This area of the website is my hobby blog, it contains articles about games that I have enjoyed playing together with paining and model making articles.
Here at Sally 4th we are busy getting ready to put on a participation game at 'The Other Partizan' on 20th August, based on the 1970's action movie ' The Wild Geese'. We will be using the excellent range of 28mm Wild Geese Miniatures from Mike Bravo Miniatures and the soon to be released Wild Geese building range from Sally 4th. Over the last couple of weeks, I've painted up all of the British Mercenaries who are modelled wearing DPM Combat Jacket & Trousers, '38 Pattern Webbing and mainlu 7.62mm SLR rifles.
Stage 1. Snip feet of 'plinth' using side cutters, superglue to temporary painting base and undercoat. I used the excellent 'Late War Dunkelb' spray primer from Plastic Soldier Company. The other option is to spray white and then paint all over with a sand / dunkelb coloured paint.
Stage 2 . Paint face & hands flesh colour. I used Vallejo Sunny Skintone (No 20)
Stage 3. Using Vallejo Mahogany Sand (No 139), paint the brown part of the DPM pattern using swirls with divided forked ends.
Stage 4, Using Vallejo Olive Green (No 082), paint the green part of DPM camofaluge pattern, trying to overlap the brown patches in places.
Stage 5. Using Black (any black will do!), paint boots, metal parts of rifle and black elements of DPM pattern, which should be painted as small swirls over the brown and green patches. This is best done with a smaller brush (OO size).
Stage 6. Using Vallejo Green Grey (086), paint webbing belt, straps and pouches.
Stage 7. Using Vallejo Red Leather (No 136), paint wooden parts of rifle.
Stage 8. Paint beret using Vallejo English Uniform (No 141).
Stage 9. Hold figure by base and dip into tin of Army Painter Quicktone to add shadows and line the equipment.
Stage 10. Spray with Army Painter Anti-Shine Matt Varnish to remove gloss finish. When dry, I removed from painting bases and glued on to a Sally 4th clear Perspex base so that the miniatures will match whatever terrain they are standing on.
Combat Patrol is fast becoming a generic set of skirmish wargames rules for any period from around 1800 to the far future. The core rules cover WW2 combat and ‘free to download supplements’ add period specific rules for Falklands Campaign, Winter of '79, Napoleonic and now the Old West. Last Saturday, Lewis and I dusted off our western gunfighters and American West terrain and game Combat Patrol Western a try.
We used a scenario from the 'Dead Mans Hand' main rulebook. I played the bad guys and Lewis played the Sheriff and his posse. We both had a mix of different quality characters, our leaders were rated as elite and the rest of the characters a mixture of regular and green. The gangs were divided into groups and set up around the town as laid down in the 'Dead Mans Hand' scenario. My leader had to set up in a building; he was drowning his sorrows.
My leader dashes across the street and takes cover behind the corner of a building. The dice in the picture are 'activation dice'. Each leader (and every group has a leader, even if it is an informal one) rolls a dice at the start of the turn to determine their activation number. Activation is then determined by drawing a card from an activation deck. This contains numbers 1:6 twice, a re-roll and reshuffle card and some other special cards that allow certain classes of unit to activate more (or less) times. So, for example, my leader is the figure with the white shirt. He gets to activate whenever the No 6 card is drawn from the deck.
The action hots up on the edge of town by the corral, Lewis's deputy (in the brown coat) and a member of the posse, close the range before opening up with their pistols. My cowboy in the corral has a '!' token next to him, this indicates that he is stunned, so will need to spend the next turn removing this status. He is stunned because he attempted to 'react' when the lawmen headed down the side street. Any model can attempt to react to enemy movement by turning a card from their action deck and consulting the 'D5' part of the card. If the number is less than their reaction attribute they can react and after reacting become 'stunned' to show they have acted early and taken their action out of sequence., If the number on the card is equal or higher they can not react, and if the card is a '5' they do not react but become stunned anyway.
Two of the lawmen's posse take a shot at the outlaw leader. Shooting is very fast and intuitive. The top of the cards is the shooting resolution table. All of the data about probabilities are built into the cards, rather than having to reference other charts and quick reference sheets. Figures are classed as elite, regular of green for accuracy. This tells you were to look on the top of the card. Underneath the white dots you will see corresponding letters 'E', 'R', 'G'. This is where you start on the card. You then add modifiers for the tactical situation. This are summarised by the icons on the next row of the card. Shift one to the right if target moved, out of command, wounded or at medium range and shift two to the right if at long range or if moving and firing. The posse are 'Green' and are moving and firing so they would have needed a white circle in position five to have scored a hit.
On their next activation they move up to close range and shoot again. This time they are successful, so draw another card and look at the target and cover part of the card. Unfortunately for me it was a 'headshot' with no cover save, so my leader is dead.
Against all the odds the next bout of gunfire to be resolved leaves Lewis' leader, the Sheriff dead from a headshot with no cover save as well!
The action hots up in the side street as well. The figure top left has an 'out of ammo' marker. When you fire there is always the chance of running out of ammo or getting a stoppage that needs clearing. This is indicated on firing part of card. If you are out of ammo you then need to spend a turn reloading before you can fire again.
Another two lawmen 'Go down in a blaze of glory'. At this point Lewis calls it a day. Victory for the Outlaws.
The red markers are for morale checks. Each time a unit is hit, even if round is saved by cover, the unit takes a morale marker which needs to be resolved next time the unit activates.
Combat Patrol worked really well for a western game. The supplement also covers mounted troops, dynamite and all of the other elements and troop types you would expect in a game set in the Old West and best off all it is available as a free download.
I like to make modular terrain, with as many pieces that can be re-used for different purposes, different periods, different genres, as like 99.9% of all wargamers, I have limited storage space for miniatures and terrain. This is why I developed the Terra-Former terrain system. Terra-Formers are 12" square, precision laser cut frames with a wide range of profiles for modelling hills, rivers, streams, canals, beaches etc. In fact there are over 30 different tile profiles available in the Terra-Former range.
I backed the fantastic Precinct 187 3D printable terrain system from Z1 Design on Kick Starter last year, and since then my 3D printer has been printing building components most days. The set that I like the most is their Docklands. This includes dock edging, warehouse buildings and two boats, including the fishing boat that features in these photographs.
The great thing about 3D printing is how easily you can modify the designs to print them for a different figures scale or to crop or resize them. As I already had a large collection of Terra-Former terrain, including harbour sections and sea tiles, I wanted to make my 3D printed harbour compatible with the existing terrain tiles so these could be reused with the new Precinct 187 harbour. The original Dock design has the height of the dock and piers at the same height as their building tiles (approx 55mm) and they have some 'hill' tiles to make steep roads to integrate with the rest of their terrain. This is a great concept, but I wanted my Dock to fit with my modular terrain tiles.
In the software that I use to translate the 3D design files into code that the 3D printer understands, I have the ability to crop and resize components. If you cut 36mm off the bottom of the harbour walls and the wooden piers, and stretch them width ways by 101% to make them 6" wide, two of the harbour walls will fit exactly into a Terra-Former Straight Canal Tile.
The picture below gives you an overview of the Precinct 187 3D printed scenery with my existing Terra-Former tiles. I also decided that I would use my existing plain urban tiles which are plain tiles with coarse 'wet and dry' paper stuck onto them as a tarmac surface, instead of printing out road tiles. The pavements and the flagstones that are part of the harbour are all 3D printed pieces from the Precinct 187 range.
The motorboats were all free designs, downloaded from Thingiverse. The miniatures are from Spectre Miniatures and Nonsense Miniatures and they have all been re-mounted onto Sally 4th Clear bases so that they blend in nicely with all of the different terrain that they might be placed on. I do this with all skirmish figures these days to avoid the rather off look of a figure standing on a road or inside a building surrounded with grass and other foliage.
This is a picture of some of the harbour and beach pieces that I had already made from Terra-Formers, set up for an 18th Century pirate game.
This is a picture of the same harbour 'dressed' for a WW2 commando raid scenario.
The next thing that I am planning to do (apart from 3D printing a stack off the Dockland buildings is to work out how to resize / modify some of the Z1 dock edging to fit on to the Terra-Former canal / quayside corner and external corner boards, which you can see in the photo of the WW2 harbour for even more variety.
If you'd like further information, click the links below:
Following on from last week’s Operation Sea Lion game where Jerry raided with Brandenburg commandos but failed to destroy the British HQ, this week they have returned with a conventional infantry platoon, same beach, same mission.
Doug commands the Germans and decides to deploy all of his forces on his left flank intending to neutralise the pill box and then quickly advance to the 'George and Dragon' for a quick half... I mean to secure his primary objective.
British defenders consist of three sections of Homeguard, a Regular Army Vickers MMG team and a section of 'Old Soldiers'.
The game starts with a Homeguard section parading outside the George and Dragon, another deployed in the Pillbox on the beach and the Vickers team deployed in the MG Bunker. The remaining two squads will hopefully arrive on a latter turn. We decided that we would work out when reinforcements arrived by turning a Combat Patrol card and if it depicted a hit for the type of unit we wanted to activate, that unit would be placed on the table. The 'Old Soldiers' were rated as Regular so they needed two white bursts on the card, the Homeguard were rated as Green so they needed three bursts on the card to arrive.
The Vickers MMG team are deployed in the Vickers MMG Bunker on the extreme left flank of the British position with a good field of fire across the beach.
The first wave of invaders hit the beach and starts suppressing the defenders in the pillbox.
Combat Patrol uses so pretty innovative game mechanics. Instead of having lengthily tables and modifiers to implement combat and manoeuvre rules, all of the complexities and probabilities are distilled into a clever set of cards that have sections to resolve movement, morale checks, small arms, anti-vehicle and HE fire, cover saves and melee. Here Doug turns a card to check how far his unit will move this activation.
Homeguard reinforcements have arrived and are moving up to take a good defensive position behind the stone walls. The dice that you can see in the photos are activation dice. At the start of the turn, each leader (Officer & NCO) gets a D6 rolled to give them an activation number. The activation deck has numbers 1-6 in both black and red together with some special cards such as reroll. When the card is turned that matches a unit’s activation dice that unit can be activated. I like the way that it models a commanders (limited) influence on their subordinates. When a leader is activated, they can swap their dice with one of their subordinates to get them acting first. On a number of occasions in this game my Home Guard officer swapped his activation dice with the Vickers MMG to get them into action faster.
Here we see the 'Old Soldiers' moving into position in the back yard of the Pub. As these were reinforcements and their arrival was delayed a couple of turns, I decided to make them 'sprint' into position. Normally an infantry unit turns one card for movement, and the distance moved depend on if they are rated Green, Regular or Elite. However, you can turn two cards for movement and add them together to simulate 'sprinting' into position, but after moving you become stunned and have to use your next activation to remove the 'stunned' status.
More Jerries stream ashore!
In text book fashion, after suppressing the pillbox with small arms fire, the German Infantry rush up to the apertures and 'post' some grenades.
This kills all of the occupants apart from the LMG gunner. However he is stunned and out of ammo!
With the pillbox neutralised the Germans move forward in preparation for crossing the obstacle belt.
The machine gun teams set up in the surf, taking advantage of the rocks that offer some protection from incoming rounds and start to suppress the Vickers bunker.
German infantry are slowed down by the coiled barbed wire obstacles.
The two Home Guard defending the trench leading into the Pillbox are assaulted by German Infantry, put up a brave fight but are eventually overwhelmed.
Against all odds, a lucky shot makes it through the aperture in the Vickers MG bunker and wounds (and stuns) the Vickers gunner, temporarily silencing the gun.
However, the Germans have taken such high casualties neutralising the Pillbox and seeing that the British Defenders are now all in place behind stone walls they decide to retire and hope that they are doing better on another beach!
The terrain boards have all been constructed using the Sally 4th Terra-Former terrain system. 12" frames with a wide range of profiles such as rivers, streams, canals and beaches together with rare earth magnets to hold them together. Click here for further information.
The buildings and defences are from our Operation Sea Lion range,
The game was played using Combat Patrol rules, an innovative set of platoon level rules written by Buck Surdu. (a free set is available to try)
The scenario was taken from the Bolt Action Campaign Sea Lion book.
Over the last few weeks, Jack and I have been playing Battle Companies during our lunch break.
In Battle Companies you start off with a handful of rank and file miniatures which you develop over a number of games. I have been playing Arnor and have 4 Warriors of Arnor and three Rangers in my Battle Company. Jack has been playing Isengard and fields five Uruk Hai.
Today’s scenario was called 'Heirlooms of Ages Past'. We placed an objective counter in each table quarter. These represented potential sites for buried treasure.. One of them had an 'X' on the bottom that indicated that it was the actual treasure. We set up using the 'Maelstrom' set up rules. We took turns nominating a model and rolling a D6. On a 1 the miniature had not arrived yet and would roll for entry on subsequent turns. On a 6 the player can choose where to deploy the model. On a 2-5 the figure is deployed in the table quarter that matches the 2-5 dice markers that can be seen in the photograph above.
I deployed my Ranger leader and lieutenant last. Luckily they got to deploy in a good defensible position close to a potential treasure site.
Luck was definitely with the forces of good today. Arnor won the priority roll, my leader moved up to check the potential treasure site and it was indeed the treasure.
In Isengard's first turn, Jacks Uruk's charge the two warriors of Arnor and the Ranger, but the fight ends with no wounds caused.
One of the good features of 'Battle Companies' is that it can be played in a small space with minimal investment in miniatures. This is our gaming area at work. We have four Sally 4th Terra-Former blocks that we have modelled as cliffs and caves and this provides a compact 2' square gaming area that can be rearranged into different configurations. Each board has eight embedded rare earth magnets to hold the boards tightly together and prevent 'continental drift' mid-game. Click here to find out more about Terra-Former terrain.
Eventually, after a few hard fought combats, weight of numbers lead to Arnor gaining the advantage and fighting with supporting spearmen.
Eventually the Uruk leader is cornered and brought down and the last Uruk fails his courage test and flees leaving Arnor in possession of the field of battle and the treasure. Both sides gain experience for enemies defeated in combat. When a model has defeated five enemy (over a number of games), they become eligible for an upgrade. Arnor also gained 6 Gold pieces (the campaign currency), three for winning a game and a bonus three from the buried treasure.
Last week I played the first game of the campaign to try out the characters and the Pulp Alley solo deck mechanism.
Here's an overview of the Sunnydale Cemetry location. All off the game boards are built on Sally 4th Terra-Former terrain tiles which include some strong rare earth magnets mounted in the sides to hold them together during play. The iron railings and gravestones are from the excellent Renendra range.
This game was played using the Pulp Alley Solo Deck. This is a great addition to the game. It replaces the normal Fortune Deck and goes a long way towards proving an intelligent opposition in solo play. Instead of drawing Fortune Cards the first three characters to activate each draw a Solo card and work out the effects. Some effects are the same as plot point challenges, others are like an opponent playing a fortune card on you to prevent running or shooting and some are positive effects. The deck worked very well and did a great job in preventing the predictability that could spoil a solo game.
The major plot point for this game was a pair of innocents foolishly drawn towards the cemetery for a romantic meeting. The clues to their whereabouts were a rucksack, high school text books, a piece of jewellery and a disturbed grave. We were playing the trail of clues scenario, so each league had to have solved two minor plot points before they could go for the major plot point.
This was my league, Buffy, Willow, Giles and Xander.
I'd prepared an encounter table with 5 different league compositions. I rolled a 9 for the opposition which meant Buffy would be facing a Vampire Lieutenant, a Veteran Vampire, three Vampire Minions and a Newly Sired Vampire.
So... on to the action!
Oh dear... not the best start for our Slayers career! Lets hope she does better in the recovery mission.
However, it was a great sucess for the Solo Deck. It was the first time I'd used it and it played really well. No where near as good as playing with a real opponent, the banter was very one sides and stilted, but better than no Pulp Alley on those occasions that you have not got a real opponent.
Further Information, (click the links to find out more)
Last night Doug and I had a great game of Combat Patrol.
The scenario was Brandenburger Coastal Raid, the first scenario in the Bolt Action Campaign Sea Lion book. This scenario sees a small raiding party of Brandenburg commandos landing by Sturmboat on a section of the South East coast with the aim of destroying a British HQ in preparation for the main Operation Sea Lion landings.
We played the scenario using Buck Surdu's Combat Patrol rules. These are a set of skirmish level rules that use a great activation system and innovative card based combat mechanics that avoid the use of lengthily charts and look ups. We simply selected 500pts each of troops (and fortifications) using the Bolt Action campaign book and then translated them to Combat Patrol units.
The British HQ was based in 'The George and Dragon', a quaint English sea side public house next to the river estuary. Before the war it had been a popular tourist destination with well appointed guest rooms and a finely stocked cellar. Trade has dropped off recently, but the local LDV platoon have been using the down stairs snug as their command post as it is conveniently situated between the two pill boxes that provide the strength of this areas defences.
British reinforcements (Old Soldiers) move up into position, through the pub car park, (which is empty, due to rationing...there is a war on, after all).
Doug's Sturmboat's eventually all 'hit the beach'. A couple of them seemed to have developed engine problems and experienced a delay, enabling the Vickers MMG in the pill box to 'brass them up'.
The LDV volunteers in the pill box put up a plucky resistance but suffered a number of stoppages before being over ran. The Brandenburgers concentrated their efforts on neutralising this pill box; First suppressing it with weight of small arms fire before placing two satchel charges to blow a hole in the concrete. The first one was a dud; the second blew a spectacular hole in the wall, allowing the dastardly Hun to assault its bespectacled defenders.
The conclusion was a winning draw to the British LDV. The Germans had been successful in neutralising the Pillbox which was their secondary objective, but had not destroyed the HQ building which had been their primary objective. After suffering heavy casualties on the beach and seeing the British reinforcements taking up position behind the stone walls, the German commander decided to withdraw and return with stronger conventional forces.
The terrain was built using Sally 4th Terra-Former terrain boards - 12" tiles with rare eath magnets to hold them together and a wide range of profiles for beaches, hill, rivers etc. Click here for details.
The pill box's, dragons teeth and other fortifications are from Sally 4th Operation Sea Lion range.
The latest 28mm modern AFV kit to be released by Sloppy Jalopy is the Soviet T-62 MBT.
The kit was cleanly cast, and very straight forward to put together. Their was a very thin film of resin between the wheels that was easily cleaned up with a hobby knife and a small file.
After gluing the tracks to the hull, the next thing to do is to glue the Turret Mountings to the hull as shown to either side of the turret apeture.
The only other pieces to be added to the hull are the optional supplementary fuel drums which are glued in place as shown.
The pieces that combine to make the turret include the hand rails, hatches, searchlight, machine gun and gun barrel.
The mounting holes for the handrails are cast in the turret, but I found it better to open these up a little with a pin vice to get a more secure fit. While I did the pin vice out I also drilled into the end of the main gun.
Once the glue had dried, I sprayed the hull and turret seperately with some spray primer. As I had some I used Dunkelb Yellow as I planned to paint my T-62 as in Syrian rather than Soviet service.
The tank was very easy to paint. In fact I only used 3 colors and 1 ink.
1.Vallejo VAL819 Model Color - Iraqi Sand was painted over the whole model apart from the tracks, leaving the darker 'Dunkelb' spray viable in recesses.
2.Vallejo VAL863 Model Color - Gunmetal Grey was painted on tracks, machine gun and front of searchlight.
3. Army Painter Soft Tone Ink was watered down and painted over the whole model including the tracks with a large soft brush to shade and add contrast
4. Vallejo VAL976 Model Color - Buff was drybrushed over the hull, turret and wheels with a large drybrush concentrating on the raised detail.
Finally I brushed some MIG weathering powder 'Gulf War Sand' over the model, particularly the tracks to dull the finish down and weather it in.
The Sloppy Jalopy T-62 kit has just been added to our web site and will be available from us at the wargames shows that we attend.
After meeting at Salute some months ago, Sally4th and NonSense were immediately impressed with each other’s ranges and thought that it would be great to collaborate.
Sally 4th has a great range of modern building interiors in their Terra-Block range and Nonsense have some nice miniature gangs and SWAT teams to populate them together with a set of skirmish rules, Death Valley to bring them together. Death Valley is an easy to learn set of rules, inspired by the ‘Doorkickers’ computer game that will provide a great game using a handful of gang or SWAT team figures together with some detailed interior terrain.
It is great to be able to work together to bring a collaborative gaming vision to the tabletop.
Click here for free download of Nonsense - Death Valley Rules
Click here to take a look at Terra-Former Kick Starter where we have combined deal on Miniatures / Terra-Blocks / Bunker Tile
A couple of weeks ago, Lewis and I had our first game of Congo, Adventurers in the Heart of Africa by Studio Tomahawk. We both really like this 'super-skirmish' style of game with 30-50 miniatures per side, great terrain and a bit of a story line. We had previously played quiet a bit of Death in the Dark Continent so I easily rebased some figures from multi-figure bases onto individual bases using Sally 4th Clear Perspex bases.
For our first game we played 'The Treasure of Makoko Mbe' with 70 point columns, to get the hang of the games system.
This scenario sees two groups, an Archaological Expedition and a group of Antique Dealers from Zanziba searching for the lost treasure of the last king of Teke which is buried at a sacred site in the centre of the table and guarded by some fanatical warriors.
Our intrepid explorere cautiously advances through the jungle accompanied by a unit of Askaris and Ruga-Ruga.
Meanwhile the Zanzibaris and Ruga-Ruga from the Antique Dealers Column explore some dangerous terrain. Each time a group enters some dangerous terrain, a role is made on the dangerous terrain table to see what happens, some events are beneficial, for example loot is found, many more are 'dangerous', as one would expect. In this particular scenario their is a hidden clue marker in each piece of dangerous terrain that indicates which table corner the group can exit with the treasure.
The treasure is hidden within the sacred site at the centre of the table which featured the sacrificial pit and totems and was guarded by four sacred warriors.
The Archelogical Expedition included a group of Soldiers. These are a usefull troop choice as they are armed with rifles rather than muskets so do not need to spend a turn re-loading and ignore the effect of shooting stress tokens.
The jungle is represented by terrain pieces which are either 'high' or 'low' terrain, which defines if they block line of sight or not, and 'dangerous' or impenetratable'.
Congo is typically played on a 4' x 3' (120cm x 90cm) gaming area. We have used 12 Terra-Former boards to make our gaming area. These are terrain boards made from polystyrene within a MDF box with strong rare earth magnets to hold them together during a game.
All measurments are made using measuring sticks which are small, medium or long. Small is used for movement, medium for thrown weapons and long for bows and firearms. Card movement sticks are included with the rulebook. The measuring stick shown is made from White Perspex and is from Sally 4th's Congo Accesory range.
Congo uses a rather elegant shooting mechanism. Each troop type has a different dice to represent their training (D6, D8, D10). 5+ is a success. The defender rolls a 'save' depending on the thickness of the cover that they are in. They can elect to 'go to ground' when shot at which gives them an extra save dice, but at the cost of having to take a stress token. The soldiers in the photo have 'gone to ground' and we can see that they have drawn a 'movement stress' which reduces their mobility. Card tokens are supplied with game. Token shown is an engraved token from Sally 4th's Congo Tokens.
Lewis played the Archeologists and made it to the sacred site with his Askaris and dispatched most of the sacred warriors but failed to find the buried treasure.
We had a great time playing the game, which was won by Lewis, but neither of us managed to dig for the treasure so will have to return with larger columns shortly. We really enjoyed the game which has lots of innovative mechanisms and great scenarios which are so much more interesting than games that are just about lining up and shooting the opposition. We liked it so much that we played another scenario from Congo in the afternoon, which I will write up soon!
Click here to take a look at our Congo store that includes Congo game rules, miniatures and gaming accesories.