Saturday, April 1, 2017

Community Service

We were looking for new ways to promote our hobby (and club) and got into contact with the local library. They were very keen to put up a display, so I volunteered some of my 8th Army!

They needed  work anyway (a lot of transport damage...), and this was a great reason to get it done.

Some of my infantry, supported by a Matilda II, 2 inch mortar and a 2-pdr ATG. The 2-pdr is from Perry Miniatures and so fragile that it needed its own support base - sadly I haven't had time to paint it :/

M3 Grant (in the 4-tone camouflage as seen on the one at Bovington), SAS jeep and troop and a squad of Sikhs.

I count those towards my goal of getting 200 miniatures ready - 38 down, 162 to go!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Desert Terrain WIP

It has been a while again...

But I haven't been procrastinating - well, not all the time at least. I started to build up my terrain collection, especially pieces that will fit onto my desert table. For this I bought an oil derrick and two nodding donkeys from Fenris Games:

 Very nice kits, both of them. Sadly, both nodding donkeys were missing several piece - i.e. the ladder sprue and some of the tubing. I tried to contact Fenris Games but to no avail... I don't know, it is kinda telling that both times exactly the same parts were missing - I would assume a rushed job. That;s a shame because otherwise it is a very cool and unique piece of terrain.

The derrick is better, complete and a very nice construction, but several of the sheets were not completely lasered which made assemble unnecessarily difficult:

Yeah, so there was some disappointment, but once you have the finished pieces in front of you it's mostly forgotten and forgiven :)

I also built a storage tank out of a can and some bits:

Now I need to paint everything and then I want to make some mine fields and barbed wire obstacles. Hopefully it won't take taht long again to show you new pics!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Ghost Recon Wildlands Beta - First Impressions

After a couple of hours of Ghost Recon Wildlands I am ready to share my first impressions.

For those with little time: This is much more Far Cry 5 than Ghost Recon.

Don't get me wrong, it is a decent game and fun so far, but it is not a Tactical Shooter. The gameplay is very much like Far Cry 4, with some good new additions I'll mention later.
But enemies and missions feel sadly familiar.

My biggest worries so far:

- The story seems to be non-existent. Yes, there is a lot of lore about the cartel, but I don't expect any depth or even surprises during the game. This is not telling a story.

- For god's sake, if I am supposed to be the best of the best on a black ops, don't drop me in a foreign country with nothing but a MP5! That's right - you start with 1 (!) weapon load-out, and you have to unlocked everything else. Including the customization parts. You get a sniper rifle after the first mission, but still... Not cool.

- Talking about sniper rifles - if I put a bullet from a  dedicated sniper rifle in your face, I expect you to drop. But some enemy heavies take to high-powered shots. Tactical shooter? Yeah, sure...

- Side missions are do-or-die. If you mess one up, there is no second chance. That's fine, but if the mission is "shut down this antenna" don't throw a " now shut down the second antenna that was never mentioned before 1 klick away within 90 seconds" at me.

- While I can see that this game will be heaps of fun with a group of people you know, the single-player is sometimes frustrating. Your team is usually better left behind while you scout, and the very limited orders make them useless for any kind of stealth approach. There isn't even a "cover me"-command!

- Enemy AI is not very good, either. They don't care much about people being dropped within line of sight, but once they are alerted, they call for reinforcements. And there is close to no chance to stop them. Just Cause 3 gives you a couple of seconds to drop the guy with the radio, but here, no way. Then reinforcements show up exactly like they do in Far Cry, and that's it. I tried to escalate a fight, but reinforcements seem to be unable to call for more reinforcements. Weird...

- You can free imprisoned rebels in enemy bases, but all they do is grab a gun and start a firefight with the guards, blowing your stealth and get reinforcements being called. Yep, just the kind of " help" I need. *slowclap*

- Oh, and Bolivia has a helicopter density like an airshow - there must be well over 20 just in the province you are allowed to play...

So, what about the good stuff?

Well, if you look at it more as a military RPG, it is quite good. What I mean i, if you embrace the premise of being an operative deep in enemy territory, you can get that feeling.
Also, the addition of interrogations is pretty cool, and the Intel actually opens up different approaches to story missions (a grain of salt here - I have not checked if some Intel is mandatory to make story missions playable).
The world looks much better than I expected, and it feels pretty fitting. I am actually looking forward to seeing the other climate zones.
The beta gives you only a very tiny idea of what you can do to mess up cartel operations. There are 4 different "departments", and I am sure  if you put a lot of effort into going after supply, I hope that you can actually start an internal conflict within the cartel by going after production or public relations.

All in all, it is not what I hoped for, and much more what I expected. Nevertheless, I like it so far.
But I can't really see myself buying this over Mass Effect Andromeda.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Review - Airfix 1/48th Bedford MWD

I needed another truck for my Bolt Action British, so I picked up a 1/48th scale Bedford MWD from Airfix.

First a couple of words about the original:
The Bedford MWD was the ubiquitous 15cwt truck in British service - over 200.000 have been produced during the war and it served in every theater. Also only 4x2, it had a powerful 72 hp engine and reached a top speed of 95 km/h with a range of over 400 km. It could transport a 10-man squad or up to 800 kg of material.
The early version had only canvas doors and tiny screens for the driver and passenger, earning it the nickname "pneumonia wagon". In 1943, the design was updated to have half doors and a proper windscreen, together with some changes to the engine covers and instrument layout.
In the desert they were also used as 2pdr ATG portees.

The Airfix kit comes with 95 parts on 3 grey sprues plus one clear sprue for the windshield.

It allows to build both the early and late version and several canvas configurations, so you'll have a decent amount of pieces left after you finished:

You could even further reduce the number of used parts by omitting the engine parts and some of the interior that might not be visible in the version you want to build.

The kit comes together without any issues and I only encountered two small pitfalls:
First, the tires are flattened on one side so be careful when you assemble them to make them fit correctly.
Second, the instructions skip one step when it comes to the steering wheel, but it is quite obvious how it should work.

The final product is a fine little model:

I found several pictures of MWDs in North Africa, and it seems to have been quite common to remove the side covers of the engine, so I left them off my truck, too:

I also left the hood separate to allow easy access to paint the engine:

Size-wise, it fits quite well with 28mm miniatures, mostly because the MWD is such a small truck. A Company B driver doesn't look out of place at the wheel (apart from his missing legs...):

And next to some Perry Miniatures 8th Army soldiers it still looks good:

Even in direct comparison to a Warlord Games 3-ton Bedford the scale difference isn't outrageous:

Just to put the difference between 1/48th and 1/56th scale into some numbers:
This MWD is 1.3 cm too long, 0,6 cm too high and wide.

And with a coat of sand color it is almost ready to roll!

All in all, this was fun to put together and the kit makes a very nice looking model. The scale is acceptable in my mind, and I am looking forward to finish the paint job soon!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Bolt Action Pulp Partisan Cultists

Today I'd like to share an idea for a rather unusual Bolt Action army. 

Picture from Fenris Games

I am a huge fan of Weird War settings, but sadly, there is not much interest in that at my gaming club. Generally, they are quite conservative and like to stick to the rules as they are, while I like to be more... experimental.

Anyway, after realizing that there is almost no way to get away with a British '46 army based on a late war German list (basically an excuse to build some British assault engineers and use JTFM's Tortoise as a Jagdpanther), I thought up a new concept: Cultist Partisans!

Every proper Pulp setting has a sinister cult performing strange rituals to end the world/ wake up an ancient good / summon creatures from the other side / have NSFW social gatherings.
So why not make a fun Bolt Action army based on this concept?

This is the list I envisioned:
Kingsport Irregulars (Partisans)
Second Lieutenant with SMG
+ soldier with SMG

Partisan Squad 1
NCO with SMG
Soldier with Panzerfaust
16 soldiers with rifles

Partisan Squad 2
NCO with SMG
Soldier with Panzerfaust
16 soldiers with rifles

Partisan Squad 3
NCO with SMG
11 soldiers with SMGs
Anti-tank grenades

Guerrilla Squad
NCO with SMG
11 soldiers with SMGs
Anti-tank grenades

Anti-tank Team with Bazooka

General Purpose Truck
General Purpose Truck

= 1000 points
Pretty straight-forward: Two large squads as a solid base, and two assault squads in trucks to get right in your face. Plus a little extra in case of tanks. Anyway, not the best list ever, but okay to play.

Now the fun part - miniatures!
When one thinks of cultists, the excellent Frostgrave plastic box comes to mind immediately. Combined with an abundance of left-over firearms and Molotov cocktails from different Warlord Games boxes this should be a great foundation for this army.

Of course one could just use some army trucks as transports, but if I go wacky, I go wacky all the way:

Behold Sloppy Jalopy's 1910 Type B bus - the perfect way to ride into battle in style!
For the second one I would take the Ford AA panel van from the same manufacturer:

Or I get a Mack Bulldog Model AC from Shapeways:

Or, to fit with the tongue-in-cheek approach, this little vehicle from Great Escape Games:

This army also offers some interesting options for mission objectives and markers. Fenris Games has a whole range of Mythos-inspired pieces like these:

"Sir, we need to blow up the rune stone before those lunatics complete their ritual!"

And if you are looking for some further inspiration, have a look at Osprey Publishing's books about the military struggle against the Elder Ones:

On that note: Cthulhu fhtagn!