Monday, 7 August 2017
Golden Fleece £7.50
King Aeertes and Retinue £10
Children of the Hydra (Skeletons) £7
Medea (and spares) £12
Bronze Bull £4.45
Postage and Packing in total £22.77 (!)
Biggest shock is p&p - partly a bi-product of using multiple suppliers, partly not being decisive and ordering several times from the same manufacturer. More planning needed "Next Time"
Bullets needed to be bit as I was in definite danger of either blowing a large amount of ££££ on a big model or stalling the project, so I decided to go with the Foundry Hydra. In reality it ticks a lot of boxes, being nicely detailed, no legs, and reasonably priced. What it lacks is size, but size isn't everything. I ordered it at the same time as the "Medea" pack so didn't incur any additional postage and it cost a tenner.
It's a nice model, but a bit of a bitch to assemble - main body, tail, two neck groups and seven separate heads. There was some rather big gaps after assembly and lots of filling needed, but the end result is "not bad at all"
Sunday, 6 August 2017
In S&SF Commanders and Magic Users are separate bases that run around pretty freely providing morale and combat boosts.
King Aeetes is based with some spare Wargames Factory Skeletons erupting out of the ground in true Ray Harryhausen style. He is rated as a Level 3 Magic User and also Army Commander. That is going to be a bit of a disadvantage as trying to act as a Commander will cramp his Magic Use quite a bit, and vice-versa, but that's a price you pay for trying to get a backstory I suppose.
On the plus side it means he is well placed to do this sort of thing, which is cool!
Medea is on her own with only her charms to protect her. Rated as a Level 1 Magic User her
main role is to provide support for the rather lacklustre normal bits of the army.
Saturday, 5 August 2017
|Paul "Herman" Davison in charge of the Luftwaffe!|
|British side of the table - as clearly indicated by the cup of tea. Germanic order on the other side with the dice arranged in precise formation!|
So overall we continue to be impressed by BRS. It is slick and has a good "feel" to it, with minimum record keeping, and some really interesting and thought provoking game mechanics. The multi engine rules work well and integrate with the single seaters, and as we have stepped up the numbers involved were not yet seeing any strains on the system. Games remain quick - we played three games in just over an hour, although more planes will make the games longer I don't foresee time as an issue. We are also giving a lot of thought on tactics, and so far, the general theme is, if it worked in real life, it will work in BRS, which is about as good a thing you can say about a set of rules.
As I mentioned, we are at the moment playing with 1:144 - here's why :-) however I will be shifting down to the "official" 1:200 scale when they become available as this may help to prevent some of the "crowding" we are seeing.
Next step up will be to try out the cards, and try and get more planes on table - Mark (Geordie) is busy churning them out as we speak - have a look at his blog Geordies Big Battles
I'm certainly going to want to get the starter set when it is released (due some time around Christmas?). I'm not so sure about the current pre order bundles on offer from Warlord. I think individually the expected price point for the 2 player starter set and squadron boxes are very reasonable, particularly as they include the cards you want to play the advanced rules (assuming the models are ok) but I'm less sure about people going to jump straight in to full squadron level (ie 12+ planes a side). Hopefully Warlord will offer just the starter or individual squadron boxes as part of the pre order.
Thursday, 3 August 2017
I also needed it to fit onto a 6 cm wide frontage if possible. Lastly I needed it to be cheap if I was going to stay anywhere near the £50 project budget(!). Much searching through internets resulted in three possible options, none of which were ideal. Firstly there was the Steve Barber version, Which I think is too big for my use. The same can be said for the one I saw on ebay from Second City Games – too big (but beautiful) and also £30. Lastly, there was Foundry again, but their Mythos range Hydra was a bit small when compared to the others - particularly Arkwrights! I decided to give the whole Hydra thing a bit more thought and look for something else.
Wednesday, 26 July 2017
|Grab for altitude|
|Throwing the kites around|
Thanks to Paul Davison acting as opponent \ Guinea Pig. I happen to know a certain Geordie is painting up some ore planes so between us we can try a six v six "soon"
Sunday, 23 July 2017
Comments and equally wild speculation welcome!
Friday, 21 July 2017
At first I was a bit disappointed. The resin Steve has used is a rather dirty grey and quite heavy type which reminded me forcibly of the bad old days. I suspect I have got used to the more modern lightweight stuff and the beautiful resin from Hawk Wargames. There was also a fair amount of flash to deal with. The branches were in metal and again there was some flash to work on. Additionally it was clear that the branches were designed to have locating pins these had either not cast properly or were missing, and the corresponding sockets on the tree were not immediately visible. This initial disappointment quickly wore off. It only took a couple of minutes work to remove the flash. I then drilled and pinned the branches into where it looked like they would fit best using some cast off bits from where I had cut down brass spears as pins and a pin vice to drill the holes. (Health & Safety warning - if you try this get a mask as the resin dust is not nice stuff) During this time it became apparent that the model was rather well detailed, particularly around the base of the tree, with lots of subdued features - nice one Steve Barber! I finished it off by filling the gaps with Vallejo Plastic Putty - something of a first but it seemed to work well.
Painting was a breeze. A black spray (car primer) undercoat plus layers of different greys dry-brushed to represent the dead tree. I decided it would be dead as Hydra poo must be pretty toxic. Then I painted and dry-brushed the moss growth around the stump. As I was in a rush I didn't bother with the nice mushrooms at the base - I may go back and do them later just for a giggle.
At this point I realised I had cocked up a bit. The Fleece itself was cast fairly flat. I rapidly painted it with a mix of various golds and bone white for the skull. Then I remembered I had intended to model it wrapped over a branch as it is shown on the web site. That would mean bending the casting quite seriously. After an initial try I gave up and went for a more decorous draping, which at least meant I didn't wreck the paint or the detail on the Fleece.
So here's the finished Fleece in it's rather dead looking tree, just waiting for some wandering pilferer. I'm quite happy with it.
Tuesday, 18 July 2017
More in part 2
Sunday, 25 June 2017
Actually something the more observant may have noticed, I didn't update on the ground battle, and it was here that the game was starting to firmly swing in favour of the Scourge. They had managed to land significant troop concentrations on both the Southern Communication Cluster AND Military Complex. In return the presence of the Scourge Corvettes had caused the PHR Strike Carriers to veer away from their original target, and the Troopships were also not keen to risk entering the maelstrom that the centre of the map was becoming. This gave the Scourge control of at least one Military Complex, and its attending orbital defence weaponry, an advantage they hammered home by playing a Command Card that added a second burn through laser to the defences. This produced a massive barrage of deadly ground fire that chopped one PHR Troopship in two.
Back in orbit and the new turn began well for the PHR. The Battleship and Scourge Shenlong (Flagship) exchanged fire and again the Dark Matter Cannon proved lethal, detonating the Shenlong and frying the Scourge Admiral. Whatever joy that gave was short-lived as the Scourge Djinn Class Frigate Squadron with it's frankly horrifying close combat plasma weapons pounced on the Battleship. Losing the Admiral had dropped the Scourge Command rating to one, but the card they now played was devastating - allowing the Djinn Squadron to maximise its firepower - 24 attack dice. The Battleship boiled, then died.
And that was pretty much that. The PHR Admiral decided it was not worth further contesting the objectives and to fight another day.
Uncontested Corvettes pose a significant threat to Strike Carriers (you don't say!) however the Scourge Corvettes on this game actually delivered very little other than act as a deterrent. In some ways that was a game winner, allowing the Scourge to get troops onto objectives unchallenged, however in truth they were very badly handled and missed several chances to pick off PHR ships - all down to Admiral Klutz I'm afraid. Must do better next time.
The PHR Battleship was a truly trouser-filling opponent. The Dark Matter Cannon main armament ripped targets apart with a single hit. I don'y know the answer to that except maybe run lots of small targets that are not individually worth the effort, or bring a Battleship of my own? The Djinn again proved excellent and are cementing their place as a "must have" in my lists.
Thanks to Paul Davison for being such a worthy opponent.
Friday, 26 May 2017
Firstly the Schurtzen side skirts went. I'm not sure if this happened even before combat. I suspect so, but whatever the reason the Finns disliked them and removed them. They then introduced a number of changes, some minor, some less so. They moved the stowage arrangements around so they were more to their liking, initially moving the spare wheels from the engine deck to the sides of the superstructure. Then they added a new armoured cover to the drivers position, and extra armour to the hull sides, plus some bullet deflectors on the sides of the main gun mount. I find this fascinating because these are clearly the result of the early combat experiences with Soviet Anti Tank Rifles, whose teams were taught to shoot such weak spots, but this is exactly the reason the Germans introduced the Schurtzen side skirts in the first place. I wonder if the Finns misunderstood the reasons for the skirts when they were first delivered? In addition, after further experience in the summer of 1944 the Finns adopted log armour on the superstructure sides, and added a thick concrete to the front of the fighting compartment, giving the Finnish StuG - or "Sturmi" as they called them, a rather distinctive look.
So I got stuck in, and pretty soon had the first stage complete - here she is looking fairly similar to what she looks like now at Parola, with side mounted spare wheels, rearranged track stowage and new scratch built starting handle.
The observant may notice the MG shield is not fitted - funny story that - I managed to fit the wrong roof - oh how I laughed when I realised!
That was also the point when I finally thought through the project and realised I was in trouble. The problem is that the "real" Bubi at Parola is presented as she was when she saw action in the summer of 1944. The problem was the word "summer". All my other Finnish stuff is in winter camouflage, so to model Bubi in winter would mean adding all the extra bits such as concrete and logs fitted after the battles of summer 1944. On the plus side it meant I could at least swap out the fighting compartment roof.
So after another session I added concrete armour from Green Stuff, and built a new drivers visor to match the one fitted in Autumn 44, plus bullet deflectors etc. The embarrassing roof issue was resolved at that time too. The MG shield had its embrasure opened to allow the fitting of the Soviet DT LMG the Finns used rather than the original MG34, and some log armour added based on some pictures taken in the late summer of 44 I found on line.
Lastly I added the stowage frame which was late German issue but very similar to one the Finns fitted.
No hatch yet as I'm hoping to find a suitable Commander figure.
Friday, 19 May 2017
End of Turn 2 - Scourge Frigates taking a beating......
Turn 3 -
Turn three saw a serious step up in the action. Both sides moved their squadrons forward, with the Southern Scourge Nickar Group homing in on a solitary PHR Strike Carrier, with the "Northern" group moving up to threaten the central objective.
The reprieve of the Scourge Troopship was short lived. The PHR Frigate squadron attacked, crippling the Troopship, and she was finished off by a wave of bombers even though the Scourge tried to bolster her point defence with a swarm of fighters. In return the Frigates were destroyed by a combination of fire from the advancing Scourge Carrier group and the Flagship, assisted by fire from the now active Station.
The Scourge Ifrit burned a hole in the PHR Troopship that was heading towards the central objective. At that moment there was a (insert sound effect) as the PHR Battleship unleashed its massive Dark Matter Cannon - the Ifrit staggered, and was ripped apart by crippling internal explosion - one shot, one kill! The Scourge Admiral went to "Condition Brown" :-)
Friday, 12 May 2017
I'm a confirmed Kaiser Rushforth case user - I have maybe twenty in a mix of card and aluminium, and on the whole I'm happy with them, but they don't do anything suitable for Dropfleet. I've struggled on with some pick and pluck trays but they were a bit naff. There's no real chance of KR ever making any more cases for Hawk products as they seem to have suffered an "irretrievable breakdown of business relationship" or something like that. That being the case I thought I would give Feldherr a try as they have just released a DFC range. Details are here https://www.feldherr.net/
I ordered direct on Sunday evening, and went for the standard "Maxi" Scourge set, and it arrived this morning so I thought I would share my first impressions.
Here it is - hiding behind my assistant Bella with a standard KR Card case next to it
The internals consist of one tray to carry Battleships, plus four Cruiser \ Frigate inserts each holding three Cruisers and up to six Frigates, and two trays for launch assets. (see edit below) At the moment there is no tray to carry Corvettes, but by happy coincidence I noticed the UCM Frigate tray looked like it would hold those bat winged Nickars - so I took a risk and ordered one, and happily it works rather well.
So back to the actual product. The foam feels comparable to KR. The slots are cut very clean and hold the Scourge ships well enough - even some of my cruisers which were built with the wings spread wide fit with a bit of a squeeze as you can see above. The outer fabric bag is very nice, with a lined interior, carrying handle and optional strap. All rather German in efficiency.
So my initial thoughts. Very nice. What it appears to lack and causes me some concern is robustness. My KRs, both card and aluminium get a lot of regular abuse but the contents are safe. I can't be sure that will be the case here. On the other hand it is VERY light and easy to carry, which can be important.
How about cost? Difficult to compare with KR but the Feldherr Maxi plus the spare UCM tray cost £56 including postage (actually postage was free as the order was over 60 Euro) which is more than a KR card (£37) but less than a KR aluminium of similar capacity (£60) .
I'm happy so far, and will probably get the equivalent one to carry my UCM, but will probably have to find another source of funding as I don't think Hartlepool United are getting promoted soon.
******Edit There are five NOT four cruiser inserts, so the total capacity is 2 Battleships, 15 Cruisers or Battlecruisers, 30 Frigates and 60 Launch Assets. Swapping out one Launch Asset tray gives you 30 Launch Assets and 11 Nickar Frigates***********
Thursday, 11 May 2017
Turn 2 Saw the arrival of the Scourge Admiral in his Shenlong class Heavy Cruiser and his escort in the centre, plus the second H\K Group south. The Troopship changed course a little to bring it into a position to assault either the Station or the ground cluster. In the North the H/K Nickars swung in at high speed towards the enemy in the centre and dropped into atmosphere. On the other side however there as an ominous sight of the Heracles lumbering on to the table with an escorting ECM Frigate, plus another Troop carrier group. The Frigates moved straight on to try and hit the Scourge Troopship with their burn-through lasers, one using the "Active Scan" order, however this didn't work as the Troopship used a command card to launch Chaff, temporarily reducing its signature to zero and dropping off scanners.
The Scourge also played a nasty "Abandon Hope" command card which caused the PHR to discard a command card at random. The two Scourge Charybdis Class Bombardment Frigates were forced to fight as standard warships, and suffered accordingly, with one Charybdis and one Harpy being destroyed in an exchange of fire with the PHR Frigates. At the end of Turn 2 it looked like the Scourge had a narrow advantage on the ground, having control of one Communications cluster and a Station but were in trouble in space.