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!
This post is about another group of miniatures that I acquired in March from the recently closed Wargames Supply Dump (thanks so much Roger!).
These are DG-08 and DG-09, Khang Robots. One model is tracked, the other has legs. I purchased 2 kits of each type of robot.
I’m currently planning on building out a series of different squads and platoons for use in retro-sci-fi skirmish games using the Combat Patrol™ system of rules. I have described previously here in this blog my casting work on making a platoon of Archive Miniatures Mark III Warbots. I thought these Khang Robots would be great as leaders for that platoon. They look so very retro! The tracked version really evokes the old “B9” from the 1960’s TV series Lost in Space.
Additionally, I eventually will be painting up a unit of WSD Khang troopers, and I can use these four robots to augment those forces as well.
The kits arrived, and I washed them with a light scrub with soap and water, and let them dry. Once dry, I assembled them with super glue. I tried to glue each robots’ arms so that they would each have a different position for better aesthetics. After they were together, I affixed them to 1¼” steel washers using Loctite glue for ease of eventual magnetic box storage. Then, I used poster tack to affix the models to popsicle sticks for ease of painting. This is now my new favorite tactic as it is very easy to remove after painting.
I then primed them (top and bottom) with Krylon “Ultra Flat” white matte spray paint. This allows me the option to write (with a fine-tipped Sharpie) on the washer bottoms with info that I’d like to have on them, such as the model’s name, the date of completion, my name, and any unit identification.
After the primer dried, I gave the models an aggressive wash with Citadel “Nuln Oil”.
I used Vallejo Model Air Metallics “Steel” as the primary base coat for the models’ helmets, shoulders, belt, and claws. I painted the waist/ribbed chest area with Citadel “Mechanicus Standard Gray”. Then, for a shiny rubber-like look on the ribs, boots, and legs, I applied a coat of Armory “Gloss Black”. For the front of the tracked bases and the chest-mounted cannons, I used Vallejo Model Air Metallics “Gun Metal”. Then I highlighted the shiny parts on the shoulders and helmets with Vallejo Model Air Metallics “Aluminum”. For the voice box (cannot really call it a mouth!) I added a light coat of Citadel “Spiritstone Red”.
Moving on to some of the details on the helmet, arm sockets, “ears”, and back components, I found a great solution with Vallejo Model Air Metallics “Copper”. There were several lights on the front and back of the robots, and for these I used a spotter brush with Citadel “Yriel Yellow”, Vallejo Model Air Metallics “Signal Red”, Craftsmart “Sapphire”, and DecoArt “Crystal Green” – varying the lights a bit in the front.
For the vents in the front of the tracked figures, I used “Gloss Black”, with “Steel” on the vents. I then extensively used Vallejo Model Air Metallics “Gold” and Craftsmart “Onyx” on bolt straps and bolts respectively throughout all the models. I also used “Onyx” to highlight the “Gloss Black” painted parts.
I then chose some bright-colored metallics to theme the robots and make them easier to identify on the gaming table. My four choices were: DecoArt “Crystal Green”, “Festive Red”, “Peacock Blue”, and Craftsmart “Amethyst”. I painted with these as you see below – as highlights on the robots’ helmet crests, “ears”, belts, boots, and backs of the lower chassis (all depending on the models). I did a lot of highlighting!
This completed my initial base coating and highlighting. For the bases, I thought I’d use Citadel “Martian Ironcrust”. This texture paint has a nice crackling effect if you use a blow dryer between applications (as I did) to dry the paint. I also added some Army Painter “Black Battlefield” into it when it was still moist – and this worked well to give a realistic texture. For the tracked models, I tried to make a track and chassis impression with the “Martian Ironcrust”. I also tried to show the accumulation of dust on the tracks and boots with this texture paint. I think it worked well enough.
I then moved on to serial washes with Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” on some lighter parts and “Nuln Oil” on others such as the ribs. For the robots’ claws, I found that Citadel “Seraphim Sepia” gave a unique metallic tone to the claws. On the bases, “Agrax Earthshade” really enhanced the cracks and gave a lot of depth to them. I used a lot of washes to give depth to the figures.
I then waited a day or so for the humidity to go down and for the temperature to be adequate for varnishing. I sprayed the models with one coat of Krylon “Clear Matte”, followed by two coats of Testors “Dullcoat”, allowing for adequate drying time between applications.
These are pretty cool figures – and the downside is that pretty cool figures have a lot of details! The upside is they give the painter a tremendous opportunity to create a nice visual product. These are really fun retro sci-fi figures – and I hope that I did achieve success with these four. I really like them, and am motivated to get going on the Mark III Warbots to complete the platoon – and to use my new airbrush to prime, base coat, and varnish this my next project. Stay tuned, and let me know your thoughts in the comments section! Thanks!
This is from Buck Surdu’s blog – nice addition to the Combat Patrol rules!
Announcing the Release of the South Pacific Supplement for Combat Patrol™: World War II. Like all the previous supplements for Combat Patrol™, this supplement is FREE to download as a .pdf. Why a South Pacific Supplement? Fighting in the South Pacific during World War II was unique compared to other theaters, even other parts of…