Thursday, 22 February 2018

East Of Jacksboro

Following on from the previous encounter ( Jacksboro ), once they'd cleared the suburbs, Brad had made his mind up that they needed to try and make good their losses from leaving the RV behind. A short time 'off the road' to plan their next move and grab some shut-eye would also be a good idea - he didn't use the old phrase "Grab some Z's" anymore!.
An isolated single storey house appeared on a bend up ahead, and Brad eased on the brakes and cut the motor..........
....... playing "fair", I still rolled for any zombies generated by the engine noise where the pickup entered the encounter area before also rolling for the five members of the group - were the results typical of how this encounter would go?!

The group climbed out of their vehicle and assessed the situation -
Jacksboro was the centre of a busy agricultural area, and there were a LOT of wandering zeds surrounding them, probably from farms and packaging plants in the vicinity. They also thought they saw movement at the far end of the hedgerow in front of the house which turned out to be just bad cases of nerves, (raising the ER to 3), and to their surprise, a young woman holding a rifle was standing just beyond the house!

Amy Littlelake. Rep3 Pep1 Sav2 Free Spirit BAR and 1 food

She seemed friendly, but a little bewildered so Brad yelled over to her to head for the house as he set off with the group straight for the front door. Obviously in some state of shock, Amy stood rooted to the spot. (Failed to activate)
Brad lashed out at the zed barring their path, knocking it to the ground where Nate finished it off with a well aimed kick to the head - it didn't even get chance to groan, but the surrounding zombies could be heard as they stood around watching the survivors hungrily.
Brad was relieved to find the front door unlocked, and raced to the back of the house as soon as he'd swung it open and seen the main room empty -
Nate and Zac took up positions by the windows, and Travis closed and bolted the door as Hannah followed Brad towards the rear doors.
Amy was still rooted to the spot as the zombies were moving in! (Still failed activation) Brad and Hannah yelled at her to make a run for the house before it was too late!

Their shouts seemed to spark her into life, and she ran towards the door where Brad ushered both girls into the safety of the house,
closing the (glass!) doors behind him as he stepped inside with the zeds closing in,
on both sides of the house.
Brad quickly ordered the furniture rearranged to buy some extra time.
To Be Continued....

Meanwhile on the painting front, I was recently lucky enough to grab the 'survivors' from the Zombicide Black Plague core set. The four guys will eventually get done as a party of adventurers for D&D,
but the girls (which were the main reason I bought the set) jumped the queue and have been painted straight away for Witchfinder General
and of course, the week wouldn't be the same without knocking out another cavalry regiment - this time a little more colourful, and representing Astley's cavaliers.
We've got three days 'on the road' this weekend, so I probably won't be able to visit any blogs or respond to any comments until Monday, so until then, thanks for your time here and I hope you make the best of the weekend before the next Big Chill arrives.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Less IS More

Well, it certainly seems to be the case when applied to painting units for my fledgling ECW armies!
Hobby time has been severely limited this week (not helped by me also spending some time finally finishing "Resident Evil:Biohazard" on the Playstation!), but I've still managed to add another regiment of horse - Royalist this time, which have spent far less time under the brush than the previous unit.

Major Wormsley's Regiment of Horse

I deliberately chose another unit of buff coated arquebusiers so there would be a direct comparison with the previous paint session, but for these guys I started off by fully assembling the models, with the riders fixed on the horses, so painting would be as per a 'one piece casting'.
After priming, I decided to limit the range of colours for their palette,  and also "eased back" on picking out individual details (a step which proved to be really difficult, as the temptation to keep revisiting each mini was extremely hard to overcome!).
This meant adopting the mentality of viewing the whole, grouped  'unit' as I would normally view a single 'model', and concentrating on getting them to look OK on the table from normal viewing distance (they'd win no prizes in any painting competition, but they're not destined to sit on any display shelves - I think the word is "functional"!)

The speed painting allowed me to paint up the excellent little "Tavern Set" from Col. Bills,
and some casualty markers for the "Victory Without Quarter" rules,
proving that not only does the new approach to painting cavalry units save me time, but also doesn't  dent the painting mojo like the last regiment did!

Just to finish this post, here's yet another reminder why you should always keep an eye on the toy shelves in your local charity shop - I couldn't believe my luck this week, when I spotted this for 50p
The info on the chassis tells me it's a Maisto Humvee made in China, and because it's not 'playworn' the paint job will be OK until I find the round tuit that'll allow a repaint.

As ever, a big thankyou for visiting, and for those that prefer batreps to bodges, the next post should be more to your liking.

Friday, 9 February 2018


It's been a very busy week with work, and apart being able to enjoy some quick reads of the blogs (thanks guys!), hobby time has been at a premium. I was determined to post something this week though, so here's the 'speed bump'  that slowed down painting progress last week-
Byron's regiment, which adds two troops of horse to the tally.

I know my Achilles Heel for this project is mounted troops, which in theory should take about the same time as twice the number of foot to assemble, paint and base, but for some reason are taking me longer.
One "mistake" I made with these guys was to paint everything individually before final assembly - the next unit will be fully assembled first and then painted just like a 'one piece casting' along with  trying a few different techniques to try and speed things up, to see how much time that saves.

Very brief, but a 'progress report' none the less and I shall try to make up for it next week!

Friday, 2 February 2018

A Glitch In The Matrix

It's been one of those weeks - everything was going so well, busy with work but still managing to get plenty of hobby stuff done, then everything just came to a grinding halt!
"Cat sitting" for our next door neighbour and "camera fixing" for a friend are my convenient excuses, but I fear it was the pain of assembling a dozen plastic horses and riders (with an average of seven parts to each) that knocked me off my stride. I'm beginning to really dislike the time involved with these 28mm multi-part 'kits' - and I've just received my parcel from Warlord Games containing yet more of 'em, after taking advantage of the recent "Three For Two" offer on their website!

So, what did I manage before the glitch, well, after the previous post, I continued to experiment with "Mini Mold" and this time tried simply applying sand, grit and small pebbles to the base (saving all that time sculpting the ground) before pressing the mould, and I used 'standard' Miliput (half the price of the 'fine' variety I used on the previous marker) to see if it would pick out the detail well enough.
Ignore the mini - he's just there as part of the experiment on this test piece, but I'm more than happy with the way this method has turned out and see it as the way ahead.

On the painting table, the ECW project has continued with the addition of a green regiment of foote,
and I've added a few more individuals to the Witchfinder General population, that will also conveniently double as "Reload" markers for the ECW battle games.

The charity shops haven't turned much up of interest recently, but I found a very pink, well playworn "Matchbox Speed Kings Dodge" for 50p. I knew exactly how I wanted this to look, and once the rivets were drilled out, I took the car apart and gave it a coat of black primer,
followed by a stippled 'rust' colour to turn it into a Rat Rod, which shouldn't look out of place in either ATZ:FFO, Blade Runner, or post apocalypse games.

Finally, NOT part of this week's output, and just for Simon, who wanted to see it - here's my one and only (at the moment!) 'Clix mini that I mentioned in a comment over on the Fantorical blog, where there's some fantastic work being done converting these 'toys' into mini's fit to grace the table top.
Please bear in mind that this is a very old "conversion" I did years ago, and it's simply a coat of PVA glue followed by a dip in the sand tub, followed by a quick lick of paint to turn The Hulk into a Hulking Earth Golem for my D&D games!

Before I return to the task of trying to get those two troops of horse finished for next week, thanks again for visiting, and for any comments you might leave - especially if you have words of advice on how you reduce the tedium of assembling units of plastic miniatures!!

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

A Mixed Bag

A sombre note to today's post after reading the sad news from Bryan (Vampifan). I know that everyone who follows Bryan's inspirational blogs will be united in deepest sympathy for his loss, and as he implies, "carry on blogging" while he deals with this difficult time.
Our thoughts are with you Bryan.

This week has been a bit of a mixed bag on the modelling front, starting with this, the penultimate building from the kits I was lucky enough to get in my Christmas presents. It represents a "Whealdon House", and only leaves the Blacksmith's from the same manufacturer (Timeline Miniatures) to assemble.
I'm planning on using this building for a couple of purposes - a small manor belonging to an estate holder (a Whealdon house was a late medieval home built for the likes of a a Yeoman), a grand townhouse (belonging to the likes of a wealthy merchant), and an inn (I just need to make a removeable sign).
Of course, most if not all of the buildings for ECW and Witchfinder General will also find a use in my fantasy games!

I've also had my first play with "Mini-Mold" from TT Combat when I used it to cast a corner post in green stuff for some plastic fencing (the supplied posts are all end-to-end).
Pleased with how easy the stuff is to use - just pop it in a mug of boiling water for 3 minutes, then press it onto the subject to be molded (after fishing it out of the mug with a pair of tweezers it's cool enough to handle straight away), I decided to try something more ambitious and set about preparing a "casualty marker" for the ECW rules I'll be using.
The casualty mini was simply glued onto a round mdf  base and then I built up some miliput to eliminate any "undercuts" before giving it a textured finish.
Once the mold was prepared, I mixed up some more Miliput, pressed it into place and left it to harden overnight. The following day the first marker was popped out and ready for a quick lick of paint.
They aren't brilliant, but "fit for purpose" and meet the aim of the project:~ save a few shillings on mini's and mdf bases for game markers, and save time texturing their bases before slapping some paint on 'em!
I suppose it could be viewed as "piracy" since I'm reproducing a commercially available mini?  but since they're for my solo ECW games, they are strictly for 'Private Use Only'.

The last project for this post was a bit of a rush job as a result of the  "Jacksboro" encounter. Once the group had driven clear of the Miller's apartment, Brad told Travis to pull over as soon as he saw somewhere quiet. The suburban area a short drive out of town looked OK, so they eased the pickup off the road  - and I now needed a suitable suburban dwelling for the next encounter!
I'd already assembled and primed this TT Combat suburban house , so I restarted the stalled build and cut some internal walls from foamcore before giving it a quick paint job.
It's not finished yet, but useable if I need it for an ATZ game in the next couple of days.

Apart from that, I'm just rummaging through my lead and plastic pile and sorting the next mini's for the painting table.
Thanks again for dropping by, and I hope you're having a productive time yourself (if you're not busy gaming!)

Friday, 19 January 2018

Jacksboro postscript

The anatomy of a game.

This was supposed to have been a Dragon Rampant game in part of the ongoing "Dark Conspiracy" fantasy campaign, but my opponent cancelled because of a hospital appointment (never used to happen when we were younger!). The table had already been set up, and I resisted the urge to play the game out solo, deciding instead to catch up on events with Brad and his group.

Since the encounter needed setting up "on the fly", I thought it might be interesting to give a 'behind the scenes' view to how I approach my narrative solo games, and the "Jacksboro" ATZ:FFO encounter would be a perfect candidate since the game itself only lasted three turns!
Although "Mythic" is one of the useful tools I frequently use (and highly recommend BTW),
the Jacksboro encounter was largely driven by a series of simple reviews of the possibilities, decided by the dice whenever there was more than one viable option.

Here's how the thinking went:
When Brad's "recon / scavenging mission a few miles South East of the farm" returned with a hostile 'casualty' (the campaign hasn't polarised into labelled groups of Survivors and Gangers yet), the earlier priorities of improvised zombie defences and ample food and ammunition stocks were suddenly overshadowed by the realisation that the zombie outbreak had generated the threat of attack from other, armed and dangerous survivors.
They'd already witnessed gangs of looters and street thugs taking advantage of the breakdown of law and order, but this was something at a totally different level and called into question their isolated position at Campbells Farm. With that in mind, what was the group to do about their unwanted guest?
At the time, I could only think of the four options, and only one of them didn't rule itself out 'in character'.  The safety of the group was an issue (as it was in two of the rejected options), so how could that be tackled and where would they be going?
These were the considerations, along with a look at the Texas road map...
 I didn't want to play out the journey, and had previously come up with a table of possible events for "road trips" between locations, so just modified it for 'Day 14' and it went like this.....
Then, before packing away the scenery already on my gaming table, I set up the pickup truck and RV on the 'backroads to Jacksboro' for the opening scene photo. 
Once that was done, I cleared the decks and randomly arranged nine 1ft square urban tiles (cork with pdf print-outs stuck on both sides) and populated them with buildings, ensuring I had a residential structure on the central tile as the 'target location'.

The game played out as described in the previous post, and out of interest, I took the role of Rebecca, her folks and the National Guard to see what happened after Brad's group had escaped.
The remainder of the squad made it through the apartment doors just in time before the zombie horde closed in. With more being attracted by the engine noise it was only a matter of time before the entrance would be breached.
The trooper who was encountered in the building (I decided he'd been scouting ahead of the rest of his squad) quickly led them to the window facing the alley where he'd entered earlier.
With the walking dead hammering at the doors and windows at the front of the building, the guardsmen climbed out into the alley, taking up covering positions as Rebecca and her group followed hot on their heels.
Despite the soldiers warnings to keep it quiet, the group attracted the attention of the tail end of the horde still in the mouth of the alley - and newly arrived zeds were out on the street!
As the biters moved in, Rebecca saw the gap and pushed her brother-in-law forwards, yelling "Get the hell outa here!" as yet more zombies were attracted by the sound of gunfire and the National Guard, along with the rest of her kinfolk engaged in grisly hand to hand combat with their undead opponents (well, the ones that weren't simply caught and mauled!).

So, Rebecca got away, along with poor old Jon's brother Pete (who Rebecca always thought was the better looking of the two!!), and as for Lee? After I'd packed away the mini's and terrain, I sat down with a brew and considered the options.
Rebecca and Pete meet up with Lee on the outskirts of Jacksboro and find a safe-house to hunker down in for the night. They've got the car parked outside, Pete and Lee's handguns, but little else other than Rebecca's grudge against Brad and his group.

Pretty basic stuff, and of course any comments or suggestions are most welcome.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018


Day 14
Once the group had returned with their captive back at the farm, it was obvious that she was a liability, so once they’d created a “holding cell” and had her securely locked up for the night, a meeting was held to decide what they should do with her.
During the meeting, concerns were also voiced about their isolated position at the farm, especially if there were groups of hostile people like they'd just encountered at the cabin  - maybe even 'friends of the family' who might be out looking for revenge? After all, the boy had run off into the woods, and  where’d he gone? At this  Rebecca piped up from the other side of the door - "His name's Lee, an' if he's got any sense at all in that thick skull o'his, he'll be headin' to Jacksboro where we've got kin".
The decision was made to head off next day to Jacksboro, where they could drop off their captive, maybe get news about the state of the zombie outbreak,  and hopefully find a safer, less isolated place where they could see this thing through.
Brad spent the rest of the evening poring over his road map and weighing up the options. During the meeting, he hadn’t been keen on leaving the farm, but the argument had won him over and as he sat alone with his thoughts he became fully aware of just what COULD happen if they were attacked out here in the middle of nowhere!

Just before sunrise, they were loaded up and headed South along tracks and minor roads, only taking two vehicles to conserve fuel and avoid splitting the group too much. The back roads meant they didn't see any zombies or road blocks, but the rough terrain took its toll on the RV, breaking the passenger side rear suspension!
The encounter area of downtown Jacksboro. Rebecca's folks live in the brownstone apartment block so this should be pretty easy....
... especially since the convoy is almost right outside the front doors as it enters the table. But then again, a group of six people and two running engines have attracted the attention of 25 zombies!! The zeds won the first activation, but with a "6", only two of the PEF's moved.
The first PEF exits the general store and heads straight for the apartment block,
while the second leaves the laundry building and crosses the street behind the convenience store.
Travis eased out onto the junction to allow Brad to pull up outside the apartment, and spots the PEF, which resolved as 3 citizens. Rebecca's folks had obviously got themselves trapped in the store and were using the distraction caused by the group arriving to make a dash for home!
Seeing their intention, Travis throws a hard right lock and pulls forward and then reverses to be ready to block off the zombies if they attempt to follow the fleeing citizens.
Brad's unaware of why the pickup has suddenly made the  maneuver, but instinctively  reacts - ordering the girls out and heading straight for the doors while he tells Hannah to get to the truck, ending the turn.
Activation produced a double "6", so the day part advanced from 'Mornng' to 'Daytime'
The group lost the re-roll and Rebecca's folks charged round the corner and straight through the apartment doors, totally ignoring the group and not recognising their "kin" standing with the stranger!
The building encounter deck turned up a member of the military........
...... a member of the National Guard meets the extended Miller family inside the apartment block, while outside.........
....... the second PEF appears between the block and the convenience store, and resolves as four more members of the National Guard!
Obviously, theses five guys were part of a unit sent into Jacksboro to assist in the outbreak and had somehow got separated from the rest of their guys!

The third PEF exited McDooms burger joint onto the street and resolved as "a bad case of nerves", as the rest of the zeds (and were joined by five more attracted by the engine noise).
Rebecca pushed her way through the apartment doors to add her voice to the heated "Meet & Greet" taking place in the foyer, and was joined by the NCO in charge of the guys on the street......
...... who were nervously keeping tabs on the advancing zeds.
Travis reversed the pickup against the wall and "closed the gap", crushing the zombified waitress in the process!
Brad smelled trouble brewing and yelled to Hannah to get in the truck, then slid in alongside her - there was no telling what Rebecca would be stirring up in the apartment and the zeds were getting thicker than fleas on a blanket!
Yet another six zombies had been attracted to the engine noise (somehow no shots had been fired - so far!), and winning the activation roll for the first time, Brad told Travis to drive through the zeds and head out of town...
As they sped off past the nightclub, the relief of getting out of a dodgy looking situation was obviously tempered by the loss of the RV (and the supplies in it),
and they could only wonder if they'd done the right thing,
as the walking dead closed in on the apartment,
what do you think?

Well that certainly didn't go the way I'd expected, but as ever the ATZ:FFO rules produced yet another tense and enjoyable (if short) game, with plenty to think about for the campaign ahead.
I'd better get back to painting terrain, but after this encounter I won't be leaving it very long before finding out what the group are up to.