Thursday, 30 April 2015

Ramshackle minis for a ramshackle district

A new batch of civilians incoming! I'm on fire!

This time they belong to the Ramshackle Games ranges, one of the most daring and interesting companies in the sector right now. The man behind, Curtis, combines his sculpting skills with an amazing sight to fill in market niches with really interesting stuff. Check his KS campaigns, always innovating, always bringing something you hadn't even thought about!

OK, enough ads :D, let's get on the minis.

First of all, this Imperial Clerk, Winston Lofage:

Tax collector would be my guess
The white robe identifies him as part of the Administratum (I really wanted to paint him green, but that's the Adeptus Astra Telepathica colour, so white it had to be...). Just the mere idea of having a tax collector is enough for a scenario, in wich the Arbites have to escort him before the crazy crowd lynch him...

Now time for some muties, I still hadn't any:

The kind face of the district
Nomad wanderer coming from the ash wastes outside the city
Stuff for children's nightmares
I had some xenos and beasts, but still no mutants; they are quite an important part of the Warhammer 40,000 urban imaginary, so I was in need of some.

I also needed some more working power for the docks...

Servitor XR 71
I may need some more servitors as well as regular workers, the idea looks appealing.

We also have Hugh Lamorley, another of the usual suspects, looking for anything edible :P

There is no bat on the t-shirt, it was supposed to be a two-headed Eagle
Now some different goodies. Curtis was so kind to add some extras. I ordered one pack of evil monkeys (Ok, I know, but they looked so funny... I couldn't resist!), but he sent me two! So great! I soon replaced some of the weapons so there were no two identical apes.

They know the secret of Monkey Islandtm
Still not quite sure of what role they may play, but what the hell, this is all about the fun, I guess I'll eventually figure out something!

I also ordered one Matilda the teacher and got two instead :). I thought of the possibilities. First thing that came to mind was to make two siameses sisters.

How disturbing would it have been? Two of these joined by the hip or something
But I learned that it would have been a mess trying to take the mini apart. I cam with another solution. I cut the mini so I spared the torso apart. Deep in my bits box I knew I still kept the legs from a Zombicide mini (which I had turned into a crawling zombie torso). So my Diogenes syndrome served me right! ;) Apparently at some time I also had a Necromunda Escher girl which has sadly disappeared through the mst of the years :( I only kept her left leg! Well, so the left leg it is!

So new Miss Rottenmeier has become a badass ganger!
She certainly let down her hair!
But... What was I going to do with the remaining bottom part of the mini? I found an Eldar female torso and a Cultist head from the Dark Vengeance kit. With some additional greenstuff, this is what I got:

Lady Gaga has come to the Dark Millenium. She never left, I guess
So this is it! New population to dwell in the Besenval Port area! This is slowly growing, ain't it? Still more to come!

Monday, 27 April 2015

Won't somebody please think of the children?

I recently had a conversation with a pal regarding my recent 2nd Ed game, the board and scenery. One of the aspects we tend to forget about as wargamers is that when we build the environment for our games, we have to fill it with life. With a recreation of what's logically supposed to live (or what objects are supposed to be) in the area. I've seen hundreds of boards with a few pieces of scenery on them (why does it always have to be just gothic ruins?), always randomly scattered and making only sense as mere generic obstacles for moving or shooting. I'm fed up with those. That's was the aim of this crazy Besenval Port project, to build up a board that actually made sense. I was not building a board with some tactical interest for gaming, I was building a neighbourhood in which some action may take place in different ways.

Oh, I'm talking too much. What's this all about? What we tend to forget about when recreating any environment. One of these things are.. well, children! No matter how dirty your slums look, there are supposed to be some children kidding around! Once again, Hasslefree was the solution. Though being Warhammer 40,000 oriented, I wasn't looking for deformed children or any too Blanchesque design. That may come too in a future, but for the moment I was looking only for plain children. They may look kinda poor, sick or whatever, living in this shanty town, but I wasn't adding extra limbs, mutations or stuff.

Just these whippersnappers
They belong to Hasslefree medieval ranges, so I tried to make them look a little more sci-fi with very slight conversions.

Not that easy finding the balance and deciding what to add and what to leave apart
Though I was not aiming for anything too bizarre, if this was going to be WH40K, it had to look a little bit grotesque. This is a scaring, dangerous universe, after all.

Are you my mummy? Brrrr... shivering...
The only concession to weapons I tolerated were these two, as the sculpts already included them.

Are you twins or am I too drunk?
I replaced the guns with sci-fi guns and that was all. These were looking more like young adolescents looking for their place in a gang, so well, the guns may make some sense.

These are just a small representation, but enough for me to populate my port district, at least for the moment. So another chapter closed!

There are still more civilians to come ;), and I think I still need some street furniture (this is what I was talking above, things to make a city come to life), street lamps, signs and stuff. So this is far from finished yet!

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Apothechmarines

When I painted the Chaplains and Field Police, I still had some Marines left in that hidden stash. Two Medics and three Techmarines. I've finally painted them too.

I had some doubts about how to paint them. If I was using the pure RT approach, they should be in blue with some touches of colour. However, I favoured the later approach, painting the Apothecaries in white and the Techmarines in red. They still look pretty oldschool, don't worry ;)

No, I'm most definitely NOT a Star Wars Stormtrooper
  If you look close, you'll see I used an Apothecary backpack here, something I had in my bits box, but without the lamps and stuff (can't recall where I used those).

For the other one I dared to paint a banner, given that I liked the work on the Chaplain. The motif is more or less the same. A robed skeleton walking on ashes holding the Space Marines Caduceus (the 'Helix') while he opens his robe with the other hand and shows a beating heart

This is RT, bro

 Techmarines have evolved through the years. Current models have cool backpacks with servoarms, tentacles and stuff. I thought of making something like that in a RT style but... you can guess, I'm too lazy :/. Maybe at some time I will have to take this back on the workbench, but for the moment I'm OK with these.

Who wants a backpack with servoarms when I can have this HUGE screwdriver

 Just for the record, in case you haven't noticed, the right shoulderpad is a hand. The white hand was the emblem for the Techmarines back in the days.

Servants of the White Hand. Not Saruman, those were other guys

I couldn't resist the idea of painting another banner. But how on Earth would a Techmarine banner look like? I took a totally different approach; Techmarines are weirdos within the Chapter ranks, geeks playing with their toys, not wanting or looking for human contact with people who are not their own. To reflect that separation, I made the banner look totally different. Nothing about skeletons, angels or any other organic, imperfect stuff:

I hope it looks properly 80's
The pic is bad, the circuit banner looks better in hand, but I think I may redo it to work on the same concept but improving the general aspect.

Anyway, here you have the group shot:

Not blue Ultramarines
As it happened with the Chaplains, I still have no idea of what will I do with so many Specialists, but for sure I can come up with some scenario. Ideas and suggestions are always welcome!

Monday, 20 April 2015

A few more civilians

A new batch of civilians, as I'm in need of a few ;)

The first one was quite an improvised thing. I found a metal 17th Century soldier in my box and begun to glue stuff on it. The most notorious addition is the bionic arm (from a Space Crusade Android).

Really, the mini below is a 17th Century soldier
So this way I ended up creating the character of Armengol Perelmut, bounty hunter:

Kinda Nick Fury in spaaace
Former 41st Septimanian Fusilier, he still keeps some of his old military gear, he even wears the regimental shoulderpad.

The backpack is from the Scions kit
 Cruel and implacable, he is however a man scarcely seen in the slums, always preferring high-profile targets and jobs. He is a bon vivant, enjoying his flamboyant attires and exquisite tastes. Anyway, if a job takes him to the dirt, he won't refuse and will show why his fees are so worth of the price.


The rest of the minis are from Hasslefree and have slight conversion works. The first one... well, when I got Not-Starbuck I couldn't but notice this mini was on their ranges. It's the same mini but wearing a coat. I thought it was lovely, finally a modern-like civilian bearing no weapons... damn, it was cool!

Vickee Sachaff, pilot for hire
Known for her dauntless pilot skills, many people think she's is just nuts, taking unnecessary risks with bold manoeuvres at high speed. But when it comes to avoid the authorities (or let them behind!) you know who you want to be your pilot. Any smuggler and fugitive in the subsector would kill to have Vickee on their crew.

The next mini involved a little more work. The original bears a gun. I thought of replacing it with a chainsword and then tried an experiment. To make her look even more menacing, she has some augments on her arms. That helps her with heavy loads or putting more strenght on the hits. It's just a staple and some greenstuff.

I have that t-shirt too!
 Ngara Tisendre is quite a valuable bodyguard. Specialized in the trading sector, usually offers her services for merchants who wander through dangerous areas to sell their products. Don't be fooled by her slenderness, her augmetics make her a dreadful opponent!

The last mini of this batch was something I honestly hadn't thought about. It was this post at Leadplague (awesome, inspiring blog! Thanks, JB!) that brought my attention to the kind of people you may find close to a port/spaceport/whatever. Once I made the choice of mini (medieval girl), the greenstuff work was obvious ;)

I mean the 80's leather jacket! :D
After 'Total Recall' this stuff is necessary. Ahem.
Molly Melons is quite a renowned character through all Besenval Port. Though she has quite an Arbites file, in the end she remains mostly unmolested. Last time she got arrested a public demonstration was organized and the local dockworkers went on strike. The incident was solved with only 56 casualties, but costed Judge Uhring his position.
The word is that Molly is an anti-Imperium activist, but nothing has been legally proved. Anyway, she's a good person to start with if you are new to the neighborhood and want information on who's who...

This is all for now! The local community keeps on growing...

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Card is the new sexy

New stuff! And this time it's not MDF. I'm talking about LaserCutCard and their card kits. 'Seriously? Card made stuff?' I hear the sceptics ask. And the answer is definitely yes. The quality/price relation is simply unbeatable. The designs are neat and the product is cool (and cheap!!).

This is what you get. Card MDF
In this case, these are six shipping containers. I decided to do them all at the same time, instead of finishing one before getting on the next. I thought this would be less mind exhausting.

Step by step. Careful with what you inhale in the process! I know what I'm talking about...
Intuitive kits
You may be thinking how strong this card really is. The use of multiple layers gives the kit an amazing strength. Here you can see a couple of pics from LaserCutCard FB. This is a picnic bench:

And that is a damn brick!
Little more to say. I didn't conduct the experiment on my own, but the impression I have is that the containers are really tough. This is how they look when finished:

Some time involved, but it's paying off
The tricky stuff here is painting them. It's the same problem you face with any container, due to the surfaces. I primed them white and then needed two or three layers to get some opacity. Those among you who use airbrush will find this easier, but for me and my brushes this endeavour took me more time than what I spent for the assembling!

Do you think this blog is called Old School Workshop for nothing?'
 I added some corporate signs and some weathering on them and...

Ready to fill the board!
Mandatory comparison pic, next to mighty Michi's beautiful container (Ainsty Castings) :)
I also got a couple of buildings from LaserCutCard, so I'm not already done... :D

Monday, 13 April 2015

Playing 2nd Ed.: Cops & Robbers

It's been a looong time since I didn't have a WH40K game. Way too long. But it has come to an end! Yay! My usual WH40K partner in crime, Rodrigo, came over to give my Chaplains and Field Police some decent use. Besides, it was also time to give some proper use to all that urban scenery I've been treasuring lately!

As I always remind, our games are a little unorthodox. We use 2nd Ed. as it's the one that better suits our gaming style, we are familiar to it and gives us enough detail and enough flexibility to conduct our games. BUT rules are just a guide for fun, we don't strictly adhere to the full set as we like to play adventure and to do the unexpected, so you will find a high dose of Rogue Trader in this battle report, as well as many atypical situations we just solved as they appeared by making up the rules on the go. I am aware not every player feels comfortable with this (in fact, most newhammer players will be horrified seeing what we did here; but nevermind, I am pretty sure I don't have many newhammer readers, so I can handle the collateral damage). So, as always, expect the unexpected and just have fun.

Well, first of all, it was time to see if my investment in urban scenery was leading to any place. We got all we had at hand for my Besenval Port project and put it on the table:

The city! Don't know what you think. For me this pays off.
I only have one full board. We added a suplementay surface, but it's nothing but a plywood piece (which will eventually turn into my new board; some day, soon...). OK, I have a lot of buildings but not enough space for them. I certainly have to work on that!
Given the situation, I think we solved it in a decent way. More or less. If you look closer, you'll see the white warehouse is just on a foam tray :D. Well, stuff I have to pay some attention to.

What's the story? A group of rogue Ultramarines have stolen a valuable Mk.I Terminator Armour. Heresy! They have come to this populated area knowing that Mama Balaklava's is the right place to go when you want to sell any piece of tech and leave no trace. Greed! But of course such an infamy cannot be left unpunished. Master of Sanctity Tow Takka-chow has dispatched two of his best Chaplains to take some Field Police and go hunt the rebels. Retribution!

The rogue Space Marines
In the picture below you can see the layout. The rogue Marines deploy at the dock, where a ship has just left them (green arrow, right of the picture). They need to get the Termie at Mama Balaklava's (blue arrow, roughly centre of the picture). Two Field Police Squads, each one led by a Chaplain, will arrive by turns just at the top of the Arbites local Station (red arrow, left of the picture), being the Imperial representation on the area. Both Chaplains have quite a dissimilar character; they're going to play the good cop/bad cop good Chaplain/ bad Chaplain game. The first one to arrive will try by all means to hunt and kill the rebels. The second Chaplain will however try to catch them alive and to get them on a fair trial back to the Fortress of Hera.

The setup for the game
Rogue Marines will eventually receive some support (a stolen Land Speeder, with regular reserve units rules). You can also see there are some civilians over the place. Each turn they will move randomly (using the scatter dice). Besides, Besenval Port is quite a dangerous area, some unusual activity has been reported, as apparently some abhumans and mutants are supposed to act in the vicinity. The First Ammended Commitee of Elected Peers of Abhumans and Liberated Mutants (F.A.C.E.P.A.L.M.) is quite active in the surroundings, so some unusual creatures may appear if there is a good firefight close to the Port!

OK, enough! Let's play!

The Rogue Marines advanced while the first Police Squad arrived.

I have no proper Marine flyer, so the Arbites Arvus will have to do...
The Rogue Marines (I was playing them) used their strategy card:

As soon as they arrived, the pursuers activated them!
Boom! Boom!
We decided not to take out the 'dead' Space Marines, but just to let them down. Each subsequent turn, we'd roll a die. With a 1, he'd be definitely dead. 2-5 meant he still was injured and down. A 6 would mean he got up immediately, ready to combat again.

Some Rogue Marines climbed up the vehicle, while others 'convinced' Dr. Gosherian to use it
At the end of this turn, the first unexpected creature appeared (reserve units rules, random entry point)

Meet Counselor Moooorrison, delegate of the F.A.C.E.P.A.L.M.
The Minotaur climbed up to the platform, where he was spotted by the Field Police:

Not only we must hunt Heretics, but unholy creatures as well!
He fired upon the creature, but caused no harm. In the meantime, another member of the Squad got into Mama Balaklava's place, but was convinced there was nothing to see there...

Get out, you young warrior!
Bad Chaplain spotted their prey!

There they are! Brothers! To me! Kil kil kil!!
One of the Rogue Marines got to the crane controls and had to push the civilian on it:

Slow-mo action, just like in the A-Team

Using their Initiative atribute, the Marines tried to convince Abdul Gosherian to use his van:

No discount, you bulky blue man! No group discount!
Second Police Squad incoming!

The Good Chaplain screams 'Take'em alive'
Booby traps! Aaargh! I want them alive to torture them myself!
 Turn for the civilians and beasts. As waters have been moving, some creatures are lured...

Fresshh meaat ssss glub glub om nom nom
But the barge pilot sees a civilian in distress and helps him with his heavy stubber:
The stubber is on the prow, you just imagine the situation
Rogue Marines turn again. The one on the crane commands the servitor to take his heavy mate on...

Come on! Lift that guy!
To the bridge! Through the glass!
Scared citizens all along
Well, you see. This is the kind of crazy stuff we enjoy playing through our games :D. That's what I was saying above about being unorthodox and never playing by the strict rules. Rules are boring!
-'I came up with this accurate list of 1650 points for my tournament, with an optimization of my tactical options and gear, given that the current metagame blah blah blah...'
...
-'I just used a Terminator as a wrecking ball'.

:D

OK, I disgress, where were we...
The other marines finally confiscated Abdul Gosherian's van!

C'mon guys! We have transportation!
One poor woman manages to jump to the water (slow-mo, remember). The other is hit by the van
Second Squad moves
While the first Squad engages the marines at the other side of the bridge
The only thing I hate more than traitors is collaborationists! Die, you civilian!
Civilians turn. The struggle in the water remained the same:

Damn! The stubber got jammed!
The Minotaur charged on the Rogue Marine who didn't go up to the crane not on the van:

And they fell down to the floor, breaking the handrail
A new Mino appears, as well as another Piscean ('Jaws' OST, you know)
One of the civilians appears to be a F.A.C.E.P.A.L.M. sympathizer; he gets into a car and tries to hit the Marines!
Rogue Marines turn! The guy who controlled the crane decided to join his fellow Termie. He ran over the crane arm (Initiative roll was passed) and jumped on the bridge. As a reward to my foolish boldness, my mate even allowed me to move onto the corner and shoot the Field Police. From now on we just called that Marine Daniel Craig.

C'mon, don't say it's not frakkin' epic!
The Bad Chaplain Squad kept on shooting the other Rogue Marines:

Pew! Pew! Bang! Bang!
While the other Police guys had to deal with the frenzy civilian in the car:

Burn you rebel scum!
The Good Chaplain Squad fired on Daniel Craig, with no effect:

Movie scene here. Blamm blamm bang bang
New F.A.C.E.P.A.L.M. members appeared, this time next to the warehouse.

Snort! We smell of battle here!!
Rogue reenforcements finally managed to come to the rescue! A Land Speeder came to help the fugitives!

Trying to ram the poor guy
Daniel Craig and the Termie opened fire from the bridge:
Err... is that stormbolter jammed? Seriously? Your first shoot in all the game and you jam the weapon!!
General overview of the flank

Oooops! They're boarding the barge!
Angry Chaplain is shot down not by the Marines, but by the Minotaurs!
 The civilian car crashed in flames and the Land Speeder used the flamer:

We used it only as a simple flamer, not a heavy weapon, so it wouldn't be that dreadful
The guy survived, but he was left burning for the following turns
F.A.C.E.P.A.L.M. members cornered the isolated Marine, who had to run for his life
With the barge (under new management) going down the canal, the bridge automatically lifted:

Moooo! This was close!
Beastmen split up and prove themselves quite scary opponents
The Land Speeder charged again and rammed against the Chaplain:

Seriously, Mr. Chaplain? You have a skull on your butt??
It was time for the Termie to move forward if he was ever to get to Mama Balaklava's! He just walked over the walkaway and let himself fall, trusting in his powerful armour to preserve his life. His mate also jumped with him and... he failed his initiative roll for the jump, falling miserably!

C'mon, you both were the crane guys! This is absolutely un-epic!
The Field Police took the Speeder down. It crashed in a spectacular fireball
Beastmen are worthy foes
The Daniel Craig Marine got up again on his feet and fought back, just to clean his name. He charged the Field Police on the stairs. He grabbed an enemy who was on the upper floor by his ankle and took him down.

That's the interpretation of this pic...
But of course he was exposed to enemy fire
The Field Police also shot on the Termie who, against all odds... failed his armour save!!

Oooooh! So close...
We decided not to roll for the Termie to see if he got back on his feet and just put the game to an end. So the fugitives were taken down and the Chapter avoided the risk of its sacred arcane technology to be desecrated!
 Just to end the turn, the Pisceans escaped with their fish cargo on the barge :D

Real winners of the game

This was the game. As you can see, enormously fun for both of us! Some quick conclusions about it: I'm OK with the scenery, I have enough buildings, but still could bring a few more to add some variety and not to repeat the same exact structures. I already got some and there are a few more things on my radar.
What I really need is a second board. You can see we managed more or less with what I have, but a second modular piece will no doubtly add depth to the board.
I also need more civilians to populate the city. I'm on my way to solve that and I already have some ideas about this issue... ;)

Regarding the game itself, I must say this is the kind of crazy, silly experience I enjoy. We improvised each turn and made up rules on the go. Maybe the scenario was a little bit unbalanced, being it easier for the Field Police to stop the fugitives. Anyway, if we had played by the book, the game would have been a little bit boring. Maybe the roll to allow the casualties get back on their feet was the best example (if everybody was dead by Turn 3, this would have been a fiasco). Or the freedom of movement and action (Demolition baaaaall!). So we made our own balance, and I think it worked. We tried to act coherently regarding civilians and mutants/xenomorphs; I think it also was a nice touch, and an aspect worth of further development, we may find better ways to unfold that part.

On the whole, I think the game was tremendously great. Of course you have to find an opponent who is prone to this silliness, or it won't work at all. I'm fortunate enough to say I did!
This is not the last you've seen about Besenval Port, just consider this game as some kind of beta test :D. There are some more buildings and civilians on their way, you'll be hearing about them pretty soon!