Tuesday, 29 August 2017

I've started another army for Alien Squad Leader

Yes, I have now embarked upon a third army for Alien Squad Leader. Once again, all of the figures (with one exception) are from the excellent Ground Zero Games 15mm Stargrunt range. I've been planning this one for a while now, but couldn't decide on some aspects of the army, which is an Alien Imperial one. I always knew that the main components of the force would be made up from the Crusties minis and models, but the issue I had was how to fill the ranks of the Primitives (who are a mandatory selection). Anyway, the Primitives will be the subject of a later post. At the moment I am going to show you my Imperial Elites, who are power-armoured infantry, and the Robotic element of the army, which consists of both light and heavy Droids.

First, here are four stands of Elite troopers. The one with a figure in red is a command stand.

And here are the Heavy Droids, accompanied by a character figure, a Champion of the Elect in red power armour.

I wanted this army to look completely unlike my two Human ones, both of which have a fairly sensible camouflage/military fatigues colour scheme. It occurred to me that alien lifeforms might have eyes that have evolved under completely different circumstances to our own, being attuned to different wavelengths of the spectrum. To try and get this idea across, I decided that this army's armoured troops would follow a rather bright, not to say garish colour scheme. After undercoating them in pale grey, I gave them a wash of Windsor and Newton purple drawing ink, which I drybrushed successively with Vallejo Brass and Silver, before adding in some other colours. I also decided that commanders in power armour would be given red as their command colour. 

Although the colour scheme is pretty bright, I am happy with the results.

My Robotic Infantry are the only non-GZG figures. They are "Taranis Repulsar Drones" from The Ion Age. I originally bought these for another purpose, but I really like their quirky appearance and I reckon that they make pretty good combat droids for my Alien Imperial army.

These have a simple metallic colour scheme, the idea being that they are churned out in huge numbers by colossal automated imperial manufactories as disposable combat units so therefore they don't get a top quality paint job.

Anyway, That's where I am so far. I've got other figures almost ready, but I am waiting on a delivery of more 5cm square bases to complete the Imperial troops, before moving on to the Primitives.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Lincombe Barm Wargames Society All-Sunday session

Last Sunday the club had an extended all-day gaming session. There were a number of games being played and I think that there were plenty of happy gamers come the end of the day. Here are some pictures of the games (well, pictures of the ones I photographed).

First, here is an Alien Squad Leader game, with my 150pt Human Imperial army being massively chewed up by the evil Bugs of the Hive Mind.

This is Bolt Action Doctor Who, I think U.N.I.T against the Sontarans.

This is the first of two games of Congo;

And finally, two Hordes Of The Things outings for my Hyborian Age Barbarians.  First against and army of Elves;

And a more slippery encounter with a Frog army;

I'll write up the ASQL game in detail later, because it showed up the problems of fighting a huge swarming army of giant Bugs.

There were also games of Kings of War, with Undead against Elves and a Cold War Warsaw Pact  confrontation with the British using Squad Yankee rules in 6mm.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

African huts and cooking pots for Congo

While some of us from the club were at the IPMS show up at Thornbury last Sunday, we bought some resin models from Wargames Terrain Workshop's stand. I'd already bought some graveyard items from them but these were a club purchase to be used in African-themed games, Studio Tomahawk's Congo in particular. There is a growing amount of interest in this game at the club, I've even bought the rules and some minis myself. They aren't painted at the moment, just undercoated, so they aren't going to feature here for a while yet.

Anyway, I volunteered to paint the stuff we bought for Congo and here they are;

There is one large hut (described as a Chieftain's hut) and two smaller ones (presumably for hoi polloi) and five scenic items for scattering around the village. There is a nice cooking fire and four other sets of pots of varying sizes. I've included a 28mm figure in the photo so you can see the size of the models.

I can report that these are excellent models, no bits of flash or bubbly or pitted surfaces and they paint up really easily. The huts are hollow, to reduce weight, which is nice. These models took me around four hours to paint, in total. They were undercoated in Army Painter Desert Yellow and the colours were built up on the straw parts of the huts with progressive drybrushing in suitably bleached-looking dried straw-like shades, given a wash with Windsor and Newton nut brown ink and then given a final drybrushing with Vallejo Beige paint. I used a similar palette of colours for the scenic bits and bobs, with the addition of Vallejo Red Leather on the pots (I also used this for the mud walls of the chieftain's hut). The mud walls were inked with W&N Deep Red ink and the pots had a wash of W&N Sunshine Yellow ink. Finally, they were varnished with Army Painter matt spray varnish.

I have to say that I am pretty pleased with the way that they have turned out. It'll be good to see them on the table in the not too distant future.

Monday, 7 August 2017

An Encounter With The Unknown - an Alien Squad Leader AAR

This AAR represents the first outing for my newly-rebased Corporate Mercenary Army. Their opponents were Richard's enigmatic Alien Greys.

Third Level Clan Commander Utor Varanis had been an employee of the Kagemusha Corporation for a decade or more, following his discharge from the New Venus Defence Force. His military career had been solid if unspectacular, but brought to an ignominious end when his illegal financial trading had been exposed by the planetary government's Inquisitors. Fortunately, most of his ill-gotten gains were invested in an anonymous off-planet account with the Kagemusha Bank. Some of the money was invested in a profitable arms dealing enterprise and the rest was used to buy a stakehold in the Kagemusha Corporation's private army, the Kagemusha Security Force. Since then, his career had been one of endless small small conflicts, security actions and punitive expeditions for the kind of customers who were prepared to buy discreet K-Force muscle from K Corp with no questions asked. This latest contract was no different from many others; a security detail on an arid satellite of a gas giant, defending huge automated mining installations from pirates. Nine weeks in both he and his troops were bored, listlessly counting down the days until they were rotated out to be replaced by a fresh company.

Now, in the hours before sunrise, the alarms were going mental across the control centre and the long range sensors were down. Across base, troopers were scrambling and taking up defensive positions. Whatever it was, it was something that 3L Varanis had never seen before. Hurredly, he deployed his troops in a line either side of a road that led from his base to the nearest mining installation, which, if his displays could be believed, was offline and powered down, as was the entire network of orbital spy satellites. In the dim early morning light, he could see something approaching.

Varanis deployed hover AFVs on both flanks, on the left secure behind a toxic slurry canal. He pushed Techno Ninja stealth troops in a ruined settlement and in some scrubland way out on his right, supported by robotic Cyborg Guardian troops.

Before long, the enemy could be seen advancing. These were robotic troops of an unknown type. Almost immediately, their energy beams destroyed the AFV on the K-Force left, leaving the infantry there out in the open and at risk of destruction.

The unknown robots took cover in a rocky outcrop where they were difficult to locate and attack.

Varanis occupied the settlement, deploying a heavy weapons team to try and take out the robots.

On the right, K-Force units occupied heavy cover in a deserted mine.

 For hours, little happened. The robotic troops bombarded the settlement without much effect and K-Force responded with an equal lack of success. Varanis began to feel that he had a firm control of the situation, despite attacks from floating weapons platforms that appeared, fired and vanished again. Suddenly, alien troops appeared over a low hill. Varanis ordered his elite Ninjas to attack.

Inexplicably, these masters of combat were defeated and eliminated by the aliens. First they lost their initial assault (due to an appalling dice roll) and were then crippled by a Paralysis attack which meant they were wiped out without being able to respond.

As the sun rose over the horizon, Varanis sent in the Cyborg Guardians, but despite causing some damage, these were taken over by a Mind Of The Machine attack and forced out into the open where they were picked off by heavy weapons fire. Elsewhere, the threat from alien Flyers forced Varanis to deploy many of his troops on Overwatch, as casualties began to mount from long-range heavy energy beam fire. The heavy weapons team in the settlement was one such loss, one that would prove crucial.

The alien robots, supported by floating heavy weapons platforms were proving to be almost impossible to dislodge. They were too far away to assault and with few heavy weapons, almost immune to his Ashigaru infantry's small arms.

In desperation, Varanis ordered his remaining AFV to attack the robots.

Finally, the primary weapon on the AFV scored a hit and severely damaged one of the alien robots.

This success was short-lived as withering heavy fire destroyed the remaining K-Force heavy weapons team and damaged the AFV.

However, before long, the damaged robot exploded from prolonged suppressive fire from the beleaguered K-Force troops.

The constant airborne threat kept K-Force from doing anything except cowering in cover and anxiously scouring the skies. Inevitably, a Flyer got through and destroyed the remaining AFV. 

At this point, Varanis realised that his gamble had failed and his remaining troops were sitting ducks. He ordered a general withdrawal. As his battered fighters emerged from their improvised defences in the ruins, Third Level Clan Commander Utor Varanis contemplated his future. Demotion to Second Level Clan Commander seemed inevitable and he fully expected that there would be large financial penalties to pay as well. He would be lucky to avoid the disgrace of being sent to command a Kagemusha Corporation Debtor Re-education Facility.

So, an interesting game. The loss of an AFV early on meant that my army lacked long-rage firepower and was unable to get anywhere near the enemy to launch any assaults on the weak Grey infantry. My forces were bottled up in defensive positions that soon became death traps. The Alien Greys are an odd force in many ways but the sheer number of heavy weapons they can deploy means that they can stand off and destroy their opponents one at a time.

Still, plenty of food for thought. I still like the Corporate Mercenary army, but they do seem to need more long-range punch. Also, Flyers.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Rebasing a Sci Fi army

Last year, I posted about my GZG sci fi armies that I was planning to use for Quadrant 13 games. Here is the piece I wrote about my Corporate Ashigaru army.

Anyway, no one at my club plays Q13 so this army, which I like a lot has been languishing away in a drawer, not being used. However, in the new version (so far unreleased) of Alien Squad Leader, written by the club's very own Alex Self, there is a new army list for "Far Eastern Corporate Mercenaries". "Bingo!" I thought. "Perhaps I can reuse my figures."

Of course, this meant a rebasing exercise, which I've been avoiding because it seemed like a lot of hassle. So far, so much Nothing Much Happening. Until now. 

Having been away on holiday, I didn't have any plans for games for the next few weeks but on Sunday, I arranged to play ASQL next Sunday. My original thought was to use my Human Imperial army again, a force I very much like, but the idea light bulb flickered into life and whispered "What about a Corporate Mercenary force?" in my ear. "After all, you've got the figures."

I couldn't see any compelling reason why not to do it, so I've been setting about the troops with a Stanley knife and deploying the Bostik, PVA glue, 5cm MDF bases from Warbases and the right basing material (crushed limestone grit designed for reptile tanks) and flock and getting an army ready to deploy on the table.

And here are the results. First are eight elements of Corporate Ashigaru (including two command stands). These are basic infantry compulsory choices.

Next are two Ashigaru Support elements with heavy weapons and two stands of Cyborg Guardians, who are classed as Robotic Infantry. I still have a couple of heavy weapons to be rebased at some point.

Next up are two Ground Attack Craft. I've decided that these GZG drones fit the bill perfectly.

Now four stands of Ninjas, elite infiltration infantry.

Next, some overkill. A total of seven stands of Samurai Stormtroopers wearing power armour. In the first picture they are acting as bodyguards for the Clan Commander character stand, and in the second one, they are led by a Sword Master power armoured character.

And finally, some vehicles; three Teishin APCs and two Teishin APCs. Note that these models are hover vehicles, designated as Air-lifted Vehicles in the rules. This means that they have a reduced saving throw but they have other advantages, including the ability to cross certain types of terrain and rivers without penalty and they can also make pop-up attacks.

Of course, I have far too many elements for a 150pt game, even for a 200pt one, especially when in comes to power-armoured Samurai Stormtroopers, but has that ever stopped a wargamer before? I had a lot of power-armoured troops and I was reluctant to leave then in the drawer. What really makes me happy is that I can finally get to use these troops, the techno Ninjas in particular (they count as "stealthy" in the new ASQL rules) because they are terrific little figures. Well done Ground Zero Games for producing such excellent miniatures!

All I have to do now is stick some magnetic sheeting to the bases and I'll be ready to take on any opposition on the tabletop. There are a couple of other troop types in the army list, so I will definitely be doing some shopping at some future date to give me more options.