Sunday, 23 March 2014

The Steel Skulls (making the most of cheap toy soldiers)

The Steel Skulls are an elite and highly experimental unit. They specialise in black ops missions and no win scenarios. The Steel Skulls are an entirely human unit and are officially denied as active by Crucible. Rumours abound surrounding their existence and motives, most believe they are a real unit but are only known to truly exist by the highest members of the human race within Crucible. They do all the dirty work, and ask no questions.
 The sergeant above is armed with a light laser weapon, perfect for taking out human sized targets. He is carrying the traditional ballistic pistol and wearing the iconic Steel Skull helmet.
 The entire unit is wearing an experimental type of body armour known as a DAV, deflection absorption vest. The DAV using successive layers of reflective and absorbative material wears down a laser weapon shot, deflecting some and absorbing some in stages. It is believed a DAV is 100% effective against a light or medium laser weapon, but if shot more than once in the same location, the second time round will be totally ineffective.
 The standard Steel Skull support weapon is the Molsh. Steel Skull units however rarely carry a standard Molsh, most are experimental models, offering higher rates of fire, greater accuracy or range, but suffering from a higher probability of malfunction.
The Steel Skull helmet provides the wearer with almost any tactical data a soldier could desire. It is completely environment proof and has advanced filtration units turning any harmful gasses or environments into fully breathable air. If not filtering existing air it has a small air supply of its own allowing the user to survive up to 24 Earth hours in a vacuum. The Steel Skulls operate in smaller units due to their helmets which are an entirely deflective form of armour. The front armour of the helmet is vastly superior to the rear encouraging any Steel Skull from ever facing away from an enemy.
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Friday, 21 March 2014

The Khef (making the most of cheap toy soldiers)

The Khef are an ancient race with an unknown origin. Most of their troops are not infact Khef but are reanimated corpses from previous wars. The Khef are only currently a small threat to Crucible but are growing rapidly.
The Khef below are a support laser squad. 
 A large part of Khef equipment is either stolen or salvaged from battlefields. The Khef above is a reanimated corpse. The camouflage pattern as you may notice is not particularly well suited to the environment, this is pretty normal among Khef armies again due to the fact that they steal of salvage a lot of their equipment.
The Khef above is also a reanimated corpse, he has mismatched trousers, possibly from a Korban unit, and his helmet is a much older style of camouflage. The weapon he is carrying is known as a Molecular Shredder or Molsh for short. The Molsh literally does what its name suggests and is not hindered by any current shield technology. The disadvantage of the Molsh is its unreliability and shortened range. If hit by this horrific weapon, the target, if it is a biological one, is often reduced to a red or pinkish slime. This slime is also referred to as Molsh. Military reports instead of recording a person as deceased when killed by a Molsh will say 'Molshed', this is primarily so the family can prepare themselves for what may be shipped home.
 The Khef above is in a similar style uniform to the previous one. He is armed with a standard laser weapon for a support squad.
 The Khef above is dressed in a complete uniform. The camouflage is similar to that worn by humans when they first invaded Krel prior to the Formation Wars.
 The Khef above is also wearing the same pre-Formation Wars camouflage. He is also protected by an AV.
 This Khef is the only true Khef in the squad. It makes sense then that he should be the commanding officer. Judging by the camouflage and ballistic pistol it would be a safe bet to say this squad's equipment, possibly including the reanimated members, were salvaged pre-Formation Wars. The Khef within it therfore would most likely be former humans or Korban.
Notice the strange eyeless shape of the true Khef's head. Most of the orders it will give will be done telepathically. The true Khef is completely blind but is able to see telepathically through the eyes of those it has reanimated. This actually gives the Khef a much better understanding of its surroundings, the distances to and locations of enemies, making them not only tactically gifted but also deadly with any ranged weapon.
Coming soon with be a small squad of humans, one of the most primitive and violent races to ever join Crucible.
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Tuesday, 18 March 2014

The Korban (making the most of cheap toy soldiers)

The Korban are a Reptoid alien race from the planet Krel. They were one of the original founding races of Crucible, an intergalactic alliance of sytems. Crucible's goals are simple, to promote unity, keep the peace and establish a universal Mentocratic government. Mentocracy is a long standing form of government on developed worlds, whereby a master computer system collects data from all sentient beings, recording their memories, experiences and feelings, those are then used by the master computer to control every aspect life.  
The Korban below are a support laser squad in their home world orange/red uniform. 
 The Sergeant of the SLS is armed with both a laser weapon and a simple ballistic pistol for back up. Ballistic pistols were widely carried during the Formation Wars due to the large scale use of advanced EMP devices. While not as important now, due to advanced EMP shielding, they are largely carried due to tradition.
 The centre of the SLS is a soldier armed with a medium laser repeater. The main goal of the MLR is to take out the field dispersion shield, which currently will protect any enemy soldiers from any incoming fire. But due to the power needed and the weakness of FDS power units the shield flickers on and off at an unpredictable rate. The soldier armed with the MLR will focus a huge amount of fire on the FDS and eventually enough fire will get through to shut the shield down permanently.
 The soldier above is wearing an Absorption Vest. While largely ineffective against medium to heavy laser weaponry, the AV can increase the survival rate of being hit by a light laser weapon by up to 50%. Absorption Vests were more widely adopted after field tests showed Deflection Vests not only often gave positions away but also caused more casualties, especially within a tightly packed squad.
 This soldier is armed with a much more compact laser weapon, primarily used for clearing bunkers and assaulting fortified positions.
 The soldier above is armed with a pretty standard laser weapon for a support squad.
 Due to the minimal recoil of laser weaponry it is very possible to fire them one handed, provided the soldier is strong enough to lift the weapon. This has lead to a number of developments in laser pistols, they have not yet been widely adopted due to their lack of punch but are the perfect weapon for a radio operator.

The two pictures above just show the packs carried by two of the soldiers in the squad. It is possible for two men to carry everything the six man squad needs to survive in the field for up to one year. This includes enough food and hydration pills to enable the squad to survive in areas that contain no other food source.
More on these guys, Crucible and their enemies, the Formation Wars, advances in laser weaponry and Mentocracy in the future.
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My 15mm Miniatures So Far

As promised here are pics of my progress with my order, I apologise for the yellowishness of the pics, I don't currently have a white light to hand.
 Here's a Gort style 'Robotic Servant', he was very easy to paint. I gave him an  once over with silver and ran a small amount of black wash around his ears, neck, belt and cuffs. I then picked out his visor with blue and attempted to paint a gem effect on it, which had limited success, but it works for me.
 Here's a Heavy Tracked Automata. I wanted my Automatons to be painted very quickly, so I went with black and dry brushed silver, only picking out the eyes with red.
 My Ghoulani are not in the traditional red and grey colour scheme. I went for a desert yellow uniform,  purple skin and red eyes.
 Each part of the Ghoulani are highlighted twice to really make them stand out. I struggled to highlight the elbows and knees which you'll notice have extra but tiny detail, so I ran a brown wash over them instead.
 The eyes were tough, I have extremely shaky hands, but the gem effect came out a darn sight better on them than on the Robotic Servant's visor.
Finally your standard Automaton, painted in exactly the same way as the Heavy Tracked Automaton.
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Monday, 17 March 2014

15mm Erin

My package from arrived and I have been a busy boy painting, I'll be uploading pictures of my progress as soon as I find my camera. Until then, I was browsing Alternative Armies and 15mm thinking of all the dream projects I could start, my first Slaughterloo army, a regular fantasy army using AA fantasy miniatures, adding more to my Ion Age collection or finally collecting the entire Asgard sci fi range (which I have promised myself I will do one day). Then there's Erin, a game which I have been feasting my beady eyes on for a very long time, and I probably would buy it, if there wasn't so little about it online and I had so little money to put into war gaming. This made me think about scale, what if I could find some miniatures on 15mm that would work as proxies? Then I would be well away to playing Erin considering a 16 miniature warband could cost as little as £4.
The Milesians are your average human types. Fantastically at 15mm under their HOT range there is an existing range of Celtic Mythology humans so there's no problem fielding some 15mm Milesians.
The Formorians are a pretty unique looking brand of Orcs. So on 15mm I checked out the HOT Orcs all are pretty suitable but one set in particular that stood out to me were the 'Mountain Orcs' that have a very Formorian appearance.
Nemedians can be put together from the 'Minotaur Warband' from the Tabletop Fantasy range, a part from that I'd consider filling their ranks with the HOT Dogmen.
The Sidhe could be thrown together using the HOT Elves even though they don't quite have the right aesthetic. Your only other real option from 15mm would be to use the Celtic Myth humans we've already got down for the Milesians.
The Fir Bolg are the biggest issue you will face. There are a few options though, you could put together a warband from the models in the Historical Isarus range, or, if you wanted something a little different you could use the HOT undead. This is for no other reason than in the other game I know of that looks at the Celtic Invasion cycle 'Celtos' the Fir Bolg are undead. I am reluctant to use the undead though, because Formorian magic is capable of raising the dead, so I wouldn't want to commit them to another force.

Hopefully that gives you a little something to ponder, getting into Erin can be much cheaper.
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Wednesday, 12 March 2014

The Retained House of Kroy

A small package arrived this morning from so I'm looking forward to painting up my new, shiny, Ghoulani and Automaton forces. But until then, I thought I'd say a little something about the Retained Knights and Muster Troops in my Gallery.
 The miniatures are from Alternative Armies and can be bought from the ion age website. Mine are the 16 that came with the Firefight 2.0 set, I haven't got round to buying any more yet but when I do I'll definitely be getting some Legion Pioneers for a budding Shia Khan force.

The initial idea behind the House of Kroy is really an amalgamation of a few things. A while back I realised that parts of the Ion Age fluff were very loosely based on the Wars of the Roses. It seemed to make sense to me that Canlaster and Yordan were Lancaster and York. It shouldn't take anyone with a few braincells to realise all I did then was reverse the letters in York to get Kroy. I felt a little cheeky calling my force that, as if it was a previously rejected name for Yordan. Apart from noticing the connection between Yordan and York and so coming up with Kroy, there really is no other similarities between Kroy and their historical equivalent. This is because I was fascinated by the story of the Ion Age universe as I read through the fluff available in the Firefight 2.0 rule book. One story in particular drew me in, the opening of the Matter Gate on Aldan IV, and the spewing forth of the Khanate Legions. The battle that ensued around the Matter Gate is something I just had to game (and haven't yet but am hoping to in the not too distant future). The House of Kroy then, just had to be one of the forces that arrived and attempted to stem the unending tide of the Shia Khan.

When it came to painting my little band of Retained and Muster I didn't have much money to hand, so I went with what paints I already had. I was really confined to red, white, silver, a tiny bit of green and some washes. The fastest way to paint power armour, is to first paint the whole model black, then drybrush it heavily with silver. You can then paint whatever colours over that by mixing them with some black wash and layering up the colours decreasing the amount of wash in each layer. Muster uniforms were just painted red and then washed. Working this way with the limited colours I had, I painted the 16 models all together in one evening. The beauty of the above method is that anything you miss does not look unpainted but battle damaged.

Here are some shots of some of the models:

I'm looking to expand on the story of the House of Kroy in the future, and put them through their paces, facing off against the Khanate, so watch this space!

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Sunday, 2 March 2014

New Beginnings

Hello readers,
So I finally decided the blog needed an update. This is for a number of reasons. Firstly I'm a bit OCD and the number of labels was beginning to bother me. Secondly I realised my blog wasn't very focused, there were a lot of projects that were started but went no where. Thirdly, the blog wasn't so much a blog as it was an online notebook for me to take down all my wacky war gaming ideas.
So I got rid of all the posts entirely, all the pages and labels of guff, ordered my self some stuff from and am looking forwards to a brighter, more organised wargaming future in 2014!

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