Slay the grey!

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I have, like many a hobbyist, acquired  lots of models over the years. Inspiration takes me off to eBay with a head full of dreams of new projects, but unfortunately my crafting speed simply cannot keep up. Even with a 15 month old son to run around after, I had an hour or two every night to commit to model-making and painting but, alas, it still wasn’t making a dent In the pile.

With a family to feed and a pile of hobby rubble to sort out, something needed to change. I could have made the same resolution that all have tried at some point, to simply stop buying things until I had painted everything that I currently owned, but this hasn’t worked in the past so why would it work now?

I realised that part of the problem is that with the time taken to buy, build and paint any given project, I am already inspired by the next novel, TV show, etc, and I lose interest in continuing it. This leaves me with part-built or painted models all over the place  gathering dust.

Last October I decided to come up with a plan. One that, I’m happy add, has been working quite nicely ever since. I wrote a list of all the armies I had partly finished or just started and numbered them. I then made sure to build and prep the models I already owned, so that they were ready at hand to jump straight into painting. Finally I rolled a dice to see which army to start with and grabbed a couple of minis to paint. Each time I’m finished with those, I clean up the desk and roll again.

Minis primed and ready for painting

A very simple idea I’m sure you’ll agree, but the proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating…

Nurgle Death Guard
Catachan jungle fighters
Ogryn
Space marines
Tallarn desert raiders
WWII US airborne

Not a bad tally for seven months of painting even if I do say so myself!

In the grimdark future…

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Cyber-skulls hum lazily through clouds of steam, monotonous litanies droning from their vox-transmitters. Ornately wrought vials of aged glass bubble with a myriad of viscous fluids.

A hunched figured, draped with robes of faded crimson, festooned with mechanoid appendages, works diligently at a laboratorium bench. An arachnid squatting in the epicentre of its lair, Magos Ronrulf-Marlode Belalostere 64/8 of the holy adeptus of Mars performs several intricate operations on the Xenos specimen simultaneously.

One day in Normandy

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I have been busy over the last couple of months painting rather a lot of miniatures for a friend to make a little ‘pocket money’. It has been somewhat of a double edge sword, as although I haven’t had as much time to paint minis for myself, I have been able to paint figures I otherwise would never get to. It has also ‘levelled -up’ my speed painting game somewhat, so when I treat myself to painting my own projects I get more done than I would have before.

With that in mind I have finally pulled the trigger on a new project that I have been pondering on for a while now, WWII skirmish using ‘Flying Lead‘ by Genesha Games. My first unit is a squad of U.S airborne troopers…

These guys are from Artizan designs and have so much character that they were a real joy to paint. Hopefully there are a few Krauts winging their way to me very soon to provide some great target practice!..

Fun and Frolics in the Deadzone

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Hello fellow carbon based lifeforms and welcome to another Deadzone post! I have been playing some more solo missions in the Deadzone this week and trying out a new randomized activation for the ‘opposition’, using counters drawn from a cup. It has worked rather well at creating suspense, not knowing which enemy model will activate next creates lots of problem-solving for both sides.

I also have a shiny new copy of Command Protocols: Escalation and the new Incoming Intel deck winging its way to me. I am looking forward to seeing what the new deck, which has both bonus victory conditions and event cards, will add to the game.

Deadzone is a fantastic skirmish game full of dynamic action and what better way to showcase that fact than a comic strip based on an event from my current battle?

Deadzone ‘Survival of the fittest’ Mission 4

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I finally managed to play the last mission of my solo Deadzone campaign ‘Survival of the fittest’ recently. With the original strike team of 14 troops being whittled down to 3, brother sergeant Edwine, terminator-suited brother Bartholemu and master sniper Larkin make their way to the extraction coordinates.

I found a rather cool app for my phone and couldn’t help but have a go with it, hope you enjoy!..

Deadzone: Survival of the fittest Part 3

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Mission #3 – Slip the Noose

‘You have no choice now but to trust that your message got through. The inexorable press of the zombies is slowly closing in around your position. The only hope you now have is to punch a gap through them and escape to the extraction point. As the noose tightens, you give the order and the remnants of your team pick up everything they can carry and get ready to make a run for it. You won’t get a second chance at this…’

For this mission I had the full roster of surviving members of my campaign army which started out at 14 strong (300pts) but had been reduced to 10 members…

The right flank holds the largest contingent of my strike force. With only terminator-suited brother Bartholemu and heavy weapon specialist brother Luther holding the left flank, hoping to give covering fire and draw the majority of the poxwalkers away from the right flank…

The undead shamble aimlessly around the complex…

Gaunt and his remaining ghosts scout forward but are swarmed by zombies. Gaunt is torn apart in the initial wave and trooper Criid is brought down and eviscerated soon afterwards…

As brother Hienrich is attacked in vicious hand to hand with yet more shambling horrors, it is time to take drastic measures. Brother Luther aims his fusion gun into the melee…

The resultant explosion vapourizes the zombies and throws brother Hienrich away, bruised but unhurt…

Headway is made on the right flank, but the tide of undead is rising…

With many of the team falling beneath the teeth and claws of the undead masses, things are starting to get desperate. Brother Bartholemu finds a discarded frag grenade, and hoping to emulate the success of earlier, doesn’t think twice about hurling it into the fray…

With predictable results. It has proven to be a solid tactic for getting space marines out of trouble…

Brother-sergeant Edwine and brother Bartholemu cover their backs as they make their way to the extraction point…

As the mission ends, the cost becomes apparent. Of the original strike force only three remain, brother-sergeant Edwine, brother Bartholemu and master sniper Larkin.

The weary survivors will make their way the  to the rendezvous coordinates and hope to hell that the flier is inbound…

Deadzone: Survival of the fittest Part 2

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I had some time during the week to setup and play the second scenario of my solo campaign, and if I thought the first battle was nail-biting then I was certainly in for a shock second time around!

Mission #2 – Beacon of hope

‘You now know what you’re up against, and the scale of the threat is greater than you could have imagined. You have sent dispatches to command, but your meagre resources can’t guarantee the quality or strength of the signal. Remembering a nearby radio tower, you hatch a daring plan. If you can find a functioning data-terminal you can guarantee that your message reaches your allies. If only the area wasn’t already overrun with zombies’

I selected my 150pt strike force and faced the hordes!..

The strike team assemble…

There are 4 possible locations where the data-terminal could be marked out with red stars…

Gaunt and his ghosts scout ahead…

Major Corbec makes a heroic last stand as ‘poxwalkers’ crawl in through the window, he is eventually overcome under hordes of undead flesh…

Brother Gunther and brother Kessler (heavy weapon specialist) attempt to stem the tide with their withering fire…

Gaunt finds the data-terminal  first time, thank the Emperor, and  just needs to spend a turn encrypting a message to high command…

Trooper Tona Criid provides invaluable fire support throughout the mission. Here she makes two pinpoint headshots, saving apothecary brother Leo from overwhelming odds…

Criid provides yet more assistance for her space marine allies..

As the strike team makes its egress a ‘poxwalker’ shambles out of nowhere and makes to attack. Brother Bartholemu crushes its head with his powerfist.

The Aftermath

Battered and bloodied but victorious, the strike team make  their way to the agreed  extraction. As the picture shows, Major Corbec and brother Gunther didn’t make it and several members of the strike team were injured.

We did find some useful items including a smoke grenade, medi-pack and extra ammunition. The black cubes were used to keep track of who made kills during the mission, as this gains them experience points.

During the post-mission phase, surviving strike team members gain experience points and may go up in rank which grants them a boon. I decided to give everyone an increase in Fight stat with the exception of Criid, who I gave an increase in her Shoot stat and Gaunt who received Tactician(+1), which will give me an extra command dice to roll each turn.

Deadzone: Survival of the Fittest

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Nexus PSI solo campaign

This Sunday I embarked upon a new solo campaign from the Deadzone supplement Nexus PSI. ‘Survival of the fittest’ is a single player campaign in which a strike team are cut off from command during the first wave of the plague infection.

Rather than using A.I (artificial intelligence) to control the enemies, this game uses A.S (artificial stupidity). These rules dictate how the zombies react to the actions performed by the strike team members.

I built a 300 point campaign force of Enforcers (Iron Eagles space marines) and Pathfinders (Gaunt’s Ghosts Imperial guard) and laid out the terrain ready for my first encounter.

Scenario 1 – First Contact

As the plague infection spread across the planet of Nexus, Colonel -Commissar Ibram Gaunt and his command group at observation post N375/Alpha are cut off from Imperial Guard HQ. Along with brother Sven, a space marine of the Iron Eagles chapter, the strike team must escape the hordes of shambling plague victims, coined ‘poxwalkers’ by master sniper Hlaine ‘mad’ Larkin.

The strike team set up in the middle of the table and cannot leave their deployment zone until they kill at least 4 poxwalkers, then they must attempt to escape the battlefield.

After some initial success killing poxwalkers, Larkin made several head shots and trooper Meryn was overwhelmed and eaten, the strike team could leave the ops post and make good their escape…

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Brother Sven uses his position up high to herd the ‘poxwalkers’ away from the route of escape, at one point he dropped a frag grenade in amongst a group, killing and scattering several…

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Commissar Gaunt and trooper Criid escape from the Ops post (the red tower in the background) and attempt to make their way across the walkways, unseen by the ‘poxwalkers’ below..

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Major Corbec throws down a smoke grenade, allowing master sniper Larkin to get down from the Ops post unnoticed..

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The ‘poxwalkers’ finally catch up with Brother Sven, as he fights for his life, yet more zombies are drawn towards his position..

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The roar of a chainsaw blade finally stutters and dies, as Brother Sven is brought low by the undead. Gaunt, Colbec and Criid rendezvous ready to escape..

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Left alone and behind enemy lines, Larkin uses all his fieldcraft to escape undetected..

With only two casualties, the strike team was able to exfiltrate from their position and attempt to get word back to HQ of the undead threat.

All in all it was a very tense and exciting game which had me scratching my head, trying to work out how best to maneuver without drawing the undead minions upon my troops!

Getting to grips with my Airbrush

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Following on from my last post, I have been determined to get on with the last bits and pieces of my Deadzone terrain. The main buildings are painted and weathered so now its time to get the railings, walk-ways, connectors and scatter terrain.

Last year I received a gift voucher from my father-in-law for my birthday so I put it towards an airbrush and compressor set. I started out using it for undercoating and varnishing but wanted to start doing more and getting some terrain painted-up seemed like a great place to start!

My first practice piece was this shipping container from the ‘Warhammer Conquest ‘ magazine. Using black and white paint to create light and shading, then coated the whole model with blue ink. A quick white dry-brush to highlight the edges and it’s ready for some weathering.

The next practice run were these walkways. I used reddish-brown instead of black for the darker areas and an all over coat of yellow ink. Once they’re dry-brushed for highlights they will be ready for weathering too!

The airbrush has helped me to get these models done very quickly and I am quite happy with the end result. I am starting to improve my airbrushing technique and can’t wait to get on with the next batch!

Containment protocols in effect: Deadzone

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I have recently been playing a lot of Deadzone by Mantic Games. I bought the first version of the boxed set last year and decided at the time to stick with the original ruleset, however, after reading the version 2 ruleset I have decided to upgrade to the new and improved version.

To help me to learn the new rules before I can get another gaming session in, I have played a couple of solo games. It not only took me very little time to get to grips with this more elegant system, I had some very interesting battles!

Whilst patrolling the deadzone, plague forces are ambushed by a marauder kill-squad on mission to assassinate the leader, a Stage 1 known to be operating in the vicinity. The heavily armoured ‘Rainmaker’ lines up his holo-sight…

During the last game, I rolled to find out which scenario to play and came up with ‘Patrol’ mission. Now one of the things I liked about the original version was the secret missions and they are still in version 2. After selecting a scenario you can also choose to roll on the relevant ‘Secret Mission’ table.

The Plague rolled the ‘Staking a Claim’ mission which meant they scored double victory points for objectives but only half for killing enemies. The Marauders rolled the ‘Assassination’ mission, giving them double victory points for killing the enemy leader but no points for holding objectives.

A stage 3 ‘ghoul’ throws a stun grenade before charging in to engage the marauder hulk in hand to hand.

Although they successfully eliminated the Stage 1 leader, the Marauders were unable to stop the Plague forces from dominating the battlefield objectives and the foul forces won 14 to 11 VPs. It was a very interesting game and more importantly, I have got the rules pretty much down to pat ready for my next opponent.

Models

The keen-eyed among you may have spotted the lack of Mantic orx on the board. Due to a lack of funds I want to utilize the models collection that I already own as much as possible and so have decided to replace the Enforcers with my Iron Eagle space marines and the Marauders with my Blood-axe kommandos. I also intend to repurpose some more minis and do some kit-bashing to boot!