Sunday, December 12, 2010

Heavy Gear - The Battle for Canterbury Heights

Cpl. Frost skated his way through a copse of alpine firs, the secondary movement system's treads on his Tiger tearing up fresh turf. The inevitable had finally come to Terra Nova today, and CEF forces were beginning to drop surface-side. The clear mountain air was still stained with the smoke of destroyed drop pods, yet many more had made landfall. His squad, garrisoned in this major city in the foothills of the Dunning Range, were now on-route to validate reports of hovertanks in the suburb of Canterbury Heights to the northeast. Climbing another hill, his heads-up display lit up with hostile units in the vicinity. He quickly dodged a blast from a gatling laser canon and returned fired with his medium bazooka. War had indeed come to the United Mercantile Federation...

Well if that doesn't get you excited, nothing will! I got another opportunity to get a game in down at X Planet with fellow DP9 forumite Sumpbeast and his CEF with Caprician allies. I had never faced against any of the CEF's conquered allied units, so I was looking forward to seeing how they performed.

We both came with 800 TV forces. I ran a PL3 UMFA list that consisted of GP Squad with Tigers, Sabretooths, medium bazookas, tankhunter upgrades and buffed skills, a Recon Squad with 2 Bobcats and 2 Weasels, an upgraded Field Gun, and an Infantry Platoon with 2 rocket launchers and 2 field mortars. Sumpbeast ran a PL1 force with 4 LHT-67s, a GREL Infantry Platoon, 2 with field mortars and 2 with ATVs and rocket launchers, and a Caprician Patrol Squad that included his army commander.

We rolled for diagonal deployment, my forces set up below:

And Sumpbeast's deployment as well:

And here you can see both sides facing off against one another at the beginning of the game. For objectives, we each had 4 OP. Sumpbeast selected two Scout objectives, those being a copse of trees to the far right corner of the field, and a building in my deployment zone. Both can be picked out in the picture by the small purple D6s. He also picked to Seize the medical building my infantry were sitting on in my deployment zone. I had elected to Recon his Patrol Squad and Breakthrough to his deployment zone:

Sumpbeast and I elected to begin the game by trying to outflank each other in Turn 1, his HT-67 (all proxied with HT-71's) moving up my right while I moved my GP squad up my left.

My Recon Squad advanced towards his deployment zone while Active Detecting his Mounts, all while taking mortar fire from his GRELS.

CEF hostiles are light on my left flank while UMF forces advance into position.

My forces reach the main highway to try and take advantage of the benefits the smooth tarmac offers to ground movement.

Sumpbeast begins to apply additional pressure to my right flank by moving his forces away from the left. I engage Top Speed to take advantage and move towards his deployment zone.

A nice shot of the table mid-battle.

CEF and UMF forces trade fire up and down the main highway. The pilot of the Weasel will be up for promotion after this sortie, as he managed to place a grenade on the underside of an HT-67. That Earther has a long ride home in a pine box!

Another of Sumpeast's HT-67's begins to make it's way towards it's Seize objective.

The HT-67 is unstoppable. It took on rocket launcher and field mortar fire from my Infantry Platoon, and two shots from the Field Gun, and only suffered a sturdy box of damage to show for it!

Sumpbeast's ATV-riding GREL sweep in to Seize the medical building at the end of Turn 5 after eliminating my infantry inside.

UMF forces, having detected the entirety of the Patrol Squad, make a last ditch effort to eliminate all enemy forces in their deployment zone.

At the end of the game, Sumpbeast had a achieved an Overwhelming Success for his PL 1 side, gaining 4 out of 4 VPs, compared to my Disputed level for my PL 3 side, gaining 3 out of 4 VPs. In the end, it was a great game and I thoroughly enjoyed playing Sumpbeast. We both stayed focused on our objectives, while resisting the urge to just blow things up, just as a well-executed game of Heavy Gear should be!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Heavy Gear - Sleeping with the Enemy, Part 2.

I have a confession to make. I have a dirty little secret I want to tell you about. That skeleton in my closet is that I love the Naga. I know, I know, with all the posts on this blog dedicated to my Northern forces, you've gotta be thinking "how can you give those dirty Southern snakes some love?!?!"

But really, the Naga is a Northern unit in a round Southern striders's chassis. It's those ATMs really, which go against the Southern doctorine of rocking lasers at the expense of guided weapons. Plus I've always been a fan of Metal Gear Solid, and the Naga is Heavy Gear's Rex. See the Dark Naga to really get a feel for what I'm talking about, and the reason I need to play more PL4 games!

But since I already have a Long Fang version of the Naga, I thought it would be just as useful to have a vanilla version as well. One day I may be a double agent I suppose. Here's the result's of my painting:

When played well, Naga's can be the bane of the opposition player's existence. Hidden cleverly, you'll get bonuses of attacked from above and can't see your attacker levelled against you, and if the Naga goes stationary, the bonuses double. Just the thing to screw over your once carefully-plotted tactics!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Warhammer 40,000 - Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

It's been a really long time since I've played any sort of 40K. I mean a really long time, somewhere in the range of 15 plus years ago. I think I mentioned in a post when I began this blog a year ago that 40K was what really got me into the hobby in the first place. Sure I've obviously gone on to other games and miniatures, and sure the rules are showing a bit of age when compared to some of the newer miniature rulesets coming out, but 40K is something I've always remembered playing fondly.

So when the owner of my FLGS (Lionel of X Planet in Mississauga, ON) asked me if I wanted to get in a game, I jumped at the chance. My Chaos Space Marines have set idle in my cabinet while I've worked on other things, and the chance to pit two armies of wonderfully coloured models against each other was too good to pass up.

I'm not a competitive 40K player (though that might change with the X Planet league that's starting in the new year), so the army I brought consisted of 1000 pts of models I've enjoyed painting: a pimped-out Tzeentch Chaos Sorcerer, an old Chaos Dreadnaught, a unit of 10 Chaos Marines with plasma guns, a unit of 9 Thousand Sons, and two 5-man Lesser Daemons units.

We rolled Capture and Control and Dawn of War for deployment. Here's a picture of how we intially deployed. Note the card boxes are our respective objectives.

My Thousand Sons were to play guard for my objective, their lack of mobility and terrifying inferno bolts being my main reason to have them stuck in (the handsome gentleman in the back for those that don't know, is Lionel, owner of X Planet here in Mississauga).

So I began the game with my Chaos Sorcerer firing his plasma pistol at the Rhino before charging in on the stationary vehicle to assault with krak grenades.

I'm pretty sure you can tell how my assult turned out from the next picture. Not only is the Rhino unharmed, but his combat squad jumped out to shoot, but 3 land speeders and another combat squad in Rhino showed up on the far flank to bloster his defences around his objective. After all was said and done n his shooting phase, he managed to take out my Chaos Sorcerer with a well-timed hit with a lascannon, causing Instant Death much to my chagrin.

I advanced my Chaos Marine sqaud through the cover of rubble, hoping to use it to block LoS. He countered this by bringing the fight to me via the "Rhino Wall." The war of attrition begins to go in Lionel's favour, as his Combat Squads disembark to riddle my forces with Rapid Fire from his boltguns.

My Lesser Daemons arrive out of the warp in Turn 2. Those to the left were to bolster the decimated remains of my Chaos Marines, while those on the right were to make a break for the objective under his control.

My Chaos Marine squad wittled down to the Aspiring Champion, both he and my Lesser Daemons make a last stand and Charge his Combat Squad. This was one of my few successes throughout the game.

Lionel's pesky landspeeders fly up my left flank. To add further insult to injury, he attacked my Chaos Dreadnaught with the trio's assualt cannons, causing a "vehicle immobilized" on the damage table when it was a mere 6" onto the table.

The Rhinos have now enaged my Thousand Sons, just outside of the picture to the bottom righthand corner. His Combat Squads are now left with the simple task of mopping up my Lesser Daemons.So after the blood and dust had settled, did the old dog learn any new tricks? Well, considering I pretty much was dead in the water by the end of Turn 3, I sure did. Here are my thoughts:

  1. New Dice: I managed to get about 3 penetrating hits on his vehicles in the first 2 turns of the game, but could never roll better than a 2. Add in his extra armour and it makes it even worse! I've been told that crushing one die in a vice in front of the rest makes a great example of what happens to under-performers!
  2. Bodies are Better: In smaller games like the one we were playing, more models on the table is more advantageous. My pimped out 235 point Chaos Sorcerer was taken out by a well placed lascannon shot from a Marine, a mere 20 point upgrade in comparison. That really hurt when 25% of my force was taken out in one shot!
  3. Brick City: The "Rhino Wall" was what really helped Lionel win the day. For 50 points he gets a basic transport with extra armour, that can block both my movement and LoS. "A 50 point piece of terrain" it was accurately called. The good thing is my traitor marines will be able to pull off the same move in the future, much to my opponent's frustration.

Until next time!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Warhammer 40,000 - Pink Whores

"What did you just call them!?!?"

That was my reaction to when my wife heard me say "I'm painting some Pink Horrors." When it comes to the hobby, the spouses of gamers will say the funniest things when interpreting whatever it is you're talking about. The best part is though, is that the title has stuck, much like the term "nerd store" and now I refer to them using the same title as well. So, without further rambings, I present to you my other 5 pink whores, to complete my box of the old versions of these lesser daemons:

And off to the next project on my hobby desk!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Heavy Gear - First Fight in a While!

So it's been a while but I finally managed to get a game of Heavy Gear Blitz in! Against gaming buddy and new opponent Jay, we battled it out in a North versus North slugfest to see who would be more devoted to the Prophet!

At our FLGS (X Planet in Mississauga, ON. One of the best shops around and the owner, Lionel, is a real stand-up guy!) we squared off with our opposing 700 TV forces. My force was a PL 3 UMFA group consisting of a GP squad with plenty of upgrades (skills upped, dedicated tankhunter snub cannons and Tiger/Sabretooth Gear upgrades), a Recon squad with 2 Bobcats and 2 Weasels, and a Field Gun Section with 2 Field guns and maxed attack skills. I hadn't used this combination of units before, and my thoughts before the game were it would definitely play to a "search and destroy" angle, my scout gears using their superior Sensor ratings to Detect enemies for the Field Guns to lay into. Jay had a generic North PL2 army with 2 GP squads (both with vanilla snubcannons), an infantry platoon and a Strider attachment consisting of a Mammoth that housed his army commander.

Here's a picture of how things were initially set up. Jay attacked from left to right and I right to left. With 700 TV forces we just had 2 OP to select missions from. We both chose Hold, Jay holding the large two-building complex and myself holding the small building my Gears are clustered around on the far edge of the table.

Here we have my Gears holding my objective. My Hunters trade shots with Jay's while the Bobcat FO's for the Field Guns.

Jay advances his Mammoth to take on my Sabretooth in a duel of Army Commanders. My AC must've been personally blessed by the Prophet himself before the battle, as he manged to to dodge 3 ATMs without taking any damage!

Jay referred to this duel as the "Mexican Standoff." While his SC-toting Hunter managed to take mine out, I didn't go without a fight, spending a CP to a parting shot and take him with me to my grave!

The beginning of the end for Jay's night. His AC killed, and his "hold" objective firmly in my control now thanks to some APGL shots from my Jaguar into his infantry that had gone Hull Down in his building, I begin to tighten my stranglehold on his remaining forces.

In the end I had managed to take 2 VP to his 0 VP. We both had a great time and vowed for another rematch. Jay has just begun to play HGB with some regularity, and has new units in the mail, so I'm looking foward to it! Some initial thoughts on the battle:

  1. Two Field Guns are Better than One: In the past I've played with just one, but having two seems much better, especially at the beginning of the game. On my right flank Jay had set up both his GP squads, and I had two Hunters and Bobcat (which I didn't plan to us to) defend my objective. These really "thinned the rank" so that he was only able to bring 3 Hunters at me in the end!
  2. Scout Gears can Skate: The Bobcat on my right flank can really dodge the heat, and was able to stick around long enough to FO many well placed shots from the Field Guns. The +2 DEF modifier at secondary combat speed really helped! I don't think I'll leave home without taking these little guys in the future.

Until the next battle...or whatever I finish painting!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Terrain - Follow the Miniature Road (A Tutorial)

Well, in the midst of finishing up my Pink Horrors, I've been sidetracked by the purchase of a PS3 and a terrain building project, a set of 12-15mm road pieces. Most 15mm scale terrain is dominated by World War II-era pieces due to the popularity of Flames of War. While those companies that cater to that market do an excellent job of building terrain, being a Heavy Gear Blitz player means my 15-ft tall war machines look a tiny bit out of place marching up and down dirt roads past European cottages.

So here is my attempt at building a credible set of 15mm modern and paved road pieces. Here's the materials are started off with:
  • Polystyrene Lighting Panel (similar to what you'd find in your office space as a cover for florescent lighting);
  • Tube of "No More Nails" (found in the adhesive section of Home Depot);
  • Bag of Sand (found really cheap at Michaels)
  • Can of Spray Stone Finish (Alabaster for a really fine finish
  • Can of Primer
  • Masking Tape
  • Variety of Black, Grey, Brown and Yellow Paints (I use the cheap craft paint available at Wal-Mart for $2.00 a jar)
  • Mixed Green Flock
  • Static Grass
So, with the above grocery list of simply hobby materials, here's how I put my roads together.
  1. Using a pair of shears, cut very slowly (the slower the better, I learned the hard way that if you cut fast you split and chip the panel) a 4" by 12" rectangle out of the polystyrene.
  2. Using your masking tape, block off the inner 2" of the length of the rectangle (at the 15mm scale, 1" is roughly 1 lane on a road).
  3. Using the tube of No More Nails, lay down a layer of the adhesive on the outer two bands not covered and heavily cover with sand, pressing down tightly on it make sure it has a strong bond.
  4. About 10 minutes after putting the sand down, quickly rip up the masking tape, leaving a bare strip of panelling and leave to dry
  5. Once dry, spray with primer, and leave to dry.
  6. After the primer is dry, lay down a fine spray of spray stone finish along the inner band and prime again.
  7. Paint the whole piece black, and layer the sandy outer bands with brown, and the inner band with dark grey, and finish with a single line of yellow down the middle of the band to determine the two lanes on the road.
  8. Coat the brown sandy edges with flock, leaving a little bit of a shoulder, and put some static grass down on the very outer edges.

And here's a couple pictures of the finished product:

Friday, September 3, 2010

Warhammer 40,000 - It Was Nothing of This Earth, But a Peice of the Great Outside

For those that don't know, the title of this post is a quote taken from H.P. Lovecraft's The Colour Out of Space. To give you a little history lesson on the background on the lore of Warhammer, it takes many pieces from Lovecraft's Cthulhu-mythos: the Great Old Ones in 40K are the same as Lovecraft's, but simply shoehorned into Games Workshop's intellectual property. But what does this all have to do with my painting blog? Well, look at the creatures I've painted below if you dare tempt the cosmic horror that awaits....

Yes, the first 5 Pink Horrors of Tzeentch out of the old 10-piece box. I've had these guys sitting around for a few years now in my treasure-box of yet-to-be-started projects. I felt I need to take a break from painting Terra Novan war machines, and these have hit the spot. What led me back to them was the release of the new plastic Horrors GW produces; while nicely sculpted models, I don't think they have the Cthulhu-like randomness to them that they've always been linked to in the fluff. Nor are the new ones pink, but flesh-coloured. So I thought, "hey, lets paint some models GW no longer produces (metal Horrors) with a paint GW no longer produces (Citadel Tentacle Pink)." Talk about your throwback mini!

So, while I don't play Chaos Daemons, I do play Chaos Space Marines, and daemons do have a role to play in their armies. So what do I think about them game-wise? Well, looking at their stats, they're marines in most respects, but with an invulnerable 5+ save, no guns, and quicker initiative. I think they're best used to bolster the troops in this objective-holding edition of 40K. Drop them where you're fighting a contested objective to help clear out your enemies with increased numbers, or have them hold ground(they are a troops choice and thus a game-winning unit) while your more elite units head to their next fight.

Thanks for reading, and now I'm off to enjoy the last week of summer vacationing at the cottage! Stay tuned to see how the next 5 Horrors turn out!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Heavy Gear - Free Loot Painted Up Pt. 2

It's felt like forever since I've posted on my blog (and I think it has with so much vacation time being taken this summer. I was in Boston for a week!). So here's the second bunch of Gears I won back at CanGames all painted up, the Weasel 2-Pack:

Despite is goofy look, this is one Gear you need if you play a Northern force. Hell, if you play a Leagueless force, you need it too! As I've mentioned in the past, the North is an army of specialists, and the Weasel specializes in EW capabilities. As a "downgrade" to the Cheetah via the Ferret in a Recon Squad, their greater Detect ability means you can Active Lock any target without really requiring a roll-off, and their great ECM 4 and ECCM 4 perks mean you will not find a Gear more useful in denying an enemies actions or protecting your own. Put them out of the way and they can keep your CP pool in working order as well with their Sat Uplink perk as well. Until next time, where I return to my roots in tabletop wargaming to paint something I've had stowed away in my hobby chest for years!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Heavy Gear - Free Loot Painted Up Pt. 1

With summer in full swing here in Ontario I've a variety of distractions to keep me away from painting. Whether it be soccer (the World Cup over the past month, the trials and tribulations of my beloved Reds Toronto FC, or actually playing in my work league) to getting out of the city and to the cottage every weekend, paiting minis has taken a bit of a back seat. However, I've managed to paint the first pack of mini winnings from the recent CanGames tournement. I present to you the results of painting up the Bobcat 2-Pack:

In-game, the Bobcat are found in UMFA and WFPA armies and are considered a downgrade of the Cheetah; I don't really see it that way. What I do see is a Gear that meets in the middle between the Hunter and the Cheetah, sacrificing some of it's Def and Detect and ECM features for increased armour. It still keeps the TD, which makes it a good mid-range spotter to paint targets in a combined-arms role for those friendly units with Guided weapons. Bobcats can also zip around in Ground Movement with good Def modifiers, keeping it alive to both claim objectives and tag find those targets your enemy has cleverly kept out of the line of fire.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Heavy Gear - Anti-Air Assets

The great monkeywrench to throw into your meticulously planned actions in HGB has to be an Airstrike. Airstrikes, for those that don't know, are a Support Point (SP) option that can be purchased to help the ground-based forces of the game. Airstrikes are deadly because when they attack, they only count terrain within 4" of their target and are armed with such things as AGMs. Chances are their target will be some sort of stationary unit you have that has a large gun which has been firing with impunity from beyond a piece of terrain blocking enemy line of sight. In other words, your BFG has suddenly been taken out by something that costs no TV and you have to change plans in a hurry. In a game as quick as HGB, that deciion can win or lose the game for you!
To counter Airstrikes you have the option of purchasing Anti-Air Assets. I found this turret from the old range of packaging when they had one to a blister down at The Hobby Kingdom in Burlington. Here's the results of me licking some paint on it:

For a single SP, I get to shoot back at those pesky Airstrikes. Airstrikes, I should also mention, can only be fired upon by those weapons with the AA trait. Most forces in the game really only have 1 or two units that have a dedicated AA weapon. For the South, the Hun and Visigoth have AA weapons, while the North has the Aller. If you don't want to sink a huge amount of TV into an MBT, this is a viable option. The one fault of an Airstrike is their fragile nature: they only have two damage boxes and the armour rating of a mainline Gear such as a Hunter or Jager, so getting a bead on them will definitely help counter your oppenent's monkeywreches with one of your own!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Heavy Gear - CanGames Battle 2

For my second battle, I was paired up against DP9 forumite TekRat04. TekRat04, for those that don't know, is the individual reponsible for developing the PDF movment and status counters that are available for download at Tekrat04 fielded a Northern tank-exclusive army, which consisted of an Aller, Hardy Aller, and Jaxon Support Tank.

Battle 2 was fought over an urban board that was intersected by a large river that was considered Impassible Terrain. A single bridge allowed passage to and from either side. My objectives were to HOLD the monument on my side of the board while at the same time SEIZE TekRat04's monument on his side of the board.

Here are a few bullets on observations made during this battle:

1. Top Speed Is Your Friend: This battle was more a case of losing VPs instead of gaining them; I had already gained 2 VP for placing my units within distance of my monument, my next goal was to seize TekRat04's. I needed my GP Squad to assault his monument. THis could only be achieved by literally staring down the guns of two Allers, quite possible the strongest unit of armour in the game. So I sent my units Top Speed over the bridge to do so, knowing they could certainly be cut to pieces, and that this move would possibly win or lose the game for me. Thanks to the favourable modifiers of Top Speed, after both Allers had fired all of their weapons at me, two Hunters had taken a Sturdy and Light level worth of damage respectively. The risk had certainly paid off! Here's a pic below of my GP Squad assaulting TekRat04's side of the river:

My beachhead is established on TekRat04's side of the river. I had taken out his Hardy Aller with a Parting Shot from my SC-carrying Hunter, while two Hunters made for his monument while dodging fire from his Aller. On the other side of the major road, my Sabretooth stalks his Jaxon Support Tank:

2. Smoke: TekRat04 used his Allers' Smoke Launchers to great effect. Due to the Concealment they created, I was unable to FO his tanks with my Infantry or Hunters, due to their low Detect ratings.

3. Tanks are Best Used Aggresively!: I had never encountered or used tanks before, but had been under the impression that in an 800 TV force they were almost too many points sunk into one unit. That impression is wrong, as TekRat04 sped forward to counter-assault my side of the river with is Aller. It soon become one shot, one kill as his superior weapons at Point Blank range put large railgun-shaped holes in many of my Gears. Below TekRat04's Aller attacks my MBZK-carrying Hunter and Stripped Down Hunter before assaulting my side of the river:

In the end, TekRat04's Jaxon was taken out by a barrage of MRPs from my Sabretooth, and his Aller was finally whittled down by a well-placed MBZK shot. I had emerged again with full VPs! Here's how my force looked after destroying all of his units:

In the end, my taking of full VPs in battles 1 and 2 lead me to tying with DP9 forumite Izzy as winner of the tournament. I got to go home with the title of "Canadian National Champion" and $50 dollars worth of free product from DP9. I picked up a Bobcat and Weasel 2-pack and so more dice counters.

I'd to thank everyone that participated in this tournament and the DP9 staff of doing an excellent job of hosting. I came away with a great experience, and am looking forward to defending my title next year. Until then, it's back to the hobby desk for me!