Thursday, August 28, 2014

Dropzone Commander: We got the starter set!

Hi everyone,

We just got the "2 Player Starter Set" for Dropzone Commander!  We are pretty excited about it - haven't had a chance to play yet, but did want to write up what we have found when we opened up the box.

(Here's a link for the details on the 2 Player Starter Set at Hawk Wargames)

One thing we really like is the artwork on the box.  If you're going to play a game about dropships and dropzones, it's really fun to have such cool pictures to inspire the game.

The next thing we like is that the box seems to have everything you need to take the game along with you.  There is even a little measuring tape and a set of dice included.

Dropzone Commander 2 Player Starter Set, Box Set, Beginner Set
Here's a photo of what came out of the box.  Looks like we have everything we need to play.

There are two map sheets in the set.  The back of these have two really nice posters (more of that great art).

And, of course, the rulebook.  We like that as well.  Nicely printed, nice paper.  And, very cool photos of models and scenarios inside.  We clearly have work to do in order to follow all of the rules for playing.  And, since it's a dropship game, tanks can't zoom all over the map - but it seems like dropships can!

So, we've started working on building our models - and we've started discussing how we'll paint them.

For assembly - no issues so far.  A few pieces which are easy to glue together.  The Testors plastic glue we like to use for Warhammer is working just fine.  And, the pieces fit closely together enough that we're finding what we are left with looks pretty good :)

Dropzone Commander, building tank
No issues for us following the directions - things going together pretty nicely.

Dropzone Commander, UCM units, building models
Here's what we've glued together so far.  (We figured better to build the Earth defenses first - to be ready for the aliens!)  Please keep in mind that these are pretty little.  Would say that the tanks are just over one inch long.

Painting:  the starter set came with two armies.  Earth guys - the "UCM - United Colonies of Mankind" - which we're thinking to paint with arctic camouflage.  And, the alien army the "Scourge".  At least one of us thinks that painting the Scourge with really bright colors would be fun.  But, at least another one of us thinks that's a bad idea and points out that in the painted examples in the rulebook the Scourge are *never* such bright colors.

We've been excited about Dropzone Commander ever since watching groups play at the San Jose Bay Area Open convention. 

Here's our earlier write-up about Dropzone Commander.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Warhammer 40K: Battle with Mr. E

Last night we had a great battle:  Mr. E's Chaos Space Marines and Chaos Demons vs. our Space Marines and Orks.  It was a friendly battle.  We didn't worry about points.  And, we didn't worry about ally rules between the Space Marines and the Orks.  Mr. E was very nice -- we're pretty sure that we had more points on the table than he did, but he didn't mind :)

Battle Gaming One Pink Orkys Pink Orks
The initial line-up of the battle

- In the first turn a tank blew up.  Ours!!!  We were pretty bummed out - and needed a few laps around the house to 'walk it off'.  Worse, two Pink Orkys and four Gretchins were killed in the explosion.  And, then this caused the full loss of the Gretchins when they failed their leadership check - ran 12 inches and fell off the board.

Battle Gaming One Pink Orks Pink Orkys

- We managed to blow up every single one of Mr. E's big vehicles.  The orks did a good job on his Rhino.  A Pink Orky even managed to deliver the killing blow.  (This is the first time a Pink Orky has actually done ANY damage to ANYTHING in one of our battles.)  The Y'Orkys (Yellow Orkys) had already weakened the Rhino.  Their Lootas did a great job on weakening the Rhino.

- The Space Marine Terminators formed a protective wall with their 2+ armor saves.  The Terminators with the siege shields and thunder hammers got 3+ invulnerable saves.  The rest of them got 5+ invulnerable saves.

- The Deff Dread tried to charge 3 of Mr. E's Demons.  But, rolling a 6 it came up short of the 9 inches needed.  Mr. E charged with his Demons anyway.  This put the Deff Dread into close combat for the first time for us.  And, the Kill Saws did quite a bit of damage.  We didn't get to roll very many dice - but they were low numbers to hit and to wound.  So, very effective.

- Toward the end, we had close combat between the Lootas and Burnas and Meganob of the Yellow Orkys and Mr. E's Chaos Space Marines.  (A couple of surviving Pink Orkys helped out as well.)  Got pretty exciting!

Then we called it a night.  Huge thanks once again to Mr. E for teaching us lots of rules and for a really fun battle.  :)

[PS:  We'll see if Mr. E can help us to update this with the proper names of the Chaos army units.  Welcome comments from others who know better than us!]

*** Update *** We got some help from Mr. E on the details for his units.  We'll integrate into our battle report - but for now putting those details here.

  • The Walker with 8 shots is a Forgefiend,
  • The Purple chaos guys were Chaos Space Marines
  • The demons are actually Chaos Spawn
  • Correction - the vindicator was actully blown up by a unit of Obliterators. Mr E. used Termniators in place of the Oblits. 

Quick links to some of our other bloggings....

Our work to make Pink Orkys

Our work on making terrain

The Pink Orkys work on the Dakka Chugga (Looted Wagon from Lionel Steam Locomotive)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Warhammer 40K: Terrain - got glue figured out - painting is tricky!

Hi everyone,

We've been working on making some terrain for battling with our Space Marine and Pink Orkys.

Here's what we've figured out so far....

- Pink foam = good stuff.  Easy to work with.  Use a knife, break by hand, use a wood rasp.  Easy to make ice or rock looking stuff.

Here we are marking out our pattern for the hills and ice we are making.

We punched out the outline with a kitchen knife....

- How do you glue it?  Epoxy works.  But, it takes a lot of epoxy.  So, that's annoying.  Read that hot glue works well.  Wow!  Does it ever.  That is a great way to do that build a mountain.

Our two hill or ice structures - glued with epoxy on the left, with hot glue on the right

Then comes the tricky part....

- How do you paint it???

Here our ice-hill after primer painting.  Lots of bubbling.  Smooth appearance is gone.  Very smelly.

- Have tried two different spray paints / primers.  Both seem to react with the pink foam, bubble and melt the foam, and make one heck of a smell.

Here are the two paints we tried.  Smelly and melty with both.

Here is our test piece with our favorite Formula P3 black primer.  Same melting result.

Will work on figuring this out and share results when they are positive.  :)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Warhammer 40K: Working with Resin is Hard!!! ("Man! Making a Thunderfire Cannon is hard!")

Hi everyone,

Making an update to this posting from some of our first days working on 40K models.  You'll read below that we learned the hard way about working with resin - learning not to try plastic glue; trying super glue (failing); and finding success with epoxy glue.

We've since learned about super glue accelerators - and some success, while certainly finding the hazards of using it.

Here is a link to our super glue accelerator write-up.

And, below is our original posting :)


We are certainly in need of help!
We heard at Bay Area Open that using a Thunderfire Cannon is a good angle for a Space Marine army.  Cool tech marine who can repair stuff.  And, the cannon does lots of damage.  (Down-side - cannon has only a 3+ armor save).

So, we ordered up a Thunderfire Cannon (with help from our Gator Games friends) and picked it up yesterday.

Challenges!  It's a RESIN MODEL!

*** How do you glue this stuff together?  Well, we know one way NOT to try (any more).  Don't try using the Testors "Liquid Cement for Plastic Models".  That doesn't work.

Read that some people use super glue.  Had thought that this Testors stuff WAS a super glue type material.  Guess not!

We had already had a bad experience with Ghazghkull Mag Uruk "the-still-unglued" Thraka.  (And, with a growing Space Marine army, the Pink Orkys could sure use help if we can figure out how to glue resin!!!). 

So, we washed all the parts very carefully.  We have read about that being very important to get glue to stick.  (We even washed them twice to remove the lotion which was added to the bathroom sink washing concoction during the first washing.)  Washing didn't seem to help.  :(

We have reached this point so far.  The Tech Marine is glued together using old-school epoxy. 

*** And, working on the gun barrel, found that it's not really straight - and have it clamped together while we wait for the epoxy to harden.

And, here's a photo of our arm repair job....

Leaves us with some serious questions....
- Which brands of glue do everyone find to work well?
- Is one of these really a super-glue?
- Does it happen often that parts are "warped" and need to be straightened out?  Does heating really work?  How hot do you go for?
- Is it easier to break resin models than plastic ones as you remove them from the sprue?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Taking photos of miniatures with real-life backgrounds....

Fun way to combine Warhammer 40K with travel :)

On our trip to Germany and Denmark we looked for ways to take photos of our two tag-along Warhammer 40K miniatures with real-life "battle ground" backgrounds.

Some guidelines developed as we took more and more photos....

1) Be respectful.  There were many sites and monuments which might have made for compelling backgrounds.  An example of what we tried to avoid was WWII artifacts which were recovered from fallen soldiers (on either side).

2) High texture foreground which looks realistic as 40K terrain.

3) Gap in "middle" ground.  Having the foreground and background elevated with a dip in the "middle" seems to really help with this.

4) Large structure for background -- which looks good/interesting if not entirely in focus (since the focus is likely on the foreground).

Here are some of our favorite photos.  Next trip we'll figure out a way to take full squads along for larger scale battles.

Our favorite.  Taken at Reinsfels Castle, Germany.  Castle built ~ 1300AD.  We got the Space Marine and Orky on a wall with ivy.  Then, a long courtyard gap behind that.  Then, in the background one of the walls of the castle. 

Runner up?  Taken at the WWII 38cm gun battery - now museum - at Hanstholm, Denmark.  Very rough concrete to place the miniatures on.  A gap behind that.  The rising gun turret placement in the background.

This one would have been even more fun with full squads.  Took this at the Panzer Museum in Munster, Germany.  There really wasn't a way to create a mid-ground dip.  As a result, the panzer in the background doesn't seem quite as believable to us....

Took this photo in Christiania (Copenhagen), Denmark.  There are rules about photography there - so were careful to be in a place without people, their business or their art.  This was the side of an old rusted out 2-cylinder engine.  The cylinders looked very much like vats or tanks.  And, the pen graffiti on one looks like normal scale graffiti.

From shopping street in Copenhagen, Denmark.  Orky is standing on the funnel of a downspout.  Space Marine is standing on a side-walk cobble.

Couldn't figure out a way to make the angles work well enough to catch this WWI tank properly as a background.  Also taken at the Munster Panzer Museum.

This was enough fun that we figured that this must be a "thing" with others already really good at this sort of photography.  But, we didn't find any write-ups of exactly this.  (If anybody knows of one, please let us know.) 

We're heading to the beach in a couple of weeks.  Thinking that we'll take some units along and try some more photos.  Going to see if we can get beach sand to look like desert settings.

Here are some of the other articles we read about wargame miniature photography.  Looks like lighting is a BIG deal.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Warhammer 40K: Taking it on the road. Space Marine and Orky travel to Europe

Will be writing up travel blog of trip with Space Marine and Orky on the road.  We're not doing the best job of keeping the right number of inches apart....

Day #1 -- flight from San Francisco to Frankfurt, Germany.

- This is the closest this Space Marine and Ork have been to the birthplace at GW in a long time.  And, the first trip to Germany for at least one of us.

Arrival in Frankfurt.  Headed out searching for food.

Found some kombucha at Starbucks.  Not too bad tasting :)

Politics of the EU confusing for Orky....

Day #2 -- Rhine Valley

Very tasty food.  Lots of fun encountering foods we don't have at home.  Funny how a word in one language means something very different in another language.  We wondered whether or not "Hag Coffee" would sell in the US.

Lots of coffee and sandwiches through the day.  All very tasty!

Got to the Rhine River.  Extremely scenic.  Could immediately see the inspiration for numerous Warhammer and Warhammer 40K landscapes.

Visited the Reinfels Castle.  Very cool to see in person.  Exciting to think about what it must have been like to try to engineer the walls.  Where to place each arrow slit -- or not.  How tall to make walls.  How long it must have taken to build.

Took a while to come up with an angle where our Space Marine and Orky fit in with the setting just right.  Going to try this as our title for the blog site.

Day #3 -- Munster, Germany is next....

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Battletech: How to Manage the Game - Playing with Introductory Set

Hi everyone,

Playing a practice battle with our friend Mr. E last night.  We worked on showing him the basics of the game.  He's taught us a lot about Warhammer 40K -- so we're teaching him about Battletech :)  Interesting to see how Battletech is different.

[Please check out our earlier post where we first opened up our introductory set.]

One big difference is that you have to somehow manage a fair amount of information for each mech through several turns.  Doesn't work to use dice-markers the way people do in 40K.

The game figures you'll use character sheets for that - and mark them up as the battle goes.  Here's how we have been handling that....

Battlegaming one Battletech Introductory Set How to Manage Mechs

In our battle, a good guy Atlas managed to get toe-to-toe with a bad guy Assassin.  Not a good deal for the Assassin!  (Zeus and Whitworth in the background....)

Battlegaming One Battletech Introductory Set Mech Sheet

When we played our first battle a couple of weeks ago, it got really tricky to manage the attacking phases.  In Battletech all attacks are "concurrent" - so you can't just resolve things one by one.  We got mixed up all the time.  "Did the arm get blown off that one this turn?  Or was that last turn?  Can this mech still use weapon XYZ?"

So, we came up with the idea (probably the whole world has been doing this already ??) of putting our mech sheets into plastic sleeves -- and marking off things in different colors for each turn.

Here's how the Atlas sheet looked during Turn 2....  (Orange for Turn 1 stuff; Red for Turn 2 stuff.)  We put "W" (walked); "R" (ran) or "J" (jumped) and then the number of hexes so that we could keep track of what the mech did.  W2 = walked 2.  And, we had marked the heat from the prior turn (notice that 's orange) so that we can remember whether it's updated THIS turn or whether that update is from the PRIOR turn :)

Battlegaming One Battletech Introductory Set Mech Sheet

And, here's how the Assassin's sheet is looking....  In turn 1 it had taken some arm damage (Orange), and in turn 2 it jumped 7 (J7 marked in Red).

Battlegaming One Battletech Introductory Set Mech Sheet

Then, we had some lucky dice rolling for the Atlas....  Hit with its Autocannon 20.  Where did it hit?  Worst case for the Assassin!!!

Battlegaming One Battletech Introductory Set Close Combat

Battlegaming One Battletech Introductory Set Close Combat

With the whiteboard markers + the plastic sleeves, two people had no trouble managing a battle of 26 mechs.  We had about 8 colors of pens.  But, it would probably have been OK if we had only 4 colors - we could have rotated through....

The big question....  Are there even better ways to manage this?  Trying to do it without using a computer - but maybe that's best.  Would appreciate any suggestions or ideas.