Monday, 30 March 2009

Dark nights and Ion Beams - Turn 3, CAP

"As the weather finally cleared over Curwen, the temporary truce was ended by the ear-splitting roar of aircraft once again taking to the skies. Determined to maintain the momentum they had regained, the Imperial Forces commenced aggressive, round the clock Combat Air Patrols, testing the Tau defences.

It was on the third night of patrols that the Tau finally chose to respond, waiting until only two of Curwen's five moons was in the sky to maximise the advantage of their superiority in night fighters. In the freezing moonlit sky, Imperial flight leader Hans High vectored his Lightning and 3 accompanying Thunderbolts: Bishop, Danny Boy and Flash Harry; towards the five contacts racing towards them from the Tau lines.

[Hans leads the Imperial flight into action]

[A tau Barracuda lit by two of Curwen's moons]

Emissions suggested three of them were Blacksun Filter equipped nightfighters. With only Hans' Lightning carrying Infra Red sights, and outnumbered, the Imperial flyboys were in for the fight of their lives.

Both sides drew blood almost immediately, as Bishop downed a Blacksun equipped Barracuda at close range, only to be sent flaming to earth himself moments later. But it was Hans who would prove the victor as, in a twisting, spiraling dogfight he downed the two remaining Tau nightfighters, sending the rest scurrying for home."

[Hans pulls wide before starting his epic dive into the dogfight]

Despite all expectations the mission had gone well for me. Outnumbered and poorly equipped for the dark conditions, Hans with his missile and infra red equipped Lightning had come through for me. With 3 Campaign points for a major victory I had temporarily pulled ahead in the campaign but, with so few fighters remaining (having lost another) I had little choice but to spend a Campaign point to contact the fleet for reinforcements. Rolling up 50 points of fighters, I added two Thunderbolts with additional weapons loads.

With the Campaign Points now level at 3-2 in my favour, we rolled for the next game. In a fit of optimism I again went on the offensive, while Matt chose to play defensively again. The result, an Air Raid by Imperial Forces against a Tau held factory. As the Tau licked their wounds Imperial Ground crews loaded Marauder Bombers with High Explosives, aircrew tested turret traverses and flight crews plotted their approach runs.

Return to Curwen

This last Saturday Matt and I picked up our ongoing Aeronautica Imperialis Campaign ( during a day of frantic gaming at Warhammer World in Nottingham.

Just to recap, after two games Matt was ahead by one campaign point, having won the first game, an ambush, pretty convincingly (even tough I was the one doing the ambushing), although I'd pulled back some honour with a victory when he tried to intercept a bombing raid (although I'd then had to spend one of my campaign points buying two new Thunderbolt fighters).

As the new campaign turn started, my roster looked like this:

Although worried by my fighter losses I decided to take an offensive stance this turn, while Matt went defensive. The mission rolled was a Combat Air Patrol, to be carried out at night. Matt would be able to field more, and better nightfighting equipped aircraft than me, and it was a mission his Tau Barracudas have done well with in the past. This was going to be tense...

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Heavy Flak Ahead

My mate Matt and I are about to pick up our Aeronautica Imperialis campaign, and I've got the bug to make some more scenery. Having made tank scrapes for my Hydra Flak Tanks ( I thought I'd do something similar for my heavy Forge World AA guns (basically Flak 88s). My original plan was for prepared, concrete bunker type defences but, after watching the D Day episode of Band of Brothers, decided to go for something a bit more of a halfway house.

I started by making a hexagonal template, slightly larger than the baseplate of the guns i'd be using. I used this to cut a suitable hole into slices of Pink Insulation foam (about 6-7mm thick, although it varied as I was using offcuts from another project), which were glued to artist's mounting card with PVA glue. The outside was shaped into a slope and the inside faced with thin balsa that had lines scored into it with a pin.

Th next step was to coat all areas except the balsa with PVA and cover it in sand. In all this stage took a couple of hours (including getting distracted by the telly). It was then left overnight to dry. Once set I started with a basecoat of burnt umber acrylic, the drybrushed up with various lighter browns and khakis (I used slightly different shades on the wood to help differentiate it) and finally glued on some static grass.

Overall I'm pretty pleased with how they've come out for very little work, so I've decided I'm going to do some connecting trench sections. As well as using these for AI and Epic, they'll also come in handy for my Great 6mm Game-in-a-Box experiment, more of which in another post sometime...

Do not return once lit.

The first of a few updates that will come over the next few days...

I've finally finished my Ogre for the Sheffield Irregulars painting challenge. I really enjoyed painting this chap. I made much more use of washes and highlighting than normal, and I'm pretty pleased with the result, especially on the face, which I think is quite expressive!

The challenge for next month is 'weathering', suggestions on a postcard please...

Thursday, 19 March 2009

FAD 4.0 Arrives

The latest version of my favourite platoon-level SF skirmish rules has now arrived! Fast and Dirty is an excellent set of absolutely free web-based rules written by Ivan Sorenson. They have a lot of the flavour of another favourite of mine, Stargrunt (focus on squad level fire, effects of coming under fire and pinning et), but are aimed to play a lot quicker. Now before I go any further I'd better admit to a little bias, as Ivan was kind enough to let me input some ideas into this latest version (most of which than had to be turned into something more workable!), as well as some of the artwork.

One of its best features is that they are incredibly easy to customise. A series of 'traits' allow you to tailor forces to create just about any SF archetype you can imagine, from soulless killer robots to zombie hordes, through bugs and genetically engineered supersoldiers. With the addition now of things like psionics, more detailed vehicle rules, and a task system to allow more of a role-play element.

There's even a basic campaign system included!

I'd heartily recommend it to anyone after a simple, yet comprehensive, set of rules for anything from WWII to hard SF style games.

You can download the rules here:

There's also a Yahoo group here:

Sunday, 8 March 2009

It points which way?

Almost done, I just need a good idea for the base now. And a name, yes, this guy definitely needs a name...

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

BANG! "Hur, hur hur..."

Undercoat, basecoats and drybrushing on gun barrel complete.

Normally I work on one area until I'm satisfied, so it's been quite interesting disciplining myself to completing the base coat before going on to the next stage.

March Painting Challenge

Been a while since I posted with one thing and another (including loss of broadband and incompetence on the part of my provider), so there may be a few one after the other!

The Sheffield Irregulars have now launched their painting challenge for March, which is to paint a model from a manufacturer you've not done before.

I wasn't keen on buying anything new (already have too large a mountain of unpainted lead and plastic), so I had a search through to see what I already had. In the end I turned up a couple of Ogres from the short-lived Marauder Miniatures. This was the company set up by (then) ex GW designers Trish and Aly Morrison. Although I'm going more by the spirit than the letter of the challenge here, as it certainly won't be the first ogre I've painted!

Anyway, here are a couple of pics of the basic model before I got started: