3D Printing – The Process Part 1

In my last post, I covered the basic setup of my devices. In my next few posts, we’re going to take a look at the process of actually printing the model. The first will cover all the stuff that happens before we start getting messy.

Getting Models

The first stage of 3D printing (after the initial setup) is of course, getting something to print. There are a few different ways to get hold of STLs (the file format most commonly used by slicing programs).

Make your Own!

Errrr… okay this is WAY too much for a single blog post. 3D modelling is a whole career into itself, with a selection of tools and methods to get into. Its something I’m interested in (I have some things I’d like to make such as conversion parts for my Sisters of Battle still in the box) but we don’t have time in this post.

Download them for Free!

There are lots of STL files available for free online. Google is a good starting point, although it will quickly lead you into STL search engines such as Yeggi or STLFinder. You’ll also find free STLs on other sites such as the classic Thingiverse.

But here is the thing – you really do get what you pay for. There may be some incredible work given away for free (often due to them being fan-work of copyrighted content) but a lot of the time you’ll find 3d files made by amateurs and uploaded for fun. Also don’t expect them to be pre-supported so some extra work will be needed to get them ready.

Purchase them!

If you’re willing to spend the money, you can also go and buy STLs. There are several sites for it (such as MyMiniFactory) as well as people using Gumroad to create their own stores. I’m a keen fan of SkullForge Studios, who make a great set of figures who are… inspired by Disney properties.

Prices are massively variable. Some people go bargain basement on the models, while several will charge a lot more per figure than other companies that will produce the physical object. An important thing to remember when considering price is to remember that when buying an STL, there is no limitation on how many copies you can print.

Another option for single purchase is keeping an eye on Kickstarter. Many 3D moidel sellers will start off with a Kickstarter run, often with a few extra goodies that won’t be available later. These Kickstarters are also often cheaper than they would be at retail, so if you want the entire thing, they can be great value for money. However, like with all Kickstarters, make sure you trust the people running it. A few STL files (including hopefully a free test one if you’re lucky) and some example prints are the bare minimum to look for.

Purchase them every Month!

The other way of buying STLs is to delve into the world of Patreon. For a monthly fee, you get a pack of models. Patreons usually have different levels, usually ranging from a single figure or taster pack at about £4 a month (+VAT), the complete release at around £7 – £8.50 a month (+VAT) and occasionally a premium package at £11.50 (+vat). All of these usually include a welcome pack, a few figures to whet the appetite for what you’re actually paying for.

Patreons vary in their contents – in some case it’s a different theme every month (Anvil Industries is the master of this, while still making them all work together thanks to their regiments system that came over from their resin range) while others slowly build up full ranges (Last Sword is slowly creating an alternative fantasy army range, including some glorious Elves while Turn Base is adding small packs of ultramodern figures).

I have… mixed feelings on Patreon bundles. In nearly every case, you are getting models for a steal (which can be seen when the models are re-sold in the store – Anvil charges £40 for bundles that are £11.50). However, this can play a little bit on fear of missing out, the worry about missing a good deal. You may also end up with a lot of crap you’ll never use if you don’t carefully keep an eye on what the Patreon is signed up for. But this can work both ways – maybe that random pack of Space Western parts might come in handy?

Preparing Models

So, you now have your file. What’s next?

Before you can start printing, you need to slice your STL files. Slicing is assembling the instructions that the 3D printer will use to actually set the resin and eventually produce the final product. However, there are a few other little elements to creating the slicing instructions.

But first of all, we need to talk about the program you’ll use. There are several options, but the most common is CHITUBOX. Much like anything, people will argue over the different variants, but CHITBOX is the one that Elegoo provides with the printer. It’s quite barebones and to the point – it’s whole aim is to get things working

Pre-Supported?

Some models are advertised as “Pre-Supported”. This usually means that the 3D file’s creator has deemed it should be able to be printed without any extra work from the user. Simply drag in, hit the slice button and save the file out.

Simple right?

Wrong.

This works like 10% of the time. It is one of my pet hates about 3D printing at the moment – people who see “pre-supported” “ready to print” or whatever and assume that no extra work is needed on their end. That haven’t realised that pre-supported assumes your printer has the correct settings.

Pre-supported varies from rock solid with barely any problems to a wing and prayer design to tick boxes. I find it best to assume pre-supported models are more of a… guideline. A starting point. A few people have managed to almost crack it, but there are plenty of other things to setup before it will just work.

Arrangment

If you have just a raw model file with no supports or optimisation then it’s time to get dirty. The first step is how best to arrange files on the print bed (the area shown as the rectangle above). It’s not just the actual positioning – it’s also the file rotation. The surface parallel with the print bed will be a little less detailed than the rest. A rough guide is to print figures at 30-45 degree rotation, although honestly there are plenty of people who print models standing up straight (as you can see above).

All3DP has an article talking about the how best to arrange items on the print bed. Although not 100% for printing miniatures, it’s a reasonable intro to all the concerns.

Supports

Assuming your model wasn’t pre-supported by the file creator, you’ll need to assemble the supports. These are elements used to help print overhangs in the model, reduce islands (unsupported areas to be printed) and generally giving more material to help keep items stable and strong. You can also create a “raft”, a large chunk of material that makes it easier to remove the finished model from the build plate without damaging it.

CHITUBOX has a very easy setup for adding supports, letting you auto-generate supports or add additional ones with a button press. As you can see above, the auto generate is not 100% perfect. But it does a reasonable job to begin with.

All3DP also has have a very interesting article explaining about supports, giving some advice on how best to use them.

Settings

No matter if your models are pre-supported or a random obj file pulled off the internet, once they are all setup you now have to choose the settings for your 3D printer. And this is the biggest pain in the ass of the whole thing.

You can get settings for different printers and resin combinations from most printer makers, even easier if you use the same brand for both. These settings are a good starting point but there are little things to tweak and look out for. Exposure times, lift speed, layer height and more – all of these variables will affect the end result.

I’m going to take a look at these in the next post (as well as some common flaws you might find based on these items being mis-set). But this screen will potentially be a familiar friend (or hated foe) when you need to get everything setup.

Slicing

Once your settings are sorted, it’s time to get slicing. Slicing turns a 3D model into layers of points. Each point is a location in space that is either inside the model or outside of it. This can then be used to create effectively a collection of images equal to each layer of the model. In the next post, we’ll talk again about how the process actually works and how these images are used.

This stage lets you preview those images (using the bar to see how the print progresses and do any final checks for islands that will automatically fail the print. Handily, it will also tell your a rough estimate of how much the print will cost in material as well as how long it will take. This time estimate is often incorrect but it’s a good rough idea, letting you see just how much using super tiny layers will affect how long it takes to get your model. Hitting spits out a ctb file, which can then be accessed by the printer and used to actually make the final thing.


At this stage, you’re all good to move your sliced file to your memory stick, put it in the printer and begin the process. Next time, we’ll cover what happens between the printing start and the final product hitting the table.

3D Printing – First Steps

I have been interested in 3D printing for quite a while. The concept of being able to make your own models has always interested me, but the traditional options (such as hand sculpting or resin casting) has always been out of reach, either through a lack of time to practise or from living in rented accommodation without space. However, with the rise of affordable resin printers and actually moving to a property that has multiple rooms, I decided that maybe now was the time to play around with something.

It has now been several months of playing around. Here are my thoughts and comments.

FDM vs Resin

The first step was picking the style of printer I was wanting to use. When most people think “3d printer” it’s the filament models that spring to mind. These things work from the floor up, depositing a layer of heated plastic before moving up and then applying another layer. The alternative is Resin. Instead of building right way up, resin printing works upside down, dipping the build plate into a tank of resin, using a UV lamp and LCD screen to set specific points before pulling it off the floor of the resin tank and advancing. Nerdtonic does a very good video showing the differences and I found it very helpful in understanding how the two systems work.

After doing some reading up, the way to go for miniatures printing (the stuff I’d focus on) is Resin. Layers are much harder to distinguish giving a smoother finish and giving you a better level of detail, ideal for printing figures for painting. Filament printers are not without their uses for wargamers though – they are much fast and can handle much larger models with fewer issues, so perfect for printing terrain without having to reassemble afterwards.

My Machines

So what did I get? In the end I went for the Elegoo Mars Pro resin printer and the Mercury Plus cleaning/curing station. These two devices are designed to work together, letting you easily transfer finished prints from the printer straight into the cleaning process with limited handling of the uncured resin.

The other reason for going for these devices were some of the features of the Mars Pro. It’s in a reasonable price range, the built-in airflow filter reduces the smell of resin fumes (vital for a rented property) and it’s not the most recent product so spare parts are available and experiences gained by the community. The newer Mars 2 Pro and Mars 2 swap the LCD panel used to cure the resin for a monochrome variant, increasing the speed of curing and extending its life span. There is also the Saturn which is the same basic device but bigger and with a few additional features (like networking). If I had waited a little bit, then maybe a monochrome device might have been a better option. However, I’m not needing such rapid production speeds that a mono provides – 3+ hours for a bed full of models isn’t too bad at the moment. If I was moving to small scale production (such as buying a merchant license) then I’d either need a mono or upgrade to multiple printers.

The Overall Experience So Far

I’m going to be a longer post going through things step by step (from sourcing models to painting up the finished product). But for now, this is my overall experience of 3D printing.

The biggest thing – 3D printing is exciting as hell and a great addition to the hobby, giving you access to more models and conversion pieces. But, it is a hobby all in itself. These devices are not quite consumer grade. There is a lot of fucking around to do with printers, dialling in settings to match your resin, printer and environmental settings all while trying to maximise quality and minimise wasted material.

I also think that, as part of this, support for these devices is mostly community driven. There are lots of Facebook groups filled with people offering advice and support to newcomers (as well as lots of newcomers who haven’t used a search tool before). If something then goes wrong, you don’t have a fix with 24 hours like you might have with other consumer electronics (unless you’re boxing the printer back up to return to the place you bought it from). With Elegoo and other 3D printer makers being based in China and Taiwan, any replacement parts above and beyond the usual bits (like LCD screens) will require air freighting in from across the world. I’ve found it to be incredibly frustrating when the devices go wrong.

I also think that we haven’t reached a point when models are 100% download and print with no issues. Even where models are listed as “Pre-supported” or “Ready to print”, what this means varies from company to company, with some needing you to adjust your resin settings (especially when using unusual supports). There is also a massive amount of variation in quality. Just because you can produce a 3D model that can be printed doesn’t make it a good model. I have lots of issues with models that have been posed in ways that are obvious that gravity hasn’t played a part in how the model actually looks. This isn’t an issue with 3d printing specifically (there are lots of CAD miniatures with the same flaws) but is definitely more common among the 101 patreons offering 3d models.

I appreciate this is a lot of doom and gloom but to roll back to first point. 3D Printing is exciting as hell. Custom parts up until recently required either extensive kitbashing/green stuff or hoping that someone else would make them. With a 3D printer, you can easily get your hands on STLs (the most common file format used to transmit models around) and print them off at a fraction of the cost of hunting down the exact bit. In addition, there is no concern about ruining an expensive part. Worst case, you spend a few pennies and reprint it. You can even do tweaks to it that would be much harder with real parts, such as flipping parts or merging STL files together

It’s also unlocked a greater variety of models and manufacturers. As someone who likes ultramodern wargaming, we’re never going to get the same level of support as Fantasy, Sci-fi or WW2. However, you can easily support a fringe genre of wargaming through 3D printing as the manufacturers doesn’t have to spend production money, other than making sure the models they have made actually print.

The final point is that you can get some really impressive models out of the resin printers now. A lot of people still think about the filament printers if you say the words “3D Printing” but after my first successful print I was blown away with what I managed to get from the Skull Forge models you see above. The quality does really depend on the model and getting the settings, and you’ll never match something like Games Workshop produces with an enthusiast grade 3D printer but you can get damn close especially if your painting style is like mine and doesn’t rely too heavily on the tiny surface details.


This is really a jumping off point for 3D printing. I’ll be doing more posts as I go along, especially looking

June 2021 Project Update

Jesus Christ, last month was one from hell. Sleep pattern gone to heck, generally feeling worn out and tired most of the time and all this in spite of having a week off at the start of it.

On the plus side, I got stabbed in the arm by some Pfizer so I’m hopefully on the way to actually playing games with people (as well as other hobbies outside). So swings and roundabouts.

Project 365

So you may notice that the graphs for this month has changed. As I mentioned in last month’s project Database, I’m now tracking terrain purchases and painting. This required some back end tweaks in the sheet I use to make the graphs and such, which meant I had to rebuild the graphs. On the plus side, terrain now counts when I’m working out my numbers.

Speaking of, lets see how I did last month.

Painted: 32

DescriptionMakerNumber
Chaos Godsworn HuntGW6
Darkoath WarqueenGW1
Darkoath ChieftainGW1
Kosgari Nightguard (Cursed City)GW2
Deadwalker Zombies (Cursed City)GW10
Ulfenwatch (Cursed City)GW10
Watch Captain Halgrim (Cursed City)GW1
Imperial DwarfLast Sword1

Purchased: 31

DescriptionMakerNumber
Escher GangersGW10
Escher Death MaidenGW2
Escher Wyld RunnersGW4
Escher PhelynxGW4
Escher ChampionGW1
Ammo-JackGW1
Dome RunnerGW1
Ylthari’s GuardiansGW4
Stormsire’s CursebreakersGW3
Imperial DwarfLast Sword1

We’ll get into the purchases below, but I’m really happy I managed to hit my goal of 31 models painted this month. Overall, I’m doing okay I think, keeping up with the target without the purchases going too far out of control.

Battered Brush 2021

Something that comes from having a whole bunch of wargaming friends in a different city means that I get dragged into some strange arrangements. In this point? Battered Brush 2021.

As the image above shows – 100 models, in 100 days. This is something similar to project 365 but just a little bit more focused in terms of days and model makers. I’ve been using this to get to work on all the GW figures I’ve been picking up, especially with the Cursed City box. I’m planning to keep working through GW stuff with one of two other items sneaked in (such as the Imperial Dwarf I painted this month).

At time of writing I am 29 days in with 30 models painted.

Project Database

Adding terrain to the database is still an ongoing process. I have a lot of more than I expected.

Another new element to the database I’ve added is a list of games. Partially so I can keep track of how often I actually use my models, but also a fun way of logging my hobby time. This required some database shenanigans (turns out storing lists of values in a database entry is a big no-no, in comparison to my more programmatic approach). Instead, there is a few more tricks to make the various tables link together. This is probably the final aspect of tracking the three parts of the hobby – Miniatures, Terrain and Games.

Project Fantasy

First up for Fantasy – Conversion work! When Cursed City had just been released (and I was unsure if I would get my copy) I picked up some bits from it (Namely the Human Captain and trio of Bloodborn Vampires). When I actually got my copy of Cursed City, that left me with some duplicates to assemble.

I still haven’t decided on that I’m doing with the Vampires, but after the arrival of the pair of Witch Hunters, I got inspiration. I decided to assemble the elder Van Denst as a dual pistol gunslinger which left me a pair of gloved hands with torch and sword. Combined with how the female captain goes together, the gloved hands would fit perfect with the style of the model. Combined with a head from the Stormcast head (complete with warrior braid) and some chopping/greenstuff work, I’ve managed to assemble a human captain I’m pretty excited about in a very commanding pose. The next step is to get her painted up, which I think I’ll do around the same time as the Van Densts and the Witch Hunter from Cursed City.

In terms of completed projects, we start first with the Chaos Barbarians. Made out of the Darkoath champions, Godsworn Hunt and the Ogroid Myrmidon I finished off last month, I’m mostly pretty damn happy with hwo they turned out. It’s a very different project for me – lots of exposed skin and naturalistic materials (leather and fur) rather than more processed materials.

I’ll go into more detail on them in a post, but the feature I think really worked was making sure each model had the clan colour (Red) and the Leader colour (Purple) so that they looked like a family clan that has joined with my other Chaos warriors.

However, my favourite project to finish this month was the skeletons from Cursed City.

I think I really like painting skeletons.

Blog post coming soon.

Not quite finished in time for this wrap up but I have also been working on the zombies from Cursed City. These guys were a complete 180 from the skeletons, with lots of a details to pick out and lots of colours to work through. I couldn’t batch paint them anywhere nearly as quickly as I usually manage but by the end managed to work out some techniques that I might be able to use going forward.

Big fantasy news for this month (even though it counts for July) was getting the Age of Sigmar Dominion box. Now, I’m not keeping it all – I’ve split it into three with two fellow hobbyists and will just be keeping my hands on the new Stormcast figures. I’m honestly surprised how excited I have been for the new Stormcast models. I will raise my hand and include myself among those people who found the original Liberators kind of… dumb. But, with the addition of the robes and armour design, they have become a much more dynamic and overall better looking version of the fantasy knight archetype. I also adore how GW has used the Stormcast to push a great diversity of characters and people. There are some fantastic heads in the new releases, perfect for letting you show a real mix of glorious warriors, rather than just more angry shouting bald men.

Yet somehow, despite not getting in Age of Sigmar (all these figures are going into Open Combat duels), you’re also going to see more Stormcast! After I’ve done cursed city, I’ll be working through my collection of armoured warriors and maybe even adding some of the upcoming releases such as the Vigilors and Vanquishers that were announced during the launch stream.

Project Necromunda

Funny thing about Dominion – it’s also kicked off another project.

During the run up to it’s release, my local wargames shop Leodis had several deals to sell off stock to make room for the new releases. One of these was the Hive War box for Necromunda. A few moments after I shared this news, one of my former uni-housemates appeared with a cunning temptation to split the box.

A few purchases later, and I’m building an Escher gang. Much like with the enforcers I made last year, I decided to go all in, getting as many options as possible so I can mix and match from the start. I’m still working on the theme for them, but I think a focus will be to make it colourful – I find myself often just focusing the effects of washes and dark colours, so making a group more vibrant.

Project 3D Printing

Remember this? Yeah, it’s been a little quiet. I still need to write up my blog detailing my initial thoughts on 3D printing – I’ve been pushing it back again and again until I was really in the mood to write it. Hopefully, that should be done soon with the bonus of six months of printing and playing around.

My first 3D printed Kickstarter has delivered – Dogs of War offered a good set of Imperial Mercenaries, perfect for any number of fantasy skirmish shenanigans. By which I mean Mordhiem style things. Overall, I’m really happy with the quality of these models, they definitely show off what the printer can do. On the other hand, less happy with how much fucking around there was to get them fully printed – there were about four batches of prints with a few minor issues on several models each time.

With the grumbling over however, I can now focus on other things. Like painting them.

And speaking of painting, here is the first 3d Printed model I have actually painted. This Imperial Dwarf is from Last Sword, a Spanish miniatures company currently working on units that strongly evoke Warhammer Fantasy’s Lizardmen, Chaos, Empire and High Elves (with elven vampires and other more unique units on the way). I’ve got a lot of thoughts on these patreons, which I’ll get into at some point but I think this one is definitely one that works for me personally.

This guy sits among the Welcome pack, a great model to get into their style. As someone needs some adventurers for upcoming campaign missions, this guy seemed pretty perfect. Printing was easy (unlike other Last Sword STLs which have some risky supports), painting even easier. I added some Frostgrave rope (rather than his shield) and a treasure chest from another Last Sword figure (an elven bard that mis-printed) but I’m happy with the final effect.

As well as joining the Patreon, I also went deep into their back catalogue and picked up most of their STLs. Among them were a really cool set of Golems. I had to do some repair work in Windows 3D Builder to get a good print, as well as adding supports. But the look of this guy gave me some really good ideas. I actually used the arm from a different golem, as well as a base I had prepared for another 3D printed model. This is definitely a model that I looked at and got really excited about, so keep your eyes open for when I actually finish this guy.


That’s it for this month’s update, I’ll see you in a month!

Adventures in Midgard – “Prologue”

Well it’s been quite a while – I started talking about Fantasy Skirmish way back in August 2018, with the purchase of Open Combat and the Frostgrave sprue. Fast forward almost 3 years and I FINALLY have put some fantasty figures on the table and played a game of them using Open Combat by Second Thunder

The idea behind this game was something a little simple, to get myself and my Dastardly Regular Opponent up to speed with the system and have fun over a couple of hours on a sunny day. Combine this with the Sword Masters expansion sitting on my desk and having been planning some Swashbuckling games with The Sister to introduce her to wargaming, well it was time to actually play something. And for the first time since September, actually rolling dice against someone else!


As you can see from the handy paper prepared by a friend of mine, The Swordmasters of the Empire (think a combination of diplomat, spy and assassin) have been sent off into the wilds to hunt down a group of cultists that have captured a nobleman from one of the Empire’s client states. These Cultists are from a group worshipping the undead, seeking to summon various undead creatures to go forward and attack the Empire itself.

The team of Swordmasters have managed to catch up with the Cultists just as they prepare their ritual to summon a Shadow Knight from behind the curtain of unlife. The ruined Chapel amongst the trees is a suitable place for such a ritual, and the cultists have gathered in numbers.

Here we have our group of Swordmaster, their horses left further up the road for purposes of sneaking up on their opponents. All of them were made using the Swashbucklers profile in the Sword Masters addon book, but I tweaked each to fit their characters better with a profile adjustment and a new ability.

From left to right

  • Benfrey Jochman – The oldest of the three Initiates into the ways of being a Swordmaster. He’s the tankiest of the three, used to taking hits in a bar brawl.
  • Alastair von Ferrumgard – One of the leaders of the Swordsmasters, an inspiring Tutor to the Juinior initiates. He has trained the other three and, although age has slowed him, he is still able to inspire his students.
  • Lacelle O’Dicca – A rising star within the Swordmaster, Lacelle has proven herself to be deadly with the blade and quick on her feet.
  • Zorros Colvieri – The son of another Swordmaster, Zorros is… an asshole. Delighting in taunting his rivals, he also wears a suitable extravagant hat and cloak (and yes, these are items in the rule set).

All of them also have sword fighting skills like Lunge, Parry and Riposte which lets them do all sorts of things you’d expect from a group of heroes ala The Musketeers.

Zorros start off the plan by doing what he does best – distracting the enemy by making a lot of noise and standing out in the open, Taunting his opponent to lure them out of positions. However, as good as his skills were, the cultists were still wary.

Of course, Zorros hadn’t expected one of the cultists to step forward and pull his hood back to reveal a grinning skull! Turns out the cultists already had two undead servants, able to Intimidate our heroes to reduce their courage. This reveal may have shocked Zorros for a moment but he quickly continued his part of the plan, calling out the cultists and luring the guardians towards him.

Meanwhile, the other Swordmasters crept into position nearby, ready to sneak into try and disturb the ritual.

Of course, the Swordmasters hadn’t expect the cultists to have brought bows with them. As Zorros continued to heckle the guardians closer, one of the archers pulled his bow string and let loose. The arrow struck home, wounding the flamboyant Swordmaster.

Who responded by leaping upon the nearest piece of cover, insulting the cultists and dragging them closer to him.

Eager for the fight, the cultists joined in.

On the other side, Lacelle crept forward, planning to outflank the archers. However, the other skeleton warrior spotted her, revealing his frightening facade to her and causing a sense of dread in her. No one had mentioned there would be skeletons!

Despite their personal difference, Jochman considers it unwise to leave Zorros alone, and so creeps into position.

Pushing past her fear, and leaving Alastair to deal with the Skeleton, Lacelle instead climbed the wall, preparing to sneak up on one of the archers too focused on their ally.

Speaking of which, Jochman decided to take a more direct approach to assist Zorros. While the fight stood atop the barrels lunging forward to land strikes on his opponents, Jochman came barrelling in, trapping the Cultist Guardian between his and Zorro’s assaults

(Rules note: Landing a solid hit pushes a figure backwards, but if they can’t actually move the full distance they take an extra wound)

Very quickly, the skill of the two fighters took out the first of the cultists.

With a shout, Lavelle also managed to land a solid hit. As well as stabbing the archer, the battle pushed him off the top of the ruins and, with a cry, he fell to the floor, sustain almost enough damage to kill him. Almost.

While his younger colleagues got into the main fight, Alastair squared up against the skeleton… and entered into a multi-turn duel that had them moving back and forth like it was a fencing match.

With a cry, Zorros lept down from his cover and quickly finished off the other skeleton with a fancy set of sword fighting moves that pulled the undead creature apart.

In contrast, Jochman simply took a single strike to bring down his foe, before turning to hunt down a new target.

One of the archers, having just recovered from a fall off the ruins and starting to dust himself off, was surprised to see a very angry Swordmaster in black sprinting across the field towards him.

Meanwhile, Lacelle, seeing that the ritual was reaching a high point, decided that enough was enough and now was the time for drastic action. Running to the edge of the ruins, she dived towards to the Cult Leader…

Failed. Terribly. Landing short, she managed to attract the attention of the cult leader who turned around and, as all swashbuckling films tell us villains do, began to monologue.

Alastair, after several turns of back and forth with his skeletal rival, finally managed to land a killing blow.

Meanwhile, filled with revenge for the arrow that pierced his cloak, Zorros proceeded to run towards the archer. Sadly, an attempt to throw his hat (to distract the archer) ended with it fluttering gently towards the ground.

At the same time, Jochman also finished off the downed archer, knocking him down with a shoulder charge before rushing past to….

Come to the aid of Lacelle! Jochman interrupted the crazed rambling of the cult leader, giving time for O’Dicca to quickly recover and leap to her feet.

Now outnumbered, and with Alastair joining the fight too, the Cult Leader did the only thing sensible. Turning around to the captive and finishing the ritual, he slayed the Siccarian noble.

With a terrifying hiss and a sudden fog, the crumpled corpse of the nobleman was replaced with a Shadow Knight, a terrifying creature of undead bones and metal. With more attack, defence and fortitude than any other figures on the board, this would be a challenge.

Now, what the cult leader hadn’t realised it that Shadow Knight obeys no masters. So, when he attempted to order it around, it instead went and knocked a chunk out of his fortitude.

Facing such a betrayal, and unwilling to hang around to see who won between the Swordmasters and the horrible creature, he instead managed to disengage and flee the battlefield. Perhaps we’ll see him again?

Back in the centre of the battlefield, the three Swordmasters now engaged the horror from beyond space and time. Despite losing some mind to the Intimation of a such a monster, and wounds from it’s sweeping sword strikes, the Swordmasters managed to get in a good few hits…

And eventually, with one final rasping hiss, the Shadow Knight was defeated!

With only one model left, Zorros decided to end the battle with a final taunt. Finally, after a game of partial successes, he managed to fully succeed drawing the evil archer forward. In his rage, he failed to see that the platform ended where he stepped, leaving him to fall down and lose his final point of fortitude.


Well that was a pretty awesome game! I think Open Combat is a really great little system – it’s a quite simple core setup, using only D6s with a very small number of modifiers. In terms of play, it’s light enough that you can pick it up quickly but not too light that it feels simply like an excuse to roll dice with a beer or two – there are still plenty of tactical challenges and actions to consider. There is also so much you can play around with in the system, making it perfect for setting up a wide variety of characters to play around with, with various abilities, skills and weapons to let you create anything, especially with the Sword Masters add-on to include that final few touches.

You will be seeing a lot more of Open Combat in the future. I still want to try out Warcry properly (as well as other games) but Open Combat has (after this first game) definitely fit the niche I was want of some rules sit behind the narrative I’m wanting to write with my games. Not sure when the next game I play will be, but you’ll know for sure when it goes up!

May 2021 Project Update

Welcome to June! May was busy and so I ended up…

Wait. That picture seems… different to last month. Something is off. It’s almost tidy.

Oh yeah – I upgraded my office/hobby room with a new piece of furniture. I’m probably going to do a little thing on it (mostly because I love it) but it’s an Eket setup to give me a little more storage space.

Project 365

So lets take a look at the numbers for May.

Painted: 30

DescriptionMakerNumber
British InfantryEmpress19
Pulp AgentWargames Illustrated1
SwashbucklerWargames Foundry2
Ogroid MyrmidonGW1
Warcry Catacombs TerrainGW7

Purchased: 6

DescriptionMakerNumber
Dark Elf ShadowbladeGW1
Dark Elf SorceressGW1
Undead Vampire LordGW1
Galen ven DenstGW1
Doralia ven DenstGW1
Warsong RevenantGW1

Well good news! I painted more than I bought (by a fair chunk). I missed my goal by 1 (and more until I did my terrain painting on Monday night). On the other hand, the month was quite busy for work, I had some pretty bad brain days which made painting hard to do and A LOT of time was spent assembling models (thanks to Cursed City).

PROJECT Database

And so, having painted some terrain for a game, I have triggered a trap in my work. To make sure my data is correct, I now need to add all of my terrain to the database to bring the overall number of items up to the correct level, letting my overall completion percentage actually be accurate.

I’m setting up another table in the database and will start filling it with all the various items. The main problem with terrain vs miniatures is going to be cataloguing it, tying an entry in the database to the actual item. Part of me is tempted to start assembling asset tags to stick to the bottom of them, although I fear that may be a step too far.

PROJECT FANTASY

Although the painting numbers aren’t the highest, I think the main focus this month was fantasy. This is because there has been a lot of assembly this month, both starting from scratch but also finishing off some partial assemblies that have been sat around.

First up we have the entirety of Cursed City. 50 models and 10 tokens is a pretty hefty addition, and took me a while to build and then undercoat. These are going to be painted up as part of the Battered Brush challenge Games Workshop York is running in June (which due to the Dastardly Regular Opponent being based there is going to drag me in to it).

I actually have some duplicate models to assemble as well, three of the posing vampires and the heroic captain. I’m still debating my exact plans for how to assemble them, but I’m thinking of some weapon swaps for the vampires (using some Elven weapons I have) while the Captain might get a headswap and weapon tweak.

As part of my tidying up, I bit the bullet and finished off my Chaos Lord’s assembly. This required an evening of green-stuffing fun to rebuild a hand at the join between the arm and the Keeper of Secrets spear I was using. After originally doing it with way too much greenstuff (so that it looked like it had swollen up) I had to frantically trim big chunks of it away as it started to set. However, now that it’s been done and undercoated, I’m really happy with how it’s turned out. More pictures of the process once I finish him off.

And speaking of green stuffing, I also finished off building my Keeper of Secrets. From the start, I’ve always declared how much I dislike the crab claws. As I was building her as a Warrior Queen turned Greater Demon, I wanted to use weapons on all four arms. this required a little bit of cutting and green stuffing repair work to the arms, covering up the joins between the hand and the crab claw wrist. I had planned to be a little bit more experimental, bringing the shield a little closer to the body. However, when I got round to actually assembling, I decided not to risk it; the default pose is perfectly suited for the pose of the giant warrior creature casually advancing on her opponent. The model is now undercoated and at some point, I’ll get round to painting her.

The final bit of assembly and mod work for this month was the Soulblight Vampire Lord. I adore this model but I thought the bats in the hair were a little over the top. It was also confirmed when, upon assembling the model, I realised the larger base was only need to make sure the bats in hair actually fitted. Wanting this lord to fit with the Crimson Court band I got last month, I decided to give her a haircut – of course, this required me to then add some tips to the hair. My first few attempt was purely green stuff (as you can see above) but I could get the detail I wanted. Because of this, I decided to instead use some donor parts from some left over Dark Elf pieces, giving me the sharp points and meaning I only had to fill in the gaps with liquid green stuff. Now she’s undercoated, I’m really happy with her. You’ll see the results once I get to painting my vampires.

Now for painting, I finally took a look at my Swashbucklers. Getting the first two painted up as a test, I’m really happy with the models, perfectly suited for what I have in mind for the Swordmasters in my setting. I am looking forward to getting the rest painted up and ready to be used in games moving forward.

The other fantasy painting was the Ogroid Myrmidon. This, I believe, is the single largest model I’ve painted so far. He’s a glorious model, a Minotaur like creature with shield and spear that towers over it’s opponents. It took me a couple of days to paint him up, but I love how he looks and I’m really excited to get him on the table. More details and photos once I finish the rest of my half naked Chaos followers.

And yes! Terrain! During my week off (which I’m currently on) I decided to arrange a game with the Dastardly Regular Opponent so we could roll some dice. I’ll talk about all the joys of Open Combat (the ruleset we used) in the battle report but more importantly, OH MAN, it’s nice having painted terrain to play over it. As much as I dislike how much time it takes and how much it murders my paint brushes with slapping paint all over it (not helped by my brain preferring to work from a black undercoat) but on the plus side, I really like how it’s turned out. Now I just have to work on the rest…

Uh oh.

PROJECT WW2

Offt okay. So I am very close to finishing off my Brits but man it’s a bit of a slog. I don’t know if it was just this month or if I’m getting bored of painting green and brown but it was hard work kicking my way through the rest of the figures.

That said, I did rather enjoy converting and assembling my sneaky recce boys. I really like the camp comforter look and, with several duplicate figures, I decided to make some special figures. As well as the green-stuff’d cap, I also painted their faces with black contrast to tone it down and look like it had been blackened prior to some sneaky business.

As well as the recce boys, I also finished off a few extra riflemen, a pair of prone support teams (giving me an extra PIAT and Bren gun), the spotters for my Vickers guns, four SMG soldiers and Agent Carter. This is the Wargames Illustrated “Pulp Agent” but lets be fair, it’s obvious who it is. I’m… Not Really a fan of this model. It’s definitely a much more heroic/pulp figure, with different proportions that don’t quite fit my painting style. I would definitely love a version of this character with the same style as the Paul Hicks Brits, but for now she’ll work as a little bit of fun.

In terms of the project, I now have two vickers machine guns, two radio teams and a platoon of Churchills to do to finish off the projects. With lockdown easing, it’s likely that soon my British will be clashing with Germans under the control of the Dastardly/Creative Regular opponents.


That’s it for this month’s update, I’ll see you in a month!

Fantasy – The Disciples (Chaos Warriors)

“Taking their time down there aren’t they?”

The rough voice of the Northman Halfgar barked out, his grinning face looking around the group of warriors that stood among the scattered rocks and broken ruins of the entrance to the despoiled tomb. Rubbing the back of his hand on the rough stubble on his face, he continued, “Probably been killed by a tomb wraith or something. Or torn apart by skeletons. Maybe the Templars trapped them down there, hurr hurr” He chuckle again to himself, running a worn finger over the edge of his axe-head, his eyes jumping between his comrades

The other warriors, for the most part, just attempted to ignore him. Instead they focused on their own tasks. Wulf was busy preparing the fire, the former flame cultist staring directly into it as if looking for meaning in the flickering lights. The rest stood in formation around the cave entrance, looming over the rocks like a collection of statues placed among them, sentinels from a past time.

Halfgar’s laugh was only interrupted when one of the other warriors pulled off their helmet, revealing close cropped hair and an angry scowl. “Give it a rest Halfgar you swine. We all know you’re angling to take over, replace Rhazgra and become our lord’s Seneschal although somehow I doubt your idiot ambition would stop there.” The red haired woman smiled, pushing up the golden ring through her nose so it shined in the weak morning sunshine coming in over the top of the mountains. “Either stop being a coward and challenge her, or shut up and save us all hearing your voice. It sounds too much like goats rutting.”

He fixed her with a glare before cracking a smile revealing the tombstone like teeth in the front of his mouth. “Easy for you to say, Zorath, you’re all buddy buddy with one of her cronies. Bet you’re more than happy to let Arkfel wrap you in that stinking beast skin when we camp, snuggle alongside him to stay warm, hurr hurr”. He began to laugh harder, a hacking rumbling laugh, which only intensified once Zorath got to her feet with a look of rage in her eyes.

This time the laugh ended much faster, the sound of an armoured hand smacking the back of Halfgar’s head. He moved, a snarl in his throat about to turn into words when suddenly he found himself looking into a skull mask staring back at him. Dark eyes glared out of the eye sockets at him, daring him to respond before the dull low tone of Kazsour the Embalmer started to speak, echoing out from behind his death mask.

“Halfgar, son of Horath, your comments towards your comrades bring much dissent, breaking the common bonds of warriors that bind us together. Your repeated insults to your leader bring you shame. It would be wise to hold your tongue.” The stare he fixed Halfgar with continued until the younger warrior looked down, all trace of the arrogant smirk now gone.

Kazour hefted the warhammer onto his shoulder, looking around over the mountains. The others bowed their heads to him slightly – Kazour had been a warrior longer than many of them had been alive, a rarity in the warriors. After the battle was done, it was he who would collect the dead for final rites, preparing them to go into the great beyond. Even Rhazgra, their leader, knew to take his advice – she would always bring him into council meetings with her, a calming presence against the manic rage of the Herald and the overpowering command of their Lord.

“We are our Lord’s Disciples, his followers into war. From his commands, we follow The Seneschal. This task we have been given, will bring us great favour with our Lord and his Patron. Now, prepare yourself – the enemy is close and we must prepare to defend for as long as The Seneschal and our brothers needs us to.”

I’ve written about my first lot of Chaos Warriors (the Underworlds Warband) in a previous post. For me, that group was always going to be the introduction into painting a full force of the heavily armoured icons for skirmish games. That first post includes my screed on why the Chaos Warriors are so awesome and so I’ll not reprint it here. The main focus in this post is talking about the models I finished off, which can split into two groups, the New and the Old.

Soon after picking up the Underworlds Warband, I started looking for how to expand. There are two sets of Chaos Warriors available. The main box is the classic plastic set, with models that have been in circulation long enough for them to still be the primary way of getting your hands on the heavily armoured fridges. I’ll detail more on them later.

The other set are a small number of models that were included in the Start Collecting box for Slaves to Darkness. Being much newer, these are less focused on the ability to rank up (Age of Sigmar having become a much more skirmish-y game than Warhammer every was) but are still incredibly easy to assemble. In fact, these models are push fit assembly, not even requiring glue. They are also incredibly dynamic, covered in details and might be some of my favourite troop models from Games Workshop.

In terms of assembly, the only option you have are picking is heads – everyone is armed with a hand weapon and shield combo either in hand or slung over their back. There are two heads for each model – one with a helmet and one without. I’m really impressed with the variation of both options – there is a nice mix of helmet styles and different facial features. Now, I’m kind of make it a goal to become slightly better at painting faces – the good old “flesh tone + wash” is fine for bulk armies such as my WW2 British or my moderns but for more character focused games, it makes sense to make the people look like heroes rather than line troopers. For this reason I did a few extra figures with exposed heads, rather than going purely for the faceless bad guy look.

I’ll cover painting in a second because…


Upon hearing that I was working on some Chaos Warriors, my Dastardly Regular opponent decided to throw a spanner at my ratio and dug out this box of Chaos Warriors that were buried in his shed. No, literally buried, I watched him dig through the piles of stuff to get them out. The sprue was pre-owned but only missing a single body, giving me an additional 11 warriors for the war band. The box design also gave me a vague clue to the age, as I remember visiting the Games Workshop in Exeter while on a family holiday in my childhood and being dragged away from a box very similar to this. And that was back around 2003.

Now, these old Warriors are absolute classics. In contrast to their newer Age of Sigmar brethren, they are much more static looking figures, with the entire unit sharing the same pose. You get a nice selection of heads, the ability to choose between dual weapons and hand weapon + shield combo as well as pieces for a champion, standard bearer and musician (from back in the olden days).

I ended up assembling them with shields and hand weapons (to match their more modern brethren). I also skipped out on the banner bearer and musician, they aren’t hugely useful in the skirmish games I’ll use them for). However, I did use the champion head and the skull face mask – they seem ideal to break up the group, especially the skull. As you can see in the start, the combination of the skull and warhammer is the starting point for a cool character idea.


For both sets of models, I went with the same paint scheme I used on my underworld figures. The Lead Belcher + Black Contrast works really well for getting the pitch black armour while the purple of the cloaks nicely offsets it. The actual scheme is quite fast to get onto the model, taking full advantage of wolf furs and washes to get everyone done. With the bare heads, it was fun painting the actual features, using the Contrast paints and then lightly highlighting to get the detailed look. I’m honeswtly impressed overall

With these Chaos Warriors done, a big chunk of my Chaos force is done. I did start looking at the Chaos Knights, but did not have a good time painting the horses. There are a lot of details hidden away that still need touching up. I’ve also been distracted by other things, but I think I might paint up the various Chaos warbands (such as the Scions of the Flame and the Godsworn Hunt/Darkoath figures) before coming back to the heavy armour.

April 2021 Project Update

Welcome to May! April was a pretty successful month for getting stuff done but oh boy do I have some cool stuff to get to work on, as well as it murdering my ratio!

Project 365

First up, lets take a look at the numbers and oh god…

Painted: 39

DescriptionMakerNumber
T-62Tiny Terrain2
BMP-1Spectre1
Chaos WarriorsGW10
Chaos Warriors (Old)GW11
StormcastGW3
Insurgent PMCSpectre10
Insurgent PMC (Undercover)Spectre2

Purchased: 106

DescriptionMakerNumber
Witch Aelves (Underworld)GW5
Insurgent PMCSpectre10
Insurgent PMC (Undercover)Spectre2
Stormcast HeroesGW3
Stormcast SequitorGW10
Stormcast EvovatorGW5
Ogroid MyrmidonGW1
Ogroid ThaumaturgeGW1
Crimson Court (Underworld)GW4
Cursed City – HeroesGW8
Cursed City – VillainsGW42
Vyrkos Blood-BornGW3
Emelda BraskovGW1
Chaos Warriors (Old)GW11

Well in good news, I continued to exceed my target of 31 models a month painted. I also managed to prevent figures dropping into the shame pile by getting the Insurgent PMC and the Chaos Warriors done.

So as I predicted last month, the release of Crimson Court and Cursed City bumped up my purchased to a ridiculous level, not helped by a sudden project appearing in my mind (more details below). Looking at the numbers from this, I’m going to hold off on picking up anything for the next month or two. I already have plenty of things to work on, especially with the addition of a boxed game I can play with my sister. Looking forward, there are a few things I’m very interested coming up (such as the recently previewed Witch Hunters or whatever Spectre is working on), so I’ll be saving my hobby purchases for them. Until then, the goal is getting the stuff I’ve purchased painted up.

PROJECT FANTASY

I have spent a lot of time this month painting boys and girls in black armour. After my experiment with the Underworld warband last month, this month I decided to get to work on the main line troops. It was a great bit of experience, a very nice change from the painting style of the WW2 figures I had been working on. I’m also really enjoying just how useful Black Contrast paint is, even though I’m not using it for it’s original purpose. Painting it over metal to do the black armour meant it took a fraction of the time and saved me a lot of extra work. I also made sure to do a fair number of guys with bare heads, just a little more practise with painting facial features.

Of course, just after I finished the first set, my Dastardly Regular Opponent (while we were having a social distanced BBQ) decided to add some extra bad guys to the pile by gifting me a box of the old Chaos Warriors (complete with brown box). These took a little bit of work and cleanup to get ready (and there are still gaps I only noticed when I started painting) but they are still that gloriously iconic look, the looming metal black slowly marching forward. It was also fun putting the same scheme on the older figure, you really see how the level of detail has improved in the sculpts as well as just the general quality.

Oh boy, and then Cursed City. This was some real Games Workshop shenanigans. As impressive as it was seeing them continuing their aggressive release schedule, the experience of actually ordering it was a nightmare. My local wargames shop was out of stock before the pre-orders even went up and my second choice put me onto a future wave list. Even then, I didn’t know if I would even get it until I had the dispatch email. I was actually thinking it was almost time to cancel my pre-order, assuming that I wouldn’t be seeing any sign of it. In fact, I even managed to order the models I really wanted separately just in case I missed out on them. But luckily, I got the email and then the box through the door the following day.

With Cursed City’s arrival, getting the Crimson Court undercoated and the upcoming release of the Soulblight Gravelords later this year, I’m really falling in love with Games Workshop’s undead models. Age of Sigmar has definitely become much more interesting over the last few years, and the reccent releases keep giving out models I’m really interested in. Plus, zombies, skeletons and more are perfect for games like Frostgrave or other fantasy skirmish things, and you can never have enough zombies.

Of course, the vampires aren’t the only set of fantasy figures I’m eyeing up. At the end of last month, I mentioned taking a look at painting up the easy build Sequitors in a more realistic method. As you can see, they came out rather well. These three look like some hardcore templars. now, Having painted these, and spotting that Leodis had more models in stock…

I picked up a few things. The Evocators and Sequitors are the exact look I’ve been wanting, and raising up to squads means I have plenty of people to assemble in the different loadouts each squad can prepare. Despite having enough troops to form a small army for AoS, these guys are not going to end up filling boards. Instead, they are all designed for Warcry. I really like all the small skirmish games, mostly because you get to make each figure a real character. I’m looking forward to continuing the fun I had with the trio of Sequitors above.

And as my friends continue to point out, I now have four factions worth of Age of Sigmar (Stormcast, Daughters of Khaine, Undead and Chaos), something pretty amusing having only really got into it last year.

PROJECT WW2

I took a little break from my WW2 British platoon to work on fantasy stuff and now I’m back and ready to finish off the final tray of WW2 Brits (23 in total). Once done, I’ll just need to spray up the platoon of Churchill tanks and my first WW2 force would be done.

Of course, there is another reason for wanting to get these guys done. As you can see above, Mr Hicks (the sculptor for this range) has completed work on a 3inch Mortar team to go with the existing figures, showing off a great mix of the different clothing styles one might encounter. This is probably a sign we’re about to see another set of releases for the Late-War British. As you may have worked out from my repeated ramblings, I’m very excited for a 6pdr crew to go with the rest of my force. But at the same time, the soft spot I have for the troops in greatcoats means that I might potentionally be interested in expanding my British force to another platoon, which can be combined with my tanks. However, I wouldn’t dream of starting this until I’ve finished off my current collection and got to the stage I can actually get some games in.

PROJECT MODERNS

End of the month, I took a look in my drawers and realised I had a pile of ultramodern vehicles that just needed the final touches applying to them. Again, this a case of using the Black Contrast paint and being amazed at the usefulness of it. Black Contrast over tan for the tracks and guns does the job of highlighting, only needing a final tan drybrush after the wash to look great. I also made sure to mop the wash off carefully, rather than letting it pool too much. Finally, arabic-indic numerals on the turret side helps to mark the vehicles individually.

I also have a few more vehicles to paint up, including a technical with a bed full of guns. Expect to see them at the end of next month when I’m looking for things easy to finish again.

Little update – Anthalonica Miniatures just finished their Kickstarter. I decided to go in for the ever useful PMC squad, a set of figures that have a habit of turning up anywhere. These guys should be out in August, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they turnout.

Photo by Richard Fry, https://www.facebook.com/groups/628206883900507/permalink/3941035905950905/

Perhaps more exciting, I’ve been inspired by some of the work coming from the Modern Miniature Warfare group. These are the Sarissa Alamo buildings that were kickstarted last year before being released as a general product at the start of this year, painted up by Richard Fry as modern compound buildings. Seeing them painted up and ready to game over got me thinking about the pile of buildings I have assembled.

Here are mine. Now, after playing around with the layout with what I had, I started getting a few ideas about what I could do with them. With a few more extra buildings and terrain tiles for more open spaces, I might be able to get a 4ft x 4ft board together for a CQB maze. This would be ideal for a quick demo game, something I haven’t run since Operation Dragon’s Hoard in 2018.

Expect to see some pictures of this as I get work on them – this will be the first step in getting my MDF terrain all textured and painted.


That’s it for this month’s update, I’ll see you in a month!

Impressions: Spectre’s PMC Insurgents

After the drought of last year (a combination of many mostly obvious factors), Spectre is back with a second release of this year, bringing out a rather high tech (and better trained) set of additions to the Insurgent range. These guys are inspired by a collection of groups that have sprung up around the War on Terror, such as Malhama Tactical or the Taliban’s Red Group – high trained veterans outfitted with more modern kit either purchased online or recovered from better equipped fighting groups.

Similar to the Delta release earlier this year, the set is split into a squad pack and supports. What is new is that some of the supports are of a different style of character, expanding the undercover range further.

As with the Delta figures released earlier this year, these figures are in the new design that Spectre seems to be working with – 3D sculpted and multi-part. Although there was some concerns about the scaling of the Delta models compared to the existing Spectre miniatures, these models are much closer to regular guys – turns out the Delta were just some big old corn fed American boys.

Packing and assembly is of a similar standard to the Delta as well. The move to multi-part has meant a massive decrease in the amount of broken barrels or just overall bent pieces that need fixing. In the squad box, each figure came wrapped in their baggy, so you don’t end up with a pile of arms and a pile of bodies to play jigsaw until you find the matching pair. Unless you really want to, that is.

Fit of the multi-part models is also better than the Deltas. I didn’t have to do any work with liquid green stuff. Additionally, thanks to the setup there was not quite the same level of miscast thin stocks that I had with the MCXs of the Deltas. Only one part had a bit of material missing, but it was able to be assembled with no issues.

And there we have one of the model fresh out the box. As you can see, there is a lovely texture to the metal, nice and smooth, easily showing the detail off. I only had a tiny amount of flash to clean off the models.

There will be more detail on this guy later but I adored this model when I pulled him out the box. This guy comes as a single piece of metal and is gloriously detailed.


So lets take a look at what the range actually includes, especially after I finish painting it up. The squad pack is made up of six Insurgent Operators. They are all equipped with body armour, ballistic helmets with NVG mounts, gloves, balaclavas and sturdy boots. If this sounds like most of the Task Force Operators from Spectre, they you’re right – these guys are pretty well equipped. A nice detail is that a lot of it is older gen – the kneepads are separate rather than integrated into the BDUs, the helmets leaning more MICH style than the latest and greats FAST helmets. There are also a few of them with shemaghs/longer scarves – not quite full on tactical capes but definitely long enough to hide some gear.

Weapon wise, the team is carrying some pretty modern assault rifles, all from NATO countries. Four of the team are armed with G36Cs, the stocks swapped out for the more modern IdZ style and with Angled Foregrips, while the other two have the FN 2000. All the guns are suppressed, mounting force multipliers such laser designators and optics. Most have Eotech style holographic sights (red dots in the rules) but one of the G36 wielders has a thermal optic, ideal for putting the odds in their favour.

The rear of these models show off a few more touches of detail to the models, the classic molle look to the back of the vest, as well as the collection of pouches you might expect to see from operators with plenty of gear to store. As the Spectre guys mentioned on the site, these guys are going to be equipped much the same as their Western counterparts, with kit like medical gear and various grenade types. Not quite so fun for the operators when they get flashbanged is it!

Of course, every squad needs some support options, both to bring them up full squad numbers and add some force multiplication. The first three match the rest of the squad, giving you a PKP gunner, an RPG gunner (complete with MP5 as a side arm) and a squad leader/commander with a P90. This lets you bring the squad up to 9 models (ideal for a US Army inspired squad layout) but also gives you access to some additional force multipliers – the medium machine gun for suppression, an RPG for anti-armour/counter-fortification fire and the radio comms of the Commander to give you a connection point to off board assets.

Honestly, though, my favourite model has to be the sniper. There are just enough hints to tie him to the rest of the main squad, with the chest rig, boots and helmet poking out of the shroud, but he has gone to town on the camouflage. Covered in thermal camo defeating sheets, set up on the wall, he’s a fantastic little model. Additionally, he comes with something bearing the classic muzzle break and magazine size that tells me there is a semi-auto Barrett hidden under there. I am already planning to put him on the field for the Skirmish Sangin Sniper Hunt scenario.

Regarding paint scheme, I decided to paint these guys up as part of the Special Forces of Bazistan, my fictional Middle Eastern country (that will still be part of my custom setting). While the regular forces of Bazistan make do with US three colour desert, the SF guys (thanks to one of the Royal Family’s patronage) get to use Desert MARPAT. As well as the colours on the uniform, I also decided to apply each colour of the camouflage to the helmet in the same order, giving them a dappled look I’m really impressed with.

So, the paint list:

  • Undercoat – Black
  • MARPAT Camo
    • Base Layer – Vallejo Deck Tan
    • Camo 1 – Vallejo English Uniform
    • Camo 2 – Vallejo Medium Grey
    • Camo 3 – Vallejo German Camo Beige
  • Webbing/Kneepad – Vallejo US Field Drab
  • Shemagh – Vallejo Iraqi Sand
  • Boots – Vallejo Burnt Umber
  • Gloves/Balaclava/Commander Rucksack – Vallejo US Dark Green
  • Glasses – Vallejo Basalt Grey
  • Weapons – Citadel Black Templar Contrast, Drybrush of Vallejo Iraqi Sand
    • Attachments – Vallejo US Field Drab

Of course, not every addition to the range is full overt. There were two additional figures added that would be perfect on a less Overt battlefield. These two undercover operators are in civilian clothing with rucksacks (probably full of gear for breaking/entering/causing mayhem) while carrying smaller, more easily hidden SMGs. I always like the Skorpion machine pistol but the Uzi Pro is a cool addition to the range, giving a concealable weapon that still mounts things like red dots.

As well as supporting the Insurgent PMC, these undercover operators would also look pretty great alongside a few other figures in the Spectre range. They are really close to the Cartel Siccarios (with the facemasks and hoodies) and the mix of weapons wouldn’t look too far out of place. They would also look pretty good alongside the GRU low profile operators as well or maybe even the ones leading a FSB kill team (before getting the hell out of the way of those high calibre rifles).


Overall, I’m really happy with this release. It’s showing off another side of the irregular forces you wouldn’t see, as well as providing some useful figures for a whole host of potential forces. I’m really excited to get these guys on the board, especially in a battle that might pit some near tier forces up against each other – a nice change from the Elites wiping the board.

In terms of the overall “health” of the Spectre range, this is another great release from the new “era” of Spectre. The multi-part models are much more resistant to damage in transit, while still letting you have the detail. The new casters continue to provide high quality models which always help. Perhaps the only thing left to see is how quickly the stock levels can be replenished – these models are back on pre-order, so there maybe some wait if you want some of your own.