This post also saw the site break it’s most popular day, hitting 473 views on Friday. I’m a little disheartened that the post that does the best in one day is one I did in an evening rather than one of my more involved pieces but I’m still glad people are reading it and enjoying it.
I’m also looking at Bazistan and doing some tweaks to it. Might be opening up a new front soon across the water in Africa thanks to some new purchases. As part of this, I’ll be replacing some of the references to Eritrea – don’t worry though, the core ideas will be kept intact.
Nothing – still too busy with work and writing.
So Spectre had their Black Friday sale and as part of it restocked a lot of their figures. Taking advantage of this, I finally got round to ordering the last few figures I didn’t own – the African Militia and Rebels. Really excited to get these painted up as it’s a chance to expand the scenarios I do. It’s also means that I now own all the figures (i.e. not terrain/vehicles/crew figures) that Spectre have on the store. Of course they do all need painting…
Again not much – busy with work so what little hobby time I had has been spent writing. However, I’ve done the base colours on most of the new SAS figures – now I just have to work on the camo.
That’s it for this update, expect more updates next week!
Despite Spectre only being around for a few years there are a few models that have achieved collectors status. Be this due to accidents or careful planning, these models are hard to find. That said, if you want to watch eBay or work out what your opponent across the table is using, this article should help you out.
All the photos for this article have been sourced from the Spectre Miniatures website and Facebook pages.
The first set we’re going to talk about are those models which were planned to be limited releases. Every April at Salute, Spectre release one or two sets exclusively at the show and in limited numbers in the online store on the same day.
2014 was the year of the Kickstarter. Before its start in May, Spectre attended Salute with demo board, early figures and a freebie. The operator below was for many people the first Spectre figure they owned. Armed with a PDR and carrying tactical kit over civilian clothing, he can be seen as the predecessor to the Agents range. He would also reappear in the kickstarter that year.
2015 (The first year I went to Salute) saw the first event after the launch of the wand the stall had all sort of figures on display (including some still unreleased). This exclusive was the first female figure released by Spectre, ready to work alongside the previous year’s freebie or other intel agents. There are some great details on her, such as the sunglasses tucked into the shirt or the Molle go-bag slung. I decided to tweak mine by adding a shemagh around the neck and I really need to get her painted up.
2016 was a bumper year for Salute releases. Alongside the release of the core packs for the Tier 1 and Agents ranges, Spectre also delivered two exclusive figures.
This juggernaut is perfect for a scenario play, stomping round the board in heavy armour and wielding two long arms. The PKM and shotgun are dangerous combination, especially when backed up by the rest of a Spetsnaz team. coming in the door behind him. Seemingly a habit with my exclusives, I added a visor to juggernaut.
The second figure was designed to work alongside the Agents released on the same day, giving you some sniper cover for your team. She has a really cool pose and again the details are astounding – I’m a fan of the stowed Vector on the side of the pack.
2017 saw me almost knock over the stand in my rush to buy new figures and a few early releases. The first Razors were sold, a few pieces from the terrain range were released (such as the ammo boxes) and this exclusive figure came out.
Rather than being a tweaked figure for an existing range that could sub in, this set is something special. Its much more of a scenario centrepiece, showing an injured operator being carried by his buddy while under fire. There have been some really nicely painted version of this on the Spectre Operations group if you have one and are looking for inspiration.
The main bulk of Spectre’s rare models all come from one place – the original Kickstarter. Starting May 2014, the project was the first many people (including myself) heard about Spectre and it helped to get them off the ground. During the process a total of 28 sets were made available to backers.
As it stands today, many of these figures are no longer available. This was due in part to the original moulds being lost. On the other hand, the core of the African Militia range comes from this release – it’s missing a few of the stranger models (yep, that’s a man wearing a dress as one of the bulletproof militia) but support weapons and crazed gunmen are all there. I originally went in just for the SOF figures and I really regret not picking up the Africans when I had a chance.
There are a few standouts among the list:
The original Delta/US SoF figures were the set that grabbed me and said “The is a range for you”. I think the newer Task Force Operators are a massive step up in quality (and don’t have separate arms that bend or need gluing) but these guys have a certain character to them. Also all the details we know expect from Spectre are there – from the kneepads to the attachments on the SCAR, they look just right. I still really like using them alongside their newer brothers in arms.
Delta in the Kickstarter also included this guy. Ready for breaching duty, he has a MP7 slung at his side with an AA12 out as his primary. He also has a collection of breaching gear on his back. You can see this guy’s concept being updated in the Task Force Operators AA-12 – Alfa figure.
The other pack that grabbed people was the SAS Recce Patrol. Laden down with packs and armed with L119s and various bits of kit, these guys are the forerunners of the SAS Jungle Ops range. There was also the SAS Close Observation Team, which is where the Task Force Operator snipers in ghillie suits came from. Unfortunately, their two buddies with L119s and a UGL got lost in the jungle somewhere.
Something I think is missing from the current range is some private military contractors in the less cutting edge kit, i.e. baseball caps and civilian gear with M4s or AKs. The kickstarter included three packs. The main things with them is that they are wearing non-standard kit but still look like a unit thanks to careful picked similar details.
PMC Alpha is the most modern of the three team. Armed with Vector SMGs and wearing plate carriers over t-shirts, these guys look like a well-funded team ready for a close quarters street fight.
PMC Bravo is a little more heavily armed. Equipped with AKs and various attachments/secondary weapons, these guys would work well as Russian advisors or mercs somewhere from the eastern bloc. You can see little bits of their design being used in the Deniable Ops range. I also need to point out the second figure – another with separate arms, something that drove me mad while assembling them.
PMC Delta is the classic Western Contractor look with M4s, plate carriers and, of course, shades. This pack also includes the AA12; combined with the UGL, it gives the team a nice mix of firepower for such a small team.
Speaking of mercs we come to the biggest kit that was part of the kickstarter – the PMC Technical. This was Spectre’s first vehicle and as you can see, it looks pretty cool. Like with the Deltas, you can see how this was the starting point for the current range of technicals. I’d love to see some parts come out for the current vehicles, letting us add the PKM mount for something a little lower profile than the .50cals.
Something else cool from the Kickstarter was the Weapons Caches. These were small bits to add to the scenery or work as objective markers. I’d love to see an updated version of these.
After the Kickstarter was finished, Spectre setup their webstore and started adding new items in addition to some of the kickstarter sets. Many of these are still available, such as the Task Force Operator Marksmen and Grenadiers. Others however have since left the store.
We’ve seen multiple dog handlers in both the Kickstarter and more recently with the UKSF releases. This guy was designed to fit with the original US SoF, giving them a dedicated dog handler rather than having him tag along with one of the normal riflemen. There is a load of extra detail on him, from his compact 416 to the setup on his rig.
Another set of additions to the US SoF range was this pair of Machine Gunners. The variation in poses and gear are great as usual for Spectre. I still use them and they look great alongside the newer figures.
The final part of the original SAS teams (alongside the Recon guys and the team in ghillie suits) are these operators in civilian clothing. It was quite cool to have the three teams, each with similar guns and heads to represent the same team in different roles.
To backup the SAS guys is this pair of support. Carrying their bergens like the rest of the Recce guys, the marksman and MG bring the team up to six and give you more tactical options.
Something else that happened in the early days of the store was an experiment. Spectre looked into producing high quality resin models and two sets were chosen – the UKSF assault team and a pack of militia that became . Although the results were spectacular in terms of detail, there were some mixed feelings about resin over metal; I personally wasn’t a massive fan having broken barrels much more easily. In the end, metal won out
I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip through Spectre’s back catalog. Hopefully when you spot some suspicious characters on an eBay auction, you’ll know a little more about them. It’s also great to look back and see how far Spectre has come – the early models are pretty good but each release includes more detail backed by more research to help bring us the most up to date figures around.
Let’s start, covering the 13th through to the 19th of November.
This week’s post was looking the Under Fire Miniatures German Police. Its always nice to find a new company making figures especially when they release ones this nice. Really looking forward to what’s coming next.
In other blog news, I’ve got some good news on the photos front. I’ve upgraded my phone to a Pixel 2 XL and the camera is much improved over the Nexus 6P I was using. So hopefully nicer looks photos going forward!
Still no gaming, I’m back on the writing train.
No purchases, still painting up the stuff I bought last week.
Been a busy week between actual work, blog work and more writing so I haven’t had a huge amount of painting time. However, I’m continuing work on the SAS, starting with the rural and respirator teams.
However, I did get something cool to work on. Campbell, a frequent opponent of mine at SESWC, is also a terrain building king. Due to him being busy, he’s decided to pass over some WIP compound walls he has been building to add to those we already have. I’m looking forward to getting to work on these – it’s a different type of terrain to what I’ve done so far
That’s it for this update, expect more updates next week!
However, when I got to their stand at Fiasco I was looking at their other 28mm option, the West German Polizei. These figures really interested me from when they were first announced thanks to the mixture of military firearms and police uniform. Both packs are £8 each and include four figures. Looking for some local cops to patrol the mean streets of Bazi City (or with the long arms more likely the rural areas of Bazistan), I grabbed both packs and got to work.
The figures are excellent sculpts – in fact, the sculpting style reminds me strongly of Empress’s stuff, which is always of pretty high quality. Assembly is simple – most are one piece figures and those with separate limbs have a pin system making it easy to fit the limbs. That said, I recommend dry fitting the parts to make sure they are not any unwanted gaps.
Pack one is the basic pack, giving you 4 police officers armed with G3s. Two are shooting while the other two are more specialised. The chap in the beret is running with G3 and a HK69 grenade launcher slung on his back (ready for dropping smoke or firing rubber balls into the crowd when on police duty) while the final officer is obviously a superior (based off the pose and beard sculpted on the figure). I really like the posing on the two shooting police officers – its simple but works really effectively.
Pack two is the support weapons – two with Medium Machine Guns (MG3s) and two with Panzerfaust 44 anti-tank weapons. These may look a little heavy for a police force but makes sense in a Cold War Gone Hot/Mass Civil War situation. As with pack 1, there are some really nice details from ammo boxes for the MG3s to the sports bag the police have pushed into service for carrying AT rounds. These guys should be a nasty surprise for your opponent when you tell them you are using some police in today’s game.
Wanting to theme them more to Bazistan, I decided to sculpt some facial hair onto three of them (the running G3, the idle Pzf 44 gunner and the moving MG3 trooper). This was really simple and I fear I didn’t leave it long enough to cure as the undercoat covered up most of the detail. However, I did the job of making them look a little hairier.
Here they are painted up! I went for a Police uniform (so no camo) and took a look at police forces in the region. Originally the colour was Khaki top and bottom but it looked a bit dull so I add the Iraqi sand trousers. The caps were painted in beige brown while the band around was painted the same colour as the berets. US Tan drab was finely painted on the webbing. As always the final touch was lashings of Agrax Earthshade.
Here are the rifle pack, showing off the slung blooper. I really like the wooden colour that came out on the G3s giving them the look of an older pattern/locally produced gun as opposed to the later polymer guns. It also nicely offsets against the black painted gun.
The support pack painted up. Not technically right but I’m happy with the wooden stock on the MG3. The anti-tank weapons went with the usual scheme of metal and green warhead.
As with any new manufacturer, it’s time for a scale comparison. This image also shows off the various security forces in Bazistan (with more details on them coming soon). From left to right
Spectre Miniatures Insurgent Kill Team – Bazistan Army SF
Empress Universal in PASGAT – Bazistan Army
Under Fire Polizei – Bazistan Internal Security
Eureka ANP – Bazistan Local Police
If you’re looking for something different, and don’t mind the older style of kit, the Cold War figures from Under Fire are some awesome figures to add to your collection. The sculpting is great, they fit in well with other major ranges and are great fun to paint thanks to the mixture of kit. From talking to them at the stand at Fiasco it sounds like they have figures planned (MP5s were mentioned) but I wouldn’t say no to some police with handguns/revolvers. Either way, I’ll be watching that page with glee.
For the ultramodern gamers, Cold War figures still show some appeal. These guys would look great as police or palace guard in their fancy hats. Depending on the setting, the NVA and Bundeswehr could stand in for second or third line army troops, meaning you can have trained guys with a different look to ragged insurgent look. With a few clever paint schemes, it easy to get these guys into your force and onto the table. I’m probably going to pick some more up next year and I look forward to painting them!
Let’s start, covering the 5th through to the 12th.
This week’s post was taking a look at the Tabula Rasa range from Knights of Dice. This is also the start of a new project which I’m looking forward to; the experience of building the demo board has made me a little more confident at building and painting terrain. Now I get to have the fun job of picking what I want each of the buildings to look like…
Honestly not much – my thursday ended up being more work.
This week saw the release of the Spectre UKSF on their website after being first shown off at Crisis in Antwerp the week before. These guys have been a long time coming and, after talking to the guys at Spectre, have been the result of countless hours of research.
Luckily, I was able to get my hands on them within two days of being released and take a look at them in the metal. I think it’s safe to say that these are some of the greatest figures they have made in terms of details. Looking at them out the box (with only one or two barrels to bend back into shape), it was easy to spot small features like the pattern on one of the marksman’s AFG which I haven’t seen before. More details coming soon with an impressions coming soon (once I get them all painted up – see below for some initial ideas).
An interesting thing is that some of the other new releases at Crisis (the support weapons for existing ranges) were not released. I think it makes a lot of sense (don’t want to lose them amongst a new range) but I am looking forward to what’s coming to some of the already released teams. Especially after getting the magnifying glass out.
I’ve finished painting my Under Fire Miniatures Polizei which I picked up at Fiasco. More details coming later this week but it was fun to paint something that didn’t use camo. It was also fun creating a uniform for fictional force – I look forward to painting more figures up in this scheme if Under Fire release more. I’m also looking forward to getting them on the table
I’ve also started work on the recently arrived SAS although no picture as they are still in the undercoat. The main thing I want to talk about is camo – I’m not a huge fan of the Arktis Comb and although the all black urban kit is cool, I’m not 100% sold on it for my collection. My current thinking is to paint up the rural squad and the respirator teams in multicam to match the rest of my operators. This lets me use them alongside the others more easily and it’s also a pattern I’ve used a fair amount. That said, I am going to do a few little tweaks to make them stand out, such as painting the vest and webbing in multicam rather than tan. However this is all subject to change. As for the CT Response guys, I’ll be sticking close to the default scheme as it just makes sense. Hopefully they will be ready for my game in December and ready to help rescue the Geordiestan Ambassador.
That’s it for this update, expect more updates next week!
In my overview earlier this year looking at Adobe buildings, I briefly talked about Knights of Dice and their MDF buildings. Since then, I’ve picked up the rest of range and I’m now ready to talk about all the various buildings you can purchase from the Tabula Rasa desert range. In this post, I’m going to look over the basics shells, point out some features and then quickly talk about what I intend to next with them.
First up, let’s talk about the common features. All the buildings are designed as shells, only contained key structural features and with none of the detailing many other buildings would have (such as exposed brick textures or doors). The shells are made of MDF and arrive on a sprue ready to be pushed out. They are held in tightly enough so they are not accidentally pushed out during transit. This does require some pushing to get them out but I’ve yet to break a piece while extracting them. In addition, most sprues include a crowbar piece that can be used to help get the pieces ready for use. All the MDF is well cut (needing only a tiny bit of trimming on the connectors) and fit together perfectly during assembly. As always, do a dry fit before gluing together.
In all cases, the buildings have removable roofs and easy access to both floors. All the buildings also have logical access to each room via both internal or external doors, windows or via staircases. I’m not a huge fan of the staircases; assembled by default and they are way too small to fit figures on bases onto the stairs, instead acting more like a ramp. There are alternative ways to assemble them so that they are more usable but by default you won’t be placing figures on them.
In terms of scaling, the doorways are a tiny bit small for 25mm bases to fit through but perfect for 20mm. Heightwise, figures from Spectre and Empress fit them perfectly, although again I recommend 2mm deep bases rather than the 3mm slotta style bases.
The first two buildings are referred to as Compounds and are the biggest buildings in the range. Both have two floors as well as multiple internal rooms making them a battleground in their own right.
Compound 1 is a huge arrangement, spreading six rooms across two floors. Features of note include a covered exterior area on the ground floor, staircase up to an open roof and two upstairs rooms.
This building is obviously on the more stylish end of the range, perfect for a target building. The ground floor in particular is perfect for some CQB; the wall between the covered area and the rear room is asking for a breaching charge.
Compound 2 is a slightly smaller footprint but equally detailed. Again spread over two floors, this building has three rooms on the ground floor (the long one is split in half) and an upstairs room that leads onto the roof of the long room. The upstairs room is actually a frame that fits inside the outer shell, making it easy to lift out and be used in-game.
As a note, the metal details are not part of the kit. They are from Empress as part of their builder’s yard. Expect some details on them as the project goes along.
Being a larger building, Compound Two presents some interesting tactical decisions. Multiple rooms will need clearing and the upstairs could be an interesting target location.
The bulk of the range is the small Desert Residences. These buildings have a smaller footprint than the compounds but should still be interesting to play though.
Residence One is a simple two room building but also include a flat outside area with a low wall around it.
Again, the metal details are from Empress.
Residence 2 use the same idea but in a slightly different arrangement to give some variation to your town.
Residence 3 is really cool. It uses the same footprint as Compound 2 but only on one floor. It’s a clever reuse of the same pieces but it works – the slightly larger layout makers the rooms great for scuffle.
The final building is something different. Labelled as a Storage Building, this would be great filled with ammo boxes and fuel cans. The arches are sadly too small for vehicles so it can’t be used as a garage/workshop without modification but there is still plenty of space to fill with things that might go boom.
If the compounds were not tempting enough, then this is perfect for scenario use. Fuel, ammo or a weapon cache, the multiple entrances will making this building an interesting position to take.
So what do I think of these buildings? The first thing I stress is that these things are shells – If you’re a game developer, these things are grey boxes, geometry designed to give you the mechanically feel for a place but not the actual look. They are the perfect starting point to make them feel how you want them while having much of the heavy lifting (such as rooms or multi-storey buildings) already done. You could but them on the table after a spray of paint but they would look a little plain. This lack of detail also means they are slightly cheaper than many other MDF buildings.The quality level is great and they don’t feel too small, even with based figures, that can be an issue with some other MDF set ups.
As a useful starting point, there are plenty of accessory packs as part of the Tabula Rasa range. These add useful elements like antennas and vents, as well as some walkways and ladders to improve access to the buildings.
If you’re interested in them, where is it best to pick them up? For most people, and if you want the latest stuff, you’ll want to grab them directly from Knights of Dice via their online store. In fact, the website says if you are in the area (Victoria in Australia), feel free to drop in for a visit. Being Australian based, this can lead to some long delivery times and expensive postage. Luckily, Shiny Games in the UK also stocks them (with only a slight delay between release on the KoD site and being in the UK). I have bought a fair amount of stuff from them and they are a fantastic shop. Great pricing, prompt delivery and even have a loyalty scheme ready to knock some money off your orders.
I now have these boxes, it’s time to make them look pretty. This article officially kicks Project Compound, which will take these buildings and make them look ready for battle. The idea is to make them look like an urban area somewhere in Bazistan in the early days of a conflict. Some limited damage but not completely wiped out. As well as the texturing and painting needed, I also want to add some more walls and street furniture. I’m going to update the blog with a new post once I work out which parts are going where. I still have a few Empress bits to use up (both air conditioning units and TV dishes) so I now need to work out which buildings are getting them.
I’m looking forward to getting these buildings done. This should be a great chance to make some buildings ready to sit on my boards as well as theming them to my theatre of operation – I’ll be going all out with posters and advertising.
If you’re wanting to keep an eye on this project, I recommend following the facebook page where I’ll be putting some WIP photos up.
I managed to get down to the club on Thursday to get some games in! I spent the evening playing AK47, one of the older games I think I’ve played. Under the careful guidance of Jack and Derek, MDF Michael and myself grabbed our forces and got playing. Unfortunately, my phone knows it’s about to get replaced and has decided to turn off at 50% battery and so I missed out taking any photos of the game. After the pre-game political moves and some rough dice rolls, I ended up with only a single unit on the board. While the horde of religious nutcases bum rushed the dictator’s forces, my Colonalist armour sat on the objective for the entire game.
To make up for it, here are a few of the other games going on at the club on Thursday.
2 v 2 game of Warhammer 40k across a crowded board.
Angus ran a Back of Beyond game set in Poland complete with low flying planes
Currently nothing – but Crisis was this weekend and Spectre showed off their upcoming releases. We’re looking at 3 squad packs of SAS, some SAS supports and a few extra figures for Task Force Operator, Tier 1 Operator and Task Force Nomad ranges. In fact the release is so big I’m going to have to split my release article in half – one looking at the new SAS guys, the other covering the additions to the older ranges. Now just to get Task Force Nomad painted up…
I spent the weekend at Berwick seeing my Aunt and Uncle while they were on holiday so spent a lovely weekend not doing much hobby stuff. However, I did manage to look through my stuff and start planning out some more games
As I mentioned above, AK47 really grabbed me. Its a fun game and the club are playing it in 15mm. At some point, I realised that I actually have some 15mm stuff (fresh from an attempt to dabble in Flames of War) that was sat in a box waiting to be used.
Turns out I had quite a lot of 15mm stuff.
Lots of Shermans, Fireflys, Churchills, Staghounds and some cheapo halftracks. There are also two platoons of US Airborne infantry and a platoon of British infantry. This should be more than enough for a AK47 force. The next step is to get all this painted. I also need to rebase infantry into smaller groups which is fine for the metal guys but could be interesting with the plastics.
That’s it for this update, expect more updates next week!
So, if you you may have received a pile of emails earlier this evening talking about video games. You may also have noticed there has been a bit of a drop in the number of posts on the site and lots of categories have gone missing.
This is because I’ve decided to tidy up this site! Although it’s now focused on wargaming, before it was my personal place to scrawl everything from video games to tech to how my life was going. However, with how the site is going (and what I’m planning for next year) having that many articles was starting to cause issues in features likes search. So I decided to move all of the posts from before I started wargaming. This led to me disabling them and reactivating during the process which caused the
The big thing about this: This blog is going to be almost entirely about wargaming now.
This is me saying sorry about spamming all your inboxes – so as an apology, here is some good stuff coming up! Next week will be some impressions on Knight’s of Dice’s buildings and the start of a new project. The week after, I’ll be taking a look at Under Fire’s West German Police (along with a few tweaks). Depending on Spectre’s release schedule, the final week in November will either be talking some tactics for building forces in Spectre or taking a peek at some new figures.
Looking further into the future, there will be three projects coming (Little Bird, Humvee and Compound) and I’m planning to look at a few new ranges such as Full Battle Rattle’s Canadians. I’m even in the early stages of planning on a new card game/planning aid setting up random games, as something different from rolling dice. But more details on all of this soon!