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'Nam project - first NVA painted

My order of NVA and a few extra VC arrived in the mail this week, and I have finished the fist four NVA:

 It took a bit of time for me to come up with a green that I was happy with for the uniforms. I am still not 100% happy with the colour, but they will do the job for my games.

I would have had more NVA finished to show, but I was side tracked painting up my first two Super Hero figures. Once I have finished off the bases I will post photos of them as well.

Wargaming Projects - what holds you back?

What stops you from doing a particular wargaming project?

Is it a lack of figures for a particular war, either in scale, variety or physical existence?

Is it lack of buildings and scenery that holds you  back?

Are there other reasons, funds not withstanding, that you have never started a project you are really interested in?

What projects have you wanted to do but any of the above reasons have held you back.

Iron Ivan Games

"One Game to rule them all, One game to bind them,
One game to bring them all and around the table find them."

Have I found a set of rules that I can use for skirmish games of any type? From Ancients to Modern or from Fantasy to Sci-fi?

I think I have.

Iron Ivan Games' Disposable Heroes Point Blank is a very versatile and with the use of their supplements it is possible to play any game set from WW1 to Modern/Horror.

By using the "This Very Ground" rules for the French & Indian War I am convinced that I can now play Point Blank for any period using black powder weapons: Pirates, Three Musketeers, AWI, SYW, Napoleonics, Crimean war and ACW for example.

 Add "This Very Ground" and "No More Room In Hell" and I can play Horse and Musket Horror games. Provided I come up with rules for things like vampires and werewolves.

 This interests me a lot, as one of my favorite films is "Brotherhood of the Wolf"

By using WW1 rules I can play colonial games - Zulu War, Boxer Rebellion, French Foreign Legion or Boer War.

 If I remove black powder weapons from "This Very Ground" I have basic rules for Ancients to Medieval that I just need to modify slightly.

 With a few tweaks I can come up with rules for fantasy games and spells or Sci-fi games with lasers.

 And one of the best things about the Point Blank rules is that you only need a squad or so per side to play a game.

 This means a lot of started projects that I have only a handful of figures for can get a new lease of life as I have most of the figures I would need to start playing. Once I have painted them up that is.

It will also allow me to play my Alternative History games I had lined up that, due to the fact they are alternative history, getting figures for a full game was almost impossible.

 To wit, my 28mm WW2 setting where China, instead of Japan, is the aggressor in the Pacific. I have some Brigade Games WW2 Chinese and Australians but not enough to play large battles.

 Now I can, so expect something Alternative some time soonish. Once I have painted all of my VC/NVA.  Or maybe at the same time.

'Nam project - Buddha statue head

I saw this item on the Table Top Gaming News web site this morning and after a quick 'google' to ensure it was of a type found in Vietnam I ordered one.

Evil Mushroom Games is selling it as a figure base, but I will turn it into a bit of scenery for my games.

On a completely different subject, now that I have build my path and river sections one of the companies I contacted to get the sections laser cut has replied to me.

 As there were some modular sections I could not make I will see what they can make for me.

'Nam project - now with added river

Happy with my high speed trail I decided to go one step further and use a similar process to make a modular river for my game.

I used the same sized MDF sections but made the key feature wider than I did the paths.

Making the rivers took a bit longer - I first coated them with caulking and once that was dry I painted the river sections a two tone colour.

Again waiting for the sections to dry I then applied multiple layers of polyurethane to each section progressively over a few days.

Once the polyurethane was dry I built up the banks of the river sections with putty and, you guessed it, waited for that to dry before also painting over the putty.

With that all done I applied another coat of the polyurethane to the rivers and once that had dried I added the flock to the river banks.

One of the river pieces was made up to represent a ford in the river, as seen in the photo above.

I am fairly happy with the end results and I will have to make a few new sections for the path and the river too allow for different directions and to ensure I can fit them both on the playing area with out falling short or going over the edge.

Super Hero competition nearly over

... and with only two entries there wont be a prize other that a "this person won".

 So - if you have been holding off coming up with an idea for one of Reaper Miniature's figures now is the time to do it as the comp ends on the 31st March.

If I can get at least five entries there will be a prize, otherwise the prize will be a 'mention in dispatches' on my blog.

'Nam project - high speed trails

Instead of playing my next game of Point Blank I wanted to create some more scenery.

 As one of the missions the LRRPs can go on involves paths or trails, I decided to make myself a modular trail.

 At first I contacted companies in Australia that sell laser cut MDF for wargamers to ask if they can cut me some MDF to the sizes I wanted, but business must be so good that they don't need customers, as not one of them bothered to reply.

 So, armed with my woeful ability at wood work and a bench saw, I proceeded to cut some MDF I purchased to what I hoped would be usable for my paths.

I cut the straight sections first, and then after a few no so good ideas I came up with some bend pieces that would allow for more than a straight track.

 I glued sand over the path area and then painted the whole lot.  Once the paint was dry I flocked the edges of the paths.

I don't intend to glue any scenery to the sides of the paths, but I will make small scenery that can be placed on top of them instead, thus allowing for a lot more flexibility with how I use them. An example of this can be seen at the bottom of the photo

 I am fairly happy with the results, and by making some intersections and some more straights (some of different lengths) I am sure I can come a fairly good collection of paths or trails for my games.

Super Heroes & a competition (of sorts)

This one is straight from left field.

Having painted my VC I wanted something else to paint while waiting for my NVA to arrive.

Looking through my lead pile had me wondering what to paint, and I found myself wanting to paint a Super Hero.

Years ago I purchased the SuperSystem rules but at the time the only minis I could find for them (apart from the Hero Clix things) were the excellent Four Color Figures range sold by Old Glory.

 Due to the outrageous postage rates from Old Glory, especially given the exchange rate over four years ago, I never went anywhere with this project.

 Then I remembered that Reaper Miniatures are building up a decent range of Super Figures. I looked through the figures and made a 'wish list', and not being able to help myself I ordered a couple of figures to kick start the project.

 I have been having a ball coming up with background notes, powers and names for the figures I ordered and for those in my wish list.

For example I have created a Super Heroine based on this reaper figure:

 I have called her "Cougar" and she moves very fast, has natural claws for melee weapons and has all kinds of 'kitty' based abilities such as heightened senses and lighting reflexes.
 Her real name is Stacey Dallimore and I am toying with the idea she was 'slipped a 'mickey' at a night club that contained the prototype of a designer drug that caused life changing alterations in her.

There are three other character designs I have so far - two heroes and two villains.

The great thing about planning a Super Hero setting is that I can use the scenery from zombie games and I can go through my old lead pile and come up with some ideas on how to bring new life in to figures that I was most likely not going to use anymore, such as some velociraptors I have. (I already have a scenario idea called "Raptor Rampage" in mind).

So, I am thinking of holding a competition, and there might even be a prize for the winner.

The Competition

 This competition is open to followers of my blog only.

To enter you must chose a figure from the Reaper Miniatures site and come up with either a hero or a villain.

 It can be any figure from the site, but you need to be able to justify an orc, dwarf or anything not 'normal' for a hero or villain.

 You can give them sidekick or  henchmen from the list of other reaper figures (i.e. you might have a robot master and robots as henchmen).

You need to:

Give me the figure code of the one you have chosen (a link to the figure will help too).
Come up with a suitable name for the hero or villain.
Come up with a back ground for the character, including what gave them their powers.
List what powers they have. Try to match this with the look of the figure if you can.
Describe the colour of their clothes/uniform.

If they have a sidekick or henchmen you need to do the same for them too.

The rest is limited to your imagination. You can include more information on the character if you wish.

Entries are to be submitted as comments in this post and I will post the winning entry on my blog.

Readers have until 31st March 2012 to get their entries in, and if enough people enter I will come up with a prize for them.

'Nam project - first game: redux ARR

So, having read the background of how I set the game up in my previous post, this time I have an ARR for the first game of Disposable Heroes Point Blank.

 Patrol 22 is to insert and patrol according to the AO indicated in the grids given and is to report on any enemy activity and gain any intelligence.

The first few turns went without a hitch. A 'blip' came up in the first turn and proceeded to move around the board, and approached the tail end of the LRRP formation.

 I had some lucky dice rolls and the LRRPs spotted the blip, which turned out to be the LMG team, who in turn seemed oblivious of the hiding LRRPs.

 Still seeing nothing the VC were joined by another blip, which turned out to be the section command element.

As LRRPs tried not to openly engage the enemy I didn't attack the VC. Instead the information was sent via radio to the Tactical Operations Centre as per SOP.

As my system for moving the enemy blips and figures required a new direction to be determined when two or more groups join up, the VC merrily went on their way unware that they were under the watchful eye of the LRRPs.

With the VC now out of sight, the LRRPs pushed on to their first check point and then set up a hasty ambush in case the VC came snooping around.

The ambush didn't go as well as expected - the VC spotted the LRRPs before being spotted themselves and went right in to counter ambush drills.

 The jungle and the prepared position of the LRRPs made it difficult for the VC to gain the upper hand in the battle, as slowly, one by one, the VC went down, and the battle went in the favor of the Recon Team.

Once the firefight was over some of the LRRPs searched the bodies of the dead VC for intel while the other LRRPs covered them.

 It was just as well they were covered for a new blip had shown up and started to pour fire down upon the LRRPs until the blip was spotted. As soon as it spotted the blip faded away in to the jungle.

 Grabbing the intel they had found the LRRPs began to shake out in to their formation and head back the way they had come for extraction.

 Another blip decided to change their plans though.

 Seeing how sucessful the LRRPs had been at hiding before I kept the rear security in place. This was a big mistake. The VC spotted the LRRPs and opened fire, taking out the JNR Scout in the team.

 The JNR RTO returned fire and killed both VC.

Not taking any more chances the LRRP team moved to the extraction point, taking their wounded comrade with them.

End notes
 The game ran very smoothly after coming up with the new ideas for the blinds. This added a bit of tension to the game as I was not sure what would be out there. Of all the blips that did appear three were blinds and even though they were not representing actual figures, they did cause some worry with hit and run tactics until they were spotted by the LRRPs.

 The rules state that any figure wounded is removed from play. As LRRPs didn't leave people behind I decided that I would leave the wounded LRRP on the table and carry him off.

 I left the wounded VC on the table as well, as searching the bodies for intel played an important part of a LRRP patrol. I think next time I will add a rule that any dead/wounded VC that doesn't have continuous LOS on it will be removed and a blood trail put in its place.

 I used the spotting rule - I am still not sure if I like this rule or not yet, but it did work well for jungle warfare and made for a very close up battle. It did prevent me from using the resources a LRRP would have, namely artillery fire and gunships.

 I have an idea on how to fix this though. More on that another time.

 Grenades were used a few times in the battle, and I was not overly impressed by them. I found it almost impossible to suppress troops with them. You have only a 10% chance of killing with a grenade, and if you don't kill with one, you have only a 10% chance of suppressing with one.

 Because of this I ended up using a lot of rifle fire as this was very effective and pinning enemy troops.

 I will go over the grenade rules again to see if I was missing anything, but failing that I might tinker around with them. Grenades do have a Morale Modifier, but again I need to read over the grenade rules again to see if I missed something.

I played with what scenery I had on hand at the time, and I definitely need to make more scenery, especially for playing in jungle areas.

Gaining the intel was an important part of my game, as I have charts for a campaign that rely on intel for follow up games.

Disposable Heroes Point Blank is a great game for having an opponent. Not knowing what your opponent will do and moving the right figures at the right time makes for a great game.

 Playing it solo was not too bad. I was able to get it to work for me, but I definitely need to have a scenario and a set of guide lines for what the mission objectives are and a clear cut set of Victory points.

As I will have to play this one solo (my regular wargaming buddy is a Vietnam Vet and doesn't want to play, which is perfectly understandable) I will continue to improve on my solo system.

 But I intend to play a Rhodesian Bush War campaign with my mate, so I will still get to play some games of Point Blank with him.

I am happy to discuss and share ideas for anyone wanting to try out my solo rules.

'Nam project - first game ... sort of

I decided to play test the Disposable Heroes Point Blank Rules this weekend, and at the same time test out the solo rule ideas I had to go along with it.

Late Friday afternoon I threw together a bit of scenery, came up with a quick scenario and went at it.

Using a 4 ' x 4' playing area I had an entry point for my LRRPs and determined a patrol area, which was their mission.

arrows indicate the direction the patrol was to take

Point Blank has an action pool allowing players to activate their troops.  This assisted me greatly with solo play. I  had a pool to draw from with each side having a different coloured counter. The side owning a particular counter was able to activate a soldier or team. This would go on until all counters had been drawn.

 Each turn saw an enemy 'blip' placed on the map and by using a scatter die I would randomly move them.

The LRRPs approach their first nav check point. Note the 'blips' in the background.

 The system for enemy blips and movement didn't really work the way I had set it up, so I ended the game where it was and started the game again.

The 'blips' converted to actual VC on the table.

The rules were OK, but the solo system wasn't working, and it didn't really leave me with a sense of what I wanted from the game.

Ending play for the day I messed around with a few ideas I had for solo play for a while.

It wasn't until much later I had a stroke of genius - why not use the zombie spawning idea from "No More Room in Hell"?!

 A quick look at the zombie spawning system showed I would have to adapt it a lot as a) I didn't have the sheer numbers of VC that would be needed for a zombie game, and b) the place would be crawling with all the VC I did have that blips wouldn't work.

 In the end I settled on a single die roll at the start of each turn based on a "threat level" for the mission. Each time I rolled equal to or under the threat level I would randomly place a 'blip' on the table and move it according to some rules I put together.

Unlike the first game this time each 'blip' represented a team or group of enemy or a 'blind' instead each blip being a single soldier or a blind.

Next up: the replay of the first game.

'Nam project - VC finished

For the first time in my wargaming history I have actually finished painting all of the figures for a project that I own.

 Having said that, I need to buy more figures for the project.

 Over the last couple of weeks I have been focusing a bit of time on painting up my VC figures and here is the end result:

The top row is the original figures I finished painting.

The second row down has LMG gunners and RGPs (two of each) and next to them on the right are VC with AK47s.

 The bottom rank has VC with carbines on either flank with a Mortar and crew in the middle.

 When I was working out my forces I discovered that if I had purchased one more pack of VC figures I would have been able to field two squads of VC!

 As I want to buy some NVA next I will purchase an extra pack of VC, as well as a HMG and crew to go with them.

Not only have I finished my VC, but I have also finished a couple of extra figures for use in scenarios:

A reporter and a downed pilot. I ended up painting the pilot fairly generic as I struggled to find any clear photo of what the uniform/gear would look like, and I went for an olive drab helmet rather than a colourful pilots helmet so that I could use it for any flying service.

Now I have finished the figures (which I have to admit leaves me feeling a bit empty) I will focus on a bit of scenery while waiting for some NVA and civilian figures to come in.

Battle Royale

The other week I watched a Japanese movie called "Battle Royale". I enjoyed it a lot and it captivated my imagination.
 I liked it so much that I ordered the novel that the film was based on. Fortunately for me it has been translated into English, as I can only read a few words in Japanese. It is a good read and I find it hard to put down at times.

 The basis behind the story is a world that is totally different to that we live in where Governments has so much control that they have created a 'Program' under the guise of a Military Experiment that forces a school class to fight each other to the death.

 It has been mentioned that this is a modern "Lord of the Flies" but I don't think this is true. For starters there isn't enough time for the 'participants' to form clans or tribes.

 I wont spoil too much and give the plot/story away, but it has seeded an idea for a wargame with each player  fighting on an island where there can be only one survivor. It might even be great for a play by blog game with players initially submitting map moves and then playing out a battle the way I did with my zombie PBB game.

 With all orders being secret from other players it has the potential for being quite interesting, with plenty of paranoia and any thing could happen.

For those interested enough wanting to learn more about "Battle Royale" they can visit the wiki links provided below:

The Novel wiki link

The Film wiki link

The Manga wiki link

I have also included some you tube links to help give people a visual idea of how the 'Project' works.:

 If there is enough interest in readers to play a Play By Blog game based on "Battle Royale" I will seriously go about collecting a range of figures, scenery and paranoia to get it up and running.

My painting desk

I mentioned over on my Zombie blog that I needed to tidy up the area I paint my minis in.

Despite I thought I had tidied it not so long ago time plays tricks on our minds and before I knew it my work area was in a disgraceful state:

A quick clean up later and it looks like this:

And I thought I would post another photo showing what is on the desk:

My to do pile contains figures I intend to paint soonish. Some sooner than later. At the moment the pile has my TAG Viet Cong Figures and some 15mm Napoleonic British.

 I have a variety of tools, pens/pencils and brushes to do different jobs.

Half done figures has some of the aforementioned 15mm Napoleonic British, and a few bits and pieces for other games.

The Old paint pile is my old paint pile from before I learnt about the existence of Vallejo paints.

Painting Record - I now keep a book at hand for keeping notes on which paints I use for uniforms etc.  It is very useful for when you go back to paint the same uniform again - it means you don't have to relearn which colours to use all over again.

Work in progress - the figures I am working on at the moment. To the front are the VC figures I am completing the basing on, and the behind them (in front of the paints) are the VC I am painting up now.

Stuff for basing is basically a couple of types of filler products I put on the bases of my figures when needed.

Tube Paint - I buy artists paints for colours I use a lot, like black, and for things like undercoating and bases as it is cheaper and saves wasting the better paints I have.

Sample paint pots - I use these for scenery. A cheap sample pot from the hardware store is great for painting up scenery.

Main paint stash - my Vallejo paints, plus a few other odds and ends thrown in.

Unfinished model building - I think this is over two years old now, and I haven't finished it :-(

Varnish for figures - I am using a liquid varnish that I paint on to my figures. This varnish is what they use in the art galleries to protect the paintings from the effects of sunlight etc.  I use the matt varnish, but it comes out a bit shiny. I would hate to see what the gloss is like.