29 October 2011

Not a bad week...

In terms of painting my minis, this has been one of the most productive weeks I can remember!

Over the weekend I painted a 5-man squad of Mad Robot's excellent TMC Jump Troopers.  I started with a single mini, just to get the paint scheme figured out.  I used that test mini to take some comparison shots, as well as post the review for the whole pack on Dropship Horizon.  I was pleased with the paint scheme, but I also realized it was going to take longer than usual to finish entire units of the jump troopers.  After I got the basecoat on the remaining four "ground" poses, I needed a break from infantry.

Looking at my shelf, I noticed some nice resin desert buildings from The Scene, still stacked up and unpainted.  So I grabbed a small building and tried an experimental, complex, and resource-intensive paint scheme.  Here's all of the many steps:
  • Step 1.  Paint the mini with Rustoleum Textured Spray.
That's it.  No primer, no details, no sealing.  And guess what?  It looks fine on my desert table.

That was enough for Saturday's painting.  On Sunday I painted four more The Scene buildings and finished my Mad Robot Jump Troopers.  

I then laid out my desert table for a skirmish game (see the earlier pic).  But no brilliant scenarios came to mind.  I flipped through my old Rogue Trader rulebook for ideas, and then decided to solicit some from the TMP 15mm crowd.  Here's that thread... some great ideas from the group!  

The scenario ideas led me to take a look at my collection of 15mm civilians and other small forces.  Some of those scenarios would benefit from having tons of civilians on the game table.  So I painted a Ground Zero Games hovertruck that had been sitting on my shelf... then I went on to complete an Oddzial Osmy journalism team.  

But what about some raiders?  The best candidates were the 15mm.Co.Uk HOF Post-Apocalyptic Warriors that I painted earlier this year.  I added another four warriors to the collection, painted a HOF Trator as the gang leader, and converted a Khurasan Rockjumper by lopping the head off a GZG gunner, adding a HOF Trator head, and mounting a spare Laserburn heavy weapon onto a bit of styrene tube.  I now have a leader, eight warriors with SMG-type weapons, and a "technical" truck to support them.  Not a bad skirmish force at all...  

By now I was bored with painting humans.  So I decided to paint a bunch of my spare Oddzial Osmy Spaceworms... these will be used as some kind of living weapon/invasion drones.    

That gives me some mindless creatures for invader scenarios.  But what about smart aliens coming to my desert colony in order to reclaim lost artifacts?  My Rebel Minis Scourge, the first 15mm army I ever finished, seemed like a good candidate for that type of game.  Just for fun I decided to add a new mini to that army... one of my Heavy Battle Robots from The Scene.

When I was looking through my storage bin this week to find  those HOF Post-Apoc Warriors and Trators, I also noticed a pack of HOF Robed Cultists.  I thought about these last month when I painted my Kremlin Miniatures Comander Vortan, but moved on to other projects.  So I finished the week by painting three Cultists to support my Vortan.  

So there it is... a pretty good variety of skirmish minis, now ready for the battlefield.  Not a bad week of painting!


21 October 2011

Gut Check Battle - Garn vs Astagar

Following my last post, I broke out SpaceJacker's Gut Check! ruleset and gave it a few playtests.  I had forgotten what a fun little rule system it is.  It only took a couple rounds to get the hang of the mechanics once again... I spent the rest of the time tweaking unit stats to come up with something that resembled a balanced scenario.  This was played using Khurasan Garn and Critical Mass Astagar Mercenary Fighters.

Scenario Background.  A Garn patrol ship entered orbit around Rishi 7.  Some ancient buildings were on that planet... something the Garn had always wanted to investigate.  When their scanners detected an Astagar landing ship near the ruins, they knew it was time to stake a permanent claim.  Garn Huntmaster Thauro recognized the landing ship - they were the type usually crewed by five Astagar mercenary fighters (probably seeking some sort of treasure in the ruins).  Thauro was a little disappointed at this finding.  He had been hoping for a proper fight today, and this would amount to little more than an early morning workout.  But it was better than nothing, and he certainly couldn't let the Astagar take anything of value from one of the planets in his patrol zone.  Thauro ordered Hunters Bazgla and Acholk to accompany him down to the surface.

The Astagar were already inside the buildings by the time the Garn arrived.  Astagar Captain Fyip had his henchmen Sizet and Ovidu searching the larger building, while Ixe and his heavy weapon trooper Livitt looked inside the smaller.  When they left their buildings, they were a bit surprised to find a Garn Hunting Party stalking toward them.

Playing The Game.  I didn't use any blips for this scenario - just a straight fight to "break in" these units.  The Astagar were positioned in front of both buildings, while the Garn simply entered from the center of the opposite edge of my board.  I played this on my 2' x 2' Red Planet table including my Critical Mass Kaamados buildings.  The Garn were activated and controlled by me, while the Astagar used SpaceJacker's awesome all-in-one enemy activation counters.

Turn One.  I learned during my earlier playtests that the Garn were pretty easily slaughtered if they split up.  So this time I would keep them together, and simply knock out the Astagar one mini at a time.  Huntmaster Thauro began the game by using an EVADE action to move into cover (rock formations along the right side of the table).  The first enemy activation counter was for Livitt - the Astagar armed with the heavy gun.  He used a FOCUS FIRE action to give Bazgla a Shock counter.  Using the reaction rules, Bazgla scored an Epic Pass on his Gut Check and returned fire.  He hit Livitt for two Shock counters - enough to take the heavy weapon Astagar out of action.  Both Garn hunters joined their Huntmaster in the EVADE action, while Ovidu failed to activate and Sizet took an EVADE to slither up the hill on the left side of the table.  Ixe fired at the Garn but his shots were absorbed by their shields.  The turn concluded with Captain Fyip using a RUSH action to get into battle with the wounded Bazgla. Each took a shock counter from that fight.

Turn Two.  The turn began with Ovidu, the Astagar with the power gauntlets, using a RUSH action to attack Garn Huntmaster Thauro.  He took down the Huntmaster with a Messy Kill - forcing Bazgla and Acholk to take Gut Checks.  They failed and retreated 2".  The Astagar Captain used a FOCUS FIRE to stop the fleeing Garn, but his his was absorbed by Bazgla's shield.  Bazgla passed a Gut Check for taking fire... I could either Ambush (charge the captain) or Fire.  He fired, and all three shots missed completely.  Acholk used a FOCUS FIRE action to take down the Astagar assault trooper.  He scored a MESSY KILL.  The Astagar captain was within 4" of the kill and was forced to take a Gut Check, but he passed and did not retreat.  The wounded Bazgla removed his Shock Counter at the end of this turn, but the Astagar Captain did not.

Turn Three.  Captain Fyip used a FOCUS FIRE against Bazgla, scoring another two Shock Counters.  Bazgla failed the ensuing Gut Check, so there was no retaliation.  Acholk used a RUSH action to assault Captain Fyip, forcing him to give ground.  Nobody else managed to activate during this turn... Captain Fyip removed his Shock counter, while Bazgla kept both of his.  Things were not looking well for the Garn!

Turn Four.  Garn Acholk used an ADVANCE action to get into cover. He fired on Captain Fyip, scoring a MESSY KILL.  The nearby Astagar fighter failed his Gut Check, and was Choked for the rest of the turn. Astagar Sizet, still in cover at the opposite hill, failed yet another activation.  Bazgla managed to activate even with two Shock Counters... he took a FOCUS FIRE action against the choked Astagar fighter Ixe.  The dice weren't kind to Ixe... he received four Shock counters, and was taken out of action.  In one turn, the fight had completely turned against the Astagar.

More dead snakes than Springfield Whacking Day...
Turn Five.  Across the table, Sizet finally passed an activation!  He RUSHed into assault with Acholk.  That assault ended with Sizet giving ground.  Acholk then used a FOCUS FIRE to give Sizet a Shock and a Choke counter.  Bazgla didn't pass his activation, but was able to remove both of his Shock counters at the end of that turn.  

Turn Six.  Sizet, the last surviving Astagar, fell to FOCUS FIRE from Bazgla.  The alien buildings were now clear of the invading Astagar treasure seekers, but the Garn had paid a terrible price with the loss of Huntmaster Thauro.

Analysis.  I had to tweak the Astagar stats for a few games, but I achieved a pretty good level of balance.  This game really felt like it was decided purely by the dice rolls - after turn three I thought it was going to be another overwhelming Astagar victory.  But the Garn refused to give up!  Now I want to play a variant of Scenario One from the Gut Check rules... I'll run the Garn hunting party again, next time against several small blips of humans or Crusties.  But this made for a very fun game, even with a total of eight minis on the table.


08 October 2011

"Corporal... did you bring the Garn repellant?"

I've been experimenting quite a bit with washes lately... using different ones over bare metal and solid basecoats to create interesting (and fast) paint schemes.  Mostly I've been working with Citadel and b, but I finally added some Secret Weapon washes to my mix.  One of my favorites, both in name and as a color, is their Baby Poop.  It produces a great sickly greenish-brownish tint (as would be expected...), and goes on very heavy.  I tried a few experiments with it, and then realized exactly where I could use it in my collection...

So I ran downstairs and grabbed the pack of Khurasan Minis Garn that had been sitting in my drawer for the last year or so.  Until now, I never knew how I wanted to paint them.  But my new wash techniques seemed like they should be perfect for this type of mini.  Here's the results:

It was a pretty simple paint scheme.  I started with white primer, then two coats of Secret Weapon Baby Poop over the entire mini.  Then I picked out the eyes with drops of Vallejo Blood Red and the weapons/energy packs/backpack shields with Vallejo Gunmetal.  I used two different colors on the belts, straps, and boots - P3 Underbelly Blue with Secret Weapon Blue Wash on the hunt master, and P3 Cryx Bane Highlight with Secret Weapon Light Black Wash on the two hunters.  I finished the minis by putting Secret Weapon Drying Blood wash over the silver back shields, a final coat of Wonder Wash Black over the entire mini,  and finished the bases.

I really like the way they turned out.  The maroon or green schemes seen in the Khurasan website pics and on SpaceJacker's blog are very nice, but just a bit cartoonish for my taste.  The Baby Poop (stop giggling!) Wash gives them a flesh tone right out of a dinosaur movie.

So... what to do with only three Garn?  I've been playing quite a bit of In the Emperor's Name lately, and three Garn could be a tough little retinue.  But I decided to play around with Gut Check instead.  It's a game I really enjoyed playing last year, but haven't looked at it since we started development of ItEN.  This seems like a nice time to try it again.

Here's the rules I came up with for the Garn... they should be able to handle quite a few inferior enemy minis. I'm going to try to sneak in a game or two this weekend.

Chris K.