Saturday, 31 December 2016

End of year update.

Last day of the year. I moved house two weeks ago.  Buying a place is scary. It also comes with logistical issues like organising the Internet, which won't connect until mid January.  Hence writing this at my parents' house. No painting or gaming has happened in a while as I a, starting a new job and needed to organise things. I will still be teaching, just in a different school.

I just wanted to touch base and explain where I am. My choices for tonight's new year celebrations are the following:

1. Play a game offline...If I can find one that doesn't need a connection.
2. Watch an actual DVD as no Netflix to connect.
3. Play a game of Horizon Wars.


Monday, 7 November 2016

UCS Marines.

The elite of the elite. These soldiers, taken from the ranks of the normal UCS forces are trained harder and are usually genetically enhanced. These guys go in where no-one else can. The squads caught on camera here are wearing a standard uniform used for ship based combat or if they are involved in standard combat. 

There are many uniform variants, but this is the most recognisable of the lot as when you see these suits approaching your positions, you know you are probably screwed.

This particular unit, denoted by the purple shoulder plate are known for their low casualty rate, and as such are a popular unit to try to join. The low casualty rate comes from excellent leadership and a sense of independence in the troops themselves. They always look after their own, and do not go rushing gung-ho into silly situations. Cautious yet deadly.

(Apologies for the terrible pictures. I just snapped these after work today and didn't have time between cooking and working to set up a better shot with better light.)

Friday, 4 November 2016

Starport Scum with teenagers

So my brother in law is a teenager. He and his friends spent some time making sections of my modular interior. They aren't finished, but we decided to have a game. I set it up.

The scenario was this: two crews of bounty hunters are after vital information on one of their bounties. The information is in the locked room on the top of the station. When the teams advance my guards would appear. 

As it happens the guys lost interest because the fighting didn't start soon enough. Also because some of them suddenly realised it meant not being on their phones for a period of time over 5 minutes.

This badass is the one who stopped most of the teams advancing.

I might just stick to solo gaming, or pick my game team better.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Starport Scum Character Cards

It is half term and I have been sat in front of my screen trying to plan lessons. It was not super effective, and I am behind schedule. I can't concentrate and so thought I would knock together some character cards for Starport Scum. I will be running a multiplayer game next week and need to have some people for the guys to fight with. 

It just feels boring, but I can't think of ideas for how to spice the card up. Anyone have any input?

Saturday, 24 September 2016

6mm Panzergrenadiers.

Colours gave me the chance to purchase some 6mm WW2 miniatures. Tonight, before I leave for Germany for a week (4:45am coach) I managed to paint up some Panzergrenadiers.

I have never painted in strips before, so this was new for me and I think it was faster than painting them based. I will be basing them three figures to a stand (probably 2p coins) which will give me the flexibility for them to represent an entire squad, platoon, or to use three of them to be an entire squad. Anyway, it took me just over an hour to paint these. I am not sure how I feel about them, and I now realize I forgot to paint their boots.

I painted flesh, uniform, helmets, wood (should have done shovel handles), gunmetal, then the webbing. I cheekily touched up the flesh with the desert yellow of the canteens and webbing.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Colours 2016

I managed to get to Colours 2016 today. This is my first show in a few years, I think Salute 2014 was my last. I went armed with a modest budget and with two goals in mind. I was either going to pick up some spacecraft to begin my dabble into space fleet combat, or I was going to get a couple of starting forces for 6mm World War 2, and a handful of buildings for them to fight over.

After walking around a couple of times, I decided to go with the WW2 in 6mm. I have read a few battle reports of A Sergeant's War, and feel like I could even finally dust off my unused copy of Battlegroup: Overlord. Which miniatures to use, however? I knew that Heroics and Ros were there, as was Baccus 6mm. Well, I couldn't see any WW2 at Baccus, so moved on, spent ages looking at the catalog at H&R, then took away an order form and sat down to munch on my sandwich. I had arrived later than planned due to traffic on the M3 and the rain.

I ordered some US and Panzergrenadiers, some support weapon packs and some vehicles and AT guns. The total came to £17.20, which ain't too shabby for getting two opposing forces. Upon reflection, I probably could have even skipped the £5 I spent on the support weapons, because they might not be totally necessary. Anyhow, the gentleman at H&R said to come back in half an hour, so I wondered around. GZG didn't bring any 6mm, but had some lovely spaceships. Brigade Models was there with some stunning painted spacecraft. I knew I had to keep it cheap though, so removed myself from temptation and went over for a chat at Baccus. Turns out they just didn't have the big packets ready for WW2. He did have some painted figures on display, and let me tell you they were gorgeous. I was sorely tempted to run over to H&R and cancel my order but one thing stopped me: Baccus has no vehicles for sale YET. He had a stunning Sherman prototype. I will, without a shadow of a doubt be purchasing some forces from Baccus as my next purchase (probably with Christmas money). I reckon I will get my Brits from them.

Anyhow, here is my stash:

 I intend to game Normandy onwards on the western front. As such I thought some Panzer IVHs would be useful, as would some StuG IIIs. Inspired by the film Fury, and just generally wanting a monster, I got a Tiger I. Some PaK 40s were also necessary.
 For the US forces I decided that I would need some M10s, some 57mm AT guns and some Shermans. The plan was to get M4A3 Shermans and one Sherman 76, but they all appear to be Sherman 76s. I am not complaining...just means I will need to make some more purchases as time goes on.
 These are the US infantry. I paid £2.50 for 48 infantry, but have ended up with just over 50. They look good, there is some flash in the legs, but they are fine. I would have liked some more firing poses, but I am not too fussy.
 The gentleman threw in a few extra strips of Panzergrenadiers, so I have ended up with something like 70 infantry. They are gorgeous and have plenty of lovely poses. I am very, very pleased with these.
I needed some things to fight over, I can make forest areas, I have hedges and can scale some down, but I have no buildings. 3 packets of buildings for £10 over at Rapier Miniatures was a no brainer. I bought some barns and two sets of farm buildings. They will be good for either having a farm, or making a little village to fight over. I am pleased with them, although they look tiny. They are, however, probably accurate, and if I were to ignore bases, there is plenty of room to move around in inside.

I am glad I went. I felt a little out of place there for some reason, but came away with a new venture for my hobby. I have plenty of Sci Fi miniatures, and have campaigns going on with them, but I like the idea of a march on Berlin. Anyhow, with that I do most of my gaming solo, and went there alone, I just felt like I was very alone. It was strange. I felt like I couldn't watch any games, because who wants someone watching? And as much as I wanted to talk to Tony Francis of Brigade Models, I knew if I did, I would end up blowing my budget on Neo-Soviets.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Back to School.

Tis that time again. After a summer being spent with my wonderful wife and daughter, I find myself back at work, back in the routine. This will mean a significant drop off of hobby activity. The next seven weeks will be full on, and I don't expect to get a huge amount done in terms of painting new miniatures.

I am hoping to get in some Friday night adventures in, complete the saga of Rhoro Tharik and begin a new campaign. I also want to get the wargaming club going at school, but do not know how much I can blog about that here. That club will involve playing other games including the old OOP Star Wars Miniatures, Star Wars Pocket Models and Pirates of the Spanish Main. If any show interest in X Wing miniatures I will also provide space for that.

For now though, I will be creating characters for the upcoming campaign, and may get a chance to paint a handful of other miniatures.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Star Wars: Aftermath. A review/rant


Okay, so I am probably about to do the most internet thing I have ever done. I use Reddit, but this might just beat that. Currently dogsitting, I wanted to take them for a long walk, but I often get bored about an hour in. I decided to download some podcasts to listen to but after finding nothing in the "popular" section I just searched "Star Wars". Can I go wrong with that? I thought no, but turns out I had gone wrong. I downloaded a discussion about the first Rogue One trailer, which was acceptable if not amazing, and a second one about the book Aftermath, which I found myself disagreeing with on so many levels. Now, I won't say what the podcast is because I don't want to put my foot in it again by complaining online, but I have decided to write a review of the book and explain why I mostly like it.


  1. Star Wars: Aftermath is the first book of the new canon to occur after the Battle of Endor (apart from the novelization of The Force Awakens). It's job is to create that Star Wars feeling, while using some of the OT characters, PERHAPS some of the "Legends" characters and probably create new ones.

  1. Disney/Lucasarts? are in a situation where they don't want to anger the Star Wars Extended Universe fan(boy)s, while at the same time introduce a new audience to the New Extended Universe, and also create characters that we can all fall in love with (and they can make toys of).

These two points of context need to be remembered when reading this book. They can't tie themselves down to a complex and crazy narrative that often times just revolved around some other superweapon/super evil villain threatens the Solo/Skywalker family and so they need to save the Galaxy. While this fresh start may upset some (no Mara Jade? No Thrawn? No Rogue Squadron? No Wraith Squadron?) it was an important thing to do. I have come to terms with that. 


Periodically in the book there are chapters that are completely unrelated to the actual narrative. This infuriated and "confused" the podcasters. But I am sat here thinking, what the hell else do they expect from an interlude? Do they not know what that is? Each of them was interesting in its own right and each had a purpose. There was a Han and Chewie scene, which judging by the synopsis of Aftermath: Life Debt, was a direct nod to that coming story. There was a scene that hints ad a nod towards the return of Boba Fett, which can simultaneously placate and excite all of the Boba fanboys out there. Three scenes linked, which to me seemed to be obviously creating some back story for characters in other upcoming media, and finally there were some scenes to do with politics and things that were explaining why there is the need for The Resistance in TFA. They did not annoy me. They did not distract from the story. The title "interlude" showed that they are breaks from the regular story. They fit in the book because it is THE FIRST BOOK OF THE POST ENDOR CANON and they need to introduce some more people and hint at new books.

The Story

The story is okay. There is a secret meeting of some of the remaining high level imperial leaders who are discussing the future and what it might look like. Wedge Antilles stumbles on this and is captured, while at the same time Norra Wexley, a former rebel pilot is returning to the same planet (Akiva, a new planet to me) to be with her son. Jas Emari is a bounty hunter who wants to collect a bounty on one of the high level imperials. She used to collect many bounties for the Empire and was present at Endor to see the tide turn. Sinjir Rath Velus is a former imperial loyalty officer (Gestapo/Soviet Political officers) who is also present at Endor and sees the tide change. He and Jas exchange a look while he is changing into a dead rebel's clothes. He is now here on Akiva trying to drink his life away. Anyway, the story ends up being fairly predictable and I found Norra's teenage son to be quite annoying. BUT I understand why he is here. We live in a world of Catniss Everdeen's and Mazerunners, Percy Jackson and Harry Potter. Disney really needed a younger character for all of their younger audience to really get behind. I can live with him. He is the new Ahsoka Tano/Ezra Bridger for the post Endor scene. 

During the story there was some really good action, some suspense, some humour, some great new characters and a whole lot of interesting new things to excite me about the Star Wars universe again. However, the whole book did feel a bit like it was just setting us up for a series of other stories with this motley crew. In fact the book ends with them being organised into a special missions team who would go around the galaxy shutting down imperial organisations. Also, according to Wookieepedia the next book Aftermath: Life Debt has been far better received and feels like Star Wars again according to many reviewers. 

New Canon vs. Old Canon

Some of the issues with the book, for me, were where it contradicts what I "know" from the original EU. This sounds silly, I know, but for me, months after the battle of Endor Wedge Antilles was running Rogue Squadron, liberating Coruscant. It was hard for me to accept that he wasn't doing that anymore. Also, TIE fighters seemed to be very agile in atmospheric flight...which again for me is a big no no as I have been raised to believe that they are terrible at that. It puts me in a strange place because I want to accept this new canon, but will always love the original EU.


I am not trying to say that the book is amazing, because it wasn't. But I didn't hate it like the podcasters seemed to. I enjoyed it overall, cared for some of the characters and enjoyed much of what happened. When taken for what it is, and in the context in which it was written, Star Wars: Aftermath is a fun yarn and gives us some new characters to fall in love with.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Horizon Wars AAR: Clash on Neu Europa part 1.

Hidden in the jungles of Neu Europa lies a research centre. The locals know it exists, but also know that one doesn't go wandering in the jungle there. The colonization efforts on Neu Europa were spearheaded by HySys GMBH, and it lies in a system that is contested by the UCS and the Collective of Systems, which can lead to interesting situations.

A distress signal is emitted. It is picked up by the both the UCS and the Collective. Each government wants to gain a foothold in this system so send forces to investigate.

The Collective sent a rapid mech strike team. Two P3 mechs (CHQ, M3, F5, A5, D4, and M3, F7, A5, D2) 3 P1 mechs (M3, F4, A2, D2) and 2 light infantry. They would be advancing from the North, hoping to secure the research facility before the UCS can arrive.

UCS forces consist of 5 elements of heavy infantry and 3 heavy tanks. The tanks can move faster, but do not want to get too far ahead of the infantry. They will advance up the road from the West, hoping to stop the Collective securing the facility.

After advancing, the beast mech takes the opportunity to fire on an advancing tank. Shots explode around the tank, but nothing hits true. All buttoned up inside, the commander orders his crew to return fire.

Returning fire the gunner manages to score a direct hit, severely damaging the defense capabilities of the mech. Lucky shot, or experienced crew?

Fire rains in on the advancing infantry, who should have probably taken better cover. Learning from their mistake, they scurry off the road and decide to sneak up the right flank, but not before first squad take some casualties.

Commander Rowner advances and opens fire on the flanking Collective mechs doing critical damage to the movement servos of the lead mech.

The Collective are beginning to dig in and fortify their defense of the research facility. The UCS force is slowly advancing, picking away at the defenders.

The flanking mech tries to suppress the advancing infantry, and manages to inflict some casualties, but nothing they can't bounce back from.

In fact, they bounce back straight away, chipping away at the armour of the mech. The mechs need to lay down more fire to disrupt this advance!

Unfortunately for the mechs the UCS armour begin to advance to blast away at them with their pulse cannon. Fire is exchanged but the Collective mechs definitely get the worst of the interaction.

In fact, with one of the mechs blowing apart into a cloud of gases, scrap and body parts the lead mech begins a furious radio exchange to decide whether they should carry on their flanking maneuver.

Before a decision can even be made Commander Rowner advances and earns his crew another kill ring around their cannon. Today is turning out to be a walk in the park for the UCS armour. Command will be pleased.

Squad IV take cover in the jungle foliage as the squad garrisoned in the building open fire. They suffer some casualties, but are still combat effective.

Second squad covers their buddies, in the hope to provide a distraction. Well they manage, and absolutely obliterate the Collective infantry in the building.

The Collective are worried and need to rethink their game plan. The commander sends out orders to fight to the glorious death and delay the UCS long enough to allow Collective reinforcements to arrive.

UCS armour on the right flank exchanges fire with the beast mech.

The last remaining flanking mech prepares for a valiant last stand, planning to take as many of the infidel with him as possible.

Intense firefighting occurs, but he holds fast, bogging down the left flank of the UCS forces.

Seizing the initiative, the beast opens fire on the advancing infantry, almost entirely destroying them. The few survivors hug the ground and hope for a chance to retaliate...or just survive the battle.

Praising God the driver of the last mech dies under a hail of glorious fire. In his final thoughts he hopes to be met in the afterlife by his ancestors, praising his glorious death defending the faith.

With the flanking mech destroyed the armour can advance up and attempt to destroy the beast. Damage is done to the leg servos, but nothing too devastating.

Armour advances up the right to lay the command mech under fire. Damage is done, but not much. These mechs are hard to take down!

Dug in infantry exchange fire. Collective troops taking the worst of the fire and break, fleeing the battlefield.

The last stand of the beast as he is slowly whittled down, giving as good as he gets, but not quite managing to destroy anything.

Surrounded, the commander weighs his options. Today is not the day to meet his ancestors. Maybe he can be allowed to live on a UCS backwater planet, and keep out of the way? His ancestors will understand...he hopes.

The UCS set about securing the research facility and investigating what happened. Why the distress call? Where are the research staff, or even HySys security forces?

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Tanks, Mechs and Civilian vehicles - working on the lead mountain.

 Today I finished a bunch of miniatures ready for Horizon Wars/Starport Scum/other rules I may experiment with.

Opposite are four beautiful THK MIV Tank Hunter miniatures. I painted them a blue/purple camouflage because I saw it elsewhere and love it. These are designed to fit in with my blue forces, but the purple will help them fit in with my Solar Empire Marines who are yet to be painted. The turret shape is beautiful, the contours are stunning. I will get more of these.

Neo Soviets. The beast. I went with a simple green with these. Then a green wash, then a dry brush. No effort, but effective still. These will fit in with UCS forces, but could also be used by other green armies.

Vehicles. I need civilian vehicles. I want them to litter my colonies, mines, cities. Need to protect a convoy? Here it is! Need to escape the authorities? Hotwire one of these.

These have been sitting around for ages. I drybrushes and flocked them and now they are ready for the table. Again, blue to fit in with my blue forces.

I just love this shot.

Black and a greeny-yellowy colour. These are meant to fit in with me "Collective" forces. As yet I don't exactly have Collective infantry, but have mecha and vehicles that can be used. These are pretty state of the art combat suits, and how the Collective got their hands on them is anyone's guess. Quansec hasn't even put them for sale to UCS forces yet.

These mecha are also designed to be used by the collective, but can be used by others. They are GZG 15mm drones of some kind. Three in a pack, but one came off the base and is not finished.