Sunday, 29 April 2012

Review and Modelling Guide: G.O.T Mobile Turret from Antenotici's Workshop

The G.O.T Mobile Turret by Antenotici's workshop was originally meant for their 28mm scale figure line but I saw one at Salute and just couldn't resist such a characterful model. I decided that it would make a good 'superheavy' for my 15mm Autosentia and fitted in with the spidery walker theme started by the GZG drones I had already. Plus its one badass looking motherfucker. Seriously.


The model is resin and generally very well cast. The resin is considerably stronger than less brittle than some kinds I have comes across and I can only hope the rest of AW's resin vehicles are made from this material. I washed the components in hot soapy water a few times to get rid of mould release and grease as per the instructions included in the blister.
The model had a few very small air bubbles and most of these were located in generally unseen areas. The only major holes which required urgent attention were on the top of the main leg pieces. Some filling with green stuff and superglue solved the problem. The model had quite a few mould lines and imperfections on the smooth carapace areas but all these required was a little filing and gentle shaving with a craft knife. Overall, considering the size of the kit, this took about an hour or so.


I added a few bits and pieces such as guitar string aerials, extra sensors, pipes and an optional heavy flamethrower turret on the underside attached with small magnets. You can see these in the pictures later on.


This is a fairly difficult kit to build and this is worth taking into consideration if you're thinking about buying one. There are very few pictures of the model around and I had to use renders from the AW blog for reference as some of the parts could fit together in a multitude of ways. Some detailed instructions would be a great boon in the blister. I used blue tac to dry assemble the kit and to get an idea of what went where then had at it with the glue. The result wasn't as good as I would have liked, the legs came out quite asymmetrical and needed to be more splayed, but considering the complexity of the multiple joints I think it came out ok.
The legs come in four pieces. I used this bottle top as a rest to make sure the model came out level. Which it did thankfully. 
 The Result:

Here are the fruits of the one and half hours it took to glue together. It ended up looking a little drunk and the legs aren't how I want them but they'll do - all attempts to undo the superglue with various solvents failed.

This weapon looked a little plain so I added a cable. You can see the belly flamer here alo. It was made from an imperial guard heavy flamer, a tau stealthsuit jetpack and some guitar wire. 
Various aerials I added to the strange circular recesses on the top rear which had no discernible purpose. 
I reckon the pilots on the second bottle of scotch. 
The minigun assembly. This was a tricky beast and the ammo feeds line up really poorly. I managed to bend and coax them into shape eventually after much staring at the various renders for direction.  

As you can see, the stance should be wider. D'oh!

Looking at the wrong end of the heavy flamer. This is not a nice place to be... Also,  I added the small sensor lens on the nose. 
Yeah, the pilot is definitely drunk. Oh wait, no, its a 'dynamic' pose. Yeah, thats it. 


  1. Design - Seriously badass looking kit with great smooth lines and a menacing presence. 
  2. Resin - This type is quite strong and not as brittle as some. Still not as good as plastic. Glad its not metal as assembly would be even more of a nightmare, and it'd weigh and cost a ton. 
  3. Nice joints - the parts are well crafted and fit together very well for the most part. This could have been much worse. 
  4. Customisable - There's some nice scope for adding bits and bobs like aerials and making the kit look just how you want. 
  5. Badass - Did I mention this is a huge robotic space spider? Nice to see something which isn't 'modern abrahams or merkava put 100 years into the future'. 
  6. Price - A good buy for the £13.50 it cost. 
  1. Cleanup - Small number of air bubbles and mould lines but the size of the kit means this will take some time. 
  2. Assembly - The lack of any instruction and limited reference material makes this difficult. The joints fit together extremely well but this is only half the battle of getting the thing in the right pose. 
  3. Fragile - This can't be avoided but this thing is going to be a bitch to store and trasport, more than a little pressure will probably see joints snap. Also, the minigun barrel is very fragile. 
Scale Photos:

A few pictures with some 15s I had on the bench to give you an idea of size. I think superheavy just about covers it. Not quite a titan but definitely a worthy adversary.

It'll probably be a while before this guy sees paint as I need it to stop goddamn raining so I can spray it. Paint hates resin without primer. Also I don't want to mess it up so I'll practice the techniques and colours on something else first.

Hope this review was useful and inspires you to pick up this great model from AW.


Friday, 27 April 2012

Critical Mass Games 'Blockheads' and Autosentia Support Drones WIP

I've painted up one of Critical Mass Games' 'Blockhead Battlesuit' troopers which I purchased at Salute. These are really nice chunky miniatures and the weapon they're carrying looks like it could put a serious dent in anything up to the size of a small tank.

I've been trying to up my game painting wise over the last few weeks and decided to really go for it with the layering on this figure. I initially tried to paint it the same way as the GZG combat bot i.e. drybrushing and edge highlighting but the nice smooth flat panels just looked rubbish done this way. The layering looks a little patchy and uneven in these pics (which were taken from about 5cm away!) but at half an arms length the effect is really good (imo).

(I was having some problems with the sun whilst taking these pictures so the shadows are all over the place)

I bought two packs of these (12 figures total) and the plan is that they will form a mercenary platoon alongside the smaller GZG bots I also got from the show. They both share a 'chunky' aesthetic and with similar unit markings and colour scheme I think they look quite good alongside each other.

The battle-suits are pretty big. Here's one next to the GZG merc (aka Hellboy :P) who is the best part of 20mm tall. The Battle-suit isn't even standing up straight but is hunkered down. I'm thinking that whatever system I stat these up for I will try and give them a special rule or ability which reflects their tenacity and stubbornness.

Here's a WIP of the squad leader. I've removed the head (and took a chunk of the shoulder, which I've had to repair, with it) and replaced it with the head of an OG German tank crewman. I'd prefer something more alien but don't have anything to hand, perhaps I'll paint it blue or something?

I've also been working on some reinforcements for my Autosentia army, they're a little short on heavy support atm. I have a few more goodies purchased at Salute for them but first up are some conversions from Tau drones which I found at home in my old GW stuff from years and years ago. Here are the results.

I decided to add some eyes to tie them in with the drones I have from GZG. I also think it makes them look a crapload more menacing. The eyes are just chopped up bits of spear shaft (just what I had around) cut to length and glued in place.

I liked the aerials which came with the drones originally but didn't have enough of them and thought they looked 'too tau' so I replaced them with guitar string (12 gauge). These were attacked via heating the wire with a lighter and then just pushing them into the plastic. The fit is nice and snug. I also cut down the pulse carbines to differentiate them a little and because I think I prefer them this way.

This nasty looking beastie will be the platoon command unit (I have 3 of the standard 'gun' drones). He's made from a Tau shield drone with the modifications outlined above plus tentacles. He was influenced by the droids from star wars (episode V) and the Matrix as well as the 'Man o war' in China Mieville's Iron Council (great book btw).

The tentacles are 32 gauge guitar strings, bent to shape, with plasticard blades attached. They are attacked with superglue and slot into pre-drilled holes. However, they're still mighty fragile.

Well, I'm off to go and paint up some more of the blockheads!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

GZG Alien Merc and Combat Bot painted up

I've painted up a couple of the sample figs I got from the GZG stand at Salute. Thought I'd push the boat out a little and try some more involved layering and highlighting than usual. Not too sure about the result, they look a little cartoony and could do with being a shade darker. However, I think on the table they could look good as bright colours and high-contrasts work well at distance. Unfortunately the vallejo 'Matt' varnish I have is actually a little satin so there's some very unwelcome shine surviving. 

I realise that these figures are 'not orks' but personally I've never really been a fan of orcs with green skin. I decided to go a different direction with this fig and do the skin a vibrant red for something a bit different. I'm not entirely sure the green on the armour works but it'll do for the moment. I also need to make the chipping look more convincing, perhaps I'll outline it in dark grey or black? Could do with some dust on the boots as well, might save this for when I have some pigments.

I'm quite happy with how the skin turned out. The muscle sculpting on these figs is good and makes painting them a breeze. I think I'll hold off painting any more green until I can get a better highlight than  just adding bleached bone, it washes out the color.

This is another of the samples from GZG and is a mech from his 6mm line repurposed as a 15mm combat bot. It measures in at 14mm and looks a little short compared to some of my other 15s. However,  it'll do, after all, a smaller robot is harder to hit!
The eye has had the paint knocked off, didn't realise this until photographing.
I'm planning to mix these with CMG's 'Blockhead Battlesuits' (purchased at Salute) as a mixed mercenary platoon. The idea is that the power armoured Blockheads contain human mercenaries whilst the bots provide extra firepower and a disposable element for completing those missions where a mercenary might not walk away (and not get their fee either). 

The markings were fairly arbitrary and made judicious use of a very, very fine brush. I think they add a little bit of interest to what otherwise looked like an incomplete mini. I will probably repeat them on the Blockheads as well with minor variations to tie them together. 
As ever these photos are very 'warts and all', I didn't realise half the mistakes I'd made until I took these photos. With the quality of the sculpts around its easy to forget how tiny these guys really are!

I think I've just about got the hang of my gf's camera and the lightbox now and can produce decent photos, hope you're enjoying them! Its been a bit of a learning curve.

I've currently got a Crusty, a Tomorrows War soldier, a UNSC, a blockhead and two of the firefly cast on the painting table, as well as numerous Salute purchases to assemble once my glue arrives. Stay tuned for more updates soon.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Review: Salute Participation Games

From the outset its worth saying that I only played each of these games once and therefore all my conclusions come from the context of the specific scenario being played. These are more my impressions than a comprehensive review. 

I managed to get in three participation games at Salute on Saturday; a game of Critical Mass, a game of FOW Vietnam and a game of 7tv. I'll talk about the FOW game first as it acts as a good counterpoint to the CM game. 

FOW Vietnam

For those living under a rock, this is Battlefront's foray into the Vietnam War in 15mm scale. Its played using the same game engine as their WW2 system.

The scenario I had a chance to play was a meeting engagement (with no objectives except annihilation) between a US armoured company with Air Cavalry support and an NVA force with lots of AA, RPGs and Recoilless Rifles. I enjoyed this game a lot. The GM was always on hand with the rules, gave clear explanations, and my opponent was good-natured and ready to throw around some lead and dice. 

I'm not going to give a blow by blow but basically the armour and helicopters came forward, I dug in, and then a short-range gun battle ensued in which both sides took heavy casualties. Men of the match went to my NVA platoon (middle of the pic above) which held up under extreme fire, assaulted two US armoured platoons, taking them out, and survived repeated strafing runs from the helis. Charlie is tough man. 

The game was fast and furious. The game mechanics were intuitive, logical and made sense, after turn two we were running it virtually by ourselves. Because the vehicles and weapons were broadly recognisable it wasn't too hard to figure out what they were for and what they should be able to do. It was a fun game, not high strategy, but fun. 

Critical Mass

Critical Mass is Critical Mass Games' 15mm company-scale sci-fi combat game where armies consisting of  4-5 platoons of tanks, walkers and infantry square off. I was fortunate to play on the truly beautiful Jungle table they had built for the con, although the LOS issues turned out to be a bit of a pain. 

From the CMG forum: The table and minis being used. Beautifully presented. 
This game was, for me, the opposite of the FOW game, despite the fact that many of the mechanics had obviously been copied from that system (e.g. unit's had a 'ranged defence' which functioned like the FOW quality rating and units had standard  'infantry saves', despite the fact they were different species with different qualities of armour). I didn't really have much fun, although I think this might have had something to do with the fact I was playing against a bored looking 7 and 4 year old. In the end analysis the game ended up being me playing the other GM whilst my GM tried to redress the balance with some helpful advice.

To give CM the credit it deserves the alternating activation sequence worked extremely well and served to keep both players involved constantly, I really liked this feature. However, I felt that the forces felt a little flavourless for my liking, although this might have been because they omitted certain special rules etc for the demo game. Compared to the FOW game, where all the units were broadly recognisable, I found that in the CM game I was guessing at the units' capabilities; there was no time to compare their stats with my opponents and find out what the strengths and weakness of my force were. As it turned out my tanks were crap and my infantry were ace, my sluggish advance with the latter failed to take advantage of this and my extremely lightly armoured skimmers were destroyed by heavily-armoured walkers anchored in cover, preventing flanking.

I did feel a little like I'd been playing the GM, an experienced player, and he used that experience to unfair advantage, after all, when playing the FOW game I had given my opponent numerous pieces of advice or useful observations, to my force's detriment, in the interests of a fun game.

Overall, I'd say that I haven't come to a clear conclusion on this game. The core mechanics seem to be there, although there are some features such as the vehicle damage table which feel unnecessary, and I think it has potential, even if the forces felt a little bland at first glance. I think further exploration might prove this to be a good system. However, with the imo mixed quality/appeal of CMGs minis I won't be using the official mini lines but an 'all star' mix of the whole 15mm crowd.


7tv is a light-hearted skirmish game which aims to recreate the feel of cult-tv shows and movies such as the Avengers, Austin Powers and Doctor Who. The game is scenario driven and more for the lols and ratings than for the win.

The 7tv crew had several games running at the Con, all looked great, especially a huge Charlie's Angels style assault on a super-villain snow fortress. The game I was involved with was a one-on-one scenario set in the streets of small english town. The Avengers were attempting to reach a red phone box to call the police whilst the evil townsfolk and their robot-scarecrows were attempting to stop them.  The game was quite short and very difficult for the bad guys - I ended up winning in around four turns by getting Pandora King to the phone after judo chopping my way through morris dancers.

The system was fast and fun and really captured the feel of the genre it was attempting to evoke. 'Audience appreciation' was a nice feature which gave a number of chits to each players (dependent upon the difference in the players initiative rolls) which could be used to add or subtract one from a die roll during their turn. Very useful for getting out of sticky situations! The heroes also had 'luck' points which allowed them to do something similar and to keep alive or make key actions at key times. My heroes also had a couple of one use gadget cards, a tech scrambler and a mini flame-thrower, for use at opportune times. This added a great 'James Bond' style feel to the game.

Overall this was a great little characterful system which I will be using with my very limited Doctor Who collection (currently two figures...) if I feel the need for some adventuring fun. Very much recommended for this sort of thing.

Have you played any of these systems? What did you think? Did you have a different experience of play at the con? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Salute: Where did all my money go?!?!

This year was my first Salute and I had a great time, even if my wallet came back a lot lighter. I made quite a few purchases and these will no doubt surface on the blog in the near future. I bought quite a lot more 15mm scif-fi to flesh out my forces ( and a few mercenary units), invested in some 28mm Victrix british to practice my 28mm painting, picked up some bargain 15mm PSC Stugs, and bought various other odds and ends which I couldn't resist (such as Hasslefree's Caprica 6).

As a (very new) member of the SLW I was there on the Friday and after the Con helping setting up an taking down. This was great as I managed to get in some some chat with some of the traders. Jon Tuffley of GZG is a very nice man; I had the honor of being the first member of the public to see all of his new releases this year and got a few free samples to boot! However, I forgot to take pictures, sorry!

The Pictures

Here are some of the games and stalls I managed to get photos of, unfortunately, there are less than intended as I managed to blur and unholy amount of them (stupid phone camera...).

This was a great set-up/diorama of the Retreat from Corunna. The table was a huge L-shape with the board to the rear being a port complete with warships and ferrying boats. Beautiful paint job on every single figure. I took many more of this, but few came out. 
The French perspective
The French Camp, complete with dancing beauty.
I had a chat with the owner on Friday and these ships were adapted from mantlepiece ships with stands bought in France. They looked fantastic with some weathering and 28mm crew. 
The columns snaking away into the port in retreat. 
This was a great game of force and force between the Russians and Hungarians(?) I believe. Looked fantastic, I think many of the figures were from Red Star.
Stunning weathering on the armour
That Hind is some serious kit on a table this size. 
 This was Victrix's 54mm Peninsular participation game, showing off their figures and rules. All of them were beautifully painted, as were the farmhouses, which were stunning.

This was a diorama showing the British assaulting a Russian position in the Crimean War. I had more photos but none survived, sorry!

This was a FOW Vietnam participation game I managed to get in in the afternoon. A very fast playing system and lots of fun. The scenario was basically a tone of US armour and helicopters rolling in on an NVA infantry company dug in armed with RPGs, AA and Recoilless Rifles. Me and my opponent had a great game and merrily threw our forces at each other, by the end there were only a few bases left standing and we called it a draw.

A quick shot of a pretty Zulu War game from the Afrikaners perspective.

A very eccentric VSF game complete with walkers, flying ships and all manner of crazy and weird machines, almost all scratch built.

I loved these little models, they're made from Defiler legs, GW paint pots (the old hexagonal ones) and an R2D2 head for the cockpit. Marvellous stuff. 
Blurry war machines...
The next set are pictures are of Dropzone Commander - a 10mm sci-fi line - by Hawk Games, a new player on the field, who will be releasing officially in July. These were my favourite mini line of the Con and were incredibly impressive. The amount of care and attention to detail in the design, sculpting and painting was incredible.  My photos simply don't do them justice but here they are anyway.

The infantry sculpt were incredible, easily as good as the best 15mm. 

I had a chat with the designer after the event (I was helping take stalls down) and these are the produce of 2.5 years of very hard work. Rules are on their way but are still in the development stage. The idea of 'dropzones' will feature heavily, scenarios will focus on multiple objectives, often in hard to access areas e.g. cliffs, over water bodies, and maneuver and fast reaction will be key. Often there will be no 'player boardedges' and units will arrive from multiple fronts/dropzones. Mechanics wise I didn't find out anything crunchy except that the rules will be written to be 'flavoursome' and faction specific. They will not be generic or allow each faction to be played in the same way, which is good. They will not resemble Epic closely, the designer dislikes that system as too bland, i.e. predators and land raider are statistically very similar with little differentiation (his opinions, not mine).

Suffice to say, when these come out, especially if the ruleset is as good as the rest of the work put in, I'll find it impossible to resist them! They remind me a lot of the PC game Supreme Commander and I think the ruleset could do worse than to consider this game as a source of inspiration/ideas for scenarios and overall feel. 

Well, those are the pictures I got, another post will follow soon on the games I played (Critical Mass, FOW Vietnam and 7tv) and how they went/what my impressions of the rules were. 


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