Tuesday 17 January 2023

Rain Descends from the Sky

Progress is being made on my Enforcer army. Slow progress to be sure (not knowing any local Mantic players limits motivation) but still progress. All the models from the starter box are assembled, and around half are painted. 

This is the core Enforcer starter box, and using the force-builder app on the Mantic web-site it seems to come to around a 900-ish point force (depending on options). I'll probably pick up a couple more units, both to bring the force up to 1000 points and to add some variety and options. At the moment I'm thinking an extra box of Operatives, the command team specialists, and a unit of Pathfinders (mainly for the very cool looking DOG drones).

I've also started to write some backstory and fluff for the force, and here is what I have so far; 

75 Long Range Drop Group

Motto: Imbres de caelo descendunt (Rain descends from the sky)

The 75 Long Range Drop Group (75-LRDG, "the White Knights") is an Enforcer infantry division that specializes in trans-atmospheric assault operations. Based at Fort Somme in the Agni-273 star system, it is technically part of XII Starmobile Corps, but in practice operates with significant autonomy. It is capable of landing a battalion strength combat unit from orbit (even against light-to-moderate active aerospace defenses) and then sustaining planetary combat operations for 7 days before being re-supplied.

First constituted as an Enforcer unit in 2820 CE, the 75-LRDG has since proved their worth over multiple major campaigns. During the Second Iron War they conducted two major drops against colonies of the Forge-Father Clan Zierl... actions which, ironically, led to them gaining the Clan's lasting respect and forming an alliance which endures to this day. In the Mandrake Rebellion the Knights were repeatedly able to drop behind Marauder lines, cutting off strong-points, and creating staging areas for major GCPS offensives. In recent times they have operated primarily in the Neo-Tasman Sector of the Fourth Expanse, suppressing numerous minor insurrections, and engaging in several skirmishes with the forces of the Nameless.

The 75-LRDG have a reputation within the GCPS as being either (depending on one's perspective) "rebellious" or "heroic". While Enforcer units are supposedly programmed for unquestioning and total loyalty to the Council of Seven, for some reason in the White Knights this conditioning does not seem to have fully taken hold. They have not participated in any of the more controversial Enforcer operations, and their are even rumors that they have at times actively refused to obey direct orders from the Council. Whatever the truth of the matter, to date they have not faced any official sanction.

Saturday 24 December 2022

Xmas Painting Updates

 Merry Christmas Eve all! Having a pretty quiet evening, so I decided it was time for a random update of what's on my painting table. The most accurate answer would be, a chaotic mess. But paring things down to just the main projects, there are three things on the go and one recently finished. 

Completed - The Neo-Tasman Sector Fleet

The completed project (which has been my main focus for the last couple of weeks) is the Neo-Tasman Sector Fleet. These were from Ground Zero Games' Federal Stats Europa range for their Full Thrust system. These were already painted, but with a very unimpressive job if I'm honest. So this was a touch-up and improvement project. Having the models already painted (even if with piss-poor shading and highlighting) made things easier as all I needed to do was apply a wash and some drybrushing. The plain gray scheme is very simple, but it's a sci-fi classic and it works.

GNS Goliath, flagship of the sector fleet

GNS Laertes, primary assault transport for the Enforcer 75-Long Range Drop Group

The complete sector fleet

Transport Division I

Cruisers and destroyers of the Medium Divisions

So all painted up and looking good. Now I do not actually have a game system in mind for these ships, so for now this is purely a painting/modelling project. The GZG Full Thrust system is decent (and I do have a copy, including the official stats for the FSE fleet) so I could use them for that. But the fluff I've written assumes these ships are part of Mantic Entertainment's Warpath universe. Mantic does not currently have a space combat game for that universe, so these will probably just go into storage for now.

Primary Project 1 - The 75 Long Range Drop Group

The main project I have on the go right now is 75 Long Range Drop Group (75-LRDG). This is a 28mm scale Enforcer army within Mantic's Warpath setting. It can be used for either Deadzone (squad level game, Mantic equivalent of GW's Kill Team) or Firefight (the full sized game). The Enforcer's are an elite infantry force of augmented humans with the best high-tech gear, heavily inspired by the Adeptus Astartes. 

I'm aiming for a 1000 point force, which is a fairly common size for Firefight, easily playable on a 6 x 4 table in a couple of hours. For the Enforcers an army of that size would consists of around 25-30 models (depending on upgrades, special characters, vehicles, etc.) which is not too bad. One reason I'm aiming for this sized force (apart from it being a common standard) is that there has been mention of a Firefight tournament over in Michigan in February next year. That's an easily drivable distance for me (roughly 6 hours, and I know a couple of good places to stop along the way) and I haven't been to a gaming tournament in a couple of years. 

Primary Project 2 - The Lost Temple of Xhi-Rathor

The second main project I have on the go is continuing to expand my Zul-Farrak inspired Mesoamerican/canyon themed terrain layout. The ground level of the main temple has been fully completed. 

I'm hoping to get enough terrain pieces done to layout a 6 x 4 table, and I have my eye on a couple of desert themed battlemats as well. This is again looking towards the potential tournament in Michigan - I'd love to be able to show up providing a complete and awesome looking table of terrain. The classic terrain for both Deadzone and Firefight is urban ruined-industrial, so a desert temple layout would be something a little different. But it's easily enough explainable within the setting (there will be planets with all Earth biomes, plus many alien ones) and would add a bit of variety. 

Secondary Project - The Bo'Obaneyth

The third project I'm chipping away at is the Bo'Obaneyth - an army called the Nameless, still within the Warpath setting. The Nameless are a collection of Lovecraftian Cthuhlu-inspired species with many tentacles and semi bio-organic technology. 

I have purchased enough models to make a similarly sized force to the Enforcers, and I'm planning on painting these up as either an op-force if I want to try and introduce new players to the game, or just as an alternative if I feel like a change from the Enforcers. Sadly there is not currently an official Nameless force list for Firefight, only for Deadzone. However the stat-lines and points values for the two games have a lot in common. Improvising a Nameless list for Firefight would not be difficult if an opponent was OK with playing something unofficial.

Thursday 1 December 2022

The Lost Temple of Xhi-Rathor

Since I haven't been blogging for a while I have a few recent (well, sort of recent) projects to update. One of these is a terrain layout - The Lost Temple of Xhi-Rathor.

This started out inspired by playing some D&D with friends. I had painted up some WizKids official D&D monsters and adventurers, and googled some good options for scenery. So I decided to made up a full dungeon in 28mm scale. And since my favorite instance when I used to play World of Warcraft back in the day was Zul'Farrak, that became the imagery I was going for. 

The canyon wall sections are just modelling clay. Cheap and easy to do, but I think I may try to design some higher sections (aiming for 8" / 20cm or higher)  to create a more imposing look. The Forgotten Temple Walls are from a company called EnderToys Terrain. Who I will recommend, and intend to buy some of their other stuff for future projects. 

The central temple is the section I am most pleased with. It was constructed just using the EnderToys temple walls, combined with some basic materials from a local hobby store. Each level can be lifted off to portray adventures happening within. 

Not 100% finished yet, but I'm very pleased with how it is coming out. Apart from the taller canyon sections and finishing the temple interior, my next though is I need to grab a few more Forgotten Temple sections from EnderToys, and use them to create a couple of surrounding buildings.

So, a successful project I think, and potentially with multiple uses. While this was originally planned for a fantasy dungeon-crawl, I think I could be used for many 28mm games. It could work for a Sith-Temple in Star Wars: Legion, or a Tzeentch shrine for 40K. Hell, even using my 28mm World War II minis, Indiana Jones could easily be seeking the Art of the Covenant in here. 

Sunday 27 November 2022

Blue Water

Have a few different random projects on the go at the moment. But a common thread (for a couple of them at least) is the ocean. 

First off, a friend has been giving me some old 80's / 90's gaming items he found in his back shelves. One of these was some Man'O'War units. 

The paper sails are a bit fiddly to glue on, but otherwise these are now complete. The ocean table sections were already complete, so now I think I need to add some island terrain pieces to my to-do list. Which would also work for my other random project...

Modern naval. The models are GHQ, purchased on a whim to be honest. Don't have a system lined up to use them with yet. Most modern naval wargames (Harpoon and things like that) are more detailed than I prefer, too many counters, record sheets etc. I'm looking for something more casual, playable on a 6 x 4 table in a couple of hours, and I don't care if that loses some accuracy along the way. Will have to Google Search for something, or might even write myself.

Wednesday 23 November 2022

The Neo-Tasman Sector Fleet

The Neo-Tasman sector fleet is structured as a fairly typical GCPS naval formation for one of the frontier sectors. It consists of 26 major combatants organized into six divisions, plus their associated support vessels. It operates two major fleet bases, in the Agni-273 and Tolihn star-systems. The flagship of the fleet is the dreadnought GNS Goliath.

Space Supremacy Division G - Goliath Battlegroup

The most powerful unit in the sector fleet is Space Supremacy Division G, more commonly referred to as the Goliath Battlegroup.The GNS Goliath is an Akira-class dreadnought which (in times of war or major fleet actions) is also required to report in as part of III Battleship Line. It is accompanied by the escort carrier GNS Prince of Wales (and its attached 205th Space Superiority Wing, "The Black Roses") to provide fighter cover, and two destroyers for reconnaissance and scouting assistance.

  • GNS Goliath (Akira-class Battleship)
  • GNS Prince of Wales (Enterprise-class Escort Carrier)
  • GNS Sao Marcos (San Juan-class Destroyer)
  • GNS Sinister (San Juan-class Destroyer)

Assault Transport Division H - Laertes Battlegroup

Division H, most commonly referred to as the Laertes Battlegroup provides transport and support for the troops of the Enforcer 75 Long Range Drop Group (75-LRDG). Accompanying the Laertes is the GNS Polonius, whose air wing (612th Composite Strike Wing, "The Terrahawks") can perform atmospheric air-superiority, close air support, or interdiction missions as required. Lastly the division is escorted by the heavy cruisers GNS Thunderchild and GNS Typhon. While two heavy cruisers would not be significant in a major fleet action, they are sufficient to defeat light in-system defenders (patrol cutters, corvettes, or similar) and can protect the battlegroup against light-to-medium sized enemy warships operating independently as raiders.

  • GNS Laertes (Khe Sanh-class Orbital Assault Transport)
  • GNS Polonius (Enterprise-class Escort Carrier)
  • GNS Thunderchild (Le Triomphant-class Heavy Cruiser)
  • GNS Typhon (Le Triomphant-class Heavy Cruiser)

Transport Division I

The mission of Transport Division I is to move personnel and equipment within the sector. While unlike Division H it is not set up to conduct contested landings, Division I can transport a far larger number of troops - up to two full brigades in one movement, as well as re-supplying them indefinitely provided space control in the region is maintained.

  • GNS Inchon (Casablanca-class Troop Transport)
  • GNS Casablanca (Casablanca-class Troop Transport)
  • GNS Cairns (Cape Town-class Frigate)
  • GNS Sylhet (Cape Town-class Frigate)

Medium Division J and Medium Division K

The Medium Divisions J and K are the mainstays of the sector fleet. These divisions seldom operate together as a unit, and are mostly administrative formations. The ships of the medium divisions perform general patrol, "show-the-flag", and presence missions throughout the Neo-Tasman sector. If they encounter a threat force they can either engage (if the threat is one they can handle alone) or report back, at the commander's discretion.

  • GNS Troyes (Le Triomphant-class Heavy Cruiser)
  • GNS Don Victoria (San Juan-class Destroyer)
  • GNS Dubuque (Cape Town-class Frigate)
  • GNS Taunton (Cape Town-class Frigate)

  • GNS Tybalt (Le Triomphant-class Heavy Cruiser)
  • GNS Albion (San Juan-class Destroyer)
  • GNS Ames (Cape Town-class Frigate)
  • GNS Nelson (Cape Town-class Frigate)

Patrol and Rescue Division L

While the least glamorous of the fleet's units, in many ways Division L is the unit that does the most to save human lives. Often disparagingly referred to as a "coast guard" unit, division L (who unofficially nickname themselves "the Lifeguards") perform mainly law-enforcement, search-and-rescue, and distress call response missions. If a civilian vessel suffers an engine failure in deep space, it will most likely be a ship from The Lifeguards that will be there to help them. However the division does consist of armed combatants (two frigates and four corvettes) and a large part of their mission is counter-piracy operations, Should a civilian vessel come under attack, the Lifeguards are quite capable of defending them.

Thursday 23 September 2021

Progress on the Thrainites

The Thrainite force is slowly but steadily coming together. Organization has been decided, the first units painted, and the rest are slowly being finished one model at a time. This is where things stand;

So a company sized formation, consisting of two platoons of Nobles in power armor, two platoons of Lething rifles, a company commander in power armor, a mortar unit, and two Siler super-heavy tanks. The noble units (which I'm thinking of naming 'the Stoneguard') are finished, as are the two tanks. The lethings and mortars are base-coated and being worked on. 

Side Projects

Other things I've been working on since I've been back include an ocean table, which I think has come out quite nicely.

This was exceedingly simple to do, just a few coats of blue poster paint followed by a few layers of gloss varnish. The light blue area in the center was an accident, but I like how it came out - I spilled some water on the dark blue while it was drying, which washed it out. This table was intended for either Dystopian Wars (models in the picture) or maybe some modern/WW2 naval games. But a friend recently sold me some old GW Man'O'War stuff - the joys of happy coincidences!

Last minor side-project is some dangerous terrain hexes for Warhammer: Underworld.

I'm planning on one each of green "acid" and red/orange "lava". Very simple, just a piece of balsa cut to shape, some spackle/polyfiller to texture the edges, and I'll use the same gloss varnish technique as the ocean table to give them a sheen.

Friday 20 August 2021

Space Dwarves

 My visa finally came through, meaning I was able to return to the US. And waiting for me were a bunch of models that I had ordered way back when I thought I would be returning in April. These are 15mm scale minis from Khurasan, and are for my two latest Sierra Foxtrot armies - the Astrodani and the Thrainites. 

For no particular reason I decided to start with the Thrainites first. For this "Space Dwarf" force the plan was to assemble them as essentially a mechanized infantry company. 

I thought I had ordered enough infantry for two platoons, but it looks like I may be short. Oh well, worst case scenario I have to place another order. 

However depending on how I decide to stat things out I may not need another infantry platoon. The APCs I'm using (the Cane Toad) is a bit larger than I was expecting. Because of this I'm thinking of giving them much heavier armor than normal APCs. 

And speaking of vehicles being larger than expected... the Siler heavy tank is an absolute beast! The original plan was to have a platoon of these guys supporting the force, but it's just so big I think I'm going to field them as individual vehicles with a stat-line on par with the mechs in other forces. 

Size comparison of some of my Sierra Foxtrot units

So all in all, a good start for the Thrainites. I've definitely got plenty of APCs, so it's just a matter of assembling the infantry and deciding how to organize the units.