Thursday, 25 February 2016

Painting: Dropzone Commander - Shaltari Starter Set

As I mentioned last week I'm running an escalation event/league over the next few months and February is starter sets!

So with my Shaltari starter set built and with it required to be painted by the end of month I had to get a move on. Now as luck would have it my wife was struck down with Flu (Not so sure that was her view on it)  and was bed ridden, so while she rested I cracked on.

Unfortunately I can't take full credit for my chosen colour scheme; I knew I wanted a white scheme and after a google search I discovered this blog:

So inspired by the above I began but with a few adjustments of my own.

As ever the paints used were Vallejo unless stated otherwise.

I started with a solid undercoat of white primer from Halfords

Next was a liberal coating of Army Painter Strong tone. This was quite a nerve racking phase, watching the white turn brown, wondering if I can bring it back to the desired white.

Once the Strong tone had dried I drybrushed Bonewhite (72.034) several times, doing my best to avoid losing any of the detail

Next I drybrushed Dead White (72.001) several times, trying to leave the fins as they were, and again trying not to obscure any detail.

The fins and teleport crystals were painted Electric Blue (72.023), and took a surprisingly long amount of time, which is due to not wanting to ruin the white.

In this stage I painted the gun barrels and teleport nodes with Chainmail Silver (72.053), then liberally coated with GW Nuln Oil. Once the Nuln Oil dried I lightly painted with Silver (72.052)

I then drybrushed the white areas, crystals and the blue fins with GW Ceramite White. This white is a really vibrant white and really makes the white areas stand out.


The canopies were painted with Black (72.051), to give them a nice sheen.

The base of the Braves were coated with sand, painted black, drybrushed with Charred Brown (72.045) then drybrushed with Bonewhite (72.034) and static grass was added.

The models were then cleaned up where needed. After which they were coated all over with Matt Varnish (70.520), followed by Gloss Varnish (70.510) which was applied to the black canopies, teleport crystals and the barrel of the tomahawks.

I feel that this "simple" paint scheme is really effective, and came out just as well as I hoped. Unlike my scourge the underneath of theses models aren't painted as well as the top. I just couldn't be bothered especially as, by all accounts, they won't really be seen. Don't get me wrong they have been painted just not to the same tidy degree,

Those of you that have been following my blog will know that I seem to like being slightly ambitious with my schemes; now this scheme is relatively simple, which is why I have something more ambitious watch this space.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Miniatures: Dropzone Commander - Shaltari starter set

This month I decided to start running a little dropzone escalation event; this is intended to boost the local player base and increase peoples experience.

I want to base it on the old White Dwarf "Tale of Four Gamers" article. If you're not familiar with this it's where they have a starting force and game with it, before getting more items the following month, gaming with those additions to the army and so on.

With the Dropzone Commander event (The tale of a DZC gamer) we all have a starter set we need to build and paint by the end of February, but we also must have at least 1 game with that force. March with be 750 points with the starter set and commander only (No named commanders), April will be 1k and finally May will be 1500 points. Leading nicely to a tournament a local gaming store is running (Link here)

My choice of starter is the Shaltari set so lets review it:

The Packaging

A sturdy box, with a beautiful colour photo on the front and a description of the contents in the bottom left.

Further more inside with the sprues are instructions on how to build them and a sheet with the unit stats on one side and quick rule guide on the other.

The Models

Within the box are 3 sprues; each sprue contains 1 Tomahawk (2 pieces: Turret and Body), 1 Kukri (2 pieces: Turret and Body), 1 Haven gate (7 pieces: 2 arches, gate crystal arm, 2 sets of fins, 1 head and 1 bottom), 1 Eden Gate (7 pieces, 1 gate body, and 6 fins) and6 infantry models (3 to a base).
There are 4 infantry bases and 3 flight stands

Those of you with good maths skills would have noticed that there are more infantry than bases, this also results in more Haven Gates than is required. The benefit of these is to help expand you force later. Otherwise they can be used for scenery, or test paint schemes.

Many people complain about the detail in the plastic sets, but I have found that the detail on the Tomahawks, Kukri, Havens and Eden is really good and I very much look forward to painting them. The infantry however does lack detail, but I'm not complaining as the less detail for 10mm infantry the better.

So once again Hawk has provided detailed models, even in plastic.

Building the model

The models clipped away from the sprue with ease and needed very little tidying. Just a bit where they were clipped away.

The Eden gates went together with ease, with the fin connections being so snug that glue isn't really needed, I glued them anyway just for transport stability (and my own clumsiness)

The same can be said for Kukri and Tomahawks, although as you can see I have left them apart so they can be fully painted before being glued together.

The infantry was interesting as I initially thought they looked dynamic so started setting them as such. Then I thought the infantry heads were facing the other directions so changed the layout. I only discovered, upon closer inspection, that the heads were facing the right direction after all. But having glued them down there's no chance of me moving them....oh well.

This leads on to the Haven gates....these were an absolute pain in the backside! two arched pieces going into a head (with two fins underneath) and the back where the gate crystal goes into. I glued the fins to the head first and the crystal shaft into the back piece then wrangled with the arch pieces. Out of all the models these definitely took the longest.

Despite the hassle with the Haven gate it still only took 30 mins to remove everything from the sprue and build it.

Now to paint them....

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Wasteman - the wait, the rules and a game or two.

So back in March I backed this 32mm post apocalyptic gang warfare game on Kickstarter (KS) at the pledge level of:

-2x Posse Packs of your choice 
-Full colour Rulebook 
-Deck of M.A.D cards 
-Radical Trevor the Kickstarter Exclusive figure 

With the intended delivery of November. The creator (Jason Fairclough) kept us well informed throughout the months and then in November announced delays due to personal and supplier issues. In December Jason announced that only the models, rulebook, unit cards and MAD cards had been received but the bases, tokens and dice hadn't. So instead of delaying the items further Jason started shipping. And the wait began....

...and I waited, while Facebook filled with pictures of received pledges...

....and waited as more people got theirs and those people who first received theirs posted on Facebook  their painted models, and posted battle reports...

...and waited. In this time I learnt that I'm quite impatient. Getting frustrated by the lack of parcel, slowly becoming a petulant teenager again (instead of the 30 something I actually am) "I don't want it anyway!" "It's going to suck!" " you're not my real mum!" Well maybe not the latter.

Then it arrived; I opened the box with an uninterested casualness and was greeted by the perfect explanation to the delay.

My two posses were in retail packaging (minus the dice); a very pleasant and unexpected surprise (previous backed KS from other companies have just sent the items in clear plastic bags), the KS freebies were in their own bags with stat cards, my add ons were also in their own bag with their cards and the rulebook was wrapped in a plastic bag with the shrink wrap M.A.D. cards (Beautiful B-Movie style random event cards; more detail below).

The effort in the packaging was impressive and I finally, truly, understood the cause of the delay in shipping - of which I humbly apologise for my impatient attitude.

After a quick inspection of the models (a more detailed post on them in the next few weeks), I started perusing the rulebook...which, I feel, is a work of art! Beautifully crisp photos, and great illustrations. The rules are wonderfully simplistic (more details on that to follow); written amusingly tongue in cheek and peppered with gaming references. Which makes for an enjoyable read.

Now as with every first edition, the rulebook isn't perfect (sorry Jason). There are spelling and grammar mistakes (not that I'm in any place to comment), as well as the biggest bugbear to the gaming community: lists not in alphabetical order. But these are small items, to me anyway, and in no way distract from the rules themselves.

Which ties me nicely to the rules:
Wasteman uses D10, which is a change from D6. (Especially since "All quiet of Martian front" company Alien Dungeon collapsed leaving me with lots of D10 in my collection for a redundant game). Wasteman is recommended to be played on a 3x3 board, with points of around 500 or 1000. Each figure has their own stat cards and I believe all models in the Thunderchild miniatures range now has them.

Example of Cyborgs unit cards
There are 5 activation's a turn (individual models or combat group (models grouped together with the same items)); with each model/combat group having their own number of actions points to be spent. Now you can use the bottlecaps that come with the posse packs to mark which models have activated.

Action points (AP) can be spent moving, hiding, shooting, or using a skill.

A set movement value for everyone, unless certain skills are bought.

Self explanatory - making the model harder to hit.

A simplistic case of weapon power vs armour table. There are adjustments for scenery, distance, and even when you have already taken damage. Which leads on nicely to damage.

After a successful hit you then roll on a damage table where the effects can range from simple reduction in AP to death! Random chance in the wasteland!

M.A.D Cards
Talking of random chance; the M.A.D cards. You build a deck of 20 cards and each take 5 of your choosing. These are cards with different effects that can be played at any part of the game.  From healing members of your posse to abducting someone for a turn...yes the wasteland is a random place

M.A.D. Cards - with rules covered to prevent copying...

That's the rules at the core. Further to the core rules there are rules for weapons, armour, skills, special effects and character/syndicate creation.
This does result in a little flicking between pages to understand what does what, but who doesn't have to do that with a new game?!
That said I have created a spreadsheet (which be found on the facebook group), with Jason's permission, with all the details for quick reference. As well as producing a rudimentary character creation sheet which shows all the details in one place.

So as an overview the rules are simplistic and easy to play. To the point during my first game I was able to advise the required dice roll to my opponent when armour and weapon power was announced.

How does it play?
So in light of the above my friend (Grum) and I decided to put it into action and we played two games:

The first game started on a 2x2 board, playing the "brawl" mission and using an official posse each (Grum used Militia and I used Cybjorgs); as such points were less than 500. With scatter terrain littering the battlefield. We were on top of each others posse within 1 turn, quickly gunning each other down. Result: Cybjorg victory.

The second game was on a 3x4 board again playing the brawl mission, but with 750 points. I used the Cybjorgs posse in addition to "4 chaingun brutes" (Mantic deadzone plague troopers). While Grum used his "brotherhood of steel" (based on the Fallout group, using the lunar coalition syndicate rules and dreamforge eisenkern valkirs models). In addition we also introduced M.A.D. card's, although we randomly selected ours. Grums brotherhood were tooled up and absolutely destroyed my Cybjorgs. But using the mad cards resulted in some random but amusing events. Result: Brotherhood victory.

Both games were played within an hour, which reflects how quick this game is, especially using Brawl, which is very good to use to get to grips with the rules before trying the other missions which have other aspects.

You'll have noticed that with 1 victory each, a deciding game is required in the future!

Friday, 5 February 2016

Painting: Dropzone Commander - Scourge:Ravagers

So here is my final installment for the scourge reinforcements I bought back in November, that I subsequently used at invasion: the Ravagers.

As ever paints used were Vallejo unless stated otherwise

Firstly the models with undercoated with Halfords Black spray, then Hexed Lichen (72.015) was applied all over. This was then followed by Army Painter Dark tone
Next Squid pink (72.013) was drybrushed all over. Escorpena Green (72.032) was then applied to the sensors, vents and wire. Gun Metal (72.054) was used on the back tubes and rim of the vents on the leg. GW Nuln oil was then applied to the areas of gun metal. Army painter dark tone was added to the vents and then the "claws" were painted with Black (72.051)


I then entered the painful stage (made more so with a detailed underneath!) of painting the exoskeleton/lines with Bonewhite (72.034). After this I tidied them up and used Matt Varnish (70.520) on the majority of the model, apart from the areas painted black with I used Gloss Varnish (70.510).

I'm pleased with the result and they served me well at invasion

Monday, 1 February 2016

Invasion 2016

The weekend of 30th/31st of January was my first Invasion: A Dropzone Commander Tournament.
It felt like quite a build up what with buying new minis, painting them and trialling my list over the course of several months...and it was over in the blink of an eye; Okay maybe not that quick.

It was an absolutely awesome weekend! As well as utterly tiring!

The atmosphere at the venue was electric, with pictures and models of upcoming releases fuelling it (not to mention Dropfleet commander models on display). The Hawk team were on hand to talk through the new releases and the potential rules: Unfortunately non of the new models are released yet with the first due in March, but it's safe to say if any were available for sale at invasion they would have quickly sold out.

Here is my list:

Invasion List
Clash: 1499/1500 points
Standard Army
Standard Roster [1499/1500 pts]
Oppressors [505 pts]
Oppressor: Oppressor(Master), Harbinger(+Mini Arc Caster) [300 pts]
Ravagers: 3x Ravager, Harbinger(+Mini Arc Caster) [205 pts]
Vanguard [429 pts]
Reaper Squad: 3x Reaper, Despoiler(+Twin Plasma Cannons) [219 pts]
^ Sharing ^ Hunter Squad: 6x Hunter [210 pts]
Warriors [305 pts]
Warrior Horde: 2x Warriors, Intruder Alpha [94 pts]
Warrior Horde: 2x Warriors, Intruder Alpha [94 pts]
Reaper Squad: 3x Reaper [117 pts]
Occupation Patrol [260 pts]
Prowlers: 8x Prowler, 2x Intruder Beta [120 pts]
Destroyers: 2x Destroyers, Intruder Alpha [140 pts]

Now on with the games:

Table: 2. Game 1: Military Complex. Opponent: Stephen. Force: UCM. Result: 3-17

My first game of the tournament and I score 3, although a defeat I still scored something, which I was pleased about that. The dice did torment me though providing 1's when 2's were required.

Table: 24. Game 2: Survey and Control. Opponent: Mark. Force: Resistance. Result: 0 - 20.

Utterly spanked! I couldn't do a thing right. His freeriders ran rings around me and a face off between my Oppressor and his Alexander went spectacularly wrong, resulting in my Oppressor being blow apart. I could not roll to save my life. Mark even quipped about buying new dice: "These are new dice!" I sobbed. nothing could consul me after that other than several chocolate biscuits.

Table: 25. Game 3: Ground Control. Opponent: Paul. Force: Scourge. Result: 6 - 14.

This game was frustrating because my luck was changing; I swept across the battlefield destroying everything in my path! Paul couldn't stop me. Then he played the "Quick thinking" card and stole initiative , I forgot to play my Espionage card, which allowed him to activate his Desolator, NEVER have I seen a Desolator used so effectively. It moved over my hunters and unleashed hell! Within seconds he had destroyed 5 Hunters, 2 Reapers and 3 Ravagers. I had pretty much lost everything!
I went home that day a broken man.

Table: 25. Game 4: Bunker Assault. Opponent: Alex. Force: Scourge. Result: 20-0

New day, table 25 start. Who knows what will happen here. Unfortunately for Alex I utterly destroyed him. Not because I was in any way a better tactician than him or anything like that it was just that the dice gods favoured me and punished him. He had absolutely no luck; rolling 1's when 2's were needed, an experience I was all too familiar with. Whereas I couldn't seem to put a foot wrong, rolling with devastating effect. A win but I felt terrible after.

Here's is a link to Alex's blog and his version of events:

Table: 20. Game 5: Secure the Flanks. Opponent: Guy. Force: PHR. Result: 7-13

PHR was one of the armies I was least looking forward to playing against; so having my last game against them wasn't a nice prospect. However Guy didn't have a Nemesis, or a Hades but he did have two Medusa! So I knew I wasn't going to win. I hadn't ever played against Medusa and having heard so much about them I was a little apprehensive. However - thanks to Guy - I quickly learnt that they aren't as bad as I imagined and that they can be killed (eventually).

With the results in and a total number of tournament points of 36 (3401 kill points) I came 43rd, which I don't think is too bad for my first tournament. I had an absolute blast and will definitely be going again, armed with the lesson learnt, one of which is that 4 battlegroups is a bad idea!