Saturday 26 September 2015

Army Focus - Star Trek Micro Machines

My recent acquisition of a few of the new Star Wars Micro Machines inspired me to dig out my Star Trek Micro machines for this photo-shoot.  This collection is a mix of some that I had as a kid and some more recent ebay purchases, with the intention of playing some wargames with them.  That hasn't happened yet, but it definitely will do one day!

A couple of issues arise from the nature of the figures, the first is scale.  All the Micro Machines are roughly the same size, which of course means they are way out of scale to one another.  At first this bothered me immensely, but  have decided not to worry about it and treat the ships as markers on a larger scale area of space rather than as realistic dog-fight style game.  The second small issues is that some of the figures are silver special editions, which can look a bit silly next to more 'realistically' coloured ships, again I have decided to try and ignore this and maybe use the silver ones to denote command ships.

The core of the collection is this, my Next Generation era Federation fleet.  It also contains older classes of vessels that still featured in the various battle scenes in the Next Generation and Deep Space Nine.  The fleets hitting power is provided by nine Galaxy class, three Ambassador class and one Nebula class ships. This is supported by a Defiant class, two Miranda class, six Excelsior class and three Constellation class ships.  There are also a couple of science vessels, which aren't much use in a fight but could be useful objectives for scenarios,

The Federation of course need someone to fight..... how about seven Borg Cubes!  I think the fleet above might struggle to cope with one or two of these and that it wouldn't be that fun as a game.

More realistic opponents of the Federation is this Klingon fleet.  Whilst not as big as the Federation fleet there is enough here for a good game.  There are three very different ships here, essentially a battleship, a cruiser and a destroyer, but I do wish there was slightly more variety in the classes avaliable.

The Romulans also lack variety having only two ship classes, the mighty Warbird and a scout.  Whilst I only have seven Romulan vessels, Warbirds are very powerful ships and this is definitely enough figures to have a game with against a numerically larger Klingon or Federation fleet.

Both the Ferengi (on the left) and Cardassians only have a single class of ship in my collection, which wouldn't make for a particularly interesting game even if both fleets have just enough ships for a skirmish.  I think the best use of the Cardassians would be to use them in conjunction with the Romulans to represent a fleet at the time of the Tal Shiar and Obsidian Order alliance.

These are Romulan Warbirds and Federation Constitution class ships for the original series era, which can't find their way into the Next Gen era of the fleets above, I''m not really planning on doing anything with them at all.

Here we have a bunch of shuttles, runabouts and other assorted ships.  No use for fighting at large scales, but could potentially be used as scenario pieces.

And finally a few space stations, which of course can potentially be used as static weapon platforms.

That's it for now, I'm not actively adding to this collection at the moment, but I'm aware that it's not complete and if some different ship classes happened to cross my eyes I could well end up buying more.

Thursday 17 September 2015

From The Painting Table #19

Another collection of my recently completed minis today, lets start with a couple of randoms;

Wargames Foundry have this absolutely fantastic of throwing in a free mini or two with orders and here we have two of my recent freebies from them.  On the left we have an armoured skeleton painted up for use in warhammer quest and/or dungeon saga and on the right we have what I think is supposed to be father Christmas, but I've painted him up for use as a druid in my Forces of Nature army for Kings of War.

A bit of a impulse buy from ebay here.  These are three WW2 flames of war Churchill tanks, converted according to the previous owner into flame throwers for use in the Dieppe raid.  I don't know enough about the history to ascertain the arcuracy, but they're a nice addition to my collection and I got them at a good price.

Onto Deadzone now, starting with this Strider that has been captured by the Plague.  This is the third strider that I've painted and I'm a big fan of them, I've still got a rebel captured one to go at some point as well.

Finally we have a squad of Enforcers, also for Deadzone, based on the hard plastics with additional resin shields and guns.  I've got a lot of the Enforcer plastics and they're very good.  In fact all the Enforcers that I have for Deadzone are actually enough to make a small army, which is quite convenient as there's a Warpath Kickstarter about to start......

Friday 11 September 2015

New Stars Wars:The Force Awakens Toys!

New Toys!

One of the great sources of trial in my life is that I work in a shop that sells toys, this means every day there is the temptation to buy more stuff.  The Lego section in particular normally helps fill any remaining space in my house.  I returned from a week off to discover that the new Star Wars toys had come in, a wave of childish joy came over me as I headed off to the toy department to check them out, inevitably at the end of my shift I had to make a couple of purchases.......

Galactic Showdown 

As well as the action figures and Lego that I was anticipating I was delighted to discover that Micro Machines were making a comeback.  They were surprisingly cheap as well, the above set of five vehicles and two figures was only a fiver.  I'm sure that I can remember a set of three of the old Star Wars Micro Machines used to cost a fiver too, and that was 20 years ago!  In the set I picked up we have two TIE fighters (one that looks like it's been flying through snow), two X-Wings, a little snow speeder, which looks to be a new design, and what I can only assume is a good guy and a bad guy.  The set didn't come with any of the little plastic flight stands, but oddly all the ships had a hole in them which the flight stands from the original Star Wars Micro Machines fitted perfectly.

My Old Star Wars Micro Machines

Micro Machines were amongst my favourite toys as a child, and I had quite a lot, but spread over many different themes and properties.  After coming home with my new toys though I had to go and dig out my old ones.  The price difference suddenly made a bit more sense, the originals were of a much higher quality and the new ones do feel cheap in comparison.

My X-Wings Together

The truth is adding this cheap little set of figures and vehicles to my collection made my day and it was worth the price just for that alone.

Whilst the Micro Machines were an unexpected purchase, I knew that some of the new Lego would inevitably make it home.....

Rey's Speeder

I decided on the cheapest set for now, as an intro to the range.  This is the female lead, Rey, on her speeder, which was seen in the trailer.  I don't really know anything about Rey yet as I've trying to avoid any plot and character details as much as possible before the films release.  It's a nifty little set actually, the build was interesting and a bit different and of course features one of the main characters, she comes nicely equipped with her staff and hair and mask options.  The set had one negative and that was the number of stickers that needed applying and lining up, Lego can and do print pieces in some sets, I wish they did it all the time and did away with stickers.

Rey vs Thug

The speeder opens up and houses a storage container, although I was there was also a hole somewhere to hide the hair/mask piece that isn't in use at the time.  Rey of course needs someone to fight, and 'Unkars Thug' is provided, he's a bit of a mystery at the moment, but he's quite a nice minifig with some interesting printing.  A good set overall, and it gets my seal of approval.

After all this I really hope the movie isn't another episode I...

Saturday 5 September 2015

Kings Of War Kickstarter Package

The first wave stuff from my Kings Of War kickstarter from Mantic games has arrived, I've been looking forward to this ever since I pledged and with the untimely death of Warhammer fantasy the quality of the package suddenly seemed more vital.  Lets see what we've got then....

Hardback Rulebook

The most important item is of course the second edition hardback rulebook, containing background, rules and army lists.  The book clocks in at around 200 pages and is in full colour throughout, with lots of art and photos (some of the art is recycled, but this is the first KoW book I own so I'm not bothered), the first 50 pages are background to the world of Mantica, then you get the rules, and then finally 11 complete army lists, all of which contain more background for the different armies.

It's all well done, the background was nice to read, all pretty general stuff, but after reading it all I'm starting to see Mantica as it's own place, which before I didn't.  Inevitably it does share the usual influences that all fantasy worlds do, but this isn't all a bad thing, afterall we all want Dwarves, Elves, Orcs etc.  It's also designed so that there is plenty of space to do your own thing, with lots of different kingdoms per race and no intention of describing them all.  It's nice to be in a world near it's genesis as well, I'm curious to see how Mantic are going to grow it in the coming years.

The rules themselves are quite short and relatively simple.  Lots of nice diagrams as well, we found them intuitive enough that even in our first game we hardly had to refer to them at all.

Softback Rulebook, bigger than GW's
The pledge also came with the softback 'gamers' edition, a stripped down cheaper version with none of the background material, just the rules and army lists.  It's bigger that expected, I was very much expecting a book like the GW mini-rulebooks, but as you can see it's bigger than that.  I wasn't sure at first if having both books was going to be of any use, but actually I really like having this condensed version for use during the actual gaming, as well as having the nice fancy hardback book for the shelf.

Onto the miniatures, I didn't go overboard with this kickstarter and this initial package contains a mere six miniatures!  However, they're all rather good.  First off is that exclusive Blaine miniature that mantic always do with each kickstarter, this time he's found himself a pet dinosaur.  Initially I was ecstatic when I got this mini, it's really good, I love the styling and general pose, the resin holds the detail really well and I was looking forward to getting him painted.  However............

After taking the pics for this post I undercoated Blaine and then left him on the shelf for a few days before coming back to find him like this.  The single ankle joint can't hold the weight of the mini and mine has slowly bent down until the hands are touching the base.  I tried using the hot water method to return him to the original pose, which worked briefly, but then he nose-dived again.  I'm a bit gutted to be honest.  Hopefully it's just mine and not something that will affect all of them and I can get a new one.
The second exclusive mini was this 'Ronaldo the Bard'.  Nothing wrong with this chap, just a characterful little mini to add to the collection.

The one add-on I bought that came with the first wave are these Ogre minis, a Warlock and a regiment of three Berserker Braves.  The Warlock is OK, if nothing special, the Braves on the other hand are some of the best minis that I've yet seen from Mantic, I'm really pleased with these and will be looking to expand my Ogre collection further.

The pack of nerve counters is quite cleverly done giving you the option of using a dice holder or stacking 'hits'.  The hard plastic nature of the kit allows you to paint them up to match your army as well.

And finally we have a pack of game counters.  These are simple, but do the job fine, except that I'm not entirely sure what all the symbols are meant to mean, a little sheet explaining which is which would have been of massive help, but no doubt we'll be able to come up with a system that works.

 The vital question though...  is the game any good?

Well I've got three games in so far, and I can report that both I and my opponents thoroughly enjoyed all three.  They were all quite close as well, with the game still in the balance up to at least the end of turn five and in one case coming down to the last dice roll!  My current KoW record stands at one win, one loss and one draw how's that for balance.
Whilst playing it really felt like our manoeuvring was the key to winning or loosing the game, not some dirty little army building trick, flank and rear charges are deadly in this game, but can often leave you exposed yourself.  It's early days, but the lists seem very balanced as well, everything in it has a use and even the big monsters aren't dominating the way they are in some games.  Magic, which can be my pet hate in many fantasy games, seems to be at the right level for me, it has an influence and is useful, but it's not overpowering.
The lists are really rather flexible as well and with each one there are many different ways you could use it and have a successful force.  The Kingdoms of men lists deserves a special mention here, as well as being useful for representing any human fantasy force you can think of it also opens up a huge range of historical games you could play straight from this book, and with only the slightest bit of modification you can basically fight any battle from Ancient Egypt up to the late 19th century.
It looks like Kings of War is going to be my large scale game of choice for some time to come.

Painted Ogres

That's it for now, I can't wait for my Forces of Nature starter army and the campaign book which are due some point later in the year to arrive.  In the meantime, I can see a Kingdom of Men project on the horizon that wants me to start moving toward it.

Tuesday 1 September 2015

Even More For The Forces Of Nature

I've been beavering away on some more stuff for my new Forces of Nature army for Kings of War.  To start with I went back to the remains of my Loka earth set and pulled out a bishop to serve as a druid.

After that I had a lot of fun making this unit of 'Hunters of the Wild'.  The unit description says the hunters are a mix of sprites, dryads, fauns, satyrs and other forest folk.  Basically an excuse to do what you like, I had a rummage round my spare minis boxes and managed to bring together this unit of ten that I'm really pleased with.  I've made a couple of purchases that will allow me to bring this unit up to 20 in the near future.

These two are a couple of Games Workshop Warhammer fantasy Beastmen Gors, now being used to represent Fauns

Also from Warhammer we have these two old metal Dryad minis, who were previously found playing bloodbowl with my Halfling team.

The Loka set provides yet more minis for the army with these dwarf pawns, painted green as to represent 'green men' forest spirits.

The unit is bought upto strength by a Warhammer Wood Elf Sprite, an elf huntress that was free from Foundry and a dog from GW's Lord of the Rings range.

I also dug out this old citadel unicorn that I had in my collection.  Unicorns are heroes with the heal spell, which I think is going to prove useful.

I've gone out and bought these two Pegasi from Foundry's Greek Mythology range which will add some much valued mobility to the force.

And finally here's a pic of how the army stands today.  I've got plenty of Heroes and Monsters, but not enough proper regiments.  The Hunters will be bought up to a full regiment soon and later in the year I'll be getting regiments of Salamanders and Naiads from my kickstarter package, in the meanwhile I'm considering giving some of my old plastic Saurus minis a quick lick of paint to stand in as Salamanders.

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