Thursday, 30 January 2020

Blood for the Baron!

If you are about my age you might have been reading IPC's 'Battle' comic in 1985. If you were, you would have read a story based on a new toy line from Palitoy, called Action Force. This series focused on the conflict between a United Nations backed military force that fought the terrorist Red Shadows organisation. Eventually the original Palitoy line was phased out and Action Force was replaced by US GI Joe figures; the Red Shadows by Cobra. The comic even put a story together to explain this transition with Baron Ironblood, the Red Shadow's leader, deciding to start a new and better organisation and adopting the new identity of Cobra Commander. GI Joe was, interestingly enough, a UN force in the British comics.

A few years back I found that the sculptor Soapy had converted some Red Shadows, but at that time there were no plastic Blitzkrieg era Germans, and I didn't feel like converting metal figures. Then last week I picked up Wargames Illustrated which had a free Warlord Games German Blitzkrieg sprue. Along with a few AK-47s left over from my Wargames Factory zombie hunters, I decided to do some converting.

NCO and trooper
The Red Shadows uniform is essentially a German WWII uniform. The only difference is the weapons - no Mauser rifles in 1985, just typically terrorist/freedom fighter AK 47s - and the helmet. The helmet had a face mask, and a box on the back which I assume was a built in radio (AM and FM). These I sculpted out of green stuff, and was a relatively straight forward process, except that the box was so small that it was hard to get it to stick to the helmet without squishing it. I got there in the end though.
Grenadier and another trooper
Painting was very straight forward. Red, black and white. Done.
Another shot of the Grenadier, this time with the machine gunner.  I kept the WWII heavy weapon.
The whole squad together.
I wouldn't mind getting one more sprue and extending the squad to 8-10 figures at some point.

So what to do with these guys? I considered getting some Falklands Brits and painting them up as Z Force, the infantry backbone of Action Force. I thought I had also seen some SAS minis in gas mask and hood a la the Iranian embassy siege, but I can't find where I'd seen them. But if I could find them, I might do SAS force (my favourite as a kid). Q Force - the naval component - doesn't really do it for me, and Donald Trump is already building Space Force on a 1 to 1 scale which I can't compete with, so Z force seems the only option.

In the meantime, they will make an appearance in the NDC universe, as part of Baron Death's coterie. The thinking is that Baron Death found Ironbloods old files, including information to reactivate some old sleeper cells of Red Shadows (who have passed on their mission to new recruits - no pensioners out and about with their AKs). Along with his Deathbots, he's got a nice big terrorist organisation to threaten world peace with. And the best part is that the Shadows can legitimately still cry 'Blood for the Baron!', just before getting shot and crying 'Aieee!' and 'Argggh!'.

Also fresh of the painting tray with no real plan on painting them, are some underwater dwellers. Atlanteans have been done to death by other, inferior, comic universes. So these guys are going to be the Krakeni. Oh  yes, NDC is the true house of fresh ideas (Apart from all the borrowed stuff).
Krakeni assault force
These are Mantic Nereid figures. The idea behind their paint scheme was as follows:
Dad: What colour do you think underwater people would be?
Daughter: Green
Dad: Done
Then I felt that any form of metal would be rather odd for an underwater people without smelters (yes I later thought about volcanoes - there hasn't been much thinking time here), but that coral would be plentiful. So we got the coral colours for their armour. I further reasoned that living at the bottom of the sea it would be too dark for the Krakeni to see just how stupid they look. I don't know what excuse people in the 80s had for making the same fashion mistakes.

The Krakeni leader in al his flouro glory!
 This was a simple paint scheme. Paint the skin, wash the white bits that are leftover. Done!
Close up of their leg warmers... errr armour.
Once again a quick and easy group of baddies for some superhero gaming! When I get the chance of course. The Badgers and Burrows game is meant to come first, but I have to admit that the return to work this week has been rather full on. I'm typing this rathe than painting tonight because I've had a headache all day, and need a break from the detail on my French Dragoons.


Tuesday, 21 January 2020

New Year's Painting

It's hard to believe that January is two thirds over already, and this is only my second post for the year. However, it is a post with all of the stuff I've managed to paint so far. An eclectic mix, I've got fantasy, sci-fi and historical here.

First off, Star Wars Legion.
Rebel troopers
 I've painted plenty of Legion figures so far, but these are the first that I've painted for myself.
Imperial Stormtroopers
The scratch-built terrain piece was also painted at the beginning of this year. I'm planning to do several more like it.
Amazing what you can do with an old yoghurt container and a Pringles tube!
Next up, a completed second warband for Burrows and Badgers.
The full warband led by Justin Beaver

Terry Boarder



Rowan Adderson
All of these guys have already been up on Facebook, which is a much more instant forum, but doesn't have the journaling appeal that a blog has, so apologies if you have seen these characters already.

Finally, Half of Craig's next Seleucid phalanx was finished. The second half is up after a finish a couple more of my own units.
A proper staged scenic shot will happen when the whole unit is complete

Now that I 've got the hang of LBMS transfers I really like them.
 On the painting table I have some French Dragoons for WSS, another unit of rebel troopers, and the Warlord Games MASH set to do for John. Hopefully they'll be up before the end of the month!


Monday, 20 January 2020

Rule Britannia (and Gaul, Germania, Dacia etc)

While spending a pleasant week at the beach this summer, I began thinking about my ancients projects. I decided I wanted to revisit my adaptation of Lion Rampant for the Gallic Wars, which I named Caesar Rampant. There were a number of aspects that I wanted to alter. The first was to adapt some of the ideas from the Men Who Would Be Kings into the game, particularly the idea that a failed activation does not hand the turn over to one's opponent, but simply means activation of another unit. I also wanted to make attack rolls based on the number of figures, and to really give individual units some character that they could call their own.
Having got the balance pretty good so far, I decided to try and extend the rules into the Early Imperial period. So chariots were added, as were auxiliaries. The Scorpio battery was an interesting addition, and has only been playtested the once, but let's just say that it probably needs some work. With the change in scope, I thought a new name might be in order, so I've renamed them Rule Britannia (and Gaul). They can be found on this page here:

The armies that I had painted for Caesar Rampant I passed on to my wargaming buddy John, so I've been cobbling together new units which are not yet painted, but they are high on the priority list! Here's a couple of snaps of the playtesting that I did.
Romans on the right in stealth armour, Gauls on the left in multiple states of undress!

The 12 figure base is handy for the Romans, as they have flanks in the rules.

The Gauls are boosted by some spare Germans and Wargames Foundry Cyclops. Rest of the Gauls will be arriving soon.

In this earlier game there was a lot more running away. I've altered that now. 
Have a go with the  rules if you are interested - and let me know how they work for you, and any clarifications I need to make.