deployed, either to sweep the woods or to milk the cow…

A Solace tank reveals itself to try and get a jump on a Slammers combat car

A solace tank popped out of the woods to take a shot at a Slammers combat car.  They exchanged fire…

The exchange of fire goes poorly for the combat car

The Slammers combat car receives a “Destroyed” result when hit by the gauss round from the tank.  It did knock the tank down to 1/2 firepower in the process.

The deployed Slammers infantry gets the jump on some Solace infantry advancing up the hill

A nasty firefight flared up in the woods on the forested hill when the deployed unit of Slammers infantry intercepted the Solace infantry that was advancing up the hill.  The Solace forces got the worst of that deal.

A Solace tank destroyer crests the hillside to get a shot at the oncoming Slammers armor

The Solace player brought forward another unit and crested the hillside with his one tank destroyer that mounted an Ultra-Class Gauss Cannon. He was trying to take the armor column in the front to disrupt it.

A Combat Car gets brewed up by the Tank Destroyer

Disruption achieved.  A Slammers combat car gets brewed up by a shot from the Tank Destroyer.

Another solace tank comes around the hill. The tank gets hit for a mobility hit and being suppressed - but it survived 2 shots from 2 Slammers blowers

Another Solace tank came zipping around the hill to exchange fire with a Slammers blower.  In a 2-for-1 deal it got to be shot at by 2 Slammers blowers.  Miraculously it survived 2 hits. It was suppressed and hit for half mobility, but it was not blown up.

Much carnage - leading to the Slammers deciding to withdraw

After much battlefield carnage, the kicker comes for the Slammers when, during a simultaneous fire exchange between a blower and the Solace tank destroyer, the Slammers tank lost its main gun.  The Solace tank destroyer was brewed up.  This was on top of more battlefield losses of combat cars and made the Slammers player decide to withdraw.

The "knife-fight-in-a-phone-booth" battle of tanks in the forest

The small wooded section developed a nasty little battle between two Solace tanks, a tank destroyer and a Slammers combat car.  The Slammers combat car was destroyed as was one of the Solace tanks.  The Solace tank destroyer was gun damaged – 1/2 firepower.

The Slammers infantry overruns the Solace infantry

The deployed Slammers infantry overran the Solace infantry but had to redeploy when the Slammers pulled out.

A reasonable victory for the Solace forces.  Painful, but reasonable.  They couldn’t afford to win like that again.

The afternoon gaming session was lively.  I had 4 teenagers, 2 boys and two girls, who sat down and wanted to play.  They had not played this kind of game before but they were sincere about wanting to try and played very enthusiastically.  I didn’t get any gameplay pictures; the players needed more of my attentions.  The end result was a marginal victory for the Solace forces.  The kids seemed to have a lot of fun playing.  In know I got a real kick out of two giggly teenage girls controlling the “Hammer’s Slammers” hardened mercenaries.

The aftermath of the second game - the Slammers got caught in an infantry crossfire

The kids seemed to get a real kick out of revealing the cows!  They found them udderly hilarious.

The “hidden unit” mechanic I used seemed to work pretty well.  The players did not have a problem using it and it didn’t appear to slow things down much.  In the first session the Slammers players commented favorably on the “tactical surprise” element the mechanic generated.  I will have to try it again.

I did more shopping in the evening, buying some 15mm scale alien miniatures so I can put together a very different kind of force.  I will show y’all when I am ready with it. 😉

“Recruits” was great fun, I am glad my son and I went and I am thankful for the folks who ran it.  I had a great time and want to go again.  I want to thank Shawn and Peggy and Jim for their hospitality as well.  They are very cool people!

Thanks for reading this and I hope to see some of y’all soon.  Have fun gaming!