Thursday, November 23, 2023

Majestic 13: Operation Turkey Drop

 Today is Thanksgiving in the United States; we're neither hosting nor traveling to see family today (and a sudden positive Covid test at my parents' house has cancelled our plans for traveling this weekend), but my wife and I had a nice meal together, the cat got a rare treat of wet food (and sunk a claw into the sole of my foot, for my first-ever Thanksgiving injury), and I made the time to clear the table off and set myself up with a solo game. 

Snarling Badger Studios' Majestic 13 has been getting talked about a lot in the wargaming Discord servers I'm in, and it sparked me to dust things off and get a game in; I've assembled and painted quite a bit of urban terrain since my last game, so I got my table set up, pulled out my crew, and grabbed my monster; I went with the Avenkian Shrieking Shock Trooper again, as I felt a little more confident going after it after my original playtest back in June. And the miniature was still *cough* out from last time.

My team, Keel's Killers, deployed from their remote observation base when the Avenkian was spotted lurking around the roof of the Bingo Hall; their primary objective being the creature's destruction (before it could spoil the Senior Ladies' Bingo League's Black Friday Special), with a secondary objective of mapping the terrain on that side of the board. Johanna Keel briefed her crew behind the "Donut Worry" doughnut shop, and the crew spread out into cover.

The Avenkian spotted Agent Moseley, leapt down from the Bingo Hall and charged across the street, vaulting over the chainlink fence towards Moseley's position.

The crew fanned out and began firing into the creature; Moseley and Keel were both caught in the blast radius of, and stunned by, the creature's sonic scream. After killing Moseley, the Avenkian turned its attention towards the wounded Keel, though Agent Barker managed to call in aid and hit the creature with a drone strike. 

Using a Fistful of Lead "Shock" marker to designate Keel as "Stunned."

Agent Arnold managed to dart in and apply a medi-kit to Keel's wounds, and the surviving team-members began a series of hit-and-run attacks, trying to keep everyone out of range of the creature's retaliatory sonic blast as best they could. The Avenkian ultimately struck down Keel, but drew the fire of long range artillery.

In Turn 5, the Avenkian went "In Extremis" (a condition where, once reduced below a certain HP threshold, the creature gains an extra action but begins taking bonus damage). It looked like I might not manage to kill it, but I'd get close, and I was pretty happy for that; however, on its second activation, I rolled 2D6 to see how much Extremis damage it took and...IT DIED!

Keel's Killers pumped dozens of rounds of ammunition into the creature, and right as they were on the cusp of failing their mission...the monster exploded on its own. We'll call that a win. And the surviving crew members - Arnold, Barker and Klass - got tacos out of the deal.

This 3D-printed taco truck is one of the best things my wife's ever bought for my table.

Going into the post-game, both Keel and Moseley recovered just fine from their injuries, and will be available for the next mission with no complications. The team rating goes from 0 to 1, and Barker, Arnold and Klass each got to boost an attribute - Barker and Arnold boosting their Combat rating, while Klass raised his Dexterity. Impressively, they actually managed to get all the new gear they requisitioned after this mission - they replenished medi-kits, added shock pads to their repertoire, and most excitingly, added an Internet Communications Monitoring Station to their base - this allows me to basically negate a FUBAR roll (each turn in Majestic 13, you roll to see if anything goes wrong, and the longer the game goes on the more likely something goes wrong). I was really pleased with these results - as Roughnecks (one of the 13 groups comprising Majestic 13), Keel's Killers take a penalty to Bureaucracy rolls during the post-game phase, making it harder to requisition new gear. But I had enough bonuses and rolled well enough to actually get everything I wanted.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Orc Siege Gun

 I'll be taking part in the Old World Army Challenge again in 2024, with an amusing little WHFB 3rd edition Empire Army with Halfling Allies. In prepping for January 1st, I've been very much in an Oldhammer frame of mind, and have been keeping myself busy with some of the orcs in my collection; even if I'm taking a break for the duration of the OWAC, I'm thinking the Oldhammer Orc project is going to be a constant for me, because there will always be something to add to it, and it gives me so much joy. 

The latest figure to be completed is this bunch from Warmonger Miniatures - Here we have mercenary orc "Curroneth" with his Orcquebus siege gun and crew. Another Kev Adams sculpt (like the bulk of my army), I think the mercenary orcs he did for Warmonger are some of his best and most underrated sculpts; the landsknecht style clothing and the sheer volume of looted goods they're crusted with cry out for bright colors and reward the patient painter. 

The "orclings" forming the gun rest as well as the reloading crew all came with Curroneth, but I added another one, similarly dressed in puff-and-slash and admiring himself in a hand mirror; I painted his clothes to match Curroneth's, with quartered red-yellow and blue-white. 

I also drilled out the gun barrels; I'd gotten a little bit of flack on social media for not drilling out the horns some of my musicians were blowing, so I figured I'd get ahead of that. 

Other than the "Leadbelcher" cannon in the 3rd edition list, orcs have not had access to gunpowder weapons in Warhammer Fantasy Battles; I figure I'll use this as a proxy Rock Lobba catapult if I ever get a chance to play. 


Finally, I have something very cool to share. Last week, my wife Gina found out that I have hobby "white whales" - old figures that I'd love to get my hands on given a chance. She asked for a list of what some of these white whales were, and got to work. 

Top of the list was the 6th edition WHFB "Orc Warboss on Wyvern" - I fell in love with this kit the very first time I walked into a Games Workshop store in August 2001. They had a painted example on a turntable in the display case and I was absolutely entranced - the short neck and bulldog face on the wyvern was so cool to 14 year old me.

Alas, I had neither the money nor the attention span to focus long enough to build a 2000-pt 6th edition army; I bought a few boxed sets here and there - Night Goblins, Orcs, Skeletons, Chaos Warriors - but never managed to get far enough to be thinking about characters. So I never bought the Warboss on Wyvern. 

Earlier this week, it arrived:

It feels surreal to hold it in my hands. It had become a pipe dream, a mythical "if I see one for sale that's not in too-terrible a shape, that doesn't cost a kidney." I don't think I was expecting to ever actually get one. It might not get painted until spring, because my priming window is rapidly closing for the year, but I'm excited to finally get a chance to paint it.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Claudia and Adler

 Recently my wife Gina asked me to paint a figure for her; not for use in a game or anything like that, just something she could have on her desk at work to make her think of me. I'd received a box of figures from Dunkeldorf Miniatures and we went through it together; she decided she really liked "Claudia 'Schwartz' Hinkel," a crossbow-armed member of a criminal syndicate, as well as "Adler, Dieter's Cat." Dunkeldorf has consistently sent me a little baggie of extras with every order I've placed with them, and this time that included a resin base with a flagstone pattern. It was the work of a few moments to clip Claudia's metal tab off and glue her to the resin base.

Talking with Gina, the only specific requests she had for color was she wanted Adler to be an orange cat with white socks, and she wanted Claudia to have purple hair; she also asked for a little flocking to be added to the base. The rest of the color scheme was left up to me; I went with a deep red for her shirt and black pants, because those are colors Gina wears a lot. 

I really pushed myself harder to give this the best paint job I could give it; it's not going to win any big competitions, but those are the best eyes I've ever painted and overall I'm thoroughly pleased with the job I did here. The purple I used for her hair came out glossier than I'd like, but hopefully once she's varnished that will tone down some. Her base reads "With All My Love" and once she's varnished, she'll be glued down inside an acrylic display case to keep her dust free and safe from our own cat's attention.

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Orcs & Goblins: Boar Boyz Completed

 In 2021, I took part in the Old World Army Challenge, building an army of orcs and goblins for 3rd edition Warhammer Fantasy Battles. I tried continuing the army the following year, in 2022, but petered out halfway through, and opted out of participating in this year's challenge. Even getting re-energized this past December and again in May, I still have a lot of orcs awaiting paint. In June, I started painting a unit of Orc Boar Riders from Knightmare Miniatures; I'd converted some of them with weapon swaps and turning one into a standard bearer back in 2021, and they'd been sitting primed and waiting their turn ever since.

I completed the first rank, including the command, in June 2023, but the second rank remained unfinished. Until now. I was sick of having a half-finished unit looking at me and making me feel guilty, so I committed myself to finishing them; today, I can call the regiment complete.

Here's the finished second rank:

And here's the regiment as a whole: 

It's not Oldhammer if the banner isn't impractically large, right?

Saturday, October 7, 2023

Citadel F2 Fighters: Proof of Concept Paintjobs

I've decided to give the Old World Army Challenge another shot next year, with a fresh army - a 3rd Edition Warhammer Fantasy Battles Empire army, with a Halfling Allied Contingent. The premise being that these are the defenders of a small, obscure village on the outskirts of the Province of Averland, there's only going to be a handful of regular army troops and a much larger number of irregular militia types. Wargames Foundry has been kind enough to reissue a couple packs of classic Citadel F2 Fighters and F4 Mercenaries, which will make up the bulk of this militia; I grabbed a few original F2 Fighters off eBay a while back to bulk that regiment out further if need be, but decided I'd paint two of them up as proof of concept.

F2 Altdorf Sergeant

These are painted with some GW Contrast paints in conjunction with regular acrylics from Reaper and Vallejo. I wanted to see if I could produce results that I was happy with, faster than I would with regular acrylics alone. And overall, the answer is yes; I painted these guys over the span of three short painting sessions, maybe 3 1/2 hours total from start to finish, including basing. 

F2 Imperial Foot Soldier

I did a bit of work here that I probably won't do on the army itself, like taking the time to paint eyes. But striped leggings, dirty leather armor (GW Snakebite Leather contrast, washed with Agrax Earthshade, then highlighted with Vallejo Plague Brown), gin-blossomed noses all feel very on brand, especially for the militia. I'm imagining they've been recruited straight from the tavern, too drunk to realize they've accepted the "Elector Count's shilling" until it's too late.

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Fistful of Lead Fantasy: Battle for the Goddess

 I've had cavemen on my mind lately; between seeing people painting Lucid Eye figures on Facebook, and David Sullivan's posts on his blog about the game Tribal, I've been itching for some stone age action. So I've placed another order at Lucid Eye for a copy of their "Savage Core" rules and some Ice Age-ready Amazons, and ordered Tribal 2nd edition with a tribe's worth of Bobby Jackson-sculpted cavemen. In the meantime, I got out some Lucid Eye "Neolithics" cavemen I painted last year, along with some "Cult of the Cyclops" cultists from Forge of Ice. Going through my terrain box, I found a Venus of Willendorf-style idol from Reaper Miniatures, and a scenario was born. 

A lush, isolated valley holds the ruins of an ancient temple, and with stands the Goddess - a fertility idol of untold age and potency. Two sinister groups - one, the Cult of the Cyclops, led by the vicious and conniving Kandar-Itaa; the other, a gang of thuggish prehumans led by a terrifying and alien Pterro-Man - have converged on the valley, both with evil intentions towards the idol. 


The Pterro-Man, with its second in command, Chief Mu-ok Man-God and his tribe, sought to perform a ritual at the feet of the Goddess that would give the Pterro-Man greater influence over other tribes of prehumans, bringing them under its evil sway. The Pterro-Man can fly and exert hypnotic influence over humans (in proper Burroughsian fashion), while the cavemen have an assortment of traits making them much more vicious in close combat.  


Meanwhile, under warlock Kandar-Itaa's direction, the Cult of the Cyclops seeks to corrupt the Goddess, ensuring that there would be a huge increase in the number of cyclops mutations born across all the kingdoms of the Hollow Earth. Kandar-Itaa himself has spellcasting powers, Urgu the Cyclops is large and frightening, and the rest of the cultists are armed with bronze swords and studded dinosaur-leather armor.

 Both groups began to fan out as they moved towards the Goddess; before long, Urgu and one of the cultists encountered Torg the Hunter and a lesser tribal warrior, while Kandar-Itaa blasted Mu-ok Man-God with a Searing Bolt. The ape-man chief, writhing with pain, lost his next activation, while Urgu bashed Torg to death with a huge, roughly-shaped chunk of obsidian. 


The smell of blood drew a huge predatory dinosaur into the valley, where it beelined towards the first humanoid it saw: Jaal, one of Mu-ok's tribal hunters. Jaal managed to stick the gigantic beast with his spear, and another tribal warrior raced to assist.  


The giant dinosaur quickly ate both Jaal and the lesser warrior, striking fear into the hearts of both the Pterro-Man and Mu-ok Man-God. The Man-God lived up to his name and shrugged off the fear, charging the dinosaur...and getting eaten. The dinosaur, sated, stalked off. 

 Meanwhile,  a pair of tribal warriors charged Urgu and a nearby cultist, savagely beating them with clubs until both the cyclops and the cultist fled the battlefield. 

The Pterro-Man, rattled by the dinosaur eating so many of its underlings, was not able to put up a strong defense when Kandar-Itaa and his followers arrived in the temple. The Pterro-Man died shrieking under the hacking bronze blades of the Cult of the Cyclops, while Kandar-Itaa himself polluted the mystical power of the Goddess. A new, darker future dawned for the tribes and kingdoms of the Hollow Earth...

All in all a great game, and a fast one too; I think this one was over in about four turns. No complaints here, because I got a late start playing tonight, so I'm very satisfied with how this one turned out.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

New Terrain Haul

Last month, my wife wanted to buy me some terrain, and we were specifically looking at Black Site Studios' prepainted MDF buildings. They'd announced a trailer park, which seemed like a lot of fun, and we decided on adding a couple extra pieces as well - namely, a bingo hall and some dumpsters for scatter terrain. 

Everything arrived the other day - an 8 1/2 lb (3.8 kg) box! And not a moment too soon; my neighbor's seven year old son is Mr. Popularity, so all the kids in our apartment complex gather at our unit to play, and my priming box almost became a target for Super Soaker practice last week. Having things prepainted is going to be a godsend I think. 

I assembled the dumpsters last night to give myself some relaxation post a very long and stressful work week, and it was exactly what the doctor ordered. The kit gives you two dumpsters, each comprised of 10 parts - base, four sides, a hinged lid, two side handles and a pair of casters underneath. Everything fit together beautifully, took glue just fine, and the final construction is really sturdy. The hinged lid works perfectly, and as a bonus, a figure on a 25mm round base can comfortably be placed standing inside the dumpster.


I'm hoping to spend this weekend getting the Bingo Hall assembled, because I think that will be a very fun addition to my wargaming tables.