A blog about miniatures, wargaming, and the people driven to ruin by them....

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Battletech: Trees for Battlescape

Howdie.  I have been working on small tree stands to work with Battlescape terrain for my Battletech games.  I started off with a mix of different (and inexpensive) small scale trees, using a hot glue gun to affix them to pennies and (for the larger trees) steel washers.  In some cases, I clumped 2 or 3 pennies together for a larger stand of multiple trees.  Included in this are some rightly colored ornamental trees... I thought putting a few out would make the woods more "alien", or at least more "festive"....

Afterwards, I affixed a mix of sand and white glue, something to give the stands more texture.  Also, this surface is more accepting of paint.  This also helps harden the stand.  Notice I have been using sheets of paper or plastic grocery bags as this process leaves a lot of little bits of residue.
After this was dry I painted the bases with a wash of dark brown paint thinned with water.  Once this dried, I applied a few different flock... starting with some earth blend turf, then different colors of foliage, making each stand more of a tiny vignette, hoping this helps sell the "woods" look.

The Battlescape terrain is a bit of work to set up, so i went with some sample shots just to demonstrate the finished look.  Appears some Inner Sphere types are tangling with Jade Falcons....  One last part I have not quite decided on is marking the woods hexes so that trees can be removed for the insertion of moving Mechs (like the Banshee in these images), and removed to be able to draw lines of sight (for just about every thing in these images).  I do have some battescape terrain sheets that you cut out, which are already marked, making this task very easy.  But I don't have a lot of that.  I think I will be using small pieces of felt which I can place in the middle of each hex, so that when a tree is removed, it will be easy to see which hex(es) it foes back on.

Of course, these trees, while on the smaller side, will still work with all larger scales of miniatures, either as full sized trees in 15mm, or understory thickets in 28mm.

Not sure when I will get to test these guys out in a game, but I will be sure to post about it when I do.

Thanks for reading, and remember, only you... and your Stalker... can prevent forest fires!


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Shootout: Miami Dade, April 11, 1986


From time to time, I set up tactical simulations of law enforcement gun fights.  We recently gamed the FBI shoot out in Miami Dade, which occurred on April 11, 1986, between 8 agents and 2 particularly dangerous individuals wanted for armed robbery and murder.  I have run this scenario in the club previously, but this time we used 1/6th scale figures... and, because they were available, 1/6th scale jeeps and kubelwagons filled in for cars.  Yes, they do look out of place, but they worked for their purpose, and after a bit everyone responded to them simply as terrain pieces anyway.  The son of one of our members actually made up specific representations of the two criminals, which came out quite accurate.  The scale created a unique gaming area as we had to use three carefully arranged 4' x 6' tables, and still had to position Hanlon and Mireles far off the table (which was done to allow Orrantia and Risner to arrive on the table).

The scenario starts at the point that Agent Manauzzi has forced Matix and Platt off the road and into a parking lot.  Agent McNeil has pulled into Manuazzi's car, with Agents Grogan and Dove taking a position behind the suspect vehicle.  Agents Hanlon and Mireles are some distance away, recovering from a spin out, and Agents Risner and Orrantia have yet to arrive.

Platt starts the game with a fusillade from his passenger side seat into Manauzzi's car...
Manauzzi is hit twice, the second round killing him outright.
After exchanging shots, and realizing he is outgunned, McNeil crawls into the back seat of his vehicle in a desperate attempt to retrieve - and then load - his 870 in the back seat.  He has already been slightly wounded.  Platt, then Matix, crawl through their car windows, trying to take cover behind the vehicles as they exchange fire with the converging agents.  A vengeful Platt takes notice of McNeil...
He charges towards McNeil's position, firing at point blank range.  Despite being previously wounded, McNeil is not hit (against all odds)... he returns fire with the single shell he had managed to load, but also misses, as Platt ducks down.
Matix puts fire down on Grogan and Dove.
A blast of birdshot strikes Grogan in the chest... though the wound is only moderate, it sends the agent sprawling.
In the background, Risner and Orrantia have arrived, and begin to fire on Platt prior to him ducking down.  Risner hits Platt in the upper torso, wounding him badly.  Matix has also been hit several times, including twice in the right arm and once in the head. Though no single wound is severe, the accumulated damage is taking its toll.  Hanlon and Mireles move up, Hanlon to put fire on Matix and support Grogan and Dove, and Mireles to support (rescue) the beleagured NcNeil.  Stressed players try to solve the riddle of downing their opponents without being downed themselves.

A wounded McNeil exits the rear passenger door, scrambling to put new shells into his 870, while Platt is crouched on the other side, his Mini-14 blazing.

Enraged from the chest wound, Platt pours fire into Orrantia and Risner.  Though Risner is missed, Orrantia is hit twice.  He is not dead, yet, but is critically wounded and slumps down, out of the fight (viewed in the distance), bleeding heavily.  At the same time Matix drops his empty 12 gauge, yanking his .357 from his shoulder hoster.  Grogan recovers from his sprawl, going to a crouch, closely supported by Hanlon.  He fires ineffectively at Matix.  Matix returns fire, hitting Grogan in the chest again, but this time with his .357. The shot is fatal, and Grogan falls in the parking lot.
Dove has also been hit, though the bullet travels through the structure of the car, robbing it of energy, resulting in a minor leg wound.
Platt, with nothing to lose, and suffering from multiple hits already, races around McNeil's car firing madly, again missing what should be easy shots... McNeil hastily returns fire, also somehow missing in the scramble, and his 870 goes empty again.  Mireles aggressively moves up, needing to get abreast of McNeil in order to not accidentally hit his fellow agent.  Mireles scores a single devastating hit with buckshot at point blank range to Platt's head.  Platt is killed instantly.
Once the Mini-14 has stopped, the agents suddenly have more freedom of movement, though they have taken considerable damage already.
Matix is still in the fight, and he is still dangerously determined.  With Platt neutralized, Risner runs forward to close the distance and clear his lane of fire, leaving the badly wounded Orrantia in their car.  Despite his own movement, and the partial cover Matix still has, Risner manages a single hit on Matix.  Matix is critically wounded and drops to the ground, alive but unconscious.

The fight is over.  Of the eight agents, 2 are dead, 1 is critically wounded, and 2 are lightly wounded.  Platt is dead.  His partner Matix is critically wounded, and unlikely to survive.

This scenario is extremely tense for the players.  They struggle with decisions about which actions to choose, as it seems like all choices are bad ones.  There were some oddities with dice rolling, Platt failing to hit McNeil 9 times at point blank range for any kind of significant damage went completely against the odds... but chalk it up to his erratic movement, and number of hits he had already received.  Mathematically Platt should have inflicted at least 4, possibly 5, more hits on McNeil, and even 1 or 2 would have certainly killed or incapacitated him.... but it didn't happen, because there are no guarantees.  Which is why we roll dice.

Matix held up well, pulling his own weight and was completely willing to continue the fight against the remaining 5 agents (two of whom were already wounded) after Platt was killed.  The agents were impeded by their inability to coordinate their actions (lack of communication was one feature of the historical event).  Here they managed to support one another as best they could, with mixed results.  McNeil being saved by Mireles is the best example of this working out for the agents.  Despite the apparent retreat of McNeil, the tactical concept was not incorrect, as he was trying to bring a more powerful (at least at short range) weapon into play.  Dove, Grogan, and Hanlon ganged up on Matix, assuming (correctly) that their combined fire would win out eventually... though it was Risner making his way past the dead Platt who was able to finally put Matix to sleep, and only after Grogan had sustained a fatal wound.

It is difficult in some ways to game this type of scenario, a modern one in which some of the actual participants are still living.  Still, it is very useful as a demonstration of a number of specific details of the historical event, and offers a spot light on the dramatic impact this day had on how law enforcement officers would be armed in the future.  It is also a tough game for the players, because the stakes are high and every decision could force them from the game.  I present this scenario with plenty of background information, and we have discussion on various aspects of the weapons, the men, the wounds, and the aftermath.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Battletech: New Mountain Company and More


I have a continuing interest in Battletech, the game itself as a nostalgic journey into the past, but also in the mechs, and background history.  So, when I have the time, I paint a few mechs up.  I had previously posted about a company of mountain camo'ed mechs here where you can see 14 mechs painted in grey, tan, and sand.  you may have noticed that of the 14, 10 are Heavy or Assault.

So, I decided to add a company, but make the mix a bit lighter....

In the mountain camo (all lead miniatures) are a Commando, Thorn, Mongoose, Wasp, Raven, Cicada, Clint, Phoenix Hawk, Wolverine, Flashman, Crusader, and Scorpion.  This company has a wider range of light and medium mechs, with only 2 heavies, giving me more options with this force.
Let me ask a question.. how is the Clint supposed to be a 40 tonner?  Its a tiny model, though sizing was not really a strong feature of the mech line.

You may have noticed that there are 4 old friends in this company...
Now, I also painted some other stuff.

I have a Stalker in the mountain camo already, but like the design, so its good to have one in an independent paint scheme for whenever the need arises.  I have very, very few post 3050 mechs in my collection, I bought this Salamander years ago, and just decided to paint it up too, again, in an indpendent design.  Also included are two vehicles, the first I have painted for Battletech, SRM carriers in a neutral brown for multi use.

Well, there it is, nothing too exciting, hope to get another company in the mountain camo, and end up with a reinforced battalion before I am through.

NARC em, TAG em, an run like hell.

Thanks for reading,

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Modern Micro Armor


Just finishing up some modern micro-armor... nothing particularly special in my paint skills here, some of these are paint on top of someone else's paint... but they will work.  I need to come back later and place some insignia, details maybe.  We will see.  Mix of GHQ and C-in-C.  Everything is based on hexagons (helps with arcs of incoming fire, in my opinion.  Anyway....

Soviets, camo:  6x T-80, 6x BMP-1, 3x BMP-2, 1x ZSU-23-4...
Soviets or Warsaw Pact:  5x T-62 5x T-72, 2x SA-9 Gaskin...
Iraqi, sand and camo:  8x T-55, 6x T-72, 3x BTR-50, 3x BTR-60, 2x ZSU-23-4, 3x BRDM Swatter...
US, camo:  11x M1A1 or A2 (not sure)...
US, camo:  3x Trucks, 3x M901 Hammerhead, 2x M577 command vehicles, 5x Bradleys.....

Like I said, nothing special, and they need a little more work, but its a decent start.



Sunday, May 7, 2017

Fantasy: Meadows of Mayhem!

Finally had a chance to run my Meadows of Mayhem system for our club, using 20mm-ish figures from Splintered Light.  This is a fast paced, simple, skirmish game.  There were 6 bands in total, the Fanged Horde (foxes, weasels, rats, plus friends) versus the Woodland Alliance (otters, rabbits, mice and squirrels, plus friends).

The table at the start of the game....
 Weasels in line with rats... notice the bear mercenaries participating...
 But the mice and squirrels have a panda bear ally... rabbits to the flank of the mice...
 The otters quickly cross the stream with their swim ability...
 A huge melee erupts, as mice and squirrels engage the rats... some squirrels climb the cabin roof to get to the rear of their enemies...
In the middle,  a Wolverine under bloodlust advanced on his own, leaving his weasel allies behind... despite being swarmed by the rabbits and their spotted leopard general, the Wolverine would prove impossible to kill...
The otters and foxes chase each other around a wee cabin on the far flank...
 The melee on the other flank gets bloodier and bloodier, in particular for the mice and squirrels...
First the mice and squirrels flee, mostly being cut down shortly afterwards... then the rest of the Woodland Alliance reaches the army break point...
Soon, all that are left are the Fanged Horde.... the Otters, mostly in tact, are able to slip away via the stream.

All in all, this was a fast, fun game.... the result was somewhat lopsided (the Woodland Alliance was destroyed!), but that happens sometimes.  We will have to try this again.

Thanks for reading!


Friday, March 24, 2017

A Farewell to a Comrade

This is not the kind of post I would have expected to be making so soon... inevitably, in the future, somewhere down the road... but not now.

We are saying farewell to one of our comrades, Al.  He was a gamer, so I will remember him on my gaming blog, in a way that only other gamers will understand.

He was partial to sci fi, and fantasy, and steam and rivets... but he was willing to game with us in everything (except Battletech.. boy, did he hate heat sinks!).  As one of our club members recently commented... "What a guy. He suffered through Napoleonics for us".

Here he is, consulting with me (or maybe trying to tune me out...) about the Anglo-Allied left flank at Waterloo in our 2015 anniversary campaign of the famous 1815 campaign. 

Its good to remember working with him.
Group photo, Battle of Lutzen.... 

He was one of the first playtesters for one of my games, giving me some advice that I did incorporate... a slightly more "off track" game than Napoleonics, for certain.

He had a huge vocabulary, that he was unafraid of using.  He laughed large... something many others seem to remember.  Affable and intelligent and funny..... if only we all were!

Only fellow wargamers are likely to see this post... which is good, because to "outsiders" this may seem trite and shallow, remembering a man only through this one tiny facet of his life.  But to those of you on the "inside", you likely understand.

There will be games in the future, when I will look to my left and be saddened for not finding him there. 

- Chalfant

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Talisman: First Character Set Painted....


Talisman was / is one of my all time favorite games.  A mix of board game and role playing game, I found this to be perhaps the best of the Games Workshop systems.  That is just my opinion :) 

I bought the boxed set in the mid-late 80s and most of the expansions over time (Talisman Expansion, Talisman Adventure, Talisman Dungeon, Talisman Timescape, and Talisman City). 

Anyway, years ago, when purchasing a large estate of gaming material from a local gamer, I acquired many rare and wonderous things... including a number of Talisman miniatures.  Since then, every once in a while, I have managed to add a figure here and there.  I am still working on that.  My intention, obviously enough, was to paint a full set of miniatures for the game, except I never actually painted any of them (a frequent gamer problem, apparently).

That has changed.

Just finished the first set of 14 miniatures, plus a couple more.  Pictures are not great, my camera is failing faster than my eyesight, but hopefully the images convey my attempt to remain honest to the original art.

Here is a group shot of the 14 characters from the original boxed set....

In alphabetical order, here are the Assassin, Druid, Dwarf, Elf, and Ghoul (I have always had a soft spot for the Ghoul)....

Here are the Minstrel, Monk, Priest, Prophetess (my wife's favorite character in the game), and Sorceress....

And here are the Thief, Troll, Warrior, Wizard, AND the Toad!  Don't get turned into a Toad!

Now, I currently have some obligations for painting, including a bunch of 6mm Ancients, so I am not sure when I can get to the next Talisman set.  However, I did paint a couple of extras up, the Ranger from the Talisman Expansion, and the Astropath from the Talisman Timescape....

These were fun to paint, not always easy... the original art has certain colors repeated often, so it took a little effort to try and use slightly different shades here and there.  Overall, I think they turned out decent enough.  I will try to continue painting these (once I get some other projects completed)...I might use them for other games too.  The set, in full, really provides a broad range of miniatures to use as characters, or NPCs, in many gaming systems.  Just be sure to put them back into their Talisman storage when you are done.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you don't get the Horrible Black Void instead of the Crown of Command!