From the Shed: bits and pieces (WW2, Science Fiction and Terrain).

Some more from my shed- some assorted bits that I had lying around finally finished, all in 20mm too…

 

Firstly:

 

commandos in denison smocks 1

A set of WW2 British Commandos, these are from Wartime Miniatures (seemingly defunct now). These ones are wearing the Denison camo jacket, a similar pattern to the airbourne one, making them emminently suitable for a game set on Walcheren Island as part of the operations to clear the Schelt esturary. Shame that it looks like more poses with different weapons won’t be forthcoming.

Sticking with WW2 we have these:

strelets hungarians

A small group of Honved (Hungarian Army) from this set of plastics. I did these as paint testers for a bigger Crossfire/ Megablitz project, more of which later. Not the best sculpts in the world but they paint up very nicely.

Staying with plastics I have done these:

stalker figures

A set of figures by Dark Alliance inspired by the popular S.T.A.L.K.E.R. PC games. I’ve got several of each pose in the box so for the first lot I picked out a few poses to do with a winter theme (I’ve a fondness for winter basing at the moment). Not sure what I’ll do with them but they make their way into a game some how.

 

Sticking with PC games I made this:

firing range targets

A set of firing range targets after seeing similar ones in the co-op shooter Insurgency that I played with friends a while back. Bits of foam, ground texture and scrap from the bits box went into making this. Should be good to suggest a camp or base somewhere in MENA.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

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Film Review: Charlie 84 MoPic

The literary device of presenting a story via ‘found’ media such as diaries and such like has a long history, notably Stoker’s Dracula. The filmic equivalent is the ‘found footage’ film, ostensibly the film is made up of a diegetic recording of the events. Again, this is common in the horror genre Starting with 1980’s Cannibal Holocaust* and arguably reaching its zenith with 1999’s Blair Witch Project. The trope isn’t that common in other genres so when I chanced upon a Vietnam film using this device I quickly tracked down a copy to watch.

 

Charlie 84 MoPic, refering to the Military Operational Specialism of a camera man, follows an Airborne Long-Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) going behind enemy lines to gain intelligence on the working of the Viet Cong/ National Liberation Front. The conceit is that the 6-man patrol is being followed by the cameraman, and an accompanying Lieutenant, to produce a filmic record of best practice as a training aid for future LRRP teams.  The LRRP teams were a divisional asset, introduced to provide information for high command with their long-range penetration capabilities. Often wearing the iconic ‘tiger stripe’ camouflaged uniforms, they probed deep in to enemy areas for days or weeks at a time. The men that made up such units were the elite of their formations, highly skilled and self-disciplined, able to take the mental pressure of such work.

Filmed on a tiny, for Hollywood at least, budget in California, this 1989 film stands apart from bigger better-known Vietnam films. It offers a raw portrayal of a small group of men bonded by combat. Using pathos and intimacy rather than spectacle to tell its story.

Still some of the ‘Nam film stereotypes creep in (they may well be stereotypes for a reason of course) in the cast of characters, the joker who is due to leave theatre imminently, the redneck, the strong silent type, the cold, efficient Sgt, the career minded Officer- in this film he may be inexperienced and a little naive about the realities of combat but he is open about his ambition and portrayed as having some competencies.

The film shows the men going about their mission with the drag of having two FNGs** with them, the cameraman, of whom very little is seen all film, and the Lt. get some of the men to open up about their past. The levelling factor of combat and the bond it engenders is really brought to the fore here, crossing racial and social divides the men are committed to each other knowing that they have faith in each other and their trust. The Lt. and cameraman are clearly outsiders and interlocuters in this who will never gain acceptance in to this elite club.

As for the Viet Cong they hardly appear in the film only really being seen from a distance or when deceased, whilst this marginalisation of them could be seen as problematic today the film is really just about men in combat and their relationships. Obviously, the patrol runs into trouble; even though the film is 30 years old, I won’t got into details and spoil it for you as if you haven’t seen the film I urge you to do so. It is up in its entirety on You Tube. I’d put it up there as one of the better Vietnam war films.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096744/

 

*Whilst it is easy to dismiss Ruggero Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust as a violent, reprehensible video nasty (which is certainly is/ was) it also serves the purpose of social commentary. Deodato’s story of ignorant filmmakers being killed by the indigenous people they are there to film was a kind of which fulfilment of his based on the action of the truly reprehensible Italian mondo film makers Jacopetti and Properi’s Africa Addio. For more on the horrific but fascinating world of mondo films I can recommend this book.

 

**Fucking New Guy

Inquisimunda game 1, narrative 40k

J, who had invited me down to the game, was in charge of the scenario for the game. The basic proviso was his Inquisitor character had stared into the abyss too long and had been drawn to chaos, in the last game- involving combat set on a damaged space ship – he had come to grief that resulted in him being rebuilt with a snake body/ tail for his lower half by dark Adeptus Mechanicus who were also tainted by chaos. This group had a gate to the chaos realm that they were trying to open to unleash all sorts of demonic entities into the world. My cultists were local muscle that were brought in to help defend the chaos gate. Against us were Grey Knight Space Marines, two Rogue Trader bands as well as some Dark Eldar who had been betrayed by J’s crew in the previous game. At least that is my understanding of the starting points, I think it was the fifth game for the others in the campaign… oh and parts of the damaged- now blown up – space ship were falling on to the planet’s surface randomly throughout the game.

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The table. The globe in the middle was the chaos gate I was to help defend.

I built a 1500 point force using the yaktribe website, going for the quantity rather than quality approach. In the end I was able to field 13 of the 15 cultist I own, I just left out the webber and one of the autogun armed ones.

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The scenario dictated a close in defence of the gate- it did leave us a little exposed.

The chaos aligned forces set up around the chaos gate in the centre, whilst the varied opposition entered from the board edges. Pretty quickly I was assailed by the Dark Eldar, tearing through my lightly armed cultist, still I figured I was there to provide the cannon fodder so was happy with that. Joe’s Rogue Trader force entered from my left; using the more freeform roleplay aspects of the game he tried to make radio contact with any faction on the board, he got me, going with the theme I claimed to be local forces/ planetary defence force and needed help against a xenos incursion. This succeeded and meant I didn’t have to fight two forces at once.

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Chaos Cultist and dark Ad Mech start to fall from being assailed by the various forces.

This reprieve only lasted a turn as contact was made between the two Rogue Trader teams and the really situation explained.

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The casualties mount, sacrficed to protect the precious thing.

Given the 2 to 1 outnumbering and exposed position we started in my and J’s forces dropped like flies. His attempts to open the chaos gate came to nought when his leader figures dropped. At this point he tried to persuade my forces to sacrifice ourselves whilst he fled. However, as he failed this roll I decided for narrative purposes to take umbrage with this and attempt to open the chaos gate myself.

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The Dark Eldar witch makes it to the centre and dispatches the chaotic leader.

This I did, but rather incompetently, spew dangerous energy everywhere and having one my fighters sucked into it. It seems that my cultist keenness is in inverse proportion to their competence.

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However the follow- up att ack into my heavy stubber amed cultist didn’t go as well. He promptly turned around and killed the witch.

With the main chaos personalities down and the gate open dangerously spewing random effects into the area the other forces beat a retreat. Thus, the game ended with my cultist in possession of the gate. It will make for an interesting jump off point for the next game. It was suggested that I come up with the next game which will be fun.

 

Again, it was another great game down at the clubs. I really enjoyed getting my chaos force on the table; I wouldn’t mind expanding it a bit with some of the new plastics from the Blackstone Fortress boxset that GW have just put out. Playing a narrative, non- competitive 40k where you could go deep into the backstory/ fluff and create your own is something that has been on my to do list for a while now and it didn’t disappoint.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

From the Shed: 40k Chaos Cultists.

A bit overa week ago I was asked by J (one of the guys that I played the necromunda campaign with) if I wanted to bring my Chaos Cultists along to a narrative 40k/ Inquisimunda game being run at the club. Obviously I said yes… then realised although I had 5 cultists painted the other were still on the sprues. Still I had time…

… I speed painted the Iraqis (see previous post) whilst I worked out what to do with the cultists. The GW set only has 5 poses and I already had a set of them, Brian had very kindly given me some Genestealer Cult and Skitari parts which I was thinking of using for conversion purposes, I also found some very old (1980s) parts so I got out the scalpel, clippers and plastic glue and got going.

cultist 1

cultist 2

 

Here are the converted but unpainted figures: the light grey parts are from Genestealer Cults and the red plastic bits from the Skitari. The Heavy Bolters (will count as heavy stubbers) are scraps left from my now AWOL  circa 1991 Squat army and the flamer conversion was made with parts from the RT01 set of Space Marines.

cultists 3

Here are the 10 painted.

cultist 5

cultist 6

cultist 7

cultist 8

cultists 4

I’m pleased as this now makes 15 unqiue cultist models in my collection, thus making a second gang for use in Necromunda.

 

As for the game I’ll post that tomorrow.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

From the Shed: Iraqi Army Platoon.

These 20mm figures from Liberation miniatures were speed painted by me in a couple of days. The simple uniform that is being modelled here (good for the Iran- Iraq war, Gulf War and right up to the 2003 invasion) combined with the great painting style made for an enjoyable painting experience, even though I was painting so many at once.

Iraqis 1

The full group of 32 figures.

Iraqis 2

A Squad with a representative and varied mix of weapons.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

Megagame Report: Buccaneer.

The 23rd of March saw the first game of the Pennine Megagame calendar: Buccaneer by John Sharp. Set during the Anglo- Dutch Wars of the 17th century it was a prequel of sorts to the very popular game of his Pirates that ran in 2017 ( see here ). It was also the first time that Pennine Megagames had put on a non- operational game in Sheffield since our very first one Sengoku.

 

The rules mechanics had been comprehensively overhauled and streamlined- I had some input into the quest side of things and this hard work showed on the day as the game progressed much faster than the previous run through. The use of custom- made dice again made it very easy for control to run the game and seemed popular with the players too. Buccaneer was a smaller game too, I often prefer the smaller megagames I think they flow better and seem more sociable in a way.

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A lovely venue in Sheffield- The Old Post Office.

I reprised my role as intelligence/ quest control. The quests were a very popular late edition to the first game; accordingly, they were increased in prominence for this run through. This time one of the changes was to have the different countries’ colony governors be able to give them out. This added to player interaction as well as having the chance to set the players against each other.

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A view of my messy workstation where I dished out the quests.

The players adopted similar roles to the previous game, colonies run by governors, nation teams running the navy and two smaller groups of pirates/ buccaneers. Given the game started within a state of war the pirate players could, and were encouraged to, get letters of marque from nations allowing them to target the merchant ships of enemy nations in a form of asymmetric economic warfare with a get out of jail letter as long as they only attacked the enemies they were meant to.

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The map (and also social media is very popular in megagames with live streams on facebook being common).

Being away from the main map my knowledge of how the war between the nations was going. These wars started and finished by control interjection as the war in the Caribbean that the game represented was on the periphery of and subservient to, the conflicts in Europe. Besides I was too busy running the perennially popular quests and off the wall plans of the players. These varied from spreading rumours and gossip to trying to salvage the body of a pirate who had been killed so it could be strung up as a warning to others.

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A view of one of the port maps- in this case Port of Spain.

The best of which involved a horse race. The governor of the Port of Spain had a very nice race horse that he would be prepared to accept a challenge from anyone to race against it. However, the governor of the port of Havana coveted the horse and got two different buccaneers to steal it for him. To provide a distraction he organised a sword duelling competition to keep the other players busy… The first plan was to get the grooms drunk then swap out the horse before the race, I adjudicated this and unfortunately it was not successful, the horse race was then run (ably improvised by Ian) and duly won by the champion race horse. At this point I interjected and ran through the plot of the second buccaneer; he had paid a hefty bribe, using a secret agent for the jockey to keep riding after the race, down to the harbour and then on to his waiting ship. The governor of the Port of Spain was worried about some funny business happening in the horse race so borrowed some militia off the governor of Havana to stave that off, unfortunately for him that unit of militia were under orders, passed to me in secret, not to intervene. I guess it is a case of be careful who you trust…

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A gibbet’d pirate- put there as a warning to others.

Things got even more complicated as the first buccaneer whose plan failed bought another horse and passed it off as the original, saying that the horse that actually ran the race was the fake horse, having been stolen before the race had started. This provided much confusion in the other players as to which horse was the genuine one. It was some great game playing by Becky to sow such confusion, for more details see her blog here.

 

In situations like this it was easy to use the dice (different colours marked with different numbers of skull and cross bones if you roll one it counts as a pass) to settle matters, each player rolls there dice first to get a success against their opponent wins. There were a few extremes of luck both bad (black dice with a 4 in 6 chance of success failing three times in a row for someone) and good: 12 rolls on red dice for damage on a ship from a fort’s guns, given the 50/50 odds the player felt confident with his 7 hull hit points on this ship… no 11 successes. In that latter example the player who had delivered the race horse to the governor of Havana decided to help himself to some treasure on the way out, got caught and paid the price. Unfortunately, the crown he stole went down with the ship. Many divers died trying to recover it for the governor.

 

The game seemed to be well received by the players and was a great start to the year’s calendar.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

From the Shed: More Elhiem figures.

A couple of quick pics here…

 

First up I painted 4 USMC figures, enough to form a fireteam, to try out the colours to paint Woodland MARPAT pattern see here for an example. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. Although a full platoon of them would take a while…. Will try the desert scheme next.

marines woodland marpat

I also painted up some assorted Cold War Soviet figures for a couple of scenarios I’ve got planned, the guy with the white helmet is a Military Policeman on traffic duty:

assorted cold war soviets

Finally I got some of the insurgent gun crew to go with the improvised mortars I featured a bit ago:

insurgent gun crew

gun crews and mortars

https://www.elhiem.co.uk/

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.