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Monday, 23 February 2015

Mars Attacks - the Miniatures Game

For Christmas my lovely wife bought me some very wargames orientated pressies!!

The Hail Caesar - Invasion of Gaul Starter Set and Mantics new Mars Attacks game.

Whilst the 28mm Ancients are still boxed awaiting "project time", I've made a good start on the Mantics figures.
The game represents good value for money to my mind. At Firestorm Games, Cardiff, you can buy the boxed set for £45. For this you get a printed 2'x2' paper play may (there's a rubber version as an add-on), rule book, counters, dice, 40 or so 30mm plastic figures and a large selection of modular terrain pieces. In fact everything you need to play the game.
The figures are ready assembled and moulded in a brightly coloured softish plastic. There's a little flash here and there, nothing too bad and some of the weapons are a little bent. I tried the old hot/cold water treatment to straighten these and it appeared to do the trick. Sadly the next day they were back to where they started. So I've decided to live with them.

Before painting them, I washed all the figures in mild detergent, let them dry and then primed with Skull White spray. They take acrylics well and whilst slightly flexible the paint doesn't appear to be coming loose.
There are 9 US Squaddies wearing full combats, MOLLE equipment and armed with a mix of current US infantry weapons. Detail is really rather good, and I painted them in straight plain green for speed and they came up looking the business.
The human Heroes are a mixed bunch of males and females, young and not-so Young and even include a time travelling knight in armour! All are armed and the sculpts are very characterful.
The Martians really are cool! They are based on the collecting card/movie version and look fantastic. They're quick to paint up (turquoise blue and emerald green with appropriate washes.) and look great. There are even little vacuum formed clear dome helmets to fix afterwards. 
If anything, these are the sets biggest let down. They simply don't fit very well. A quick search on the internet confirms everyone's having the same problem. Not sure if Mantics will do anything about this or not?

One partial solution I found on line, is to place a helmet tightly on the end of a large paintbrush handle and then, using a sharp knife, carefully trim around the base of the helmet to remove the flared edging. Do take care of you give this a go, but early evidence shows this to improve things so the helmet can be successfully attached to the Martians collar with PVA glue. Be very careful as you don't have very much material you can remove before the helmet becomes too short to fit. Trial an error is key to success!
The terrain pieces are mainly sections of ruined brickwork. These then clip together with little joining pieces. There is also a selection of other items - waste bins, mail boxes, barricades, roadsigns, fences etc...
Whilst nicely designed and moulded, they have been rather roughly removed from their sprues and look a bit ragged in places. Shame really.  Painted up, they look really good and will be useful with all sorts of other games (Bolt Action etc) so will prove very popular.

I've nearly finished the painting and have yet to try the game. YouTube videos of play look fun so I'm looking forwards to giving the figures an outing.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

HOTT, Thunderbirds Army Completed

It is done, the Thunderbird army is finished.......and I'm very pleased with the outcome!
Eleven elements making up the 24AP.
Thunderbird 5 - a Airboat General @3AP
The Mole - Behemoth @4AP
Thunderbird 1 - One of three Flyers @2AP each
Thunderbird 2 - Flyer
Thunderbird 3 - Flyer
Thunderbird 4 - Water Lurker @1AP
Five U.S. Soldier bases - Shooters @2AP each
Tracy Island - the Stronhold.

Can't wait to try them out......

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Crusade 2015; Penarth

My fourth visit to Crusade this weekend. One of three shows that are easily reached in a day (Reveille and WMMS being the other two) from where I live.

A nice little show that follows a fix formula each year based in Penarths leisure centre. There is the main hall split equally between traders and demo games, the bring and buy together with living history displays, and a DBA regional competition in one squash court and historical lectures in another.

Some good looking games this year and more activity in them than previous years. There's nothing worse than a demo game tha grinds to a halt at the end of the first move and spends the rest of the day surrounded by sandwich munching wargames....

The bring and buy looked to be well supported, but I'm not sure how much stuff was moving. I visited four times and kept seeing the same stuff. I did however, give in to temptation and buy a Navwar Napoleonic 1/3000 starter set for £3 and ten medieval mounted plastic Knights for £5. The Knights I have discovered were for a now defunct game called Ex Illis and whilst not the worlds best sculpts, will paint up ok for my Lion Rampant retinue.

The DBA competition seemed to be well supported and hopefully , Martin (who I'd met at BarnHott) will do well.

Richard Clarke, and his sidekick Nick, were running a tutorial game of Chain of Command. This was good as it might encourage me to get on and try the rules I bought on the day of release!

I also took the opportunity to meet the guys from Castle Gamers of Bridgend. With my pending job move, these guys will become my new opponents later in 2015!

Altogether a good day out.

HOTT Thunderbirds Progress Report

Progress is going well. I found some very good reference material on the Internet which has made it easy to get that authentic look. I've chosen to paint the bases a more yellows sand colour than usual to better suit the nature of a Pacific Island.
I will ultimately add flock and clump foliage to the bases as befits a more tropical location.
With a following wind I think these should be finished early next week. It's amazing how quick I can do things when I'm enthused. I'm clearly not cut out for painting large numbers of troop in the same paint scheme :-(