Sunday, 22 February 2015


So the weekends over, and while it was fairly relaxing and productive I can officially pronounce the Paintathon a miserable failure. All I managed to so was put detail on the Tanks and the rabbits, and I'm not entirely sure that I'm happy with either of them.

Et voila...
The rabbits in particular were supposed to be a gift for someone, but they're simply not good enough. I've never painted anything like them before, and while they're tabletop standard, they're certainly not gift quality.

I'll post some close up images of the tanks once I've got decals on them.

No progress was made on the AtDE band.

I think it's just time to accept, once and for all, that I'm a phenomenally slow painter.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

More Across the Dead Earth goodies and Paintathon

Some more Across the Dead Earth goodies showed up yesterday. For a moment I thought it was the remainder of my Spectre: Operations Kickstarer, but then I clocked the lack of dinky boxes.

These ladies are very different to the first three gangs that turned up. Either the sculptors style has evolved or there's a new sculptor in town.
New figures compared against the old ones.
They're so different, that if I showed them to a third party I'm pretty sure they'd say they were from different ranges. They're much finer (for lack of a better word) sculpts than their forerunners. I'm not a scale nerd, however, and I'm not complaining, I like the new figures. They have a more realistic aesthetic, especially when it comes to the guns (there's a couple of what I think are really well realised M14s) and there's some great detail, except on the faces, which seem to have lost some detail when compared to previous figures.

From left to right, Fetish Nurse, Lady Thor, Cara Loft, Random Corset Woman and Handless Sniper

Unfortunatly the women seem to have swapped cartoonishly large guns for cartoonishly large breasts - not that Skylar was under-endowed... They've also contracted my least favourite post-apocalyptic trope, that thing where the apocalypse happens and suddenly everyone without a Y chromosome suddenly feels the urge to get their kit off and survive the harsh environment in hot pants and crop tops. Fetish Nurse is even wearing heals.

Mind you, if this is your thing, then these are the best figures of their kind I've seen. Not only are they actually more tasteful - most of the girls and gun figures around seem to just plump straight for bikinis - as I mentioned earlier, they're better sculpts than those I've seen in their genre. Lady Thor is also my favourite miniature from Dead Earth so far.

Onto what I am terming Paintathon. I've got tomorrow off, and I plan to spend as much time as possible clearing my painting queue.

Here's what it looks like now

 I've got all of tomorrow - gym and food aside. I'll also do some painting over the weekend, but the main challenge is to get as much done tomorrow as possible.

Challenge 1 - The 15mm Char B1's at the top right. Everything except decals and varnish - the decals are on their way.

Challenge 2 - The yari rabbits at the bottom left. Everything.

Challenge 3 - As much of the AtDE band at the top left as possible - clothes and flesh base colours

I think this will be as far as I can get, but if not:

Challenge 4 - The 15mm R35's at the centre right same rules as the Char B1's

Challenge 5 - Finish base coats for the Urban War Syntha in the centre

Bonus Round - Sculpt a flag onto the bonnet of the 15mm half track (it's been captured - they don't want to be bombed by the RAF)

Bonus Round 2 - Put base coat on the 1:144 Hurricane, centre top

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Everything wrong with Across the Dead Earth's Riot Shields (In Five Minutes or Less)

I mentioned in my original review of Across the Dead Earth that riot shields contribute a fair amount of cheese to the game. In fact, if abused properly they can really break the game.

Let me lay some groundwork first. The rules as written appear to confuse riot shields with ballistic shields. The former are strong but lightweight plastic shields used by riot police to hold back protesters and deflect missiles such as bricks, bottles and petrol bombs. They are not, by and large, designed to stop bullets, especially not rifle rounds. Ballistics shields, on the other hand, are less shields in the traditional sense, and more like mobile cover.

The rules appear to confuse the two, leaving us with a shield large and strong enough to stop bullets, while light enough to be wielded effectively in melee. And at 10 points its a steal.

This is mostly because of a convergence of several rules.
  1. Weapons may be switched freely at any time
  2. You can dual wield shields
  3. The bonus vs range attacks stacks with cover
Admittedly, these are less rules, and more omissions on the part of the designers, but again, unless you come to a gentlemans agreement with your opponent, the game can quickly become broken as follows...

At range: The Normandy Beach Pillbox

Take 2 riot shields and a ranged weapon of your choice. For the authentic effect take an LMG, but a sniper rifle or missile launcher will do, if you want range or to impersonate a tank. Sit yourself in heavy cover. During your turn blaze away at the enemy. When you take fire, switch to your shields for a +7 cover bonus. You don't even need the Touche* feat, as it only applies to defending with two melee weapon, not gaining passive bonuses from them. This will make you practically untouchable. As there doesn't appear to be an 'automatic hit on a 12 rule' as there is for wounding, this means that you would need a base to hit of 5 or less, which basically no weapon has, and even then, the distribution curve would keep you safe.

If you feel like going mobile you can up sticks and saunter around the battlefield with a still potent +4 modifier vs ranged attacks.

In melee: The Boss Battle

Again, take 2 riot shields and whatever melee weapon takes your fancy. I'd suggest 2 Saw Edged Swords and the Touche** feat if you feel like cheesing to the max, a chainsaw if you cant bring yourself to work out exactly what a Saw Edged Sword is supposed to be.
 Find yourself a victim, hammer them with your melee weapons, the switch to riot shields to take the return attack with a whopping +10 parry modifier. Pretend to be Pyramid Head as you invincibly render your opponents down to their constituent body parts.

The Quick Fix

Luckily these situations can be houseruled fairly easily:
  1. Shields cannot be dual wielded
  2. The bonus vs. ranged weapons does not stack with cover
  3. To claim the bonus vs. ranged weapons from a shield you may not use a 2h weapon in the same turn (unless subsequently engaged in melee)
  4. At the start of melee choose your load out. You may not change weapons until the melee is resolved (i.e. your figure is no longer in base to base contact with any standing enemy models)
The above should fix the egregious cheese. I would personally add the following rules
  1. The bonus vs. ranged weapons granted by shields does not apply to firearms
This makes shields more realistic as any shield light or small enough to be used as a shield could not protect against any serious small arms fire.

If I was feeling adventurous, I'd separate out riot and ballistic shields, creating the latter as a new rare item, with bonuses in buildings and enclosed spaces, but that limited the wielder to one handed weapons.

Thanks for reading, and I'll see you next time, when I will have done some bloody painting for a change!


Sunday, 15 February 2015

Across the Dead Earth Exploration Procedure

A couple of posts ago I wrote that I was going to create a custom loot procedure for Across the Dead Earth, as I found the rules as written to be less than convincing. Anyway, its done and you can find it here.

It draws heavily from the Mordheim rules, and it's not particularly pretty, but it should add a bit of flavour to your campaign's downtime.

Simply put:
  1. Roll to find salvage
  2. Resolve any locations
  3. Sell salvage

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Across the Dead Earth and Spectre: Operations goodies

In lieu of doing any actual work (although I have made progress on various painting queue malingerers) I bring you what is essentially a text version of those obnoxious YouTube unboxing videos. Mind you, everyone and their mums has done a goodies review for AtDE, I just didn't want to be left out.

The AtDE moulds are pretty good, zero flash, lines or irritatingly uneven bases. The sculpts are, overall, pretty good. The guns are pretty cartoony and there are some weird proportions, particularly with regards to the noodly arms of snipers.

And whatever SMG type thing the guy on the left is holding.
 The fellow below is the goofiest of the bunch. I don't know what that pose is, it looks like he's been startled by the photographer and is in the process of dropping his gun.

Either that or he likes the comforting knock of a gun barrel against his knees when he runs...
Despite the oddities, a pretty good haul, looking forward to whatever else they produce.

I also finally received my Spectre: Operations miniatures. Admittedly the package was missing a few items and had a few that I didn't order, but the manufacturer's been having trouble, including with shipping and I'm expecting replacements soon.

In this case, it's all about the guns. It's clearly where the majority of their effort went. They're in scale, they're very detailed and they're all very, very bendy. I think the problem with realistically scaled firearms is that the barrels are incredibly weak. While none of them have broken, I had to bend literally all of them back into position. Even so, I've never seen sharper metal casts.

Oh, and they all come in these dinky little boxes. Note to manufacturers, dinky little boxes are awesome!

I don't always fire my weapon, but when I do I blindfire my weapon. Always.

 That's not to say they're perfect. It looks like the sculptor while excellent at weapons, is not to great a faces, which range from good to 'The Innsmouth Look.' I think the main problem is the ways he's sculpted eyes with pronounced eyelids of all things, which makes them look like they suffer from something nasty.

Case in point... The figure on the right. The figure on the left is actually pretty sweet!
The rules for both systems haven't evolved since I first reviewed them. Spectre: Operations is still poorly thought out but pretty and AtDE is still lacking editorial oversight, but fun.

While Spectre: Operations came as an incredibly printer unfriendly pdf, AtDE came, as promised, as a natty little rulebook. At first I was a little underwhelmed, as I compared it to the sumptuously produced full A4 Deep Wars rulebook (which I also got through a Kickstarter campaign) then I realised that AtDE is nowhere near as bloated and rules heavy as Deep Wars, and it would never be worthwhile to produce such a large book.

My AtDE haul has also yielded a rather nice resin post apocalyptic bar - which I haven't put together as I have a moratorium on making terrain, at least until I have my own place - and a pdf novella - which I haven't read as I've just started a part time MSc which is taking up rather a lot of my time.

Not so much time, I hope, that I won't be able to knock out at least one set of miniatures by the end of the weekend, however.