Saturday 28 January 2023

Firefight: Hammer Time

This week marks the end of all the currently planned models for Firefight with the last unit of Forge Fathers I had to do. To round out the force I've added another command and melee option into the mix with the Thorgarim. As the official models had been out of production for a while I went with some more Abyssal Dwarfs from the Kings of War range to represent these. On the plastic models I swapped in some spare Steel Warrior heads but left the metal Huscarl as it was supplied. 

First up we have the Huscarl with his two bodyguards and you can see from his stats that whilst he has a bit of shooting it's really the melee with the forge hammer where these chaps shine. The Huscarl's Hammerstrike (1) aura is where he shines as this gives every unit within 12" Blast (2) on their assault weapons. As in Kings of War this means that each hit generates D2 wounds, so even an average melee unit suddenly becomes dangerous to fight. If used on a unit of 10 Thorgarim that gives a maximum of 40 wounds!

The normal Thorgarim share the same weapons as the Huscarl so whilst they can shoot a bit they really want to be getting into melee to deal real damage. 
I had planned to use some 3D printed hammers to have them all dual-wielding hammers but they proved rather brittle so had to change it up. Fortunately the plastic Abyssal Dwarf kit comes with the parts to build dual wielders so it was easy enough to make the models up.

I do like the burgundy on these chaps and as my next project will be to paint up some actual Abyssal Dwarfs I can see that being carried over onto the new army.

I also got some bases in from Warbases this week to mount the vehicles on. The rules don't call for them to be mounted but I think they look better this way.

Sunday 22 January 2023

Firefight: Blind-Fire

Continuing on with the Firefight army painting I've finally received and painted up the long awaited Jotunn Weapons Platforms. In the box you get three models with two being the quad hailstorm cannon versions and one being the plasma cannon. The plasma cannon is a resin upgrade to the basic hailstorm cannon variant. 

These are directly comparable to the Veer-myn Rumbler's I painted up a while back in both points cost and size, both being around 80-100 points and both being on 60mm bases. Unlike the Rumbler the Forge Father version does not have a Deadzone profile so cannot be used in that game as well. As you may expect the quad hailstorm version is good against infantry units with it's 6 attack dice and the ability to Pin a unit, it's also another AA option for the Forge Fathers. The Magma cannon version mounts the same gun as the Sturmhammer MBT but at 50 points less, of course you lose the heavy armour of the tank with the points saving.

For the same cost the Veer-myn Rumbler has a shorter range and lower shoot stat but it is dual purpose so can be used effectively against both air and ground targets. 

I'm not sure you'd ever want to use three of these platforms unless you are playing a large points game, but they are pretty cheap (for Forge Father units) so you could probably build them into an army if you wanted to go that route.

Looking from the front shows how good a view the gunner gets, I imagine they just pull the trigger and hope for the best!

I've currently got one more unit type of Forge Fathers on the painting table and then it will be on to something slightly different.

Sunday 15 January 2023

Napoleonic: Probing the Lines

This week saw the French & British camps stir ahead of the main campaigning season with the commanders seeking to probe the enemy lines. With this in mind small parties lead by brave commanders have been dispatched into the Spanish countryside to gain whatever advantage over the enemy they can before the main armies set forth on campaign. 

The opening move  of the season saw both sides looking to kick things off in style after hearing tell of a supply of Spanish wine that had spilled over a nearby road. Both commanders decided their troops could do with some cheer to shake off the winter blues and set forth to make sure the valuable cargo did not fall into enemy hands.

The French force was made up of men drawn from the 100th Ligne and the 14th Dragoons fighting on foot. They where being led by Major de la Croix who despite his aristocratic sounding name had survived the purges. He'd also brought along his special camp companion who he'd promised to show an exciting time too, he just had to make sure she suffered no harm otherwise he's have to warm his own bed that night. 

Major Jean-Baptiste Augustine de la Croix
1 * Grenadier Officer
1 * 10 Grenadiers
1 * 10 Fusiliers (veteran)
1 * Voltigeur Officer (musket)
1 * 6 Voltigeurs
1 * 5 Voltigeurs
1 * 8 Dismounted Dragoons (veteran)

The British had dispatched men on the 28th North Gloucestershire Regiment & 13th Light Dragoons under the command of Major Berkeley. Somewhat of a braggard he had boasted that none of his troops would ever advance as far as he, so he needed to make sure that by the end of the engagement he was the most advanced Englishman on the field.

Major Ballard Berkeley
1 * Light Cav Officer (phlegmatic, carbine)
1 * 6 Light Dragoons
1 * Infantry Officer (phlegmatic)
2 * 8 Grenadiers
1 * Light Infantry Officer (phlegmatic)
2 * 6 Light Infantry (Sharpshooter)

The battle started with the 13 Light Dragoons rushing forwards and seizing one of the small wine barrels and then beating a retreat before the French Voltigeurs could react. The fact they needed to keep this with them meant they played no further active part in the battle as they hid behind some cover. 

Thus the main battle would be centred around the other two barrels, the central one was so large that it slowed down the troops trying to haul it away. Both sides moved up to contest the booty with the British preparing to shoot if the French dared make an advance.

Presumably wishing to impress his mistress Major de la Croix waved his men on and the Dragoons made a dash for the central barrel only to be met with a withering fire from the British. Five men dropped dead in one volley and the rest broke for the hills and did not return to action again.

The French Grenadiers faired better with only three men being felled by the British Light Infantry and they managed to retreat out of sight with a small barrel of wine.

Back in the centre the French Fusiliers took advantage of unloaded muskets to seize the large barrel and attempt to drag it back towards their camp. 

At this point it was looking bad for the British as the French had the lions share of the wine in their hands and just needed to keep hold of it until night fell and they could retreat under cover of darkness.

However, the men of the 28th would not be separated so easily from their spoils of war and with encouragement from Major Berkeley who had ridden over both sections of Grenadiers unleashed a deadly fusillade which dropped so many Fusiliers that the remaining couple of men followed the Dragoons in quitting the field. 

Whilst this had been happening the Voltigeurs had been advancing on the British right and they managed to get some shots off against the section of British who dashed across the road to seize the larger of the wine barrels, the British held their nerve however and managed to complete the dash and lay hands on their prize. In fact they went one step further and fired shots at the French Grenadiers from behind that so dispirited them they broke into rout and dropped their cargo.

Major Berkeley seeing the wine up for grabs spurred his horse onwards and as predicted to his men ended up the most advanced Englishman on the field. Meanwhile Major de la Croix seeing his men streaming from the field decided to head back to camp, at least his companion had not been wounded in the battle, so all was not lost.

The butchers bill, heavy French losses
against only two English deaths

Thus ended the first engagement of the campaign, both sides completed their personal objectives and the British won the scenario so take and early 3 v 1 lead.

Wednesday 11 January 2023

Firefight: Surprise, Surprise

The last model (for the moment) in the Veer-myn army is the Tunneller which is their tank variant. It comes with a couple of weapon options and I opted to build mine with the Super Heavy Ray Gun. Built to tunnel in underneath the enemy it has some impressive looking drills on the front which can also double up to chew up enemy troops. This model was a bit more involved to glue together than the Forge Father tank but a quick watch of the Mantic build video set me on the way. Due to the way the model goes together building it so it could use all the weapon configurations was a more involved process so I opted not to bother. It could be done with magnets and some forward planning though.

In a direct comparison with the Sturmhammer we can see the Tunneller is a fair bit cheaper but not quite as tough. It's also not quite as good a shot and has a shorter ranged weapon with less penetration, it doesn't however suffer a penalty for shooting at aircraft like the Sturmhammer. Those big front drills do make it a fearsome proposition if it manages to contact enemy outside buildings, vehicles cannot assault them. 

The real point of difference and the reason you are most likely fielding a Tunneller is it's Subterranean Deployment and Capacity (10) special rules. The first of these we saw with the Tunnel Runners and allows you to bring the unit from off table on turns 1 or 2 and place them in the open outside of 6" from any enemy for a short action. This means they could appear at the critical place on the table and still get a shot off *or use the Protect the Nest Faction (1) order to make a 12" charge for the cost of one command pip.* 
*Update* - this bit is incorrect, you cannot use a command order on a unit that didn't start it's activation on the table.

Capacity (10) means that the Tunneller can bring some friends along when it does this who can also activate to move or charge during their turn. The Tunneller can carry 10 small (height 1 or 2) or 5 large (height 3+) models which must be whole units, it can carry more than one unit. You can add extra capacity sections which Mantic sell to increase the capacity by 10's up to a maximum of 30.
The question then is what passengers would be best to carry? Given that the Tunneller itself is better suited to getting into melee as are the Veer-myn in general, you probably don't want to fill it with shooting.

So going the melee route I have three options for how to fill the Tunneller of increasing expense:

10 * Stalker - 20 attacks on 4+ @ 85 points

5 * Nightmares 3 twin drills & 2heavy drill -  17 attacks on 4+ with AP1 or 3 @ 160 points

Pack Leader + 2 Hvy Drill Nightmares - 14 attacks on 4+ with AP1 or 3 @ 130 points
2 * Brood Guard - 6 attacks on 4+ with AP2 @ 75 points

3 * Nightmares 2 Hvy Drill & 1 twin drills - 11 attacks on 4+ with AP1 or 3 @110 points
2 * Nightmares Hvy Drill - 8 attacks on 4+ with AP3 @ 85 points

The first two options are pretty simple in that it's one unit that will be jumping out at the end to charge into the enemy. You generally get what you pay for in terms of quality of the attacks and the chance to survive afterwards so it's probably down to how many points you have to play with.
The third option gives you a Command unit in the Tunneller, in order to use Faction or Command Orders you normally need a Command unit within 12" of the activating unit, so having it onboard makes that easy to arrange. The Pack Leader and chums unit is a massive amount of attack dice in such a small unit and you can still fit 2 Brood Guard in as well. Having 2 units in the Tunneller allows you to potentially target multiple enemy units from one vehicle or have a wave of assaults that softens up the enemy before the Pack Leader goes in. 
The last option is a variation on previous two but using small units of Nightmares instead of one large one. This does allow you to increase the number of Heavy Drills you can field by 2 but at the cost of less survivable units.

That certainly gives a few tactics and compositions to try out and I think one needs to be careful about tying up too many points in the Tunneller and it's passengers. It is useful to note however than being inside a vehicle that blows up doesn't damage the passengers so you aren't quite putting all your eggs in one basket. Also the usefulness of shielding your melee units against incoming fire cannot be underestimated. That of course could be another use, it's a big height 4 model so it could just be parked sideways across the table to shield units from enemy small-arms fire.

Saturday 7 January 2023

Firefight: The Big Ratowski

The first model up this week is a CMON miniature that I got as part of a job lot of rats, it's a good size model and perfect to use a Mutant Rat Fiend.

I'm not sure what the Veer-myn did to produce a rat this large and it's probably best not to ask.

The unit itself really only has one job which is to get into melee and role it's 8 d8 hitting on 3+. It doesn't feel like many units will be able to beat it once it gets into melee so with a bit of screening it could end up being a fearsome opponent.

The model itself is plastic rather than resin so should hold up to some wear and tear. 

The Brood Guard are sold in a set with the Brood Mother and are a bodyguard option for her, though I don't think that would be a good use for them. From their stats they want to be up close to the enemy and in places you probably don't want your Brood Mother to be. They do throw out some high qualirt assault dice though so they could be used as a small assault unit.

The Brood Mother is the only Veer-myn command I have that doesn't use the basic command dice so would be my choice if I wanted to increase the number of command points I have to play with during a turn. Her command order allows you to remove multiple Pin markers for one command pip (normally one per command pip) in a good sized radius. Being pinned means you lose a short action on your next turn and also less effective in assaulting. 

Like in Vanguard and Deadzone each turn you role command dice to form a command pool. Firefight uses it's own colour dice but we will be using the Vanguard ones as we have plenty of those already. The three different colours have different combinations of the pips on them:

red/black - 3 * 1, 1 * 2, 2 * 0
white/orange - 3 * 1, 2 * 2, 1 * 0
blue/green - 2 * 1, 3 * 2, 1 * 3

You can then use the pips during the round to activate orders, it looks like these are only during your own unit turns. 
The Veer-myn orders are generally centred around getting into melee or being more effective once you do. The exception to this is the Master Creeper's Exploding Rats aura  which can also give ranged attacks a nice little bonus. AP 1 probably won't make a massive difference on it's own against enemies with decent armour but the bonuses do stack with existing values so it could tip the balance in some cases.
A case has also been made on the Facebook group for fielding large numbers of Progenitors so as to spam the use of Scurry in the first turn of a game. As a unit can be moved multiple times by this command you could advance quickly across the table in one round. The army in question fielded six Progenitors so could advance and extra 18" in a turn if the command dice allowed. This combined with a 15" charge range would make for a lot of turn 1 charges.

At present the Mantic Companion app is missing the command order for the Pack Leader but it is:

Leader of the Pack [Aura] (1): All friendly units with 12" gain Vicious (Assault) and Frenzy (1)

So that's almost all the Veer-myn done now, just the tank equivalent to go now.