On Saturday, July 27th, the Mass Pikemen met for our monthly gaming session – this time it was another go at “Attack of the Warbots“. This game uses the Combat Patrol™ rules system, and the figures are Archive (from the late 1970’s/early 1980’s), Mega Miniatures (late 1990’s/early 2000’s), Wargames Supply Dump (now OOP), or my own creations. The links below for each can tell you more about them if you’re interested.
On the first turn, the Mark 1 above did not get to activate as no “5” came up. The Warbots chose not to pay one of their bonus chits to get a “5”. This allowed Leif to jet pack up a Space Roo with an RPG – who got a lucky hit and destroyed the tank.
Christine’s Aphids meanwhile took heavy fire from the Warbots and Juggerbots, and were in danger of being wiped out. The remaining Mark 1 approached the wall. Leif jet-packed a lone heroic Space Roo over the wall to attack the tank with a satchel charge, only to stun it. The Aphid Platoon Leader, Lt. Hemipteran, valiantly attacked the other side of the tank with a satchel charge, and the remaining Mark 1 brewed up from the explosion.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the board, Mike was making good progress with his Martians and his Roberker. Unfortunately for Roberker, a lucky Space Roo bullet hit his CPU, causing him to go rogue. In the game, a rogue robot attacks whatever he can see. Luckily for the attackers, he went rogue at the enemy Space Roos (commanded by Leif), who were eventually able to put him down with rifle fire and some of Christine’s Mortar duck supporting fire (called down ON TOP OF the Space Roos position). This was done with Leif’s approval – his Roos were valiant. Of course, several Roos bought the farm here.
Meanwhile, the Warbots on the other end managed to fire a plasma arc weapon and breach the wall such that one of Chris’ Warbot figures could go through at a time. Simultaneously, Leif successfully pulled some high cards and luckily repaired the captured Mark 1!
At this point, the game was called with a marginal victory for the Biological Alliance. They would have had to get the tank off the table, and there were Warbot reinforcements coming. My new ruined chemical plant had a lot of action!
Some of the items on the activity list below could be fairly called double-counting, but hey, no blood no foul! I tend to count projects in terms of their distinctive nature, ie the building/assembling/creating processes to me are different than painting, as is converting figures. I did not cast anything this year or make any molds as I still have plenty of figures to paint, and my hope is to knock out more of them in 2019, as I will not need to make as many game pieces/game aids.
This list, which is a separate page on my blog, helped me to stay focused. The adding of the hyperlinks that you see on the items below helps me to review past projects as prologue for future ones.
Thanks for checking this out – and good luck to all in 2019! Hope I keep you amused and entertained!
2018 Total Projects: 2,036
244 figures painted
0 figures cast
47 figures assembled
33 terrain pieces made or assembled
28 terrain pieces painted
10 figure conversions
867 creations or components sculpted or scratch-built
0 molds made
807 game pieces/game aids made and/or painted
January: 91 projects
Creations/components sculpted or scratch-built (91):
2 A9 Cruiser Mark I tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR020)
1 A10 Cruiser Mark IIA (Desert) tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR023)
1 A13 Cruiser Mark IVA (Desert) tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR026)
1 Valentine III tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR061)
1 Crusader II tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR032)
1 Crusader III tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR034)
1 M3 Grant tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR100)
1 Churchill II tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR070)
5 M3 Stuart “Honey” tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR006) – Brits will get two, I am saving one for future Soviet Lend-Lease, one for future captured German use in North Africa, and one as an American M3 for future captured Japanese use in Burma or the Philippines.
Many of you who follow my blog have read about Buck Surdu, my good friend and author of multiple wargaming rules systems. Of course, he is a fellow West Pointer so that’s in his favor! He is a major shaker and mover in the H.A.W.K.’s (Harford County Weekly Kriegspielers) in Maryland, and has been involved with BARRAGE for years.
Little Wars TV interviewed Buck, and I thought some of you would find this interesting.
Finding a gaming convention that is close by to my home has been somewhat frustrating for me over the last few years. Since I returned to the hobby, I have attended a few BARRAGE events in Maryland , but that’s it.
Imagine then that there was a con 15 miles from my home AND that they have been having it for 34 years (and I never knew!). The event was the three-day (Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday) HAVOC convention, run annually by Battlegroup Boston. This year was HAVOC XXXIV, and I learned of it through the New England Wargame Groups List page on FaceBook. It ran from April 6-8, and I am really glad that I could attend, but it was a last-minute decision. I was also hoping to let folks know about our group, The Mass Pikemen’s Gaming Club in Central Massachusetts.
In this blog, first I’ll discuss the two games I ran, then share some photos and eye candy of some of the convention.
I managed to get 7 players for the game, which was great. I did not get as many pictures as I would have liked as I was running the game. The players really had a great time and there was a lot of action. No one had ever seen these figures before, and the mass of the Mark 1’s surprised them all! I used a number of Armorcast sci-fi structures as well on the board, and they worked great.
While all this was going on, the Warbots on the right closed with the Robo-Sentry guns and the Star Ducks defending the wall. In this game, I have the Warbots use the Japanese Combat Patrol™ deck, which has different morale results. A morale card result caused one Warbot team to make a Banzai charge at the last surviving Robo Sentry gun, which was jammed. This enabled the Star Ducks to hit the team with direct fire. When the Banzai charge was over, another morale check caused this same team to flee the game, stifling this assault. The Frinx just got their captured tank fixed as the game was out of time. Due to the casualties inflicted by the Warbots, I called the game a draw. The players all were highly excited by the game and loved the ease of use of the Combat Patrol™ decks for all aspects of the game.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, my game was nominated for the “Al Award”. From the HAVOC website, this is “presented for the game with the most stunning visual appeal. Our crack team of experts (expert team of cracks) will vote on the game that made us say “Wow!”.” I was honored to be nominated, but even more so to win! Thanks so much for this to Battlegroup Boston! A great con it was to be sure – and I felt very welcome here by all the club members.
The second game I ran was on Sunday, which was “GO FROGS RIBBIT – STOP THE BUGS”. It was a battle between the F.R.O.G. Commandos (with Star Duck reinforcements) and two Archive Star Rovers foes – the aforementioned Aphids and the Hurraku Space Phraints. So, basically, it was insectivores versus insects, albeit big bugs. The Frogs were defending a wooded area between two rivers and specifically their sacred pond. The insects’ objective was to seize the pond, and to dispatch as many amphibians as possible along the way with extreme prejudice.
I ended up with four players for this game – one for each attacking bug side on opposite sides of the board. Star Ducks would reinforce the Frogs as a special event card was pulled during the game. The Frogs would use the regular decks, while the bugs would use the Japanese decks. The Space Phraints also had a Sith. Here again, the players quickly adapted to the Combat Patrol™ deck. All were new to the game.
The Aphids got into the fray first with their Grav Cycles, while the Aphid infantry and the Space Phraints advanced.
The Aphids however did effectively draw the Frogs to their attack, weakening the side facing the Hurraku Space Phraints. This would have consequences.
At this point, the Hurraku gambled and turned the tide of battle. Linda (the Hurraku player) decided to take advantage of her Sith’s power of “Rage”. This ability causes a Banzai attack. This also removes all stun markers from her troops while they charge at the enemy and engage solely in hand-to-hand combat (or just melee as we are talking about bugs and Frogs). The Hurraku also all have the same activation number until the banzai charge ends, resulting in a true mass attack. Here (in melee) the Hurraku have an advantage as they are very tough fighters. They also move fast normally, and the “Rage” improves that movement by a factor of two.
At this point, a Star Duck squad jet packed in as reinforcements, but it was not enough. They jet-packed in to defend the pond.
The players here had a good time and were good sports. The tide swung from one side to the other. In the end, the “Rage” Banzai charge was decisive.
I will now share some photos of the two games I played on Saturday morning and afternoon (I did not play Saturday night). I played a Bolt Action scenario run by Friedrich Helisch. The scenario was a 1941 German attack on a Russian-held village. David Shuster was on the Russian side, while Friedrich and I played the Germans. This was my first try at Bolt Action.
This was a points-based game, and our taking of the second building allowed us to win by 1 point, so it was very close. As for the rules, I am on the fence, but more than willing to try them again at some point in the future.
The second game I played was a Gaslands scenario. I had heard this was an interesting game and thought I’d try it out. In this game you get so many points to choose and arm 2-3 vehicles (performance car, regular car, and pickup truck). The goal is to run over (3 points) or shoot (1 point) pedestrians (in homage to Death Race 2000) instead of the usual zombies on the game board. You can attack your opponents, but their destruction does not get you points (you do eliminate the competition). The movement is very much like X-Wing.
I played with two other players, who chose to max out two vehicles, while I did three lesser-armed vehicles. I chose to go after the competition and eventually had one of two vehicles to be the last on the tabletop. However, at this point the game masters deploy invulnerable Monster trucks to hunt you down and end the game. I just missed my last pedestrian which would have tied me for first. The game masters (Michael Eichner and Erich Eichner) did a nice job, and this was a fun game. The table looked great too.
I thought that I should share some photos of the rest of the con. I did not get to see as much as I would have liked, but there were a lot of very cool games. Kudos to all the folks at Battlegroup Boston, as well as the GM’s and players! Please share your thoughts in the comments section – thanks for reading this blog!
I cannot make Cold Wars this year – but these are some great options for those attending! See below!
From Buck Surdu’s Blog
Buck F: 215: Hold as Long as Possible (1) Friday, 9:00 AM, 4 hrs, Players: 6 GM: Buck Surdu & HAWKS Sponsor: None, Prize: None Period: World War II, Scale: 28mm, Rules: Combat Patrol™: WWII. ItisthePhilippinesinearly1942. The Americans are retreating slowly toward Bataan. A platoon of infantry, along with a handful of Stuart tanks, must […]
This gaming convention was held January 19-20 in Havre de Grace, MD, which is close to Aberdeen. It was a blast and well-run by the HAWKS gaming club.
I played many games over many time periods and genres. Mostly I played a lot of Combat Patrol™ games!
Second Boer War (modified Combat Patrol™)
Poland 1939 (Combat Patrol™)
Napoleonic Era -Bridge at Vittoria (Fate of Battle)
Civil War skirmish (Brother vs. Brother)
Star Wars (modified Combat Patrol™)
Moro Insurrection (modified Combat Patrol™)
Tavern LARP (Blood and Swash)
You can see many more photos here of all the games, including the LARP that concluded the 1.5 days of gaming. I’m here wearing a Boston Bruins sweater or a West Point sweatshirt in these photos.
The first game I played was a Second Boer War scenario where the British were attacking the Boers defending a hill and farmstead. I played the Boers. The Brits needed to kill or capture the Boer leader, which they failed to do, so this was a good start for my day.
The second game that I played in was a scenario involving a German attack on the Poles in 1939, run by Buck Surdu. I was on the Polish side with two other players. The Germans had 4 Panzer 38(t)’s, and several squads of infantry, including some antitank rifles. The Poles had about the equivalent amount of infantry, but fewer machine guns. For armor, they had two TKS tankettes, one with a 20mm gun, and one with a machine gun. They also had 2 Wz. 28 armored cars. The surprise of the game was that German armor was decimated by the TKS with the 20mm (killed 3/4 of the panzers before being knocked out by the last panzer). In the end the game was called a German victory, but I felt we acquitted ourselves well.
The next day I first played a Napoleonic scenario run by Dave Wood. I played on the French/Swiss side against a Portuguese and British attacking force. Their objective was the Vittoria Bridge. Eventually we were routed.
I then played in a Civil War skirmish for a short time between games using the Brother vs. Brother rules. It ended up being a draw.
I then moved on to a Star Wars Combat Patrol/Frostgrave mash up scenario, where I was on the side of the Droids vs. Clones of the Republic. We were supposed to grab crates of goods and move them off the battlefield. Our sides leader was killed on turn 1, and later the game had to be halted due to GM Greg Priebe’s refrigerator blowing up at home…sorry Greg!
The last game was a Moro Insurrection scenario involving US and Moro troops trying to seize cattle from a pen. We had about 6 players. Buck Surdu ran this game using the Combat Patrol™ rules. I had a squad of US infantry that got caught in the open by the Moros, and got pretty shot up. It was a very bloody affair, with the Moros winning by getting the cattle.
The last event was a LARP using the Blood and Swash rules. Three teams competed for a treasure chest. I was a Man-at-Arms, and got involved in a pretty close battle with Buck Surdu, another Man-at Arms. I nearly killed Buck, but he managed to kill me first. The good news for Buck was that his side won.
I had a great time, and want to thank all the HAWKS for a great gaming convention!!
Followers of this blog may have wondered where I have been, why have I not been posting? Well, I have been working on building a platoon of Archive Miniatures “Mark III Robots” (#2323). The platoon will be led by Archive Miniatures “Juggerbot” (#2331). Both of these sculpts are from the vibrant imagination of Nevile Stocken, who was way ahead of his time with his work. Given that these figures were from the late 70’s and early 80’s, I have to think that they were inspired (especially the visors) by the original Cylons from the 1978 TV series Battlestar Galactica. I loved that show when I was a kid! So, I had to make them shiny!
This long project started with making a mold and casting 38 out of the 40 Mark III Robots as described previously here. I wish that I could have just bought them, but my time machine is broken…and that made purchasing them an impossibility. The platoon will have 4 squads of 10 (5 per team), plus 4 squad leaders, and Juggerbot – so the platoon is composed of a total of 45 figures.
The original Mark III’s (there were no Mark I’s or II’s!) were from the Star Rovers line of figures made by Archive in the 1979-1981 timeframe. They are very tough to find on eBay or anywhere else. I managed to acquire two originals, but only one was fully intact, and it became the master for my recasting efforts. The other original I converted with another weapon.
I found the Juggerbot kit on eBay, and decided that it would make an excellent platoon leader. For squad leaders, I have four War Games Supply Dump Khang Robots that were previously described in this blog here. Each Khang is color-coded (red, green, blue, and purple), and each squad in my platoon follows that scheme. Each Mark III Warbot Squad consists of the Khang Squad Leader, and two teams of five Warbots.
I converted one Warbot per team with a special weapon. Each squads’ Team 1 had a conversion with Bombshell Miniature’s “particle beam weapon” (BOM36016). I gave the Team 2’s two different weapons each. Two teams got Bombshell Miniatures large “arc weapon” as their conversion, while the other two got a large War Games Supply Dump retro sci-fi weapon from the WP01 “Weapons Pack 1”. All of the conversions I did were with these weapons, which are no longer available from either Bombshell or the now-shuttered War Games Supply Dump.
Conversion of these figures, as well as cleanup in terms of cutting and filing were major efforts in this project. I use mostly tin (about 67%) in my casting, and this made sawing away and filing pieces from them tedious as they are not as soft as a higher-lead alloy would be. Still, I was able to convert 7 of my castings plus the extra original for a total of 8 conversions. In most cases, I needed to bend the arms to accommodate the new weapons. My concept was for Team 1 to have one Warbot with a higher rate of fire weapon, while the Team 2’s would have specialized breaching or anti-armor capabilities.
After cleaning up the figures, I made a plan to complete the conversions. I also wanted to try a few new things in making this platoon. I wanted to use my new airbrushes and spray booth, and I wanted to use poster tack on specimen bottles and grocery store coins to have greater ease of painting with both the airbrushes and traditional brushes.
After all of my conversions were complete, I mounted the figures on steel washers for eventual magnetized storage. I had to use a bigger washer for Juggerbot. The platoon was then affixed to outdated grocery store bonus coins and specimen bottles or just to the bottles themselves with poster tack. In the future, I will not use the coins, as it was just easier to use the bottles minus the coins. I used an Aztec airbrush to prime the figures with gray Vallejo “Surface Primer”, giving the figures 24 hours to dry. I had read that doing that is desirable so that this primer paint can harden.
I then used Createx “Wicked Aluminum” airbrush paint (very sparkly) to base coat the Warbots using an Iwata Eclipse air brush – and I found this brush to be a much easier tool than the Aztec. I used Vallejo Model Air “Gold” to base coat Juggerbot with the airbrush.
I saw that the Createx paint had given the Warbots the appropriate shiny starting point for further development of the paint scheme I wanted, which was to be very retro sci-fi metallic, and reminiscent of the Cylons. Then I went back to the regular brush!
For my color schemes of red, blue, green, and purple on the Warbots, I went with DecoArt “Festive Red”, “Peacock Pearl”, “Crystal Green”, and Craftsmart “Amethyst” respectively. These metallic paints are great, but thick, and not easily thinned. Still, they worked well and I put these colors on the ankle, knee, and wrist joints for ease of tabletop play. I chose to use them as well for the visor interior colors, with Vallejo Model Air metallic “Black” for the outer parts of the visors. I then used “Gold” for the Warbot voice boxes and weapons tips on the unconverted troopers. “Black” was my choice for the rest of the weapons, offset with Vallejo Model Air “Steel” and Martha Stewart Crafts “Duckling” (this was a nod to my friend Buck Surdu, whose love of all things ducky and his take on the Mark III Warbots helped me plan out my approaches here).
For the common weapon barrels, I employed Vallejo Model Air “Copper”, and complemented them with Vallejo Model Air “Medium Gunship Gray”. Juggerbot had several lights on him, so Vallejo Model Air “Arctic Blue” and “Signal Red”, and “Aluminum” helped me with these details. I used these as well on the conversion weapons.
I then used several applications of Citadel “Nuln Oil Gloss” and “Black” on Juggerbot to shade the recesses of the figure. Moving back to the Warbots, I used “Aluminum” on the bodies, then similar to what I did with Juggerbot, I shaded with “Black” and “Nuln Oil Gloss”. Interestingly, I found that the inks really rolled off the figures, and the “Black” paint really helped with the shading.
I then added a healthy coat of Citadel “Ardcoat” to all visor and lighted surfaces. As a final highlight for Juggerbot and the Warbot weapon tips, I used Citadel “Retributor Armour”.
I decided that I wanted to be able to differentiate between the two teams within each squad. To do this, I experimented with kneadatite (green stuff) and Apoxie Sculpt and some numbered stamps. I found that the Apoxie Sculpt was easier to form, stamp, and once dry, cut. I applied these numbers to the figures’ bases with Gorilla Glue.
I used Citadel “Imperium Primer” on the Apoxie Sculpt numbers, then added Citadel “Martian Ironearth” to them. Then, I built up the bases with Citadel “Martian Ironcrust” with a light sprinkle of Army Painter “Black Battleground” for more texture. After using both “Ironearth” and “Ironcrust”, I dried them to a crackly surface with a hand-held hair blow dryer. I highly recommend this technique.
After a day of drying, I dry brushed the bases with Armory’s “Red Brown” and “Brick Red”. I filled the numbers in with “Imperium Primer” for all troopers, with the team leaders getting “Retributor Armour” on theirs. Then it was back to the paint booth for two coats of varnish, this time with an Iwata Neo airbrush, allowing for adequate drying between applications.
I now needed to remove the figures from the bottles and coins. The poster tack was easier to remove when I did not use the coins. I lightly painted the underside of the bases with Craftsmart “White” so I could use a black fine-tipped Sharpie to write information on the figures’ bottoms.
I cannot express enough how much I like this platoon! The figures started off pretty rough, but in the end, I was able to make a nice unit for tabletop gaming. It did take me a couple of months, but it was worth it. They will be in action this upcoming weekend, as they make their tabletop debut – stay tuned, and let me know your thoughts below!