Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Empress Miniatures DEVGRU Miniatures

In preparation for Colin and my latest playtest game (I am just working on the AAR now, it will be up here on the weekend!), I needed to complete a set of the Empress Miniatures DEVGRU.

The miniatures I chose are the DEVGRU from the Empress Miniatures Website:

Having just watched Zero Dark Thirty a couple of weeks ago (I know, finally!), I had a pretty clear picture in my mind for how I wanted them to look. Like this in fact:

Image not owned by Radio Dishdash, images owned by Columbia Pictures and Annapurna Pictures

So with that as inspiration, this is my take on them. I wanted to get a washed out look for their uniforms, it seemed to me to be the only way to really paint the desert multicam!

All up, the DEVGRU from Empress are some absolutely cracking figures- some of the best that I have ever got from Empress actually. The proportions on them just "feel" right and the detail is superb. The Quad-eye NVG is a little annoying to fit, but with a little Green Stuff and superglue it was a simple enough job. Oh and patience. Patience is good when doing slightly fiddly things! For me, the NVG makes them look like futuristic space aliens, and I just love that aspect about it! Naturally had to go with green lenses on it as well. I am debating whether I make the lenses even more neon, but I am worried they might get a bit "cartoony". So for now, dark-ish green. I have added some tufts to the bases too, just to finish them off.

The AAR will be up at the weekend, of the SEALs in action hunting a bomb maker....


Friday, 26 September 2014

Alex McC- Painting Kiwis

So Alex has come back, we had a few issues with getting him a set of our Kiwi figures at the start (we had sold out of them completely at the time!), so he was a bit behind the rest of us in starting his Armies of Afghanistan project. But, he has managed to get some progress, showing off where his Kiwis are at!

Well, this project took a little backseat for a while, as real life tends to get in the way, and I was a little held up getting all the elements in place due to Salute, and other things!

So far, I've begun work on the first fire-team of Kiwis After some pretty exhaustive research, I've settled on a coyote-brown vest and pouches, and the two-colour desert uniform. They're progressing nicely, though I think the base colour for the uniforms may be a little yellow. Never too late to refine!

The figures themselves are lovely, and needed very little cleanup to have ready for paint. I have 3 more fire-teams to work my way through, as well as some putty work to convert some combat engineers, and a Military Working Dog team. The dog is still too early to show, but there's a conversion from the Zombicide dog set in the works, and it seemed appropriate to pick the Blue Heeler model!

I've also begun working on the Humvee for the patrol, this is a lovely piece a resin from Imprint/Empress Miniatures. I did a little sprucing up, added a ratchet clamp to the spare strap from a 1/35th kit, and made the strap out of super fine masking tape for some texture. The antenna is just a piece of brass rod, mounted into the cast bracket. I also felt it seemed a little naked with no side mirrors, so I bent some brass rod, and cut plastic sheet to make the mirrors. It worked out okay if you ask me!

That's it for now, but I now have more time to get things done!

I reckon the base colour will work out- it will look a whole lot less yellow when you put the brown splodges of colour onto it! And as for the Military Working Dog- that sounds like an awesome idea, you will definitely have to share some pictures of that.

I am definitely looking forward to seeing how these turn out.

Friday, 19 September 2014

After Action Report- Hot LZ!

Despatches II is coming together nicely, but before it can be fully completed Colin and I thought we should be sure that all of the scenarios inside it work well. Plus, we have had some comments that more AAR's will be better, so we thought we should combine the two, and show off some of the scenarios you will be able to find in Despatches II!

Note: In the pictures you will note a few clear plastic tokens and templates, these are a trial run which we have done, watch this space for when they will be released!

The mission we played was the Clear the LZ mission from Despatches II. The basic idea is that an Australian force is on patrol in a nameless village in the Urzgan province, when one of their number trips a booby trap, becoming wounded. The Auzzies call in a CASEVAC blackhawk, bad news is, they need to move to the LZ, and the Taliban are looking to ambush!

The scenario includes a Blackhawk helicopter on table, which is waiting for the auzzies to confirm that the LZ is secure so that it can land. I took charge of the Australian patrol, with Colin in control of the Taliban.

The initial Australian movements were to run onto the table, in smaller groups of two, wary of any Taliban. The ideal LZ was in a nearby field, so the Auzzies were moving at all haste to secure it.

Moving on up!

Advancing in the lush fields of Urzgan!

Unknown to the Auzzies, the Taliban had already secured key compounds in the area.

The first the Australians knew about it, was when a Novice Taliban with a PKM ran on to the table, and attempted to shoot at running digger. While a lot of noise occured, the recoil of the weapon made it next to impossible to hit (01% chance in fact!). But, morale markers onto the Auzzie.

The Auzzies returned fire, but were unable to hit, causing morale markers onto the gunner.

Even worse for the Australians, in a bypassed compound, a Taliban was hidden, lying in wait.

A Novice Taliban, what is there to fear? Well, after all the modifiers he had a 12% chance to hit. Colin rolled an 11, followed up by no less than 15 points of damage. My Body Armour save? A 1. Making a grand total of 5. Meaning the digger took 10 points of damage, and then proceeded to fail his consciousness roll. One soldier immediately out of action!

While this was happening, one of the more skilled Taliban had spotted another Australian advancing on the right flank. Again there was a very low, to hit number, but again it was hit and Colin rolled 12 wounds on him. My Body Armour save? A 1. My marksman with the HK417 took 7 wounds, and also failed his unconsciousness roll (Craig H will no doubt laugh, I keep doing that to his German marksman!).

With that shot, two soldiers immediately out of action!

It was also at this point that the CASEVAC bird arrived, and proceeded to unsuccessfully try and shoot things with it's door guns.

With the helicopter nearby, all of the Taliban were forced to take a morale test (helicopters are scary!). Unfortunatly for the Australians, all of the Taliban passed.

Making matters worse, Taliban reinforcements arrived, and promptly began unleashing a fusillade of small arms, PKM and RPG fire onto the Black Hawk. Due to the Black Hawk's speed, height and dashing good looks, none of the Taliban hit, but the helicopter was forced off table for an activation.

With the helicopter overhead, the Australians managed to clear out the novice in the compound which they missed and managed to somewhat continue their advance. A perfect grenade shot from the Underslung Grenade Launcher managed to hit no less than 4 Taliban in the KZ of the weapon, ending the threat from the far wood.

The last Taliban standing, and yes that is SIX morale markers on the poor chap. He, unsuprisingly failed his morale (he is a novice after all), and legged it.

The funny looking plastic thing in front of him is the forthcoming Grenade Template!

The Australians hunkered down in as much cover as possible, trying to survive the withering Taliban fire.

While the Australians were slowly able to reduce the numbers of Taliban, but not before an Auzzie was killed outright by a PKM gunner. At the end of the first combat turn, we called the game. The Australians had certainly not won the game, but nor had the Taliban. It was a brutal slugging match between the two forces, the Taliban had certainly taken major casualties but it would be the Australian Soldier killed, and the multiple wounded which would be on the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald tomorrow.

Next time I think we might try to get the bombmaker....


Sunday, 14 September 2014

Skirmish Sangin Armies of Afghanistan – M-ATV Build part 1

We have always been more than fortunate with the people we have involved with Skirmish Sangin, all those people that offer skills I just don't posses, which all comes together to create the high quality products we create for you, our discerning audience.

We are fortunate to have in our mists the Great Queeg aka Brent one of the world pre-eminent vehicle modellers (See the great example of his work above) and we asked him to put this together for you guys so over to the Queeg...

Musings from the warp...

While waiting for some of the ordered parts to arrive I filled in the time by assembling 2 Empress Miniatures Oshkosh M-ATVs to provide some patrolling and scout forces for our slowly building American forces.

The first thing that needs to be said is that these boys are big units. The only way to hide these things would be to find a building and drive into it for cover, and it’d have to be an American sized building at that, they stand over the Abrams and dwarf the British Jackals and US Bradley, which I thought were pretty big vehicles anyway. I must admit I’m unconvinced of their use outside of patrolling a tertiary warzone or policing duties but I guess time and combat success will tell the tale …. that and how they perform on the table of course!

 Now the models ….. as supplied they comprise 15 resin and 15 white metal parts. The resin is impressive, being very crisply moulded with very little clean up required to get the major parts flush and aligned. The basic assembly was straightforward  with only a couple of minor issues, while filing I did “break” through the resin surface and exposed a couple of sinkholes but a little Tamiya epoxy putty should fix them ok and one of my turrets was close to being a miscast. It looks like the moulds shifted during pouring with the top being off center to the base and one side pretty roughly cast, although after some clean up and paint I suspect only I’ll notice.  The white metal parts are ok and typical quality for mixed media wargaming kits.

And as usual for me lately I decided to add a bit of extra detail. These are big vehicles and as such I figured that any extra detail would help break up there size and provide a little more visual interest. After scouring as many web pics as I could find and also several 1/35th kit build and logs I added the following details;
  • lifting eyes on the lower hull sides and the upper rear of the cabin
  • support chains for the steps
  • front grill mesh
  • Rhino front mounted IED jammer
  • power supply boxes for the DUKE jamming system mounted on the rear cabin
  • rear access step ladder
  • mounting bracket for the spare wheel
  • hatch for the gunners O-GPK (Objective Gunner Protective Kit) turret
  • mounting brackets for the truck and turret wing mirrors
  • turret joystick slew controller
  • turret stowage rack
  • wiring for the aerials and low light TV drivers aid
  • Ibis Tek tow bar
  • coil springs and lower suspension arms (only on 1 and undecided if I’ll do the back or the other vehicle yet)

With most of the add ons in place I primed them with Tamiya rattlecan desert yellow enamel. It both acts as a primer and seal coat for the various materials used during detailing.  From here the tops coats and finishing work will all be brushed acrylics (mostly last gen GW).  After the base paint is only and most of the shading done I’ll add the final details that I’ve left off so as not to break them during all the handling while painting.

Still to add after base painting;
  • Aerials (4 per vehicle) and some wiring for them
  • Flexible cover for the Harris AN/PRC-152 SINCGARS radio (left rear)
  • tow shackles
  • emergency door pulls
  • tie straps for the Rhino and tow bar
  • side mesh for the rear stowage bins
  • various stowage bits to the rear bins


Aka Queeg ( check out more of Queeg's work at http://houseofqueeg.wordpress.com/)