Friday, 28 November 2014

Painting Descent. Adventurers

I felt like cheating yesterday... Lots of words and no minis! To put an end to that weird situation, today... I'm embarking myself on yet another different project! :D

This is not mine, it's a commission for a friend, who got the 2nd ed. Descent some time ago and... of course, you know, no unpainted minis allowed. Not on my table.

As I did with my HeroQuest, the first ones on the painting queue have been the adventurers, here they are:

Ladies first
Probably not used to be called 'ladies'
Vertically challenged heroes (you know, this blog follows a strict non-discrimination policy)
The gentlemen
So these are the guys who are to explore these new dungeons.

Ready to rumble
The minis are highly detailed. Not a fan of the material, I'm afraid, as the plastic tends to bend, but anyway, they are more than decent and do their part.

Now I have to start with the creatures that dwell the dark dungeons... wish me luck!

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Old School Workshop 2nd anniversary

Wow, here we are again...

Two full years. Among the such talented people over the internet that may not be quite an achievement, but for me it is. Indeed it is. You know, the purpose of the blog was just sharing my silly stuff, no pretensions. But whoah, you keep encouraging me everyday to keep on pushing and to reach upper heights of enjoyment.

I never intended to make a strictly 'Oldhammer-oriented' blog, though you can see I have lots of oldish Warhammer. I would make into that lot the recent stravaganza I've started about civilians and scenery. But this year you have also seen my interest in as many board games as I've been able to play, a shy attempt of drawing, different scale minis just for display, of course the whole process of bringing back HeroQuest to life and even a slight intent on moving into modern wargames for actual conflicts.

                        I recently spent my holidays in Greece. You know, admiring some proper, real old school art ;)                              This belongs to a bar in Athens, couldn't but take a pic!
Currently the blog stats say that this is my 192nd post (Wow, has anybody really read all those?) and that there has been 79279 visits (excluding my own, if the blog says the truth) since I started blogging; my readers mostly come from (here it goes the top 5) USA (22334), Spain (17197), UK (9329), France (3755) and Germany (3432). Besides, 119 people have been kind enough to click on that 'follow' button (but I won't call you 'followers', really dislike the word) and some of you are regular partners in crime ;), not only commenting (which is incredibly appreciated, please keep on! And the shy ones, come on too!), but also blogging your own projects, which I find truly inspirational and also keep me up.

So this is nothing but a big thank you for supporting this old school style of having fun wherever we can find it. Now Year Three starts. The ongoing projects will keep on growing and who knows what new crazy stuff will come into the path...

Helm, full ahead!

Monday, 24 November 2014

A wagon for a merchant (Pt. 2)

I've brought some paint on the merchant's wagon :)

I used the same palette that I had used for the mini, for coherence purposes (I love it when the word 'coherence' can finally be applied to me :D)

Despite the choice of colours, no, this is not going to be an Ork Wagon
I kept on using the pedlar idea and finally came up with this:

Dr. Gosherian. Remedies & stuff. Blah blah blah
According to Google, it says 'doctor' there. Didn't find how I coud phonetically write 'Gosherian' in Arab
So the basic wagon would finally look like this:

Square, shabby and barely functional... OK, that means Warhammer 40,000
But of course the wagon needed some kind of stuff here and there. I would have loved to have some pans, flowerpots and stuff like that. But all I had at hand was this:

Well, at least looks like a traveller
The front axle can actually turn, BTW
Yup, I love adding plates to vehicles
Wanna trade?
No need to say, this is quite an eccentricity on my urban/civilian project, but anyway I find it terribly fun and really believe it adds some flavour.

I still have tons of pending scenery, so I guess I will work a little on that. Or in different stuff, you already know how I disfunctionally work :D

Monday, 17 November 2014

Ultrasharks

Another random jump to another random project. That's how my mind works. Last... Wow, last March I promised shark mouthed Ultramarines (Seriously? I had this pending since March??)

Well, I had some metal minis, but not enough to build a full squad, so I would have to combine them.

These were the metal orphans who are making it into a plastic Squad
Here begins the plastic
Constipated Marines FTW!
You can see I've tried minor marks on all of them and they also have the white stripe, the weapon badge on their shoulder... and the mouths as promised!

Rawr!
So this is the Squad!

Oldskool powah!
Bonus mini! I finally managed to put my hands on a Mk.I Terminator! Hooray!

Yup. These were how Termies used to look back in the days...
You can see I've not been totally Rogue Trader with this one, the red helmet and the stripe didn't appear until 2nd Ed, but anyway I think it has the feeling ;)
Now I have a Mk.I, a Mk.II and two MK.III. I need to find another Mk.II to finish the Terminator Squad!

Thursday, 13 November 2014

A wagon for a merchant (Pt.1)

While the scenery grows, I cannot but keep on the side projects regarding this little insanity ;)
(Yup, my mind scatters again and I need to be involved in too many things at the same time)

I purchased some cool items from Sarissa Precision a couple of weeks ago. Seriously, the stuff there is awesome. You will be seeing it all, but for the moment let me begin with this... unexpected model.

'And what the hell is this' I hear you ask
You remember this guy?

Abdul Gosherian
You saw him last week alongside other guys. Well you saw him if you came here. If not, that's why I put the link :P
That merchant needs something else, doesn't he? If he is to be a proper pedlar, he for sure needs a local shop. I thought that a wagon should fit in well. Sarissa have a couple of Gipsy wagons which are wonderful, I was really tempted, but I finally opted for this smaller one from the Victorian ranges, I guess it works fine as well.

'And this is leading to...?' I hear now ;)
I had this silly idea in mind of merchants in Old West movies, selling miscellaneous stuff from town to town. I thought it would be funny if I depicted this guy in that way, but with a slight ethnical touch.
But of course this wagon is no good for sci-fi settings at all!... Not at all? What if, instead of horses, I find a few tyres and a couple of other random pieces and mix them all?

Your scepticism is still justified, just give me some more time...
I needed to extend the axle because the tyres are too big to fit beneath the chassis. I think I still need to add some more stuff, but nothing apart from tiny details for it to be more Rogue Trader oriented. Haven't decided yet. I'll put some paint on it first and will see what it needs as I'm on it...

Monday, 10 November 2014

Besenval Port. Stage 1 (of... well, many)

Well, you have seen a couple of buildings, a few civilians to inhabit my wannabe city project... I guess it is time to spend some time on the actual city! Or my 40K Sims will have nowhere to live in! :D

You may have heard me speak of that misterious word 'Besenval' Port area from time to time. But no one had the slightest idea of what really was it. No, I mean, literally; no one, not even me.
The idea came to me from some industrial containers I have at home. I have already used them and I believe they have appeared in some AAR before. One day I thought 'well, where do all those containers come from? What are they doing here on this green grass board? That doesn't make any sense!' I guess you can see my point and how the only logical solution to my problem was to build a proper harbor for my containers.

Shhh, the only logical solution, I said...

Yup, a train station would have worked as well. Or a frakkin' spaceport platform and that would have been it all. But no, I really wanted a full urban scenario. With buildings and stuff. Cool stuff. A port. It had to be a port. That would allow me to set a river, some sea... it was perfect!

So, what was going to be my scope on this? I thought I could build a port for my Rogue Trader games settings, but not only. In fact I recently got the Osprey 'On the Seven Seas' rulebook soooo... ;) (don't worry, I'm afraid it's still to be some time before I even think of pirates, too much to do first!)

I thought I could come up with a basic structure and the rest would just be a matter of buildings. That of course meant that everything should have mason pillars and cobblestone or so, nothing about concrete surfaces. That would be adaptable enough for any ambientation, should it be sci-fi, fantasy or historical.

This is my first experience with foam. Never used the material before, but sometimes you have to take risks ;) I immediately could see that a whole new world of options was open before me, as I dared to achieve slightly complex shapes:

Well, cutting this was complex enough at least for me!
Small dock, but it will have to do it for the moment
I have three 120x60 boards. My idea is building structures on, at the very least, two of them (desirably the three, of course). What you see here is just the first level, I still have to decide the height (and shapes) of a second level in the back part. It's funny to see how things look in your haead or a couple of sketches and then how they look in a totally different way when torn into real stuff.

I'm gonna need much more space if I'm to place these buildings here
Second board will definitely not have a canal
Well, I got the basic shapes. What's next then? Test the material to see how it behaves...

Hmm, looks like it has some potential...
So let's do some paving!

This escaped from my hands...
Wow, I should have done bigger stones. But once I begun there was no way back!

This is insanity, believe me. 10x5 mm. each
They will be most likely bigger on the second floor... Or will that look strange?

One... another... another... another... Frak, I made a mistake! Again. One... another...
Well, this is it so far. It still has a looong way ahead, but the thing is that it has started! We're on the move, no way back!

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Playing Skirmish Sangin

I had this debt for a long, long time. I got the rulebook and some minis more than a year ago, but never dared to play. Every time I opened the book I panicked on the perspective of learning such an apparently complex set of rules. Being myself nothing but a casual gamer, I'm used to ten-pages rules, and anything requiring more than ten minutes to learn how to play totally scares me out. But this had to end. And it did last weekend. And know what? In the end it wasn't that difficult. OK, it took me some time, sure, and we made tons of mistakes, that for granted. But we got into the mechanics of the game and enjoyed it pretty much. Let's go for it.

Skirmish Sangin is a game for modern combat set in Afghanistan.

Sangin is a town in Helmand province, south of the country
Here you have their web and their blog. Though you know I mostly paint and play sci-fi (if I even play something), this game totally deserved a try for me.
This is not the kind of wargame I am used to play. As a matter of fact, it's almost a roleplaying game, each mini being a character on his own, with separate stats and skills; so each combatant needs a name and a spare control sheet.
For my first game I thought that a small skirmish would be enough. After having a look at the book I chose to use five ISAF soldiers (all that I have for the moment) and seven Taliban fighters. I thought that would be kinda balanced. To avoid further complications I equipped everyone just the same, i.e., the Spanish soldiers all bearing G36 and light armour and the Taliban all carrying AK47. If we could manage this, I would be more prone to include more variety for future games.

The first thing then is to generate your characters. You need to roll some dice in order to give them their profiles. The 'body' points you roll here will determine how your character will behave in combat. Higher values mean that your combatant will act first and that his combat skills will be better.
So I rolled the D10 and got the profiles for Master Sergeant Martín (Veteran), Corporal Aguirre, Private López, Private Díaz and Private Alonso (all average), as well as for Majid Khan (Veteran Mujahedeen), Abdul, Shamul, Molani, Kamaluddin, Zabiulah and Eineddin (all average).
OK, I know, I know, too many names. I get it, I'll try not to mess you with too much info :P. I'll begin the report and will explain the rules as they come.

For our game we chose a variation of the 'Recon patrol' scenario proposed in the book. The variations were just the restrictions on the minis and the scenery I have ;)

A Paratroopers patrol looses contact with the rest of their Platoon and then a Taliban group isolates them and open fire. The Spanish fireteam, being surrounded, must make their way out of the street to get to the ISAF positions.


Streets of Bala Murghab
The Paratroopers begin the game in the center of the board, getting cover from the buildings as they see a number of locals incoming with a clear hostile intent from both sides of the street. Some shots are fired towards them (no f*****g hostile intent anymore, total hostile act now) and then Master Sergeant Martín gives their men the order of taking cover and getting out of there as soon as possible, using the minimum force necessary to that extent, including the use of deadly force if needed (which will be the obvious case, now that they are under fire).

Sarge, did we invite these guys to the party?
Let's get into the game. Each turn is divided into 10 combat phases. Depending on the 'body points' you got when assigning profiles, the character will act during phases 1, 3, 5 and 7, or in phases 2, 4, 6 and 8, or in phases 3, 5, 7, and 9... That means that 'better' combatants will act before. That also means that each turn, each character will act four times, so the alternate phase involves quite a dynamic turn.
 You have 3 action points per combat phase. You can use them in walking, running, kneeling, spotting, etc. Every imaginable action is covered here and requires one action point to be completed. Your shooting skills also depend on the 'body points', as they will be the base for calculating them. You will get percentages, so you need to roll 1d100 to determine if you hit the target or not.
If the target is hit, you roll 2d10 against the 'armour' value of the character to determine if he is wounded or not. The greater the difference, the most severe the wound.
Master Sergeant Martín shoots Eineddin and takes him down.
 When a character is wounded, he can be beaten unconscious on stay on the ground screaming in pain. That will have different effect on his mates' morale, as it's quite a... delicate experience to see how your pal is taken down or screams while you yourself are under fire.

Majid Khan shoots Pvt. Alonso. Doesn't hit him due to cover
Cpl. Aguirre shoots Majid Khan. Misses too
 Even not hitting your target may have some effect, as again, being under fire is quite a stressful experience. Next combat phase the (even unaffected) target will have to roll 1d100 against his Morale value. Percentage modifiers can be applied depending on the situation. We'll get into that later, don't worry.

Abdul boldly advances and miraculously doesn't get hit
Shamul takes the rearguard
Pvt. Díaz shoots Majid Khan and takes him down

So this was the situation after everyone had finished their first combat phase. Eineddin was unconscious and hors de combat, Majid Khan seriously wounded and everyone would have to roll a morale check. In the following pic you will see lots of markers, but don't worry, they are just for us avoiding to forget what we had to do next, not all of them involved modifiers or anything :D

As a matter of fact, as everybody has to roll for the next phase, we could have taken the tokens apart

While Master Sergeant Martín was covering their men's back due to Shamul's manoeuver, Abdul approached and shoot him on the back

Taliban crossed fire
Gentlemen, we really need to get outta here!
Easy to say, Sarge!

The Spanish troops were stuck in the combat but they were not moving, and that definitely was what they were supposed to do! So at the beginning of the fifth combat phase (third activation for the characters that started the first phase), the Sarge lead the way.

[Colourful insults in Spanish] Come on, this way!!

The fireteam begins to move
You see a 'prone' token next to some minis. You can go prone by using one action point, right, but in this case this is due to failing a morale check. If you don't pass it, your character goes prone next combat phase and does nothing during it, will need to check again on the next phase. That represents the combatant crouching in whatever cover he may find until he feels secure to do anything.

Some chroma key effects should be added there on the horizon

As Pvt. Alonso was stuck in the building under hostile fire, the rest of the fireteam was not to abandon him. Master Sergeant moved again towards him to give support fire...

And got wound!

He received a light wound, decreasing his combat abilities and morale. The rest of the team will need to check their morale for the next combat phase.

The Taliban are pressing. Not sure of what the wounded leader is doing back there

Private Díaz knocked Kamaluddin down while Master Sergeant Martín and Private Alonso moved away again

Pretty bad place for a firefight
Private López also takes care of Molani and causes him a severe wound

What the hell is Majid Khan doing there? Wasn't he injured?
He is properly dealt. Though injured, he posed a threat

And all the fireteam but the Master Sergeant leaves the street. He stays to provide covering fire.

Kamaluddin is hit, taking a light wound

But before his next combat phase, Kamaluddin hits him again. Man down!

Things get ugly quite suddenly

He finally manages to get up again (tricky rolls with such negative modifiers!) and tries a final shot to the incoming hostiles.

But hitting someone in his conditions is just asking too much
 He finally joins the rest of the team, they are all safe and only Master Sergeant is wounded, requiring ROLE assistance.

Got everyone home safe, that's what counts at the end of a f*****g day like this

Can you believe that what you just read is no more than one and a half turn? :D Well, to be honest, that means six turns in any other game ;)
Skirmish Sangin is a totally detailed game, absolutely full of real situations taken into account. I can hardly think of a situation not covered under the rules. Everything here has been previously weighed and studied, and you can see that when playing. That's great, the game is really atmospheric and you can feel the actual pressure of combat. The skirmish concept is quite refreshing for me, I enjoyed it being only a few guys against a few guys, everyone having his own name and stats.

I confess that everytime I opened the book I felt overwhelmed by such detailed rules (and closed it in despair without really reading it), but once I commited myself to learn, it is not that hard. And once you get the mechanics of it, the game suddenly becomes much easier than what you thought at the beginning.

Of course, just as every time I play a game for the first time, I'm sure we made hundreds of mistakes. But now that we are more familiar with the rules, I guess the next one will be more easy going. We only used quite a fistful of basic rules, so now we should make a ROEREQ and learn how to use heavy weapons, grenades and all that stuff I didn't dare to use for the first game :D

And definitely I need more scenery. Much more...