Archive for Spacelords

Something old, something new

Posted in Blather, Minis, Nostalgia with tags , , , on July 13, 2010 by stingersix

My longtime gaming rival and good buddy Bruce (aka Weevil, aka Scum Being, aka Frothing Loon) sent me an ancient Metal Magic Spacelords miniature he’s had knocking around some old box in his closet. This is awesome and very cool of Bruce (we often used to just give each other curious minis from the bottom of the forgotten minis box).

Anyway, this particular mini is, according to The Stuff of Legends, a Phagon Walker “Sunburst” Mk III (the linked image is not the exact same model though – I have C3291c).

It’s hard to tell but it may have been made in Germany circa 1989 (?). It found its way to Games of Berkeley where it sat for who-knows-how-long until Bruce bought it, 10 years ago he says. Finally Bruce sent it to me from Japan last week, so this thing has gotten around! And it’s made of lead! Awesome! Thanks Bruce!

In the blister pack

All parts. I have an urge to do some crazy red or orange color scheme on this!

And something new. The Lab Technician from Hasselfree, which I plan to use in our Stargrunt bug hunt game.

I love this guy's droopy look. How long will he last before the bugs eat him I wonder?

Stargrunt Battle Chronicle

Posted in Battle Report, Games with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 12, 2010 by stingersix

I’ve made a list of all the Stargrunt battles we’ve played. Looking at them this way, you can see the story that is emerging from our games.

We’ve created a setting for our games that all the players have contributed to. Each of us has made a few factions, building and incorporating ideas from each other into the background. The big conflict is the one between the United Democratic Socialist Systems, an alliance of star systems that have broken away from the yoke of corporate oppression and Old Terra national entities, and the Interstellar Corporate Commission a huge conglomeration of colonial interests funded by Earth’s mega-corporations.

But there are other things going that we haven’t even touched on yet – pirates, frontier skirmishes, territorial power grabs, the death throes of old Terran national blocs, local civil wars. It’s a big setting and there is still lots of stuff we can do!

Here’s a list of all the SG battle reports that I have, in the order the games were played. Some are posts on TMP, with links to pics on Flickr, others are links to my minis blog.

For our very first game, my opponent Jonathan and I did a simple platoon vs. platoon fight to learn the rules. Minis are Pig Iron Heavy Infantry and FASA VOR Union (now available through Ironwind).

This was our second game. UDSS Militia vs. CEU Panzergrenadiers. It was a quick assault scenario and we tried out the sniper rules, which in SG are pretty interesting. Minis are Pig Iron’s Kolony Militia, FASA’s Vor Union, and Heavy Gear power suits.

In the next game, Altairian Regulars (UDSS) vs. Ramstar Mercs. The Ramstar troops were trying to rescue a kidnapped hostage. They failed and this set up a later game. Minis are once again Pig Iron and Vor Union. Of special interest are the Pig Iron APC and the paper dropship model.

Chris (Irate Squirrel) and Michael Miller were the players in the next game which I refereed. CEU Foreign Legion vs. UDSS Regulars. This was a supply convoy ambush scenario. Pig Iron minis on both sides, with an assortment of different vehicles.

Jonathan Breese and I played again when we did a big city fight game. UDSS Guards vs. Ramstar Mercs. Pig Iron minis again, plus powered armor from EM-4, with AT-43 Red Blok troopers.

And the most recent game, Operation Icepick, which was the follow-on to the first hostage rescue scenario above. Ramstar Strikers (Special Forces) vs. Altairian Nightshade Commandos (Special Forces). Minis are the old Metal Magic Spacelords Cybertech Bunkerbreakers from the 80’s, now available from EM-4, and Mongoose Starship Troopers M.I. This time, the Ramstar corporate mercs succeeded.

The next game we’re planning is a bug hunt! A research team in an alien jungle is about to make a very nasty discovery! The Arachnids from SST will make an appearance as “xenocrabs” trying to rip Chris’ planetary landing party (converted AT-43 Red Blok) into tiny bits. But the humans have a few surprises up their sleeves. Should be a hot one!

Stargrunt AAR – Operation Icepick

Posted in Battle Report, Games with tags , , , , on June 6, 2010 by stingersix

Yesterday, Chris and I played an epic game of Stargrunt at Endgame on one of their big minis tables. Our set-up got some attention from the 40K players surrounding us, who all seemed somewhat amused with all the non-GW minis on display. They did think it was cool though! Only one or two of the grognards there had even heard of Stargrunt of course.

The scenario was a follow-on from one we played a little over a year ago, in which the Kryton Corporation heiress Liselle Theron had been kidnapped during a raid. The Altairians have been holding her secretly on a remote moonbase in orbit around a gas giant. But certain political maneuverings have the UDSS council making a secret agreement with the Kryton Corporation allowing them to mount a rescue attempt, and hanging the Altairians out to dry. Now a special team of the elite Ramstar Strikers is about to mount a surprise raid on the moonbase to attempt to rescue the heiress.

The overall concept for this game was two elite forces fighting on an airless moon. We had some interesting rules in place for this. First, outside the sealed moonbase it was vacuum of course, so wounding hits were counted as kills. Second, the low gravity meant combat moves were x3 (rather than x2) but troops that used this risked falling on grounding. In a nod to Joe Haldeman’s classic The Forever War, troops that fell risked killing themselves as their heat exchangers contacted the frozen methane ice surface and exploded (I lost three troopers to this effect!). Also, any weapons with an Impact die of d10 or higher could cause a breach inside the moonbase.

The Altairians (played by me) had to prevent the Ramstar Strikers (played by Chris) from rescuing Liselle and getting away, by calling in orbital interdiction (which essentially set a time limit on the game). Ramstar simply had to get Liselle to the landing pad alive and call for dustoff. If the hostage were killed it would be considered a loss for both sides.

The minis used were an eclectic mix that turned out looking really good on the table.

Altairian Nightshade Commandos – These are obviously Starship Troopers minis. The troopers are Elite quality, armed with Advanced Assault Rifles and wearing full light armor. The big Marauder I classed as a size 3 walker, armed with two HELs. The Heavy Armor Suits (Mongoose Grizzly) were classed as size 2 walkers and armed with GMS (guided missile system), RFACs (rapid-fire autocannon) and a HKP (hyper-kinetic penetrator). All the walkers were treated as individual vehicles of either Veteran or Regular quality.

Ramstar Strikers – These are the old Spacelords Cybertech Bunkerbreakers, originally done in the 80’s by Metal Magic and currently available from EM4. As Elite quality assault troops they wear Combat Power Suits. The two entry teams are armed with SMG’s (close range only), and the perimeter security team carries gauss rifles. The Gun Walkers (AT-43 Fire Toads) are size 2 walkers – one with twin DFFGs (direct fire fusion guns) and two with twin RFACs. Not in the photo is a Warthog gun jeep model from the HALO toy series.

The Sterope Moonbase – For the terrain we used Endgame’s GW ice terrain boards. Yes, those room tiles for the interior of the moonbase are from my original Space Hulk set! The antenna on the hill at the bottom of the picture is the moonbase comms relay, Ramstar’s secondary objective.

Landing Pad – This is the terrain feature I slapped together the day before yesterday. If the Ramstar Strikers could manage to find and rescue Liselle, they would have to get her back here to the landing pad. The dropship on the pad is one of the excellent paper models available free from Toposolitario.

Ready – This is a shot of the board with all the terrain and obstacles placed. Went into the AT-43 stuff for the containers and barricades. You can see the layout of the moonbase more clearly here too.

Strikers Deploy – The Strikers set their entry squads one move away from one of the three base airlocks. The gun walkers and the security team set up in the landing pad area. I had already set up my troops – one squad within the base (hidden, guarding the hostage) and the rest would arrive as reinforcements from off-board.

At the north airlock

At the south airlock

Landing field perimeter

Execute! One the first turn, the Ramstar entry teams went through the airlocks. At the south airlock, a hidden Altairian commando opened fire point blank on the entry team, killing two Strikers and wounding another! But as this played out over the next turn, the Strikers returned fire, suppressing the Altarian. The Strikers used their plasma gun and the close range fire caused a hull breach! The section now in vacuum, the wounded Striker was killed. The survivors charged the Altairian and took him down in bloody hand-to-hand combat.

At the north airlock, much the same happened, only the Altairian commando watching the door was not as lucky, failing to neither suppress or kill or wound any of the attackers, who quickly mobbed him and took him out.

With the entry areas cleared, the Strikers move into the base and start searching the rooms for the hostage. The surprised and separated Altairians try to stay hidden. Meanwhile a call is made for reinforcements to return to the base from their perimeter patrols. Help is on the way!

Monitoring the radio traffic, the Striker commander hears the call for reinforcements go out. He knows the Altairians will be calling for orbital interdiction next to prevent their escape. A Gun Walker is ordered to blow up the comms relay. It moves into position and takes a shot with its DFFGs. After another volley to get the range, the comms tower is blasted to junk. Unfortunately for the pilot of Gun Walker 01, the big Altairian Marauder that was out on the perimeter reaches the base and cores GW01 with its powerful lasers, destroying it.

Seeing GW01 blown to bits, the pilot of GW02 moves to engage the Marauder. They blaze away at each other over the slagged down remains of GW01 until a solid volley of 30mm RFAC rounds disables the Marauder and it’s out of the game.

More Altairan reinforcements arrive as the first of the Heavy Armor Suit squad shows up on the north side of the base. But its volley of missiles goes wide of its target, Gun Walker 03.

The first Heavy Armor Suit is followed by two more jumping in. The Ramstar gun jeeps scurries for cover, but gets flayed into junk by a Heavy Suit’s twin RFACs. The Strikers rushed to move GW02 and GW03 to address the new threat from the rear. GW03 causes a systems failure in the missile-armed HAS with a burst of fire, but the third HAS destroys GW03 with a shot from its hyper-kinetic penetrator railgun and moves up.

While all that was happening outside, inside the base, the Altairian commander managed to get a call through to the ships on high guard. But they were pretty far away (the game would now end in D6+4 turns – I rolled a 5, so 9 turns! Gah!) As he finished the call, Ramstar Strikers charged into the room. Seeing these huge armored figures coming for him, and trying to hang onto their hostage, the two Nightshade commandos retreated to the mess hall. Hot on their heels, the Strikers kept charging forward. Again, the Nightshade commandos retreated (I blew my morale check again, and the squad broke), abandoning Liselle and retreating to the entry hall!. The Strikers had secured the hostage, but now they had to get out of there alive! With the Altairian Heavy Suits moving in, things were getting sticky!

Whoosh! Thunk! Grrrr! DAK DAK DAK! The Heavy Suit got it’s systems restarted then I tried a combat move with one of my Heavy Suits (since it would be x3) but I rolled a 12! The maximum! I had to use it all, and I’d planned on trying to get closer to the Gun Walker on the north side of the base, but I got too close! The HAS fired its jump jets, skimming over the landing field and landing just short of GW02! On his next activation, Chris swung the Gun Walker around and blasted the HAS pointblank, taking it out!

Upon seeing his buddy get blasted, one of the other HAS leapt forward into the landing field landing right behind the Striker security team dug in behind a barricade and spun up its RFAC to mow down the Strikers. GW02 quickly moved to engage – if the Altairian Heavy Suits could take out the last Gun Walker, the Striker teams in the base would never make it to the landing pad with Liselle! A volley of fire from GW02 drives the Heavy Suit pilot to jump back behind the dropship for cover.

By now, some of the Altairian foot patrols are reaching the fight. One squad comes in way out of position and gets fired up by the Striker security squad. As this is happening, the HAS that dropped back destroys GW02 – the Strikers now have no more Gun Walker heavy weapon platforms! I was cackling with glee but the fight was far from over.

Inside the base, the Strikers kept the pressure on the retreating Altairian commando HQ, finally routing them and chasing them out of the base. Not expecting the Altairians to come out first, the HAS watching the airlock was distracted seeing the HQ team hightailing it for cover, followed by the Striker HQ team. The plasma gunner snapped off a quick shot and took out the HAS! My worst armor roll of the game (I got a 6 or something crappy like that, he got an 18!)

With Liselle firmly in tow, the Strikers get her into a pressure suit and get ready to clear the base.

On the northeast side of the base, another squad of Altairian troopers rushes to the fight. I tried a combat move (which only got them 6″) and one of them slipped and fell on the dangerous methane ice, skidding into a container where his heat exchanger made contact with the ice and blew him to bits. Crap!

The Altairian commando HQ made it to cover and desperately tried to rally, but the Strikers kept the pressure on, blowing them all away with a volley of fire from their submachineguns! Oh, the horror!

The remaining Altarians approaching from the northeast reach the landing pad, taking cover behind it and the wreckage of the last Altairian Heavy Suit, which has been disabled by a shot from the Striker security teams Anti-vehicle rocket! These guys are all that’s left between the Strikers and the dropship.

The landing field is littered with the wrecks of Ramstar Gun Walkers and Altairian Heavy Armor Suits!

With the threat of the HASs gone, the Strikers consolidate their forces. A few exchanges of fire suppresses or drops more of the remaining Altairian troops.

With the last Altairian trooper down, the Strikers clear the landing pad and call for dustoff!

Mission complete! Liselle boards the dropship and it blasts away! A clear victory for Ramstar!

Whew! Although I lost, this game was easily the most fun I have had playing Stargrunt! The combination of unit types, the mission and the game itself were all a lot of fun! For me, the battle between the Gun Walkers and the Heavy Armor Suits was the deciding factor. The swirling melee at the landing field was intense as they took each other out. Once I’d taken out Chris’ last Gun Walker I thought there was no way he was getting out of there, since all I had to do was gun down his troopers. But bad timing and good dice saw my two Heavy Suits taken out and my remaining infantry was too spread out and out of position to have any effect.

Congrats and thanks to Chris for a well-played and fun game!

So the campaign continues! With its bargaining chip lost, and political support gone, Altair is left to fend for itself against the oncoming might of the Interstellar Corporate Authority! Can the Altairians maintain their freedom or will they fall under the oppressive boot of the Kryton Corporation?

And somewhere on the frontier of human space, a research team exploring alien ruins makes a terrifying discovery…

Old dog, new tricks

Posted in Blather, Minis with tags , , , on May 12, 2010 by stingersix

As I work on these new Marines, the first 40K minis I have painted in almost 20 years, I’m realizing how much my painting style has changed. The realization came about when I tried to incorporate some of master minis painter Finn Kisch’s advice into my technique. I should say I totally understand what he suggested, but actually doing it turned out to be harder for me than I thought. Finn uses a layering technique I think, one that gives very nice results when executed properly (especially by him!).

This made me think about my own technique – what is it actually? I never really thought much about it, I just did it, but what do I actually do? Looking at the Space Marine models I painted back in 1991, and the ones I painted just last week, I can see what I did then and what I do now.

So, to compare, here’s one of the Marines I did in 1991.

Way back then, I primed white…with a brush. Why didn’t I spray? I don’t know. At that point I had been painting minis (with any amount of technique) for about 4 years, and I always primed white. Anyway, I then basecoated and as I recall, I liked to use washes a lot, followed by drybrushing. I did that on this Marine here. As you can see, there’s not a lot of depth or detail. I did not blackline or do edge highlights that didn’t get on there from the drybrushing.

I also liked to do a lot of wet blending, which you can see if you go back and look at my Epic scale minis, particularly the Titans. Didn’t do any blending on this Marine though. I had also not discovered inks.

Somewhere down the line, I switched to priming black using a spray. I still used washes but not as much, and started using inks more (especially after I received a Citadel Mega Paint Set as a present around 10 years ago- yay). That led me to use blacklining, which some say is outdated, but I like the look of it. I won’t use it for everything but for hard surfaces like armor, it works for me. Still drybrushing for highlights but not as much (I really used it a lot in the past). I also began using thinner basecoats and doing more layers and edge highlighting. That’s pretty much the style I’ve used up until recently, like on this Cybertech Bunkerbreaker:

I think I started blacklining things maybe five years ago. Again on this one, not a lot of edge highlights, and I don’t do wet blending anymore.

So, I got those Marines and had a chat with Finn and tried to apply some of the techniques he laid on me, and some that I’d been dabbling with but not really gone whole hog on yet, namely layering and shading with different colors, and hard edge highlighting.

Obviously, I still need lots of practice. Layering with multiple colors is gonna take me some time to get right. I also tried the highlighting to a degree I haven’t done before. I know it’s not an advanced technique, but for some reason I hesitate to really work it. I also need to get better at figuring out the lighting angles. Anyway, I do like the way this Marine came out:

So, interesting to see how my painting style has changed over the years. As a side note, it’s also interesting to see how the Space Marine minis have evolved – they really are better and more detailed than the old ones, IMHO.

Cybertech Bunkerbreakers – Finished!

Posted in Minis with tags , , , , on September 11, 2009 by stingersix

I’ve got my EM4 Spacelords Cybertech Bunkerbreaker minis finished! I’m using these guys as a special forces unit in the Stargrunt games we’ve got going. They’re specialists in operating in hostile and difficult environments – vacuum, zero-g, poisonous atmosphere, etc. Yes, those are AT-43 Fire Toads. I’m statting these out as Size 2 walkers in SG. The factory grey pre-painted scheme matches what I’ve got on the infantry, though I may repaint – or maybe not. Anyway, I think they look pretty good alongside the infantry and the APCs. The two APCs are paper models designed by and available on the Toposolitario website.

Here we go.

Here’s the infantry.

Three sections of six men each.

Three sections of six men each.

2nd Squad

2nd Squad

4th Squad

4th Squad

6th Squad

6th Squad

Plasma gunners

Plasma gunners

Plasma gunner aiming

Plasma gunner aiming

Command section - Platoon leader, missile launcher, plasma gunner

Command section - Platoon leader, missile launcher, plasma gunner

Platoon Leader

Platoon Leader

Plasma Gunner

Plasma Gunner

Missile Launcher

Missile Launcher

Overhead shot of the platoon

Overhead shot of the platoon

1st Platoon, 1st Battalion, 5th PAU Marines

1st Platoon, 1st Battalion, 5th PAU Marines

WIP – Spacelords Cybertech Bunkerbreakers

Posted in Minis, WIP with tags , , , on June 15, 2009 by stingersix

Right now, I’m working on a platoon of Spacelords Cybertech Bunkerbreakers by em4. These figures have a long and storied history, first released in the 80’s I believe by an outfit from Germany called Metal Magic. The excellent minis archive page The Stuff of Legends has a list of all the Spacelords minis that were produced, with pics of some of them. The rights were bought by em4, which produced a few codes in the Cybertech, Yoyodyne, Phagons and Civilian lines. The minis em4 now has in these lines are made from new castings and molds and look fantastic.

Since I’ve gotten into the mindset of collecting platoons to use for Stargrunt, I wanted a bunch of heavily armored troops. The Cybertech Bunkerbreakers fit the bill and there is something about their kinda retro 80’s look that I really like (god help me, I keep hearing Blue Oyster Cult’s Veteran of the Psychic Wars in my head while I work on these). So I bought 18 of the regular troopers.

I just finished my first squad.

Heavy Laser Gunner


My color scheme is a two-tone grey camo pattern, for use by troops fighting on a lunar surface. I know I should have applied the same colors to their weapons, but I just like the green and the orange-brown stocks and grips says 1970’s and 80’s sci-fi plastic to me, so go figure. The numbers on their helmets and breastplates are done with dry rub transfers (these guys are with 2nd squad).

I just based these on standard GW round bases. That’s Elmer’s Redi Spack to fill the gaps and smooth things out.

Then I scoured the internet looking for more. These are pretty rare minis now, but I finally scored a few more off eBay to serve as my command element. These are actually lead miniatures, and they came in their original packages from 1986 or something like that. Now that I’ve handled them I guess I’m going to die, but anyway…

The two guys w/out their helmets on aren’t actually Bunkerbreakers – they’re from the Wartech line. But I figure they issue the orders and let the grunts do the heavy lifting.

These are really nice minis and I’d buy more if I could actually find them somewhere!

The Deal

Posted in Blather with tags , , on June 14, 2009 by stingersix

When it comes to miniatures (and let’s face it, most of my hobbies), I find myself having to wheel and deal with my wife before (or sometimes after – usually after) I buy something. These days, the deal is, I can buy whatever miniatures I want as long as I paint them all before I buy more.

Now I know any self-respecting minis fan has piles of unpainted lead piled up. I mean, something cool catches your eye and you’ve just got to have it – now! Buying stuff and not painting it is just a normal condition for you and me.

Then again, when I think of this deal with my wife, it’s not that bad. As long as I paint what I have before I buy more, I can get whatever I want. Pretty good incentive to paint!

Seeing as how I want to get a force of Spriggan’s Spugs, I’m driven to finish up my WIP eM4 Spacelords!