Wednesday, 26 October 2016

A look inside Halo: Ground Command, Battle for Reach

Hello all.
I recently experienced a day that I was assured would be important by almost everyone: my eighteenth birthday. While the day itself didn’t prove to be much more than a pleasant day spent with my extended family, I did receive a certain gift that got (and still does have) me very excited.

Several months ago my dad mentioned the new game Halo: Ground Command that was coming out as a sister game to space based Halo game Spartan Miniatures already had. He suggested that I might like the starter set for my eighteenth, and I said something along the lines of “that’d be okay I guess.” I then proceeded to forget about the event nigh on completely until a week ago when I sat down at the dining table to open this year’s presents.

Naturally I was both astonished and delighted to find that Halo: Ground Command, Battle for Reach was among them!

The minis themselves are of reasonably decent quality I’d say, although the casting in some cases leaves a little to be desired. The number of models is very satisfactory, with the set including 35 marines, 36 grunts,  5 elites, 3 SPARTANS, 2 warthogs, 3 ghosts and 2 hunters. On top of this are all of the standard materials needed to play the game: rule book, dice etc.

One of the more interesting things in the set is that it includes a fairly sizeable amount of terrain. An assortment of smaller pieces that look as if they’re likely to serve as objective markers or minor cover (I’ve only given the rules the quick once over so I’m not too sure how the system works yet) are included, all based off of various things which can be found within the original game.

The really cool part for me though was the two UNSC bunkers the set has. They’re modelled to blend excellently with similar structures from the game Halo: Reach. While they do initially give the illusions that they are snap together, I was a little disappointed to find that this was not the case, and that glue will most certainly be required. I’m a little bit iffy about the printed textures for them, as I would really have preferred to paint them myself, but the images of the finished models that I’ve seen imply that they’ll still turn out looking pretty good. In the end though I may still pull them apart and paint them myself but we’ll just have to see.

The little bit of assembly I’ve done so far has proven to be a bit, difficult. All of the models have ample numbers of offshoots that need to be trimmed, and the weak nature of the grunts’ knees means that I’ve already got two snapped limbs to deal with. Regardless, the two units I’ve gotten based up thus far (one of marine rifle men and one of grunt minors) look pretty nice, and have me itching for the end of the school year.

Now, enough discussion, let’s have a look at the models themselves.

Marine Riflemen

SPARTANS, with a variety of weapons. Spartan laser, rocket launcher and assault rifle (left to right)

Rocket Launcher Team
A warthog, some assembly still required
Marine Command Squad
Marine Heavy Machine Gun Team
Grunts armed with plasma pistols and grenades

Elite Minors
Elite Zealot
One of the two hunters which, while cut off the sprue, still needs some filing done
A sample of the three smaller terrain pieces. There were two of both the crate and the Covenant drop pod, and three of the Forerunner barricades
One of the two units I've been able to find the time to assemble: Grunt minors with one Fuel Rod Cannon element attached (front left)
Marine Riflemen
A glueless assembly run of one of the two bunkers. Still not sure how I feel about the printed textures.
On top of all of the stuff I’ve talked about so far, the set also came with this fine fellow. He stands at an impressive 8cm tall, this resin elite is really a very lovely model. While I can’t fathom how I’d ever use him in a game, he should make an excellent display piece once I can find the time to do him up.
The Green Stuff will probably need a little tidying up at some point

All in all I’d say the set is a pretty cool, albeit somewhat expensive one. I think I can safely recommend it to anyone who’s curious and has the extra cash, though if you’re tight on hobby money you might want to direct your funds towards more familiar investments. Interested to see how these guys paint up, and I’ll be sure to let you guys know how they come out.

Hope you enjoyed this little review of mine and I hope to you’ll consider stopping by again in the future.


Saturday, 7 February 2015

1/72nd Middle Earth: Second Rohan Formation

Hello all. There's a bit of irritating background behind this post: I actually finished painting the four bases and even had put the sand on, but then school started again and I kept finding myself desperately trying to get back to them. I even ended up going into my room at one point, picking up a brush only to remember that I had to activate my school email. After that I got side-tracked. Anyone who's read most of my posts might be able to tell that that happens all to easily. But despite everything I managed to get the basing done at about 10:30 PM on Friday.

Also, I had a brief inspiration as to how I might separate Rohan up into its own sub-armies. I have thus far used Late Empire era Romans for the more elite troops, whilst in this formation there are a bunch of Saxons thrown in too. I plan to keep using this for the forces of both Edoras and the West-Fold, but I want to introduce some Vikings for the East-Fold forces. The Helmlingas (the permanent defenders of the Hornburg in Helm's Deep) will be a heavy duty, fully mailed force of warriors without cavalry, unlike all other regions of Rohan, which should have a reasonable portion of their forces devoted to it. These groups will also be distinguished by their heraldry, the men Edoras in green, the men of West-Fold in red (to match Erkenbrand), the men of East-Fold in blue and the Helmlingas in gray/black.

Anyway, here are the pictures of my latest addition. Cavalry to follow soon I hope.

The formation in column (double line at start of post).
The formation in wide line.
The formation in staggered.
The command base. Note the dark red heraldry of the West-Fold.

 I have by now figured out clearly what this first army will be composed of when it is finished. There is a command base with miniatures kindly painted by my father including an independent King Théoden hero. Then there is the single unit of what I'm designating medium infantry as well as the new four base archer formation. I am now currently working on a six base formation of riders, which will I hope be accompanied by a second such formation at some point, with one from Edoras, and the other from the West-Fold. Then two eight base formations of light infantry to follow that. After that I'll have to start on an evil army to pit against them.

I'm really looking forward to actually being able to play a game with these models, but for now I'll just have to be content with GW's SBG models in stead.

Talking of GW, during a trip to Launceston, I figured the release of the new codex provided a suitable excuse to buy some new miniatures for my necron army. Ignoring the fact that I do not intend to buy the new codex and may never actually buy it, since by the time I can afford too, we'll probably have the 8th edition of it and I'll have to buy that one. :P

I'm actually attempting a bit of a conversion with the one on the left.
 And finally, whilst I finished these guys about a month ago, I figure I might as well post them up now. The Saruman is a totally new model, while that Aragorn I'd had for a while but not painted him up yet, and Gandalf is a repaint after a rather embarrassing paint spillage.

I was spurred on to finish these guys for a narrative campaign I'm plotting to do with my friends, hopefully starting off in the inter-term holidays. It will also give me an excuse to finish off those holes I still have in my collection as GW shuts down their LotR line. Though I think I may have to skimp on the Balrog and buy it from Mithril.
Anyways, hope you enjoyed this post.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

In the Jaws of the Morranon

Hello again!
I was rooting around through some of my old files, and I found a series of pictures from when myself and two friends attempted (in a veeeery casual fashion) to re-fight the battle of the Black Gate. Since I won't have anything else to post up for a little while due to the fact that I find myself split between several projects at once, I thought I'd throw this up. I believe the game was played about a year ago, in January of last year (happy new year everyone by the way!). Unfortunately I hadn't counted on the fact that one of my friends had never played ANY wargames beforehand and that whilst I have done quite a few with the other, it had been at least six months since the last time we ha played a game together. So I might have been throwing my first friend in at the deep end a little.

Anyway, enough rambling, here are the pictures.
An overview of the battle field.

The men of Rohan and Dol Amroth attempt to counter flank the encircling Easterlings and Southrons.

The Orcs of the Morranon crash against the desperate strung out lines of men. Note the eye of Sauron token, which provides fearless to all evil models under its gaze (we forgot to use it most of the time, and failed the rolls to move when we did).
The game was a very chaotic affair, with various fumbles as far as rules go (like forgetting magic, the effects of banners and pretty much every special rule I wrote for the scenario). But it was still a lot of fun. I can't quite remember the outcome, but I think the Ring was destroyed, but not before several key heroes were killed. I myself took the forces of darkness, while my friends split Rohan and Gondor between them.

I did actually make a few terrain pieces especially for this game, such as the two Mordor mini towers you can see in the long distance shot. I also made several areas of fuming dead ground from the Dagorlad with large rocks on them that are scattered around the field. The game was played on a bed sheet since I couldn't find anything more suitable. I am planning on buying at least one gaming mat for rocky/underground areas, since it would actually see a lot of service (outside of historical games of course), any pointers on where I could get a good one in the comments would be welcome.

The general agreement was that while the game was fun, it was too big to make sure everything flowed smoothly. Not much I can do about that now since it was quite a long time ago, but I am carrying that through for the games I want to play in future.

Now I just wish I could find that War of Ring Pelenor Fields re-fight...