Sunday, January 7, 2024

WIP: 15mm AFVs from Darkest Star

Playing a game of Xenos Rampant with my friend James over the holidays has whetted my appetite to work on some recently purchased 15mm figures.  

These are resin models (with some metal bits for the wheeled AFV) from Darkest Star Games, a US (I think) company that makes some very nice models in 15mm and 6mm.   Below are two two 15mm grav (floating) APCs for a Terran force that I am slowly building to fight solitaire battles against my Space Kitties (see previous post).    The paint scheme is for deployments to desert/arid environments, inspired by the Canadian vehicles from the Afghanistan era.  I am used the Sand paint from Foundry tri-tone system, with brown ink lining out over the base coat.

Middle tone:

 And the two vehicles closed to the camera finished with the third and lightest coat for highlights.   When I get back to them, I’ll add some decals saved from various model sets for accents.  

As I envision it, the grav APCs could be dropped from a transport once within a planet’s atmosphere to secure a Landing Zone, whereas the wheeled AFV (can I call it a tank if it has wheels?) would need to b brought down to the planetary surface via heavy shuttle.

More on the project next time.   Cheers and blessings to your brushes!


Thursday, January 4, 2024

In Space No One Can Hear You Purr: A Xenos Rampant Game

As my old pal James has described on his blog, we got together shortly after Christmas for a long overdue bit of dice rolling and a catch up on busy lives.   Too granddads playing with toys, it was lovely.  We’ve been pushing lead around this table in this basement for a long time, since the 1990s, when we were slimmer our hair was darker, and in that time the toys have changed but we always have a good time.

We decided to play an SF game using our 15mm kit and the relatively new Xenos Rampant rules.   James and I have been playing Dan Mersey’s “Rampant” rules for ages, and since many of the core mechanics are repeated in Dan’s fantasy, medieval, and now SF rules, we could get to the dice rolling fairly quickly.  We both built our forces using 24 points, which provides a manageable sized force and a fast result.

My SF army is inspired by Larry Niven’s Kzinti, intelligent and aggressive feline aliens, represented by the Tigrid miniatures from Khurasan.    James’ force is human, inspired by the Martian Marines from The Expanse TV series and novels.  Curiously, the base colour for both our forces is red.

Xenos Rampant is a clever tool kit that allows you to build your force out of some base types (Recon, Berserker, Light and Heavy Infantry, Support Weapons) that are essentially the same troops types as in the previous Mersey rules, and a set of alien traits that can add character and special abilities to a particular army.  For example, to make my Kzinti more “pouncy” I bought the Mobile trait which gave my infantry an astonishingly fast 12” movement per turn, and since Niven portrays them as being aggressive to a fault, I chose two ten man units of Berserkers to get into melee as quickly as possible.   They were backed up by a ten man unit of Heavy Infantry, an AFV with an area effect weapon (negates cover) and a support weapon team.

Here my force advances on the coveted kitty litter processing plant.   Fans of Space 1999 will appreciate the model adding some eye candy, perfectly scaled for 15mm.  My heavies are in the centre, the berserkers on either flank.    My Commander got lucky and rolled a trait that allowed him to make a unit within his 12” command range Assault (melee) automatically without an activation role, which proved useful to have with my two units of berserkers.


This shot shows James’ scratch built SF industrial scenery,  Well done James.  

 The Supreme Tigger (far right) and his troops arrive on the objective, which they would hold for the rest of the game.   The tank is a Ground Zero Games model, painted garishly to frighten the hairless monkeys.  It’s firepower proved quite devastating and helped me hold the centre for the game.



Two spectacular events in a row:  some of my berserker kitties got up to the quite battered human tank and destroyed it with catnip grenades, but were the exultant cats were immediately obliterated when James managed to call in the rail gun of his supporting space cruiser, which was a nice asset but far too spotty to be decisive.


There were a few rules that we hadn’t quite mastered, such as the Firefight rule which gives targeted infantry a chance to shoot back at their attackers.   However we both agreed that XR provides a quick and satisfying game with a good SF feel, so we will doubtless try it when we are next together.   James will no doubt reconsider his doctrine of five man units, as my ten man (cat) units proved more robust and dangerous when shooting.  

Later in the day we got to play with James’ endearing Quar figures, an “alt Great War” universe with, well, anteaters.   The figures are charming and I’m just glad that James wasn’t infected with that Turnip 28 disease.   You can read James’ account of our day here.

I’ve been fortunate in that a friend recently gifted me some of his 15mm SF figures, including a human force, and James kindly gave me a box of old 15mm SF figures from an estate sale that I look forward to going through, and hope to post some photos here in the future, so SF will be a focus of my hobby time in 2024 I think.  

Cheers and blessings to your lasers.


Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Happy Messerschmitt New Year

Hello friends:  

Three days into the new year and I’m only now wishing you a happy 2024 is about on pace for this sadly diminished blog.   I hope that you and yours passed a happy holiday season and for those of you who still keep Christmas, there are devotions and homilies on my other blog, the “God Blog”.

In 2023 my identity as a wargaming vicar weighed 90% on the vicar side, and only 10% on the hobby side.   At sixty one I still have energy and enthusiasm for my vocation, but began to notice that the hobby and the friendships that make it so enjoyable have suffered.  Until this last week I hadn’t picked up a paintbrush in months, and hadn’t rolled dice in ages.   

Case in point, I have kept a model kit in my church office, in the hopes that I would add a part here or there in my spare moments, but hadn’t touched it since the summer.   I have resolved to be more attentive to these sorts of distractions in future, for my mental health and overall wellbeing.   A thoughtful Christmas present from my wife Joy, a local gym membership, will also be used.  

Just after Christmas I hauled out the model kit, an Airfix 1/48 scale ME 109 E3, and finished it on New Years’ Eve.  I used the paint and decals scheme for the plane flown by Oblt Josef “Pips” Priller, immortalized in the film The Longest Day.

I’m too old a bunny to try an airbrush on a kit like this, so contented myself with using a brush for the cammo scheme. I did try using a dark ink wash for the panels.  

I don’t see any wargaming use for this model, I think it will just adorn a shelf somewhere, and one day sit beside the 1/48 scale Hurricane that is waiting to be built.

I pray that 2024 is off to a good start for you and that we will all be happier and more fulfilled because of the hobbies that give us joy.


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